Strength not size
SIn our annual global market analysis, the UK proves that it remains the heavyweight of the industry, with well over one-third of the entire ELT market by volume taught in the UK (pages 22-26). Year on year, there has been some change, with Australia positioning itself as an increasingly likely podium contender. It is possible that Australia could knock Canada or the USA out of the top three in a few years if current trends prevail and it continues to position itself as a long-term study destination with study and migration pathways clearly linked.
Overall, the UK';s stronghold shows little danger of weakening but that said, the UK has had a headstart on other study destinations, and it also has more language schools in the country than Australia or New Zealand, for example. When measuring market share, it is also important to remember market size. Malta is a small country, but it is one of the most robust destinations at present, and it posted the most healthy increase in student weeks last year.
Changes in market performance are inevitable and healthy competition keeps the global English language teaching industry on its toes. As pointed out by Tony Millns of English UK, competition is increasingly coming from other quarters too, such as in-country training institutions or overseas branches of schools based in traditional ELT markets. While this is a separate area from teaching the study abroad market, it represents another revenue opportunity for institutions and is an interesting avenue. The free trade agreements between New Zealand and Chile, Brunei and Singapore certainly pave the way for institutions in New Zealand to consider such a venture (page 6).
Some nationalities favour learning a language in-country, but a study abroad market can develop when social and financial trends alter. Chile looks like it might be one such country that becomes a stronger contender for marketing attention as the outbound study market strengthens. A working holiday visa deal brokered between Chile and Australia is sure to be beneficial for schools in Australia (page 7), while the emergence of a new Chilean agency association suggests that the entire study abroad marketplace is becoming more serious (page 10). Ukraine too might soon receive more attention, since institutions attending the first study abroad fair there testify to the genuine intent of local students (page 10). The strength and development of a market is as important a consideration as overall size.