||Visa changes damaging reputation of UK education
A number of international students no longer feel welcome to study in the UK, according to a survey released by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).
The survey of 5,000 longer-term overseas students on university and college courses found that 19 per cent believe the country no longer welcomes international students. The abolition of the Post-Study Work scheme was the most commonly cited factor in negatively impacting on perceptions of the UK. Professor Paul Webley, UKCISA Chair, said, “It is widely recognised that international students are enormously beneficial to the education sector and to the UK more widely and therefore the findings on their perceptions, in particular, is a major cause of concern.”
However, 70 per cent of respondents were satisfied with the standard of customer service during the visa application process, and 70 per cent found the process to be quick and efficient, an 11 percentage point increase over the previous survey in 2009.
Other key findings were that 70 per cent of students found the cost of a visa unreasonable. Meanwhile, 18 per cent of respondents attended pre-sessional courses, and over half of these required two separate visas for this and the subsequent main course of study, prompting UKCISA to question the efficiency of current visa processes.
UKCISA, whose members include every UK university and several higher and further education colleges, is urging the government to review student visas and initiate a positive publicity campaign. Dominic Scott, Chief Executive, said, “There is a growing concern that this could be an early warning sign of larger reductions next year unless action is taken urgently. With the announcement by Australia of its new Post-Study Work scheme, it is quite possible that significant numbers will be attracted to go there instead and that the real impact on numbers choosing the UK will only be felt in 2012.”
Languages Canada signs deals with Scotiabank and Area
Languages Canada and Scotiabank have announced a sponsorship agreement that will offer support and financial advice to international students.
Through the deal, international students studying at any of the Languages Canada member schools will be offered a series of financial literacy webinars which will address the broad spectrum of banking and credit options available to international students in Canada and assist them in making informed decisions based on their needs.
“We are delighted to collaborate with Scotiabank,” said Languages Canada President, Calum MacKechnie. “In a world of increasing student mobility this kind of sponsorship agreement is essential for us to better serve our 170 member programmes and the ever-growing number of international education students coming to Canada to study English and French every year.”
Meanwhile, Languages Canada has also signed an Agreement of Collaboration with the Association of Russian Educational Advisors (Area) that is expected to double the number of Russian students over the next few years. The agreement was signed at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow.
CES acquires and expands Leeds Languages
Centre of English Studies (CES) has announced the acquisition of Leeds Languages and has already sourced a new building to expand the school.
The school becomes the fifth CES centre in the UK and Ireland. “As one of the top schools in Leeds, we feel Leeds Languages will be a fantastic addition to the CES brand,” said Jonathan Quinn, Marketing Director at CES.
The current Leeds Languages school is housed in a Grade II listed building with seven classrooms, located just a short walk from the city centre. CES has sourced a newer, larger building for the school in the same area that will be completely refurbished. “We hope it will help CES develop the school to be the premier English language school in Leeds,” added Quinn.
IH Dublin acquisition, first IH online conference
International House Dublin in Ireland has been acquired by Independent Colleges, a private business college owned by Independent News and Media PLC, and will move to the college’s city centre location.
IH Dublin will occupy its own architect-designed floor within the Independent College campus on Dawson Street, just across from Trinity College. The modern building offers state-of-the-art teaching facilities, a library, self-access learning centre, restaurant and recreation room. IH students will have full access to campus facilities.
The school will continue to be managed by the same team. Larry Finnegan, CEO, said, “I am delighted with the deal. It positions IH Dublin as the leading EFL school in Ireland with the best teachers, the best facilities and, now, the best location in the city.”
The school has been an International House World Organisation (IHWO) member for 13 years.
Meanwhile, IHWO recently held its first ever Teacher’s Online Conference, with 150 teachers and representatives from 50 countries participating.
The idea behind the scheme was to share plenaries, workshops and discussions in a virtual environment, bringing together teachers from across the network who would not normally be able to meet. A varied programme included guest sessions from respected EFL writers. Most of the 17 sessions were in English, but there were also workshops in Russian and Spanish.
IHWO Chief Operating Officer, Lucy Horsefield, said, “I couldn’t be happier with the success story of our very first online conference. It was a truly global event and an absolute delight to take part in.”
Jaos celebrates 20 years at Alphe Japan
The Japan Association of Overseas Studies (Jaos) celebrated its 20th anniversary before the recent Alphe Japan 2011 workshop in Tokyo.
In a speech given at the celebrations, Hothouse Media Director, Scott Wade, praised Jaos for its instrumental role in the establishment of Felca, the umbrella association of national agency associations, and for setting standards within the study travel industry. “Felca and Gaela are great for our industry, promoting quality and communication. But there wouldn’t have been a blueprint for these global bodies if it weren’t for Jaos, an association that is a true industry pioneer and innovator,” said Wade.
Alphe Japan 2011, held at the Hotel Okura Tokyo, was attended by 68 advisors from 60 different agencies and 38 language schools. A few days earlier, the Alphe Korea 2011 workshop drew 72 participating advisors from 63 agencies and 54 language schools to the Grand Hyatt Seoul.
BridgeBrazil becomes Study in Brazil member
Portuguese language school, BridgeBrazil, recently became the first school in Rio de Janeiro to be accredited under the Study in Brazil scheme.
Developed by the Brazilian Exchange Bureau and managed by Belta (Brazilian Education and Language Travel Association), Study in Brazil was established in 2005 to promote Brazil’s education programmes. The scheme now has 37 members and BridgeBrazil was the only new member to be added during 2011.
“We are honoured to be part of Study in Brazil and I feel it is due to the recognition of effort of each and everyone at Bridge, [and our] commitment to providing the best service,” said Monica Szwarc, BridgeBrazil’s Country Director. “Accreditation means a trusted sign. It’s a way to pre-sort among options. It identifies those programmes which offer not only a solid foundation of programme quality, but safety and customer care as well.”
BridgeBrazil, a subsidiary of Bridge, the international language, education and travel compnay, offers a number of language plus programmes, including Brazilian music, history, business and economics, as well as exam preparation classes for the Celpe-Bras language exam.
Wellington Business School ceases trading
English language and work experience provider, Wellington Business School, New Zealand, has ceased trading after the company behind it, Total Education Group, went into liquidation.
New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) confirmed that there were 72 international students at the school at the time of the closure. Following the announcement in early December, students were transferred to Campbell Institute, another Wellington-based English language school, to cover courses until Christmas. Many of the students were thought to be on short-term visas expiring at the end of last year.
There was speculation in the local press that Wellington Business School had not followed rules surrounding student fees being put into a trust and that Total Education Group’s Director, Mieko Cains, had disappeared. However, NZQA said that this was not connected to the liquidation. NZQA also confirmed that pre-paid student course fees would be covered for students transferring to Campbell Institute or elsewhere.
Beta awards youth travel industry
The British Education Travel Association (Beta) gathered in London recently to acknowledge excellence in the youth travel industry at the annual British Youth Travel Awards 2011.
Big winners on the evening included Oxford Royale Academy, which was voted Best Educational Product winner, with Ardmore Language Schools and Bell’s “Winter Explorer” as silver and bronze winners respectively.
Meanwhile, in other categories, Equity Point London was the winner of Best Accommodation, Generator Hostels picked up Best Mobile App, BritBound collected Best Support Services Offer, and Madventurer Volunteer Projects was awarded the Green Tourism Award. Germany was named as Best International Youth Destination.
Emma English, Beta Executive Director, commented, “We were delighted to see a big increase in nominations this year, and were all very impressed with the high standards and competition, especially within the Best Educational Product and Best Accommodation category with both categories receiving a record number of submissions.”
Judge Fiona Jeffery, Chairman of World Travel Market, said, “I always enjoy judging the British Youth Travel Awards as it’s an exciting and growing area of our industry.”
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