ATC International take over UK junior centres
ATC International, a provider of junior summer programmes in the UK, has taken over the running of two of the former EAC centres in Bath and London Hendon.
The Bath summer school is located at the University of Bath, a short distance from the centre of the Unesco World Heritage city. Facilities include sports halls, beach volleyball, all-weather pitches and a campus cinema. Accommodation is provided in single en-suite bedrooms, or single bedrooms with shared bathrooms.
The London Hendon centre is situated at Barnet & Southgate College, with facilities including volleyball, basketball and badminton. Accommodation is provided in single en-suite rooms in apartments. The social programme at the centre features a particular emphasis on London sightseeing.
As previously reported (see STM, May 2013, page 6), TUI Travel announced the closure of its EAC brand, with five of its 13 centres being maintained by sister ELC brand, also under the TUI umbrella.
ATC International’s James Hordon said the company was initially approached by the University of Bath, who were keen to continue summer school provision on the campus following EAC’s decision to withdraw. ATC then contacted Barnet & Southgate College with a view to taking over that centre.
“For this summer, we are trying to ensure continuity for the host institutions and for the agents,” said Hordon. “For 2014, we can push on with these locations and fully promote them as part of our portfolio.” He added that ATC International was trying to maintain all the requested extracurricular activities that had been arranged, and was also incorporating some of its own standard social programme features such as drama workshops.
Hordon confirmed that ATC International was in contact with agents that had already made bookings at the two locations through EAC. He added, “EAC have been very supportive in trying to arrange a smooth transition.
“As we enter our fourth operational year we will focus on ensuring our standards and level of personal service are extended to these new locations,” said Hordon.
inlingua Manchester expands football pathways
Inlingua Manchester Football College is offering new academic pathways for international students.
From September, the iGCSE and US high school pathways will be available for international student players from 14 years old, along with a new range of advanced level qualifications for those 16 years and over, which can be coupled with existing vocational sports qualifications.
inlingua Manchester College Director and Principal, Michael Brennan, said, “We’re totally dedicated to continuously expanding and improving the academic choices that we offer parents and players at the school. The addition of iGCSEs, US high school and advanced level subject options will complete our range of academic offerings.”
The specialist football college has also extended its university placement service to provide UK higher education counselling to students, and has also signed a formal link with accommodation provider Unite to offer more independent accommodation to student players aged 18 and over at the city centre Parkway Gate residence.
New EU student visa plans outlined
The European Commission has announced plans to make the EU more accessible to non-EU international students by improving visa processing times, intra-EU mobility and access to the labour market.
The Commission proposes to set more consistent and transparent rules across the whole EU. The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, said, “Coming to the EU for research or study is far more difficult than it should be. We have to remove these obstacles to make the EU more open to talents. Such mobility benefits the EU and our economy through the circulation of knowledge and ideas.”
The new rules would provide procedural guarantees of a 60-day time limit for member states’ authorities to decide on an application for a study visa.
Simpler and more flexible rules on mobility would increase the possibility for researchers, students and trainees to move within the EU. The new rules would also stipulate a minimum work entitlement for students of 20 hours per week during studies, and students would be able to remain for a period of 12 months after completion of their studies to identify job opportunities.
The proposals will be presented for discussion in the European parliament, with the Commission hoping they come into effect as of 2016.
Genki to open Japanese school in Tokyo
Genki Japanese and Culture School (GenkiJACS) has announced it will open a new branch in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo from June, adding to its original school in Fukuoka.
The new school is near Shinjuku Station, Tokyo’s central transport hub, and overlooks the famous Hanazono Shrine. “Despite being in the centre of the busiest part of Japan, the school’s location is peaceful and relaxing – a perfect environment to learn Japanese language and culture,” said Rie Kirby, Director of GenkiJACS.
The Tokyo branch will offer the same popular courses as the Fukouka school, with everyday communicational Japanese, Japanese plus Traditional Culture and Japanese plus Pop Culture courses available for students aged 18 and over. The school features six classrooms, and class sizes will be capped at seven students. Students can commence courses from any Monday throughout the year.
Explaining the reasons behind the expansion, Kirby said, “When we started GenkiJACS, we felt that existing Japanese schools didn’t meet the needs of students from Western countries. We tailored our programmes specifically to those needs, and now we’d like to take the success we’ve had with that approach to Tokyo. We feel our courses are a great alternative to the more strictly academic courses offered at a lot of other schools.”
New French programme launched in Ontario
The Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) has launched a new French language high school programme for international students in Ontario, Canada.
The International Student Program, the first of its kind to be offered in French in Ontario, will be available for students from grades seven to 12.
André Ouellette, Chair of the CECCE, said, “This new programme truly reflects the vision of our school board, which is to be a leader in education recognised for the excellence of its schools, its welcoming environment, its innovations and its community involvement.”
International students interested in the programme will be referred to Béatrice-Desloges in Orleans, Franco-Cité in the south of Ottawa or Pierre-Savard in Barrhaven in the first year, and can customise the programme to meet their needs.
Students will have an opportunity to familiarise themselves with Canada’s francophone community, while getting a taste of Canadian culture, said Bernard Roy, Director of Education at CECCE, which covers 39 elementary and 10 secondary schools and is the largest network of French schools in Canada outside of Quebec.
New accommodation partnership in Tokyo
Sakura House, a specialist accommodation provider for foreigners in Japan, has strengthened its relationship with Aoyama School of Japanese, Tokyo, to provide increased residential opportunities.
A newly opened residence, Yoyogi Koen 2, is within ten minutes of the school and a number of the popular districts such as Shibuya and Harajuku, and includes single rooms, two-person dormitories and three-person dormitories across four floors. Sakura House also offers other shared houses and studio apartments within walking distance of the school. All rooms include utilities and Internet, while assistance is available in several languages.
Masayo Namiki, Manager at Sakura House, said, “We are delighted to deepen our relationship with Aoyama School and we look forward to providing accommodation for their students from all around the world in one of Tokyo’s most desirable neighbourhoods.”
Aoyama School of Japanese and Sakura House have been working together to promote Japan as a language study destination and attended the Expolangues event in France together.
UK to split border agency
The UK Border Agency is to be split into two separate organisations, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has announced, following a highly critical report.
The Home Secretary told MPs that the UKBA’s performance “is still not good enough”. She listed problems including conflicting cultures, a lack of transparency and accountability and inadequate IT systems. UKBA will be split into two parts: an immigration and visa service and a law enforcement organisation. Both agencies will sit in the Home Office and report to ministers.
“By creating two entities instead of one, we will be able to create two distinct cultures. First, a high-volume service that makes high-quality decisions about who comes here...And second, an organisation that has law enforcement at its heart and gets tough on those who break our immigration laws.”
Some critics questioned the changes. Tony Millns, Chief Executive of English UK, said, “The creation of two new departments, one for visas and one for immigration law compliance, creates huge potential for disagreement and completely contradictory messages.”
A Home Affairs Select Committee report said only 14 per cent of in-country Tier 4 applications were processed on time in Q3 of 2012. However, all out-of-country applications were processed within the 60-day target time limit.
News in brief
New UK university tours for students
Visit University has been launched as a UK-wide programme enabling international students to tour institutions before deciding where to study. Students can spend one week visiting five universities of their choice, and during each visit will be able to meet professors and international office staff, question current international students, tour facilities and experience the town or city that the institution is located in. Nick Scott, Director of Visit University, said the company was looking to work with study abroad agents. “Our programme is an excellent addition to the range of advice agents can offer their students,” said Scott. “We work closely with international agents in the Middle East and India, and are now looking to expand our network to China, Turkey, Africa and beyond.”
Scholarship assistance in Shanghai
The Shanghai Municipal Education Commission has established an online platform at www.study-shanghai.org for international students to apply for scholarships, as part of a drive to reach a goal of 70,000 students in the city by 2015. “These government scholarships are being offered to attract more outstanding foreign students to study in the city, especially to study long-term degree programmes,” said Yang Weiren, an official at the commission.
Twin UK wins contracts
Twin UK has successfully bid to become the recipient of groups from the Guangdong Student Association of Arts and Sports, which will send around 100 students to the UK for two-week drama-focused English courses. The company has also been awarded an EU contract for New Skills, New Jobs: Bridging the Gap, a 12-month project with financial support from the EU aimed at developing a prototype toolkit to better enable matching of job market demand and supply.
Connect launches iBook textbook
Connect School of Languages in Toronto, Canada, has launched an iBook for ESL students, available on iTunes. English Listening for ESL Students is a three-book multi-media textbook that can be used as a classroom set or for self-study, said James Rice, Director. The book is available to schools, students and teachers, and Rice added agents can download and show samples of the course material to the students, and stay informed about what is taught.
English New Zealand (ENZ), the government association dedicated to marketing the country’s education export industry, has pledged to work with China Southern Airlines (CSA) to benefit Chinese students entering the Australasian country. While the Prime Minister of New Zealand visited the Chinese city of Guangzhou in April, ENZ Chief Executive, Grant McPherson, signed a Statement of Intent with Tan Wangeng, President and Chief Executive of CSA. Student benefits could include “joint promotion and marketing efforts to encourage students and their families to travel between Auckland and Guangzhou”, said McPherson. “Each year around 10,000 young people from Southern China, and from the city of Guangzhou in particular, are enrolled in New Zealand’s primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. New Zealand is highly regarded in China as offering top-quality education in a safe and friendly environment.”
Turkish Airlines has expanded its presence in the USA with a new service to Houston. The non-stop flight, running from George Bush International Airport in the Texan city to Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport, is the fifth US city served by the carrier after Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Washington DC. The airline’s Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Hamdi Topcu, said, “Houston is a key point in international aviation. We believe that these new flights will make international travel easier and more convenient.”
Passenger services from Dubai’s World Central Al Moktoum International Airport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are expected to launch in October, with carriers including Wizzair. The Hungarian airline will offer four-times-weekly services to Budapest in Hungary and the Ukrainian city of Kiev, as well as three-times-weekly flights to Bucharest in Romania and Bulgaria’s capital Sofia. The airport has been flying cargo services since June 2010. “The introduction of passenger services is the first step in the long-term development of the airport and will provide an attractive alternative [to the city’s main airport Dubai International] to travellers,” commented Paul Griffiths, the upcoming airport’s Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to announcing additional airlines and services in months to come.” This news follows the recent delay of the soft opening of Doha’s Hamad International Airport, which was scheduled in April, due to the fact that building occupancy permits were not obtained in time.
The GO Group, LLC, a company with services including door-to-door airport shuttle transportation for 52 airports in the USA, Canada and Europe, has launched an app allowing travellers to book a GO airport shuttle from their iPhone. Customers can download the app at the Apple app store, and the service should be available for other mobile devices later this year. John McCarthy, President of the GO Group, said, “Mobiles are increasingly becoming the booking method of choice for travellers, so this app allows one-stop shopping for all travel needs, allowing anyone to book ground transportation quickly from any location.”
Hawaiian Airlines has introduced the first direct flight between Hawaii and the Chinese capital of Beijing, running three times a week. “With our great network of flights between the islands and from Hawaii to cities in the US mainland, Hawaiian Airlines is in a great position to offer multi-stop itinerary that many visitors from China prefer,” commented Mark Dunkerley, President and CEO of the carrier. “A scheduled flight between China and Hawaii has long been an aspiration of the airline and the travel industry in our state.” The carrier’s four-times-weekly route to the Philippine’s capital of Manila, however, is due to cease operation, with Chief Commercial Officer Peter Ingram explaining that high fuel prices and low fares “have plagued this particular route. While we have made several efforts to improve the economic performance of the service… we have concluded that the route will not be a commercial success.”
A small airline in Samoa, an island country near Fiji, has started pricing tickets on international flights by the weight of passengers and their bags. With each kilogramme setting customers back between 93 cents and US$1.06, David Vaeafe, Executive Director of the American Samoa Visitors Bureau said that this pricing system actually put some customers at an advantage. “For example, a 12 or 13 year-old, who is small in size and weight, won’t have to pay an adult fare, based on airline fares that anyone aged 12 years or older does pay the adult fare.” Meanwhile, Chris Langton, the carrier’s CEO, stated that “planes are run by weight and not by seat, and travellers should be educated on this important issue”. The airline started using this pricing system on domestic flights in June last year.