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April 2011 issue

Contents
News
Business Focus
Advisor Survey
Feedback
Market Report
Direction
Special Report
Course Guide
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Destination
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Australia’s challenges


The Australian English language teaching sector is facing tough operating conditions at the moment with visa changes and currency fluctuations putting many students off, particularly those from Asia. Bethan Norris reports.

The decline of Australia’s international education industry over the past 12 months has received lots of press coverage of late and certainly, some language schools in the country report that they have been noticing a decline in student numbers.

“Embassy has experienced a decrease in terms of enrolment to Australia,” says Emma Khan from Embassy CES, which has schools in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast. “This trend goes in line with the overall decrease of students choosing Australia as an education destination. These changes can be attributed to the high value of the Australian dollar as well as recent changes to immigration policies.”

Fiona Davidson from Ability Education, which has language schools in Melbourne and Sydney, agrees that changes to immigration legislation, as well as the growing strength of the Australian dollar, have contributed to 2010 being a rocky year. However, she observes that 2010 was far from being all doom and gloom. “Our numbers plateaued in the past year compared with 2009,” says Davidson. “In terms of enrolments, 2010 was a rollercoaster of a year. There were steep declines in some markets and strong increases in others. We saw a huge increase in [students from Western European countries] in 2010, especially students travelling on working holiday visas.”

Some areas of business certainly continued to grow last year. David Hurford from Port Douglas English Language Centre in Port Douglas, QLD, which specialises in exam preparation and executive business courses, relates that student numbers doubled at the school in 2010. Top nationalities include western Europeans (German, Swiss, Italian, French) and some eastern Europeans (Polish, Russian and Estonian). “We’ve consolidated our existing courses and upgraded the resources, rather than introducing new courses,” he says.

At Byron Bay English Language School in Byron Bay, NSW, Michael O’Grady also reports that European student numbers are holding firm and puts this down to the school’s location and quality programmes. “Europeans have always enjoyed good schools at beach locations – Swiss, Spanish, German, Italian,” he says. “French numbers are down, possibly due to the weak euro,” he adds.

However, for schools relying on Asian student markets, the last 12 months have proved testing. “[We] experienced a significant drop in student numbers from China, Korea and Japan,” says Davidson. “The change in Australian government legislation affected the Chinese markets. The strength of the Australian dollar has driven students from Korea and Japan to the relatively more affordable US and Canadian schools.”

She adds, “Changes in the Saudi King Abdullah Scholarship programme, which no longer applies to stand-alone Elicos providers, also negatively impacted our numbers.”

Khan from Embassy CES also reports a decline from Asia. “We have experienced a decline from the Vietnamese market. This can be attributed to recent changes on their assessment level for the vocational sector. Vietnam is predominantly an academic market, few students actually come to Australia on a stand-alone English visa,” she says. “We have also identified a decline from the Chinese market which goes in line with the national trend.”

In hard times, providing a quality experience is more important than ever. Davidson says that they have invested heavily in their teachers’ professional development. “As a result, we have a strong team of teachers with a long-term commitment to the college. We believe this is the main reason we have seen an increase in students choosing to extend their courses.”

Academic intentions

With competition between language schools increasing, those determined to ride out the storm in Australia are increasingly looking at how they can tailor their programmes to appeal to established as well as new markets.

Academic programmes appear to be high on the list of wants for study abroad students and consequently providers are boosting their academic prep and academic pathway portfolios, as Emma Khan from Embassy CES reveals. “At Embassy we have been working hard in developing academic pathways into colleges and university to strengthen our academic programmes. We have also expanded our exam preparation offering with new dates and locations. This initiative has proven to be successful particularly in markets that have a strong academic focus such as Colombia and Europe – in particular Cambridge exam preparation courses.”

At Ability Education in Melbourne and Sydney, Fiona Davidson observes that academic programmes have also been receiving a lot of attention. “In 2010, we introduced a new stream for general English to personally cater for the more ambitious English students with focused study goals. It has been extremely popular. Our aim is to cater to different learning styles so students improve as quickly as possible,” she relates.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

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

Name

Company

Country

Telephone

Email


ACCOMMODATION
Nido Student Living  
Sara's New York Homestay LLC  

ASSOCIATIONS/ GROUPS
Caps-I   
Education New Zealand  
English Australia  
fedele  
Feltom Malta  
Perth Education City  
Quality English  

EVENTS
Alphe Conferences  
fedele  
LTM Star Awards  

EXAM BOARDS
IELTS  
Trinity College London  

SERVICES
Language Room (The)  

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism Authority  
Office de Tourisme Montpellier  

AUSTRALIA
Academies Australasia  
Impact English College  
Inforum Education Institute  
Bond University  
Carrick Institute of Education  
Centre for Macquarie English (The)"   
English Australia  
English Language & Foundation Studies Centre  
Language Studies International  
Melbourne Language Centre  
Pacific Gateway International College  
Perth Education City  
Shafston International College  
Southbank Institute of TAFE  
Think: Education Group  
University of New South Wales  
University of Tasmania  

CANADA
Global Village  
Ottawa International Student Programmes (OISP)  

CYPRUS
Language Explorer (The)"   

ENGLAND
English Language Centre Brighton & Hove  
Hampstead School of English  
International House London  
Kaplan International Colleges  
Language Studies International  
Liverpool International Language Academy  
London School of Business & Finance  
Malvern House College London  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
St Giles International  
Study Group  
University of Essex - International Academy  

GERMANY
International House Berlin - Prolog  

IRELAND
IH Dublin  

MALTA
Clubclass Residential Language School  
Feltom Malta  
Malta Tourism Authority  

NEW ZEALAND
Otago Polytechnic  
Education New Zealand  

SCOTLAND
EAC Language Centres and Activity Camps  

SPAIN
Escuela La Ola  
fedele  
Inturjoven Spanish Courses  

SWITZERLAND
EF Language Colleges Ltd  

USA
EC English Language Centre  
ELS Language Centers  
New York General Consulting  
Zoni Language Centers  



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