Bell celebrates 60 years with new student-led portfolio
UK-based language provider Bell is celebrating its 60th anniversary by launching a 2016 product portfolio focused on offering a personalised experience for every student.
Greg Hoile, Chief Executive of Bell, said, “Our student stories are our heritage. We’ve helped over one million students across the world in the last 60 years and each and every student is special to us.”
He added that “students as individuals” was one of Bell’s core teaching principles. “Our 2016 portfolio takes this a step further with courses every student can personalise to achieve their goals.”
For adult students in 2016, each learner will be worked with to understand why they want to learn English, then help them choose a core English course and customise their programme with Skills Workshops, Business Studies, One-to-one tutorials and Language in Action.
A feature of the new Young Learners programme is Young Cambridge Scholars, a subject-based course for high-achieving students, including content delivered by University of Cambridge lecturers.
The new English Explorer course will allow children to develop language skills through project-based lessons, study tours and a range of electives, such as performing arts, outdoor survival and journalism.
As well as the courses, Bell has launched the #mybellstory project to connect students across the school’s 60-year history.
Jaos taps into growing trend for high school overseas
Japanese agency association Jaos has published a book called Guiding High School Students to Study Abroad in order to help high school teachers provide overseas study counselling and appropriate guidance to Japanese students wanting to study overseas.
Tatsu Hoshino, Executive Secretary of Jaos, said that demand for study abroad programmes among Japanese high school students had increased in the wake of recent government promotion campaigns.
According to the latest biennial survey conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Education, the number of high school students studying abroad as part of a group trip increased by 11 per cent in 2013/14, compared with 2011/12, to 168,668.
The book contains a chapter on the significance of high school study abroad, information about the different types of study abroad programmes available, practical advice and risk management strategies, as well as information about working with study travel agents.
Tatsu said of the project, “High schools have to depend on agencies to make study programmes for their students whereas some universities can produce study abroad programmes themselves.”
Fedele partners with university programme
Spanish language school association Fedele has announced that it has formed an agreement with the University of Castilla La Mancha (UCLM) enabling members to offer pathway Spanish courses.
The UCLM agreement creates opportunities for member language schools in the Aula Universitaria Abierta (AUNA) programme, a semester-length course for international students aged 18 years and over to improve Spanish-speaking skills while studying credit-bearing degree subjects of academic interest. Students can chose from over 500 electives offered at two university campuses in Toledo and Cuenca.
Under the agreement, students will be able to undertake a Spanish language programme with Fedele member schools that participate in the scheme as a pathway to the AUNA semester courses. Ana Cózar, Director of Fedele, told StudyTravel Magazine she hoped that between 15 and 20 member language schools would be interested in joining the scheme.
British Columbia releases K-12 homestay guidelines
The Canadian province of British Columbia has published homestay guidelines covering international students in the K-12 secondary school sector.
The new guidelines are the first such provincial-wide document in Canada, and have been developed by a working group of Ministry of Education representatives, school districts and independent schools to ensure consistency across the sector.
The homestay provider responsibilities include: maintaining a screening process for families and students to ensure suitability; gathering appropriate and up-to-date personal records; developing a comprehensive training programme; providing international students with access to a speaker of their primary language; and developing reference manuals for families and students.
The document also outlines that when agents arrange the homestay they would be considered as a homestay provider and should therefore adhere to the provider guidelines. Generally agents are advised to support programmes, homestay providers and students and provide a link to parents/guardians when required.
The guidelines state that no more than two students should stay with a family at a time and that concurrent adult and child placements should be avoided.
EAQA begins search for Executive Director
The European Association of Quality Agencies (EAQA) has begun a search for a new Executive Director after reaching the milestone of 40 members.
Established in 2011 to offer a voice to agencies in countries with no formal national associations, EAQA has grown from an original core membership of five agencies and now represents 22 countries.
Samuel Vetrak, Director of StudentMarketing and inaugural Executive Director of EAQA, said, “In the beginning, I was asked to help EAQA with its establishment and take off. It has since become a well-settled and sizeable association, and I am glad to hand this position over to a fully dedicated industry professional who will oversee the next stage of its development.”
Commenting on the development of the association, Adela Makashi, Chair of EAQA, said, “Today, we represent 22 countries and 40 quality members across Europe, and help them with advocacy, taxes, problem solving, professional development and market intelligence. Not to mention the recognition of our partners [school associations], with whom we have excellent cooperation and communication, making it easier for members and schools to reach a higher level of quality, more business or better efficiency.”
EAQA held its annual meeting during the recent StudyTravel Alphe UK Conference where it discussed the association’s next stage of development, future training programmes and other membership projects.
New platform to connect schools and agents
A new cloud-based platform to facilitate information exchange between agents and schools and assist agents in dealing with customer enquiries is about to be launched on the international market, following a trial period in Latin America.
The Book & Learn platform allows agencies to view, compare and select courses in seconds and generate fast quotations. It will also act as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, with tools for agents to follow up on leads, enrolments and former students.
“One of the most common problems for educational agencies is to solve a customer’s enquiries quickly and at the same time be able to offer the latest discounts. Until now, this kind of tool wasn’t available or wasn’t user friendly,” said Gregorio Nieto, Co-Founder and CEO of Book & Learn.
Schools will be able to enter data and prices directly into the system, receive bookings, look for new partners and set up commissions and deals for each one of them.
Other functions of the platform include: automatised currency updates; student payments; activity reports; personalised course flyers; multi-language accessibility; and internal communications.
Payment for the service will be via a subscription fee for agents and a fee per booking received by the school, Gregorio said.
Mundo Joven Group, a Mexico-based travel and study abroad agency, has been involved in screening the platform’s suitability for global commercialisation. Ulises Ortega, President of Mundo Joven, said, “We believe that this is a robust product that will enhance the efficiency and activity of the whole industry.”
Gregorio stressed that all communication between the schools and agent partners would be confidential between them and that other schools and agents would not be able to access sensitive information.
The product website is scheduled to be online this month, with confirmation of the pricing details.
Quality English and Quality Education partners with agency associations
The Quality English (QE) brand of language schools and its sister brand for independent colleges, Quality Education (QEd) have signed a series of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with national agency associations. The purpose of the MoUs is to promote and strengthen cooperation and support between QE/QEd and: Belta (Brazil), Unosel (France), Ialca (Italy), KAEA (Kazakhstan) and Area (Russia). As part of the agreements, the agency associations and QE/QEd will recommend and mutually promote the quality standards of respective members and use each other’s logos on promotional materials.
Carolyn Blackmore, Chief Executive of QE/QEd, said, “We work very closely with all the agency associations through our regular outbound missions. The associations are very supportive of our work and encourage their members to work with us.”
Denmark aims to attract more international students
As part of an effort to recruit more international students, Denmark’s Ministry of Higher Education and Science has issued a code of conduct, including advice on working with agents.
The code states, “Danish higher education institutions agree to provide proper, relevant and adequate information on their educational programmes, including on the quality of programmes, their placement in the Danish higher educational system, services offered to international students, possible tuition fees and living costs.”
With regards to the use of agents, the code requires that higher education institutions ensure that partner agencies are “competent, well-informed and in all respects dedicated to safeguarding the interests of international students and the institution”.
Contracts between the institutions and the agents must contain a clause stipulating who is to remunerate the agent and the scale of the remuneration. Institutions are obliged to monitor agent adherence to cooperation agreements and track the international students’ experiences in dealing with the agents.
Elsewhere, the code states the minimum information regarding programmes, entry requirements, fees, refund policy and work rights that institutions must publish, with all guidelines to be made available in both the English and Danish languages.
The Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, Esben Lunde Larsen, said, “These new common guidelines will encourage international students to choose Denmark by providing them with an overview of Danish education institutions and the high quality of their programmes.”
News in brief
New Zealand launches recommended agency review Education New Zealand (ENZ) has launched a review of its ‘Recognised Agencies’ programme to ensure the scheme is working effectively and adding value to agent relationships. Under the scheme, which was introduced last year, agents with a proven track record of success can be recommended by partner institutions to become an Education New Zealand Recognised Agency (ENZRA).
StudentMarketing opens China office
Market intelligence company StudentMarketing has opened its first branch in China, providing international marketing and agent and student recruitment services to education providers.
BAC offers new higher education accreditation scheme
The British Accreditation Council (BAC) has launched a new Independent Higher Education Scheme (IHE), available to universities in the UK or overseas. Paul Fear, CEO of BAC, said, “The scheme reflects best practice in higher education quality assurance and recognises the broad range of stakeholders in the quality assurance process. The development of the scheme was driven by BAC’s membership of ENQA [European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education] and demand for an independent and transparent quality assurance process from international higher education providers.”
ELC partners with New York Film Academy
Australia-based provider The English Language Company (ELC) has announced a pathway agreement with the New York Film Academy Australia. Students that complete a minimum of 10 weeks of Academic English at ELC and achieve a level of EAP 1 can articulate onto a range of diploma programmes.
Poland aims for more overseas students
The Polish government has introduced measures to attract more international students to study in its higher education system. Students will no longer have to pay full tuition fees for the whole study period upfront, and access to the Polish language certificates required for study has been simplified.
Caps-I welcomes new Ontario members
The Canadian Association of Public Schools International (Caps-I) has welcomed three new members in Ontario since the launch of the province’s international education strategy in June: Sudbury Catholic District School Board; Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario; and Durham Catholic District School Board. Bonnie McKie, Executive Director of Caps-I, said, “We applaud the province of Ontario for their plan to provide students with increased opportunities to develop global competencies locally and abroad.”
Australian high school forced to close
The Melbourne Senior Secondary College in Australia has been forced to cease operations after breaching regulations governing overseas students. The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) cancelled the provider’s registration after a comprehensive review revealed a number of non-compliance issues, including unsatisfactory attendance records, ineffective financial management and inadequate working with children checks.
Air New Zealand launches flight training facility
Air New Zealand has launched a NZ$8 million (US$5.1 million) Aviation Institute facility in Christchurch, designed to cater to growing international student demand for aviation engineer programmes, the flight company said.
British Airways will launch a service between London Gatwick, and Lima, Peru, in 2016. The airline will begin its new route, which will be the only direct service between London and the Peruvian capital, on May 4, 2016 and will operate three-times-weekly during the summer and twice-weekly in the winter.
Finnair has announced a new seasonal service from Helsinki to Edinburgh, UK. The three-times-weekly route will begin on April 18, 2016 and will run until October 27 the same year. The service will open up travel to Finnair’s extensive Asian network for Scottish passengers with short connections at Helsinki airport. It will operate on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. Petri Vuori, Finnair’s Vice President of Global Sales, said, “Edinburgh airport is seeing a continuous growth in demand for international flights, recently announcing a 10.2 per cent growth year-on-year to July 2015 and we look forward to welcoming these passengers on board Finnair.”
Icelandair will begin a scheduled service from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Montreal, Canada, in May 2016. Flights will be operating four-times-weekly until November 2016. “We believe Montreal fits well with the Icelandair route network and will strengthen our business. We can offer a refreshing and affordable way for tourists and business community between the destination and major European cities,” commented Birkir Holm Gudnason, CEO of Icelandair.
Monarch Airlines has announced two new scheduled routes to Israel from London Luton Airport. The airline will start flying to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport and Ovda Airport in December 2015. The direct flights will operate three-times-weekly to Tel Aviv (Monday, Thursday and Sunday) and once-a-week on a Thursday to Ovda.
Air Canada has announced long-haul expansion plans with four new routes from Toronto to Europe, including Glasgow, and a first foray to Africa. The Toronto-to-Glasgow flights will run three times a week between June 14 and September 25, 2016. Air Canada Rouge services were also announced for Prague, Budapest, and Warsaw. Anthony Stille, from English School of Canada, said, “Anytime one the of the major carriers increases direct flights to Canada, it is good news for our students and our industry. In this case, the flights will be operated through Air Canada’s Rouge service, which will help budget-conscious travellers lower the overall cost of their trip to Canada. The flights from the Czech Republic are particularly encouraging, given the recent positive changes in visa regulations for Czech travellers coming to Canada.”
British Airways’ sister carrier Vueling will launch a three-times-weekly service between Liverpool, UK, and Barcelona, Spain next year. Starting on March 27, 2016, the flights will depart on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday every week. Sarah Hamilton, International Marketing Manager of LILA*, said, “This is more fantastic news for LILA* as they’ve recently launched news that Flybe will be operating a service from Liverpool to Amsterdam, connecting Liverpool to a more global market. These new flight connections will make it even easier and cheaper for students to reach Liverpool and LILA*.”
Easyjet is dropping its London Gatwick-to-Moscow route, citing a lack of demand driven by a weak Russian economy. The service will end in March next year but will be kept under review and restored if there is an increase in customer demand in the future. The budget airline also highlighted a tightening up of the visa application process, due to recent economic sanctions placed on Russia, as a reason why the route has proved to be less popular with travellers over the last few months.
Emirates has launched its second route to Iran with a five-times-weekly service to Mashhad. The service will operate daily except on Thursdays and Sundays. The outbound service will depart Dubai at 04.10 and arrive at Mashhad at 07.00, while the return service will leave Mashhad at 08.45 and land in Dubai at 10.45. These times are correct for the remainder of the summer season, until late October. However, when daylight saving time ends in Iran on September 22, the arrival/departures times in Mashhad will be an hour earlier.
English UK will hold a fair in the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Taking place at the Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun from April 19-22, the event will bring together English UK member language schools with 40 agents from Mexico, Central and South America for scheduled business meetings, networking dinners, and seminars. See here for more details.
Languages Canada, representing over 225 English and French language schools, has announced the dates of its ninth annual conference, to be held in Victoria, BC. The event will bring together over 200 delegates for an AGM, seminar programme, break-out sessions and networking opportunities. Find more details here.
StudyTravel has announced the dates of the StudyTravel Alphe Secondary Focus and StudyTravel Alphe Russia events in 2016. Bringing together agents and providers specialising in the high school study abroad sector, ST Alphe Secondary Focus takes place again at the Westin Grand Frankfurt Hotel in Germany from September 30 to October 2. Meanwhile, ST Alphe Russia will be held from October 28-30 at the Astoria Hotel in St Petersburg, welcoming study travel agents from Russia and Eastern Europe to meet with providers from all sectors. See here for details of all ST Alphe Conferences.
For a full list of industry workshops and events, visit our comprehensive online calendar here.
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