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Contents - October 2009

Special report
The role of agents
Direct student-to-school bookings have sometimes been a rather thorny issue for language schools and agencies. At a time when mainstream travel agencies have been closing down or switching to online businesses, Gillian Evans assesses the longevity and value of education agencies within the distribution network.

Market Report
Good news for France
Numbers are up in France, with a range of recruitment methods providing a good mix of nationalities across French language schools. Students seem keen to learn but in a cost-effective environment, as Amy Baker discovers.

City Focus
Fiesta time in Barcelona
As a year-round destination, the Catalonian city of Barcelona is perfect for a weekend city break or a six-month study vacation. While art lovers lap up one of the many Gaudí exhibits, food lovers can sample some of this vibrant city’s spectacular cuisine, not to mention the odd fiesta or two! Nicola Hancox takes a tour.

Compulsory quality

So after what transpires to be 27 years of no regulation for private education, the UK government has finally realised that a lack of regulation and “free market” principles are not necessarily in the best interests of the education industry. Education is such a high-stake and high-worth investment, and it is nothing short of an outrage if a student pays money in good faith, only to discover that their selected institution overseas is bogus, offering poor quality education and minimal welfare, in return for a significant investment on the student’s part.

This is one of the problems with the British market, according to Tony Millns, Chief Executive of English UK, who gave evidence earlier this year before a Home Affairs Committee enquiry into bogus colleges. He stated that it was in 1982 under the Thatcher government when a previous accreditation scheme for private colleges was dropped. Another danger – and reality, in fact – is the incidences of “visa factories” being set up, offering education as a front for a way for would-be migrants to enter the country, and with no intention to teach or educate.

The UK, of course, is toughening up its rules with its new accreditation-linked visa system, in part because the student pathway was exposed as a possible route into the country for potential terrorists, and in part because of concerns over a deluge of economic migrants. In the USA, the Sevis scheme, which records personal data for all international students on entry, was likewise introduced in the aftermath of 9/11 because of terrorism concerns.

However, certainly the bigger problems with unregulated schools and colleges are migrants seeking fraudulent ways of entering the country and quality misrepresentation, which is more damaging for a country’s reputation internationally than its volume of migrants, I would argue. This month, we hear about two school closures, which in one case left students out of pocket and stranded overseas.

It is still currently possible for non-visa nationals (Europeans) in the UK to enrol at an unaccredited or unregulated private school, and this danger also faces international students in the USA and Canada – three of the largest English language teaching markets in the world. For this reason, voluntary accreditation schemes have always played an important role in our industry .

Perhaps it is no surprise that there seems to be good news coming out of Australasia at the moment. New Zealand and Australia have robust compulsory accreditation and tuition assurance schemes in place that cover all institutions, regardless of any quality club membership.

Compulsory quality

Australia targets rogue agent and bogus schools
Kingswood Group buys residential school site
UK government committee calls for blanket accreditation
UK government committee calls for blanket accreditation
New IH school in Mexico
School failures in Canada and Australia
Navitas posts positive student growth

Agency News
Upward agency buys new site in São Paulo
Coicec – a new agency association for Ecuador
Cactus and GVI team up

Agency Survey
Thailand powers up
Reported to have survived the worst of its economic crisis, Thailand’s outgoing student market looks set to prosper. No longer hindered by an unstable currency, agents report that the next 12 months look promising. Meanwhile, New Zealand is becoming an increasingly attractive study destination for Thai students.

Ireland Feedback
Students taking part in this month’s survey were largely satisfied with their experience, with 96 per cent saying they would recommend their school to others. Meanwhile, the Asian contingent has dropped further.

Executive in the UK
Personalised courses, experienced teachers and fast-track learning or immersion; all of these features characterise executive language programmes available in the UK. Amy Baker reports.

Course Guide
Ielts & Toefl in the US

New Zealand 2008
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine that aims to gather specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. Through our initiative, it is now possible to compare world market statistics.

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