Student satisfaction edges up in Australia
Satisfaction levels for living and studying in Australia are rising for overseas students, according to the recently released International Student Survey 2012, with agent usage also prominent in the results.
The survey, commissioned by Australian Education International found that 87 per cent of students were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their overall experience in Australia, up from 86 per cent in the previous survey conducted in 2010.
In terms of study experience, 86 per cent were “satisfied” or “very satisfied”, up two per cent, while 88 per cent gave the same response in relation to living in Australia – a similar rise. However, there were some declines in terms of living costs and accommodation costs, which both had satisfaction levels of 51 per cent – drops of 10 per cent and nine per cent respectively.
Agents were a key element in the selection of where to study, according to the survey: 44 per cent of higher education respondents said agents were a major influence; two-thirds of VET (vocational) respondents said agents helped in the choice of institution; 52 per cent of Elicos respondents said agents played a pivotal role and around half of secondary sector respondents said the final school choice was influenced by agents.
The 2012 study was the second International Student Survey in Australia and uses the International Student Barometer in order to make global comparisons and inform future policy making. Around 55,000 students across all sectors participated in the survey.
New school opens in Brooklyn
Brooklyn School of Languages has opened in New York as the latest venture from Rich Ambler, CEO of UK-based language training and study abroad company Cactus Worldwide.
The new school occupies the whole floor of a landmark building in Brooklyn Heights, overlooking Manhattan, and will predominantly focus on year-round adult programmes and summer junior courses. Class sizes will be small with a maximum of ten students, and a range of Brooklyn-based accommodation is offered within easy reach of the school.
Adult programmes include General English, Intensive English, one-to-one training and the Brooklyn Experience, an enrichment programme organised in collaboration with local professionals in fields such as art and film.
Ambler, who has lived in Brooklyn for the past two years, established the school to offer students wishing to study English in New York an alternative to the Manhattan schools. “Brooklyn is really buzzing at the moment, offering lots of great neighbourhoods, a vibrant culture, arts and music scene, a great mix of bars and restaurants and plenty of green space. It seems perfect as a place to base yourself while studying English in New York,” he said.
Study Group launches ISC in the Netherlands
International education provider Study Group has announced the launch of a new international study centre in the Netherlands.
Based in Amsterdam, the Holland International Study Centre (HISC) will provide English language programmes including an International Foundation Year and English Foundation Year Programme, with enrolments available from January and October.
The three-term International Foundation Year programme focusses on academic and English language preparation, and will assist students’ progression to year two of a degree programme at Nyenrode New Business School or The Hague University of Applied Sciences, or year one at the University of Groningen.
Alternatively, students can complete a two- or three-term English Foundation Programme before a year one undergraduate course at one of the above institutions, plus: Wageningen University; Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences; Fontys University of Applied Sciences or Stenden University of Applied Sciences.
Stephen Orme, Director of HISC, said, “Holland offers over 1,500 degree courses in English. It is very liberal towards international students with active government policies in place to increase career options for international students after graduation.”
Griffith College expands campuses
Griffith College, Ireland’s largest independent tertiary institution, has announced a move to new campuses in Cork and Limerick, as well as a scheme that will offset fees for domestic students if they provide lodging to international students.
Griffith College Cork has expanded to a 5.3-acre campus on Wellington Road, former site of St. Patrick’s Hospital and Marymount Hospice, with buildings dating back to the 19th century.
Teaching will commence in the summer with an English language residential school, followed by several vocational topics starting from August. Diarmuid Hegarty, President of Griffith College, said, “We are very pleased to have expanded into this new campus which enables us to enhance our student offerings even further. Our new facilities will not only improve education opportunities, but having a full campus will improve the overall student experience.”
Meanwhile, Griffith College Limerick is moving to the former HSI Limerick Business School premises on Quinlan Street to facilitate a doubling of student numbers. The move will allow the college to introduce a higher number of places on programmes and add new offerings to its portfolio.
Griffith College has also recently launched an innovative scheme in Dublin, Cork and Limerick that will allow Irish students to offset their tuition fees for one year in return for their family providing accommodation and board to an international student. Hegarty said, “A key advantage of this programme is the exchange of language and culture between both groups.”
Portuguese homestay school opens in Rio
A new school offering Portuguese language home tuition has opened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Owned by Vilma Gomes, Managing Director of IH São Paulo and Upward Study Abroad & Travel agency, Up Rio is located in the Recreio dos Bandeirantes area of the city.
Students will stay and study in a three-floor beach house residence, with two en- suite rooms and two triple rooms available to accommodate up to ten students at one time. Local leisure facilities include a swimming pool, a gymnasium, a sauna, sports courts and a skate ramp.
Study will take place in the morning with cultural and sightseeing activities in the afternoon, including trips to Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain, local beaches and favela tours. “It is a very personalised programme. Students buy a package including accommodation, desired meals, classes and sightseeing,” said Gomes.
UK’s FE colleges suffer from visa rules
Further Education colleges in the UK have suffered large income declines from non-EU enrolments since tougher student visa arrangements were introduced, according to a report released by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Based on a survey of 155 publically funded FE colleges, the report estimated that there were 13,333 non-EU students on Tier 4 student visas at FE colleges in England in 2010/11, worth a total of UK£52.7 million (US$80.4 million) in tuition fees. By 2011/12, this declined to 10,601 students, worth UK£41.6 million (US$63.5 million). Colleges projected further falls for 2012/13 to 9,494 non-EU students, although increases in tuition fees were expected to lead to a slight rise in income.
John Mountford, International Director of the Association of Colleges, said the effects of changes to visa policy were clear. “You can certainly see the drop in students is pretty dramatic, as is the associated fall in income.”
Measures introduced in 2011 mean that non-EU Tier 4 students at FE colleges have fewer work rights than university-level students. “It is not helpful to have a lack of equality across different sponsors,” said Mountford. “Inevitably, students will look at institutions differently.” He added there was a damaging effect on the UK as a whole, “not least the perception that the country is not as open as it was before”.
Elsewhere, the report examined some of the economic, educational and cultural benefits that international students have had on FE colleges and their communities. Many respondents said that Tier 4 students had enabled them to offer more courses and recruit and retain academic staff more easily.
Overseas students up in UK boarding sector
The number of international students at UK independent secondary schools rose 1.4 per cent to 25,912 students in 2012, constituting 5.1 per cent of the total student population, according to the Independent Schools Council’s annual census of 1,223 member schools.
China and Hong Kong together accounted for 37.1 per cent of overseas students, although the latter declined by 5.3 per cent. Russia was the largest growth market in 2012, with an increase of 27.4 per cent, while Nigeria recorded a jump of 16.3 per cent. The rise in international students is masking a drop in the number of domestic boarding students.
“This change is driving schools to seek an even greater diversity in the range of nationalities in their boarding communities, rather than relying on two or three main recruitment countries,” said Suzanne Rowse, Director of the British Boarding Schools Workshop.
News in brief
New Study in Spain website launched
www.studyinspain.info has been launched as a collaborative venture by the Ministry of Education, the Institute for Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Tourism and Instituto Cervantes. The website provides information on Spanish language schools, universities and business schools in Spanish and English, as well as details about Spain and its regions.
ELCI opens new centre and pathway
The English Language and Culture Institute in Monmouth, Oregon, USA, has opened a new centre on the campus of Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon. The new school will be providing the same range of English language and academic preparation programmes, but can also offer direct entry into the college upon successful completion of studies.
Japanese agency launches UK English study site
SI-UK Education Council has launched a new website in Japan to promote English language study in the UK, complementing its higher education consultancy service. “We’re seeing a return to real sustained growth in outbound language travel from Japan, particularly among young adults, as Japanese employers increasingly favour graduates with foreign language skills and international experience,” said David Willoughby, Tokyo Operations Director.
Easymate management system launches
The Easymate web-based management system for language schools is now fully launched (see STM, November 2011, page 8). Developed over four years and trialled in partnership with Good Hope Studies, South Africa, the cloud-based system runs on a web browser using a school’s existing hardware and manages aspects such as bookings, tuition, accommodation, marketing, finance and statistics. “We are confident that Easymate offers language schools both a high degree of professionalism and real ease of use,” said Alexander Krotochwil, Managing Director of the Austrian-based company.
US$300 million China scholarship fund
US private-equity magnate Stephen Schwarzman has launched a US$300million scholarship fund to send 200 postgraduate students annually to study in China at Tsinghua University, Beijing. “A win-win relationship of mutual respect between the West and China is vital, benefitting Asia and the rest of the world and enhancing economic ties that could lead to a new era of mutual prosperity,” commented Schwarzman.
As the official carrier for this year’s World Youth & Student Travel Conference (WYSTC), taking place this September, the UAE airline Emirates is offering a 10 per cent discount on return fares to delegates travelling to the event in Sydney, Australia, from more than 120 cities worldwide. With journeys taking place anytime between the 7th and 30th September eligible for this offer, companions travelling with attendees can also benefit. “We are delighted that we will be working with Emirates towards WYSTC 2013, ensuring that our delegates will be able to benefit from competitive fares on an award-winning airline,” said David Chapman, Director General of WYSE Travel Confederation. “Emirates is recognised for its excellence in on-board service and customer care.” The airline has also launched its second non-stop service from Dubai, UAE, to Sydney.
To cope with future growth, plans to add an additional terminal to the existing two at Frankfurt Airport in Germany have been announced. With the third terminal set to open in 2020, total passenger numbers at the terminal are estimated to be 14 million per annum at this stage. Construction is scheduled to commence in 2015.
Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian) has announced the introduction of new routes from Oslo to Malaga, Gran Canaria and Tenerife in Spain as well as to Hamburg and Cologne in Germany this October. Travellers will also be able to fly from Munich in Germany to the Spanish destinations. Bjorn Kjos, CEO, commented, “The expansion in the German market is part of our future strategy to expand our presence outside of the Nordic region in order to meet the strong competition in the airline industry. We see that Germans frequently choose Norwegian when flying to Scandinavia, and we believe that there is demand for a quality airline that offers inexpensive fares between Germany and Spain.”
Monmondo has launched a Blackberry app, allowing users to compare the prices of flights offered by a range of airlines on their handheld devices. With features of the free app including an email function, allowing travellers to email flight details to a friend, and a function allowing travellers to book a journey directly from their Blackberry phone, the iPhone and Android apps began in 2011. “We predict that more users will switch from desktops and laptops, to search, plan and book trips on mobile devices in the future,” said Sune Trudslev, Mobile Team Leader. The company has received a 125 per cent increase in mobile traffic in the last year.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) recently announced a boost in services to Indonesia, with daily flights to Surabaya and more routes to Jakarta and Bali scheduled to start this month. The carrier will take over one of the two daily flights to Surabaya that regional subsidiary SilkAir currently offers. “The Indonesian economy is growing and this has increased demand for both business and leisure travel,” explained Lee Wen Fen, Acting Senior Vice President for Marketing Planning. “Indonesia is an especially important market for the SIA Group.”
Plans to launch a high-speed TGV rail route between Paris, France, and Barcelona, Spain, have been delayed indefinitely due to a host of technical issues, according to officials from the French and Spanish rail and infrastructure networks. Rail travel between the two cities is still possible through the use of daytime high-speed trains and changing at the Franco-Spanish border, they say.
Turkish Airlines has launched a three-times-weekly flight from Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport, located on the Asian side of the city, to the UK’s London Gatwick. The carrier hopes the route will be advantageous to Turkish living in the eastern part of the city, and also hopes to offer good connections to Ankara, Izmir, Bodrum, Ataturk and northern Cyprus. Meanwhile, British Airways has started serving the Cypriot city of Larnaca, also three-times weekly. “The new service will provide Cypriot travellers and incoming tourists with more options to get to their destination,” commented Freddie Stier, Commercial Manager of BA Cyprus-Greece. “It will also allow for more convenient two-way connectivity to other destinations in the BA network, from both Gatwick and Heathrow.”