April 2005 issue

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CLC conference in Canada goes well

The Canada Language Council (CLC) held its annual general meeting (AGM) and conference in January this year, the second since the Council rebranded itself from its former guise, the Council for Second Language Programmes. Around 125 delegates representing both the public and private sectors of the language training industry in Canada gathered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to attend two days of sessions and presentations as well as the AGM.
The theme of the conference was Exploring Pathways: the next 25 years for the CLC, and there was a keen sense of development and direction in many of the workshops and presentations. Representatives of government were there to speak and support the CLC, which has 35 per cent of membership from the private sector.

Christopher Hudson-Brading, of the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, said, ''As a representative of a founding member of the CLC's previous incarnation, I found this year's conference to be one of the most informative I have ever attended.'' He added that of particular interest were ''presentations by English UK, Souffle [France], Hothouse Media; the diversity and relevance of exhibitors in the display area; the information updates provided by representatives of various government departments'' and the many sessions.

Jay Jamieson at CLC added, ''I feel the conference renewed the energy of the association. Specifically, the branding session brought stakeholders together to develop an action plan to move the industry forward as a serious player in the international marketplace.''

Accreditation in France on the cards

A number of interested parties in France, including the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have begun a process that should end with a nationally recognised accreditation scheme for all centres offering French as a Foreign Language (FLE) as their main product. The news follows a decision that a separate tax categorisation for schools and teaching centres whose main business is teaching FLE (Français comme Language Etrangère) will be offered.

Marie Laure Lions-Olivieri, Past-President of French language school association, Souffle, told Language Travel Magazine that the decision had been the result of several years of championing the cause of the FLE industry. The Delegation Generale pour la Langue Française (DGLF) had taken up the concerns of Souffle that there was not sufficient understanding of the nature and purpose of FLE schools. Consequently, official categorisation of a business for tax purposes was often applied on an ad hoc basis.

Since the publication of a White Paper two years ago, the Ministry of Education and other parties have redesigned a new audit questionnaire to classify FLE schools appropriately. At the same time, the Ministry has decided to work on an accreditation system, which will enable accredited FLE schools to use an official Ministry of Education stamp once they have been approved. This system is expected to be in place by the end of the year.

Currently, said Lions-Olivieri, discussions are taking place over quality standards and the guidelines set down by Souffle for its membership are being studied. ''This is big progress,'' she said. ''A client will [soon] be able to know exactly if an [FLE] school has been approved.'' While accreditation will not be mandatory, Lions-Olivieri said she expected all relevant schools to seek accreditation and appropriate official classification.

There has also been discussion about groups, such as Souffle and L'Office, working together, but no statement has been issued.

UK profits report: OISE on the rise

Top 10 UK language school companies by turnover
Embassy Ed. Services (UK) £16.8m
OISE £15.2m
The Bell Ed. Trust £15.1m
St Giles £9.7m
Aspect £9.1m
EF £7.4m
Eurocentres UK £6.8m
Regent £6.3m
Linguarama £5.2m
International House £4.8m

The company accounts for the top English language teaching companies in the UK, assessed for the 2003 calendar year by market analyst, Brian McCallen, indicate that OISE - which has expanded its chain of schools further since 2003 - overtook the Bell Educational Trust in 2003 in terms of sales revenue. McCallen observes OISE's revenue increased by 16 per cent in 2003, boosted by its acquisition of Pilgrims.

In terms of revenue earnt, OISE was second in the league table, after Embassy Educational Services - comprising Study Group. In terms of profits made, as well as revenue, OISE was in fact in third position, after Embassy and St Giles Schools of Languages, which, although earning less revenue, made more profit in the 2003 calendar year.

Negative profits were recorded by Bell, Aspect and the International House Trust, according to McCallen's report, The Financial Performance of the UK EFL Schools; 2003/2004. McCallen indicated that the overall results, assessing the performance of 80 schools, indicated that 2003 had been a challenging year. Of the 80 schools and colleges studied, ''just under half reported pre-tax losses during the year including several of the leading schools by sales'', he noted.

For further information, please contact info@brianmccallenresearch.co.uk

Students settle in Australia

Overseas students are increasingly likely to opt for permanent residency in Australia, since a policy was introduced in 2001 making it easier for students to apply for residency if they can find a job within six months of completing their studies. Australia's Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, revealed that in the year ending June 2004, 36,700 temporary residents, most of whom were foreign students, were given permanent residency - compared with just 15,000 five years earlier.

Around 13,000 of these applicants were students taking advantage of the policy granting residency to job holders in employment six months after their course - twice as many such applicants as the previous year. Most of those choosing to stay in Australia were Asian, from India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea. ''This is a benefit to all Australians,'' said Vanstone. ''The people granted these visas are typically young and skilled.''

TB testing for students in New Zealand

Since November, tuberculosis (TB) testing has been introduced for any student from a high incidence TB country wishing to enter New Zealand for more than six months. And from April, all visitors planning to stay in New Zealand for more than 12 months will also be required to undergo a full medical test.

The New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) explained that the new TB testing requirements were in line with Canadian and Australian requirements. This means that students from countries outside Western Europe and North America, mainly, may now have to have a chest x-ray as part of their visa application process.

CES Ireland in UK

An Ireland-based company, Centre of English Studies, which has a school in Dublin, has moved into the UK market with its acquisition of Swandean School of English in Wimbledon and Worthing.

Jonathan Quinn, Sales and Marketing Manager at CES, which opened in 1990, said the move made sense for a ''successful, proactive school in Ireland'' to be able to offer its own schools in the UK. ''It is also a great marketing advantage to be now able to offer courses and programmes in the UK to agents,'' he said.

Quinn said that Swandean School of English was, like CES, a long-standing school with a good reputation. ''The teachers and staff are very professional and open to new ideas.'' Michael Quinn will take over as Principal, based in Worthing, and in time, the schools will be branded as CES schools.

Rice to support foreign students in USA

New US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, underlined her commitment to reversing the decline of foreign students arriving in the USA, at her confirmation hearing in the Senate.

In response to a query about declining enrolments, Rice said, ''These numbers are disturbing, and we need to reverse the trend'', and she said that she would pay great attention to the issue. ''Clearly, there is more we can do to give a sense of greater openness,'' she added.

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