Given that there are over 4 million studying overseas, the issues of the ethical recruitment of international students was one of the sessions that formed part of the 12th QS Asia-Pacific conference.
There are over 4 million students studying internationally, and at Taylor’s University there are some 2,000 students (which is over 20% of the student body) who come from over 80 countries. In a number of countries, such as at the UK and Australia, certain universities are highly dependent on international student enrollments. As Guy Perring from i-graduate has pointed out, “The pressures within institutions to ensure they are meeting their recruitment targets of international students can be significant. In an increasingly competitive world with varied choices in terms of destination and institution, it is incumbent on universities to have an ethical dimension to their recruitment and ensure students are being given the tools to make the right decision for themselves and their future lives”
QS is a globally recognised organisation that is well-known for its QS World University Rankings and also its QS Stars University Ratings. Its 12th QS-APPLE Asia Conference was recently held at Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Malaysia, and this time the theme of the annual conference focused on “New Directions in Asia-Pacific Higher Education”. There are an increasing number of challenges facing higher education in this Asia-Pacific region, particularly as recruitment becomes more competitive. As part of the conference, a session focusing on “Recruiting International Students with Integrity” was organised.
Professor Perry Hobson, the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement at Taylor’s University, kicked off the session by giving an overview of the international recruitment market – he initially looked at the various global trends, future projections on student mobility and highlighting existing student views of their decision making process. He also highlighted the increasing ethical issues facing education. He noted that, “given the growing problems several countries signed up to the London Statement in 2012. But clearly this has not solved the problem, with the Australian Government recently announcing a new ‘Code of Ethics for Education Agents’. Meanwhile, the US-government even went as far as creating a fake university, called the University of Northern New Jersey, and ran it for 3-years to entrap recruitment agents, students and employers illegally hiring students. Clearly there are still significant problems”.
The session then presented two case studies of how issues relating to recruiting with integrity can be addressed – led by Gavin Hopper from ICEF, and Alex Green from Grok. They discussed various quality practices to ensure that institutions can be more confident that they are properly represented in their chosen markets in a professional and ethical manner. ICEF trains education agents and then helps to connect quality agents to universities, while Grok works with universities to provide dedicated representatives in key overseas markets. The issues addressed by the panel not only related to direct recruitment of students by agents, but also related to working with other international partner institutions.