By Nicola Hancox, Editor of StudyTravel Magazine

Good news. Early reports have reached us that a meeting between Education South Africa (EduSA) and the Department of Home Affairs and Department of Higher Education and Training has resulted in a positive outcome. South Africa’s EFL sector was left  in a state of visa limbo after government announced that language study was no longer a valid reason for a student visa back in 2014. But the delegation remained hopeful, and their patience appears to have paid off. In pursuit of the recognition language schools fully deserve, EduSA finally appears to have the ear of government. More to follow on this next week.

A fitting time then for Jeffreys Bay Language School, and member of team EduSA, to announce it has rebranded to Island Vibe Language School.

According to school Director, Loren Sampson, the refresh hopes to bring greater brand alignment and he acknowledges how agent partners have helped promote their stable of products from its surf camp to its backpackers’ hostel for the last 20 years. Located right on the beach, where students can literally feel the sea spray on their faces during class, this school is a great example of what a wonderfully vibrant language learning destination South Africa is. And hopefully its government now too see its potential as a veritable export industry.

When there is good news, however, there is often always bad. Following the closure of three UK language schools earlier this year, there have been yet more reports of UK providers buckling under the strains of UK visa policy. Latest casualties include inlingua Cardiff, Anglo European School of English and Callan School London.

A lot of the affected language schools (Callan School of English; A2Z English; Crest Schools of English; Leicester Square School of English and Lila*, which announced the closure of its London centre after just one year of operation in September, however appear to have been based in the UK capital – begging the question as to whether or not schools in one of the most expensive cities in the world, and in one of the most saturated marketplaces in the country, is more prone to damage? In fact this is the very reason Callan School London gave for its exit from the English language teaching market.

In a company statement on the school website, it said: “London has, over the last few years, become an increasingly expensive city to visit – costs of travel and accommodation are now some of the highest anywhere in the world. As a result, the language learning market in London has fallen significantly.”

Sadly, I fear there may be more casualties before the year is out.

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