April 2007 issue

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Online agent training is
a success in Australia

It has been a year since International Education Services (IES) in Australia launched its online agent training course specifically for education agents and the company reports a great response from the industry, with over 2,000 individual agents signing up so far.

It has been a year since International Education Services (IES) in Australia launched its online agent training course specifically for education agents and the company reports a great response from the industry, with over 2,000 individual agents signing up so far.

The training course offers individual agents the chance to learn about the education system and immigration regulations in Australia and prove their knowledge in the form of a formal assessment, for which a fee is charged. Successful test-takers receive a statement of attainment and, in a new development, they are listed on a Qualified Education Agent Counsellor (QEAC) database and website.

Amy Burton, Education Agent Training Course (EATC) Manager at IES, said, “With free registration and immediate access to online learning materials, education agents from France to Brazil, Zambia to Japan, are indicating that professional development is much needed in their industry.” She added that since the QEAC database launch in November, 20,000 visitors had been to the website to see the details of 150 agents who have been formally assessed.

“Our feedback from those education agents that are already qualified is that this listing and qualification has improved their business traffic and market awareness,” she said. Agent Narayan Pahari from Nepalese Encounters Education Consultancy in Nepal is one satisfied agent who is now listed on the site. “Now some of the students and parents have realised that counselling from qualified education agents makes a difference,” he reported.

Burton reports that the course is most popular among agents from Australia, India, Taiwan, China and Vietnam, but she mentioned that interest is wide-ranging, with some registrations from other Asian countries, Eastern Europe and South America. “Those education agents wishing to become qualified can take the test at centres all over the world, and alternative [tests] are available for those not close to one of these centres,” she said.

The training course is interesting in that it qualifies an individual agent as opposed to a company and so represents personal professional training. Australian Education International is helping to promote the training scheme internationally.

Agency association formed in Singapore

A national association of education agents was established in Singapore late last year in an effort to regulate agencies in the country. Singapore’s thriving international education market has led to a mushrooming of inbound education agents in recent years, along with a growing concern in the industry that some education agents are acting unscrupulously.

The Association of Consultants for International Students Singapore (Aciss) has nine members listed, and according to a report in Channelnewsasia.com, it hopes to attract more members by promising help in expanding recruitment networks overseas. President, Daniel Chu, said that some students had been complaining that education agents had not kept their promises and a code of practice has been introduced by Aciss, as well as pricing guidelines.

Yeo Guat Kwang, President of the Consumers Association of Singapore, was present at the launch of Aciss last year. “Education agents are the first point of contact for students who want to come to Singapore to study,” he said. “It is important for us to stress transparency and full disclosure of information.”

Currently, between 70,000 and 100,000 international students are estimated to be studying at private schools in Singapore, many of them from China, Vietnam, Myanmar and South Korea. By 2010, Aciss predicts 150,000 such students will be studying in the country.

Yeo called for the government to take an interest in the sector and introduce accreditation. “While we have an association to take the lead, it is important for the government to review legislation to protect the interests of international students in Singapore,” he said.

IDP opens service centre in Perth

IDP Education, the student recruitment operation now co-owned by Australian universities and online training and recruitment company, Seek (see Language Travel Magazine, October, page 7) has opened a student centre in Perth, WA.

IDP places 20,000 students a year into Australia’s education institutions and claims that 36,000 in total are studying in the state of Western Australia. The new service centre, which offers city orientation services, advice on visa extensions, welcome bags for new students and free Internet access for IDP-placed students, complements centres already open in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. A centre in Adelaide is due to open this year.

International education is currently Western Australia’s second largest service industry and brings in AUS$1 billion (US$775 million) of export revenue to the state each year.

Industry issues - agents speak out

Q. Do you think that the size of a company can affect the teaching services provided to the end client?

Dihua Wu, Office Fujian Center for Overseas Students, China
“Yes, I think so. If the company is a big size, it will be more resourceful, more qualified teachers can be employed and a good service [can be] maintained by investment in the service facilities. The big size of a company can help in attracting more clients initially. The most important thing is that money must be invested in the right place to serve the clients. In that way, it creates a good circulation for a company to develop. If a school is part of larger chains, it will be more reliable [but] individual staff represent the spirit of a school – this is more important than school ownership.”

Lucy Crosara, STB – Uberlandia, Brazil 
“The size of a company doesn´t affect the teaching services provided to the end client. Large or small chains are less important considerations than the staff and the strong relationship between agents and educators, in my opinion. Staff are very, very important because they are directly interacting with the students and help create happy and satisfied clients by maintaining a high quality teaching system, and being contactable when the students need them. Agents must have the feeling that they are recommending the right school and the right city for the right client. Schools that value a continued relationship with their overseas agents are able to improve their teaching and the way they satisfy the students by using their partnership feedback.”

Gabriella M. D’Urso, ATW - Across The World, Italy
”In the past years, the answer would be definitely affirmative. [In my experience] the bigger a group of schools was, the higher the probability of problems, with some rare exceptions. It made me prefer working with small/medium size and/or family run schools, to guarantee personal attention and immediate action if needed. Of course, the market has evolved, staff are more attentive to the clients’ demands and needs even if sometimes it may still happen that there are different levels gathered into one class, especially in the low season. The improving quality of services is indeed visible and this is appreciated, regardless of the size of the school. As an example, I would like to draw attention to the still evolving and growing school chain: the OISE Group. Each partner school can retain its distinctive particularities, for which it is well known in our industry. Any too strong influence from the central office might be disruptive. My opinion, then, is still the same as before: that personal contact, dedicated staff,  “student oriented” policies and reciprocal trust/respect are the keys for success.”

Agency of the month

In a series appearing each month in Language Travel Magazine, we ask a different language teaching institution to nominate one of their preferred agencies or agent partners, and to explain why this person/company is worthy of their nomination.

This month, Eastern Washington University English Language Institute in Cheney, WA, USA nominates Onlineyuhak.com in Korea. Mary Brooks explains this decision.

“Chin-Ho Lee and I have worked together for international education for over 10 years. Whenever I visit him, I always know that he will have lots of information about how to best help Korean students study abroad. I especially appreciate his knowledge of graduate schools and his willingness to understand all of the rules of application.

When Lee opened his business in 1980, in Seoul, Korea, there were only four to five [such] companies. Furthermore, overseas education was restricted to university graduates in Korea. However, as the Korean economy grew, the government restrictions were removed, and the number of Korean students wishing to study abroad expanded dramatically. Now, about 200,000 Korean students per year apply to study abroad.

Mr. Lee firmly believes that the progress of overseas education in Korea has greatly contributed to the economic and social achievements that Korea has accomplished. I have no doubt that Mr. Lee has made a great contribution to international education in the honest and thorough way in which he runs his company.”

On the move

Jackie Pilkington has joined Tamwood International College in Vancouver, BC, Canada as the General Manager. She is responsible for the operations of Tamwood including the schools in Vancouver and Whistler, the summer camps in Ontario, Vancouver and Whistler and the Work and Study programmes. She joins Tamwood from Regent Language Training in the UK where she spent three-and-a-half years managing the summer school and home tuition departments.

Gina Dickinson was recently appointed Marketing Manager at d’Overbroeck’s College, Oxford, a leading UK sixth form, international study centre and summer English course provider for 15-to-19 year olds. Ms Dickinson worked as Head of International Education at a leading German educational consultancy and brings five years of industry experience to the role.

Adrian Cummins is the new Director of MEI~Relsa in Ireland, the English language schools’ association. Previously, he was Chief Executive of the Irish Hospitality Institute and he has 12 years experience in tourism and marketing. He has lectured in Japan on the role of rural tourism in Ireland and was the youngest-elected Director of Ireland West Tourism and founder member of Galway East Tourism.


Sarah Charles has recently joined the BLS China team as Operation Manager in Qingdao, in northeast China. Her local expertise of three years and Chinese language skills are great assets in coordinating BLS’s culture and language immersion programmes for students in the beautiful Olympic sailing city. Ms Charles is also supervising BLS’s other schools in Beijing and Shanghai as well as the 16-to-19 year olds’ Beijing/Qingdao programme.

Global language school chain EC welcomes Luke Engerer and Estrella Carricajo Fernandez to the team. Mr Engerer (left) has joined EC as the Regional Sales Manager responsible for Eastern European clients. He has returned to Malta after a few years in Australia. Estrella Carricajo Fernandez takes over the reigns from Ana Acevedo as Regional Sales Manager for Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries.


The new Director of MEI~Relsa, Adrian Cummins, answers our questions about the Irish schools’ association’s achievements and objectives.

Full name: Marketing English in Ireland ~ Recognised English Language Schools Association
Year established:
MEI and Relsa merged to form MEI~Relsa in 2000
Number of members:
56 operators of 125 centres nationwide
Type of members: Private language schools and language schools based in universities and colleges
Association’s main role:  
The development and maintenance of quality and standards, joint marketing ventures, government liaison, industry representation, support and sponsorship
Government recognition: Yes
Code of practice: Yes
Complaints procedure: Yes
Agent workshops/fam trips: Yes
Contact details:
MEI~Relsa, 1 Lower Pembroke Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: +353 16180910
Fax: +353 16180909
Email: info@mei.ie
Web: www.mei.ie

What has MEI~Relsa been up to in the last year?
MEI~Relsa organised and participated in a number of workshops and events throughout 2006. In early 2006, over 70 agents arrived in Ireland on a five-day fam trip and workshop. MEI~Relsa attended workshops in Japan, Korea, Brazil, the UK, Hungary, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. A new Director was appointed in November 2006 (see right).
How is the association working with Education Ireland and the tertiary sector, and what is the remit of Education Ireland?
Established by the Irish government in 1993, the International Education Board (IEBI), branded as Education Ireland, aims to facilitate and support the development of Ireland as an international education centre. The board has representation from all interested sections of Irish education – universities, institutes of technology, independent colleges and language schools – as well as from other government departments and agencies. IEBI is actively supported by Enterprise Ireland, Embassies and Failte Ireland, the tourism body. IEBI responds to numerous first-line enquiries from overseas students. It promotes Irish education overseas via advertising, developing and circulating generic information and by participating at education fairs, seminars and workshops.

Please tell us about student visa issuance in Ireland.
MEI~Relsa has enjoyed close cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs with the purpose of easing students’ way in terms of obtaining the necessary visas to pursue their studies in Ireland. Currently there are no major problems in the area of visas.
How have MEI~Relsa members fared in 2006 and what are your predictions for business in 2007?
Business for MEI~Relsa members was slightly up on 2005. Predictions for 2007 are positive with competitiveness and increasing costs being major factors for the sector. The marketing strategy for 2007 will see a 30 per cent increase in activity with a focus on new and emerging markets. A major focus on e-marketing with an overhaul of the MEI~Relsa website is one of the priorities for the year ahead.


Sunny Cyprus was the destination for a group of agents and our roving reporter, Bethan Norris, in February; they were in the country to see first-hand what the Language Explorer has to offer in terms of English language learning provision. Malvern House, the company behind the project, sees Cyprus as an alternative to Malta for seasonal English tuition. The trip showcased the four-star hotel that will be used this summer and some of the island’s attractions. One Russian agent did his best to sample all that Cyprus had to offer…

Acpet in Australia celebrated its 15th birthday celebrations earlier this year with a gala dinner for 450 guests in Melbourne. The evening was one of “celebration and fun” and clearly, some impressive dancefloor skills were on display…

Languages & Travel, an agency with offices in Lyon, France and Brussells, Belgium, has added a third operation to its network in Versailles, near Paris. The office opened earlier this year and staff and partners of the agency celebrated the opening by touring the French capital in limousines. Pictured here, the agency team and partners take a photo call at the Place de la Concorde.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





Britannia Student

English Australia
Perth Education City
Quality English

Student Guard

Alphe Conferences
CEC Network
ICEF Online
Language Travel
       Magazine Star

Language Travel

Malta Tourism

English Australia
Perth Education City

Bodwell College
College of New
Immersion Baie-des-
National School of

Mandarin House

Global Study
       (Karlov College)

Basil Paterson
Bell International
Britannia Student
English Studio
Frances King
       School of English
IH London
ILS Nottingham
LAL Language
       and Leisure
       (England, Malta,
       South Africa, USA)
Living Learning
Malvern House
       College London
Oxford Intensive
       School of English
       (Australia, England,
       France, Germany,
       Spain, USA)
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's
St Giles Colleges
       (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, New Zealand,
       South Africa,
       Spain, USA)
SUL Language
West Devon English
       Language School

Eurolingua Institute
       (Argentina, Austria,
       Australia, Belgium,
       Brazil, Canada,
       Chile, China,
       Colombia, France,
       Greece, Ireland,
       Italy, Japan,
       Malta, New
       Zealand, Spain,
       South Africa,
       Portugal, UK, USA)
SILC - Séjours
       (England, France,
Home Language
       Australia, Austria,
       Brazil, Canada,
       Chile, China,
       Czech Republic,
       Denmark, Egypt,
       Finland, France,
       Germany, Holland,
       Hungary, Ireland,
       Italy, Japan, Malta,
       NZ, Norway,
       Poland, Portugal,
       Russia, Spain,
       Switzerland, UK,
       USA, Venezuela)

Prolog- International
       House Berlin

Atlantic Language
Dublin City University
Dublin School of
Galway Cultural
High Schools
       (Australia, Canada,
Swan Training


EC - English
       Language Centres
       (England, Malta)
Malta Tourism

       Management AB
       (Russia, Ukraine)

University of

       Language School
Malaca Instituto -
       Club Hispánico SL

EF Language
       Colleges Ltd
       Canada, China,
       Ecuador, England,
       France, Germany,
       Ireland, Italy,
       Malta, New
       Zealand, Russia,
       Scotland, Spain,

ALCC - American
ELS Language
Hun School of
       Princeton, The
inlingua School of
Kaplan Educational
       Centers (Canada,
       England, USA)
University of Illinois
       at Urbana-
Zoni Language
       (Canada, USA)


Global Lifestyles
IH Vancouver
National School of

Tellus Group
Training Partnership
       Ltd. (The)
Twin Group

International House
       Sevilla - CLIC