The Canada India Education Council (CIEC) has launched a certification programme that recognises quality and ethical practice among education agents involved in Canada-India exchange.
Indian Canadian Advisors Representing Excellence (CARE) is the only bespoke certification system of its kind and aims to establish rules on agent practice; increase accountability; and make it easier for Indian agents to find Canadian universities and colleges appropriate for their students through its membership database.
CEO of CIEC, Husain F. Neemuchwala, said: ”The time couldn’t be better with the tremendous activity back and forth in the Canada-India corridor over the past two or three years. While we have done a lot of good work promoting the corridor, much work still needs to be done to make sure we reach full potential.”
The certification process, aimed to certify agencies working with Canadian institutions, places high emphasis on transparency, requires agents to be upfront about hidden fees and consistent in how they represent themselves to students.
Agents are reported to have reacted positively to the system since launch, with 60 already hoping for certification once pilot tests are finished. However, Neemuchwala emphasises that CIEC is not aiming for rapid growth.
“Quality over quantity is the premise on which CARE was created. If not colleges and universities can Google [search] and look up agents themselves. The whole idea is to create a smaller number of validated and certified agents that we can stand behind,” he said.
CARE also promises institutions a streamlined recruitment process, greater exposure to the best of the Indian agency market, and information on student trends. Neemuchwala said, “As CARE gets more momentum, things will improve not just for specific colleges and university members but the industry in general. There are people who don’t like to use agents but this might change their minds.
“And for people who generally use agents but aren’t happy with their services, this might open doors to other options for them.”
The certification process takes between four to six months to complete and certification lasts two years. In that time agents can use the CARE promotional materials, will be listed on the CIEC website, and will gain greater access to CIEC member universities and colleges among other benefits.
Founded in 2010, CIEC is an event-driven, membership organisation. CARE is open to CIEC agent members at no cost and for a fee to non-members. The extent of non-member access to the comprehensive agent listings is yet to be determined.