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Contents - May 2011

Special Report
Secure for success

Academic preparation, foundation and pathway programmes all claim to equip a student with the study skills they will need to ensure onward success at university. The range of options is vast, but any good programme will aim to position students linguistically, culturally and academically to ensure not only acceptance into a university but ultimate graduation. Amy Baker reports.

A world of insurance
Travel insurance is crucial for any trip overseas. Even so, many students travel with either inadequate cover or, worse still, none at all. Study travel advisors have a vital role to play in ensuring the wellbeing of their clients by providing them with appropriate insurance packages. Gillian Evans reports.

The lure of Argentina and Chile
Sharing a 5,300km international border, geographical neighbours Argentina and Chile boast bold landscapes, friendly people and comprehensible Spanish. Nicola Hancox finds out why studying Spanish here is a winning formula.

Visas in spotlight

The big news this month is the announcement by UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, regarding changes to the Tier 4 visa system. Although the finer details of the changes are yet to be announced, the plans are likely to have far reaching consequences for many language and education providers in the country. Two points seem to suggest major changes to the visa granting structure – the streamlining of requirements from low risk students and prioritising resources on high risk students – and these need further clarification in the near future to assess the effects this will have on the industry.

On the surface, many of the changes being introduced seem to be positive steps in ensuring that only genuine students are allowed to study in the UK. The aim to reduce the number of student visas issued by 70,000-80,000 – reducing the total by 25 per cent – is more of a concern however, as genuine students will surely be adversely affected in this decrease. It is of concern that the UK government is intent on reducing net migration by targeting student visas when international students can and do go on to become valuable members of the UK society, contributing financially to universities and public services.

There is also evidence that the visa changes could create more problems under the student visitor visa category as attention and resources are directed towards Tier 4. Tony Millns, CEO of English UK, voiced concerns that entry clearance officers would not be checking to see if student visitor visa holders were enrolled at accredited institutions which would allow bogus students to study at suspect colleges and effectively provide a loophole for entry into the country.

Assessing the visa requirements of students on the basis of nationality and percieved risk is a positive step however, and follows the Australian model, which is also currently under review. A discussion paper on the Australian visa review headed up by the Hon Michael Knight, a former politician, and released in March highlighted the problems facing the international education industry in Australia and acknowledged the role that the student visa system had on helping or hindering in the future. As with the UK, an effective and fair visa system may not be the deciding factor for students choosing where to study but it can certainly set the tone of whether a country is viewed as a welcoming place for international visitors or whether its modus operandi is to treat them with a certain amount of suspicion.

Visas in spotlight

The UK introduces new rules for foreign student visas,
Ireland launches ‘Education in Ireland’ brand
Tax issue progress in Malta
Canada announces plans to introduce new immigration system
Australian visa discussion paper
Study Group acquires Pacific Gateway in Canada
ESL buys two German language schools

Business Focus
Think Poland promotes study in Poland
Languages Canada members gain access to promotional brand

Advisor Survey
Korean slowdown
Korea’s outgoing student market still appears to be suffering as a result of the economic climate and advisors are cautious about predicting future growth. Students appear to be focusing on core programmes, such as intensive English, rather than branching into other sectors.

There was great variation where nationality was concerned in this month’s Feedback survey of German language school trends. And agency usage remained low in terms of student recruitment streams.

Language plus in the UK

Learning English in Australian Tafes
Many Technical and Further Education (Tafe) institutions offer English language tuition to international students planning further study. Despite student numbers suffering a decline in Australia recently, some Tafes are bucking the trend.

Ireland 2010

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