Contents - May 2008

Special Report
Reaching new heights
The proliferation of accreditation schemes and language school associations throughout the world has stepped up a gear in recent years, with more destinations looking to assure agents and students of their quality provision, and individual schools seeking ever greater quality guidelines to distinguish themselves from their competitors. In addition, governments have been turning to language school accreditation systems as a means of enhancing the student visa process. Gillian Evans reports.

Accommodation overseas
A market shift towards residential accommodation is underway, as various language schools lead the way by catering to agency and client demands for more independent living solutions. Amy Baker reports.

The joys of Japan
Many people visit Japan to experience its unique culture and way of life. Language travellers will find many opportunities to have new experiences and gain new skills, as Bethan Norris reports.


Policing quality

Accreditation is the mot de jour at the moment, it seems that one can hardly turn a page of a reputable industry magazine without reading about efforts to uphold quality, evolve best practice and safeguard industry reputation through quality accreditation schemes.

In the USA, there is currently a bill in congress pushing for student visa issuance to be linked to evidence of an institution’s quality, ie accreditation status (page 10) and in the UK, this scenario becomes a reality next year (page 33), bringing the UK in line with competitor destinations such as New Zealand and Australia.

In Canada, a rapid and well organised re-accreditation process for half of the membership of Languages Canada to ensure all institutions are singing from the same hymn sheet now means that over 140 schools can attest to the same quality standards and enjoy unprecedented government backing. Already, only accredited Languages Canada-member schools can access study fairs organised overseas by Canadian embassies (page 6), so it may only be a matter of time before accreditation-linked visa issuance is discussed here.

As the prestige and clout of accredited status becomes more apparent within the industry, the number of educators seeking accreditation is bound to rise. (Although according to Chief Executive of English UK, Tony Millns, the current enrollment rate for Accreditation UK is slower than expected, given the impending deadline. See our webzine, Your World on Monday, for his “View from the Desk of” analysis – 10/03/08).

The slow cultivation of credentials has moved some educators to point out that simply being accredited will cease to be a unique selling point (page 31). This is true, but surely more competition within the accredited sector will motivate institutions to find other ways to stand out from the crowd. Far from accreditation status becoming devalued, I think it raises the operating benchmark from adequate to excellent and does enormous good for a country’s reputation as a whole.

A far greater risk, I think, in terms of compulsory accreditation, is the falsifying of company literature by dodgy operators to suggest thay they, like most others, are accredited, and an easy acceptance of this by (local) students. Students may check a school’s claims but what if they don’t? Given that schools themselves fund the cost of accreditation, should governments fund a whistleblowers’ forum to monitor and penalise the misuse of a valuable quality brand?

Policing quality

Languages Canada becomes a reality
New members for Ialc, including Chinese
BC holds summit on workplace English in Middle East
Russians reject UK’s biometric rule

Agency News
QE mission to Latin America
New web tool for agents

Agency Survey
Hungary evolves
The outgoing student market in Hungary is small but significant and shows promise for the future. Our first Agency Survey on this market shows that work programmes are particularly popular with Hungarian students, who may have an eye on future career prospects.

UK language schools attract an impressive mix of nationalities to their classrooms and ensure that no one nationality dominates.

One-to-one courses in Australia

One-to-one tuition is appealing to more than just business people, and combining personal learning with group tuition is also growing in popularity. We profile some of these study options available in Australia.

Course Guide
German in Europe
The countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland all offer German language learning options. We provide a guide to some of the courses out there and find out a little more about what is available.

Canada 2007
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine that aims to gather specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. Through our initiative, it is now possible to compare world market statistics.