|English UK forces ‘banned colleges’ correction
A news story in which a number of English language schools were wrongfully described as “banned” from bringing international students into the country has been corrected after pressure from school association, English UK.
In November, at least 22 English UK members were infuriated to be included on the list, which did not distinguish between colleges that had been blacklisted for malpractice and those that had voluntarily chosen to withdraw from the Register of Sponsors (RoS) before the “prohibitively expensive” new inspection regime came into force (see STM, January 2012, page 8). All of the institutions can legitimately teach EU students as well as non-EU students on courses of up to 11 months.
In an email to one of the affected schools, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) claimed it had supplied two separate lists of centres no longer on the RoS to the media and stressed that it had briefed journalists on the differences between the lists. UKBA blamed the media for getting the story incorrect.
Following the communication, English UK contacted the
Press Association (PA), the news agency that had orignally circulated the story to several national outlets. PA subsequently issued the following version, agreed with English UK, to its customers: “In 1 Politics Immigration List (Colleges in foreign student ban), transmitted on 01/11/2011 and repeated early on 02/11/2011, we reported that hundreds of colleges had been banned from bringing foreign students into the UK as part of the government’s plans to control immigration. English UK, which represents accredited English language colleges, a sector worth around UK£2.5 billion [US$3.8 billion] to the UK economy, has asked us to make it clear that its members who were named had voluntarily chosen not to apply to stay on the list, for legitimate business reasons, because they can still bring in students on visitor visas and do not need a Tier 4 licence.”
Tony Millns, EUK CEO, said, “We’re pleased that PA has acted quickly on this and included a fuller explanation of the facts for its users. We are also hoping that everyone involved, including the UKBA press team, PA and the wider media will now have a better understanding of the issues involved so that similar, potentially defamatory mistakes, will not be made on future occasions.”
CES acquires Oxford House
Centre of English Studies (CES) has further expanded with the acquisition of Oxford House School of English, adding to the recently announced purchase of Leeds Languages and enlarging the company portfolio to six schools across the UK and Ireland.
Oxford House School of English is in rural location outside the city and has nine classrooms, a self-access area, student common room, and large gardens. Students will be taught at six levels throughout the year with an average class size of eight-to-10 students. “The village is also a very safe environment for students who may prefer a more personal learning experience,” said CES Marketing Director, Jonathan Quinn, adding that the idyllic village setting located near the bustling city of Oxford offered students the best of both worlds.
Oxford House was founded in 1983 by Robin and Christine Vernède and is an Ialc school as well an English UK member. “We have taken over a very well-known and respected school and want to continue the fantastic relationships they have with their agents while introducing our existing agents to this new exciting option from Team CES,” added Quinn.
King’s College team with Real Madrid
King’s College International has paired with the Real Madrid Foundation to introduce an English language plus football course at its summer school in Madrid, Spain.
The course is designed for students aged between seven and 16 and is available for two or four weeks. Students will receive two English lessons per day along with three hours of coaching with the professional trainers from the Real Madrid Foundation. The daily football element will consist of 90 minutes of training and 90 minutes of competitive action.
English UK holds marketing conference and releases data
The English language teaching industry recently gathered at a new venue, London’s historic Butchers’ Hall, for the annual English UK ELT Marketing Conference.
The event was opened by Nigel Risner, a City of London CEO, who explained effective networking, and closed by entrepreneur BJ Cunningham’s advice on brand creation. Nine elective sessions were given by experts from the ELT industry and a panel discussion on branding and future prospects featured English UK Chief Executive, Tony Millns, and EC Group Executive Chairman, Andrew Mangion, among those answering questions.
Jodie Gray, English UK Senior International Manager and the event’s organiser, said, “It’s been great. We filled all 165 places for the event and had a waiting list of more people who wanted to come. The speakers made a real impression with all the delegates, and lots of people were very complimentary about the new venue.” (See page 87 for photos from the event.)
Meanwhile, English UK has released its annual return statistics for 2010, collected from private sector members. The data showed that student weeks rose to 2,144,168 in 2010, up from 1,999,137 in the previous year. Echoing the results of STM’s Status Survey (see STM, November 2011, page 72), Spain was the largest nationality in terms of student weeks, followed by Italy. The data, collected from 362 centres, also showed that student weeks had risen in both the adult and junior sectors.
UUK calls for students to be dropped from migrant figures
Universities UK (UUK), the representative organisation for the university sector, is calling for the government to exclude international students from their immigration data.
It is hoped that the proposal would protect universities from any further toughening of Tier 4 student visa regulations, send a positive message to international students, and allow the government to meet its immigration targets.
Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia and chair of UUK’s task force on student visas, told Times Higher Education, “This move we are proposing would make it far easier for universities and the British Council to get the message across…that legitimate non-European Union students are most welcome.”
Overseas students are presently included in net migration figures published by the Office of National Statistics. The government has introduced tougher student visa restrictions as one method of reducing migration figures. However, in 2010 net migration (inbound migration minus outbound) was the highest ever recorded 252,000. Of a total of 591,000 immigrants, almost half of those (238,000) arrived to study.
Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex, said, “The argument we’ve got to make is about net migration itself.” Riordan said he accepted the government faced political pressure to meet targets, “But there must be a recognition that students are not migrants, they study and they go home.”
Meanwhile, a report by CentreForum, an independent think-tank, has argued that the lack of working rights for Tier 4 students at private HE institutions is severely damaging the sector and called for privileges to be reinstated. As part of changes to Tier 4 student visas in 2011, only students at publically funded institutions can now work part-time during study. The report highlighted the recent closure of Cavendish College London, which was BAC accredited and offered University of Wales validated degrees. Annual income reportedly halved between July 2010 and September 2011 due to declining international admissions. At the time of writing, St Patrick’s College was offering places to international students affected by the closure.
University of Tokyo eyes autumn enrolment switch
A panel at the University of Tokyo has strongly recommended switching to an autumn enrolment for undergraduates in order to fall in line with the global norm and broaden international recruitment opportunities.
The interim report by the panel said, “An autumn start is the international standard and consequently our current April start is a barrier to the internationalisation of university education.”
The university is concerned that a lack of internationalisation is causing it to slip down global university comparisons. Although still comfortably the highest ranked Japanese university, as of May 2011, only 53 of the university’s undergraduates (0.4 per cent of the total) were studying abroad. It is hoped the move will encourage University of Tokyo students to study abroad and facilitate the acceptance of more overseas students.
The plans, announced by President, Junichi Hamada, are expected to be adopted within five years and have prompted many leading universities to also consider switching. Factors including a six-month gap after high school graduation have stalled previous attempts to change, but with declining birth rates in Japan, universities are increasingly reliant on international students.
Groupement Fle holds annual conference
Members of French language school association, Groupement Fle, gathered recently in the French city of Lyon for a range of discussions and workshops at the annual Journées Professionnelles event.
Round-table discussion topics included Groupement Fle’s role in the world of teaching French as a foreign language, highlighting quality as a means of promotion and “Mutualisation competitors or colleagues?” Manuela Pinto, Head of the French language department at the CIEP, Jacky Cailler, President of CampusFle/Aducuefe, and David Diplock, former President of Ialc, were among the guest speakers. Workshops also covered educator/agent relations, the quality of student welcomes and human resource management.
“Groupement Fle has made big strides in the last few years in its quest to federate members, promote quality, and take part in joint marketing ventures,” said Andrew Kinselle, Groupement Fle spokesperson. “Its active presence on many fronts has now made it an essential partner in discussions with partners within France and internationally on all matters related to teaching French as a foreign language.”
Groupement Fle recently held its inaugural roadshow to Poland to meet agents in February, and announced that Alphe UK and ICEF Berlin were on its promotional agenda in 2012.