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March 2013 issue

Contents
News
News Round Up
Inside the industry
Agency Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Direction
Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
Regional Focus
Market Analysis
Grapevine


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African sunshine

Growth in the African education travel market remains hampered by restrictive visa regulations and high costs in many of the traditional education destinations. As a consequence, some African students are turning to other continents for their education needs, as Gillian Evans reports.


Throughout most of the African continent there is a need for international education, mainly owing to a lack opportunity in their home countries. Describing the situation in South Africa, Antony Ceruti at OVC Stellenbosch in South Africa, says, “Education standards appear to be deteriorating in South Africa and study abroad will always remain of interest to those who can afford to travel.” Nosa Evbuomwan at Virtue Consultancy Services in Nigeria paints a similar picture, saying that the “poor state of our educational system in [Nigeria]” is driving demand for international education elsewhere.

Bayo Francis Ibitayo of Franice-Fort & Associates in Nigeria adds that a lack of education places at home is causing students to turn their attentions to other countries. “Many students are willing to travel abroad for study because of their inability to secure admission locally and a craving for international education is very common among the youth.”

When it comes to selecting an education destination, two major factors come into play, says Terence Ewane, Director of Alpha Study Group International in Cameroon: budgetary restraints and visa access, he explains.

“The course fee is one of the top determinant factors in choosing a study destination,” agrees Olayinka Yomi-Edun at Stephill Consults in Nigeria, “as well as security, followed by living costs.”

While financial considerations are one of the main concerns for African students looking to study abroad, the ease with which students can gain visa entry is crucial. Indeed, Ibitayo puts the blame for the 15 per cent drop in enrolments at Franice-Fort & Associates over recent years squarely on the shoulders of changes in visa policies, as does Yomi-Edun at Stephill Consults.

Ewane in Cameroon reports a downward spiral in UK enrolments, as well as France, because of visa issues, while other countries with more liberal visa regulations have benefited. “[In] September 2012, there was a drop [in demand] for the UK. The UKBA gave the list of [approved] banks for Cameroon, and students had to take time moving to recognised banks. Canada increased, over time, because of the two recent Canadian education fairs organised in Cameroon every January. UK enrolments dropped to about 25 per cent, while Canada increased to about 15 per cent. The USA is always constant but fluctuates, while France had a sharp decrease due to new ‘selective immigration’ laws,” he says.

For South African students, work rights are another major incentive for choosing one destination over another, and the changes in regulations for the UK has had a detrimental effect on demand among South Africans. Ceruti explains, “Since our currency is really weak in comparison to first-world countries, it is expensive to study and live abroad, sometimes four times as much as studying locally.” According to Ceruti, most of their students are drawn to countries where they are permitted to work while studying. This has meant that those destinations with liberal work regulations have gained in the African market, while demand for those that do not allow African students to work is almost non-existent. Because of the restrictive work regulations, OVC Stellenbosch does not partner with any Australian or US colleges.

In contrast, those countries with more liberal work regulations have gained. For example, demand for Ireland and New Zealand has grown; Ireland because of the relatively cheap cost of living and studying, coupled with the ability to obtain work rights to supplement living expenses; and New Zealand as it has similar work rights for students, and it allows those who graduate at a certain level to apply for a work visa which can lead to residency. “This is the main attraction for South Africans, who are drawn to New Zealand because of the cultural similarities and the offer of a future in a more secure country,” continues Ceruti. “Saying this, 2012 has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of students we are sending to New Zealand for two main reasons: Immigration New Zealand changed their policy in April 2012, requiring students to study for two years - previously it was one year - at diploma level before they are eligible for the graduate work permit. New Zealand is also expensive and the rand has recently weakened significantly to the NZ dollar.”

Confirming the sensitivity of the African market, Jorge Baron at Destination Australia, based in South Africa, reports that the strength of the Australian dollar and changes to migration laws have had a “big impact” on recruitment from Africa. This comes at a time when African enrolments, albeit making up a relatively small part of the Australian market, have been showing some growth. “Nigeria did have an increase in commencements over last year – and I know there has been steady enrolments from Kenya, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and South Africa,” reports Baron. “I think there has also been growing interest in the mining-related course areas offered by many Australian institutions on the West Coast.”

As a direct result of difficult visa entry regulations and restrictive study costs, alternative destinations are catching the eye of African students. While 85 per cent of Ewane’s students are French-speaking, some do meet the English language requirements to study in the UK, Canada and the USA. But increasingly they have been favouring Hungary as a study abroad destination. “The reason is their ease to enter the Schengen region, which has easy visa [regulation rules] and a low cost of living and tuition.”

Ibitayo reports that their top destinations last year were Turkey, Cyprus, India, Russia and the Ukraine, as well as the UK, Canada, USA and Australia. The newer destinations have benefited because of the ease of obtaining a visa and the low cost of living, says Ibitayo. While Yomi-Edun notes the Ukraine has benefited as a study destination, while demand for the UK has declined.

In terms of course demand, as well as mining-related courses, Ewane mentions that there has been a surge in interest in courses relevant to international business, particularly the oil and gas industry. “Many oil wells have been discovered in African countries recently and many western companies coming to Cameroon need highly trained [employees].”

Ibitayo in Nigeria highlights computer science, engineering, business administration, medicine and information technology as being most popular among their students.

Although hampered by visa regulations in some countries and economic issues at home, the African market holds considerable potential. “I do believe that as economics grow in resource-rich countries in Africa like Angola and Nigeria, for example, there will be more demand for education abroad in the future,” says Baron.


African agent usage

Whether African students use education agents or book independently is largely dependent on Internet connectivity and reliability, according to a British Council report entitled, ‘Why students use agents’, published at the end of 2011. If they had access to a reliable Internet service they were more likely to book directly.

Another issue that dictated whether students would use an education agent was the reputation for agents in the region. There has been considerable negative publicity in recent years surrounding the high number of fraudulent applications from education agents acting on behalf of students from African countries, who have allegedly been trying to gain access to loans and benefits fraudulently or gain residency through the back door. “The reputation of education agents has suffered as a result of this controversy, and institutions and students are reportedly wary of having applications denied as a result of being suspected as fraudulent,” the report said.

None of the African agents interviewed for this article dealt with scholarships directly. Olayinka Yomi-Edun at Stephill Consults says, “We do not arrange scholarships apart from reductions given by the institutions, rather we ask students to contact the British Council on available scholarships.”

A slightly higher proportion of Kenyan, Nigerian and Ugandan respondents said they were more likely than not to use an education agent. But a slightly higher proportion said they would not among Zimbabwean and Ghanaian students. Interestingly, in Nigeria, a relatively high proportion – over 60 per cent – of students wanting to study veterinary science said they would use an agent, much higher than the 40-to-50 per cent of students applying for other subjects.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Study 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

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ACCOMMODATION
AHLI - American Home Life International  
Generation Estates  
Homestay Technologies Ltd  
Sara's New York Homestay LLC  
Studyhouse  
ASSOCIATIONS/GROUPS
EnglishAustralia  
English UK  
Feltom Malta
Languages Canada / Langues Canada 
 
MEI  
Quality English  
AUSTRALIA

Ability English  
Academia International College 
Access Macquarie Limited  
Australian Institute of Professional Education  
Cairns Language Centre / Eu
rocentres Cairns  
EnglishAustralia  
ILSC Australia  
Impact English College  
English Language & Foundation Studies Centre  
UNSW Global Pay Limited (University of New South Wales)  
CANADA
Algoma University  
Bow Valley College  
Camosun College  
Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology  
COMOX valley - School District 71  
East Coast School of Languages (ECSL)  
University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres  
Ecole Quebec Monde  
Hansa Language Centre of Toronto  
Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced  
ILSC - International Language Schools of Canada  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
Niagara College  
Ottawa International Student Programmes (OISP)  
St Giles Vancouver  
ENGLAND
Anglia Ruskin University  
Bright World Guardianships  
Camp Beaumont  
International House World Organisation  
Kaplan International Colleges  
Prime Education  
London Language Centre  
London School of Business & Finance  
PGL  
Plus  
School of Oriental and African Studies  
St Giles International  
Trent College  
TUS Advertising  
Twin Group  
University of East Anglia  
EXAM BOARDS
Cambridge Esol  
TOEFL Educational Testing Service
FRANCE
Accent Francais  
Alliance Francaise Marseille-Provence  
Centre Mediterraneen d'Etudes Francaises  
Ecole Suisse Internationale  
French in Normandy  
Groupement FLE  
ILCF Institut Catholique de Paris  
Langue Onze Toulouse  
LSF Montpellier  
Lyon Bleu International  
Paris Langues / Club CEI des 4 Vents  
Université de Perpignan  
GERMANY
F+U Academy of Languages  
ESL Ecole Suisse de Langues  
HONG KONG
English For Asia  
INSURANCE
Guard. Me  
Ingle International  
IRELAND
Centre of English Studies  
IH Cork  
MEI  
Travelling Languages - Think Ahead LTD  
ITALY
A Door To Italy  

MALTA
Feltom Malta
inlingua Malta  
SOUTH AFRICA
City Education Language School  
EC Cape Town  
EF International Language Centers  
English Language School Cape Town  
Eurocentres International  
Good Hope Studies  
International House Cape Town  
inlingua Language Training Centre Cape Town  
Interlink School of Languages  
Jeffrey's Bay Language School  
Kurus English CC  
LAL Cape Town  
Language Teaching Centre  
SWITZERLAND
EF International Language Centers  
Eurocentres International  
TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism Authority  
TURKEY
International Mediterranen Academy  
USA
AHLI - American Home Life International  
Brown University  
California State University San Marcos  
ELS Language Centers  
FLS International  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  
Glenholme School  
Global Language Institute  
Hun School of Princeton  
Lawrence Academy  
Montverde Academy  
Saint John's University  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Lan
guage Centers





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