||Canadian associations form marketing consortium
The presidents of five national education associations in Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Canadian Consortium for International Education Marketing.
The new consortium consists of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC), the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), the Canadian Association of Public Schools International (CAPS-I), the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and Languages Canada and aims to provide leadership and coordination to the sector’s marketing efforts.
The initiative includes an action plan outlining ways to enhance visibility in key markets and will support the priorities of government partners.
Pari Johnston, Director of International Relations at the AUCC, told LTM, “The consortium aims to add value to what member associations are already doing and to certain government initiatives. We want to highlight pathways between education sectors and are working on some pilot initiatives to promote all education sectors overseas. We will be having a workshop on good practice and cross sectoral marketing at the CBIE conference in October and plan to hold some web-inars with Canadian missions abroad.”
Meanwhile, education providers in Ontario are waiting to be able to use the Edu-Canada brand on their marketing materials as provincial ministers have been slow to authorise them to use it. Providers in other provinces in Canada can now attend workshops on how to use the branding but Ontario has yet to issue authorisation to eligible schools and colleges in the province.
Rena Elbaze, Brand Manager at Edu-Canada, told LTM, “There is a pan-Canadian baseline with criteria approved by the Deputy Ministers of the provinces as to who is eligible to use the branding but it is up to the individual provinces to authorise their schools to use it. There have been a few education providers who have not provided a proper service to students in Ontario recently and the ministers are anxious that only legitimate schools get to use the brand.” She added they they hoped the issue would be resolved by the end of the summer.
Currently, public and private institutions delivering a provincial curriculum are eligible to use the brand although Elbaze said that language schools will be included “in the coming months”. Ontario-based education providers, including language schools, can be located in a branded area of any international event, despite not being able to use the brand on their promotional materials.
Tier 4 visa English language level change
The UK Border Agency has sent a letter to all Tier 4 visa sponsors informing them that all Tier 4 visa applicants must have a minimum English language level of B1, despite the outcome of a Judicial Review back in July which restored English language level requirements to A1.
The letter stated, “With effect from 23 July 2010, the minimum level of English language course that will be permitted under Tier 4 will be CEFR level B2 [which requires a minimum language requirement of B1] restoring the position in place before the judgement was handed down.”
Tony Millns, CEO of English UK who originally brought the Judicial Review against the Home Office said, “[Immigration Minister] Damian Green has reneged on the commitment he gave at our mass lobby of Parliament on 3 March and the Home Office has laid new Immigration Rules before Parliament. We have got MPs to put down a motion that the key parts of the new IRs be disapproved and we are going to try to get enough support to make him rethink.”
At the time of going to press, Green and UK Border Chief Executive, Lin Homer, had met with a delegation that included English UK member schools and MPs to discuss the adverse affect the ruling could have on the sector. Millns, who branded the language rule as “deeply damaging”, proposed two more workable solutions, namely that student ability be judged on past academic achievement with English language students required to prove they have completed high school education in their own country, equivalent to Year 12 or AS level and that the language level of countries deemed “high risk” be raised.
Australia amends Esos Act
The Australian government has introduced changes to the Education Services for Overseas Students (Esos) legislation, which would see education colleges enrolling international students in the country faced with tougher regulations.
The changes, which are still being debated in the Australian Parliament, will strengthen the provider registration criteria to certify the viability of businesses and enable the government to put conditions such as enrolment caps and fee restrictions on some providers’ registration. The legislation also increases the range of breaches for which colleges will incur financial penalties.
Jason Clare, Parliamentary Secretary said, “This will raise the bar of entry into the international education sector.” The changes were introduced in response to the Baird Review, which was published in March and recommended a raft of changes to preserve Australia’s AUS$17 billion (US$14.8 billion) education export industry.
The English Network unveiled
A group of 10 language schools in the UK have formed their own marketing consortium called The English Network (TEN).
Between them the group, consisting of Beet Language Centre in Bournemouth, Cambridge Academy of English, Eastbourne School of English, English in Chester, Excel English in London, Oxford English Centre, The English Language Centre in Brighton, The English Language Centre in Bristol, Torquay International School and Wimbledon School of English in London, have over 400 years of experience.
The group is currently in the process of developing an agent strategy and plan to work together to share and develop expertise for the benefit of each member and their clients. Jane Dancaster, Principal of Wimbledon School of English, said that TEN is “a collection of England’s finest schools, all run by ELT professionals who I know are dedicated to providing a quality service in everything they do”.
Study Group sold to US private equity firm
World language school chain, Study Group, has been sold to the private equity firm, Providence Equity Partners, for US$570 million.
The chain was formerly owned by Champ Private Equity and Petersen Investments, who bought the company for US$136 million in 2006. Current Study Group Executive Chairman and founding shareholder Arvid Petersen has assumed the position of non-Executive Chairman and will continue as a shareholder in the company.
Petersen said, “This is the next step in the evolution of the business, given our success in the past four years. Providence will continue to invest in the business and build on the excellent work done by management.”
Study Group has more than 55,000 students at 38 campuses in the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand. The group consists of Bellerbys College in the UK, Taylors College in Australia and New Zealand, the Australian College of Physical Education, the Australian Institute of Applied Science, Martin College in Australia as well as 19 year-round Embassy CES language school centres.
Study Group has been sold twice in the last 11 years, originally by founders Andrew Colin and Duncan Greenland for an estimated US$87 million in 1999 to the Daily Mail Group and again in 2006 to Champ Private Equity and Petersen Investments for US$162.5 million. In September 2005, the company posted a turnover of US$180 million for the previous 12 months. The company declined to reveal their annual turnover for 2009.
Providence, based in the USA, already owns a number of significant education providers, including Assessment Technologies Institute, Archipelago Learning, Edline and the Education Management Corporation.
International House welcomes new affiliate
IH Heidelberg, previously known as Collegium Palatinum, has become the latest school to be affiliated to the International House World Organisation (IHWO) network.
Ute Gleich, Managing Director and Owner of the school, said, “We are proud to announce our affiliation with IHWO as we are aware and committed to the good reputation and high quality standards of IH. We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation.”
IH Heidelberg is the fifth IH school in Germany and along with Berlin and Freiburg is the third school offering German study abroad courses.
Languages Canada gains BC recognition
Members of language school association Languages Canada that are based in British Columbia have been recognised by the province’s Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation.
The Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, Moira Stilwell, signed an agreement in June that recognises Languages Canada accreditation as an acceptable quality assurance mechanism to apply for EQA branding. The designation is British Columbia’s brand for quality post-secondary education and will be used around the world to promote quality post secondary education in the province.
Stilwell said, “The EQA trademark provides international students with an easily recognisable symbol of quality so that they can make informed choices about where they will study. Given the competitive nature of the international education market, having the EQA-designation makes good business sense for institutions.”
The agreement also recognises Languages Canada’s Education Completion Assurance programme, which protects students in case of a programme or school closure.