New global Spanish test launched
A new global Spanish proficiency test modelled on international English exams such as Toefl and Ielts has been launched.
Jointly developed by the Cervantes Institute, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the University of Salamanca in Spain, the new Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española (Siele) exam will be electronically administered and will provide candidates with a proficiency score, in contrast to the level-based assessment of the existing Dele examination.
The Siele will be available in the next academic year and will initially be mainly focussed on Brazil, the USA and China for the first three years, with 280 examination centres expected to be established across the three markets during that period.
The Cervantes Institute said it anticipates an initial 300,000 test takers per year globally, rising to 750,000 within five years.
The Siele examination includes four tests covering the core communicative skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Special attention will be paid to the different linguistic varieties of Spanish, with different geographical variations of the language incorporated into the test. The full results will be available within three weeks of the test.
Ana Cózar, Director of Spain’s language school federation Fedele, welcomed the launch of the new test and said she expected that several member schools would soon offer preparation courses for the exam, especially because it is initially being marketed in three of Spain’s key recruitment markets.
Heartland Opens New Campus in Mississauga
Canada-based provider Heartland International English School has opened a new campus in Mississauga, ON.
Heartland Mississauga is located near Mississauga’s downtown area, where the City Hall, Mississauga Celebration Square, Living Arts Centre and Central Library are situated. Canada’s second largest shopping centre, Square One, and the Art Gallery of Mississauga are minutes away.
The new school will offer the same curriculum, facilities and equipment as the original school in Manitoba, the company said. The school’s Founder, Gary Gervais, said, “Mississauga is the perfect fit for the Heartland brand. The city offers a safe and welcoming environment where students will be immersed in Canadian culture and the English language.”
EC London 30+ moves to new location
International language school chain EC English Language Centres has moved its EC London 30+ school in the UK to Euston House, opposite Euston Station.
EC’s Executive Chairman, Andrew Mangion, said, “Due to high demand for our unique 30+ concept, and as part of our ongoing strategy to invest in providing our students with the most modern, stylish and effective learning environments, we’ve decided it’s time to make a change to the location of our 30+ school.”
The 30+ school is now in the same building as its sister school, EC London, and like EC’s two other new schools in Manchester and Washington DC draws on the cultural identity of the surrounding area, with The Bloomsbury Group of influential writers, intellectuals and artists providing inspiration for the eight classroom designs.
The school’s interior also features a lounge-reception area, a fully stocked library and technological resources, including interactive whiteboards, computers with free internet access, Wi-Fi throughout the school and a private study room.
New Spanish school in the Amazon
A new Spanish language school has opened in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest, offering Spanish language programmes combined with activities exploring the biodiversity and cultures of the region.
Gaia Amazon Spanish School has been founded by Agustin Nuñez, the Owner of Andean Global Studies. The new centre is being promoted by members of AECEE, the country’s association of language schools.
Activity options include hiking in the primary rainforest, visiting an indigenous family, visiting an animal rescue centre in the jungle, and making chocolate from local cacao pods. The school is also offering courses in the indigenous local Kichwa language.
Meanwhile, Yanapuma Spanish School, an AECEE member actively promoting Gaia, has established its own inbound travel agency, True Ecuador Travel, offering educational and responsible travel opportunities in Ecuador for individuals and groups.
Andrew Kirby, Director of Yanapuma Spanish School, explained that the centre was established in 2007 as a social enterprise, generating funding for sustainable development projects through its own foundation and has developed a range of study and travel programmes.
“In light of these developments, we took the decision to set up our own travel agency in order to be able to organise travel and accommodation packages with the reliability and guarantees that come with being a registered travel agency and limited company. This also allows us to take advantage of the best costs and pass these savings on to the individuals and groups that arrive to take part in a combination of activities.”
New Zealand confirms English requirement changes
New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) has confirmed changes to English language requirements for international students, meaning providers’ own internal language proficiency assessments can only be used for students from a country with a student visa approval rate of at least 80 per cent.
Under the new system, which came into effect in June, Category 1 and 2 assessed providers can only use internal tests, and Category 1, 2 and 3 providers can only use a previous English-medium school as evidence of proficiency for students from countries above the 80 per cent threshold.
Providers can still enrol students from countries below the student visa threshold, but students will need to provide a required score on one of the approved English language tests (Ielts, Toefl, Cambridge, IESOL, Pearson and New Zealand Certificate in English Language).
Alternatively, a NCEA (National Certificates of Educational Achievement) Level 3 qualification, a bachelor’s degree from one of the major English-speaking study destinations, or the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (Celta) will be accepted as evidence of suitable English skills.
Major source countries below the 80 per cent student visa success threshold in 2014, according to data published by Immigration New Zealand, included India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Bright World launches residential holiday course
Bright World, a UK-based guardianship and placement provider for international students, has launched a new holiday period residential programme in partnership with Kingswood, offering an alternative to host families.
The Relax & Revise programme, first available from the October half-term holiday this year, will be offered at Kingswood’s centres in Yorkshire and Kent, providing students with full-board accommodation, sessions with qualified tutors, personalised revision plans, supervised afternoon activities and excursions.
In a statement, Bright World said the new offering would provide a solution to some of the holiday period challenges for international students at UK boarding schools. “By matching the boarding half term and Easter dates perfectly, parents, schools and agents alike can now look forward to a stress-free school break and all for a similar cost to the traditional solution a host family.
“The course has been developed in coordination with Kingswood and is carefully designed to match the needs and musts of international students.”
Students applying for the Relax & Revise programme do not have to be enrolled in Bright World’s guardianship programme.
News in brief
New Zealand secondary association unveils board
The recently formed Schools International Education Business Association (SIEBA) in New Zealand has announced its inaugural board, consisting of: Chris Klaassen, Director of International, Avondale College (appointed as Interim Chair); Robbie Pickford, Director of International Students, Takapuna Grammar School, Auckland; Guy Pascoe, Director of International Services, Scots College, Wellington; and Anne-Marie Biggs, Principal, Glendowie Primary School, Auckland. They join Interim Executive Director, John van der Zwan, on the association, which has already gathered 170 members.
NEAS publishes service protocol
Language school accreditation organisation Neas has published a customer service protocol on its website. “NEAS is committed to providing excellent service to its stakeholders, including current and future centres, government departments and agencies, peak bodies, teachers, students, business owners and agents,” the body said. Neas has listed expected response timeframes for various levels of service requested.
New winter programme for frilingue
Switzerland-based language and camp provider frilingue has announced a new winter programme, incorporating English language lessons, skiing and travel around Switzerland.
Students benefit from Malta’s new travel card
Malta’s Public Transport ministry has confirmed to Feltom and the EFL Monitoring Board that international students are eligible for the country’s new tallinja travel card. Students under the age of 16 or adult students on a course of three months or longer can register for a student card, and other students can claim an adult card, which will operate as a top-up payment system and offer reduced fares.
New designated official and spouse rules in USA
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced changes to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), including the removal of the cap on the number of designated officials that schools can nominate. Designated officials are responsible for maintaining international students’ records and liaising with SEVP. The new regulations also permit dependents of international students to engage in study at SEVP-certified schools as long as they are enrolled in less than “a full course of study”. Introducing the amendments in the Federal Register the Department said, “The ability of F-2 or M-2 non-immigrants to have access to education while in the United States is in many instances central to maintaining a satisfactory quality of life for these visiting families.”
Bodwell announces expansion plans
Bodwell High School, a private institution in Vancouver, Canada, has commenced an expansion project. The school is building a seven-storey addition to the campus, which will include five floors of dormitories, a large presentation theatre, an expanded library, a second school gymnasium and a second campus café. In a statement issued to agents, Bodwell said, “Upon completion, the total floor area of Bodwell will be around 150,000 square feet, good for up to 650 students and 500 boarders.”
Navitas Education Trust supports Nepal
Navitas Education Trust (NET), the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of global provider Navitas, has announced support of the Room to Read initiative in its endeavours to help rebuild Nepal’s education system following the earthquake in April. The NET grant will be used to fund the literacy training model for 150-to-200 teachers, the provision of learning materials needed for teacher training and necessary supplies for students to complete work.
GUS purchases ULaw, new LSBF MBA in Singapore
The Global University Systems (GUS) private higher education group has acquired the University of Law (ULaw) in the UK.
ULaw, which has seven campuses, will continue to operate as a distinct institution with the same governance structures. Nine years ago, ULaw beccame the first independent provider in the UK to gain degree-awarding powers.
GUS has announced it will initiate a strategic options review of all of its UK businesses. In a statement, GUS said, “It [the review] will look at whether existing GUS UK entities can benefit from ULaw’s proven approach to quality assurance, enhancement and the attainment of the highest standards of regulatory compliance. The review will report to the GUS UK and ULaw boards. This process may see re-alignment of some, or all, of GUS UK’s existing businesses under the umbrella of ULaw.”
Former Education Secretary David Blunkett has been appointed as chair of the university and said GUS’s reach and resources would further plans for international growth, diversification and further enhancement of the student experience. The acquisition complements the recent addition of the University Canada West in Vancouver to the GUS group.
Meanwhile, the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) in Singapore, part of the GUS group, has announced its first MBA programme, to be delivered in partnership with Concordia University Chicago from October. Targeted at young professionals and graduates looking to further their business and management skills, the multiple-intake course covers 14 modules ranging from marketing and operations to corporate finance and statistics.
Korea targets 200,000 students
Korea’s Education Ministry has announced measures to attract 200,000 international students to its universities and colleges by 2023, more than double current levels of enrolment.
The ministry has announced preliminary plans to increase international student numbers on campuses, including helping institutions to create more English-taught degrees in science and engineering and allowing the creation of specific departments or majors dedicated to international students.
Other potential changes include making it easier for overseas students that are already in the country on Korean language programmes to transfer to higher education courses.
The government has also made 18.8 billion won (US$16.5 million) available this year to institutions outside the capital city of Seoul to help them attract more international students. The grants will be provided to schools or individual departments that demonstrate vision and specific plans.
A previously announced ‘Study Korea 2020’ plan to attract 200,000 students by 2020 has proved unsuccessful; the number of international students in the country has decreased three years in a row, according to ministry data, falling from a high of 89,537 in 2011 to 84,891 last year.
“Getting more foreign talent has become more important,” said the ministry in a statement quoted in the Korea Herald. “We will continue to work hard to improve and promote the excellence of Korea’s higher education.”
Air Canada has added Lyon, France, to its growing global network with the announcement of a new non-stop service to the French city, beginning in summer 2016. The new route will provide customers even more convenient options when travelling to Europe. “Pursuing our ongoing strategy to expand internationally, Air Canada is pleased to offer customers non-stop, year-round service between Montreal and Lyon, heart of the second largest metropolitan area in France,” said Benjamin Smith, the President of Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.
LOT Polish Airlines will launch new services from Warsaw, Poland, to Bangkok, Thailand, and Seoul, Korea, next year. The carrier plans to start both long-haul routes in autumn 2016. The news comes just days after LOT revealed it will begin a year-round operation to Tokyo Narita, Japan, in January. The airline has also announced it will commence three new Europe services to Venice, Italy; Cluj - Napoca in Romania (from January); and Ljubljana, Slovenia (from March).
German carrier Lufthansa will stop flying to Jakarta, Indonesia, this winter. From October 25, the airline will operate a five-times-weekly return service between Frankfurt, Germany, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, only. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, a flight will depart Frankfurt at 22:10 and arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 17:25 the following day. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, the return flight will leave Kuala Lumpur at 01:10 and land in Frankfurt at 07:40 the same day. Earlier this month, Garuda Indonesia announced it will halve its non-stop flights linking Jakarta with Europe.
Virgin Australia is adjusting its Sydney, Australia Abu Dhabi, UEA operation during the winter 2015/16 season, as a result of a Boeing 777-300ER cabin reconfiguration project. For the winter season, the airline will only operate this route from December 21 to Feb 1, 2016, three times a week.
EasyJet has announced a strengthening of its Italian strategy through expanding its bases in Italy at Milan Malpensa and Naples and the opening of a new base in Venice from April 2016. The airline plans to support this expansion by redeploying aircraft and crew from Rome Fiumicino. “Milan as a tourist destination as well as a business centre will surely benefit of the upcoming growth of Malpensa airport as an EasyJet hub. Milan will become more accessible and better connected and it is probable that we might register a small increase on bookings in spring and summer 2016,” said Sanda Stevanovic of Scuola Leonardo da Vinci Italian language school.
Qatar Airways has started a weekly service to Zanzibar, Tanzania, with the outbound flights travelling via Kilimanjaro. On 1 October 2015, the service will become daily, with three weekly non-stop flights and four via Kilimanjaro. The current five-times-weekly Doha-Kilimanjaro-Zanzibar-Doha service operates on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Ryanair will commence a tri-weekly service between Edinburgh, UK, and Copenhagen, Denmark, from this winter. Starting on November 6, the low-cost carrier will operate the route on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays. The announcement comes after Denmark’s labour court last week ruled that the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions could refuse to service Ryanair flights out of Copenhagen. Danish unions cannot take industrial action against the airline, as the ruling only applies to Ryanair’s Copenhagen base and to flights from there.
LATAM Airlines Group will be introducing a route to Barcelona, Spain, and expand operations to Madrid, Spain. As of October 1, LATAM Group will begin offering its first flight to the city of Barcelona from São Paulo, Brazil. “This is excellent news for our passengers. We are inaugurating our sixth port of entry into Europe and our second destination in Spain, further expanding our connections with the continent and increasing products for customers that travel for tourism or business,” said Nicolas Goldstein, CEO of Long Haul Business at LATAM Airlines Group.
American Airlines plans to add eight new routes throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America later this year, providing customers with further options when traveling to these destinations. The expanded service includes new flights to: Mexico City International Airport; General Rafael Buelna International Airport, Mexico; Curacao International Airport; Sangster International Airport, Jamaica; Punta Cana International Airport and Gregorio Luperon International Airport, both in the Dominican Republic; and Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Ecuador, pending the necessary regulatory approvals.
The dates for the StudyTravel Alphe UK Conference 2016 have been announced. Taking place at the Westminster Bridge Park Plaza Hotel in London from 2-4 September, the conference will gather agents and educators from around the world for scheduled 30-minute business appointments and networking opportunities. The StudyTravel Star Awards 2016, the peer-voted celebration of excellence in the study travel industry, will take place during the conference on Saturday 3rd September at the Park Lane Hilton, London.
ICEF has revealed the details of the 2016 ICEF North America Workshop Toronto in Canada. The conference will be held at the Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto, from May 12-14 gathering North American educators and agencies focusing on Canada and the USA for scheduled business meetings, a seminar programme and networking opportunities. The 2015 ICEF North America Workshop Miami will be held in December, as previously announced. See here for more information of ICEF agent events.
The International Association of Language Centres (IALC) has unveiled details of it’s the IALC 2016 Leeds & York Workshop in the UK. Hosted jointly by Centre of English Studies (CES) Leeds www.ces-schools.com/Leeds and Melton College www.melton-college.co.uk, York, the event will run from 7-10 April, inviting agencies from around the world to meet IALC-accredited language schools, covering nine different languages. A seminar programme on April 7 will be held at the Leeds Marriot Hotel, while the main workshop of scheduled meetings will be hosted at New Dock Hall in the Royal Armouries Museum on April 8-9. Fam trips showcasing Yorkshire and the North of England as a study destination will also be offered. The previously announced IALC 2015 Turkey Roadshow takes place next month on 26 October (Istanbul) and 28 October (Ankara), bringing 20 IALC schools to meet Turkish agents. See here for further details.
Turkish agency association UED will hold the 3rd UED Agency Awards of Turkey on October 9th in Istanbul. The shortlist for the 16 award categories, based on an initial vote by 43 member agencies, has been published on UED’s website, with the winners to be decided from a second round and presented on the evening. See here for information about the association, its members and activities, and the awards.
International House World Organisation (IHWO) has announced 2016 agent roadshow events in Colombia, Brazil and Turkey. The Colombia and Brazil roadshow encompasses Medellin (17 February), Bogota (19 February), São Paulo (22 February), Porto Alegre (24 February) and Belo Horizonte (26 February). An agent event in Istanbul, Turkey, will follow on May 11. See here for details of the organisation and its events.
For a full list of industry workshops and events, visit our comprehensive online calendar here.