||Australian government releases international student strategy
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has released an international student strategy to ensure that students studying in Australia are assured a high quality experience.
Details of the strategy, which outlines 12 initiatives to address key areas of concern including student wellbeing, consumer protection, the quality of international education and the availability of better information were revealed in April 2010 (see LTM, July 2010, page 7) although the Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, formally released the strategy in October.
Senator Evans also visited China at the beginning of November with a number of high level university delegates in order to strengthen cooperation between Australia and China and explore new collaboration opportunities. During the visit, an Australia-China joint laboratory on nanosciences was established while an agreement to boost research, student exchange and training between the University of Technology, Sydney and Shanghai University was also signed.
Senator Evans also announced that the government would contribute AUS$100,000 (US$100,116) to expand the China-Australia Executive Leadership Program (CALEP), which has already given more than 100 university leaders the chance to experience each other’s higher education system.
During the launch of the international student strategy, Evans acknowledged that the strong Australian dollar and recent immigration reform had put challenges on institutions in Australia that recruit international students. “It is clear that Australia is facing a downturn in international student enrolments, and that this trend can be expected to continue throughout 2011,” he said.
The Senator also pledged to work with the international sector to find ways to make Australia’s education more competitive. He added, “The impact of the strength of the Australian dollar is being felt across all markets. But at a time when the international education sector is experiencing unprecedented short-term challenges, this is no time to stall reform. On the contrary, it is exactly the right time to push on to build a sector that is stronger and better because it is built around improved quality and integrity.”
Sue Blundell, Executive Director of English Australia welcomed the Minister’s announcement. “It is significant that Senator Evans devoted his first major speech in his new portfolio to international education. This is an unambiguous statement of Australian government support for international education as a whole which should send a clear message to prospective students and other stakeholders.”
In July last year, the responsibility for marketing and promotion of international education was transferred to Austrade from AEI. AEI has since re-focused its core role in education onto government-to-government relationships.
Kaplan opens foundation college in UAE
Kaplan International Colleges and the Institute of Applied Technology (IAT) in the UAE have signed a partnership agreement to offer pre-university courses for Emirati students wanting to study at IAT. This is the first pre-university college to open in the UAE.
The college, called IAT-Kaplan, will offer one-year academic English courses to students in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and will eventually offer entry to other higher education institutions.
Dr Abdullatif Al Shamsi, Director General of the Institute of Applied Technology, said, “The college is the first of its kind in the country and the only one in the area specialising in pre-university students with an international partner.”
ECI Dublin joins Ialc
Emerald Cultural Institute in Dublin Ireland has become the newest member of international language school association, Ialc.
The school was established in 1986 and Mauro Biondi, Director of the school, said, “At Emerald we have always believed that it is the individual learner who is at the centre of what we provide. We are delighted to become members of Ialc and look forward to working with an association committed to student service care and whose name is synonymous with quality.”
ILSC expands in USA and Australia
International Language Schools of Canada (ILSC) has opened a new school in San Francisco, USA and also purchased Pacific Gateway International College, which has two schools in Brisbane and Sydney in Australia as well as three schools in Canada.
Nadine Baladi, Director of ILSC San Francisco, said, “Our new school offers a wide range of student-centred courses. Students choose from academic preparation, business, communication, humanities and speciality programmes like English in action. Our mission is to keep developing ILSC as one of the finest schools in the world.”
Internet marketing practices challenged
French association Unosel has advised three of its members to seek legal advice after they became victims of an Internet marketing phenomenon called ‘passing off’.
The practice of ‘passing off’ entails a company creating an advert with the Google search engine that uses a competitor’s name in their key search words in order to direct Internet searchers to their own website. Three French agencies, Formalangues, Comptoir des Horizons and WEP recently found that Swiss agency ESL had created an advert using their names as search terms and contacted Unosel for their advice.
The adverts have since been removed from Google and a complaint has been filed to the search engine. Krister Weidenhielm from ESL said that Google adverts’ policies were something of a grey area and “dependent on different countries’ legislations”. He added, “We work with a search engine marketing agency [which has the] objectives of [generating web] traffic and we don’t always get the control on all the means they use to reach these objectives. As soon as we were told about this we immediately asked our agency to remove this type of advert.”
In a separate case, Home Language International, based in Monaco, found that an English language school in the UK, Home Lingua, had been using their name to generate web traffic to their own website using the same methods.
Kelvin Fowler from Home Lingua said, “With a small budget we outsource our web advertising to a specialist search engine optimisation company. In our case they might bid on words like home language, home tuition, home English etc. In the niche market of home tuition there are very few key phrases to use.” Fowler added, “This was not done on purpose and they re-worded the ad immediately when we told them about it.”
UK schools announced merger
The English language Centre Brighton (ELC) and Eastbourne School of English (ESOE) in the UK have announced plans to merge their operations. The two schools will continue to offer EFL courses and the schools will be overseen by a newly merged board of governors composed of all ELC and ESOE trustees.
In a statement, Phil Hopkins, Principal of The English Language Centre Brighton and Graham White, Principal of Eastbourne School of English, which are both charities, said, “[The merger] will provide greater opportunities for pooling resources, sharing staff expertise and offering a wider, complementary range to agents, partners and students. The merger will also enable us to further fulfil our charitable objectives of enabling those less fortunate to study English in the UK under a united scholarship scheme.”
The schools are both members of a number of school associations including Quality English, Ialc, The English Network and English UK and both will continue to have their own British Council accreditation and independent membership of professional associations.
ICEF partnership with Languages Canada
Language schools association Languages Canada and agent workshop organiser ICEF have signed an agreement that will see ICEF only accepting accredited Canadian language schools in both the private and public sector to their workshops and giving Languages Canada members reduced rates.
Markus Badde, Chief Executive Officer of ICEF, said regarding the partnership, “The only way agents can truly protect themselves and their clients is by working with institutions that guarantee quality and student protection. Languages Canada has done an admirable job in transforming the Canadian language training landscape and ICEF is excited to embark on this new collaboration. Good agents deserve good schools.”
Languages Canada’s President Calum MacKechnie, said, “We’re extremely pleased to partner with ICEF and very happy that ICEF has taken a bold step to ensure that only accredited Canadian language programmes are introduced to agents at their events. Our members have made an investment in quality that ICEF has clearly recognised.”
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