By Nicola Hancox, Editor of Study Travel Magazine

“Two Chinese students en route to a two-week summer camp in the USA were unfortunate casualties in last week’s plane crash in San Francisco. With flight investigators still looking into probable causes, the Quzhou Municipal Education Bureau in Zhejiang, the province from which both girls originated, has announced it has suspended overseas study tours and participation in all summer camps.

Thirty-four students and six teachers of Jiangshan Middle School embarked on the two-week study vacation organised by Zhenjiang-based Boyue International Communication Consulting Services, but local education officials are said to be debating as to whether or not the private summer camp organiser should be held accountable for the young girls’ deaths.

Is this fair? This was a freak accident and I cannot help but feel the cancellation of all study tours is a knee-jerk reaction on behalf of the local authorities. Where will the buck stop, asked one Chinese citizen. “I think the relevant authorities' decision to cancel all summer camp activities due to the San Francisco plane crash is unreasonable,” they said. “For example, if a school bus accident took place, should all school buses be eliminated? If a food poisoning case was discovered in a school dining hall, should all schools stop offering their students lunch?”

Also, in this week’s newsletter we have an interview with Indian agency association AAAOE and, according to its Patron, criteria for membership is the recommendation of two existing members. India is one of the fastest growing outbound student markets, however its agency sector has often been criticised for being unscrupulous and unreliable. It is therefore pleasing to hear that an association (which is celebrating its decennial year) is in support of more regulation for agents. It will be interesting to see if the association will play a part in a stratagem that will help standardise the performance of all agencies in the country.

Meanwhile, Regent’s College, which gained degree awarding powers in August 2012,celebrated its university status in style with an afternoon party (see Grapevine). Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willets, approved full university title making it Regent’s University London back in April, the first not-for-profit institution to have achieved such a status in over 30 years.”

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