|Academia Bariloche opens
The Academia group of language schools has established Bariloche in Argentina as a new destination, adding to its existing centres in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Uruguay.
Academia Bariloche is located in the heart of the city, opposite the famous Civic Centre, in a refurbished historic building. The school will share the same approach, class sizes, study plans and materials as the other Academia locations with the possibility to transfer between schools. Intensive courses, teacher training, extracurricular activities and volunteering opportunities are all available.
“Bariloche is the key tourist destination in Patagonia, on the eastern slopes of the Andes and easily reachable through its international airport,” said Federico Hoeser, Academia Director. “The city and surroundings are attractive year-round, with outdoor activities ranging from hiking, biking, skiing, paragliding, sailing, horse-back riding and rafting. Others will appreciate the excellent gastronomy and fully guided excursions in the region with views of the majestic Andean mountains,” Hoeser continued.
SAE headquarters opened by Duke of York
SAE Institute, part of the Navitas Group, has unveiled a campus in Oxford, UK, which will also be the institute’s new world headquarters. His Royal Highness the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, was the guest of honour and declared the headquarters officially open.
At 33,000 square feet, the new SAE campus will be the largest creative technology centre for the higher education company that specialises in creative media, including audio engineering, 3D animation, digital filmmaking, games design and web development.
“The decision by SAE Institute to re-locate their headquarters to Oxford is significant for the UK education sector,” said British High Commissioner to Australia, Paul Madden, at the ceremony. “I fully expect SAE Institutes in the UK to become the destination of choice for creative technology students from all around the world.”
The founder of SAE Group, Dr Tom Misner, said, “This opening marks the culmination of two years of cooperation between the SAE Group and UK Trade & Investement and we are grateful for the professionalism and sustained support that UK Trade & Investment has provided during this time.”
SAE Institute has 53 colleges in 19 different countries and was acquired by Navitas in 2011. See this month’s Grapevine section for photographs of the opening ceremony.
TUI launches French Alps language camps
Peak Horizon, an international summer camp division of the TUI group, has developed a range of all-inclusive language camps in the French Alps.
Set in either Alpe d’Huez or La Plagne, the camps are designed for British and international children aged between 10 and 17 years old. Activities on offer include white water rafting, rock climbing, horse riding and summer skiing. Each participant will complete at least 15 hours of language learning per week.
“There is no course, subject or development area that can’t be perfectly illustrated or reinforced within such a stunning mountain setting,” said Joe Lynch, one of Peak Horizon’s Directors. “Wherever in the world you live, after a Peak Horizon camp, you will go home more confident, with a network of new close friends around the world and the inspiration to excel at your next sporting, educational or career challenge,” Lynch added.
Peak Horizon was established in December 2011 as part of the Education Division of the Specialist and Activity Sector of TUI Travel Plc.
News in brief
New ESL centre and course at US universities The University of Colorado Denver has launched an ESL academy to provide more support to international students. The academy occupies a new 12,000-square foot space on the third floor of Independence Plaza in the heart of Denver. International students increased by 23 per cent last year and now account for 6.5 per cent of all UC Denver students (see Grapevine).
Meanwhile, the University of California Berkeley Extension has launched an Intensive Academic English Program (IAEP). Commencing from May 2012, the minimum three-month course is available at six levels from intermediate to advanced. “IAEP provides focused, rigorous instruction in university-level English to develop skills in speaking, listening, reading, academic writing, pronunciation and grammar,” said the institution.
CCEL becomes Cambridge test centre
Christchurch College of English (CCEL), New Zealand, has been appointed by Cambridge Esol as the city’s only examination centre for its English language exams. “Cambridge Esol offers the world’s most valuable range of qualifications and certificates for learners and teachers of English. Obviously we are very pleased to partner them in the promotion and delivery of their exams,” said Rob McKay, Managing Director at CCEL. “At a time when international education here has had its setbacks this is a very positive show of support for the industry.”
CELS rebrands and affiliates with Shane Global
Cape English Language School (CELS) has established an association with Shane Global Language Centre. In a press release, CELS said, “Shane Global is now able to offer its clients a language centre in Cape Town that is in keeping with its standards, while CELS has the added benefit of marketing abroad and a strong international affiliation with a well-renowned brand. CELS can now also offer Celta-qualified teachers employment opportunities in other countries.” CELS was established in the place of Shane’s former Cape Town school in 2010. The company is also planning to rebrand itself as Cape Education and Language Studies, as a reflection of the wider suite of courses now available.
ICEF Dubai grows again
The recent ICEF Dubai Workshop saw an eight per cent increase in the number of agencies in attendance at the annual event.
In total there were 407 participants at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, including 126 educational institutions and 169 agencies from across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Brian Burns of iStudy International, Ireland, said, “The Middle East is quite a new market for us. ICEF Dubai has provided us with an excellent introduction to the region.”
Language schools accounted for 43 per cent of the institutions present, with universities and vocational institutions supplying 41 per cent and secondary/boarding/high schools making up 12 per cent. Social events included two reception evenings, with delegates being impressed by a whirling Dervish dancer.
Liden & Denz launches online Russian
Liden & Denz Language Centres have unveiled their first virtual classroom, allowing online learners to book and follow individual Russian classes on any computer, mobile or handheld device.
Online classes will be run by the same core teachers that deliver the residential classes in St. Petersburg and Moscow, allowing the school to maintain levels of quality.
“Online courses enhance the classroom experience. We believe that our residential students will appreciate our virtual classroom after having finished their courses in Russia,” said Owner, Walter Denz. “After a positive experience learning the language in one of our centres, they will want to stay in touch, keep up their knowledge level and see their favourite teachers again, at least via video link. They will also appreciate the fact that lessons are recorded and can be played back and podcasted on any device.”
Denz added that the tool would also be used for pre-arrival warm ups and for students who “simply cannot afford to travel to Russia for a language course”.
British Study Centres expands into USA
UK education group, British Study Centres (BSC), is making its first foray overseas by acquiring the USA-based operator, Access to Language Studies.
Summer 2012 will see the opening of four junior centres across the USA in Boston (two), New York and San Diego. Director of the Juniors’ Division at BSC, Matt Simmonite, said, “This is an exciting opportunity for our group, fantastic new centres, in a new country, with a new Head of US Operations, we’re absolutely thrilled with the prospect and looking forward to the challenge.” Dilermando Silva will head the new American division. “We’re delighted to be joined by such a respected and experienced industry expert,” said Simmonite.
The move into the US market reflects BSC’s growing confidence in the sector. “The junior market is booming. We launched our UK junior schools in 2009 and we’ve seen phenomenal growth every year since,” said BSC Managing Director, Andrew Roper. “Our strategy for the next two-to-three years is to continue to grow the junior division and this includes adding new and exciting programmes.”
New residence for St Brelade’s College
The Jersey-based English language provider, St Brelade’s College, has secured a new adult residence, available from September 2012. Richelieu Lodge is a short walk from St Helier and the eastern coastline of the island. The residence will provide single, en suite accommodation and also features a communal kitchen, garden, dining room and lounge area. A supervised teenage residence is also available.
“Residential accommodation is growing in popularity among both adults and teenagers, as students look for cost-effective alternatives to a traditional homestay environment,” said Julia Brown at St Brelade’s. “We are therefore pleased to respond to this need with our new international student residence located near to the main town centre.”
Campus upgrades for Victoria and Shafston
Major campus development projects have been announced by Victoria University for its Kelburn campus in Wellington, New Zealand, and for the Kangaroo Point campus of Shafston International College in Brisbane, Australia.
The NZ$67 million (US$56 million) construction of a new three-level building at Victoria University will integrate library, information access and social learning functions. The building will include spaces for student events, socialising and retail, and is due to open in February 2013. Associate Director of Campus Development, Satish Dahya, said, “Ultimately, the project is part of delivering a world-class experience for our students. The new central building will be a gathering space for students to socialise and to learn informally.”
Meanwhile, Brisbane City Council has given final approval for the construction of a AUS$97 million (US$104 million) education and accommodation tower at Shafston’s Kangaroo Point campus.
“Several years of planning have paid off as Shafston moves ahead to expand its already successful on-campus accommodation services,” said Gyorgy Csiszar, Sales and Marketing Manager for Shafston. “The 20-storey tower will accommodate over 600 students in more than 150 two-bedroom apartments with four floors dedicated to education facilities,” Csiszar added. Shafston, which offers English, business and hospitality courses, is also opening an expansion to its Gold Coast campus in 2012.
Fifth anniversary for Qualité français langue étrangère label
The Qualité français langue étrangère accreditation label, awarded to centres offering French as a foreign language and created by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, and the Ministry of Culture and Communication, is celebrating its fifth anniversary.
The label is run by the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP), a public administrative institution under the control of the Ministry of Education. In a statement, CIEP said that the quality assurance approach improved services. “This approach also satisfies a commitment of the ministries concerned to identify, recognise and promote learning centres where the language offer and services guarantee certain expected quality requirements.”
Currently, 86 centres are accredited. Planned activities for this year include the annual Quality in French Language Teaching seminar in the autumn and the preparation of a new website.
Scandinavian Airlines and Singapore Airlines have announced a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of introducing a jointly operated non-stop service between Stockholm and Singapore the first direct flight between the cities and increased frequency on the Copenhagen to Singapore route. Subject to regulatory approval, the joint venture will also involve coordination of flight schedules and combined sales activities. “Due to the increased demand for travel to Southeast Asia, we are very pleased to be able to partner with Singapore Airlines to launch a new direct route between Stockholm and Singapore,” said Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer at Scandinavian Airlines. “We will also be able to offer both our corporate and leisure customers a wide number of beyond destinations across Southeast Asia thanks to our partnership,” he added.
Latvian national carrier, airBaltic, will re-instigate its Riga to Dublin service from June. “Due to repeated calls from our customers and high demand, we have reintroduced Dublin as a seasonal flight this summer,” said Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic. The service will run four times per week. Meanwhile, Emirates has now commenced its daily Dubai-Dublin route.
Malaysia Airlines has recently increased its capacity to key Asian destinations from its hub in Kuala Lumpur. The service to Manila in the Philippines will increase to three times daily, while extra flights have been added to the Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh. Three extra flights are now scheduled to Taipei, Taiwan, while the Beijing route has doubled to a twice-daily service. “In raising flight frequencies to these key Asian cities, the move will enable Malaysia Airlines to benefit from the strong growth in regional demand. It is also expected to increase full-service-flight passenger arrivals into Malaysia to further contribute positively towards the Malaysian tourism industry,” said the company in a statement.
Barcelona has received two new routes. Emirates have announced that the city will become its second Spanish hub from July with a daily service from Dubai. The airline will also double capacity on its existing connection to Madrid. Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline, said, “To announce a new destination and a doubling of services to an existing gateway at the same time demonstrates our belief in the market and our commitment to the country. Madrid has been a strong performer and the demand is there for a second frequency, while we need a second point serving the dynamic Catalonia region.” Meanwhile, American Airlines is about to commence a new service between Miami and Barcelona, initially five times per week and becoming daily from June.
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that passengers on the London tube network will be able to benefit from Wi-Fi Internet access before the 2012 Olympic Games. TfL is in the final stages of the tender process for providing a service that will be available on 120 station platforms. A London Underground portal with real time travel information, news, sport and entertainment will be free of charge.
Two European airlines have recently ceased operations, leading to a call for reform of passenger protection legislation. Firstly, the Barcelona-based Spanair collapsed, leaving around 20,000 passengers stranded as 200 flights were cancelled. Later in the same week, the Hungarian flag-carrier, Malev, stopped trading after its liquidity situation became unsustainable. Both the ECTAA, a grouping of the national associations of travel agents and tour operators, and AITO, the Association of Independent Tour Operators, have called for stronger legislation to protect flightonly customers.
However, budget airlines Vueling and Ryanair have moved to fill the void in scheduling left by the collapsed airlines. Vueling will increase its capacity from Barcelona, adding 33 new frequencies to its existing domestic and European routes, and will operate former Spanair routes to Berlin and Hamburg.Ryanair, meanwhile, announced plans to operate a new base in Budapest, following the Malev collapse. In total, 31 new routes, including to Bristol, Dublin, London Stansted and Manchester, will replace many of the lost connections. Ryanair has also commenced 19 new routes from its base in Girona, Spain, with Cork and Krakow among them.