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Contents - July 2004


Special Report
Moving in the right direction
Agency associations achieve a great deal on a national level in terms of marketing themselves directly to students and making significant gains in terms of raising the professional agenda among individual businesses. However, schools associations report that more could be done to increase awareness of what agency associations are trying to achieve, testifying that they are keen to work more closely with bona fide agency associations working for industry improvement. Jane Vernon Smith reports.


Market Report
USA in trouble
Visa issues dominate in this issue's Market Report on the USA, with the majority of US English language providers reporting that the increased difficulties experienced by some students in obtaining a visa have had a negative effect on enrolments. Bethan Norris finds out more.



Destination
Germany's broad appeal
There are many options for students travelling to Germany to learn the language, including university-based language courses and small independent schools in quiet rural areas. Wherever they study, however, visitors to this country are guarnteed a warm reception from the local people.



Opinion

Quality roll
The value of international student exchange to countries around the world - for example, bringing money into a country and helping expand the knowledge base in a particular academic area, as well as broadening the horizons of the country's citizens in some way - has long been championed by the global study abroad community.

This value is similarly acknowledged by governments that attest their appreciation of their education export industries and intention to help facilitate bona fide education exchange. In the UK, the government has welcomed findings in a recent report that the education export industry is worth around US$18.3 billion directly - and called for efforts to be kept up to ensure the UK remains a popular choice among students.

But in the current climate, efforts to help boost international student recruitment are occuring at the same time as efforts are being made to close up visa 'loopholes' used by visa abusers and illegal immigrants. This has been the case in the UK, Canada and in Japan recently, where language schools and vocational schools have been identified as avenues used by illegal workers.

In some countries, the study abroad industries have complained about over-regulation by their governments impeding their student recruitment efforts, and the balance between security and accessibility is surely important to achieve. In the USA, school representatives are voicing their concerns that the student visa process is putting off students, while a number of students are themselves voicing their discontent about the Sevis fee already being charged by some higher education institutions.

In New Zealand, there has been relief, however, as the government has acknowledged that its plans to tax private education providers further were anti-competitive and an impediment to an industry that has been recognised as a significant dollar earner for the country.

Ideally, all efforts to tighten immigration security can work hand in hand with the efforts of the education export industry to attract students to a secure destination promising quality education. There is optimism in the UK that the government's efforts to close down bogus school operations and move towards a system of accreditation for all will help reassure students about the integrity of programmes on offer in the country. The news coincides with the launch of English UK, aiming to be 'the world's leading language travel association' and combining the interests of state-sector and private English language teaching operations.

In Malta too, the national English language teaching schools' association, Feltom, is moving towards advocating a system of compulsory accreditation for all schools, with regular re-inspections. Feltom's President explains that the move is seen as a further step towards improving overall quality.

Continual improvement is a focus in our Special Report about agency associations in this issue, as new associations are cropping up in a number of countries where education consultants want to improve the image of their industry among the public and guarantee minimum standards for their own service sector.

It is also being witnessed in terms of accommodation provision, as agents testify that their clients now expect a range of affordable accommodation options and relate that schools moving towards offering this model are assured of student bookings.


Opinion
Quality roll
The value of international student exchange to countries around the world - for example, bringing money into a country and helping expand the knowledge base in a particular academic area, as well as broadening the horizons of the country's citizens in some way - has long been championed by the global study abroad community.

News
Enforced regulation for UK schools
New Zealand backtracks over levy increase
English UK becomes a reality
Alberta, Canada imposes second language rule

Travel News
Fuel prices put pressure on airlines
Dublin looks forward to whole range of new routes
Washington gets its own low-cost carrier

Agency News
EA workshop to be annual event
New Indonesian association
New rule in Canada
to affect industry

Agency Survey
Italy looks to future
This issue's survey of Italian agents yielded mixed results, with individual agents experiencing differing fortunes in 2003. Overall, however, the market showed signs of growth last year and indications are that continued growth is likely in the future.

Feedback
UK private sector

Our Feedback survey of students studying in the UK's private English language teaching sector reveals a higher overall agent usage among students compared with our survey of the UK's tertiary sector.

Course Guide
Third age courses
With the increased leisure time enjoyed by many mature people, the provision of third age language courses for students over the age of 50 is booming. Many schools provide courses that appeal to the mixed interests of their older students, combining language tution with sightseeing, painting, cookery and wine-tasting. A large proportion of schools also offer a higher standard of accommodation for these students.

Q&A
Feltom's focus
Feltom is debating a bold new plan to create an accreditation scheme that would become compulsory for all association members. John Dimech, President of the association, answers our questions.

City Focus
Golden Salamanca
Salamanca's reputation as a high quality language travel destination, with plenty of cultural attractions and a lively student scene, is growing, as Gillian Evans finds out.

Status
Status: UK 2003
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine that aims to gather specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. Through our initiative, it is now possible to compare world market statistics.