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Contents - April 2002


Special Report
Raising the stakes
Quality assurance is undergoing a quiet revolution in the marketplace, as national industry bodies aim to enhance their quality standards and goals for improvement become focused on the overall student experience. Factors such as accommodtion provision are coming increasingly under the spotlight, while there have also been moves in the industry to make inspection reports transparent and publishable. Gillian Poole reports on global quality credentials.


Direction1
Local advantage
Agencies that are based in the same country as the language learning institutions that they represent offer a number of advantages for a potential student. They can vouch for the quality of all aspects of a language learning experience, as they are able to consistently monitor provision, and they are on hand if problems do arise. As Amy Baker reports, inbound agencies offer persuasive reasons for a student to use them.



Destination
Spanish spice
As well as offering many sporting and social activities, language schools in Spain are keen to ensure that students appreciate Spain's history and culture. From Seville's famous festivals to Barcelona's architecture and the historical significance of Cordoba, there is plenty for students to discover. Many schools also incorporate activities into their programmes that enable students to appreciate Spain's traditions. Gillian Poole reports.



Opinion

In an industry such as this, where student demand and the typical student profile is constantly evolving and changing, language providers have to remember to constantly re-evaluate their products and market them to make sure they reach the target audience. The type of programmes that schools sell, and how they sell them, are both factors that need to be reassessed regularly.

The issue of schools promoting themselves on the web, for example, needs constant reassessment, as there are always new opportunities and decisions for schools to consider. Schools in the UK can now choose whether to list their agent partners on a website which lists accredited providers in the country. Those that do become part of a two-tiered marketing approach, whereby student queries from the website are sent simultaneously to the school and agent, so that they can collaborate on the response (page 5).

The types of programmes promoted to students, via agents or other marketing methods, also matter. Student requests are increasingly discerning and many students have clear long-term academic goals when studying abroad. The rise of strategic academic courses that offer students a pathway from language learning through to higher education, for example, need to be promoted adequately. Institutions in the USA report that it is the academically minded students that have been the first to return to study in the country (page 4).

Quality assurance is another aspect of the marketing approach that schools need to consider. Agents report that they feel more confident representing a school if it can offer some sort of quality assurance through membership of an industry organisation (pages 24-29). Schools need to strive to enhance their quality credentials, as do national language learning associations that endorse the quality of a school, if they are to win the votes of agents. Efforts around the world to enhance quality standards mean that national associations are consistently working to ensure their quality benchmark remains competitive.

As many language teaching institutions face an uncertain summer season, it is encouraging that overseas government offices are working to help out their national industries by promoting study opportunities in their country. Five embassies talked to agents in Colombia to clarify visa issuing procedures and discuss the further education opportunities they could offer (page 10). Meanwhile, the latest country to organise a key strategy at home to boost its international student numbers is Germany, which has launched a website promoting and explaining its higher education system to potential students (page 29).

In New Zealand, Education New Zealand reports that revenue from international students has reached a record level, two years ahead of forecasts. The education trust plans to continue its work promoting New Zealand in key student provider countries (page 5).

While considerable efforts are being taken by recruiting countries to encourage student traffic, agents and consultants have to make the effort too if they are to retain their hold in the market. For example, agencies that can offer a native language booking service as well as an office in the student's destination country have a clear local advantage (page 19). With innovation and effort characterising the marketplace, agents need to keep up, using all the means available to them, in order to offer a competitive edge.


Opinion
In an industry such as this, where student demand and the typical student profile is constantly evolving and changing, language providers have to remember to constantly re-evaluate their products and market them to make sure they reach the target audience.
News
Student numbers to rally for USA?
New language tests for
UK immigrants
New agent web strategy launched in the UK
Australia and New Zealand report Asian surge
NZ operation for SGI

Travel News
New routes for l
ow-cost market
Transatlantic alliance called off
A new Swiss airline is born

Agency News
Anex holds visa session
Forgery scandal in China

Agency Survey
Brazil's tough times
Although 2001 proved to be a difficult year for the language travel market, most of the Brazilian agents who took part in this survey remain optimistic about 2002.

Feedback
South Africa
The South African schools that took part in this survey offered a good standard of teaching and host family accommodation, and appealed to a mature, work-oriented clientele.

Direction2
Expo strategies
How do agencies and schools approach the issue of representation at language fairs and expos? Such events present good opportunities for profile raising, but both parties need to work together to achieve the best results. Amy Baker talks to agents and schools about expo protocol.

Market Report
German gain
With many students around the globe eyeing Germany's higher education opportunities, language schools are also reaping the benefits. Growth in interest from new markets also points to continued growth for German language schools for 2002, as Amy Baker reports.

Course Guide
Home tuition in the UK
Learning a language in a teacher's home is a good way to ensure an intensive learning experience, and home tuition is favoured by students who want maximum exposure to a language in the shortest space of time. Many programmes in the UK offer tailored study options such as marketing, art and design and advertising, and they often include social activities as well as contact with other native English speakers.

Profile
Florida
Nicknamed the Sunshine State, Florida is the fourth-most populous state in the USA, and it continues to evolve as large numbers of people, particularly young Americans, choose to settle there

Status
Italy 2001
The Status survey is a new venture by Language Travel Magazine, in association with the Association of Language Travel Organisations (Alto), which gathers comparable market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. This month, we look at the Italian language market in Italy.



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