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March 2007 issue

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Australia flourishing

Australian language schools report positive results for 2006, with many institutions diversifying their course offerings in order to ensure good growth in the future. Bethan Norris reports.

The Australian English language teaching market has been experiencing something of a boom in recent years, with the latest English Australia figures for 2005 recording a growth rate of 11 per cent on the previous year to 101,087 students nationwide. Coupled with enrolment increases of 16 per cent the previous year, this spells good news for many language schools around the country, many of which report that growth has continued throughout 2006.

Seamus Fagan, Director of English Language and Foundation Studies at the University of Newcastle in Newcastle, NSW says that 2006 was a better year for them than 2005. "Reasons for the change [include] continued growth out of China, Japan and the Middle East," he explains. Asian student markets have always been important for Australian language schools and this trend has continued in the last few years – students from this world region accounted for 80 per cent of enrolments in 2005, according to EA statistics. However, some schools attribute their increased presence in new student markets as a reason for increased numbers last year.

"Our student numbers are much higher this year, due mainly to more diversity in our nationality mixture but at the same time, re-enforcing relationships with our best performing agents," says Wayne Parry from Access Language Centre in Sydney, NSW. "We continue to do well in markets such as Korea, Germany and Japan but we are seeing a healthy increase of students from Brazil, Spain and Russia." At Sydney West International College at the University of Sydney too, the student body is becoming increasingly diverse, according to Heather Ulanas at the school, although she points out that Chinese students make up the majority of students. "In saying that," she adds, "we have a multicultural mix that is the result of marketing in 30-plus countries worldwide."

Chinese students are also important for SA Adelaide Language Centre in Adelaide, SA, according to Margaret Dyer. "Taiwan is currently best for adults and China is still best for secondary school students," she says. Dyer concludes that enrolments increased at the school in 2006 due to increased provision of adult language programmes including "more Ielts and EAP [English for academic purposes] courses". The school has also developed partnerships with local tertiary institutions over the past year which has had a positive impact on enrolments, and this highlights a trend among language students in Australia wanting programmes that provide a pathway into higher education.

"The introduction of university foundation studies in nursing [has resulted in a] good increase in student numbers," notes Ulanas, who adds that the school has plans to develop links with higher education programmes in the future. "The development of more diploma programmes leading students into second year at the University of Western Sydney is being ratified at present," she adds.

As well as responding to the demand for more academic-oriented language programmes, some schools have also been widening their product base in other directions. Increased demand by students for programmes that combine language learning with a work experience placement has been highlighted by language schools around the world, and Australia is no exception.

"The biggest impact [on our student enrolments last year] has been an increased interest in combining courses with our internship programmes from students who were traditionally not our biggest markets for work experience," says Parry.

When it comes to predicting trends for 2007, most schools are upbeat about the future. Fagan says that a growth in enrolments will be sustained during the year although he does predict that there might be "a slowdown in numbers from China". He elaborates that this may be due to an ease of student visa restrictions in the USA and "the UK proving popular" with students. However, overall, he summarises, "Growth will be sustained because of [our] transparent visa policy, good work done through the EA agents'; workshop and a continued strong perception that Australia offers quality English language programmes."


Visa changes

The Australian government performed a radical overhaul of its student visa system in 2001 in a bid to make visa requirements for individual nationalities more transparent (see Language Travel Magazine, September, 2001). The system has worked well on the whole and been improved since its inception, but one subsequent tweaking of the requirements has caused a problem for some.

"Raising the Ielts level of senior secondary students from 5.0 to 5.5 has had a big impact on our college," says Heather Ulanas from Sydney West International College at the University of Sydney in Sydney, NSW. "Luckily our numbers have improved in other countries so we didn';t feel the impact too greatly but it would have been much better for us if the level had not risen."

Other recent visa changes in Australia, however, have had a beneficial effect on enrolments. A recent change to working holiday visa regulations, allowing visa holders to study on language courses for four months instead of the previous maximum of three, is likely to boost enrolment figures (see Language Travel Magazine, July 2006, page 7). Margaret Dyer from SA Adelaide Language Centre in Adelaide, SA, highlights this factor as being important for influencing future enrolment trends, along with "changes to country classifications for student visas and an increase in business migrants from China".

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

Name

Company
Country

Telephone

Email


ASSOCIATIONS/
GROUPS

Eaquals
English Australia
Perth Education City
Quality English

WORKSHOPS / EXPOS
Alphe Conferences
International House
       World Organisation
       (Worldwide)

SERVICES
ICEF Online
Language Travel
       Phonecard

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
       Authority

AUSTRALIA
CELUSA
English Australia
Eynesbury College
       Academy
       of English
Flinders University -
       IELI
SAALC
SACE
Tafe International
       South Australia
University of
       Adelaide English
       School

BRAZIL
Idioma - Escola de
       Português
Melbourne
       Languages
       International

CANADA
Bodwell College
College of New
       Caledonia
Collège Platon
inlingua Vancouver
Maple Ridge / Pitt
       Meadows School
       District #42
National School of
       Languages
Stewart College
       of Languages

CHINA
Mandarin House

CZECH REPUBLIC
Global Study
       (Karlov College)

ENGLAND
Aspect (Australia,
       Canada, Ireland,
       Malta, NZ, South
       Africa, UK, USA)
Bell International
Camp Beaumont
City College
       Coventry
ELT Banbury
English Studio
Globe School
       of English
ILS English
International House
       World Organisation
       (Worldwide)
LAL Language
       and Leisure
       (England, Malta,
       South Africa, USA)
Liverpool
       International
       Language
       Academy
Malvern House
       College London
Oxford Brookes
       University
Oxford Intensive
       School of English -
       OISE (Australia,
       England, France,
       Germany, Spain,
       USA)
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's
       College
St Bedes
       International
       Summer School
St Giles Colleges
       (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, New Zealand,
       South Africa,
       Spain, USA)
Tellus Group
Twin Group
West London
       Business College

GERMANY
Carl Duisberg
       Centren
       (England, Germany)
Prolog- International
       House Berlin

IRELAND
Alpha College
       of English
High Schools
       International
       (Australia, Canada,
       England)

MALTA
EC - English
       Language Centres
       (England, Malta,
       South Africa)
inlingua Malta
International School
       of English
Linguatime
Malta Tourism
       Authority
NSTS

RUSSIA
AMBergh
       Management AB
       (Russia, Ukraine)

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
       Centres and Activity
       Camps (England,
       Ireland, Scotland,
       Wales)

SPAIN
Escuela de Español
       la Brisa S.L.
Hispalengua
Malaca Instituto -
       Club Hispánico SL

SWITZERLAND
EF Language
       Colleges Ltd
       (Australia, Canada,
       China, Ecuador,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, Malta, New
       Zealand, Russia,
       Scotland, Spain,
       USA)
Eurocentres
       International
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Italy,
       Japan, New
       Zealand, Russia,
       Spain, Switzerland,
       USA)

USA
American Language
       Communication
       Center
Hun School of
       Princeton, The
Kaplan Educational
       Centers
       (Canada, UK, USA)
Monterey Institute
       of International
       Studies
University of
       California Riverside
University of
       California San Diego
University of Illinois
       at Urbana-
       Champaign
Zoni Language
       Centers
       (Canada, USA)


EDUCATION TRAVEL

AUSTRALIA
Perth Education City

ENGLAND
Queen Ethelburga's
       College
St Bedes
       International
       Summer School
St Christopher
       School
Worksop College

SCOTLAND
University of
       Glasgow
University of Stirling

USA
ELS Language
       Centers
       (Canada, USA)
Monterey Institute
       of International
       Studies