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Ethical Guidelines for International Student Recruitment in Use by Finnish Higher Education Institutions

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Finnish higher education institutions have collectively developed an Agent Code of Conduct, an ethical guideline, aiming to establish standards for education agents and other partners involved in international student recruitment. The purpose of the guidelines is to ensure responsible and professional conduct in all interactions with potential students, their parents, education providers, and other stakeholders. The Agent Code of Conduct has been approved by both Arene, the Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences, and Unifi, the Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities.

Finland aims to increase the number of international students participating in higher education by 2027 to ensure a skilled workforce. Achieving this goal requires collective efforts to develop professional, sustainable international student recruitment practices and ecosystems. The objective is to provide students with realistic information about Finnish higher education and its requirements, as well as integration into Finnish society and later to employment.

The Agent Code of Conduct for student recruitment includes instructions and standards for education agents and other partners to collaborate with Finnish higher education institutions. These include maintaining honesty and transparency, prioritizing the interests of the client, and adhering to ethical marketing practices. Additionally, the ethical guidelines emphasize the responsibility of education agents and other partners in conflict situations, as well as equal treatment of all students and responsible behaviour towards all parties involved.

Ethically sustainable student recruitment

“Finland aims to offer education for sustainable well-being for all. The purpose of the ethical guidelines is to guide universities in their agent collaborations, and ensure that education agents operate honestly, openly, and in the best interests of students. This is particularly important when attracting international students, who may be in vulnerable positions and need reliable guidance and support. By adhering to best practices and ethical guidelines in their partnerships, institutions of higher education can ensure that the student recruitment process is fair, transparent, and high-quality for all parties involved,” state Riitta Konkola, Chair of the Rectors’ Conference of Arene and President, CEO of Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, and Marja Sutela, Chair of UNIFI’s Education Resources Network and Vice Rector of Tampere University.

In addition to the Agent Code of Conduct, higher education institutions commit to adopting best practices in implementing education export. In this work, Education Finland’s Guide to Ethical Practices in Education Export for Professionals will be utilized. “International student recruitment is responsible work that significantly impacts people’s lives. We want to do this work based on Finnish values and sustainable commitment to educate and share good practices within our networks,” state Sirpa Rutanen and Francesca Cucinotta, Eeva Liinamo-Liukku and Sanna Heikkinen, Chairs of the International Student Recruitment and Marketing Networks of Higher Education Institutions (HERENET and FARMI).

The purpose of adhering to ethical guidelines and best practices is to ensure ethically sustainable student recruitment to Finnish higher education institutions.

For more information:

The Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences Arene, Senior Advisor Samuli Maxenius, tel +358406501006

Universities Finland UNIFI, Executive Director Heikki Holopainen, tel. +358 400 639 331

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