||Think Poland promotes study in Poland
An education agency that has branches in both Poland and Australia promoting English language study is now aiming to put Poland on the map as an educational destination with the launch of its new venture, Think Poland. Nora Falencik, Executive Manager of Bridge Agency Overseas Education Centres, which has offices in Warsaw and Sydney, told Study Travel Magazine, “Poland is an attractive and cost-effective education destination in the European Union, where students can undertake quality graduate and postgraduate studies in English (or Polish). The average study cost per year is e2,500-e5,000 (US$3,504 - US$7,008).”
Think Poland represents major public universities, academies of economics and polytechnics in the country, that provide programmes in both English and Polish. Falencik reports, “We are also cooperating with the Institutes of Polish Academy of Science, which are famous for their international research and PhD programmes, also in English.” The company is looking to work with more agent partners worldwide and has five offices throughout Poland. The offices will help with logistics such as obtaining a Polish Resident’s Card, finding accommodation and organising a tax number, as well as organise student events.
Falencik pointed out another advantage that international students should consider: “Full-time international students can work legally with a work permit.” She said that Think Poland offices would provide job assistance services, and has signed partnership agreements with recruitment agencies working in certain sectors such as gastronomy and hospitality.
Think Poland has been designated a winner of the EU Innovative Economy programme, for its innovation and the IT system that has been designed for its operation www.thinkpoland.org. “I hope Think Poland will provide a strong input into the promotion of Poland as an educational and travel destination,” said Falencik, adding that there are also degree-level courses available in French and German. “We also organise courses in Polish language for academic purposes for those wishing to study in Polish.”
Languages Canada members gain access to promotional brand
The 153 members of Languages Canada, representing private and public sector schools offering English and French language training, have finally gained access to the ‘Imagine’ brand that was rolled out by the government in November 2009 to promote education in the country.
Jean-Philippe Tachdjian, representing the Department for Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Dfait), announced the news at Languages Canada’s recent conference. The new shift in rules signals a major milestone in Canadian education policy, as all provincial jurisdictions for education had to agree a policy towards brand use that incorporated private language teaching institutions.
Gonzalo Peralta, Executive Director, said, “This is a particularly sweet step as it was the language training sector, through Capls, that created the concept and proposal for a national education brand.” It enables access to Edu-Canada pavilions at events around the world and means government recognition of the association’s accreditation process.
Agency of the month
In a series appearing each month in Study Travel Magazine, we ask a different language teaching institution to nominate one of their preferred agencies or agent partners, and to explain why this person/company is worthy of their nomination.
This month, Manchester Academy of English in the UK nominates Al Ahlam Training Services in Oman. Celine Cameron, Director of the school, explains this decision.
“At Manchester Academy of English, we would like to nominate Kate Clarke and Al Ahlam Training Services in Oman as our Agency of the month for their commitment to exemplary service. Kate and her team demonstrate an outstanding commitment to the welfare of all the students that they place and work with trusted partners that they know will be able to respond if any issue emerges.
We had one problem arise which was regarding host family accommodation and within two hours of her client arriving in the UK, Kate was aware of the problem and on the phone working with me to resolve it. I like to think that she embodies the traditional and personal values that many in this industry hold dear and she is genuinely engaged in ensuring a successful outcome for each and every client. Al Ahlam is a family-run business that we hope to continue enjoying a great business relationship and rapport with over the coming years.”
Industry issues - agents speak out
Q. Do you believe that interest in study abroad is growing or declining among the youthful population in your country?
Niall Abbott, Halsbury Travel, UK
“As a tour operator that specialises in school group travel and individual bookings from the youthful population we have seen a rise in bookings and interest in the last year. School groups are swapping their traditional exchange programmes for language school visits and are coming to us for quality language and homestay programmes for young students. Our A-level Revision courses in Spain and France have also been very popular this year. In many cases this year we have had parents and children travelling together taking either family courses or adult and junior courses running simultaneously. One of the biggest problems that we have faced comes from the budget airlines in this country changing the rules over unaccompanied minors travelling alone. Ryanair no longer accept under-16s and easyJet only accept 14-15 year olds if they are booked through their call centre.”
Abdul Wahid Abbasi, Academy of Professional Studies & Counselling, Pakistan
“Since the last decade, the quest to study in the UK for higher studies has drastically risen among students in Pakistan for both undergraduate and postgraduate as well as research cadres, which reflects their demands towards gaining a valuable education in Britain. The global recession has affected the economic prosperity [of students] in certain walks of life, but still [young people] desire to seek a foreign qualification from Britain to [counter] the effects of global recession through education.”
Luz Helena Acosta, ULPA University Language Programs Abroad, Colombia
“International travel in Colombia is becoming more commonplace because of academic, cultural and economic reasons. Recently our economy has increased and people have more interest in travelling and gaining new experiences from around the world. Studying at a university is challenging and requires a high level of English or other languages. For example, universities in Colombia require a Toefl or Ielts score in order to give the undergraduate degree to students. Many students that finish high school are travelling overseas [to learn a language] in order to be well-prepared in languages before entering university. Other young people with work experience are interested in improving their job [prospects], travelling abroad to study on a Masters degree for a successful business career. Also companies in Colombia are sending people to have language training abroad in order to improve negotiations since there is no better and more effective way to learn a language than to be immersed in a culture that speaks the language you are learning!”
Elena Adamova, UK Study Centre, UK
“Interest in British education from Russia and CIS markets is growing every year especially for boarding schools and language courses. We are having more students coming to UK independent schools, both day and boarding, as young as five-to-seven years old. There are few reasons for this: A lack of good quality private schools in CIS; Fees in private schools in CIS, especially where English is the language of tutoring, are often comparable with the UK private sector; A growing number of wealthy people from Russia despite the recent economic crises; More clients are interested in settlement and property investment opportunities in the UK. Finally, more families are opting for family holidays in the UK where children can study English in a summer school and adults can stay nearby and enjoy the vacation.”
On the move
Claire Field was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (Acpet) in January, having initially joined Acpet as Deputy CEO in June 2010. Ms Field has extensive experience in the vocational training sector and has worked in a range of strategic policy, planning and performance review roles at both the national and state government level.
Aiden Barr has been appointed to the newly created position of IT Director of the Education Division of TUI Travel PLC in Port Solent, Portsmouth, reporting to Paul Hawkes, the Division’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) with immediate effect. The new role sees Mr Barr bringing together the IT capabilities of 39 global companies in the Education Division.
Julia Brown is joining St Brelade’s College, Jersey, as head of Marketing & Communications. “I am delighted to take responsibility for coordinating the marketing efforts of this well established private language school in the Channel Islands, as they seek to grow through developing an exciting range of new programmes,” she said.
Andrew Gardner, after six years at Study Group Head Office as Regional Manager and over 15 years managing summer school centres, has joined PGL Travel, based in Ross on Wye, UK, as Overseas Development Officer. Mr Gardner has been tasked with increasing PGL’s international student base, focusing on the immersive junior adventure market and international school tour groups.
Clubclass Residential Language School in Malta is proud to announce and welcome Katya Lupalenko, a Russian speaking national, as Sales & Marketing Executive. Apart from direct communication with the school’s agents, Ms Lupalenko will also be representing the school at workshops and sales trips abroad. Ms Lupalenko holds a BA in English Studies and CIM Professional Certificate in Marketing.
Guard.me/StudentGuard Insurance is very pleased to announce the appointment of Lorie Lee as Director, International Business Development. Ms Lee joins after many years of experience as the school director and founder of the Canadian Business English Institute, and most recently Director of St Giles International in Vancouver, Canada.
Cambridge Esol launches online Ielts
Online course provider, Vital English, has been chosen by exam body Cambridge Esol to develop, in association with them, online and blended Ielts preparation courses. The courses are suitable for students aiming for a 4.5 to 7.5 Ielts result, explained Vital English’s Director, Thomas Christensen, and designed so that higher band learners receive less classroom support and more online study than lower band learners.
Christensen said, “Covering all four skills as well as grammar and vocabulary, modules can be broken into learning ‘chunks’ so that learners can make best use of small blocks of time.”
Sharon Harvey at Cambridge Esol commented, “The Ielts preparation courses are the latest in our growing portfolio of support products and services which includes courses, books and online practice tests. These have all been designed to provide practical support for teachers and candidates.”
Vital English has also expanded its Pre-Arrival Learning, or PAL, product. Connecting with students before they arrive in their country of study, students can get to work on their nascent language skills, prepare for life and studies through a customised Online Orientation as well as develop realistic expectations through the Homestay Orientation. Christensen said such a course “helps students develop ‘survival-English’ skills for those crucial first days after arrival”.
Locals oppose student flats in Bournemouth
Plans to build student accommodation in Bournemouth, UK, for Kings School of English, have not gone down well with locals, with protests over plans to construct a two-storey or three-storey block of flats within the town.
According to local newspaper, the Daily Echo, two previous attempts to build accommodation were turned down. The protest of more than 40 people claimed the accommodation block would lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour. Car parking seemed to be another issue. The newspaper quoted a resident as complaining, “How can this road support 41 flats on this site with three parking spaces?”
Course Fever signs partnership with Enforex/Don Quijote
A social networking site for study abroad student reviews, CourseFever.com, has signed an agreement with Enforex-Don Quijote, the largest provider of private Spanish language teaching, to promote its network of schools via the website.
The website receives an average of 5,000 unique users per week and allows student users to post up personal reports of recent study abroad experiences that they have undertaken.
Enforex-Don Quijote, which runs two separate Spanish language teaching chains, welcomes 35,000 students every year at more than 28 schools across Spain and Latin America. Guillermo Pinon at CourseFever.com said the news, “further positions CourseFever as one of the leading Internet companies offering reviews and rating platforms for students who wish to study abroad.”
Delta given high ranking by exam regulator
The Delta teaching qualification offered by Cambridge Esol has been formally recognised as at the same level as a Master’s degree or any other professional diploma issued within the European Union. Ofqual, the UK’s exam regulator, has placed the Delta at level 7 of the Qualification and Credit Framework, making it the only English language teaching diploma currently included at this level.
Welcoming this new recognition, Cambridge Esol’s Chief Executive, Dr Mike Milanovic, says, “Teachers holding this qualification demonstrate a very high level of expertise indeed and we’re delighted by this acknowledgment from Ofqual. This reflects the quality standards associated with the Delta qualification which is great news for teachers and the millions of students around the world learning English.”
New smartphone app for French study options
Agence de promotion du FLE, a French association that promotes language learning opportunities in France, has developed a free app that promotes French study to potential students. Alain Foubert explained that the iFle app would guide students towards quality schools in the country.
He said, “The main idea is to promote the establishments that monitor the quality delivered by their members to allow them to offer the best guarantees to students, teachers and foreign professionals who wish to learn French or improve their French language skills.”
With this end in view, iFle awards stars to the institutions that are listed on the website on the basis of their membership of recognised professional associations and of the quality audit processes that they have undergone.
The new app can be downloaded by all smartphones for free and more information for students is available at www.iFle.fr.
Acpet has been busy mobilising the broader international education industry in Australia and defending its membership policy in the High Court. Claire Field, CEO, answers our questions.
Full name: Australian Council for Private Education and Training (Acpet)
Year established: 1992
Number of members: 1,119
Type of members: Educational and training organisations involved in vocational, English language, higher education, foundation and mainstream education.
Association’s main role: Advocacy of quality private education
Code of practice: Yes
Complaints procedure: Yes
Agent workshops/fam trips (are these offered?): No
Suite 101, Level 1,
126 Wellington Parade,
VIC 3002, Australia.
T: +61 394125900
F: +61 394161895
How is Acpet responding to the downturn in international enrolments among its members?
We have focused our efforts in the past six-to-eight months on bringing the peak bodies across the international education sector and the business community together to lobby government for changes to student visas and the marketing of international education. While there has been a great deal of work by government over the past 18 months which Acpet strongly supports (notably lifting the quality bar through the re-registration of all providers against a higher set of requirements under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act), some government changes have gone too far and are now damaging the industry. The Knight Review of Student Visas is welcomed by Acpet. At the same time we have been working to strengthen our Code of Ethics for our members and have fought and won action in the Supreme Court, confirming the rights of the Acpet Board to refuse membership to organisations that the broader Acpet membership has concerns about.
How badly have your members been affected?
Overall, Acpet’s members have been negatively affected by the downturn in international student numbers. The impact has however been differential with some providers having to close their doors and others seeing student numbers continue to grow. Acpet’s Tuition Assurance Scheme was called on in 2010 with a higher number of colleges closing than in previous years (approximately 30) but a smaller number of students have been affected as the colleges that have closed have tended to be smaller.
Can you tell us about the TAS review?
In late 2010 we undertook a review of our current Tuition Assurance Schemes (both for overseas students and domestic students). The review identified that we needed to broaden our risk assessment processes and information we collect from our members. We worked with one of Australia’s leading accountancy firms to develop criteria covering the financial, governance and student aspects of a provider’s operations.
What do you believe 2011 will bring?
2011 looms as a pivotal year for our members and the industry. We expect the recommendations of the Knight Review of Student Visas to be known by mid-year and we will be calling on government to act on the recommendations and make sensible and long-lasting changes to its visa processes as quickly as possible.
• A proposed strike by airport workers in Spain has been called off after a preliminary deal was reached between trade unionists and airport authority, AENA. An estimated 12,500 airport staff had threatened 22 days of industrial strike action during the busy spring and summer season potentially crippling air traffic into and out of the country. Strikers were reacting to the governments proposed plans to partially privatise state operator AENA.
• Qatar Airways has announced its first Canadian route will be three-times weekly flight from Doha to Montreal in Quebec. The airline signed a landing rights agreement with the Canadian government in November last year, following a 12-year effort to persuade Canadian authorities to allow additional flights from the United Arab Emirates. The airline is also purported to be shopping around for acquisitions. Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, told the Financial Times Deutschland, “It is very well possible that we will buy shares in another airline. Precondition is that it has a strong network and can help us to become a more global actor.”
• The opening of the passenger terminal at Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum, has been delayed until 2012. Currently operating one runway and handling just cargo flights, the new hub will eventually be equipped to cater for 160 million people per year. Estimated to have cost around US$34 billion, Al Maktoum International Airport will boast five parallel runways, three passenger terminals, hotels, shopping malls and will be linked to the existing Dubai International Airport by a high- speed rail link.
• With fuel prices set to rocket, passengers may well start looking elsewhere when arranging short-haul trips. A recent poll of global travellers by SilverRail Technologies - the world’s first global rail ticket technology platform - found that 90 per cent of respondents would like to see rail options displayed alongside flight searches. A further 79 per cent said they would choose rail over plane if high-speed rail options existed. “This eye-opening poll tells us that the public is eager to make the switch to high-speed rail travel, and the significant investments being made in high speed rail will clearly enable this,” said SilverRail CEO and co-founder of the company, Aaron Gowell. “Our goal is to give consumers more choice by providing the technology that enables travel websites to sell high-speed rail alongside air, making train travel anywhere in the world as easy or easier, to book as air travel.” High-speed rail travel is already hugely popular, and readily available, in Europe and Asia, receiving US$200 billion of investment worldwide. The Obama administration also stands to pump US$53 billion into a project to implement a high-speed rail network across the US.
• British Airways (BA) and American Airlines (AA) have fused their London-Heathrow to New York services to create a transatlantic shuttle service. The joint venture will see flights depart Heathrow every hour, on the hour, between 13.00 and 8pm GMT. A BA spokesman said, “We are finally able to align our flights and offer customers more frequent services.” Previously, BA and AA services departed at the same time, leaving the two airlines losing profit as they scrabbled for passengers. The collaboration also includes Spanish national carrier, Iberia, which recently married with BA to forge the International Airlines Group. Iberia will now offer the only direct flight from Spain to California, linking Madrid and Los Angeles three times a week.
• Virgin Atlantic has also been working on its transatlantic ties by signing a deal with New York-based JetBlue Airways. The partnership will allow passengers flying from its three UK hubs to connect onto US domestic flights to up to 64 cities. Virgin Atlantic Director of Commercial and Revenue Planning, Edmond Rose, said, “This partnership will offer Virgin passengers a streamlined journey between our three UK airports and many cities across the US and Puerto Rico.”
• Spanish operator, Iberia, is also growing its presence in the South America market by launching a twice-weekly service between Barcelona and São Paulo and a twice-weekly flight to São Paulo from Madrid. Brazilian carrier, TAM Airlines, is currently the only operator that offers direct flights from London, giving British travellers an alternative route choice looking to travel via Spain.
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