Navitas Agent Perception Report shows agents value openness & accessibility

27th Apr, 2021   Feature story:

The third and most recent round of Navitas Agent Perception Research conducted in March 2021 captures the views and opinions of nearly 900 education agents in 73 countries on the impact of COVID-19 on international education.

The findings reveal that perceptions of Australia and New Zealand have become more entrenched, while the United Kingdom and Canada continue to look poised for a rebound, and the US shows signs of a remarkable turnaround.

A deepening gap between front runners and laggards

Canada and the United Kingdom continue to improve their reputation as an appealing study destination. While at the other end of the spectrum, Australia and New Zealand who remain constrained by closed borders are falling even further behind.

Reputations quick to change when countries take the right action

The United States, which was at the bottom of the pile across all measures in both of our surveys in 2020, bucks the trend of entrenched views. In fact, it has had a remarkable change in fortune, and is now chasing Canada and the United Kingdom in terms of being perceived by agents as open and welcoming, overtaking both Australia and New Zealand.

The dark horse of this race is Singapore, which is proving to be an exciting emerging market for global education. Singapore has demonstrated just how quickly countries can rise to prominence as study destinations in this climate.

Australia and New Zealand written off for 2021

Agents are realistic about the very low likelihood of international students arriving in Australia or New Zealand this year. While both countries continue to be perceived as ‘safe and stable’ study destinations due to their elimination strategies and very low case numbers, these factors are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

While Canada and the UK are very well positioned as a study destination, agents are by no means expecting that travel to these countries is a sure thing. While the UK is looking highly prospective for a full reopening to international students in the autumn, only a quarter of agents surveyed thought travel to the UK will be possible this year. We are also seeing countries such as Canada, that are still facing high numbers of COVID-19 cases, improving their reputation for safety and stability, and increasing the level of interest in their offering as a study destination.

Navitas Agent Research

In May 2020, Navitas asked its network of global education agents to reflect on the relationship between the handling of the coronavirus pandemic by different countries, and the extent to which this made a country a more attractive study destination. Findings revealed countries that had handled the health crisis well (Australia and New Zealand) were perceived to be more attractive study destinations and vice versa.

In September 2020, Navitas repeated its research only to discover that a governments’ handling of the pandemic had become less of a differentiator for destination countries. Australia and New Zealand had fallen behind, while the United Kingdom was a stand-out performer.

The report published today, authored by Jon Chew, Head of Strategic Insights and Analytics at Navitas, shares findings from the latest round of this research conducted in March 2021.

“The agent research that we started at the beginning of the pandemic has given an important voice to the global education agent community and offers a unique perspective on how the global pandemic is impacting the reputation of key study destinations,” said Navitas Group CEO Scott Jones.

“Our analysis provides insights into what these changing perspectives could mean for international education as the sector looks toward post-pandemic recovery.”

Any information contained in this media release can be attributed to Jon Chew.

Read the Executive Summary on the Navitas Insights website

Download the full Navitas Agent Perception Report – March 2021

Contact us

Avery Waxman

Senior Director, Corporate Communications


+1 206 949 8393

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