The not-for-profit European Association of Quality Agencies (EAQA) will be mouthpiece for agencies in policy and industry matters – for example, coordinating lobbying on issues such as visas or student insurance. It will also keep agencies abreast of the latest research, training opportunities and trade openings in the sector.
The association has been established by Ande-LM (Albania), DonStream (Ukraine) and the international development consultancy StudentMarketing Ltd after 24 agencies from across Europe expressed interest in the idea.
“For a long time in Europe there hasn’t been an association which would help agents by supporting their cooperation or providing help in terms of visas and insurance,” said Jozefina Krnacova, the appointed Secretary of EAQA.
“The biggest benefit will be the EAQA quality mark they will be able to put on their website or brochures. Embassies, schools, even students will see that they are an agency that can be trusted. There is no other European association that has previously provided this mark of quality.”
There are an estimated 5,500 education agencies operating in more than 50 European countries, but only 15 countries have active agent associations, none of which cover the whole continent. The EAQA says it will not only welcome agencies from many countries in Europe, but also neighbours such as Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
In addition, members will enjoy a globally recognised seal of quality assurance in exchange for following the association’s code of practice, which complies with Federation of Education and Language Consultant Association rules (EAQA hopes to join FELCA in future).
This purports to preserve high standards in areas such as website and brochure design, bookkeeping, and an agency’s general dealings with students.