Kaplan Aspect buys out IH-Wels group of five schools
International language school giant, Kaplan Aspect, has bought out another five schools in the UK, USA and Australia, through its purchase of the UK’s IH-Wels Group, which is affiliated to International House and has schools in Bath, Salisbury and Torquay in the UK, San Diego in the USA and Sydney in Australia. The sale completed in January this year.
Carina Wong, Communications Director at Kaplan Aspect, said that the group was a particularly attractive proposition due to their high standard of operations and range of locations as a way to offer agent partners and students the widest possible choice of destinations.
“The locations complement the existing Kaplan portfolio of schools,” she said. “We are delighted to add three of England’s most attractive destinations Bath, Salisbury and Torquay to our list as well as the boarding schools and campuses where Wels has been operating its summer schools. We have been very keen to have a second school in Sydney, close to the water. Manly is, of course, the perfect location. Finally, we now have a second well-located San Diego school in the charming Old Town an interesting alternative to Kaplan Aspect in La Jolla.”
Martin Lemon, Managing Director of the IH-Wels Group, will continue to manage the group of five schools, while principals, teachers, administrators and directors of studies will also all remain the same. Wong added, “In 2009, the courses provided by Wels will be as promised in the current brochures and relationships with agents will remain exactly the same. There will be some realignment in 2010 as the schools become fully integrated into Kaplan’s English language teaching division but our goal is to preserve the values and programme integrity that Martin and his team have established over the years, while enabling Wels to benefit from some of the many educational and technological resources Kaplan has developed.”
In the same week, Kaplan Aspect also announced that it had acquired a stake in BrightStar, a group of schools in Vietnam that teaches English and helps students prepare for international studies and overseas placement. The company operates six campuses throughout Vietnam and has 70 full-time employees.
ESL institute to open on Minot State University campus in the USA
Minot State University (MSU) in North Dakota in the USA has joined forces with The Language Company and will offer ESL tuition on campus at the university from the summer.
Libby Claerbout, Director of International Programmes at the university, said, “The Language Company approached MSU because they felt the university, Minot and the surrounding region offers what international students are looking for. We are in a friendly Midwest environment, where Minot has all the amenities of a much larger city but we also have a low cost of living and low crime rate all perfect for an ESL institute.”
English classes for international students are due to start in the summer with eight-to-10 students but it is hoped that numbers will grow to 50 in the future. The institute will be the 10th location run by The Language Company in the USA.
Taiwan launches certification for host families
The Taiwanese Ministry of Education has launched a certificate and training programme for host families that hopes to recruit 1,000 new families to host international students coming to the country over the next 12 months.
Workshops for host families have been developed in collaboration with the Rotary Club, National Kaohsiung Hospitality College, Kaosiung County’s Chung Shan Industrial and Commercial High School, as well as several other schools around the country, and all applicants are required to have a steady income and be able to communicate with foreign visitors in a foreign language. Families that complete the workshop will be matched up with international students to provide free short-term accommodation.
Vice Minister of Education, Lu Mu-lin, said at a press conference, “Families that host international students will have the opportunity to broaden their horizons while interacting with students from other countries.” The ministry has set up a page on its website that allows potential hosts to apply for the training workshop and become a certified member of the homestay network.
The scheme was introduced in recognition of Taiwan’s growing popularity as a destination for international students to learn Mandarin and local Taiwanese customs.
EF unveils collaboration with Cambridge Esol
Language school chain EF has announced a new initiative with Cambridge Esol that will see the school group promoting Cambridge exams to their students and a new internationally comparable test of English developed for EF students of all levels.
The EF Cambridge English Level Test is currently being developed by the exam group and is designed to provide a way for students at all EF schools worldwide to show their English language level in comparison with current internationally recognised qualifications. EF also intends to establish a network of EF schools as Cambridge exam centres to deliver Cambridge and Bulats exams to students and encourage all its teachers to gain Cambridge Esol professional qualifications for language teachers.
Philip Hult, President of EF, said, “We are delighted to work with Cambridge Esol. Through a close collaboration, we believe that together we can improve the way that students learn English through an exploration of the best tools, techniques and technologies for teaching and testing.”
Korean/US visa programme gets off to slow start
A new visa programme that offers Korean students the chance to spend 18 months in the USA studying English and gaining work experience in a paid internship is to reduce the number of visas available during the first year from 5,000 to 1,300.
The Work English Study and Travel (West) programme was developed after US President George W Bush and Korean President Lee Myung-bak discussed plans to create new bilateral opportunities for US and Korean young people to work and travel in each other’s countries in August last year. The original plan was to allow 5,000 qualifying university students and recent graduates from Korea to enter the USA for a period of 18 months on a J-1 visa from 2009. However, the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced at the end of last year that the programme would launch in March 2009 with an initial 300 participants, and a further 1,000 participants are expected to take part the following summer.
Under the scheme, Koreans will spend 450 hours in the classroom where they will receive English language training as well as learn about US corporate culture and general office management issues. After completing their English courses, participants will be able to undertake paid work in professional-level internships for up to 12 months under sponsorship organisations. The visa would also allow participants to spend one month in the USA to travel. In the reciprocal agreement, up to 5,000 US students a year would be allowed to work and travel in Korea for up to 18 months by applying for a working holiday visa.
Newspaper reports in Korea say that the decrease in the number of visas available for Korean applicants in the first year is due to difficulties securing quality internships in the USA due to the current economic crisis. A representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the Hankyoreh newspaper, “We are carrying out the project with three firms recommended by the US State Department. Most applicants will be able to work as paid interns.”
did deutsch-institut opens new branch in Hamburg
German language school did deutsch-institut is to open a new branch on a university campus in Hamburg this year. The school will open in June 2009 and share its location with the Euro-Business-College, a private university attracting 400 students studying in a range of different subject fields including economics, politics and tourism.
Patrick Semidei, Managing Director of did deutsch-institut, said that by sharing a building with the university, language students could use the same infrastructure, including “the students’ library, computer rooms, restaurant, café and 200 metre squared roof terrace with a direct view of the lake and the city hall”, and mix with German students.
The new location marks did deutsch-institut’s fourth in Germany and will enable students to study in all four locations on the school’s 4X programme. Semidei said, “With Hamburg we are now covering the different regions in Germany from the north Hamburg to the south Munich and from the west Frankfurt to the east Berlin. Students can combine any of the four schools to learn German without incurring any extra costs. Instead of, for example, just studying four weeks in Berlin, they can go for two weeks in Berlin followed by two weeks in Hamburg. The minimum stay per school is two weeks. So within just two months, a student can explore the four major cities of the country.”
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