Icef Berlin attracts the crowds this year
The Icef Berlin workshop, held in November last year, confirmed its reputation as the biggest event of its kind with 1,621 participants from 86 countries converging on the German venue.
The event attracted representatives from 461 educational institutions and 568 agencies from around the world. The top five countries of origin for the educators were the UK, Canada, the USA, Spain and Ireland while the top countries for agents were Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia and Turkey.
Participants were generally pleased with their experience at the workshop. Andrew Roper from British Study Centres in the UK, said, “This is my 10th year and it gets better and better every year. The quality is high and there are no wasted meetings. Ninety per cent of the people we meet are existing agents and my top 10 agents are here. In two days, I see all my key agents. There are no time wasters here. Icef has become better at checking references.”
Daniela Maccolini from the Italian agency Coming said, “I am satisfied [with the Icef workshop]. The organisation is good. It is crowded but I’ve been [coming] here for over 10 years. Last year I wasn’t here and I felt the difference. There are really good opportunities to meet people, they give you the opportunity and your chance to make links.”
Markus Badde, CEO of Icef, said that the workshop took place without hitch. “New features, such as the vastly improved manual, as well as better signage all over the venue, greatly facilitated that, with our staff receiving far less logistical questions compared to earlier years,” he said. “Other novelties were the provision of a free breakfast for all participants, as well as the support and promotion of 10 familiarisation tours around Europe.”
The workshop was preceded by the Icef Work and Travel Forum, which brought together those interested in buying or selling au pair, work experience, internship and volunteer programmes. During the first day of the main agent workshop, participants had the option of participating in 37 different market intelligence seminars and industry presentations, which varied from one-hour presentations to eight-hour hands-on training.
Delegates were able to arrange their appointments with the Icef eSchedule Pro, which had a new feature this year that enabled delegates to download their appointments onto their personal digital assistant device (PDA). The eSchedule Pro Matching Wizard also enabled participants to reorganise appointments when two participants had no matching time slots available.
More pictures from the event can be found in Grapevine in the Agency News section.
Uni of Essex absorbs Insearch Essex
The University of Essex in the UK has integrated the international foundation programme offered by Insearch Essex at its Colchester campus into its international academy.
Insearch Essex previously offered fast-track Certificate of Higher Education programmes in Business, Management and Computing for international students that provided direct entry into the University of Essex degree programmes upon successful completion. The programme will now be administered by the international academy at the university along with its range of other EFL, pre-degree and pathway programmes for international students.
Stuart Bannerman, Director of the International Academy (IA), said, “We looked at three different options for our pre-degree programmes have the IA absorbed by Insearch, absorb Insearch into the IA and have another private provider take over all our pre-degree programmes. Having looked at other providers eg Into we thought that bringing Insearch Essex into the IA was the best long-term option to give us critical mass. We have a genuine mix of home/EU/overseas students at the IA which makes us unique among pathway colleges.”
Insearch Essex, which is an international division of UTS:Insearch at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia, has been offering programmes for international students at the University of Essex for the past four years.
Japan wants to woo international students
Much like the Prime Minister’s Initiative in the UK, Japan has announced a target it wants to reach in terms of international student recruitment. By 2020, it hopes to attract 300,000 international students to study in Japan, up from the 119,000 currently studying in the country.
To achieve this aim, 30 universities will be selected as hubs for the programme, where students can earn degrees by studying only in English. Accommodation will be offered by universities for those in the country for less than a year, September admissions dates will be reviewed and implemented and visa procedures will be overhauled, with work rights for graduating students likely.
“We aim to accept 300,000 students from abroad by around 2020 to make Japan a nation more open to the world, and to develop a global strategy to expand the flow of people, materials, money and information between Japan (and Asia) and the world,” said a statement released by six relevant ministries, earlier in 2008.
As part of this internationalisation plan, unveiled by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, some focus will also be given to Japanese studying abroad. However, according to Ryuki Hayashi of Jaos, efforts made by the agency association to secure government funding to back this pledge have not been met with success to date.
EC makes its third acquisition in the USA
Malta-based language school chain, EC, has made its third purchase of a US-based business to add New York to its list of US locations, in addition to Boston and San Diego.
The company is moving the school, which did not previously work with education agencies, to new premises on Broadway in the heart of Manhattan near Times Square. “We are confident that EC New York will become our flagship American school because it’s a top property in a top location,” commented Andrew Mangion, EC’s Chief Executive. “We feel bullish about our prospects in 2009 for the EFL market in New York. The city remains a major destination in which students aspire to live and learn.”
The new school is scheduled to open in May, with a design and architectural firm revamping the premises, on the 14th floor of a skyscraper, until then. It will be able to accommodate 120 students in 16 classrooms.
Commenting on business prospects amid a recession, Mangion said, “So far, indications are positive and numbers for the US are already up for next year and are in the double digit region.” EC also has schools in the UK, Malta and South Africa.
IH Dublin opens new executive centre
INTERNATIONAL HOUSE Dublin in Ireland has opened a new executive centre aimed at providing language training for business professionals in state-of-the-art facilities (see right).
The school appointed a new Business Training Manager in October last year in response to demand for in-centre business courses in Dublin. Teresa Murphy is in charge of bringing together the various elements of business and corporate language training and developing tailor-made courses to meet demand. “We are very excited about this new venture as it meets a niche area not yet available in Dublin,” explained Murphy.
The business centre will provide training for executives travelling to Dublin and also offer courses tailored towards groups, teams and individuals within a specific company. “Special courses geared towards team and team leaders are available and are proving popular as they appear to be filling a badly needed gap in the English training area,” said Murphy. Courses will also focus on effective emailing and telephoning, teleconferencing, presentations, meetings and negotiations.
New English training website in USA
A new website launched by the US Department of Education could help immigrants to learn English. The site, called www.USALearns.org provides free English language training to adults with low English ability.
Plans for the website were first laid in 2005 when the Department of Education awarded the contract of developing a new English language learning online resource to the Institute of Social Research at the University of Michigan and the Sacramento County Office of Education. The curriculum for the online learning project has been developed from two existing programmes, English for All and Putting English to Work.
In the beginner’s course, students can undertake 20 units in areas such as numbers, the calendar, places to go, families, schools and shopping while intermediate levels consist of more challenging exercises to help reading and writing skills. The website is designed to work with existing classroom-based language courses in the USA.
Troy Justesen, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, said, “America’s limited English adults will now have readily available materials to improve their literacy and help them become more productive workers, better parents, engaged community members and active citizens.”
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