IDP survey reveals USA rated top study destination
A survey of 6,000 international students conducted by IDP Education has revealed that 58 per cent of students rated the USA as the top study destination for a quality education, with 21 per cent opting for the UK and just eight per cent rating Australia as the top quality study destination.
The findings may have been disappointing for the Australian-owned company, although IDP was happy to observe that Australia was considered to be the safest place to study. Australia was also the highest ranked country in terms of access to permanent residency, access to student visas and best government policies to protect international students.
The survey results were presented at the annual Australian International Education Conference last year, and included the responses of 1,130 Indian students. The survey was designed in part to assess the impact of widely reported stories of violence against Indian students in Australia last year and to see how Australia fared against perceptions of other study destinations. It canvassed students from China, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.
Tony Pollock, Chief Executive of IDP Education, told ABC News, “The somewhat surprising result and indeed promising result is that students believe Australia to be the safest destination of all the English speaking destinations and by quite a margin [40 per cent].” Nevertheless, he said IDP’s India offices were expecting February 2010 intake to be down by 50 per cent, in part because of safety issues as well as financial concerns. “[The financial crisis] has obviously impacted upon families in India and that’s evident by the fact that applications for other countries are way down, particularly the USA,” Pollock added.
IDP is confident about the outlook for Australia overall, citing an expected eight per cent rise overall in the international student market and a bounce back from India in due course.
Meanwhile, the UK did not help its image in Pakistan last year, when thousands of visa applications were not dealt with in time for degree programmes commencing in the autumn. The British High Commission admitted in October that there was a backlog of some 14,000 visas caused by “the volume of applications and significant technical difficulties”. UKBA has acknowledged that there were particular problems with the new visa system in India and Pakistan, but said that these were being resolved.
Ability Education in Australia merges with MEGT
Australian language school chain Ability Education, which has three campuses two in Sydney and one in Melbourne has announced that it has integrated with fellow Australian company MEGT (Australia) Ltd.
MEGT deals in vocational education and training, stating on its website that it has “operated in the marketplace of employment, education and training, apprenticeships and traineeships since 1982”. It claims to be the largest supplier of apprenticeship support services in Australia and also operates MEGT Institute in Sydney, which provides vocational training for international students.
Carolyn Burns, MEGT Institute’s National Manager, commented, “This addition of Ability Education to our portfolio of operations means we will be able to provide a seamless service and a level of English language skills that we know with certainty will make it easier for international students to keep up with their training.”
Ability Education will continue to operate under its own brand, as it has done since the announcement in September.
TVET in UK pulls off big Kazakhstani deal
TVET UK, which represents institutions that offer vocational education and training in the UK, has masterminded a deal for six British colleges to provide education and training in the oil-rich state of Kazakhstan.
“We’ve got 25 partnerships signed in Kazakhstan, the biggest single commercial transnational education project ever and all in 16 months,” said Matthew Anderson, TVET UK Director. “It’s completely new money which wouldn’t have come to the British colleges without TVET UK. For a relatively small financial investment and a lot of hard work, these contracts could be worth around UK£1 million (US$1.65) a year.”
TVET UK operates alongside English UK and shares some of the same members. Those colleges awarded the contracts for engineering, ICT, teacher training and construction courses to be delivered are Havering College, Warwickshire College, Bradford College, Cambridge Regional College, Dudley College and Loughborough College.
UK Higher Education Minister, David Lammy, commented, “This is an important development for the UK college sector in a growing international market.” Anderson also oversaw a deal earlier last year for various TVET UK members to deliver training programmes for the 2011 Asian Winter Games being held in Kazakhstan.
Two more schools join the IH fold
The International House World Organisation (IHWO) continues to expand with the news that two more language schools have joined its fold. From Brisbane, Australian Language Schools (ALS) will now become IH Brisbane, while in Canada, a language and sports centre in Mont-Tremblant, previously known as Explorencia, becomes IH Tremblant.
At IH Tremblant, Stephanie Gendron, President and Managing Director, said, “Affiliation to a globally-respected quality teaching organisation like IH was a key element for our international development.” Meanwhile, Vicky Parkinson, Assistant Principal at IH Brisbane, said, “We are very happy to be part of such a prestigious brand... As far as our long-term business objectives are concerned, we would like to expand our presence in Queensland and open another IH school.”
Man-U offer launched in UK
A Manchester-based language school, Berlitz Manchester, has teamed up with a Spanish agency, Choices International, to jointly promote a Manchester United-themed residential language learning package. Delivered during the summer at two boarding schools, the programme will offer a wide variety of sports as well as a day at Manchester United soccer school.
Inma Sanchez, Director of Choices International, explained that the decision to partner with a language school was a logical extension of a working collaboration. “There are many courses available,” she said, “but we wanted to make this one special… the soccer programme offered by Manchester United is the best in the world, providing an insight into the training of soccer champions.”
Choices will be responsible for promotion throughout the Spanish speaking markets, and Berlitz Manchester will co-promote and be responsible for language tuition at the two sites, Rossall School and Stonyhurst College. Mark Harrington, Managing Director at Berlitz Manchester said, “This is a premium quality junior programme incorporating one brand famous for football and the other for high quality language training.”
New centres for ILSC and ELS
Canada-based language school chain, ILSC, has added to its three Canadian schools and one New Delhi-based institution with the news that it is opening ILSC San Francisco. “Our mission is to keep developing ILSC as one of the finest language schools in the world,” said a spokesperson at the institution, operated by a management team headed up by Paul Zysman.
Meanwhile, Berlitz-owned ELS in the USA has announced a new school centre in Santa Cruz, CA, relocating its nearby Hayward center to this new location in downtown Santa Cruz, the surfing capital of California just south of San Francisco.
Dean Wright, District Director for ELS, said, “Our new location will offer our students more opportunities to meet American students, much improved campus offerings and opportunities to study at one of the world famous University of California campuses [UC Santa Cruz].”
Drug testing for foreign students in Philippines
To comply with anti-drugs laws in the country, the Philippines has decreed that random drug testing of foreign students in the country will become compulsory. The Global Nation reported that the proposal had been endorsed by the Department of Justice upon the recommendation of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).
This followed an instance of two Korean students allegedly being caught smoking marijuana in a car park next to a disco in Cebu City.
Increasing numbers of foreign students are travelling to the Philippines to study English, notably from Korea. Already, high school students in the country are required to submit to random drug tests, and the policy is being extended to language schools.
“The move is not intended to prevent these students from having fun in our country but to remind them that they should respect our laws, specifically our laws on drugs,” said Clarence Paul Oaminal, Vice Chair of the DDB.
Review of student visa system in UK
after Less than eight months since the launch of Tier 4 of the new points-based visa system in the UK, Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, announced there was to be a review of student visa issuance amid a political climate of concern over immigration system abuse.
A review, scheduled to conclude sometime in December, will look at the case for introducing mandatory English language testing for courses other than English; at the minimum level for which student visas will be issued; and the ability of student visa holders to work part-time. At the time of going to press, there was concern in the UK about any uncompetitive outcome.
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