National Agencies and Organisations Promoting Internationalisation of Higher Education

Key Resource

The following is an overview of national agencies and organisations involved in promoting the internationalisation of higher education. The agencies are typically non-profit organisations, and in some cases wholly or partly funded by the government in the country they represent. The list of countries and organisations is not meant to be exhaustive, but instead provide a sampling of the countries and agencies in each category – English Speaking, Emerging English Language Providers, and Aspiring Regional Hubs. In each category, the countries are listed in alphabetical order. General information about the agencies and their activities is provided. Further information on each agency (in English) is available on their websites. While other organisations may be undertaking some international activities, this Key Resources outlines those with a specific mandate for internationalisation.


English-speaking countries


Australia Education International (AEI)

Established in 1998, Australia Education International (AEI) is “the international arm” of the Australian Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST). Its mandate is the “development of international government relations and support for the commercial activities of Australia’s education community”. AEI’s activities include marketing and promoting Australian higher education internationally, building relationships with potential international partners and students, and providing assessment services for foreign educational and professional qualifications.

IDP Education Australia

IDP Education Australia is an independent, not-for-profit organisation owned by 38 Australian universities, virtually encompassing the whole university sector. With 69+ offices in 31 countries, IDP is primarily involved in the recruitment of international students for Australian institutions, providing customised consultancy services for individual institutions and conducting market research in the areas of student mobility, the supply and demand of international education, and comparative costs of higher education for international students. IDP also administers fellowship projects and scholarship programmes on behalf of the Australian and overseas governments, institutions and private organisations.


Canadian Bureau for International Education

The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) is a non-governmental organisation whose members include 200 educational institutions, school boards, associations and businesses across Canada. CBIE’s main aim is to “foster internationalisation in Canadian education” and to forge “academic links between Canadian educational establishments and other institutions and organisations worldwide”. CBIE administers scholarship schemes and maintains the DestinEducation website, which provides information for those looking to study in Canada, and Canadians wishing to study or work abroad. CBIE also shares its research and training expertise in the areas of policy, management capacity development, market-driven education planning, income generation, public sector reform, and civil society capacity building with government agencies in Canada and in developing or transition countries/economies.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Canada

Foreign Affairs Canada, the government department responsible for the administration of Canada's foreign policy, helps “boost” the international marketing efforts of Canada's educational institutions by promoting international scholarships, encouraging collaboration with international higher education institutions, and supporting Canadian studies programmes. Its International Education Marketing Unit was created in 1998 to specifically market and promote Canadian higher education abroad by providing networking opportunities, funding, and advice for education providers looking to export their products and services. The Department has also developed a ‘Study in Canada’ website with information for prospective students.

Canada Education Centre (CEC) Network

The Canadian Education Centre (CEC) Network, an independent non-profit organisation, has been involved in marketing Canada as a study destination since 1995. The Network’s clients include 290 educational institutions across Canada. The CEC network operates 17 Centres in Australia, South America, Europe and South America, which host Canadian education fairs, network with local education institutions, and collect market research data (available online for CEC members).


International Education Board Ireland (IEBI)

Established in 1993 by the Irish government, IEBI promotes Ireland as a study destination and supports the international activities of Ireland's education sector, including its public and private universities, colleges, technical institutes and language schools. IEBI works with other government departments and agencies including “Enterprise Ireland”, the entity which provides market development support to higher education institutions. IEBI deals with enquiries from overseas students regarding study options in Ireland, and promotes Irish education abroad via advertising and participating in education fairs, seminars and workshops.

Irish Council for International Students (ICOS)

A non-governmental non-profit organisation, ICOS has 30 Irish educational institutions as its members. ICOS’s mandate is to provide “specialised advice, information and support services to international students and to their advisers”, and to “offer training and information workshops to staff of member colleges who work with international students”. ICOS provides advice and information to potential students on study options in Ireland, organises seminars on policy and practice regarding the recruitment and support of international students, and provides emergency funding to students.

New Zealand

Education New Zealand (ENZ)

Education New Zealand is a non-profit charitable trust, independent of, but recognised by the New Zealand government. Owned by NZ educational institutions, ENZ works in partnership with the NZ Ministry of Education and Trade and Enterprise to promote the country as a study destination, conduct market research on recruitment opportunities for NZ providers, and assist the government and its agencies with policy development in relation to the education export industry. ENZ has also created the ‘New Zealand educated’ website, which provides information for prospective students in eight languages.

Education New Zealand has established two more study abroad webistes: Study in the US and Study in Australia.

South Africa

International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA)

Established in 1997, the International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the internationalisation of South African higher education. The association's 52 members include South African universities and technikons, as well as foreign universities (e.g. Sweden's Uppsala University, the Netherlands' Leiden University and US University of California, Davis), the SA-USA Fulbright Commission and UNICEF. IEASA engages in international education policy, international student recruitment, the co-ordination of exchange and study abroad programmes for South African students, and the organisation of regional conferences, workshops and seminars to promote networking among South African institutions. In association with the South African Vice-Chancellors Association (SAUVCA) and the Committee of Technikon Principals (CTP), IEASA produces the ‘Study in South Africa’ book, with information for prospective students.

United Kingdom

The British Council

The British Council has been promoting UK education, language and culture abroad for 70 years and has offices in 220 locations in 110 countries. UK higher education, in particular, has been promoted by the Education UK Partnership, which replaced the Education Counselling Service in 2005. Its membership includes 250+ UK-based educational institutions.

Education UK’s activities include “Education UK”, a global brand designed to market the UK higher education, which was launched in 2000 and is accompanied by a website containing a database of courses on offer. Other activities include gathering market intelligence, providing visa and immigration information, hosting workshops, seminars and conferences, providing “tailored” consultancy services and conducting research into transnational education (e.g. a 2004 survey of the perceptions of students taking UK transnational programmes in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, China and India).


UKCOSA is a registered charity whose main aim is to “serve the interests of international students and those who work with them”. Its 508 members include UK universities, further and higher education colleges which are active internationally, student unions, and a range of specialist and representative bodies (e.g. the British Council, the Immigration Advisory Service, and Universities UK, among others). UKCOSA produces a number of print and web-based publications, and provides an advice service for students and advisors in the areas of international education and student mobility.


American International Education Foundation (AIEF)

American International Education Foundation (AIEF) is a non-profit organisation which has been promoting US higher education abroad since 1992. AIEF is headquartered in Los Angeles, and has offices in Washington, D.C., Taipei, Taiwan, and Shanghai, China. AIEF’s funds come from donations by members, corporate partners, foundations, and the government. While AIEF is active in over 70 nations, its main foci are China and Taiwan, as these are among the five top countries sending students to the US. Its activities include overseas recruitment fairs, orientation seminars, school directories, reference guides, student scholarships and teacher/counsellor training programmes.

Institute of International Education (IIE)

Established in 1919, the Institute of International Education (IIE) is an independent, non-profit organisation, which aims to promote educational relations between the United States and other countries, to increase student and researcher mobility, and contribute to the internationalisation of US higher education. Its work includes the administration of the Fulbright Programme, the co-ordination of student and researcher exchange schemes, and the provision of training and leadership development programmes for public and private sector professionals around the world. The IIENetwork website provides data on US students studying abroad and on international students in the United States along with articles and reports on international education. IIE currently has 850 members worldwide (including educational institutions, exchange agencies and education related non-profit agencies), and receives funding from the U.S. government, the World Bank, corporate and private foundations (e.g. Goldman Sachs Foundation), and foreign governments (Brazil, Chile, Japan and Spain).

International Education Service (IES)

The International Education Service currently markets US colleges and universities in 60 countries worldwide. The agency was established in 1983, and its members include over 160 educational institutions. IES promotes US universities and colleges abroad by providing both in-print and online services to educational advisors and individual students. IES’s publications include the Foreign Students’ Guide to American Schools, Colleges and Universities and the American Education magazine, which are distributed to overseas educational advising centres, student placement centres, and educational institutions once a year. Institutions that wish to be included in these publications pay fees to participate.


Emerging English-language providers

This section focuses on countries attempting to enter the traditionally English-speaking market for international student recruitment by offering degree programmes in English (to a varying extent).



CIRIUS is an agency under the Danish Ministry of Education, which aims to support the internationalisation of education and training in Denmark. Along with general information on living and studying in Denmark, the website provides prospective students with a database of programmes currently offered in English at Danish institutions. CIRIUS' activities include the co-ordination of EU student exchange programmes (Leonardo da Vinci, Socrates and Youth), and similar Nordic (e.g. Nordplus and ENZ/NARIC) and Danish education programmes and initiatives. CIRIUS also acts as a national information centre in relation to the recognition of foreign qualifications after merging with the Danish Centre for Assessment of Foreign Qualifications in January 2005.


Centre for International Mobility (CIMO)

The Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) operates under the Finnish Ministry of Education. Its partners include universities, polytechnics, schools, adult and further education institutions, employment authorities, and enterprises in Finland and abroad. CIMO’s activities include the co-ordination of scholarship and exchange programmes, the promotion of Finnish language and culture in universities abroad, the organisation of summer courses in Finnish language and culture for international students, and the provision of information on studying and living in Finland through the ‘Discover Finland’ website.



Established in 1998, EduFrance collaborates with the French Ministries of Education, Foreign Affairs, Research, Culture and Industry to promote French higher education abroad, provide support services to international students, and supply consulting services to its foreign partners for the development of distance learning programmes. EduFrance disseminates information through its international offices, forums and conferences, and a website with tailored interfaces for more than 20 countries.


German Academic Exchange-Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD)

DAAD is a national organisation that works towards “advancing academic relations between Germany and other countries in the fields of education, science, culture and research”. It has a number of partners in Germany and abroad including the British Council and the Institute of International Education. DAAD is based in Bonn and has 14 regional offices and 39 ‘information centres’ around the world. Its membership consists of 231 higher education institutions and 126 student bodies. DAAD’s main areas of activity are marketing German institutions abroad, providing scholarships to attract foreign students and facilitating the flow of German students to international institutions. DAAD is also involved in promoting academic and scientific advancement in developing countries, and encouraging the development of programmes exploring German culture. Its research programmes include the International Study Programme, which currently supports 30 Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes with a “strong” international focus and the Export of German degree courses programme, which provides German universities with start-up funding to offer commercially-planned transnational study programmes abroad.



Italian higher education is promoted to international students by CIMEA, the Information Centre on Academic Mobility and Equivalence. A member of the National Academic Recognition Information Centres network, CIMEA's main activities are the provision of information on the recognition of foreign qualifications and the co-ordination of student mobility programmes. Together with the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MUIR), CIMEA has developed and maintains the ‘Study in Italy’ website.


Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education (SIU)

The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education (SIU), established in 1991, promotes international co-operation in education and research. SIU is funded by Norway's Ministry of Education and Research (UFD), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (Norad), and the European Community. SIU’s mandate is to promote internationalisation and international mobility within higher education and promote Norway abroad as a study and research destination. SIU co-ordinates various academic co-operation programmes (e.g. Socrates, Erasmus Mundus, and NordPlus), and developed the ‘Study in Norway’ website.


National Information Centre on Academic Recognition and Mobility (NICARM)

The National Information Centre on Academic Recognition and Mobility is part of the Russia Federation's Ministry of Education. NICARM was created in 1999 in order for Russia to ratify the Lisbon Convention on recognition of educational qualifications, and it belongs to the ENIC/NARIC network. However, apart from activities pertaining to the recognition of foreign qualifications, NICARM also provides information on Russian higher education and a list of institutions accredited by the Federation on its website.


The Swedish Institute (SI)

The Swedish Institute (SI) is a government funded public agency aiming to “disseminate knowledge about Sweden abroad and to organise cultural educational and research exchanges with other countries”. The Institute provides approximately 150 scholarships each year for students and researchers coming to study at a Swedish university or university college. It promotes Swedish higher education abroad via the 'Study in Sweden' website, through a range of publications, and by taking part in educational fairs and conferences.

The Netherlands

Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic)

Nuffic is a non-profit organisation whose main areas of activity are the marketing of Dutch higher education abroad, the internationalisation of higher education curricula, the co-ordination of student and staff mobility schemes, and the recognition of foreign degrees. Its work is financed by subsidies and fee-paying clients, but over 90% of its funding comes from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture & Science and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nuffic’s main international marketing activities include a network of Netherlands Education Support Offices (NESOs) in four locations (Jakarta, Taipei, Beijing and Hong Kong), participation in international education fairs, marketing studies and country education profiles, and the ‘Study in the Netherlands’ website with information for prospective international students. Nuffic’s future plans include the creation of a joint website, the ‘Study in Europe in English’.


Aspiring 'education hubs'

This section focuses on countries aspiring to be regional 'education hubs'. While Thailand and the United Arab Emirates arguably also belong in this category, they do not appear to have established organisations, agencies or government departments to specifically promote the interests of their higher education sectors abroad. In the case of Hong Kong, the concept of an 'educational hub' has still to mature; in particular, it is unclear in Hong Kong whether the focus is on development, trade in eductaional services, academic enrichment, or manpower planning, although this will presumably emerge with more debate within the Hong Kong community.


Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges, Chinese Ministry of Education

In China, the internationalisation of higher education is addressed by the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges of the Chinese Ministry of Education. The Department is responsible for the co-ordination of academic co-operation and exchange programmes, the provision of information to international students wanting to study in China, and the management of education aid programmes provided to other countries by China. The Department’s website lists programmes taught in English at Chinese universities and offers information on admission procedures, fees, etc.


University Grants Commission (UGC)

The University Grants Commission (UGC) was formally established as a statutory body of the Government of India in 1965. Its stated aims are the “coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of university education in India”. UGC activities include the establishment and maintenance of standards of teaching, examination and research in universities and the distribution of grants to universities and colleges. Under its initiative for the Promotion of Indian Higher Education Abroad (PIHEAD), the UGC participates in various education fairs and maintains the ‘Study in India’ website.

Educational Consultants India Limited (Ed.CIL)

Educational Consultants India Ltd. (Ed.CIL) is a “public sector enterprise” under the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). According to local news coverage, Ed.CIL aims to “aggressively” market Indian education in Asia and Africa, identified as potential markets. Ed.CIL provides information about educational opportunities in India, and the Indian government’s Direct Admission of Students Abroad (DASA) scheme (where 15% of places have been reserved in technical institutions and centrally funded institutions for foreign nationals, persons of Indian origin, and non-resident Indians) and informs students of admission and visa procedures and cost of living in India (accessible through the first page of the Ed.CIL website).


Department of Private Education, Ministry of Education Malaysia (DPE)

The primary role of the Malaysian Department of Private Education (DPE) is the facilitation of the establishment and registration of private educational institutions and private higher educational institutions in Malaysia. Since 1998, the DPE’s role has been extended to include the promotion of educational opportunities in Malaysia. The DPE works towards this aim by organising education fairs abroad for both private and public higher education institutions. The DPE is also involved in joint promotional efforts with institutions in a number of countries and has established “educational promotion” offices in China, Indonesia, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates.

The Malaysian Ministry of Education, together with the National Association of Private Educational Institutions and the Malaysian Association of Private Universities and Colleges have created the ‘Study Malaysia’ website.


Singapore Education

Singapore Education was launched by various agencies within the Singaporean government including the Singapore Economic Development Board and Ministry of Education to market Singaporean higher education to international students and establish the country as an ‘education hub’. Its activities include the provision of information on the educational system in Singapore, and a number of student services such as orientation programmes and financial assistance. By Autumn 2007, Singapore's Trade Development Council is working with the University Grants Committee-funded higher education institutions in Singapore to help promote and organise student recruitment activities abroad (e.g. in India and Indonesia).

South Korea

National Institute for International Education Development (NIIED)

The National Institute for International Education Development (NIIED) is a government agency affiliated with the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development. The Institute promotes study opportunities in South Korea, co-ordinates exchange and academic cooperation schemes, administered government scholarships, and offers study abroad information for Korean students. NIIED maintains the ‘Study in Korea’ website.