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November 2009 issue

Contents
News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Feedback
Market Report
Direction 1
Direction 2
Direction 3
Special Report
Course Guide 1
Course Guide 2
Spotlight
Destination
Regional Focus
Status

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The global market

Our latest statistics relating to student intake in 2008 in the main English language teaching countries make interesting reading. And further analysis behind the stats suggests that strong visa pathways and a channel to the Middle East were two main reasons for business growth in 2008. Amy Baker reports.

The picture of the global market for English language teaching in 2008 might look very different this time next year, when we will assess 2009 – a year that has thrown up surprises and challenges for nearly every market. However, 2008 was, for the most part, a more assured, unsurprising year and one of slow growth for most of our main ELT markets covered, compared with our previous analysis of the 2007 market (see LTM, November 2008, pages 40-46).

In fact, only one market, Ireland, posted negative growth in terms of both student weeks (volume of the market) and student numbers, but this is in fact due to what seems to be a more effective analysis from tourism board, Failte Ireland, covering English language student intake in 2008, whereas firm data for 2007 was not available last year and a broad estimate was provided. This time, 74 schools responded to the survey about 2008 business, and these results were weighted to account for 112 schools.

Some other markets registered a slight decline in student numbers for 2008, according to our analysis which is based on best available data, market knowledge, professional analysis and access to Gaela reports – Gaela is the Global Alliance of Education and Language Associations. These countries were Canada and New Zealand, although in both cases, the average length of stay per student had increased, meaning that the overall student weeks figure continued to show growth.

Overall, the global ELT market in these core countries was estimated to be worth over US$12 billion in 2008, when extra spending in-country on travel, services, accommodation, subsistence, clothing and entertainment (all associated spending) was taken into account. This is up from US$10.5 billion in 2007 – but this will also be affected not only by estimated total market size, but by relative values of currencies, all of which were converted into US$ using an exchange rate from July 2008.

Breaking down the data
Total market size in terms of numbers of students travelling around the world to learn English is estimated to have been 1.5 million in 2008. From this pot, the UK has by far the largest share by student numbers (almost 43 per cent), but when the data is assessed using the more realistic measure of student weeks (which acknowledges length of stay in the country and corresponds to revenue earnt), the US is certainly closing the gap, with a 24.2 per cent share of the student weeks market, compared with the UK in first place with 29.7 per cent, and Canada and Australia almost neck-and-neck with 17.6 per cent and 16.5 per cent of market share respectively.

This data nods to the fact that the UK attracts a lot more short-term European business, whereas the USA, Canada and Australia tend to attract students who stay in the country longer. In terms of average length of stay, it is the USA, Australia and New Zealand that see students staying for longer periods – averaging out at over 12 weeks each(see fig 6). Canada’s average stay also increased in 2008 – with students most likely to study for 10 weeks in the country now.

Conversely, the UK and Ireland both have an average stay of around five-and-a-half weeks, while it is Malta that is always at the bottom of this league table – its status as a holiday island attracts thousands of short-term students keen to spend a two- or three-week holiday learning English in the sun. As previously noted in last year’s report, although Malta is one of the smallest markets when assessed by total student weeks, the fact that it attracted – in 2008 – 83,288 students (as ascertained by the National Statistics Office), given its size, is pretty impressive. This is almost four times the number of students studying in South Africa.

South Africa, nevertheless, had the best year in terms of growth in student numbers, up 26.9 per cent, although the average length of stay dropped from 8.1 to 6.7 weeks, meaning its growth in total market volume was only (a still healthy) five per cent.

Star performer
Australia in particular had a great year, with a well documented 18 per cent rise in student numbers and 21.2 per cent rise in student weeks. It definitely has earnt its status as one of the “big four” now in terms of global ELT players, backed up by a strong migratory pathway and government backing for its education export industry. Comparatively, in 2005, we estimated it had a 10.6 per cent market share by student weeks compared with Canada having a 15.2 per cent share (see LTM, October 2006, pages 24-28).

In May, Australia’s Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, said in her ministerial statement to the House of Representatives, “International education has made a significant contribution to Australia. It has grown to now be our third largest source of overseas earnings, generating US$15.5 billion in 2008 and supporting more than 125,000 jobs.” This data refers to the entire overseas education sector, of which ELT makes up 18.4 per cent of the student visa-issued population.

In comparison to the top four (the UK, USA, Canada and Australia), the other ELT markets assessed are relatively small, with Ireland next in the pecking order, with a five per cent market share in terms of student weeks. Next up is New Zealand, with close to four per cent, then Malta (1.7 per cent) and finally, South Africa (1.2 per cent). As previously mentioned, some of these countries are much smaller, therefore their ability to compete should not be based on sheer scale but also on managed growth.

Australia posted the best growth year on year in terms of student weeks, followed by its Australasian neighbour, New Zealand, in 2008. Rob McKay of English New Zealand points out that the sector is hoping for government immigration reform that will further aid the industry’s growth trajectory: “We remain hopeful that the new government will shortly announce positive news regarding internationally competitive work rights for our students,” he says. “Research shows that export education in New Zealand is location driven – although we can easily compete because of our location and the attractiveness of the country and our product, we need to support that with friendly and consistent immigration policies.”

Reasons for success
It has been noted that Australia’s success is in part due to its supportive visa system (including work rights) and strong migration pathways that are linked to graduation in the country. In this article last year, Sue Blundell of English Australia observed, “One of the primary drivers [of the industry] at the moment is Australia’s need for skilled migrants.” Canada, too, set up a fast-track migratory route for graduating students with work experience, known as the Canadian Experience Class in September 2008. Market growth, by student weeks, was estimated to be 7.2 per cent in 2008.

The USA posted an 11 per cent rise in student weeks, according to our analysis, but there is no associated visa rule that might contribute to this. In the USA, however, many institutions point to the Saudi scholarship scheme as influential in building business last year, as it was in 2007. The Saudi government pledged in 2005 to send up to 20,000 students to study in the US over four years (see LTM, June 2006, page 29).

In the UK, Saudi students are also noted as a factor that contributed to business growth in 2008. According to Annie Wright, Deputy Chief Executive of Business Services at English UK, its membership saw business increase by 6.24 per cent in 2008 compared with 2007. (This suggests that English UK membership fared better than non-English UK members in 2008, as overall market growth was just 5.2 per cent up, by student weeks.)

Wright says, “Saudi Arabia, other Middle East states and Colombia were particularly successful markets for the UK in 2008. In terms of market share and ranking, Saudi Arabia moved from 15th position in 2007 to fourth in 2008.”

The UK has of course implemented a new accreditation-linked visa regime this year, but any impact of that will not show up until next year’s analysis of 2009 trends.

Market share by revenue
The UK continues to be the most expensive destination in dollar terms for a month of tuition (see fig 9), but only just behind the UK is Ireland, which charged almost the same average cost for tuition. A trend of Ireland’s price picking up began last year, when it in fact notched up a higher average spend per week than the UK. In 2008, average spend per week was pretty comparable between Ireland and the UK, with Ireland just ahead on US$1,292 compared with US$1,232.

In comparison, in 2006, average spend per week in Ireland was estimated to be US$938, indicating either a rise in prices in Ireland and/or the rise in the value of the euro in the last two years. Malta – also using the euro since 1 January 2008 – has seen a hike in average spend per week from US$847 in 2007 to US$908. Despite using the same currency, a reason for its price difference compared with Ireland could also be wrapped up in the cost of delivery and accommodation on a tourism-oriented island versus a capital city (Dublin), where a large part of the Irish industry is centred.

The USA remains in second position in terms of market share by revenue, followed by Canada and Australia. Australia actually registered the third-most expensive comparative tuition costs per month (see fig 9 again) in 2008, but in countries such as Australia where average length of stay is 12 weeks, comparing a one month tuition fee is not always the best comparable yardstick. In terms of average spend per week (this figure factors in accommodation and other services), Canada yielded the most income per student, after Ireland and the UK.

Efforts to harness growth
Linda Auzins, Acting Executive Director of Languages Canada, acknowledges that “2008 proved to be a strong year for Canada as a study destination”, but she continues, “We are anticipating that the numbers for 2009 will show a decline in several markets due to the global economic crisis, swine flu and recent visa requirements for Mexican and Czech students”. Nevertheless, as in other markets, Auzins points to a strong performance from Saudi Arabia in 2008, as well as China. “It’s likely this trend will continue through to next year.”

Blundell of English Australia attests again that Saudi Arabia is a star performer, amongst others. She relates, “We’re seeing good growth from China, Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam, Saudi and Colombia. Overall, we are remaining optimistic for the rest of the year.”

Australia is among the most upbeat of countries, as elsewhere, the global financial crisis, swine flu and visa problems cause concern. Ireland has been particularly affected by the strong value of the euro. “One of our main markets, Spain, is in deep recession, and [this] is likely to continue in 2010,” says David O’Grady, Chief Executive of MEI in Ireland. He too is looking to the Middle East – and supportive visa policy – in a bid to buck numbers: “We are hopeful that reviews under way in the visa regulations for international students to Ireland will lead to a more enlightened policy,” he states. “This would help open new markets, eg the Middle East, which are not greatly affected by international recession and credit crunches.”

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

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

Telephone

Email


ACCOMMODATION
Global Immersions
      Inc  
NYC Language
      Vacations 

AGENTS/CONSULTANTS
Boa Lingua  
Students
      International

ASSOCIATIONS/GROUPS
British Council  
English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
International House
      World Organisation  
Languages Canada /
      Langues Canada  
MEI Ireland  
Perth Education City
Quality English  

EVENTS
Feltom Malta  
IALC International  
IEFT- International
      Education Fairs of
      Turkey  
International House
      World Organisation  

EXAM BOARDS
Pearson Education  

INSURANCE
Student Guard
      Insurance  

SERVICES
InTouch  
StudentMarketing  

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
      Authority  
Perth Education City

WORK EXPERIENCE
Twin Group
      (Ireland, England,
      USA)
Training Partnership
      Ltd. (The)  
English Bay College
Australian Internships
Professionals UK  
PractiGo GmbH  
GEM Placements  

ARGENTINA
Ecela - Latin
      Immersion 
      (Argentina, Chile,
      Peru) 

AUSTRALIA
Ability Education
Australian Internships
Language Studies
      International  
Pacific Gateway
      International College
Perth Education
      City  
Shafston
      International
      College University
University of
      Tasmania  
University of
      Western Sydney
      College  

BELGIUM
CERAN Lingua
      International 
      (Belgium, England,
      France) 

BRAZIL
Bics
      (Business & Intl
      Communication
      School)
Bridge Linguatec  
      (Argentina, Brazil)
Fast Forward  
      (Brazil, Portugal)
The Language Club
      (TLC)  

CANADA
Access International
      English Language
      Centre  
Berlitz Canada  
Camosun College  
College Platon  
East Coast School
      of Languages
      (ECSL)  
ELS Language
      Centres  
English Bay College
English Language
      Training College
      ELTC
English School of
      Canada  
Eurocentres,
       Vancouver  
Geos Language
      Academy  
Global Village  
      (Australia, Canada,
      USA)
Public Schools of
       the Canadian
      Rockies
Hansa Language
      Centre of Toronto  
Herzing College  
ILAC - International
      Language Academy
      of Canada  
ILSC - International
      Language Schools
       of Canada  
ITTTI Vancouver  
Languages Canada /
      Langues Canada  
Language Studies
      Canada  
National School of
       Languages  
Ottawa International
      Student Programmes
       (OISP)  
Public Schools of
       the Canadian
      Rockies  
Richmond School
      District #38  
Rocky Mountain
      School District  
Saint Mary's
      University  
Southeast Kootenay
      School District No. 5  
Stewart College
      of Languages  
Student Guard
      Insurance  
University of Toronto
University of Victoria
VanWest College  

CHINA
Mandarin House  

EGYPT
IH Cairo  

ENGLAND
Anglophiles
      Academic 
      (England, Ireland,
      USA, Cyprus,
      Canada)  
Ardmore Language
      Schools  
Bell International  
      (Malta, UK)
British Council  
Bury Language
      School  
Camp Beaumont  
English Language
      Centre Brighton &
      Hove  
English Studio  
GEM Placements  
Harrow House
      International
      College  
IALC International  
International House
      World Organisation  
Isis Group/
      StudyCentres  
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland,Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and
      Leisure  
      (Canada, Cyprus,
      Ireland, England,
      South Africa, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)
LITE - London
      Institute Of
      Technology And
      English  
Malvern House
      College London  
Plus 
      (Canada, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta, UK,
      USA)
Professionals UK
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's
      College  
Spinnaker College
St Giles Colleges 
      (Canada, UK, USA) 
Study Group 
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
      USA)
Training Partnership
      Ltd. (The)  
Twin Group 
      (Ireland, England,
      USA) 
University of Essex -
      International
      Academy  

GERMANY
BWS Germanlingua 
Carl Duisberg
      Medien GmbH  
      (England, Germany)
inlingua Berlin  
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

IRELAND
Atlantic Language
      Galway  
Galway Cultural
      Institute  
MEI Ireland  

ITALY
DILIT -
      International House  

JAPAN
Kai Japanese
      Language School  
Tamagawa
      International
      Language School  

MALTA
Clubclass
      Residential
      Language School  
Easy School of
      Languages  
EC English
      Language Centre 
       (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Feltom Malta  
Linguatime  
Malta Tourism
      Authority  
NSTS  

PORTUGAL
CIAL - Centro de
      Linguas  

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
      Centres and Activity  
      Camps.  
      (England, Ireland,
      Scotland, Wales)

SOUTH AFRICA
Language Teaching
      Centre  

SPAIN
Pamplona Learning
      Spanish Institute  
Malaga Si  
International House -
      Riviera Maya
      (Spain, Mexico)  

SWITZERLAND
Boa Lingua  
EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Costa Rica,
      Ecuador, England,
      France, Germany,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Singapore,
      South Africa, Spain,
      USA)
Eurocentres
      International 
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Italy,
      Japan, New Zealand,
      Russia, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA) 

USA
Access to
      Language Studies  
California State
      University San
      Marcos  
Geos North America
Global Immersions
      Inc
IH New York  
Inlingua Language
      Centers  
NYC Language
      Vacations  
University of
      California Riverside
University of
      California San Diego
Zoni Language
      Centers