We hear about the importance of marketing in this month's issue which holds true for agencies just as it does language schools and the question of what to market to prospective clients. For language schools, details such as class size, school location and extra-curricular activities are important, but there is one critical factor that some educators would do well to promote, and that is their price advantage when compared with other destinations.
While many students, or their parents, have decided where they will be studying and this sort of information may not sway them junior clients for example, always tend to stick close to home (pages 20-22) other students may be encouraged to study in Wales, for example, instead of England, if they realise that they will save over US$5,700 per year on university tuition fees (page 50). Or in Scandinavia, perhaps, once they realise there are currently no tuition fees for international students and many degree programmes at universities are taught in English (page 51).
It is easy to focus on the big-hitting study destinations, such as Canada, Australia, the UK and the USA, but many other countries are out there marketing hard and winning market share as a result. One good example is France, which has increased its share of international students from China from "a few hundred" in 1998 to 6,300, according to the local EduFrance office in Beijing (page 7). In fact, a recent report on trends in international recruitment showed that France, along with Japan, is exhibiting the strongest global growth rate (page 7).
Another factor that should be considered when marketing to students is the extra-curricular activities on offer. Agencies report that there is, in many markets, a trend towards active language learning (page 11), and schools similarly attest that clients expect more in terms of free time activities. In South Africa, for example, juniors want whale watching or safaris now, and one school in Canada ties overnight zoo visits into lessons (page 22).
Schools are responding well to a demand for course innovation. In Spain, institutions are developing programmes such as weekend courses, Spanish and salsa or work experience (page 36). Agencies similarly need to try and stay focused on client needs, and their profile. In Italy, where the market is picking up, agencies point to increased marketing as the root of their confidence for 2007.