Qalen forms as international accreditation body

19, February, 2015

The Quality Assurance in Language Education Network (Qalen) has been established as a forum for language school accreditation bodies worldwide, aiming to operate alongside counterpart global agency and language school bodies in driving standards in the study travel industry.

Darren Conway (left) of English New Zealand and Mark Raven of Neas at the Gaela annual meeting 2014; both bodies are founder members of The Quality Assurance in Language Education Network (Qalen)

Qalen was created from an embryonic meeting of accrediting bodies in London in 2011 and more recently in Sydney, Australia, last year, following the participation of a number of accreditation organisations in recent meetings of the Global Alliance of Education and Language Associations (Gaela).

The founder members of the association are: Neas in Australia; Feltom in Malta; English New Zealand; and Accet in the USA. A broad mapping of the alignment of the standards, principles and processes of the four founder members took place at the Sydney meeting. The group ultimately hopes to achieve a membership of around 10 or 11 accreditation bodies.

Mark Raven, Chief Executive of Neas, said, “The Quality Assurance in Language Education Network is a ‘think tank’ of legitimate and like-minded quality assurance and accreditation agencies, seeking global validation and recognition of their quality principles and processes.

“Qalen members have a long history of supporting effective learning in ELT, and by coming together to share their experiences, we may build a library of knowledge and innovation to be shared across the network. While the final outcome of Qalen is yet to be defined, the creation of mutual understanding across the group will foster a global community of quality ELT providers.”

Membership of Qalen involves a memorandum of understanding between all parties whereby the signatories agree to cooperate and recognise one another’s processes, principles, standards and activities.

Qalen is intended to provide opportunities for members to: validate accreditation and assurance standards; focus on best practice in quality assurance and accreditation; foster innovation and new methods; reduce the impact of accreditation mills confusing the market; investigate cross-promotional opportunities; and promote a globally recognisable quality mark.

Another aim of Qalen is to build a communication platform that describes the value of quality assurance and accreditation for agents, governments, students and the language teaching industry to aspire to.

A website and branding for the nascent association are due to be launched soon, and a third symposium is scheduled to take place in Malta this year.

Qalen will continue to explore areas of common ground and mutual benefit with Gaela and the Federation of Education and Language Consultant Associations (Felca), which both hold annual meetings in late August/early September, prior to the Alphe UK Conference.

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