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October 2008 issue

Contents
News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Feedback
Market Report
Direction
Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
CityFocus
Status

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Education New Zealand launches agent training

Education New Zealand has launched a new agent training programme to encourage agents to recommend New Zealand institutions to their clients and also to provide visa information as well as inform agents of opportunities available.

The first agent training workshop was held in Hong Kong in May this year and Sarah Cox, Strategic Promotions Manager at Education New Zealand, said that the programme would be rolled out throughout their key markets. “The Specialist Agent Programme was a huge success in Hong Kong,” she said. “We’ve received very positive feedback from the involved agents. In early August we are investing in a full page double spread Hong Kong newspaper advertisement to announce the successful agents.”

After a day’s training, agents are invited to sit an hour long exam and successful candidates are given a certificate and access to a secure password-only section of a new agents’ website, http://agents.newzealandeducated.com. Successful agents also have their details and logo listed on the website that students from a particular country are directed to when they open the generic New Zealand Educated site.
Rebecca Vilas from Wisdom Educational Consulting in China who took part in the training workshop in Hong Kong said that she found it very useful. “It gave a thorough review of the history, geographical layout and educational framework of the country along with information on visa regulations,” she said. “Personally, I found the part explaining the New Zealand educational framework and qualifications most useful. I was not quite sure how the NZQA credit system works but now I have a much better understanding.”

Cox explained that the programme was developed in response to similar agent training programmes being developed by Australia and the British Council in the UK. “After chatting with many agents, we realised the benefit that they place on having their knowledge and experience recognised,” she said. “Education New Zealand was not looking to get into the business of endorsing agents or policing agent issues, but we were also keen to assist our industry with the process of choosing a new agent. Having a list of specialist agents cuts out some of the guesswork.”


Pro Linguis sold to Kaplan Inc.

one of the largest language travel agencies in Switzerland, Pro Linguis, has been sold to Kaplan Inc. in the USA, marking a gradual trend towards vertical integration in the industry. Don Quijote in Spain and Navitas in Australia are other examples of private education providers with part or full ownership of outbound student travel agencies.

Kaplan Inc. operates global English language school chain, Kaplan Aspect, under its test prep division, which will also operate Pro Linguis. John Polstein, Chief Executive of the division, said, “As the educational landscape becomes increasingly global in scope, we will continue to seek opportunities to expand our portfolio of offerings to students in Europe and beyond.” He continued, “As a top quality educational services provider with an established reputation within an important European market, Pro Linguis represents an ideal partner in these efforts.”

Pro Linguis is one of the largest agencies in Switzerland and a nominee in this year’s Language Travel Magazine Star Awards. Established in 1955, it operates a network of 10 offices throughout Switzerland. Its Chief Executive, Martin Pfister, said that the sale to Kaplan – terms were not disclosed – would mean access to more services for Pro Linguis clients. “We see opportunities to offer a wide portfolio of services, including test preparation, professional training and post-secondary education, to the young people of Switzerland,” he said.

Pfister remains Chief Executive and Andrea Gerber continues as Managing Director, heading up the same team, which, Pfister said, was working with “continued enthusiasm”


Industry issues - agents speak out

Q. Do you appreciate personal visits from staff members at the schools you work with?

Larisa Fast, General Director, Global Link Educational Centre, Russia
“We highly appreciate personal visits from staff members of the schools we cooperate with. Once per year 40 language schools and educational institutions attend and take part in our exhibition. We find face-to-face communication efficient and it has proved to be of value and of importance to both sides as the event gives us the opportunity to share information and experience in the sphere of education, to keep informed regarding changes in programmes and work out some new ways of development and cooperation. In this relation it is imperative to give the following impressive figure: 100 per cent of our partners attend the event!”

Thomas Mueller, Managing Director, Treff-Sprachreisen, Germany
“I very much appreciate visits from staff members of our partner schools from around the world. However, those visits are not as frequent as they could be. Meeting the staff members mostly happens at fairs or when I visit them at their schools. I think it is actually even more effective to visit them at their schools because you get the complete picture. You see the premises, the facilities the school has, the region or the city where the school is located and above all, you don’t just meet one single person but usually several staff members, who are responsible for various tasks.”

Gaby Kühn, Open Door International, Germany
“Yes, I think visits from staff members of schools we work with are very important. We regularly have guests from high schools or secondary colleges in New Zealand, usually during the two-week term breaks. Sometimes I have three or four visitors per week. Nearly all the schools that I work with have already sent a representative to our office. Most of them come once a year, some even twice a year, others every two years. These visits give both the schools and us as agents the opportunity to put a face to a name and to develop a relationship that allows a very close, flexible and personal cooperation. For most of our German clients, New Zealand is very far away. Very few have been in contact with New Zealand before and they are very grateful for comprehensive information not only about school related topics but also about the country itself, the people and their mentality. If possible we also invite interested parents and students to meetings [with schools] to give them the opportunity to meet the staff members themselves. After all, letting your child go to the other side of the world for half a year or a year takes a lot of trust!”

Elizabeth Madrid, Director General, Alianzas Culturales, Mexico
“Yes, very much because that way I take advantage of a more direct contact and keep myself up-to-date with what goes on in the schools and all the newest features they might have. I think that it is very important to see the faces of the people you are dealing with. It does make a difference. I have found it easier to have a better communication with the school staff members once I have got to know them. One of the advantages is that school staff members also have direct contact when they come to our office with our personnel and they learn much about the students, as well as the school or programme needs. We also give a presentation to potential groups of students and visit some of our local schools. Very few come to visit on yearly basis. The percentage of schools who visit us varies, between 10 and 15 per cent only.”


Agency of the month

In a series appearing each month in Language Travel Magazine, we ask a different language teaching institution to nominate one of their preferred agencies or agent partners, and to explain why this person/company is worthy of their nomination.

This month Leisure Learn English in New Zealand nominates Gina & Partners in Japan. Merelyn Corry, Owner of the school, explains why.

 “When we look for an agent to promote our product, we are seeking someone who understands the unique way of life in New Zealand. Gina and her partners at NZ Life Tours are strongly focused on New Zealand because Gina is a Kiwi and knows the value of boutique schools where students can really enhance their learning. Her NZ Life Tours business has a Study & Work programme, providing support with visas, travel arrangements, insurance, personalised programmes and best of all, discounted fares! They are friendly, approachable and very well informed about their product, making frequent trips to New Zealand to support their clients. NZ Life Tours staff have all lived abroad for at least four years and speak English fluently. This is particularly good from a provider’s point of view as we are comfortable that NZ Life Tours’ clients are well informed before leaving. This overseas experience also means that there is a greater cross-cultural understanding which makes the transition to living, working and studying over here much easier.”


On the move

Michelle Caruana-Dingli has been appointed as Director of Studies at the International School of Languages, part of the University of Malta. As the the only language school based on campus, it has a dedicated team of professionally qualified English teachers with university degrees as well as other recognised teaching certificates and diplomas.
 
Bronwyn Jenkins-Deas has been named Director of International Education Programs at University of California, Riverside Extension (UCR) in the USA. Ms Jenkins-Deas comes to sunny Southern California from the cooler climes of Canada's Vancouver Island, where she was Dean of Faculty of International Education at Malaspina University-College.

 Tanguy Perrichot has recently joined the British Council – Paris as Ielts Business Development Manager, France. He will be working with higher education institutions across France to support their internationalisation and mobility objectives in terms of English language testing. 

 Joel Weaver is now Director of the Hawaii English Language Program (HELP) at the University of Hawaii – Manoa. Building on 12 years experience as Director of ICC-Hawaii, Mr Weaver plans to raise the HELP programmes’ services and quality to meet the demand for premier short and long-term English and academic programs in Hawaii.

 CATS Canterbury in the UK, part of Cambridge Education Group, has appointed a new IB Development Manager. Francisco Bustos has joined the development team and will be focusing on the recruitment of students for the IB Diploma and the development of the programme in Canterbury.

 James Stewart has joined the IALC Secretariat as Marketing and IT Co-ordinator, after graduating in Design, Branding and Marketing from University College for the Creative Arts at Rochester, Kent and working in a graphic design and IT role for a leading sign-making company.

 Rachel Johnson has joined the management team at Hampstead School of English in the UK as Operations Manager. Rachel was formerly Assistant Director of Studies and has been on the staff since 2002. 
 


Q&A

Andrew Mangion, President of Feltom in Malta, answers our questions about upcoming challenges and the accreditation process.

Full name: Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations Malta
Year established: 1989
Number of members: 16
Type of members: Full, associate and affiliate members
Association’s main role: Feltom is a self-regulating national body which functions to establish and maintain codes of conduct and national standards of service for its members, to maintain a professional identity for its members and to promote Malta as an English language teaching destination
Government recognition: yes
Code of practice: yes
Complaints procedure: yes
Agent workshops/fam trips: yes
Contact details:
Ms Isabelle Pace Warrington, Executive Officerc/o
The Victoria Hotel, Gorg Borg Olivier Street, Sliema,
SLM 1807 Malta Email: executive@feltom.com
Tel: +356 2744 5422
Website: www.feltom.com

How are preparations going for your 20th anniversary in 2009? What celebrations do you have planned?
The Executive Board has set up a sub-committee that will be responsible for planning a number of events during 2009 to celebrate Feltom's 20th Anniversary. Further details will be communicated at a later stage and we will have details up on our website in due course.

How is the accreditation process for members progressing?
The process has gained momentum in the last seven months and we have six members that have undergone final inspections. We expect that they will soon be accredited, bringing the total number of accredited schools to eight. Five further applications have been submitted from existing members and are currently undergoing inspection.
 
Recent reports suggest that the number of Spanish students studying English in Malta this summer will be down on last year's bumper year. How is this affecting business at Maltese language schools?
The primary cause for this year-on-year downward movement has been a substantial decrease in the MEC Spanish scholarship students. There has also been a downward movement from regular Spanish students caused primarily by the state of the Spanish economy. Expectations are that the number of Spanish arrivals will drop from a high of some 13,500 in 2007 to around 7,000 [this year]. What has further aggravated matters, is that schools, wanting to be prepared for the expected large number of arrivals from Spain, have committed accommodation and in some cases flights. This will put pressure on. 
 
What marketing activities have you been involved in?
Our marketing activities have remained quite similar to last year although we have embarked on developing a new website which should be launched this year.


Services summary

Website launched for spare room rental

A website has been launched that matches tourists and visitors looking for a room with homeowners willing to rent out their spare room. Room for Travellers, www.roomft.com, which launched at the end of last year, now has more than 2,000 members signed up in 60 different countries.

Homeowners can register their spare room for as little as one night to several weeks for free while travellers and gap year students can also post their requests for free. The aim of the site is to provide affordable accommodation throughout the world while also allowing travellers and local people to meet and interact. Daniel Baum from RoomFT, said, “Amidst increasing bleak reports of mortgage arrears and repossessions, we buck the trend with a positive housing market [story]. Homeowners joining RoomFT could earn up to £4,250 (US$8,350) a year tax free from renting spare accommodation.”

The site also includes features such as a ratings and guestbook area, a calendar showing room availability, a web mail system and profile pages for hosts and travellers.

New exam to replace A-levels

The University of Cambridge International Examinations has developed a new exam called the Cambridge Pre-U, which students will be able to sit at some high schools in the UK instead of A-levels. The exam received QCA accreditation in April this year and so far, 50 schools – 35 independent and 15 state – have said that they will offer the exam when it is first introduced in September.

The new exam is claimed to be a more rigorous form of A-levels, which critics say do not prepare students adequately for university. The course will consist of more end-of-term exams and pupils will not be able to re-sit particular modules as they can currently with A-levels. The exam is available in 26 different subjects.

CIE Chief Executive, Ann Puntis, said, “This is a diploma that ticks all the boxes for students heading for university. The Cambridge Pre-U has a clear progression route, flexibility for schools, and a well designed and supported stretch and challenge for students. It meets the needs of young people, schools and universities.”

Endsleigh closes offices in UK

UK student insurance company, Endsleigh, has announced plans to close its network of 119 branches by the end of the year. Over 80 per cent of the company’s enquiries originate from the Internet and Endsleigh anticipates that this figure will grow in the future.

Mike Alcock, Endsleigh’s Managing Director, said, “The Internet has rapidly become the channel of choice for people searching for insurance, often after office hours. We have very successfully capitalised on this growth area and in the past five years our client base has grown significantly.” He added, “Unfortunately, over the same time period, the number of people visiting our branches has dwindled to an extremely small number.”

The company plans to create new regional relationship teams throughout the UK and about 50 existing sales employees will continue to deal with existing relationships in the education and graduate community. Previously, Endsleigh had a strong presence with outlets on campuses at many UK universities.


Grapevine

 
Anthony Böhm, Chief Executive of Think Education Group in Australia, announced the rebranding of the company from Amadeus Education Holdings earlier this year.

  

This year’s annual BETA parliamentary reception was a chance for members to network and proved successful despite the poor weather spoiling the stunning views of the River Thames! Snapped at the event (above) was Caroline Fox from Twin Group in London (centre) with Naveen Chilamkurty (left) and Steve Lowy from umi Hotels, while on the left our roving Editor, Amy Baker (right) with Jacqui Fox from Twin Group.

  
Class Afloat, based in Canada, launched a new summer camp this year and welcomed students aged between 15 and 18 from Germany, Spain, Mexico, Columbia and across Canada. The camp lasted for four weeks and students lived and learned to sail together on a tall ship (pictured left), while visiting destinations along Atlantic Canada.

  


Sea English Academy in Maroochydore, QLD, Australia celebrated its new expanded premises with a party involving an Aboriginal artist performing a traditional didgeridoo welcoming and blessing. Director, Kim Edwards (right) welcomed the 80 guests attending the celebration and also announced the opening of a new Sea English franchise in Vietnam.


Travel Update

Ryanair, one of Europe’s largest no-frills carriers, has announced it stands to make a substantial loss – its first in 20 years of operation. Fuel hikes and economic unrest in the UK and Ireland have rendered many of its services unprofitable and have forced the airline to slash its fares by five per cent over the winter season in a bid to lure back passengers. Howard Millar, Deputy Chief Executive of the airline, said, “This is a load factor-aggressive, yield-passive operation. If we have to reduce fares in order to keep our loads, we will.” Having accrued a net profit of E439 (US$684) million in 2007-2008, early predications show the airline stands to accrue just E379 (US$590) million in 2008-2009; a E60 (US$93) million loss. The last downturn the airline experienced was back in 1989 when it was a relatively small airline flying just 644,000 passengers a year – 57.4 million fewer than it expects to carry in the next 12 months.

• The lucrative study abroad market has prompted several airlines in India to try and woo travelling students with discounted fares and free excess baggage. Indian carrier, Jet Airways, is offering a promotional package whereby students can carry an extra piece of luggage of up to 23kg on flights to the US, Canada, UK and parts of Europe. An additional 10kg will be granted on flights to Asia (including Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok). Meanwhile, Air India, India’s national airline, has also announced plans to waive excess baggage fees, and students flying to Frankfurt, Paris, London and Birmingham can soon benefit from an additional 20kg of excess luggage; while students flying to Singapore, China and New Zealand will be allowed to carry an extra 40kg and students journeying to Australia will be granted permission to carry 50kg more. Karan Anand, Business Development Head at travel company Cox & Kings, said, “The student segment is growing steadily. Last year, about 26,000 Indian students enrolled for admissions in the UK alone, making this a very important segment for airlines and operators.”

• The Home Office and the UK Border Agency are proposing to reintroduce visas for visitors from 11 countries, including South Africa, Brazil, Venezuela and Malaysia. Officials believe visitors from the 11 countries pose a high risk in terms of illegal immigration, bogus passports and criminality. “We need to decide how to widen the visa net,” said Liam Byrne, Border and Immigration Minister. “We cannot and will not shy away from going wider and will, whenever we think there is a risk to the UK.” New restrictions would require visitors to apply for a six-month visa and provide fingerprints before journeying to the UK. It will also raise the fees the government imposes on visitors from those countries. Bob Cotton, Director of Tourism Alliance, the voice of UK tourism, said the move could have serious repercussions. “Any decision requiring citizens of commonwealth countries like South Africa and Malaysia to have their fingerprints taken so that they can visit Britain will be very poorly received in those countries,” said Cotton. The countries under review have a combined population of more than 300,000 million people – five per cent of the world’s population – consequently, 80 per cent of the world’s population could be required to obtain a visa before entering the UK. A final decision is expected next year.

• Despite spiralling fuel costs, AirAsia X, one of Malaysia’s leading low-cost carriers, plans to launch a budget flight from London Stansted to Kuala Lumpur. Return fares are mooted to be in the region of £350 (US$688) and the service will operate six times a week. The launch, originally scheduled for the end of this year, has now been postponed to March/June 2009. Tony Fernandes, AirAsia’s Chief Executive, said, “It is looking good, we are just finalising negotiations.”

• Ever wondered what makes the perfect beach? Cleanliness, a good range of facilities and a safe area to swim, according to Onbeach.com – an independent beach review site. Platja S’Amarador, on the Balearic island of Mallorca, earnt the title of Best Beach in Europe this year, followed by Cala Salada in Ibiza, Baie de Rondinara in Corsica, Praia de São Rafael in the Algarve, Portugal and Porto Nuova in Puglia, Italy.


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


ASSOCIATIONS/GROUPS
English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
IALC International  
MEI-Relsa Ireland  
Perth Education City  
Quality English  

SERVICES
Internet Advantage  
InTouch
Your World on Monday  

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism Authority  

WORKSHOPS/EXPOS
Alphe Conferences  
English Australia  
IALC International  
MEI-Relsa Ireland  
Quality English  

ARGENTINA
Austral Idiomas Srl  
Ecela - Latin Immersion  

AUSTRALIA
English Australia  
Perth Education City  

CANADA
Bodwell College  
Canadian & International Student Services  
Centre Linguista Canada (OISE)  
College of New Caledonia  
Richmond School District #38  

ENGLAND
Bell International (Malta, UK)
Bournville College of Further Education  
Hampstead School of English  
IP International Projects GmbH 
      (England, France, Germany, Spain)
Kaplan Aspect
      (Australia, Canada,Ireland, Malta, New Zealand,
      South Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and Leisure
      (England, Canada, Cyprus, Ireland, South Africa,
    Spain, Switzerland, USA)
Malvern House College London  
Northumbria School of English  
Oxford Intensive School of English
      (Australia, France, Germany, Spain, UK, USA)
Princes College School of English 
Queen Ethelburga's College  
Scanbrit School of English  
St Giles Colleges (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group (Australia, Canada, England, France,
     Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, South
     Africa, Spain, USA)
Wimbledon School of English  

FRANCE
Alliance Française Paris Ile de France  
SILC - Séjours Linguistiques  

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

MALTA
Educational English Culture  
Feltom Malta
Linguatime

NEW ZEALAND
Languages International  

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

SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Studies  

SWITZERLAND
EF Language Colleges Ltd 
      (Australia, Canada, China, Ecuador, England, France,
    Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand,
     Russia, Scotland, Spain, USA)

USA
ALCC - American Language Communication Center  
Boston University  
Eastern Washington University  
LAL Fort Lauderdale  
Rennert Bilingual  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers (Canada, USA)

WORK WISE

AUSTRALIA
Perth Education City

ENGLAND
Princes College
      School of English 
Twin Group
      (Ireland, UK)