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March 30, 2016

Business | Third Level | Japan

Pearson Strengthens Alliance with Nikkei Inc. on Business English, Versant

Japanese newspaper publisher Nikkei Inc. and Pearson Japan, a subsidiary of British educational service company Pearson Plc., have announced that they will further strengthen their alliance in the Business English industry. As a part of this, Nikkei Inc. has obtained the sole rights to distribute the Pearson-owned speaking test “Versant" as well as Pearson’s customized business English courses in Japan. The new arrangement starts on April 1st, 2016.

Centered around the online learning program "Global English Nikkei", launched in April 2013, this alliance provides a one-stop English learning solution for businesses, providing focused, customized training and four skills assessment.

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January 31, 2014

Canada | Business

Loyalist to acquire Study English in Canada

Private ESL school operator Loyalist Group yesterday announced its buyout of a major rival in the Canadian market. Below is their press release.

Loyalist Group Limited is pleased to announce that it has entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Study English in Canada ("SEC"), a licensed English-as-a-second-language (ESL) school operator with campuses in Toronto and Vancouver. The proposed acquisition would also include Upper Career College of Business & Technology ("UCCTB") campuses in Toronto and Vancouver.

SEC had consolidated revenues of $9.5 million and net income of $1.16 million in the most recent 12-month period. Loyalist will pay $5.5 million for SEC, of which approximately $3.46 million will be paid in cash or cash equivalents and, subject to certain closing adjustments, $2.04 million will be paid through the issuance of Loyalist common shares, with $600,000 worth of such shares being held in escrow for a period of 10 months following closing as security for certain defined post-closing adjustments. The parties expect to complete the transaction on or around February 5, 2014.

"This acquisition adds a well-respected and highly profitable operation to the Loyalist family," said CEO Andrew Ryu. "It also increases our presence in the Toronto market and, more importantly, bolsters our presence in Europe, from which SEC attracts many of its students. I look forward to working with the SEC team as colleagues and fellow shareholders as we continue to build Loyalist."

Completion of the transaction is subject to certain conditions including, but not limited to, the receipt of all necessary approvals, including the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange.

About SEC
Study English in Canada is a prestigious English Preparation School. SEC offers highly tailored, results-driven programs at both its Toronto and Vancouver campuses. Its curriculum structure allows students to design personal, specialized schedules in order to reach their goals.

About Loyalist
Loyalist Group Limited owns and operates private English as a Second Language (ESL) Schools, Career Colleges and Community Colleges in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Halifax.

Loyalist Group Limited website.

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January 28, 2014

Saudi Arabia | Education | Business

Pearson wins key Saudi teaching contract

Pearson has been chosen to partner with a local firm to improve and monitor the quality of English language teaching in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s strategic education services company Tatweer has joined hands with top learning company Pearson to develop a new project aimed at developing the standard of English language providers in the kingdom.

The English Partnership Management Project is a flagship programme of the Tatweer Company for Educational Services (T4EDU) in implementing King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s Project for Development of Public Education, and forms part of Saudi’s broader education reform agenda to improve the quality of teaching and learning across the Kingdom.

The project aims to improve the English language proficiency of teachers in order to enhance the quality of English language teaching throughout the Kingdom.

Under the contract, Pearson has been tasked with ensuring that the quality of English language instruction delivered to teachers meets stringent, international standards.

Throughout this project, Pearson will monitor the performance of third party English language training providers who work with the Kingdom’s English language teachers, said the company in its statement.

The Tatweer programme will feature a number of initiatives affecting Saudi Arabia’s English language training providers, including:

Read the full article from Trade Arabia.

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ELT People | Business

English UK appoints new Chief Exec

eddie-byers.jpgLeading English language teaching association English UK has appointed global marketing expert Eddie Byers as its new Chief Executive, reports The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News.

Byers said that he hopes to continue and evolve the work of English UK, particularly with regard to engaging with political structures in the UK and Europe over issues such as student visas.

“This industry already makes a powerful and positive contribution to the UK’s global reputation,” he said. “English UK has played an important role in this over the last decade as a great advocate and support for the sector.”

No stranger to the international education industry, Byers has held director-level positions in both the public and private sector, most recently as Managing Director of the British Council’s Programmes and Projects arm. During that time he dealt with clients such as the UK and Scottish governments, the EU and a range of national agencies.

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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January 24, 2014

Employment | Education | Opinion | Japan

Japan: Teachers tread water in eikaiwa limbo

In the Japan Times, Craig Currie-Robson looks at the often harsh reality of coming to Japan to become an English conversation teacher.

Every year, thousands of young native English-speakers fly to Asia in search of an adventure, financed by working as English teachers. They come from Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Britain, Canada and elsewhere.

But it can be risky leaping into another country on the promise of an “easy” job. In Japan’s competitive English teaching market, foreign language instructors are treading water. “Subcontractor” teachers at corporate giant Gaba fight in the courts to be recognized as employees. Berlitz instructors become embroiled in a four-year industrial dispute, complete with strikes and legal action. Known locally as eikaiwa, “conversation schools” across the country have slashed benefits and reduced wages, forcing teachers to work longer hours, split-shifts and multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

Armed with slick websites and flashy recruiting videos, big chains such as Aeon, Gaba and ECC send recruiters to Australasia, North America and Britain to attract fresh graduates. New hires come expecting to spend their weekends and vacations enjoying temples, shrines and exotic locales. Newcomers may also be lured by the prospect of utilizing that ESL (English as a second language) diploma or CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) they’ve worked hard for. Yet from the start, they’ll effectively be customer-service staff, delivering a standardized product. Recruiting campaigns take full advantage of the prospective teacher’s altruistic angels. They look for suckers.

Read the full article from The Japan Times.

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Business | Education

Emerge Education launches first cohort of EdTech startups

emerge-education-logo.gifeltjam takes a look at the first six startups to be selected by Emerge Education, "The Accelerator For Education Startups."

A while ago, we posted about the arrival of Emerge Education – a startup accelerator specifically focussed on education, based at Google Campus in London, and backed by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and David Cameron’s old stomping ground Eton College. This is a big week for them, as they’ve just announced their first cohort of startups.

Here’s what Emerge say about themselves:

Software is eating education, whether in schools, universities or on your kitchen table. In 2013, a mindblowing $452M was invested in education technology in the United States and the trend is infecting the UK and Europe. Much of this activity is driven by startups like Coursera, with over 5.5M students signed up for its online higher education classes in 2013. Despite this trend, the investment market has been slow to back very early stage edtech businesses.

Edtech startups face all the difficulties of any early stage business plus a number of obstacles unique to the education market. Emerge Education (www.emergeventurelab.com), a new edtech accelerator, seeks to help edtech startups overcome these difficulties with access to customers, a large community of specialist business mentors, tech-savvy educational institutions and industry-focussed investors.

Read the full post from eltjam.

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January 23, 2014

Japan | Publishing | ELT People | Business

Ryoji Fukada appointed as Chairman of CUP Japan

ryoji-fukada.jpgRyoji Fukada has been announced as the new Chairman of Cambridge University Press, Japan.

Fukada-san brings to the Press a vast wealth of experience in the international publishing industry, serving most recently as Chairman of international subscription agent, Swets Information Systems, Japan.

Prior to joining Swets, Fukada-san spent six years as Managing Director of Springer Japan, and before that, was Managing Director at Elsevier Science Japan, which included Elsevier’s Electronic Journals platform, ScienceDirect.

Tony Lund, Managing Director of Cambridge University Press, Asia, said: ‘Asia is a key area for future growth for the Press so we are delighted to welcome Fukada-san to the newly-created position of Chairman to unlock the potential in Japan. The role will help to provide strategic leadership to all the Press’s business in Japan and Fukada-san’s experience is a very good match for such a task.

Commenting on his new role Fukada-san said: "It’s an extremely exciting time to join Cambridge University Press as we seek to maximise the opportunities open to us in the important Japanese market. I very much look forward to working closely with Tony and hope that my experience, coupled with the Press’s rich portfolio of product, will help realise the full potential of the market in Japan."

Cambridge University Press in Japan provides academic and English language teaching materials throughout Japan. Based in Tokyo, Cambridge representatives work directly with libraries, universities and education professionals and also promote to booksellers – in turn allowing them to supply the many customers with some of the highest quality research and teaching materials available.

Read the original press release from Cambridge University Press, Japan.

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January 22, 2014

Malta | Business

EC Malta uses Italian “celeb” student to promote ELT

andrea-hirai-cocco-ec.jpgInternational English language school operator EC is promoting its school in Malta with the help of a YouTube video featuring a popular Italian actor, according the The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News.

EC Malta recently welcomed Italian actor, model and the 2011 winner of Italian TV show Big Brother to its student cohort. The school is using its celebrity student to publicise its ELT offer among its target student demographic.

Sophia Fergus, EC’s Marketing Manager, told The PIE News: “Of course this is wonderful publicity for EC, but what we are really excited about is that we think Andrea can be a real inspiration to other ambitious young Italians who are aiming for success on an international scale.”

Andrea Hirai Cocco visited Malta for the first time in December and enrolled on a short intensive one-to-one course to improve his English for future acting projects. Fergus added: “Andrea is an energetic and charismatic public figure who understands the importance of being able to speak English, so we think he’s a great role model for our current and potential students.”

EC, a chain of 17 English language schools worldwide, has capitalised on its glamorous alumni and released a YouTube interview with Andrea.

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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January 16, 2014

Business | US

ILSC set to open New York school in April

ilsc-logo.gifThe PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports that Canada-based language school chain ILSC Education Group is soon to open a new school in downtown Manhattan.

Global language school chain, ILSC Education Group is set to open its second US location in New York in April 2014, and will be fully accredited by CEA to offer I-20s to international students after acquiring a smaller school in September last year.

The company is currently building the school centre in downtown Manhattan with capacity to hold 300 students. The school’s director David Hughes said it will aim to be a “cultural experience” for students.

“New York is a unique kind of place so we’re looking to attract students who want to be in here but we also want to bring in creative, artistic and musical types to really make the school a cultural experience not just a language learning experience,” he told The PIE News.

Located in the heart of the financial district, Hughes says there will be a large appeal for business and executive students as well once the new building opens.

“Students learn quickly when they are able to really express their personalities and passions inside the classroom,” said Hughes. “I think New York’s rich culture and its significant place in the global financial world will offer students an exciting learning experience both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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January 14, 2014

Business | Opinion | Publishing

Move Fast and Break ELT Things

move-fast-break-elt-things.gifThere's an interesting discussion going on over at eltjam about the perceptions and realities of the ELT publishing industry, based on a November blog post by Jonathan Sayers of www.eltplustech.com.

Tonight, at TESOLFrance‘s annual colloquium, I had the privilege of meeting Karen White, Karen Spiler and Sue Kay, and listening to them talk about their excellent resource ELT Teacher to Writer. The idea is to train teachers in the areas of content writing that the publishers value/need and then put writers and publishers in contact with each other.

As part of the talk we had to attribute a few statements about the ELT publishing industry with the labels ‘true’ or ‘false’ (in true ELT style). I got a couple of these very much wrong, and I don’t think I should have done (more in a furthering-of-the-industry way than a not-liking-to-be-wrong kind of way). Here’s why:

The first statement I got wrong was ‘Publishing companies decide what type of materials they are going to publish years in advance.’ There were mentions of publishers’ ’5 year plans’ and the (cosy) prior knowledge of changes to certain exams informing release dates of new publications. But 5 years is the time it takes some language learning companies, such as busuu or duolingo, to be conceptualised, launched and reach millions of users. Things change so fast these days that a 5 year plan could be redundant after 1. That’s not to say a long term plan isn’t good business practice, but the idea that publishers can predict the market so far in advance is becoming ever less believable. We can learn so much in 5 years, and we can help our learners by using that knowledge now, rather that having such a long lag.

Read the full article on eltjam.

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January 11, 2014

Publishing | Opinion | Business

Can Pearson solve the rubric’s cube?

If you are interested in the future of learning, and in particular digital learning, then you'll find a wealth of information in this extensive blog post on Pearson and their new efficacy web site.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, it’s hard to dispute that Pearson has an outsized impact on education in America. This huge company—they have a stock market valuation of $18 billion—touches all levels from kindergarten through career education, providing textbooks, homework platforms, high-stakes testing, and even helping to design entire online degree programs. So when they announce a major change in their corporate strategy, it is consequential.

That is one reason why I think that most everybody who is motivated to read this blog on a regular basis will also find it worthwhile to read Pearson’s startling publication, “The Incomplete Guide to Delivering Learning Outcomes” and, more generally, peruse their new efficacy web site. One of our goals for e-Literate is to explain what the industry is doing, why, and what it might mean for education. Finding the answers to these questions is often an exercise in reading the tea leaves, as Phil ably demonstrated in his recent posts on the Udacity/SJSU pilot and the layoffs at Desire2Learn.

But this time is different. In all my years of covering the ed tech industry, I have never seen a company be so explicit and detailed about their strategy as Pearson is being now with their efficacy publications. Yes, there is plenty of marketing speak here. But there is also quite a bit about what they are actually doing as a company internally—details about pilots and quality reviews and hiring processes and M&A criteria. These are the gears that make a company go. The changes that Pearson is making in these areas are the best clues we can possibly have as to what the company really means when they say that they want efficacy to be at the core of their business going forward. And they have published this information for all the world to see.

Read the full post on e-Literate.

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January 09, 2014

Canada | Business

Loyalist Group launches franchise program

loyalist-group-logo.gifLoyalist Group, a leading operator of ESL schools across Canada, has announced a new franchise program that aims to increase its global reach.

Loyalist Group Limited is pleased to announce that it has launched a program to licence its best-in-class English-as-a-second-language curriculum for overseas schools.

Under the program, Loyalist will offer its curriculum and grant its own diplomas to franchisees and their students in exchange for a combination of fees and royalty payments. Loyalist expects that franchising will create substantial high-margin revenues by allowing the Company to earn income from overseas students who choose to study in their own countries.

Loyalist is targeting four countries for the launch of the program: Mexico, China, Turkey and South Korea. Setup fees payable by the franchisee to Loyalist range from $0 to $100,000 while royalty rates range from 5-20% of gross revenues (or $50 per student per month).

Loyalist has already signed 5 franchise agreements, and expects to add several more franchise agreements per quarter over the coming years.

Read the full press release from Market Watch.

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December 11, 2013

Online | Education | Business

'TripAdvisor' for language learners set to launch

coursefinders.jpgCourseFinders, described as a 'TripAdvisor' for language learners, is set to launch its online service this month.

Currently in testing mode, CourseFinders is a new online service that allows language students to search for and review schools worldwide. The website refers to a directory of 7,472 schools in 138 countries.

It is expected to launch later this month when it has 250 participant schools fully registered with complete profiles and aims to have up to a million website visitors by the end of next year. The service was created by major education conference organiser ICEF.

Among the features on offer on CourseFinders are the ability to contact multiple schools and enquire about prices from a single form; to read reviews of schools from current and previous students; to share photos and reviews with friends and family, to check to see if anyone knows the school. Students will be expected to login through their Facebook or Google+ accounts and complete a brief questionnaire before being ale to contact schools. Schools will be able to decide if they want to accept leads, paying a flat €3 fee for each one.

The website describes the service as helping students find schools "in the same way that Trip Advisor helps you find hotels." Other websites, for hotel schools and boarding schools, are also planned.

The CourseFinders website.

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December 03, 2013

Brazil | Business

Pearson buys Brazil's top ELT school for $720m

grupo-multi.jpgPearson continues its global expansion with the acquisition of Brazil's leading adult English language training company.

British media and education group Pearson has agreed to buy Grupo Multi, the largest provider of adult English language training in Brazil, as it invests more in its global education business.

The owner of the Financial Times newspaper will pay 440 million pounds ($720 million) in cash and will take on 65 million pounds of debt from the Martins family and investment firm Kinea.

Pearson Chief Executive John Fallon is reorganising the company to concentrate on fast-growing economies and digital services, rather than Europe and North America, where austerity measures have hit public spending.

Brazil is the fourth-largest English language market in the world, worth 2 billion pounds per year. Demand for English speakers in the tourism and hospitality sectors is expected to rise as the country prepares to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.

"Brazilians' appetite for learning English as a global language of business and trade shows every sign of continuing to grow rapidly as Brazil becomes a global player in commerce, travel and a host of other industries," Fallon said in a statement.

Read the full article from Reuters.
Press release from Pearson.

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November 29, 2013

Online | Business

Startup Stories: The EdTech Journey of ClassWired

lindsay-rattray-classwired.jpgIn part 1 of a 2-part series Lindsay Rattray, founder of student-centered ELT activity app ClassWired, writes this week for eltjam on how his startup came about.

Stage 1: Super Duper Flashcards
I first started playing with EdTech in the Old City of Damascus, Syria. I had moved there to study Arabic and suddenly discovered how difficult it is. The biggest problem was trying to stuff all the words into my memory – Arabic verbs and plurals are mostly irregular: for one word in English you have to learn two or three in Arabic.

So, being a computer science graduate, I built myself a basic flash card system. I experimented with things like:

  • how many times I need to get a word right to stop showing it to me
  • what to do with those words I just couldn’t seem to remember
  • when to show which word (aka spaced repetition)

At that stage it was just a personal tool borne of need. My teachers and classmates liked it, but I felt the problem of memorising words in language acquisition was so significant that someone must have solved it. I went looking.

I found some great tools. Byki was far more sleek than my clunky design. Anki seems to be the accepted flashcard program to use (and I’ve seen it demoed at programming meetups in Melbourne). Rosetta Stone was more high-tech and immersive than flashcards. Yet I kept using my own flash cards, and never adopted another piece of education in my Arabic studies.

Read the full article on eltjam.

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November 24, 2013

US | Business

TEFL Institute probed over "deceptive advertising"

tefl-institute-logo.jpg Only a month after protests by employees over "stolen wages", Chicago-based TEFL Institute is under investigation again.

The consumer watchdog Truth in Advertising.org is probing into the Chicago-based TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) Institute over alleged "deceptive advertising claims."

TEFL Institute offers an international 150-hour certification program that can cost more than $1,000, TINA.org's investigation shows.

TEFL Institute, located in Chicago's North Center neighborhood, wrote on its website that it is accredited by NATEFLAC, which is supposedly a “leading TEFL accrediting organization based in the U.S." The researchers at TINA.org, however, found that the hyperlink provided for NATEFLAC doesn't work.

In response to questions about NATEFLAC's legitimacy, TEFL Institute president Ti Ron Gibbs's wrote in an email on November 21 to TINA.org that "TEFL is undergoing accreditation. The information on our final accreditation will be made public once it is done. Please check back within two months."

When TINA.org followed-up by phone with Gibbs the next day, Gibbs said the institute is now getting accredited through another agency, but would not provide specifics.

Read the full article from Progress Illinois.

Related story: Teachers Rally For Stolen Wages Outside TEFL Institute (October 24, 2013)

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November 15, 2013

Business

e-textbook company Kno bites the dust

kno-intel-logo.jpgWell, maybe not quite, but the company has been sold to Intel, apparently at a knock-down price, losing millions of dollars for its investors. Announcement from Intel linked below. John Galvin of Intel says of the purchase:

The acquisition of Kno boosts Intel’s global digital content library to more than 225,000 higher education and K-12 titles through existing partnerships with 75 educational publishers. Even more, the Kno platform provides administrators and teachers with the tools they need to easily assign, manage and monitor their digital learning content and assessments.

Kno’s started out as a hardware company, with a large tablet designed specifically for textbooks. But then the iPad came out, so Kno switched their focus to software and the provision of a content platform. Their app is available for iOS, Android and Windows, and they have over 200,000 titles available. Their offering is based on the belief that a textbook on a tablet should be more than just a digitised version of print – an approach we advocate, of course. Kno’s extra features include the ability for teachers and students to track progress, annotate, and share what they’re doing. The ebooks can include multimedia and basic interactive quizzes. The platform itself is cloud based, so work is synced across all devices.

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November 14, 2013

Publishing | Business

CUP reports 11th year of growth driven by digital focus

Cambridge University Press has reported an eleventh successive year of growth for the year ended 30 April 2013.

The Press’s 2013 Annual Report shows sales of £261.7m, up by seven per cent from £245m in 2012, and a pre-tax operating surplus of £8.2m – well up on 2012, all delivered against a background of continuing economic challenge in key markets.

Digital development has been a top priority with significant upgrades to Cambridge Books Online, Cambridge Journals Online and Touchstone Blended Learning digital platforms among a range of activities and products. A wide variety of new apps and online courses were produced this year, including FUNdamentals, an Australian online learning resource for the first three years of school. The Phrasal Verbs Machine app, designed to help non-native English speakers use phrasal verbs to sound more natural in their writing and speaking, was also launched and was downloaded more than 400,000 times.

The Press has strengthened links with its partners across Cambridge. It saw strong growth in the Cambridge Exams Publishing unit, run jointly with Cambridge English Language Assessment, and through joint education reform projects in Kazakhstan and Mongolia with Cambridge International Examinations and the Cambridge Faculty of Education. Joint development of the ground-breaking Cambridge Computing Massive Open Online Courses for schools was achieved with Cambridge Assessment, the Cambridge Computer Labs and Raspberry Pi.

Nearly 90 per cent of the Press’s sales were from outside the UK, and as growth slows in some Western European and the North American markets, opportunities in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia are increasing. Sales to schools in South Africa grew hugely, linked to the new curriculum, and China, Mexico, Turkey and Saudi Arabia all saw significant sales successes.

Another focus was operational change. Increasingly, electronic book distribution and digital printing closer to market are the norm, so this year saw the final closure of the UK printing operation and the outsourcing of US distribution. Governance structures have been modernised, with a new Operating Board now in place to oversee the Press’s day-to-day operations.

The roll-out of a major programme to improve finance and fulfilment systems was begun with the aim of improving financial management, information and controls and introducing new processes. The first phase was implemented in January, on time and on budget, when new finance and procurement systems went live in the US and UK.

Community and charity activities all over the world saw more than 400 Press colleagues give over 1,700 hours of volunteering time – partnering with schools, participating in reading schemes, running library workshops, giving careers talks and raising funds.

Chief Executive Peter Phillips said: ‘The past year has seen many changes to keep the Press competitive in a fast-changing world. It has also shown that we remain unwavering in our commitment to quality while innovating and adapting to offer our customers learning, research and knowledge in the changing forms they want.’

Read the original press release on the Cambridge University Press website.

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October 25, 2013

Business

CEG acquires Boston Academy of English

cambridge-education-group.jpg Cambridge Education Group, a leading pre-university education group based in the UK, continues its international expansion, reports the PIE (Professionals in International Education) News.

Cambridge Education Group (CEG) has acquired Boston Academy of English, rounding out its portfolio of education institutions in the American city and marking another first in its campaign to expand internationally.

Last year CEG made its first venture outside of the UK by expanding its pathway partnership programmes to Boston with ONCAMPUS at Wheelock College. It also launched its international high school, CATS Academy Boston last summer to prepare international and US national students for degree study at America’s “most prestigious universities”.

“We can now offer our quality network of partners a full portfolio of programmes in the education capital of the US,” said CEO Fergus Brownlee in a statement. “Boston Academy of English will further raise our status as an unrivalled institution of learning, whilst allowing us to provide the finest and most comprehensive range of educational facilities in the city.”

Read the full post on The PIE News.

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October 02, 2013

Malta | Business

Malta: Call for measures to strengthen EFL sector

teach-English-in-Malta.jpgMalta's leading EFL organisation is asking the government to give the industry greater financial support in an upcoming budget, says the Malta Independent.

The Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations of Malta (FELTOM) believes that the budget for 2014 should be another step in strengthening the tourism and educational sectors.

The teaching English as a foreign language sector has grown considerably over the past years and last year contributed to over €135 million to the local economy. In addition, this industry is directly generating employment for hundreds of teachers. Thousands of host families also benefit directly from this industry which last year alone attracted over 81,000 students to Malta.

Looking ahead, FELTM is proposing that in education Government:

  • Strengthens literacy programmes in schools
  • Focuses on bilingualism in schools
  • Commences a postgraduate degree on teaching of English

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September 27, 2013

Online | Business

Rosetta Stone launches kids division, blended reading app

rosetta-stone-kids.jpgMajor player Rosetta Stone recently moved for the first time into language learning for kids, as announced in their September 17 press release (sorry we're a bit late for the party).

Rosetta Stone Inc., a leading provider of education technology solutions, today introduced a groundbreaking app-Rosetta Stone® Kids Lingo Letter Sounds-designed specifically for kids. The app, available now on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, is the debut offering from the new Rosetta Stone Kids(TM) division, and represents the company's first foray into early childhood language and literacy.

Designed and built by Rosetta Stone's recently established San Francisco and Austin product development teams, Lingo Letter Sounds harnesses the company's pioneering language immersion methodology and proprietary speech recognition technology to deliver core English reading skills alongside a fun and interactive introduction to Spanish. Unique to the children's consumer education market, the blended solution provides an educational resource for parents eager to introduce their children to both basic literacy skills and a foreign language at an early age.

"Enhancing early language development skills gives kids an important edge in their overall education and enables them to get ahead," said Steve Swad, President and CEO of Rosetta Stone. "Rosetta Stone has a long, proud tradition of leadership in language-learning technology for adults and students K through 12, and we're excited to leverage that expertise to help younger kids learn. This app will give kids a great start down the road of reading and speaking-in English and Spanish."

Rosetta Stone Kids Lingo Letter Sounds includes original content to support two hours of game play, including activities that promote English phonetic awareness, pronunciation of letter sounds, and a grasp of everyday Spanish phrases. Cleverly designed around a magical world of original cartoon creatures and fantasy landscapes, the app quickly engages kids through fun and entertainment, all the while accelerating their mastery of critical reading and speaking skills. Importantly, Lingo Letter Sounds also features a Parent Corner where adults can monitor their child's progress on the app every step of the way.

Read the full press release from Market Watch.

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September 23, 2013

Business

New members for language school groups

ihwo-ialc-logos.jpgThe PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports on some new member recently joining two of the major international language school networks.

Both International House World Organisation (IHWO) and the International Association of Language Centres (IALC) have grown to add new language schools to their membership bases this month.

IHWO has added three new locations to its global network bringing its membership total up to 156 schools. Formerly part of inlingua, IH Manchester will be the organisation’s 9th location in the UK. It has been accredited by the British Council and part of English UK since 2009.

“We are now delighted to announce that having undergone the rigorous application process and pre-affiliation inspection our Manchester school has been accepted in to IHWO,” said IH Manchester Directors Peter Hayes and Michael Brennan. “We feel that IHWO’s commitment to quality and innovation in teaching perfectly fits our own values.”

Other new recruits include IH Zurich-Baden which has been focusing on adult and company programmes in a number of languages including German, English and Japanese since 1988. And, previously a part of EF, IH Stavropol is the first IH school in southern Russia and the biggest private language school in the city.

“We are very happy to be welcoming these three quite different schools to our network. It reflects very well on the International House brand that good quality schools are choosing to leave other groups and join us,” said Lucy Horsefield, Chief Operating Officer of IHWO.

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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September 20, 2013

UK | Business

Visa u-turn could mean £9 million for UK ELT

study-English-in-UK.jpgA recent article from The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News about the positive financial impact that a recent UK reversal on immigration might have on the country's ELT industry.

New immigration rules announced this month by UK Immigration Minister Mark Harper could boost the English language teaching industry by up to £9 million per year, based on estimates of potential business that had been turned away by a cross-section of English UK members.

A survey conducted of roughly 10% of English UK’s 470 member base at the beginning of the year showed that almost half of them were losing between 10% and 70% of total business by turning away students on visitor visas who were ineligible to study.

Coming into effect in October, the new immigration rules will now make it possible for visitors to come to the UK on a business, general or family visitor visas and to enrol on an English language course of up to 30 days.

Two centres in Oxford and London reported that they had to turn away 150 students with visitor visas in a six-month period.

“Even if the figures in percentages sound low, it’s still quite a lot of money,” said one anonymous respondent. “If we estimate that the 50 people would have spent £2000 each, then it’s £100,000. Our Executive Centre had to turn down one single booking of £12,000.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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August 15, 2013

Publishing | Online | Business

Disruptor or disrupted? How to be among the 9% that survive

EdTechYet another excellent post from Laurie Harrison over at eltjam on digital disruption of the ELT publishing industry. If newspapers are any guide, only a fraction of publishers will survive the coming storm.

A recent scary-sounding post on FutureBook by Suw Charman-Anderson (Will you be in the nine percent of publishers that survive?) about recent research into disruptive innovation and what it means for the publishing industry got me thinking about what it might mean for ELT publishing specifically. A few weeks ago I posted a primer on disruptive innovation in which I made the case for EdTech as a disruptive force in ELT. I thought it might be interesting now to delve into this a bit more and explore what it is that a disruptive ELT publisher might do, and how to avoid being among the ranks of the disrupted.

The background here is that former Harvard Business School professor, Clark Gilbert has carried out research into the newspaper industry as it’s been collapsing under the weight of online disruption. Maybe it’s a leap to think this could equally apply to ELT publishing, but let’s stick with it and see how it works out. Gilbert set out six principles that he sees as essential in order to survive. How does ELT publishing shape up?

Read the full article from eltjam.

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August 13, 2013

Business

Forging ahead – The PIE profiles international education entrepreneurs

isis-education.jpgThe PIE (Professionals in International Education) News recently ran an extensive article that looked at some of the ELT entrepreneurs who have built global education brands over the last few decades.

“We would never have guessed that we would be so successful with something that we simply love to do,” relates Alberto Sarno, who with his brother Marcello started Sprachcaffe – now a global language teaching empire – as a way of financing their studies and inspired by the Italian tradition of the Caffe Letterario, political debate over coffee.

Thirty years later, the two Italian brothers head up an empire that is based out of Frankfurt, Germany, where their company began. Sprachcaffe teaches around 50,000 students, has 31 schools teaching seven languages – including the GEOS chain, acquired in 2011.

The Sarnos set up their business over a kitchen table, and many others have interesting start-up tales. Richard Brown is co-founder of award-winning BROWNS English Language School in Australia, established in 2004. He explains that he and his sister sought to flee finance and find an industry that they could feel passionate about, and it was a chance encounter with a language school on holiday that set the wheels in motion for them.

He reminisces: “BROWNS started with 4 students, 2 classrooms and a grand total teaching staff of 1. My sister [co-founder] appointed herself as the Office Manager and I was Activities Manager. Unfortunately however I was made redundant from this position for not being bringing the students back to class on-time from surfing lessons.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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August 08, 2013

China | Business

STS signs English training deal in China

sts-china.jpgTravel company STS is to bring native English teachers from the UK to China for a pilot program at a Beijing language school, reports The PIE News.

Sweden-based study travel giant, STS, has agreed the terms of a pilot project to deliver English language training in China, to 720 students at Chaoyang Foreign Language School in Beijing.

The deal will see STS teach Chinese students for a seasonal summer course, delivered in a state-run institution, with the backing of China’s local educational authority.

It marks a new departure for the firm that operates language schools, offers high school placements, au pair and college studies. Once the course, delivered this summer, is over, STS will also help train the Chinese English teachers to improve their own skills.

James Crimp, Director for STS Language Schools, explained, “Our goal is not purely to educate, but to help provide confidence in speaking English. Once the course has finished, we will teach the Chinese English teachers how to further improve the students’ English skills and their ability to speak the language with confidence.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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UK | Business

Redesigned UK school rethinks how to teach

language-in-london.jpgThe PIE News reports on an English language school in London which has had a facelift to put digital learning at the core of its offer.

A London-based English language school, which is part of a small school group, has redesigned its central London school with a focus on communication and digital innovation, confident its extensive facelift will result in more satisfied customers and ensure it is future-proofing its offer to its modern clientele of mostly young adults.

Language in London, part of the Language In Group, will monitor feedback from its clients and partner agents and take its redesign – which has digital learning at the heart of its ethos – to sister schools in Totnes, south England and Dublin, Ireland within the next six months.

“We want to teach our students skills for communication in the real world,” explained Director, Stuart Rubenstein. “We’re obsessed with the impact that environment has on learning.”

Each classroom is equipped with Apple TV and one entire wall that doubles as a whiteboard. Rubenstein observed that interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are not necessarily authentic learning tools, given that many of their clients will not use IWBs when back in their home countries.

Read the full story from the PIE News.

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August 02, 2013

Business

KIC boosts blended learning in the US, Canada

kaplan-carnegie-speech-logo.jpgThe PIE News yesterday reported the kind of ELT business story we're seeing more and more frequently - English language learning course provider ties up with a tech company that provides a particular set of learning tools, in this case speech recognition technology.

Kaplan International Colleges (KIC) has boosted blended learning at all 23 of its North American schools through a partnership with Carnegie Speech.

It will offer Carnegie’s NativeAccent, an online program that helps students improve their speaking and listening, and complements face-to-face lessons. The program uses advanced speech recognition technology and provides students with immediate feedback on their performance.

“NativeAccent listens to a student’s spoken English and diagnoses very specifically their individual strengths and weaknesses,” Kapan said in a statement. “It then creates a customised learning plan for each student which maximises student learning gains and minimises required study time.”

KIC provides academic English courses at centres in North America, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Malta, Singapore and Ireland. It says it is seeing continued growth in student numbers around the world and that technological solutions are key to its growth.

Read the full report from the PIE News.

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July 31, 2013

Business

Navitas returns to profit in FY2013

navitas-logo.jpgThe PIE News reports that a favourable trend in the Australian dollar and "a modest recovery in English language demand" are among the factors helping Navitas recover from a tough year in 2012.

International education giant Navitas has returned to profit in FY2013 after a tough 2012, largely due to improved operating conditions in its biggest market, Australia.

The firm, which offers pathway, English language, vocational and corporate courses in a number of countries, saw revenue climb by 6% to AUS$731.7m and net profit by 2% to $74.6m. This follows a 5% profit fall in 2012.

CEO Rod Jones explained: “FY13 was a year of consolidation for Navitas as we continued to recover from the largely policy driven headwinds of the last few years and implemented some major structural changes following our recent strategic review.”

Operational highlights included a return to student enrolment growth in the University Programs division, which offers pathways and degree programmes at 30 colleges spanning Asia, North America, Europe, Africa and Australasia.

Read the full story from The PIE News.

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July 30, 2013

Business

Bell English repositions with new strategy

bell-english-logo.jpgThe PIE News reports on a new strategy by major UK brand Bell English, which is planning to drop its international franchise business model and will focus on expanding its UK teacher training and young learner programmes.

Bell English, one of the UK’s largest English language brands, will not be renewing contracts with its overseas franchise network as it embarks on a new international strategy focused on strategic partnerships and projects abroad, The PIE has learned.

Contracts with centres across Europe and parts of Asia are expected to expire at the end of next year. With the new direction the company hopes to forge growth through teacher training and young learner education contracts with ministries of education or schools, and through fee-sharing programmes with organisations.

“We have always been very transparent with our close partners and we have made clear that our future lies more with educational projects and partnerships, rather than with a chain of franchises,” confirmed Director of Education Jim Kell.

Read the full article from The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News.

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July 08, 2013

Business

ELS partners with SKEMA, eyes Europe expansion

els-skema.jpgUS-based "pathways operator" ELS has opened its first branch in Europe. ELS is the largest recruiter of international students for US and Canadian colleges, universities and postgraduate programs.

PIE NEWS: The international pathways operator ELS has launched its first centre in Europe through a partnership with SKEMA Business School in France, and says it now plans to expand on the continent.

The US-based firm, which offers English language training, pathways and placement services through 69 centres worldwide, has partnerships with 650 universities – the vast majority in the US, but also in Malaysia, Canada, China and Australia.

Motivated by the rise of English medium education in Europe, President and CEO Mark Harris said the company now wanted to explore further partnerships in France, as well as Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Read the full story from PIE News.

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July 05, 2013

Malaysia | Employment

100 US grads to join 2014 Fulbright programme in Malaysia

Teaching-English-in-MalaysiaA total of 100 young American university graduates will be participating the Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETA) programme in Malaysia next year.

United States (US) Ambassador to Malaysia Datuk Paul W. Jones said one new state will be added in the 2014 programme but it had yet to be decided by the Malaysian government. Currently, the American teachers are placed in schools in Johor, Terengganu, Pahang and Perak. "This year, 75 young American university graduates are experiencing Malaysian hospitality, food and culture as they help teach English in schools across the states."

"Next year, 100 people will follow in their steps. This rapidly growing programme was extraordinary successful not only for our people to people ties but also for a lot of students who can practice English with the native speakers," Jones told reporters at the 4th of July reception in conjunction with the US Independence Day. He said many students in the participating schools had improved their English language skills and understood the vocabulary and grammar.

The Fulbright ETA programme is an initiative by the Malaysian and US governments to support English language education in Malaysia, which began in 2012.

(Story courtesy of Bernama, the National News Agency of Malaysia.)

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June 27, 2013

UK | China | Teacher Development | Business

TEFL Scotland seals China training deal

tefl-scotland-logo.jpgThe BBC reports on a Scottish company which "began life in a garden shed" and has won a million-pound contract to develop training courses for English teachers in China.

Under the deal, TEFL Scotland will partner Zhi Bo Hong Yuan Co - a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Website for Primary and Middle School Teachers' Further Education.

It is one of China's largest online training providers for teachers.

The deal is worth an estimated £1m over three years.

TEFL Scotland and Zhi Bo Hong Yuan Co, which operates as teacher.com.cn, will jointly develop and promote TEFL distance and classroom training and international culture exchanges to English teachers across China.

Read the full story from the BBC.

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June 07, 2013

Japan | Employment

Temple, Sophia to hold English career fair in Tokyo

Teaching-English-in-Japan"Temple University Japan and Sophia University announced this week that they will hold a joint career fair in English later this month. The Tokyo English Career Fair event, which will be English-only, will be held on Wednesday June 19 at Sophia University. Students can attend free of charge but registration, through the Sophia University website, is required for non-TUJ and Sophia students.

As one of the selected universities of the internationalization project (Global 30) pursued by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Sophia University offers English-based degree programs and promotes active exchange between 180 partnering universities in 40 countries world-wide. At TUJ, all classes are taught in English and 60% of the undergraduate student body is non-Japanese. Both institutions are committed to supporting job placements of foreign nationals and Japanese students with global career aspirations, and therefore started working together and held the first joint career fair in English last year.

The event is designed to attract a wide range of internationally-minded students with advanced language skills. Last year’s fair attracted 10 companies and approximately 300 students from over 40 countries studying across Japan, making it a very international fair. Most participants requested the event be held on an annual basis.

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May 24, 2013

Online | Business

Urban Planet acquires revolutionary English learning system

Urban PlanetUrban Planet – the world’s leading mobile education provider – has gone deep into the jungles of Costa Rica (literally) to acquire the 333 Words English Language Learning System, the most efficient way to learn English on the planet.  Urban Planet is incorporating the newly acquired system into its award winning mobile education lines to create a new product, Urban English Express (UEx). Urban English Express, promises to be the fastest, most effective way to teach beginner level English to students of all ages on any mobile device around the world.

The 333 Words English Language System that Urban Planet acquired is unique in identifying the main problems most new English language learners experience; confusion with the rules of grammar and lack of confidence, and bypassing them in a pedagogically sound manner. The system utilizes a logical learning methodology with a set of 333 carefully selected, common and necessary words that are also essential for survival. These 333 words are introduced to the student in a carefully orchestrated learning sequence designed to maximize logical learning, and thus, retention.

“The 333 Words English Language System is specifically designed to allow the student to build confidence and, at the same time, be able to use important and necessary words correctly,” said Lauren Cleaver, Creator of the 333 Words English Language System. “Building confidence ultimately frees the student to  experiment with more difficult concepts; therefore, the student becomes more proficient in the language in a relatively short amount of time.”

“This is a game changing acquisition because it not only shows that we will go to the ends of the earth to find strategies that work but it also demonstrates that mobile technologies can work with any system,” said Brian OliverSmith, CEO of Urban Planet.  “I am confident that Urban English Express will become the gold standard by which all other mobile and non-mobile English language learning programs are measured.”

Potential success of Urban English Express can be seen by how non-English speakers in Costa Rica responded to the 333 Words English Language System. The majority of non-English speakers were frustrated by the vast detail and somewhat trivial rules taught by other well-known programs. They flocked to the 333 Words English Language System because it simplified the process for learning English efficiently and effectively. The system is successful because, unlike other English Language learning programs, it operates under the assumption English is a step-by-step process that requires the student to experience a level of confidence in the language before he or she can advance to more complicated concepts.

"Urban English Express harnesses the power of technology to deliver a never before possible system that teaches students how to communicate using a unique integrated skills approach to reading, writing, speaking, and listening in English,” said  John Eyles, Global Leading English Language Expert. “The program is convenient so students are able to work at their own pace and as their schedules permit.”

Urban Planet is a leading innovator of educational products created for mobile, tablet, and computer.  The company is a 2013 CODiE Award Finalist, a Frost & Sullivan Most Innovative App designee, the GSMA Global Mobile Award for Best Mobile Learning Innovation winner and a Gartner Cool Vendor in Education Technology. Urban Planet’s products are available worldwide, with distribution channels in 75 countries. With its innovative and pioneering audio-sms delivery, the company’s mobile learning products can be accessed on over 95% of all mobile phones. Urban Planet also offers Writing Planet™, the world’s only comprehensive, web-based English writing program built on automated assessment technology and created specifically for non-native English speakers.

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