ETS unveils Toefl search service for educators
ETS and Hobsons have unveiled the Toefl Search Service, an online tool designed to connect higher education institutions with prospective international students who have recently taken the Toefl test.
Previewed at the recent Nafsa 2012 Conference, the Toefl Search Service will offer educators access to an expanding database of more than 200,000 recent test takers who have opted to learn about higher education opportunities abroad. The database will offer up to 26 criteria to customise results and connect with potential students.
The service, powered by Hobsons, will include web-based search capabilities that can be automated to receive real-time data, data that integrates with leading campus management systems, and customised search results by an institution’s preferred criteria.
“For the first time ever, the Toefl Search Service connects colleges and universities with Toefl test takers interested in learning more about higher education opportunities abroad,” said David Hunt, Vice President and COO of ETS’s Global Division. “This is a powerful new recruitment tool to assist admissions officers in expanding targeted international candidate pools.”
Craig Heldman, CEO of Hobsons, which provides recruitment and communication solutions for colleges and universities, said, “Hobsons’ collaboration with ETS will arm recruiters with targeted recruitment data that can be easily integrated with existing student information systems to help schools meet enrolment goals and shape incoming classes.”
Study Travel Magazine has asked ETS to confirm what percentage of test takers have so far opted to use this service, but as yet has not received a response.
In other news, ETS has announced the introduction of biometric voice identification for Toefl testing. Using various methods and inputs, the new technology will be used as part of test security investigations this year and will be gradually introduced from 2013.
International nursing student confusion in New Zealand
A number of international nursing students in New Zealand may find they are unable to receive nursing registration at the end of their course, following a tightening of criteria by the country’s nursing council.
Students from India and the Philippines are particularly affected, after the Nursing Council concluded that diplomas received in those countries no longer meet requirements. The change will leave many existing students that have transferred credits from their home country onto a nursing pathway degree in New Zealand ineligible to qualify as nurses upon graduation.
Affected institutions include the Waiariki Institute of Technology (WIT), which is now in talks with the Nursing Council after strongly advocating that any changes introduced should not affect existing students.
In a press release, WIT stated the Bachelor of Nursing degree, including the pathway for registered nurses, had been approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority [NZQA] and the Nursing Council at Level 7, with no issues raised on previous audits. Todd McClay, MP for Rotorua, has given his support to the institution.
NZQA is now conducting a review of WIT’s admission processes for international students, and any resolution is unlikely until this has been completed.
Online prep for Cambridge English Advanced
University of Cambridge Esol Examinations has launched a new online interactive preparation tool for the speaking part of the Cambridge English: Advanced examination.
Online Speaking Preparation features videos of a real Cambridge Esol examiner asking authentic exam questions, and allows students to record and assess their answers. The tool covers all four parts of the exam and students can prepare for each part up to 10 times. Recordings can be shared with teachers and compared with sample answers. The resource includes tips from examiners and information on the test.
Cambridge Esol’s Christine Nutall said, “This new resource targets the higher level communication skills found in the Cambridge English Advanced that students need for success at work, university and living in an English-speaking country.” A similar resource for the Cambridge English: First Exam was introduced earlier this year.
University of Cambridge Esol also recently unveiled the first two volumes of the English Profile Programme, a six-year research project into what different levels of English ability mean in practice.
Manchester International College opens new campus
Manchester International College (MIC) has opened a new city centre campus that will increase its range of course provision for international students.
The campus features 11 teaching rooms, two IT suites, a student common area, a large library and self-access area. MIC has spent over UK£1 million (US$1.55 million) converting the building, which had been dormant for many years having previously been home to the Royal Northern College of Music and the European Opera Centre. Courses in Business, Health and Social Care, and IT, as well as English language programmes will be offered.
The campus was officially opened by the Right Honourable Lord Bradley of Withington in a ceremony attended by guests from education, business, foreign embassies and politics. Lord Bradley said, “It is wonderful to see such a dedicated team working hard to help students.” Tony Lloyd, the Labour MP for Manchester Central, spoke about Manchester as a growing international study destination and highlighted the diversity and multicultural aspects of the city.
MIC was established in 2002 and now has 15 centres across North West England and two in London. The college currently welcomes over 600 international students from 60 different countries each year.
Agreement signed to enhance Tocfl Chinese test
An academic cooperation agreement between Taiwan’s Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Relations (Bicer) and the Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques (CIEP) has been signed to develop the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (Tocfl) as an internationally recognised instrument of Chinese language testing.
Based on the agreement, SC-Top, the organisation in charge of Tocfl development, will have a direct channel of cooperation with CIEP on matters such as test design, item pool management, computer adaptive testing, academic conferencing and joint publication. The validity and reliability of the test will be enhanced under the scheme.
Tocfl was renamed in 2010 after launching in 2005 as the Test of Proficiency Huayu. The test is now offered in 49 cities across 25 countries and was taken by 20,049 students in 2011. Tocfl has five levels aligned with the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR).
LAL Fort Lauderdale launches bridge programme
LAL Fort Lauderdale, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, has announced a bridge programme with Lynn University and has also become a Cambridge Esol Examination Centre.
Starting from this autumn, the Lynn University Bridge course will be run on the Lynn University campus in Boca Raton, Florida, and will be conducted with the same lesson structure as the degree programmes at the university. Martin Slater, General Manager at LAL Fort Lauderdale, said, “I am extremely proud that we are now able to offer students looking to gain entry in to an American university an exciting bridge programme at Lynn University starting this autumn.”
The school also successfully applied to become a Cambridge Esol Examination Centre and now has an open centre status, meaning that non-LAL students are also able to take an exam.
In recognition of its anniversary in 2012, LAL Fort Lauderdale recently hosted a fam trip for agents, including an Everglade airboat trip.
Hutong School acquires internship provider
Chinese language and internship provider Hutong School has announced its first acquisition with the purchase of Shanghai-based company Internship Network Asia.
In a statement, Hutong School said, “By acquiring Internship Network Asia, Hutong School significantly expands its network of partner companies in Shanghai and increases its exposure to students, recent graduates and young professionals who are looking for an internship in China.” All current and future applications through Internship Network Asia will be handled by Hutong School, and applicants can benefit from the school’s range of services.
Hutong School also recently announced 10 new partnerships with universities in Denmark and Germany, bringing its total number of university partners across the USA and Europe to 30. The partnerships give students at those universities the opportunity to study and work in China.
Founded in 2005, Hutong School opened a centre in the Former French Concession area of Shanghai earlier this year, adding to its two schools in Beijing.
Instituto de Idiomas Ibiza moves to a new premises
Spanish language school Instituto de Idiomas Ibiza has moved to a new location in Ibiza town. The new centre consists of nine air-conditioned classrooms, a reception area, a common area, free Wi-Fi, and a self-study room.
Daniel Bertole, Director General of the school, said, “The new school is on a ground floor and the main points are that there will be more space and the experience of studying Spanish in Ibiza will be even more positive.” He added that the new location unified the school into one building.
“Now we will be able to say that Ibiza has one of the best schools in Spain. This makes us very proud and makes us look to the future positively,” Bertole added.
News in brief
FDSV releases survey of German outbound market
German agency association, FDSV, has released the results of its member survey. Completed by 21 agencies, the survey of outbound trends for 2011 showed that 73 per cent of adult and 93 per cent of junior clients chose to study English, constituting 85 per cent of bookings overall. The second most popular language in the adult market was Spanish with 13 per cent, while French was second for the juniors, accounting for four per cent. In terms of destinations, the UK was a clear favourite in the junior market, chosen by 72 per cent. The UK’s dominance was less pronounced in the adult market, although with 26 per cent it was still the top destination. Malta was the next most popular choice in both sectors with 22 per cent of adults and 13 per cent of juniors.
UK university status expanded to specialist colleges
Small specialist colleges in the UK will be allowed to call themselves universities, after the government announced a change in the qualifying criteria. Institutions that have 1,000 students, with 750 of those studying for a degree, will now be able to apply for university status. Until now a student body of 4,000, with 3,000 studying for a degree, was required to qualify for the university title. The change of criteria came into effect immediately. Professor Eric Thomas, President of Universities UK, the representative organisation for the country’s universities, welcomed the announcement. “Reducing the student numbers needed for university title from 4,000 to 1,000 means that access will be widened to many high-quality, smaller institutions. However, it is important that the prime focus for the awarding of university titles continues to be quality and the student experience.”
IB pioneer launches new diploma
One of the original creators of the International Baccalaureate has unveiled a new qualification to prepare students for higher education. UWC Atlantic College, an international residential sixth form college in South Wales, is introducing the Atlantic Diploma, built on its reputation in experiential-learning programmes. The first part of the diploma forms the disciplinary framework for the IB academic programme, where students choose six subjects. The parallel Co-Curricular programme involves the creation of four distinct faculties: Environmental, Global, Outdoor and Social Justice, with students specialising in one faculty and engaging with the others. UWC Atlantic College has over 350 international students from 90 different countries.
The German airline airberlin has introduced tri-weekly flights from Berlin Tegel airport to Kaliningrad in Russia, becoming the first non-stop connection between the two cities. The service establishes connections to and from Vienna, Milan, Paris and Scandinavia, and will operate four-times weekly from September 15. Hartmut Mehdorn, CEO, said, “The economic relations between Germany and Russia continue to grow and this means an increased demand for air travel.” Furthermore, Till Bunse, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Berlin Brandenburg Airport, added, “The new route is an especially important addition to our Eastern European offerings.” The launch of the new route follows news that the opening of Berlin Brandenburg airport has been further delayed until March 2013 due to safety issues.
A number of Middle Eastern airlines are expanding their offerings, with Ethihad, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) flag carrier, unveiling plans to launch daily flights between Abu Dhabi and São Paulo, marking the first direct air link between the city and a Latin American country. The airline’s President and CEO, James Hogan, said, “Brazil is a logical next step for us business and tourism flows between the UAE and Brazil have been growing.” Meanwhile, Qatar Airways is starting double daily flights between Doha and Tokyo from October 28. The direct service adds to the other recently launched routes to Perth and Kilimanjaro from the same city. Emirates has also tripled its flights to Spain, including a recently launched service from Dubai to Barcelona.
Eurostar customers can take advantage of on-board Wi-Fi facilities from 2013, as part of the international rail operator’s UK£700 million (US$1.07 billion) renewal and refurbishment programme. Refurbishment plans are due to commence next month, and the new-look trains will roll out from early next year. Reuben Arnold, Head of Commercial Development, said, “All of the trains in the whole fleet will have Wi-Fi… business passengers have been asking for it for a while. It will allow customers to stream content to their own devices: laptops, iPads, iPods, smartphones.” The system will initially not offer film viewing, but this is something Eurostar has not ruled out.
Indian airline SpiceJet has launched daily services from Delhi and Mumbai in India to the UAE’s Dubai. The airline made its debut two years ago with a flight from Delhi to Nepal’s Kathmandu. Neil Mills, Chief Executive Officer, said, “The government of India has taken substantial and positive steps to open the market and allow private carriers to connect with new international destinations. We are pleased to announce the launch of flights to Dubai with more exciting destinations coming soon.”
UK carrier Monarch has unveiled plans for daily services from East Midlands airport in the UK to Malaga, Alicante and Majorca in Spain, as well as Portugal’s Faro from this month, while other flights recently introduced to the airline’s portfolio include journeys from Birmingham airport to Barcelona in Spain and France’s Nice. Kevin George, Managing Director of Monarch, said, “The launch of operations from East Midlands accelerates the strategy we announced last year to focus on the development of our scheduled operations into key destinations across the Mediterranean, the Canaries and North Africa.”
American Airlines has resumed flights from New York’s JFK Airport to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Almost 70 million customers pass through Haneda airport each year, making it Asia’s second busiest airport. Tim Ahern, Vice President, said, “Travel between these two great cities is a key ingredient in commerce and cultural exchange between the United States and Japan.”
International students who are fond of their pets will be glad to hear that Cambridge Airport, UK, is now offering a complimentary pet handling service with looser regulations for flying domestic cats and dogs from EU and some non-EU countries. Through approval from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), these pets are excused from post-vaccination blood tests and the pre-waiting period has been reduced from six months to 21 days. ExecuJet Europe, an organisation offering services to aviation companies, is partnering with the airport in the service. John Brutnell, General Manager, said, “We believe ExecuJet and Cambridge Airport are the first in the UK to offer [this] free service to passengers. We are sure many of our clients will take advantage of this new value-added service and have already received confirmation of one large-cabin jet that will enable the owner to transport his pets with ease.”