Enrolments down, but revenue up in New Zealand
The number of fee-paying international students in New Zealand fell 5.7 per cent in 2012, but revenue from exports increased, according to data published by the Ministry of Education.
The Export Education Levy full-year data for 2012 reported 92,995 enrolments of international fee-paying students, compared with 98,660 in 2011. A decline was posted by all education sectors, with the exception of polytechnics. Enrolments at universities were down by 2.1 per cent and at PTEs (comprising vocational colleges and language schools) by 10.7 per cent.
Continuing declines in the Canterbury region accounted for a large proportion of the drop. Enrolment fell by 31.3 per cent in 2012 to 6,543 – less than half the pre-earthquake figure recorded in 2010. Most regions across New Zealand actually recorded an increase in 2012, although Auckland – by far the largest destination – dropped 3.4 per cent to 58,736.
China (including Hong Kong) continued as the largest source market and increased by 4.5 per cent to 24,412. Saudi Arabia recorded the largest fall of 25.6 per cent.
Education exports from tuition fees in 2012 rose to NZ$745.7 million (US$611.5 million), an increase of two per cent. Most sectors enjoyed a growth in tuition income, although PTEs that receive no public funding fell by around NZ$10 million (US$8.2 million).
Speaking specifically about the language school sector, Darren Conway, CEO of English New Zealand , said, “The data does starkly reflect what was a difficult year for language schools. Most of the major markets dropped. The only significant bright spots were a rise in China and only small drops for Japan and Thailand, and in fact business as normal in Christchurch would certainly have resulted in overall increases from Japan and Thailand.”
Conway said, “The good news is that the Christchurch market is now recovering steadily – particularly with the help of the new work rights available for Christchurch language students.”
He added, “The other reasons for the decline are fairly clear: relatively low currency values in the UK and the USA make the two major destinations more attractive: they may only rise by half a per cent each at our expense, but that costs us 20 per cent or more of the market.” Conway said that Saudi scholarships were being diverted away from Australasia and that changes to offshore visa processing had been badly handled.
Christchurch aside, there was no sign of recovery as yet in 2013, Conway said. “We trust we’ll get some help from the government through more sensible visa processing, and through the eventual extension of the successful Christchurch work rights initiative to the rest of the country.
EAC junior brand ceases trading
Tui travel has announced that the UK-based EAC brand of junior centres has ceased trading.
In a statement, the company said, “Following an on-going review of the EAC business, including current market trading conditions, it has become evident that it is no longer viable to operate the EAC business.”
Five centres are continuing to operate under the sister ELC brand for 2013: Condover Hall, Edinburgh City Centre, Edinburgh Telford, London Bridge and London Cobham. “A small team will continue to work from the Edinburgh offices but will become part of ELC,” said the statement. The company is working to transfer the operation of the remainder of the 13 EAC venues to other junior operators.
The statement confirmed that the company was working with students and agents to source alternative arrangements for 2013 bookings at centres that EAC will not be operating. EAC was purchased by the German-owned leisure conglomerate TUI Travel PLC’s Activity Division in 2009.
New French-language university pathway launched
The Collège de Paris group and study abroad agency Study Experience have developed France’s first French-language university pathway programme for international students, with routes initially available into business, art and design, and fashion.
The My Study in France programme can be undertaken from three months to a full year, with students following language and test preparation and specialised pathway courses. Marc McHugo, Associate Director and Higher Education Counsellor at Study Experience, said My Study in France was the first independent pathway programme in France that leads to the whole French higher education system.
Pascal Carré, Director of Study Experience, said there were two obstacles to international students wishing to undertake higher education study in France: the language barrier and the need to pass entrance exams to access the best schools.
“The concept of My Study in France is to resolve both these issues, by enabling students to attain the B2 level in French, required within the European framework, and by offering them a quality preparation programme to access French higher education,” he said.
The language instruction is provided by École de Langue Française (Elfe) in Paris. Three pathways are offered to undergraduate and postgraduate study: the Business Foundation is undertaken at Institut Supérior de l’Enterprise, located in La Défence, the business district of Paris; the Art & Design Foundation and the Fashion Foundation are both offered at Atelier Françoise Conte, also in Paris.
Admission into higher education study at both institutions is guaranteed, although students have the option of preparing for entry into other business and fashion schools. “A partnership is in place with Pass World to facilitate access to France’s best-ranked schools,” said Carré.
He added that Study Experience was promoting the pathway to agencies overseas. “We are now looking to build a strong network of agencies abroad. We pay generous commissions to agents as we are also agents ourselves and we appreciate the work involved better than anyone.” He said they were also looking to develop additional pathways.
Bell launches new centre
Bell has opened a new year-round young learner centre in St Albans, UK, providing English language and activity-based courses for 12-to-17 year old students.
Set within 60 acres of countryside, the new school is housed in a Grade II-listed Victorian building, originally built as a convent, and features 120 newly refurbished onsite bedrooms.Facilities include indoor and outdoor sports.
Tony Anderson, Director of Sales and Marketing at Bell, said, “We are further expanding our young learner centres to ensure we have availability year-round to meet the growing demand of our international students, especially in terms of our expanding groups’ business.”
Bell also has a new summer centre at Wymondham College, Norfolk, from July.
Belta presents survey at Alphe Brazil 2013
The Brazilian Educational & Language Travel Association presented the findings of its agency market research at the recent Alphe Brazil 2013.
In a well-attended seminar for Alphe delegates, ‘How best to work with Brazilian agents to meet their needs’, Carlos Robles, President of Belta, detailed results of the 2013 survey, completed by 80 Brazilian agencies.
One of the key findings was a diversification of the areas that agencies work in, compared with the previous survey in 2011. While 100 per cent work with language courses, there were increases in agencies working with vocational courses (up from 76.1 to 81.3 per cent), postgraduate (from 33.8 to 47.5), professional courses (5.6 to 17.5) and 50 plus courses (2.8 to 10).
There was a notable increase in students spending four-to-six months abroad on courses – at 26.3 per cent compared with 15.5 per cent previously. However, short-term courses of up to one month also increased, up to 27.5 per cent from 21.1 per cent previously.
Agencies were asked which three countries have attracted the most interest from students, with Canada retaining top spot with a 91.3 per cent response rate. Malta, South Africa and China were identified by the survey as the emerging destinations for 2013.
The three-day Alphe Brazil, held at the Renaissance Hotel, São Paulo, attracted a sell-out capacity of 80 educational institutions and 109 agents from 95 agencies, a slight increase compared with 93 agencies last year. There were more institutions from Canada, particularly in the secondary sector, while there was also a large rise in Maltese schools attending.
Satisfaction was high at the event. Peter Hayes, Managing Director of inlingua Manchester in the UK, said a highlight was “getting such enthusiastic interest from so many great agents who had researched us before and knew why they wanted to meet”.
Networking opportunities at Alphe Brazil 2013 included welcome drinks, a delegate dinner and the Directors’ Club drinks reception, a chance for industry decision makers to gather.
Chaney report to boost Australian exports
International education bodies in Australia have welcomed recommendations in the Chaney report and are urging the government to quickly implement the measures designed to protect and expand the industry.
The report, Australia – Educating Globally, was prepared by the International Education Advisory Council (IEAC) – established by the government in 2011 and chaired by Michael Chaney AO – after consultations with the industry and contains 35 recommendations.
In particular, the recommendations relating to Australia’s student visa programme have been applauded. The report proposed a review of the genuine temporary entrant criterion, which it said may have led to inconsistent application by immigration officers.
Sue Blundell, Executive Director of English Australia, said, “This is a major issue for English language colleges. Genuine students, particularly those applying to study English in Australia, are being rejected by immigration officials.”
Furthermore, the Chaney report says that the Knight Report-led streamlined visa arrangements introduced to universities, which treat each student as the lowest assessment level, have given the sector a competitive advantage, and recommends to, “Expedite streamlined visa processing for low immigration risk providers”. Among the other student visa recommendations is a proposal to increase the points available for an Australian education qualification in the skilled migration points test from five to 10.
The Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Chris Bowen, welcomed the report and established a Ministerial Coordinating Council to oversee implementation of the recommendations.
The report acknowledged that the cost of studying in Australia had risen 166 per cent in the ten years to 2012 and needed to be offset. Equal transport concessions and a review of off-campus accommodation were two of the suggestions to achieve this.
Elsewhere, the Chaney report said the IEAC’s best estimate is that Australia can expect to be hosting an additional 117,000 international students by 2020 – a 30 per cent increase on today’s figure, but also advised that regions such as Latin America, the Middle East and Africa be courted to achieve this.
Blundell added, “Previous reviews have only looked at aspects in isolation such as the legislative framework and student visas. English Australia looks forward to working with the new Ministerial Coordinating Council on International Education to implement the Advisory Council’s other recommendations.”
Scottish school group launched at BBSW
The recent British Boarding School Workshop (BBSW) in Windsor, UK, was a capacity event, attracting 250 delegates, with 69 schools and 80 agencies represented, while a new body promoting boarding schools in Scotland was unveiled.
Suzanne Rowse, Director of SR Events, organiser of BBSW, said feedback was positive, with more schools bringing extra representatives and more headmasters at the workshop. The Colombian agency market was represented for the first time.
At BBSW, Sarah Randell of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, announced a new dedicated sub-brand, Scotland’s Boarding Schools, which will engage in overseas marketing and visits, emphasising factors such as Scotland’s quality of life and the internationally recognised qualifications on offer. A web portal will be launched soon.