Members of FDSV-
an association for
38 | THE PIE REVIEW | ISSUE #26
good schools, they always say – “if you ever hear about a
mispractice, just do let us know and we will cease working
with those agencies”.”
Ultimately, associations seek to improve situations, and
recognise that mistakes get made, often without malicious
intent. In this regard they try to settle disputes.
“If an agent fails to comply with the rules and regulations
stated in that code of ethics, we will interfere so as to ensure
the conflict between the agent and the student is resolved,”
says Gabriela Ardito, founder and CEO of Argentinian as-sociation,
“Students and their families can contact ARSAA through
our website or social media channels such as Facebook,
Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn in order to report malprac-tice
or unfair treatment.
“In the event of a conflict, we will contact both parties
separately in order to find out how it originated and then act
as mediator so that they can reach a satisfactory agreement.
We will of course look after the student as a priority.”
The plus side
While the codes of conduct used by agencies are of obvious
benefit to students and providers, it is also important to note
that they help agencies as well.
When things go wrong
Inevitably, on occasion, things do go wrong, and rules are
broken. Given that agency associations’ main role is to
endorse good practice rather than regulate, it makes it dif-ficult
for them to hold members to account. They are not,
however, toothless and take action where they can.
“We are not a regulator. We do shine a light on bad
practice, so especially if it edges into anything criminal, like
fraud. We have alerted the authorities a number of times on
agents who have done some medical insurance fraud or have
coerced people into bad visa choices, such as refugee visas,
and things like that,” relates Parsonson. Because reputation
is crucial for agencies, associations are able to make use of
their extensive networks to address any wrongdoing.
Izzet Aslantatar, director of the Turkish Education Agents
Group, explains that associations could remove any unscru-pulous
agencies from their association and warn others in
the industry that they were engaging in bad practice.
“If an agency wants to be in business, they must work with
the schools. If we bring in the schools then they have no way
to work with the schools,” he claims.
“If they had ongoing bad practice, you just let the schools
know about it. Even with the main problem we have with
discounts, schools can regulate it very well. Some of the