On the move
Christopher Thebing, Director of Thebing Travel Group (TTG) in Germany (top), has been appointed president of German agency association FDSV. Mr Thebing, who is the Owner and Managing Director of TTG which comprises Kolumbus Sprachreisen, Flamenco and Speak & Fun, as well as the Academia Columbus schools in Costa Rica, Mexico and Ecuador aims to further develop the international recognition of FDSV as a quality association and promote the interests of the language travel industry as a whole. Meanwhile, Alberto Sarno, CEO of Sprachcaffe (middle) and Constanze Baarlage, Product Director at Carpe Diem / Travelplus Group in Germany (bottom) have joined the new FDSV board. Mr Sarno sat on the board for around 10 years in the nineties and is excited to have reprised his role. He will be looking to strengthen FDSV´s relationship with international bodies like Alto and Felca. Meanwhile, Ms Baarlage hopes to strengthen FDSV’s high profile as well as explore new opportunities for collaboration with other organisations in the industry.
Esmee Quinton has joined Quality English (QE) as Office Executive. Having graduated with a degree in Business and Marketing, Ms Quinton went on to work in retail administration before teaching English in Italy for three years. “QE is an excellent company to work for and highly regarded in the industry. I hope to build on its success by continuing to offer agents a great selection of schools that excel in everything they do.”
Kathy Kohut has been appointed Central Office Director for AAIEP. Ms Kohut has been strongly committed to the field of English language learning for more than fourteen years. She has a wide range of experience teaching and leading ESL programmes, with past Director positions in school management, operations, and academics. She has also spent time teaching in Japan and studying in Russia. Ms Kohut said she was very excited to take on the role and is looking forward to helping the organisation increase its visibility and access for members and associates alike.
Lila*’s former Director of Studies, Dave Fox, has been promoted to Principal of their Liverpool-based school. Mr Fox brings with him many years of experience in teaching, teacher training and academic management and is looking to help drive Lila*’s expansion forward while still keeping its young and lively feel.
Q&A Educator association
This month, Anne Holmes, Executive Director of Neas, talks about recent developments including a new contract with government regulator, ASQA.
Full name: National ELT Accreditation Scheme (Neas)
Year established: 1990
Number of accredited centres: 261
Type of providers: Accredited English language teaching (ELT) centres, including centres located in universities and Vocational Education Training (VET) colleges
Organisation’s main role: Quality assurance monitoring of the delivery of English language programmes
Code of practice: yes
Complaints procedure: yes
Agent workshops/fam trips: n/a
Tel: +61 299546077
What has Neas been up to recently?
A stakeholder survey was carried out in 2010 and Neas was delighted with the level of response, the endorsement of Neas’ current services and the emerging opportunities for additional ones. Last year, Neas submitted a paper during the ESOS review and was involved in discussion of issues around student visa issuance. In 2010, all providers delivering courses to international students were required to re-register on the Cricos register. Neas was heavily involved in this process in respect of ELT. Following a national tender process, the Department of Immigration (DIAC) awarded Neas a new contract to quality assure the provision of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). Included in the contract is the management of the Assessment Task Bank (ATB) - a unique, secure, online resource of assessment tasks available to most AMEP providers. The 15th Annual Neas ELT Management Conference was held mid May in Sydney, and attracted 218 participants. The workshop addressed specific areas of compliance within accreditation. In light of the magnitude of changes pending in the new educational environment, Neas conducted professional development sessions for its assessment panellists (inspectors) early July, focusing on the assessment of compliance with Neas standards and the changing regulatory environment. There was increased activity for Neas International, with successful applications from centres in Vietnam and Dubai.
Please explain more about the quality assurance symposium you were involved in.
The one-day symposium was attended by representatives of 16 key global language accrediting bodies. Neas presented sessions on two-tier accreditation, different approaches to gathering and evaluating evidence, and inspector recruitment and training. Accreditation UK and Eaquals presented the other five sessions. Neas’ prime motivation for jointly organising the conference was the sharing of best practice worldwide and jointly reaching solutions to issues common to all quality assurance bodies. It was the first symposium of its kind, produced innovative proposals and there are plans for a second symposium in 2013. The first project underway is a database of teacher qualifications based on quality criteria.
Please explain your new contract under the national regulatory body, ASQA.
The Minister for Education determined by legislative instrument in May that ASQA be the designated authority under the ESOS Act for Elicos and Foundation programmes in NSW, VIC, WA, ACT and NT. Neas is delighted that ASQA has decided to contract Neas as a specialist provider of audit services to monitor compliance against the National Elicos and Foundation standards in these states. These are new auditing roles for Neas in addition to Neas accreditation. Neas accreditation has also been officially accepted for registration on Cricos. The Australian government made the changes in response to a range of factors affecting Australia’s international education sector and throughout the process NEAS has maintained close consultation and a strong working relationship with ASQA.
Q&A Advisor association
This month, Sylviane Halphen from Unosel - the association of French language schools and agencies - talks about its activities.
Full name: Union Nationale des Organisations de Séjours Educatifs, Linguistiques et des Ecoles de Langues (Unosel)
Year established: 1978
Number of members: 70
What has been your main focus in the last 12 months?
During 2010 and the beginning of 2011 we worked to heighten the quality standards of Unosel members. We added 10 new points to membership criteria. All members have to respect it whatever their business. We also wrote a code of practice for every member. This means that for language providers for example, members have to respect the label, the European standard and a code of practice for young language study holidays and another one for adults. Internal regulations were also revised and we strengthened the principles of ethics between members and suppliers. The application procedure also has new obligations. Besides the inspection of the head office and the on site inspection by independent auditors, members have to submit brochures to be checked. The website is also examined. In spite of these lengthened procedures we have admitted two new members but refused three. We are now working on the promotion of these new processes and we will soon launch a new website and a new logo. Naturally, we are worried that the economic recession could decrease the request for stays abroad, as well as [herald] price increases. Unosel has taken part in a think tank organised by the Minister of Education on the question of the supervision/coordination of stays which could also provoke a sharp rise in costs/prices.
Where do you stand on accreditation?
We have strengthened our quality standards considerably and members will see a difference. One of our members is a vice-president of Felca and the first president of Felca was the president of Unosel, this explains that we are following the evolution of our federation very closely and that the Felca code of conduct is also a part of our daily concern.
What are your feelings concerning agent training schemes?
As in any job it is extremely important to train. At every Unosel congress we gather to discuss and work on technical themes often with the contribution of independent experts.
Agency of the month
In a series appearing each month in Study Travel Magazine, we ask a different language teaching institution to nominate one of their preferred agencies or agent partners, and to explain why this person/company is worthy of their nomination.
This month London School of English (LSE) in the UK nominates EDM in Korea. Timothy Blake, at the school, explains this decision.
“LSE works with many excellent agents around the world, so it’s hard to choose a favourite, but on the basis of their consistent performance we have selected EDM in South Korea. When it started, this agency focused on English in the UK; in time it added other destinations and other courses and it increasingly covers universities too. It’s bigger now but it retains a personal dedication to quality and to the welfare of its students. Of course, being Korean the staff are highly efficient, working long hours under pressure, yet always remain a pleasure to work with. Brian Seo combines great strategic vision with personal charm, but I would also like to pay tribute to June Lee, the Admissions Manager, and her hard working team Neville and Syan. In agencies, the front desk counsellors often have the highest profile, but I think we must never forget the back office staff whose dedication and accuracy underpin relations with the schools and services to clients.”
“It has been such a pleasure to work with the LSE for the last 10 years. I would like to express special thanks to Timothy and his professional team who always spare no pains to help EDM whenever there are problems to be solved.”
Brian Seo, Managing Director, EDM, Korea