12 Feb 2016
Surpassing 100 qualified agents in its first year of existence, CEAC exemplifies China’s shift to a new industry standard in the world’s largest student market. In a market where providing professional counselling is critical, the China Education Agent Course (CEAC) is gaining traction as the most sought-after credential for Chinese study abroad professionals.
Launched last year in Beijing by ICEF, the Beijing Overseas Study Service Association (BOSSA) and the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), the programme was set up as an ambitious public-private, multinational training programme, aiming to standardise student recruitment practices in China.
Exclusive in its design, CEAC is recognised internationally through ICEF, managed by BOSSA, and accredited by the Chinese Government. Additionally, candidates who successfully complete the programme are granted membership into the Overseas Study Senior Expert Association, a subdivision of BOSSA. There are presently 114 individual agents who have passed the CEAC exam and are recognised as China ICEF Trained Agent Counsellors (CITAC).
“Thousands of agents and so-called agents exist in China, and many ambitiously want some form of Chinese Government approval to boost their image and credibility, equalling more potential sales” said BOSSA’s spokesman, Jon Santangelo. Therefore, CEAC applicants must be employed by member agencies of BOSSA or its subdivision, COSSA. “Though BOSSA cannot enforce against unprofessional or fraudulent advising practices, it can promote higher standards by distinguishing and awarding the professionals” added Santangelo.
Yannick Yang, CEO of Flake Elite Study Abroad Club, recently completed the CEAC. “The course is comprehensive and highlights various study destinations”, said Yannick. Prior to enrolment, Yannick said his expertise of English speaking countries was proficient. “But I was also able to learn about European and Asian study destinations and how comparable they are to North America or Great Britain. This helps me to satisfy parents’ inquiries about non-English speaking countries.”
The CEAC is an adaptation of the ICEF Agent Training Course (IATC). Introduced by ICEF in 2010, the IATC now boasts 912 qualified agents in 100 countries and has also paved the way for other market specific qualifications such as the Canada Course for Education Agents (CCEA) and the US Agent Training Course (USATC). These courses seek to set and ensure the highest industry standards in terms of professionalism and knowledge of study destinations. “We are all extremely committed to supporting Chinese education agents to professionally represent both the interests of international students and their educator partners. We are confident that like our other qualifications, the CITAC status will quickly become a recognised distinction of quality and professionalism in China and abroad” said ICEF CEO Markus Badde.
The CEAC programme was officially launched by BOSSA President Sang Peng and ICEF CEO Markus Badde at the ICEF Beijing Workshop in October 2014, and began operations in January 2015.
The CEAC Online Exam is a proficiency exam designed to assess the level of study abroad consultants. The main purpose of the exam is to train knowledgeable and responsible consultants and further standardize and regulate the study abroad industry.
This test targets those consultants already working in the industry and those wishing to increase their study abroad consulting skills base.
Those working in the industry include certified study abroad agents and a wide range of consultants.
This course has been endorsed by the National Human Resources and Social Services Department and The International Consultants for education and fairs (ICEF).
The content of the course is divided into five main parts: “International education”, “Participants in international education”, “Promoting international education”, “Associated legal knowledge” and “Regulation of study abroad consultants.”
The content specializes in internationalization, standardization and diversification within the industry.
CEAC covers the education systems, education policies and local culture of study abroad hot spots such as North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Consumer Protection Law and Contractual Law are also within the scope of the course. Participants are also given a chance to solve problems that may be encountered during the course of consultation with students wishing to study abroad.
Within a short period course participants can get a basic grasp on required service skills, associated legal and policy information.
Beijing Overseas Study Association (BOSSA) and associated student training groups attended the China Education Agent Certificate (CEAC) Online System Upgrade official signing ceremony.
Written by Linda Sun (Career Standard Development Department Director of BOSSA)
(Chinese: Sun Wen Fei) 2015-08-28 BOSSA Window
Group photo of all parties in attendance
The Beijing Overseas Study Service Association (Acronym BOSSA) held an official signing of the China Education Agent Certificate (CEAC) Online System Upgrade Version 3.0 contract on the 28th of August, 2015. The new 3.0 version will be launched on the Virtual University Enterprise (VUE) system. Ceremony attendees included; BOSSA President Mr Sang Peng, BOSSA Vice President Mr Wen Le Qun, BOSSA Secretary General Miss Cao Hong, BOSSA Career Standard Development Director Miss Sun Wen Fei, VUE Vice General Director Mr Zhao Bo and VUE Market Expansion Manager Miss Liu Jing.
A warm welcome was also extended to The Chinese Consumer Association Editors in Chief Mr Lv Jin Bo and Mr Wang Ting to witness the signing and deliver a speech.
BOSSA Overseas Study Service Senior Consultants Committee members pose for an intimate photo with BOSSA President Mr Sang Peng.
There were five members from the BOSSA Overseas Study Service Senior Consultants Committee in attendance at the signing. Those five members were; Meiji International General Manager Miss Chen Hua, Overseas Study Inspector General Miss Chang Xiu Min, Da Li Tong Beijing Overseas Study Company Manager Miss Xu Yong Li, Shun Shun Overseas Study Chief Consultant Miss Liu Yun Xia and Li Cai Education Group General Manager Mr Song Feng Liang.
Since 2012, BOSSA began planning for the promotion of the standardization of the Overseas Study industry. After three years of hard work and the help of the most experienced consultants in the industry, BOSSA established the China Education Agent Certificate (CEAC).
With the support of the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), The German ICEF Education Group, The Chinese Consumer Association, The China Association of Staff and Workers Education and Vocational Training (CASWEVT) and other organizations, the CEAC exam has already become recognized as a well-respected, standardized and personalized certification for consultants.
Attendees engaging in matters relating to the industry
BOSSA and associated student training groups undertook 6 months of research and discussion to finally reach a formal agreement of cooperation. From this platform of cooperation the CEAC exam has a greater capacity to promote the standardization of the industry.
With the combined input and knowledge of members of the BOSSA Overseas Study Service Senior Consultants Committee, and a state of the art online student training exam system, this test is recognized as a standard for Overseas Study Consultant assessment.
President of BOSSA Mr Sang Peng and Vice General Director of VUE Mr Zhao Bo, sign the exam system upgrade contract.
Improvements made on Version 2 include; expansion of the scope of the question bank, topics in closer cohesion with current policies, assessment on a larger number of overseas study destinations, stricter exam supervision and increase in level of difficulty.
This measure will further increase industry standards of conduct and provide a stricter assessment of consultants overall ability. It is also gives consumers piece of mind and a more convenient way to help them apply for overseas study.
This is a picture of the contract agreement between BOSSA and associated student training groups.
The members of the BOSSA Overseas Study Service Senior Consultants Committee have thrown their full support behind the new system, pledging fairness, impartiality, openness, commitment to increasing the question bank, updating the topics, assessing marking, and revising teaching materials, plans and outlines.
The BOSSA Overseas Study Service Senior Consultants Committee was established in July 2015. At the press conference marking this occasion, members were issued with certificates recognizing their contribution to the industry. Only consultants with over 10 years work experience in the industry can be admitted to the committee.
This new cooperation between training groups and BOSSA is an announcement to the overseas study industry of the commencement of the ongoing upgrading of the exam system.
President of BOSSA Mr Sang Peng and Vice General Director of VUE Mr Zhao Bo, pose for a cordial picture during the signing of the agreement.
This group of educational professionals has joined together to combat the problems that have come with the excessively fast development of the overseas study industry. Those problems have included; the emergence of underqualified agents and consultants, low level of professionalism, non-standard procedures and a high level of staff turnover within the industry. It is hoped now with this new beginning, the standardization of the industry can develop, become more unified and quicken the process of international integration.
BOSSA & COSSA are China's distinctive associations for the professional practice of Chinese student recruitment. They are membership-based organizations made up of study abroad agencies, education agents and institutions.
BOSSA, The Beijing Overseas Study Service Association, was founded in 2004 in affiliation with Chinese governmental authorities. Now BOSSA's membership consists of 300 study abroad companies, recruitment agents, and institutional international departments, in Beijing and throughout greater China.
Initially serving Beijing-based education agencies until 2012, BOSSA launched its nationwide association known as COSSA, the China Overseas Study Service Alliance.
Its CEAC agent training program, in conjunction with ICEF and the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources, launched in 2014. The CEAC China Education Agent Course has graduated over 1,000 certified individual counselors.
BOSSA’s purpose is to train, guide, and evaluate education agencies according to both governmental policies and internationalized industry standards. BOSSA & COSSA agency members account for a significant amount of outbound Chinese student exchanges worldwide.
BOSSA's internal management is entirely operated by third party independent staff, and not agents. Every manager is of senior expertise in China international education.
BOSSA’s International Department manages the International Membership Association and International Services, and has served nearly 100 overseas (non-Chinese) educators and service providers with agent matchmaking, private events, promotions, and strategic partner searching.
To know more about BOSSA & COSSA Member Agencies, and Best Practices for Engagement, click: Working with Agents
30% of all outbound Chinese students employed a BOSSA/COSSA registered member agency in 2017-18.