|UCD establishes Beijing-Dublin campus
University College Dublin (UCD) has signed an agreement with Beijing University of Technology to establish the Beijing-Dublin International campus, which will advance education and research links between the two institutions and develop study abroad opportunities for Irish students.
UCD President, Hugh Brady, signed the agreement at an event hosted by Beijing Mayor, Guo Jinlong, at City Hall in the Chinese capital. “The agreement came about very quickly we started talking about it in August [last year] and the first students will come in September . The twinning of the cities of Beijing and Dublin was the inspiration, and gave us the support of the Mayor,” said Dr Brady.
The first programmes will be dual degrees in business, science and engineering. Dr Brady said plans are to quickly scale the joint venture to full university status and that the campus would serve as a magnet for top-quality Chinese and international students, as well as providing a quality destination for Irish students interested in Chinese language, culture and business.
“This cooperation model is an innovation for the Beijing educational system,” said Mayor Jinlong, who visited UCD in 2011. “It’s the first time to establish a cooperation between a municipal university and a foreign institution and to set up a subsidiary campus,” he added.
Stafford House opens Brighton centre
Stafford House School of English, owned by Cambridge Education Group, has announced the opening of a new centre in Brighton, its third location in the UK.
Set to open in April, the new school is a few hundred metres from the beachfront in an area surrounded by shops, cafés and restaurants, and ten minutes walk from the city centre. Accommodation will be available in a conveniently located student house with a network of homestay families also on hand.
“We have been investing heavily in our adult English language business for some time, opening a premium quality language school in London and completely refurbishing our original centre in Canterbury,” said Stafford House Director, Stephan Roussounis. “Following the hugely positive and valued feedback from our agent partners, we have decided to bring Stafford House to Brighton the UK’s third most popular language destination further broadening the portfolio of Cambridge Education Group courses and centres we can offer to our students and agent partners,” he added.
Courses offered in Brighton include General English, Ielts and Cambridge Esol Preparation, Business English and One-to-One. Course fees will be the same as those in London and Canterbury.
International student ban for 11 South Korean institutions
South Korea’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (Mest) has banned 11 institutions from accepting international students for one year, following a four-month government investigation into standards. A further 19 institutions have been ordered to improve performance and management of international students if they wish to retain the right to recruit them.
The inspection of some 347 institutions was ordered after concerns that the reputation of the country’s higher education system was being damaged by universities accepting international students for financial reasons without being able to adequately provide a high-quality education for them (see STM, November 2011, page 21).
Problems encountered by the inspections included failing to follow admission procedures, allowing students to bypass immigration rules, admission scams and grading irregularities. The government named Hansung University, Soonsil University and Sungshin Women’s University, all in Seoul, as among those banned.
Mest reported that Korea had 83,843 international students in 2010, a four-fold increase over 2006. Over 70 per cent of these students were from China.
New Jerez summer camp for Inturjoven
Spanish language course provider, Inturjoven, has announced a new summer camp centre in the Andalusian city of Jerez.
Located 10 minutes from the airport and a 10-minute walk from the city centre, the on-site accommodation features double and single en suite rooms, a 24-hour reception desk, a canteen, swimming pool and free Wi-Fi access in common areas. Jerez is famed for its wineries, equestrianism and as the birthplace of flamenco, and all of these aspects feature on the optional trip programme.
France relents over tougher post-study visas
The French government has been forced to backtrack on efforts to tighten visa regulations for non-EU students wishing to stay and work after graduation, following opposition from universities, elite schools, business groups and student unions.
A directive issued in May 2011 by Interior Minister, Claude Gueant, was part of a tightening of visa policy and asked authorities to vigorously consider requests from students to transfer to work visas. Tougher restrictions on proving financial resources were also introduced (see STM, December 2011, page 19).
The Conférence des Présidents d’Université (CPU), an organisation of university presidents, had opposed the restrictions, while some government ministers had also publically expressed reservations about the policy.
Gueant, Higher Education Minister, Laurent Wauquiez, and Labour Minister, Xavier Bertrand, recently presented a new version of the directive, ordering officials to grant work visas to international students with Master’s and higher degrees. However, a number of student associations said they would continue their opposition, believing that the new directive would reinforce discrimination against some students, and called for a return to previous financial assessment guidelines.
AILS joins L’Office, and launches new website
Language travel agency, AILS Séjours Linguistiques, has become a member of the association L’Office National de Garantie des Séjours et Stages Linguistiques. Membership means that AILS is committed to the quality contract of the organisation and that clients may refer to a mediatory commission in the case of dispute.
In a press release, AILS said, “This commitment reflects the policy that AILS has been developing for over 15 years. Indeed, the driving idea of our company is to guarantee students quality language study as well as thorough preparation and follow-up during their whole stay.”
Meanwhile, AILS has also launched a new website dedicated to homestay language courses. The website cours chez la professeur features total immersion programmes in more than 20 languages in over 40 countries, as well as a range of sport and activity options.
ISI plan for AAIEP members & China portal
International Student Insurance (ISI) has announced an international health insurance plan designed exclusively for American Association of Intensive English Program (AAIEP) members.
The plan can be customised specifically for schools, regardless of size, and will be underwritten by Lloyds of London. ISI has developed an online enrolment tool, which will enable clients to enrol participants, make changes, run reports and print ID cards. The plan includes emergency medical evacuation, repatriation and emergency reunion and will be administered in the USA with 24-hour customer support.
Meanwhile, ISI has also launched a new Chinese portal geared towards helping Chinese students planning to study in the USA. Specially created PDF brochures in Chinese will advise students of the various health insurance plans available.
Sonocent launches annotation software
Annotated-audio software specialists, Sonocent, have launched two new pieces of software designed to assist international students who may find it difficult to take notes during lectures and seminars.
The Audio Notetaker technology allows the user to display phrases from recorded speech as bars, allowing them to interact with the recording as if it were text. The Mac version is now available from the Sonocent website.
Audio Tutor is the oral language equivalent of a word processor and allows the user to organise and annotate visually spoken phrases as coloured blocks, like sentences, which can be organised into sections. These can then be annotated with colour or text and users can also import images or PowerPoint and PDF slides.
Both products were showcased at the recent BETT (British Education Training and Technology) Show in London
Cambridge test centres expand in China
Access to Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) in China has increased as 21 new exam centres have opened across the country. The new locations in North, East, South and Central China will offer both the paper-based and computer-based versions of the internationally recognised language exam.
Cambridge explained that the expansion formed part of a wider plan to increase access to the test since being accepted by immigration departments in Australia and the UK for student visas. Cambridge Esol’s Sujata Stead said, “Following recognition of Cambridge English: Advanced by the UKBA and DIAC for student visa applications in the UK and Australia, we have significantly boosted opportunities to take the test in China. The new test centres mean more people in China are able to take the high-level, high quality exam for studying abroad.”
New Internship programmes at ILSC
ILSC has launched two new internship programmes in Vancouver for 2012. The Work Experience Program (WEP) and the Volunteer Internship Program (VIP) will both be offered in a part-time format to get students into paid and unpaid internship placements while accelerating their language learning.
Both offerings will be preceded by a period of full-time intensive study that will prepare students for the internship experience. “They bring an exciting new option for those students wanting to continually develop their language skills during internship,” said ILSC’s Mara Muller. “This part-time internship format will give students real world experience in an English speaking environment along with continued language learning support, and the chance to share their internship challenges, tips, and experiences with peers in a classroom setting,” Muller added.
Chinese airlines have announced a number of new routes into Europe. Air China has resumed direct flights between Shanghai and Paris after a one-year hiatus. Five flights per week will depart Shanghai for the French capital. The existing Shanghai-Beijing-Paris route has been rescheduled as a daily direct Beijing-Paris service. Air China has also become the latest long-haul carrier to add a service into London Gatwick airport, with a four-times-weekly connection to Beijing to commence from May. Meanwhile, China Southern Airlines is set to launch flights from its Guangzhou hub to London Heathrow from the summer, becoming the first direct link from Guangzhou into the UK.
Singapore Airlines has announced plans for a new budget carrier for long-haul connections. Scoot will be based at Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal 2 and will operate flights into Asia, Australia and China in its first year, before expanding into Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The first service looks set to be from Sydney to Singapore in mid-2012. Meanwhile, SilkAir, another low-cost carrier owned by Singapore Airlines, is commencing a four-times-weekly direct service between Singapore and Darwin, the carrier’s first route into Australia.
The UK government has approved plans for a high-speed rail connection between London and Birmingham. The service will reduce travel time between the country’s two largest cities to 45 minutes. The HS2 line will connect to the UK’s first high-speed connection between London and the Channel Tunnel and onwards to the European rail network. A subsequent second phase of the project is to further extend the high-speed rail network to Manchester and Leeds. Construction is set to commence from 2016.
Japan Airlines (JAL) launches a route from Tokyo Narita to Boston in the USA next month, its first new trans-Pacific route for thirteen years. The daily service will be the only direct, non-stop service between Japan and Boston, and will shave up to six hours off current connection time.
Air France is to commence new routes from both Nice and Toulouse to the Greek capital of Athens. The three flights a week from Nice and four from Toulouse represent part of the carrier’s plan to expand international departures from the French regions. “Thanks to these new routes, Air France will expand its offer from Greece and offer innovative and very attractive fares,” said Yann Gilbert, General Manager, Air France for Greece & Cyprus.
Emirates has announced a second daily non-stop flight from Dubai to Glasgow, due to commence from June, a result of continued demand for a service which first commenced in 2004 and has now carried over 1.7 million passengers. The additional flight will increase daily capacity by 199 seats each way. “This announcement illustrates our commitment to Scotland and to the wider UK route network in difficult economic times,” said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation. “Our Glasgow route has been a real success story, and we are confident that there is demand for additional services flying to and from Dubai and beyond to our global network of over 100 destinations.”
Budget airline, Ryanair, has announced that it will open its 50th base at Paphos, the third largest city in Cyprus, from next month. The first base in the country will offer over 80 weekly flights to 14 different routes across Europe, including Germany, Italy and Sweden. Alfred Van der Meer, Hermes Airport Group Chief Executive, said, “This is a great vote of confidence in the potential of both the airport and our region from Europe’s largest airline.”
New Icelandic airline, Wow Air, is to launch services from the UK to Reykjavik in the summer. Wow will provide three flights per week from London Stansted Airport. The airline will be competing with easyJet, which is soon to commence a thrice-weekly connection from London Luton Airport. Visit Iceland Marketing Manager, Sigga Groa, said, “We are delighted that easyJet and Wow Air are increasing accessibility to Iceland and hope that the additional flights will further increase our rising visitor numbers.” Wow Air is also set to fly from Iceland to Alicante, Basel, Berlin, Copenhagen, Krakow, Lyon, Paris, Stuttgart, Warsaw and Zurich.