Ialca and English Australia sign agreement
The Italian Association of Language Consultants and Agents (Ialca) and language school association English Australia have announced a collaboration agreement.
The agreement provides for the two organisations to exchange information on best practices from both countries and both sectors, collaborate in the advocacy of advantageous policies, foster promotional activities and uphold rigorous standards in their respective industries.
Lorenzo Agati, President of Ialca, commented, This agreement is only a beginning. It has provisions that state our two associations must now put together a working group to reach specific objectives, ensuring that our agreement leads to a strong and vibrant partnership.
The announcement follows significant growth in the number of Italian students heading to Australia to study English: 60 per cent over the last two years. Italy is now the eighth largest source of students for EA members and the biggest from Europe.
It also builds upon a successful fam trip to Australia by Ialca members at the end of 2012. The agreement was signed at a ceremony hosted by the Australian Ambassador to Italy, David Ritchie AO, who emphasised the valuable contribution that educational and language exchange makes to the relationship between the two countries.
English Australia Executive Director Sue Blundell said, English Australia and Ialca are great examples of the important work that associations undertake in their own countries to support and promote quality and it was a natural step to recognise the mutual benefit that can be achieved from such associations working collaboratively to ensure students have the best possible experience when they are studying overseas.
Loyalist Group purchases
King George International
The Loyalist Group, an investor in international education in Canada, has acquired King George International College (KGIC) from CIBT Education Group for a fee of CAN$13.5 million (US$13 million).
KGIC, an ESL school and a career college with eight campuses, becomes the Loyalist Groups largest investment to date, adding to a portfolio of seven college brands.
The deal has completed with a CAN$9.5 million (US$9.1 million) cash payment, to be followed by an additional CAN$4 million (US$3.8 million), due by March 2014.
This is more than our biggest acquisition to date, its a transformative event for our company, said Loyalist Group CEO Andrew Ryu. It increases our revenue by approximately 40 per cent and takes us to a size that cements our position as a preferred destination for international students that also attracts a bigger investor base. KGIC recorded revenue of CAN$25 million (US$24 million) last year, with over 8,000 international students, said a statement from CIBT, who purchased KGIC in 2010 for CAN$4.5 million (US$4.3 million). We are pleased with our return on investment from this transaction in 3.5 years, said Toby Chu. President and CEO of CIBT.
English UK welcomes visitor visa study
and starts CEO search
Language school association English UK has applauded an announcement by Immigration Minister Mark Harper that non-EU visitors to the UK on tourist or business visas will be able to undertake a period of English language study of up to six weeks from October. The association has also begun the search for a new Chief Executive after Tony Millns confirmed retirement plans.
Where study is incidental to the main purpose of a visit, tourist and business visa holders on a six-month visa will be allowed to use the privilege flexibly, either taking a six-week course in one block or dividing into weekly sessions.
Study will only be permitted at language schools or colleges that are accredited by one of the four approved accrediting bodies or are a Tier 4 Highly Trusted Sponsor.
English UK welcomed the news, and Millns said Business English providers in particular could benefit from the new rules. Our members get many requests from people here on business to brush up their business English and negotiation skills, but they must currently turn them away because study is not permitted on a business visitor visa. So we strongly support this change and will work with the Home Office to ensure that non-accredited centres do not see this as a loophole for abuse.
In separate news, Millns has announced plans to retire after the associations next AGM in May 2014. An English UK statement said he was standing down after a tumultuous 15 years in which he was instrumental in creating English UK from its predecessor organisations, oversaw a huge expansion of the sector, warned about the dangers of bogus colleges and fought against the excesses of recent visa changes.
Its a good anniversary on which to step back as next year Ill have done five years as CEO of Arels, followed by 10 at English UK, said Millns. Ill have worked for over 40 years, and there are some things Id like to do.
It was added that Millns would be continuing in some capacity during an extended hand-over period. I am not stepping down completely in the short-term. I am expecting to continue with some part-time work for English UK, most probably on some of the governmentrelated aspects of the job for another year or so. English UK is thought to be looking for a successor with strong lobbying experience.
The National Association of College Admission Counselling (Nacac) has approved amendments to the Statement of Principles of Good Practice that officially endorse the usage of commission payments to overseas agents by US higher education institutions for the recruitment of international students.
A vote of 152 to 47 by the governing body at Nacacs national conference in Toronto in mid-September signified a change in the associations longheld opposition to commissionbased agents for recruitment. As previously reported, (see STM, August 2013, page 6) Nacacs Commission on International Student Recruitment made the recommendations for a softening of stance towards commission payments to agents earlier this year following a two-year investigation and the threat of an outright ban in 2011.
The Statement of Good Principles now reads, Members who choose to use incentive-based agents when recruiting students outside the US will ensure accountability, transparency and integrity.
The Assemblys vote is an important step forward that will enable us to continue to protect the rights of students while resolving questions about the propriety of using commissioned agents in international recruitment, said Jim Rawlins, Nacac President. I commend the Assembly for addressing this difficult issue in a comprehensive and collegial manner and for taking into account the many points of view on this issue.
The changes will take effect after a one-year moratorium during which Nacacs Admission Practices and International Advisory Committees will continue to interpret and refine the implications of the vote for US institutions.
The Statement of Principles of Good Practice upholds the rule that member institutions cannot make payments to an agency or any other organisation for recruitment of students inside the United States.
However, a motion proposed by the group of non-US institutions within Nacac, the Overseas Association for College Admission Counselling (Oacac), to make the wording a more nonspecific domestic market, was referred for further study.
The Oacac group argued that the wording of the new rules has created an anomaly: a US university is free to use an agent to recruit students in China, for example, but a China-based Nacac member institution is prohibited from using an agent in the US to recruit American students.
Cyprus launches language school association
The English Language Schools Association of Cyprus (Elsac) has been established as a self-governing body to provide quality assurance in the countrys burgeoning ELT industry.
The association has been founded by three wellestablished providers in the sector: Malvern House Cyprus, Xenion Language School and Pascal Summer Camp. Elsac commits to ensuring all member schools are licensed by the Ministry of Education and follow firm procedures in both academic (defined as the qualification of teachers, educational materials and quality of the schools and teaching facilities) and non-academic (accommodation provision, leisure activities, entertainment and excursions) issues.
Due to organic growth of the industry and an increase in the number of language schools, the newly set up self-regulating body of Elsac recognises the need for quality in the provision of English language and aspires to ensure that students get the best possible learning experience, said a release from Elsac.
In its mission statement, Elsac outlined the expansion of education exports. The growth in the educational sector is evidence that Cyprus is on its way to becoming an educational hub. This can be seen with the increase in the numbers of language providers, boarding schools for international students, private English schools, colleges and universities, and a British university offering a degree from the UK.
It added that all English teachers are English language/linguistic degree holders, as this is a prerequisite from the Ministry of Education, which is working together with the Ministries of Industry, Tourism and Commerce and Immigration along with the Cyprus Tourism Organisation to develop the industry.
As previously reported (see STM, April 2013, page 6), language schools have been lobbying the government for changes that would allow the English language sector to significantly expand, with predictions that with appropriate investment the industry could be worth 45 million (US$60 million) by 2020.
says UK Minister
Free online course provision could pose a threat to agency business while providing a powerful recruitment tool for universities looking to grow international student numbers on campus, said David Willetts, UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, but Mooc providers suggested they could be a selling aid for agents.
At the official launch of the UKs first massive open online course (Mooc) platform provided by FutureLearn, he said while agents might have a continuing role in supplying students, universities now have other recruitment avenues to explore. He added Moocs could increase access to higher education and meet demand that is unmet by bricks and mortar education.
However, Claire Davenport, Commercial Director at FutureLearn, which includes 21 UK-based universities, said Moocs could also assist agents. One of the advantages of FutureLearn is that it helps universities with their international recruitment and brand building, as well as broadening learners access to higher education. Wed hope that FutureLearn could act as a useful tool for international agents, whereby they could point to content on FutureLearn to help illustrate a universitys offering as part of the recruitment process.
Agents can even take a Mooc course themselves to give them an enhanced knowledge of the degree programmes they are selling, said Sam Ling, a representative from the University of Southampton at the launch event.
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