The PIE News http://thepienews.com News and business analysis for Professionals in International Education Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:15:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 English language drives intl study for Ukrainians http://thepienews.com/news/english-language-drives-intl-study-for-ukrainians/ http://thepienews.com/news/english-language-drives-intl-study-for-ukrainians/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:20:49 +0000 http://thepienews.com/?p=54641 Learning English is the main motivator for young Ukrainians to study abroad, according to a report by the British Council that also surveyed young people on their political views and civic activity.

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Learning English is the main motivator for young Ukrainians to study abroad, according to a report by the British Council that also surveyed young people on their political views and civic activity.

Accessing better quality education systems, finding employment abroad and improving employment opportunities at home were also influential drivers mentioned in the survey of 1,600 Ukrainians aged 16-35.

The study found that over half (56%) have a desire to study abroad and 12% actually have plans to do so– a percentage the British Council said is a “comparatively high proportion”.

The UK was the most desirable study destination according to 43% of the students, followed by the US and Germany

However, students said money and lack of English are the main barriers to studying overseas.

Of study destinations, 43% of those surveyed said the UK was the most desirable, followed by the US (38%) and Germany (33%).

“Young Ukrainians – the country’s future leaders and influencers – see the UK as a great place for realising their educational potential and expanding their cultural horizons,” said Simon Williams, the British Council’s country director in Ukraine.

Entitled ‘‘Hopes, Fears and Dreams: The views of Ukraine’s next generation” the study also found that just 41% of respondents think Ukraine will be better than it was before 2014 and 54% think Ukraine should join the EU.

“This research also shows that the future success and stability of Ukraine depend on strengthening its civil society, reforming its education system, expanding the use of English and supporting the growth of modern skills needed for the economy, including in the cultural sector,” added Williams.

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New UKCISA grants to fund study experience http://thepienews.com/news/new-ukcisa-grants-to-fund-study-experience/ http://thepienews.com/news/new-ukcisa-grants-to-fund-study-experience/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:33:04 +0000 http://thepienews.com/?p=54609 A new grant scheme has been launched by UKCISA to support its members in providing the highest quality international student experience.

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The UK Council for International Student Affairs has launched a new grant scheme which will support UK education institutions to be more competitive in providing quality international student experiences.

Announced at the UKCISA conference this week in Brighton, the grant scheme will support both pilot projects and research that will help to enhance the experience of international students at universities, colleges and student unions.

“Most people want to get back into making sure that the UK gives the best international student experience”

Dominic Scott, chief executive of UKCISA, said that as much of the dialogue within the UK education sector is centred on visa-related issues, it’s time to flip the discussion.

“We’re going to have to address these visa related things because it’s essential,” he told The PIE News.

“But actually most people want to get back into making sure that the UK gives the best international student experience, or better than any other competitor.”

UKCISA members can submit a proposal for one of the 10 pilot project grants of up to £2,000, or one of two research grants of up to £5,000.

According to the UKCISA website, the recipients of the grants will also be required to present their findings “for the benefit of the membership as a whole”.

The scheme is currently set to run this year and next year, and Scott admits that while there’s a lot of work to be done, it will help to widen the agenda.

“I think it will be quite a good signal domestically and internationally to say this is important and we’re going to work with institutions to turn things around,” he said.

Scott’s comments were also echoed by Baroness Usha Prashar, who stepped down as president of UKCISA after nine years in her role.

In her leaving speech at the conference, she urged delegates not to not lose sight of the value of international students.

“It’s important to not forget that international students are not just for the economic benefit of the country, there is a real value of international education and international students and we must keep the narrative going,” she said.

Lord Karan Bilimoria has been appointed the new UKCISA president.

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Chinese agency hits back at Four Corners documentary http://thepienews.com/news/chinese-agency-hits-back-at-four-corners-documentary/ http://thepienews.com/news/chinese-agency-hits-back-at-four-corners-documentary/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 10:14:42 +0000 http://thepienews.com/?p=54600 Chinese agency, EduGlobal says it is "deeply shocked" following Australian TV channel ABC’s Four Corners: Degrees of Deception programme, aired earlier this year, which accused them of misconduct when sending students abroad.

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One of China’s biggest education agencies investigated in an Australian documentary into agent fraud has hit back at the programme’s producers, saying that it has made false claims and “seriously damaged” the reputation of the business.

EduGlobal, one of four agencies named in ABC’s Four Corners: Degrees of Deception programme, which aired in April, said in a statement that it is “deeply shocked” by the programme.

“This programme has insulted an organisation, which is the pioneer of international education in China”

“This programme has insulted an organisation, which is the pioneer of international education in China and has maintained an impeccable record in professionalism, good practice and code of conduct in its 23 years of operation,” the statement reads.

In the documentary, a reporter is shown speaking to education advisers at EduGlobal and three other major education agencies in China – Shinyway, EIC and Aoji Education – asking them whether they will accept a forged academic transcript in an application to an Australian university.

According to Four Corners, the responses given by representatives of each of the companies indicated a willingness to help students to cheat the application process, whether by accepting forged documents or helping them to circumvent mandatory English tests.

“As long as the academic transcript can show a result of at least 70, we guarantee the issue of an offer letter,” an EduGlobal adviser is filmed saying, in footage that Four Corners’ reporter said “raises alarming questions about the integrity of international student admissions to a host of Australian universities”.

In its response, EduGlobal accused ABC of taking the remarks out of context and said that there is “no misconduct” in any of the broadcasting company’s aired or unaired documentary footage.

“The fact that ABC could only pick out two out-of-context and edited sentences made by the EduGlobal adviser from a 20 minute counselling session has shown that the ABC could not prove their point of ‘corrupt agencies’ with respect to EduGlobal,” it contended.

“The Commission takes any appearances of misconduct by any of its certified agencies very seriously”

“The ABC program has no doubt seriously damaged EduGlobal’s reputation with its false assumptions aired in the programme,” the statement continued.

“We also keep our options open for possible actions, including legal actions, in seeking justice against the defamation by the ABC programme,” it added.

Two of the four agencies that appear in the documentary – Shinyway and EduGlobal – are certified by the American International Recruitment Council, a membership organisation of agents and tertiary educators in the US which is “continuing to monitor this matter”, according to its executive director, John Deupree.

A screenshot of the Four Corners documentary which warned of universities exposing themselves to "corrupt practices"

A screenshot of the Four Corners documentary which warned of universities exposing themselves to “corrupt practices”

“The AIRC Certification Commission is aware of the ABC broadcast and has followed its due process in investigating the matter with the certified agencies referenced in the report as well as parties involved with recruitment with these agencies,” Deupree told The PIE News.

“The Commission takes any appearances of misconduct by any of its certified agencies very seriously,” he continued.

“With regard to this broadcast, AIRC has also received comments which have noted apparent anomalies and inconsistencies in the ABC program segment and the Commission considers these as well as the initial media report itself.”

All four agencies, which are each members of the Beijing Overseas Study Services Association, have now signed the association’s pledge “to uphold honest principles when verifying student academic documents”.

BOSSA has also released a statement relating to the documentary and agent fraud, after holding a public conference addressing the subject in May.

“Chinese study abroad agencies are a part of a specialist industry requiring transnational application processes”

“This kind of overseas study experience [obtained through a fraudulent application] is not only deemed for failure but also taints the reputation of other Chinese students studying abroad,” its president, Peng Sang, said.

Sang went on to warn that where it exists, fraud among both education agencies and students themselves will “damage the reputation of future Chinese students wishing to study abroad”.

“Chinese study abroad agencies are a part of a specialist industry requiring transnational application processes,” he said. “Every employee’s actions represent not only the agency they are working for but also their country’s image abroad.”

While Sang focussed on addressing fraud at the agent level, AIRC’s Deupree was insistent that this can occur “at any point along the enrolment spectrum”, from parents and students to institutions themselves.

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What works offline doesn’t work online: edtech stakeholders http://thepienews.com/news/what-works-offline-doesnt-work-online-edtech-stakeholders-contest/ http://thepienews.com/news/what-works-offline-doesnt-work-online-edtech-stakeholders-contest/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:37:34 +0000 http://thepienews.com/?p=54588 Online learning requires new pedagogy and social strategies in order to engage students, according to edtech leaders at this year's EdTech Europe conference in London. Gamification and peer interaction ranked high among solutions discussed at the event.

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Online learning requires new pedagogy and social strategies in order to attract and engage students, according to edtech leaders. Big data and increasing investments in the sector will drive innovation in digital learning, they asserted.

Gamification ranked high among solutions to create engaging online learning at this year’s EdTech Europe conference in London, which brought together some 650 speakers and delegates to discuss innovation in the global sector.

“Using digital content needs to be as easy as falling out of bed”

Stakeholders agreed there is a need for a pedagogical shift in the move towards online learning, rather than simply transferring existing teaching models online.

Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, described many of the existing MOOC platforms as “dull”, saying that they did not suit mobile learning and “the student experience was left behind”.

Karine Allouche Salanon, CEO of Pearson English Business Solutions, also underlined the need to prioritise the student experience.

“Human interaction is so important,” she told The PIE News, after advising MOOC providers to take an active approach to facilitating peer-to-peer engagement, rather than relying on video lectures alone.

Allouche Salanon was drawing on her own experience from curating online career development training at Pearson.

Since becoming CEO in 2013, she has taken the division from negative to double digit growth and the division saw its course completion rates soar from 11% to 76%, after it introduced a digital counsellor to help students on its online programmes.

“We only had the online, self-study learning product when I came in, and we introduced much more blended [learning] in every single thing we do,” she said.

Classroom technology and mobile apps also came under scrutiny at the event.

CEO and founder of data science course provider Galvanize, Jim Deters, summed up the need for creativity among edtech providers given that “we are now in technology ubiquity”.

Joseph Noble, head of channels and partnerships in Oxford University Press’s ELT division, noted a trend among some education providers of transferring existing teaching materials, such as textbooks, online without adapting the content to a new and interactive format.

Instead, he said that ‘gamification’ is key to engaging students, using mobile learning as a “tutor in your pocket”.

He cited the language teaching app DuoLinguo as an example of a successful teaching tool with a good business model and engaging format.

“People will give almost any information about themselves if they think they are getting value from it”

In-classroom education technologies must suit the needs of not only students but teachers, he added.

“Using digital content needs to be as easy as falling out of bed,” he urged.

Big data will play a role in forging these new models, delegates heard.

“Data can tell us what works in the global classrooms, and we have to find a way of unlocking that information,” counselled Rob Grimshaw, CEO of TES Global.

Allouche Salanon of Pearson noted that “people will give almost any information about themselves if they think they are getting value from it”, saying that most people “couldn’t imagine” sharing the amount of information most Facebook users share online today a decade ago.

This could help companies to gather data on their learner demographics and further hone their offerings, she said.

Meanwhile, stakeholders agreed that new investment in the sector will fuel evolution.

Not surprisingly, LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of online learning platform lynda.com – the fourth biggest deal in social media history – was frequently referenced as delegates discussed how investment can drive innovation.

As a growing number of private equity firms move into the edtech space, they will be “critical” to the education technology lifecycle, Allouche Salanon predicted.

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India: leading VET chain pairs with MOOC platform http://thepienews.com/news/india-leading-vet-chain-pairs-with-mooc-platform/ http://thepienews.com/news/india-leading-vet-chain-pairs-with-mooc-platform/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:05:38 +0000 http://thepienews.com/?p=54581 India’s largest vocational education provider, AISECT, has partnered with online learning platform, ALISON, in a bid to extend its reach in providing skills-based learning to rural and semi-urban populations.

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India’s largest vocational education provider, AISECT, has partnered with online learning platform, ALISON, in a bid to extend its reach in providing skills-based learning to rural and semi-urban populations.

With India projected to become the world’s most populated country within a decade at 1.4 billion, the government has set a goal to upskill 500 million people by 2022 in order to harness the country’s economic potential.

Under the partnership, ALISON and AISECT will provide a free e-learning platform to students offering internationally recognised vocational courses, which will be free of charge and open to all.

“The real need is not to get everyone to PhD level. It is about bringing people with manual and basic workplace skills up to the skill level of the modern worker”

ALISON founder Mike Feerick said the platform’s MOOC-mode of educating is ideal to meet India’s upskilling needs.

“India is a perfect market for what ALISON provides. The real need is not to get everyone to PhD level. It is about bringing people with manual and basic workplace skills up to the skill level of the modern worker,” he said.

“When the masses within the Indian workforce upskill, you will finally see India awake as one of the economic powerhouses of the world.”

Ireland-based ALISON uses open-content from top publishers to create workplace training courses for five million learners worldwide. It currently has more than 500,000 Indian students registered in India alone.

AISECT director Abhishek Pandit said the partnership “will allow us to integrate our extensive network and resources with ALISON’s proficiency in open and distance learning to build ‘hands-on’ skills to bridge the demand-supply gap of skilled individuals in the country. “

Since 1985, AISECT has been offering skills development education in India and has grown to operate 12,000 centres across 27 States and three Union Territories, as well as several higher education institutions.

The company has also recently partnered with the National Skill Development Corporation to provide skill based training to over 1.3 million people in the next 10 years.

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Australia aims to tackle accommodation shortage http://thepienews.com/news/australia-aims-to-tackle-accommodation-shortage/ http://thepienews.com/news/australia-aims-to-tackle-accommodation-shortage/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:06:15 +0000 http://thepienews.com/?p=54571 Insufficient and costly purpose-built student accommodation may be putting Australia at a competitive disadvantage when recruiting internationally, research commissioned by the International Education Association of Australia has suggested.

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Insufficient and costly purpose-built student accommodation may be putting Australia at a competitive disadvantage when recruiting internationally, research commissioned by the International Education Association of Australia has suggested.

The two discussion papers, presented at IEAA’s International Student Accommodation Symposium, were commissioned as a result of concerns raised by the Council of International Students of Australia about the quality and affordability of student accommodation for international students.

“International students are generally very satisfied, but living costs and affordability are areas of concern”

“International students are generally very satisfied with their study experience in Australia, but living costs and affordability are areas of concern,” states one report.

A lack of university-provided accommodation is one of the key issues raised in two discussion papers carried out by commercial property firm JLL, which looked at domestic accommodation provision as well as providing a comparison with offerings in the UK, US, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

The shortage of university accommodation means that international students in Australia are much more dependent on the private rental sector than in other countries, while institutions lose out on opportunities to attract students through university-managed accommodation.

For example, Swinburne University provides just seven beds per 1,000 students, while the University of New England has the largest number, at 100 per 1,000.

In contrast, the UK’s LSE provides 407 beds per 1,000 students and Cornell in the US provides 310 per 1,000.

In particular, a lack of collegiate-style housing compared to countries such as the UK and US may be detrimental to the study abroad experience, the reports state, as collegiate accommodation provides “a more connected and more community-focused educational experience”.

“There is a perception in Australia that international students are only focussed on having their own private room,” Phil Honeywood, IEAA’s CEO, told The PIE News.

“However, both our commissioned research papers, and the dialogue at the symposium, indicated that other student destination countries, especially the United States, have a tradition of providing predominantly shared student bedrooms.”

Honeywood noted that some private accommodation developers in Australia are beginning to offer shared rooms and that there is “apparently growing demand for this option if there is a commensurate rent reduction”.

In the private sector, the high cost of housing puts Australia at a disadvantage to all other countries included in the study apart from the US.

“The real threat to Australia may come from cities that can offer both affordable collegiate living, as well as affordable and available private rental”

For some locations there was no housing available at a benchmarked affordable rents rate, which the report sets at around AUS$1,000 a month – around 30-40% of a “relative generous assumed income” of $30,000 a year.

Private market rent prices around inner city institutions can be equal to or more than those in some of the world’s most expensive cities, it adds, while those in suburban locations are more competitive.

“The real threat to Australia may come from cities that can offer both affordable collegiate living, as well as affordable and available private rental,” the research states.

Based on these findings, the reports conclude that further development of new, high quality accommodation in Australia is a “necessity”.

There are currently 58,109 beds of purpose built student accommodation in Australia’s six top metropolitan areas – up by 8% or 4,647 beds in the last year – and JLL predicts that developments will continue to increase in response to the lack of supply.

International student numbers have risen by 4.4% in the last year, with 8.9% yearly growth among tertiary students, who generate the most demand for purpose-built accommodation.

It also predicts that at least one more new significant developer or operator will enter the sector in 2015.

IEAA will create an Outcomes Report based on the reports and accompanying symposium, which it will use to lobby authorities at the federal, state and local levels to address the issue of accommodation.

“There will need now to be extensive follow up and an agreed action plan to get this key issue of student accommodation on the agenda of consultative bodies such as the newly formed International Education Ministerial Council,” Honeywood added.

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QS receives funding for Asia expansion http://thepienews.com/news/qs-receives-funding-for-asia-expansion/ http://thepienews.com/news/qs-receives-funding-for-asia-expansion/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:09:58 +0000 http://thepienews.com/?p=54521 Japanese investor Mitsui & Co., Ltd has taken a minority stake in QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd, the publisher of the QS University World Rankings, to support its expansion into Asia.

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The publisher of the QS University World Rankings, QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd, has taken on a Japanese investor to support its expansion into Asia.

Tokyo-based Mitsui & Co., Ltd has become a minority investor in QS by purchasing existing shares and subscribing for new shares for an undisclosed amount.

In addition to the annual World University Rankings, QS also operates TopUniversities.com, TopMBA.com, organises 300 recruitment fairs a year and offers services to some 1,200 higher education institutions worldwide.

The company has plans to expand its research, technology and student recruitment globally, but with a particular focus on Asia.

Nunzio Quacquarelli, CEO of QS said the investment from Mutsui “can especially support our development in Asia” adding, “we were seeking and have found a likeminded company which shares our long term vision”.

“Through this business we will help to nurture the global human resources needed by the global economy”

With offices in 66 countries, Mitsui invests in diverse sectors including chemicals, food products, iron & steel, mineral & metal resources and education. This year it led US$7m in funding for Geekie, an adaptive learning platform in Brazil.

Last year the company also invested $5m in Synergis Education, an education company specialising in online and on the ground adult learner programmes.

“We aim to use our experience in the online education field to create new services,” said Takeshi Akutsu, GM of Mitsui Service Business Division in a statement.

“At the same time, through this business we will help to nurture the global human resources needed by the global economy.”

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Four million students now enrolled at English medium schools http://thepienews.com/news/four-million-students-now-enrolled-at-english-medium-schools/ http://thepienews.com/news/four-million-students-now-enrolled-at-english-medium-schools/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:04:33 +0000 http://thepienews.com/?p=54508 The number of students enrolled at English-medium international schools around the world has hit a record-high of four million. This number has increased from 2.75 million students five years ago.

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The number of students studying at English-medium international schools globally reached a record-level four million students last month, according to the International School Consultancy.

Demand is driven by a desire from students and their parents to be able to compete globally in the foreign university degrees arena. However, growth could be hampered by a short-supply of native English teachers the organisation has warned.

“It’s not only learning in English … It’s also the increased opportunities that internationally respected curricula and examinations offer”

Five years ago, the total number of students at international schools was 2.75 million, and 15 years ago just under a million students were enrolled.

Now with four million students attending an international school, Nick Brummitt, chairman of ISC, emphasised how international schools are becoming increasingly desirable across the globe.

“As economies improve and incomes increase, an international school education becomes high on the list of priorities for more families,” he told The PIE News.

Around 80% of the students in English-medium international schools are from non-English speaking families, according to ISC.

However, “it’s not only learning in English that’s the impetus,” commented Brummitt. “It’s also the increased opportunities that internationally respected curricula and examinations offer.”

English-medium international schools often teach Western-recognised curriculums including the International Baccalaureate and the National Curriculum of England, which Brummitt says appeals to students from around the world.

“Such qualifications are a way for young people to increase their chances of attending reputable, English-medium universities and to compete on the global stage,” he said.

“And this is what’s fuelling the growth of international schools around the world.”

Some regions are growing more quickly than others. The UAE, for example, has seen a huge increase in supply from 93 English-medium international schools five years ago to 514 last month.

The total number of students enrolled in these schools is now at 479,700 – an increase from 76,000 in May 2010 – representing the highest number of students enrolled across all major international school markets.

As well as the level of demand from the local population, the growth in this region has been attributed to the high number of expatriates, the wealth of the country, and the governments of Abu Dhabi and Dubai allowing an unlimited number of students at international schools.

In addition to the UAE, the international schools market in China has also boomed, increasing from 260 schools in May 2010 to 530 English-medium international schools across the country, enrolling 326,400 students this year.

“There are not enough top quality teachers who meet these criteria and schools compete to recruit the best ones”

According to ISC, there’s an increasing demand from Chinese nationals for English-medium, western-oriented education that prepares students well for western university.

Beyond the UAE and China, Brummitt expects enrolments to continue to rise right across the globe.

“In Malaysia, the government has removed a previous limit on enrolment of local students at international schools,” he said. “In Qatar, UAE and Hong Kong, demand exceeds supply and school expansions and new developments will respond to this.

“In some of the Latin American countries improved economies coupled with a growing demand for bilingual education is fuelling the growth,” he added.

However, he noted that recruiting and retaining a quality teaching force remains a significant barrier for some providers.

In its Global Report released earlier this year, ISC observed that international schools “need to recruit teachers whose mother tongue is English, who have experience of teaching globally recognised curricula and who are willing to move away from their home countries.”

It went on to underline that: “there are not enough top quality teachers who meet these criteria and schools compete to recruit the best ones.”

 

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Loyalist school teachers strike over pay http://thepienews.com/news/loyalist-school-teachers-strike-over-pay/ http://thepienews.com/news/loyalist-school-teachers-strike-over-pay/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:01:32 +0000 http://thepienews.com/?p=54496 Teachers from the Vancouver campus of ESL school, PGIC, have been on strike since last Wednesday over failed wage negotiations with owner, Loyalist Group.

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Teachers from the Vancouver campus of Loyalist Group owned school, PGIC, have been on strike since last Wednesday after negotiations over wages hit an impasse.

Teachers at PGIC are rallying against a 30% wage cut they saw after PGIC, which has campuses in Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto, was bought by Loyalist Group four years ago.

“We reached an impasse, and our next step then was to serve a 72-hour strike notice”

They are also challenging a 15-year wage grid, which would see wages increase by just $4 an hour over 10 years– to $24 an hour – and then would require an additional five years for them to reach the top salary of $35,000 a year.

Dianne Simmons, who has been an instructor at the school in Vancouver for 16 years, said that the teaching body want to go back to the bargaining table with Loyalist Group after negotiations over their pay grid reached a stalemate.

“They did not have anything new to offer us,” she told The PIE News.

“It was the same six-step 15-year wage grid proposal. So at that point, we reached an impasse, and our next step then was to serve a 72-hour strike notice because we were too far apart in bargaining for anything else.”

The school currently has around 350-400 students enrolled, with this season being their busiest time of the year.

With no indication as to when operations will resume as normal, Simmons says she has little knowledge of how Loyalist Group are managing the students affected.

“The only thing we know for sure is that they’ve emailed the student body, and let them know that when classes resume, they will email them so that they can come back,” she said.

Other troubles have also come to light this month for Loyalist Group, after their recently released annual financial statements showed a loss of CAN$19.5m last year.

Four of the company’s leaders have been replaced in the last month.

Former CEO, Andrew Ryu, who was one senior member who recently resigned from his post, had made many acquisitions in a short space of time, including two South Korean agencies.

However, Simmons confirmed that she wasn’t too concerned about the company’s fast pace of growth.

“We’ve always been a profitable school so we didn’t really pay attention to what was happening with everything else,” she said.

“We were just focusing on our own business and bringing in students.”

Simmons also confirmed that the wage negotiations have been ongoing and began before news surfaced that the company is hoping to make a forebearance agreement by the end of June.

“We’ve been reading all the news releases the new CEO has put out, saying that they have plans in place to turn things around,” Simmons added.

“I guess we have to have faith that they know what they’re doing in managing the company.”

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English3 launches online classroom readiness course http://thepienews.com/news/english3-launches-online-classroom-readiness-course/ http://thepienews.com/news/english3-launches-online-classroom-readiness-course/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:03:04 +0000 http://thepienews.com/?p=54433 With a background in providing English training for corporations, US-based English 3 has moved into the education sector with the launch of a video-based entrance exam and a student classroom-readiness course.

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US-based corporate ESL provider English 3 has moved into the education sector with the launch of a video-based entrance exam and a student classroom-readiness course.

With a background in providing English training for corporations including Apple, Starbucks and Intel, the company is aiming to improve student retention at US universities by bridging the gap between stellar entrance exam results and poor classroom participation.

“You hear the story all the time of the international student that gets great grades, they’re acing the tests. But then during that lecture they’ll never jump in and answer a question,” commented Jon Cheney, Vice President of Business Development at English 3.

“We’re trying to level the playing field and allow these international students the chance to really contribute”

“I think it’s because they just don’t understand. They need education on how to participate and that’s what we’re doing– we’re trying to level the playing field and allow these international students the chance to really contribute and make a difference.”

English 3’s American Classroom Readiness course is offered online, to students in their home countries after being accepted to university but before arriving on campus.

It prepares students to adapt to the norms of an American classroom by presenting them with real life scenarios including writing essays, classroom discussions, how to work in groups and how to give a presentation.

Introduced this spring, Cheney said interest has been high. “The demand is incredible, both from the student side and the school side. Schools know that international students are struggling.”

Accurately measuring a student’s level of spoken English is the goal of the entrance exam the company has developed. Unlike video-interviews used as add-ons to admission applications, Cheney said the exam can be used in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS.

The exam tests students’ ability to use the language in writing or by speaking through asking open ended questions. “If they don’t know how to speak English, they can’t cheat on that. They’re going to have to produce,” said Cheney.

Results are scored on a scale from 0-100 and are comparable to graduation systems of more widely used exams.

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