This week, we interview Eren Göker, President of Turkish agency association UED, about the group’s activities and agency business trends in the country.

 



What has UED been up to over the past 12 months?

It was a very busy year for UED as always:

· UED provided training programs for its members' consultants and will go on these internal education studies in 2015 as well

· Both in and out of Turkey, we have participated in several workshop/conferences such as Alphe Istanbul, Alphe UK, Alphe Malaga, English UK Mission Antalya and student fairs such as A2 International Education Fairs in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

· We have created a second webpage only for students,

· We renewed our institutional membership project which offers many useful services to education institutions outside of Turkey

· UED gained new members and reached 45 agencies

· We published the 7th and 8th issues of UED’s publication: UEDucation Magazine

· And we organised the second year of the UED Agency awards of Turkey...

How did the awards ceremony go and are there plans for an event this year?

UED is organising the UED Agency Awards of Turkey competition, which is organised to define language schools who gave the best services to UED member agencies and their students. It is a competition in which the winners are being selected by the votes of UED member agencies' Directors and is the only one in its kind which is special to a definite market. This year it was the second year in competition and the awards ceremony were organized in Istanbul on 7th November.

During the organisation, UED member agencies and the winners of the awards found the chance to meet and discuss possible cooperations in the future. Officers of USA General Embassy Visa Section and the Consul General of Malta were also invited and the ceremony was started by the opening speech of Mr. Reuben Gauci, Consul General of Malta. Everything was perfect and invitees enjoyed the night. You can see the pictures from the night on the following link  

It was reported that agency business was good in 2013, as there was strong demand for education overseas. Has this trend continued into 2014/2015? What other student trends have you noticed?

Unfortunately, the beginning of 2014 was not so good. Because of a sudden increase in currency exchange rates in the early 2014, most of the students and parents decided to wait until summer months while some of them cancelled their bookings. Even if just after the local elections in March 2014, the situation returned to normal, agents missed the first quarter of the year which is a very important period, especcially for the ones who are focused on the junior market. As result of that miss, total business has declined eight percent at the end of the year.

However the feedback coming from our members shows us this situation is temporary and the general view of the sector in late 2014 and early 2015 is quite bright and hopeful for the upcoming months.

In 2013 the associations YEDAB and YEDAD were formed. How have they developed since their inception?

As you know in 2013, our goverment asked our sector to come together and establish an umbrella organization that will cover entire sector and will define the minimum entrance criteria. This project was also supported by UED because of two main reasons. First, we all in UED believe that there must be a minimum criteria to enter to the sector; and second, we have already positioned UED’s membership conditions and its members’ service quality so above of that average of sector. However because of a conflict that occured during the studies of the code of conduct for this new institution, people were divided and then Yedab and Yedad were founded.

As you say, they are new associations. On the other hand, UED continiues its studies since it was founded in 2001 and as the UED board, we are focused on UED’s own studies to keep its member agencies’ service quality high, create new business opportunities for international education providers and give them best representing services with our 45 member agencies, who are located in 18 different cities with 88 branches and 26 franchises, employ more than 300 counsaltants and represent 69 per cent of total agent business in Turkey

What does the association have planned for the next 12 months?

We will be more focused on a system that will regulary send market reports and sectoral information to UED's partner schools and we will continue to organise internal education programs with different subjects and topics for the consultants who work for UED member agencies.

Additionally, we will:

· Publish new issues of UEDucation Magazine

· Organise the UED Agency Awards of Turkey 2015, but with a larger award ceremony this year

· Participate in more student fairs and agent conferences both in and out of Turkey

· Organise fam-trips

Eren Göker and UED will unveil member data for 2014 in a special presentation at the Alphe Istanbul conference next month.

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