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China: ICEF and BOSSA launch agent training

A new government-backed education agent training certificate, the China Education Agent Course (CEAC), has been jointly launched in China by ICEF and the Beijing Overseas Study Services Association (BOSSA) to drive up quality and transparency in the industry.

Jianwai Soho, Beijing, home to the national headquarters of many of China's education agencies.

“Hopefully this certification system will make the industry more transparent and more standardised”

The online training and examination programme – ICEF’s third foray into agent training – is based on the ICEF Agent Training Course (IATC), which was developed with Pier Online. Testing will take place at Pearson Vue centres across the country.

“Once the market requires consultants to have the certificate then everyone will come for the test”

“Hopefully this certification system will make the industry more transparent and more standardised – that’s our goal,” Shuai Yang, Chief Consultant at BOSSA, told The PIE News.

Agents who complete the self-paced programme and pass its exam will receive a certificate from ICEF and BOSSA recognising them as Chinese ICEF Trained Agent Counsellors (CITAC) and one from the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

Initially certificates will be awarded to any test-taker who achieves a minimum score of 80% on the exam, but future versions will provide a three-tiered system, Yang said.

“We hope that the parents and students in the future will ask the consultant to show them the certificate and to show the level of the certificate,” he commented.

BOSSA President Sang Peng and ICEF CEO Markus Badde at the official signing ceremony in Beijing.

BOSSA President Sang Peng and ICEF CEO Markus Badde at the official signing ceremony in Beijing.

While BOSSA is not aiming for the certificate to become a legal requirement for agents, the association hopes that once it becomes known as a mark of quality, market demand will incentivise them to join the programme.

“Once the market requires consultants to have the certificate then everyone will come for the test,” Yang predicted.

The collaboration is the latest effort from BOSSA to increase standards among China’s education agents.

Last year it began a government-backed inspection process of 71 Beijing-based agencies. A performance report on the results of inspections at 62 agencies is set to be released by the China Consumer Commisison soon.

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