By Matthew Knott, News Editor of StudyTravel Magazine

Positive noises coming out of the Turkey’s agency sector this week, with members of Turkish agency association UED reporting a 19 per cent increase in student numbers for the first half of 2015, compared with the same period last year.

However, the growth – welcome as it is – probably only represents a realignment of the Turkish outbound market to a more natural level. As UED Coordinator, Gokhan Islamoglu, states, the main reason for this year’s increase lies in political and economic woes impacting on the exchange rate and suppressing the market in 2014.

Nonetheless, the news will come as a little light relief to some of the destination countries struggling with the unfavourable exchange rates in several key markets this year, the UK in particular.

The mid-year snapshot from UED is a welcome addition to the industry data library, and some other agency associations could do worse than follow suit.

On a separate Turkey-related issue, I would like to give thanks to Gokhan and a host of UED members that contributed to a special ‘View from the desk of…’ article this week.

Earlier this year, the Turkish Higher Education Council (YOK) changed regulations regarding the recognition of degree qualifications from overseas universities. While students attending a ‘top 500’ university will be exempt from the rules, any others will still need to sit Turkey’s national university entrance exams. Islamoglu explains the changes, while UED members give their opinions and detail the impacts on demand for study abroad in specific destinations.

A couple of weeks ago when Languages Canada released its full-year 2014 data, Executive Director, Gonzalo Peralta, lamented that policy vacuums in Quebec and British Columbia were creating uncertainty and constraining business for member schools. These two states were among the last to regulate under Canada’s delegation of school accreditation to provincial level. Moreover, the language sector was unimpressed with the new BC framework that belatedly arrived earlier this year.

A news story on international student data in 2013/14 from BC’s Ministry of Advanced Education would appear to substantiate these claims, with the province recording just a 1.6 per cent increase across all sectors, contrasting with the healthier growth rates that Canada international education industry has been recording nationally. More worryingly, the language sector – the largest of BC’s international education segments according to the Ministry data – declined by 12 per cent in 2013/14.

Elsewhere this week, we have news stories on a substantial expansion into the US language school market for Cambridge Education Group, with the Intrax English Programs portfolio of schools to be incorporated into CEGs Stafford House brand.  

In New Zealand, changes to English language proficiency requirements have been confirmed, meaning that higher education providers will no longer be able to use internal assessments for students from countries with student visa approval rates, most immediately impacting on agents and students from India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Philippines.

Finally, I’ll sign off with a reminder that StudyTravel Magazine is releasing audio news podcasts every week, rounding up the biggest stories of the week in a handy new format. All the weekly broadcasts can be played or downloaded here.

Happy reading, or indeed listening!  




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