Optimal Motivation and Governance of Education Agents: International Student Recruitment

Optimal Motivation and Governance of Education Agents: International Student Recruitment

Nadia O’Connell (Stenden University, Indonesia) and Ho Yin Wong (Deakin University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4458-8.ch007
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Abstract

This chapter addresses the issue of marketing higher education institutions through education agents, focusing on ways to gain a competitive advantage over other institutions in the context of increasing global competition while maintaining close management and governance of this distribution channel. Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with 31 Australian university international marketing managers and staff, and 16 education agents based in Australia and overseas. The findings show seven main themes, namely, service and support, joint promotion, incentives, training, gifts, social activities, and relationship enhancement. The contributions of this chapter are the provision of experiences, ideas, attitudes, and perspectives of how Australian universities work in partnership with education agents throughout the world to recruit international students in an increasingly competitive marketplace, whilst ensuring obligations are met under Australian international education legislation. This chapter provides marketing specialists, educational administrators, and policy makers with practical real life examples of motivational and management techniques.
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Background

Education Agents

Education agents have developed as private businesses or in some cases quasi government organisations, through which students can be recruited to educational institutions. By 2005, it was estimated than an excess of 10,000 education agents operated around the world and this has now increased to an unknown figure (Jobson 2005). Education agents form an integral distribution channel through which Australian education providers recruit international students (DeLuca 2008; Dunstan 2009).

Differing from the USA and the UK, most Australian education providers use education agents to recruit international students. In Australia over 60% of students coming to Australia to study are recruited by education agents as compared to 19% in the UK and only 3% in the USA (ICEF 2007; 2008). In 2009 Australia had the highest proportion intake of international students amongst OECD countries (AUIDF 2009). Given, that Australia has only 38 Universities, it outperforms these two strong competitors in terms of number of international students recruited versus number of institutions. It has been reasonably argued that education agents are a fundamental component of Australia’s success (Dunstan 2009). It has been found that agents perceive Australia as having a more businesslike approach to the service they provide to education agents, with faster turn-around times of student application processing and payment of commissions (Krasocki 2002).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Student Recruitment: Activity designed to encourage students or potential students to enroll in a particular program, course, or class, or at a particular institution.

Competitive advantage: An advantage that a firm has over its competitors, allowing it to generate greater sales or margins and/or retain more customers than its competition.

Education Agents: They are official representatives for educational institutions and help the prospective learners to apply for their chosen course. They provide information on courses offered, visa requirements, travel information, accommodation available, and the city where the institution is located.

Promotional Strategy: Promotional strategy is the function of informing, persuading, and influencing a consumer decision.

Motivation: Motivation is a psychological feature that arouses an organism to act towards a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal directed behaviors.

Training: Training is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies.

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