August 2004 issue

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NZ backs ELT industry

The New Zealand government has unveiled a NZ$40 million (US$24.8 million) package to boost the fortunes of the education export industry as part of the 2004 budget. Together with the government's move to hand over responsibility for the education export levy to Education New Zealand, this reveals its commitment to work with the international education sector to enhance the industry's profile.
'The investment represents a five-fold increase in spending on international education and recognises the importance of international education to New Zealand - both socially and economically,' commented New Zealand's Education Minister, Trevor Mallard. 'We are committed to working closely with the sector to build New Zealand's reputation as a quality education destination, ensuring its long-term sustainability and growth.'

Key features of the new package include placing four education counsellors in key markets overseas, with the first being placed in Beijing, China, in August. Details about where these counsellors will work from was unavailable at the time of going to press, although it is likely they will work from NZ Trade & Enterprise offices.

Scholarships will be offered - initially for 33 postgraduate and 33 undergraduate research-led degree places - and increased funding will be made available for developing 'quality assurance indicators' and extending the quality assurance model to cover off-shore programmes. More money will also be channelled into generic promotion and marketing and to help business expansion via funding for new projects and feasibility studies.

'The government, Education New Zealand and New Zealand education providers will work together to implement these initiatives over the next three years, with further details to be announced later in the year,' said Mallard. Robert Stevens, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand, called the budget package for international education initiatives 'an A+ paper'.

'Industry has been supportive of the necessity for government to take an active role, where appropriate, in this unique industry,' he said. 'We are delighted that this government has recognised the tremendous progress that the industry has made and is backing it with a range of practical and useful measures that will assist one of New Zealand's biggest economic success stories of the first half of this decade to continue its development and build on its achievements.'

Previously, there had been anger in the New Zealand industry over what was perceived as the government's tendency to bring in rules and legislation without appropriate consultation. This came to a head when the education export levy was first introduced (see Language Travel Magazine, January 2003, page 4).

Pelsa in Canada disbands

The Private English Language Schools Association (Pelsa) in Canada is no longer in operation, having officially wound down its activities earlier this year. The decision was taken to enable Pelsa members to concentrate on their membership of the newly expanded Canada Language Council, the revised name for the Council of Second Language Programs (CSLP), since CSLP broadened its criteria to welcome private language schools (see Language Travel Magazine, April 2004, page 6).

'The success of the partnership with the CLC has been beyond the greatest expectations of the Pelsa membership,' Craig Stusiak, Spokesperson for Pelsa, told Language Travel Magazine. 'As a result of this success, and the ability of CLC to gain international acceptance for their [quality] standards, the Pelsa membership has come to the agreement that their energies are best served supporting CLC.'

Pelsa had eight language school members and was officially disbanded in May.

More members for Ialc

The International Association of Language Centres (Ialc) has voted in seven new members from around the world and given a life membership to Renato Borges de Sousa of Cial Centro de Linguas in Portugal.

Jan Capper at Ialc explained that de Sousa was made an honorary life member 'for his distinguished service to the association since co-founding it in 1983'. The announcement was made during the annual Ialc AGM and Workshop, which took place in St Petersburg in May.

Other honorary life members are Mary Towers of Language Centre of Ireland and Donald Ross of Anglo-German Institute in Germany. Alberto Sampere, from Estudio Internacional Sampere in Spain, is Honorary Life President of the association.

Capper elaborated, 'Alberto was the originator of the whole idea of Ialc. Mary was another founder [as well as Borges de Sousa]. Donald helped the association to develop a proper legal structure, rules and procedures.'

The new Ialc members are Melton College, York, and Norwich Institute for Language Education (Nile) in Norwich, UK; BLS École de Français in Bordeaux and Biarritz in France; Coromandel Outdoor Language Centre in Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand; Rennert Bilingual in Miami in the USA; and the Liden & Denz Language Centre in Moscow, Russia.

These schools were welcomed to Ialc at what was the largest ever meeting of members in St Petersburg. The workshop was hailed as one of the best ever. Barbara Jaeschke of GLS Sprachenzentrum in Germany praised a 'fascinating city location' and 'perfect organisation'.

The venue for the next Ialc workshop will be Paris, hosted by France Langue. Meanwhile, two mini-workshops to visit agencies in Toyko and Osaka in Japan are also being planned for Ialc members in November.

Korea/Japan scrutinise student overstay

In line with many other countries around the world, Korea has decided to tighten up its visa regulations for students entering the country to study. Since June, students have had to provide proof of US$3,000 in funds and a letter of assurance that they would return to their home country upon completion of their studies.

The Ministry of Education announced the crackdown because of the high number of students who ended up working illegally in the country, it said, estimating 30 per cent of the 3,300 students entering the country last year had overstayed their leave to remain in the country.

Meanwhile, in Japan, the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau has been investigating vocational schools, because illegal immigrants often transfer from language schools to vocational schools, apparently, to maintain visa status while working illegally.

All such vocational schools in the area were required to provide student records, and according to the Asahi Shimbun, eight out of 10 schools had problems accounting for their students.

Education is sixth-largest export industry in Australia

Education exports in Australia have grown on average by 13 per cent each year in the last 10 years, according to the country's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The industry is now the sixth-largest export industry in the country, and in total accounted for AUS$5.2 billion (US$3.5 billion) of revenue in 2002/2003.

A further report produced by AEI, the government's education export promotion arm, predicted total student spending in the sector will be worth over AUS$6 billion by 2005, with an estimated increase of 46,220 international students in three years. This is a 16.5 per cent increase on 2002 figures of 253,780, to almost 300,000 students by 2005.

Study abroad expenses soar in Korea

According to figures released by the Bank of Korea, expenditure on study abroad among Koreans continues to rise, and the amount spent on study abroad in the first quarter of 2004, US$551.9 million, is 34 per cent higher than the US$412 million spent in the same period of 2003.

Cho Hee-geun of the Bank of Korea told the Dong-A Ilbo, 'Although the economic slump has prolonged, expenses invested in studying abroad from household finances and enterprises for the future are constantly escalating.'

Spending on study abroad slumped in 1998, following the Asian economic crisis, but rose and levelled off between 1999 and 2001, rising again in 2002.

Students now able to seek work in Germany

Germany has announced new rules on immigration following an agreement reached between the government and the opposition party after four years of cross-party talks.

Rules will be relaxed to attract more skilled workers from other countries and foreign students studying in the country will also gain rights to stay in the country after their studies to look for work. Immigrants to the country will also be entitled - and encouraged - to take German language courses paid by the state; a move that will impact on the German language teaching market.

The new rules also include more controls against potential terrorists living in Germany.

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