Australian conferences focus on international education
Australia’s busy conference season got into full swing recently with the English Australia (EA) annual conference and the Australian International Education Conference (AIEC).
EA’s 25th gathering drew 370 delegates to Sydney under the theme ‘Re-shaping our future’, acknowledging recent challenges and the need for the industry to be proactive in engaging with developments. Sessions included patterns in demand from overseas students, how the ELT Barometer can help colleges respond to student needs, harnessing technology and a presentation from StudentMarketing on how to use market research to drive success.
Sue Blundell, Executive Director of EA, said, “As in previous years, the 2012 English Australia conference was well attended. There was an upbeat mood amongst delegates that reflected an industry looking forward to a positive year ahead.”
EA was also a significant presence at the AIEC, held in Melbourne and attended by over 1,300 international education delegates. Blundell presented the Elicos perspective in a plenary panel session with Michael Chaney, Chair of the government’s International Education Advisory Council. Meanwhile, Seamus Fagan, former EA Chair, was presented with the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Field of International Education.
Abbey College acquires London school
Abbey College, a UK-based international high school, has announced the acquisition of a college in London, giving students the option of pursuing courses in the heart of the capital or at the original 70-acre campus on the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire.
The new London school occupies a two-hundred-year-old building on Bloomsbury Square and features modern classrooms, study and IT facilities. Both locations of Abbey College will be offering GCSEs, A-levels, English language programmes and holiday courses.
“Both colleges are very experienced in catering for international students and delivering quality pre-university courses,” said Mehran Noor, Executive Director of Abbey College. “We are very pleased about our recent expansion. It increases the choice and variety we are offering to students, parents and agents.”
CCEL to provide English pathways in Canterbury
English classes to prepare students for studies at the University of Canterbury (UC), New Zealand, are now being offered by CCEL, the English language school partner located on campus, Assistant Vice-Chancellor Hamish Cochrane has announced. In future, all English language pathways to UC will be offered by CCEL in partnership with UC.
The new programme, English for Academic Purposes: Pathway to UC, is a collaborative project based on the teaching and moderation expertise of both institutions.
Rob McKay, CCEL Managing Director, said this was an attractive direct pathway programme and put together with a joint UC and CCEL international marketing push, it would see a return to steady growth in international student numbers. According to McKay, it makes for a very strong partnership, “UC has an excellent degree programme reputation and the NZ Qualifications Authority has given CCEL its highest possible performance rating.
“By having the English for Academic Purposes: Pathway to UC programme taught at CCEL, the partnership will provide a seamless and smooth transition for our students as they go on to their degree programmes at UC,” he added.
Earlier this year, UC announced it was entering into negotiations with Navitas, with a view to the global education company establishing a college for international students on campus. However, Navitas will not be providing English language programmes, it was confirmed.
New online platform for schools and agents
Better Assessments has been launched as a platform to facilitate online practice, assessment and performance tracking.
CEO, Ben Lunn, advised the platform represented an innovative yet inexpensive way for schools to deploy their content and assessments online. “We make it possible for schools to transition their intellectual property from the classroom to the cloud; transforming institutions into live hubs of blended learning.”
The platform also allows agents or schools to set up communities and invite prospective clients to join the community and purchase online learning material. “The more practice they do, the more revenue they receive a zero-cost passive income,” said Lunn.
Lunn explained Better Assessments offered a range of opportunities for agents: onselling pre-arrival practice material, including preparation for Cambridge and Ielts examinations; onselling learning material to those considering options; student progress tracking; a tool for counselling parents and students; and online testing.
Le Cordon Bleu opens doors in New Zealand
The international culinary arts institution Le Cordon Bleu has officially opened in Wellington, New Zealand, with a ceremony attended by President and CEO of Le Cordon Bleu International, André Cointreau, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key.
“Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand will certainly be an attractive destination for international students,” said Cointreau. “New Zealand’s food and wine is world recognised, and our new establishment will not be a French cooking school, but a centre that will focus on French classical culinary techniques at the service of local cuisines and the community. In addition, our know-how and experience in the culinary world will certainly contribute to the development of education in this country.”
The school will offer a Grand Diplôme Le Cordon Bleu, diplomas in Pâtisserie and Cuisine and 10-week certificate courses. The school will also launch two three-year bachelor programmes and build to an operating capacity of 300 students over the coming two years.
Earlier this year, Le Cordon Bleu London moved to new premises in Bloomsbury Square, becoming the company’s flagship school. The London school has recently launched a new Professional Diploma in Entrepreneurial Hospitality Management, a 12-month course with four intakes per year, designed for students who plan to launch their own business or aspire to senior roles in hospitality management.
New accommodation brand and options in Australia
The Studyhouse accommodation brand has been created to offer a “best-value accommodation option for international students” in Sydney.
The company offers smaller residences for groups of eight-to-10 students, located close to colleges, essential services and entertainment areas. General Manager, David Ritchie, said the company had invested in the market over five years. “We saw the need to create a home away from home for international students that was not only clean, safe and secure, but also offered exactly what the students needed.”
Studyhouse has announced a link with St John’s College, University of Sydney, to offer accommodation during holiday months. The company has also developed a real-time software booking programme so students, agents and colleges can use smartphones, tablets or PCs to book in or check details. John Garrett, Business Analyst, said, “Working closely with agents and colleges in providing detailed information, high levels of quality and care and interest in our students ensures that their stay in Sydney is a memorable and pleasing experience.”
EAQA becomes a Felca member
The European Association of Quality Agencies (EAQA), has become a member of Felca.
Juan Manuel Elizade, President of Felca, commented, “It is a pleasure for us to welcome EAQA to our family. Just like the other members, we believe that EAQA will take advantage of several Felca benefits, while thanks to EAQA, Felca will be represented in more European countries.”
Adeila Makashi, Chairman of EAQA, which was established in 2011, welcomed the benefits that Felca membership would bring. “As from now, the rest of European agencies will have a chance to get together, share their thoughts and act as one body with one voice.”
Language exams expand in Asia
Cambridge Esol English examinations and Pearson PTE Academic will increase their presence in China and Asia, following the announcement of recent partnerships.
Cambridge Esol’s arrangement with ATA Online Education, based in Beijing, will see the organisations working together to deliver academic English language assessment solutions, providing students with greater access to the range of Cambridge exams at different ability levels, including those for young learners and school-age students.
“We’re delighted to be working closely with ATA in China and across the rest of Asia,” said Dr Mike Milanovic, of Cambridge Esol. “This initiative will mean that ambitious students across China and Asia will get even more access to qualifications that will give them a head start in their education and career paths.”
Pearson’s partnership with Shinyway International will help promote the presence of PTE Academic and will establish Shinyway International as a leading PTE Academic training provider in Zhejiang province. Carl Rhymer, Pearson Global Sales Director for Language Testing, said, “This partnership with Shinyway International is vital as PTE Academic continues to grow across China. It will help position PTE Academic as the number one test for Chinese students wishing to study abroad.”
Language in Group adds new junior centres
Language in Group (LinG) has expanded to seven junior centres with two additions to its portfolio for 2013, at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and Tremough Campus, Cornwall, England.
All centres will run in 2013 with the bespoke Dynamic English course developed in house by the LinG academic team, and Trinity examinations are also offered.
The Galway campus is 10 minutes from the city centre and near the beach and Cliffs of Moher. Site facilities include indoor and outdoor football, an Olympic-size swimming pool and a climbing wall. The apartment accommodation comes with three beds per bathroom and a generous-sized kitchen and living area.
Located near the town of Penryn and the coastline, the Cornwall campus is a centre for art and creative media studies with indoor and outdoor sports facilities. All rooms are en-suite with access to a kitchenette for each apartment.
“After the success of our centres in Cork and Dublin last year, Galway was a natural choice,” said Kevin Kelly, Group Director. “We have always believed in the suitability of the south west of England for juniors, with another record-breaking 2012 in our Totnes homestay centre, so the opportunity to offer a residence in Cornwall was too good to turn down. We have no doubt that both centres will only enhance the Language in Group reputation in the junior market.”
News in brief
Indian students in Germany on the rise
The number of Indian students at higher education institutions in Germany rose by 19 per cent in the 2011/12 academic year, according to figures released by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The number of students increased from 5,038 in 2010/11 to 5,998 in the 2011/12 academic year, and since 2008 Indian students in Germany have risen by some 70 per cent.
Taiwan enters USA visa waiver scheme
USA Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has announced the designation of Taiwan into the country’s Visa Waiver Program, which permits visa-free travel to the USA for travellers visiting for 90 days or less.
New members for Quality English
Quality English has announced Galway Language Centre in Galway, Ireland, and Canterbury Language Training, located in the English county of Kent, as the latest members of the organisation.
UK streamlines visas for Malaysia and Botswana
Botswana and Malaysia have joined the UK’s list of low-risk countries, meaning nationals applying for a Tier 4 student visa will benefit from a streamlined visa application process. Under this process, eligible applicants will usually not be expected to provide documentary evidence of financial maintenance and education qualifications.
Ialc welcomes new members
Centre of English Studies (CES) and Piccola Universita, Italy, have become the latest independent language school members of the International Association of Language Centres (Ialc). Jonathan Quinn, Marketing Director at CES, said, “CES is delighted to be joining Ialc. It has always been an aspiration of mine to be part of this great organisation with so many great schools and people.” Meanwhile, Simone Rainer of Piccola Universita, located in Tropea, commented, “We are looking forward to be able to benefit from the network and we are delighted to be able to contribute to the association of leading language schools worldwide.”
Qantas, an Australian airline, has announced that “kangaroo routes” from Sydney and Melbourne to London will fly via Dubai rather than Southeast Asia from March 2013. “The kangaroo route used to pass through the Middle East on its way from Australia to London and now it will again,” said Simon Hickey, CEO of Qantas. “By releasing our schedules now, travellers can book their trips beyond March 2013 with confidence, based on the new Qantas international route map,” Hickey added. The re-routing is part of Qantas’s plans to partner with the Middle Eastern airline Emirates, which will “offer Qantas customers one-stop access to more than 30 destinations in Europe compared with the five we offer now”, he said. Services to Frankfurt, Germany will discontinue in October 2013, and flights to Singapore will be retimed so they are better connected with onwards flights in Asia.
Several new benefits have been added to the InterRail Italy Pass, including discounted tickets to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and the Catacombs of Domitilla. Additionally, pass holders are also able to fast track queues to these attractions without having to book in advance, and can also benefit from discounted tickets for the Roma Christiana minibus experience and City Sightseeing open buses in Florence, Rome, Naples, Pisa, Verona, Padua, Trieste, Turin, Genoa, Milan and Livorno.
Turkish Airlines has boosted its flights between Birmingham and Istanbul to 10-times weekly, after Birmingham Airport announced year-on-year passenger growth of nine per cent in August this year. “The demand has been incredibly strong from the very beginning, which is why we have decided to increase the number of flights between Birmingham and Istanbul from seven-to-10 times per week,” said Selim Ozturk, General Manager for Turkish Airlines at Birmingham. This winter, the airport has also added SAS flights to Stockholm and Ryanair services to Milan and Krakow.
Air France-KLM has formed a partnership with UAE’s Etihad Airways and its European partner airberlin, with the four airlines adding a range of new routes through a codeshare deal. Air France customers will be able to connect through Abu Dhabi for flights including to Colombo, Sri Lanka, Dhaka, Bangladesh and the Maldives, while KLM passengers will be able to access Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, among other destinations. Etihad will include operations from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in France for flights including to Madrid in Spain, while airberlin and Air France-KLM will codeshare on UK routes from Amsterdam and routes from Berlin to Austria, Poland and Russia. Jean-Cyril Spinetta, Chairman of Air France-KLM, said, “Working with Etihad Airways and airberlin allows us to offer customers a range of new attractive destinations.”
Phillipine Airlines has increased flights from Manila to Australia from five to seven times per week, with direct flights operating to both Sydney and Melbourne, ending the triangular service between the cities. Seat-back entertainment systems will be offered in all cabins.
AirAsia Japan, a low-cost carrier jointly created by AirAsia and ANA, has commenced daily flights from Tokyo Narita Airport in Japan to Seoul’s Incheon Airport in Korea. The airline previously operated domestic flights only. “This international route…is a dream come true for us, and I am looking forward to seeing the Narita-Incheon flights begin operations,” said Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO.
Emirates, the UAE-based carrier, will run a permanent service from Dubai to Singapore from this month onwards, after the ad-hoc service received an extremely positive response from customers, as Salem Obaidalla, Senior Vice President, reported.
Last summer New York’s JFK Airport was invaded by turtles, and one year on the airport has unveiled plans to add an animal handling facility costing US$32 million. Estimated to handle 70,000 domestic and wild animals annually, the centre will include a three-day equine quarantine area, cat and dog kennelling and grooming services and lawn space for exercising animals.