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August 2010 issue

Contents
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Agency Survey
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Market Report
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Malta turns corner


Maltese English language schools experienced a downturn in student weeks in 2009 owing to the global economic crisis, but things seem to be picking up again in 2010. Gillian Evans reports.

A number of factors hampered demand for English language courses in Malta in 2009, as Costantino Mifsud, Managing Director of International House Malta-Gozo, relates. “[The Maltese EFL market] was hit by the [global] economic crisis but mostly by the weak British pound, [which] led to euro zone students deciding to choose the UK instead of Malta because they felt they had more purchasing power,” he explains, adding, “2009 has been very difficult for the EFL market in Malta.”

These two factors, coupled also with the swine flu scare, were the main contributors to student weeks plummeting by anything from seven to 14 per cent. However, Paul Fenech, Chief Executive Officer at Magister Academy in St Julian’s, says that their 10 per cent drop in 2009 was “better than expected after such doom and gloom”. One school interviewed for this article even bucked the trend: student numbers at am Language Studio in Sliema grew by 10 per cent in 2009, thanks to “hard work, marketing and streamlining of procedures”, says the school’s Individuals Sales and Operations Manager, Marisa Grixti.

The English Language Academy (ELA) in Sliema, has been working hard to ensure the downward trend is reversed in 2010. Louiseanne Mercieca, Sales & Marketing Manager at the school, says, “We have since done much, including the upgrading of our management system and premises. We now have a large reception and entrance on to Tower Road, the most popular street in Sliema.” The school’s good results for the first quarter of 2010 seem to indicate that their work is paying off. “The positive performance during the first quarter of 2010 is a result of our efforts to improve,” asserts Mercieca.

Course demand has also reflected the difficult economic times, with Fenech reporting that they had “hardly any demand at all for the top-of-the-range courses”. To cater for the needs of a world in economic hardship, Clubclass English Language School in St Julian’s launched an English for Job Seekers course last year, which according to Caroline Castillo at the school, is an “intensive course selling at the price of a standard course for students who are unemployed and are looking to improve their career prospects”.

Looking at student nationalities, the Maltese EFL market is heavily reliant on Europeans, with students from this region accounting for 95 per cent of total EFL students in Malta in 2008, according to Malta’s National Statistics Office. Sprachcaffe Languages Plus is typical of many schools with its top three nationalities being Spanish, German and Italian. Greg Burrell at the school reports that this is the same as the previous year, although there has been some jostling for position. “[2009 was] the first time that Spain was in the number one position,” he reports. “That position had always been held by Germany.” Burrell puts this down to more study grants from Spain making Malta an attractive destination for Spanish students.

Although there are ripe markets beyond Europe for Maltese language schools, visa issuance in many countries is not conducive to market growth. Mercieca reports problems with visa issuance from China, Turkey and the Commonwealth of Independent States. In fact, Fenech says they actively avoid non-EU markets as these are where “we traditionally have administrative problems”.

Burrell comments that although visas have become less of a problem over the years, most of their business continues to stem from non-visa countries. However, he does note that changes to the UK visa system, which has made it harder for some nationalities to gain entry, have benefited Malta. “We are getting more long-term Koreans and Turks because of UK visa restrictions,” he relates.

Forecasts for the end of this year are mixed and Mercieca labels 2010 “a challenging and interesting year”, although she is confident that 2010 figures will be better than 2009.  Fenech is also hopeful, saying, “Hopefully in the summer we will make up lost ground to recover the downward trend in the first four months of this year.”


Accreditation

When it comes to government regulations, the English language industry in Malta is covered, with the government’s EFL Monitoring Board in charge of ensuring national minimum standards for the industry. In addition, there is the schools’ association Feltom, which has an accreditation scheme for its members, and earlier this year, the government announced its intentions to introduce a national scheme.

The government’s intentions to set up such a scheme is largely welcomed by the industry, especially Feltom members who already adhere to certain quality measures. Greg Burrell, Director of Studies at Sprachcaffe Languages Plus, says, “We feel that quality assurance is the only way that we and Malta can ensure our long-term success and we would like all EFL schools in Malta to have to come up to mandatory quality standards. Low-quality operations give Malta a bad name.”

Louiseanne Mercieca at English Language Academy agrees. “We would most definitely welcome such a move as this would give potential clients a clear message that Malta takes its EFL industry seriously. Feltom introduced an accreditation scheme for all its member schools some time ago and this has proved to be very successful.”

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.

Name

Company

Country

Telephone

Email


ACCOMMODATION
Britannia Student
      Services  

AGENCIES
Boa Lingua  
Direkt Sprachreisen  
ESL-Language
      Studies Abroad  
Mundo Joven  

ASSOCIATIONS/
GROUPS
English Australia
Feltom
Groupement FLE
IALC International
International House
      World Organisation
MEI Ireland
Quality English

EVENTS
Alphe Conferences  

EXAM BOARDS
Cambridge Esol  
IELTS  
Pearson Education  
Trinity College
      London  

INSURANCE
PROVIDERS
Dr. Walter GmbH  
Student Guard
      Insurance  
Unicare  

SERVICES
InTouch
ICEF Agent
      Training
LTM Digital

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
      Authority  

WORK EXPERIENCE
Australian
      Internships  
Twin Group  

AUSTRALIA
Ability Education
English Language
      Company  
Shafston
      International
      College

BELGIUM
CERAN Lingua
      International  

CANADA
CSLI  
ECSL  
ILAC - International
      Language Academy
       of Canada  
LSC Language
      Studies Canada  
Point 3 Language
      Center  
Richmond School
      District #38  
Stewart College
       of Languages  
Vancouver English
      Centre  

COSTA RICA
International House
      Costa Rica  
WAYRA Spanish
      School  

ENGLAND
Anglolang  
Beet Language
      Centre  
British Study
      Centres  
Cambridge Academy
      Of English  
Cambridge
      Education Group  
CATS Cambridge  
Capital School of
      English  
Churchill House  
Devon School Of
      English  
Discovery Summer  
Eastbourne School
      Of English  
Eckersley Oxford  
English Language
      Centre Brighton &
      Hove  
Frances King School
      of English  
Hampstead School
      of English  
ILS English  
International
      House London  
Kaplan Aspect  
Lake School of
      English  
Lewis School of
      English  
Liverpool International
      Language Academy
Living Learning
      English  
(The) London School
       of English  
Millfield School  
Kings Colleges
      (Prime Education)  
Queen Ethelburgas
      College  
Shakespeare
      College  
SKOLA  
Southbourne School
      of English  
Spinnaker College  
Stafford House
      Study Holidays  
St Giles Colleges  
Study Group  
University of
      Essex -
      International
      Academy  
Wickham Court
      School  
Wimbledon School
      of English  

FRANCE
Accent Francais  
Alpha B Institut Linguistique  
CLE  
College International
      de Cannes  
Ecole PERL  
Ecole Suisse
      Internationale  
Education En
      France  
France Langue  
Idiom  
Institut de Langue
      et de Culture
      Françaises - ILCF  
International House  
Institut Europeen
      de Francais  
Institut de Langue
      et de Culture  
Langue Onze  
LSF Montpellier  
Lyon Bleu
      International  
Media Langues
      Caraibes  
Paris Langues  

GERMANY
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

IRELAND
ATC Language
      and Travel  
Atlantic Language
      Galway  
Galway Cultural
      Institute  
The Linguaviva
      centre  

ITALY
Babilonia  
Scuola Leonardo
      Da Vinci  

JAPAN
Genki Japanese
      and Culture School
Kai Japanese
      Language School  

MALTA
Clubclass Residential
      Language School  
Global Village
      English Centre  
LAL Language
      Centres  

NEW ZEALAND
Languages
      International
      Christchurch  
Rotorua English
      Language Academy
      (RELA)  
Worldwide School
      of English  

PANAMA
EPA! Espanol en
      Panama  

PORTUGAL
CIAL- Centro de
      Linguas  

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
      Centres and
      Activity Camps.  

SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Engilsh
      Language School  
EC Cape Town  
Eurocentres Cape
      Town  
Good Hope Studies  
inlingua Language
      Training Centre
      Cape Town  
Interlink School
       
of Languages  
International House
      Cape Town  
Kurus English CC  
LAL Cape Town  

SPAIN
Escuela de
      Idiomas Nerja  
Malaca Instituto -
      Club Hispanico SL

SWITZERLAND
EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
ESL Ecole Suisses
      de Langues  

USA
Boston School of
      
Modern Languages
Rennert  
University of
      California San
      Diego
Zoni Language
      Centers




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