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EducationStars Awards winners announced

The study abroad industry’s newest awards based on student ratings have announced their 2012 winners. The EducationStars Awards are based on responses from language schools’ former students about topics such as teaching materials, school location, class sizes and teaching quality.

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The site and awards are the brainchild of Pfister, former owner of Swiss agency Pro Linguis

This year, the awards were based on 8,000 responses and given to institutions in 12 countries as well as two awards for Best Language School in an individual city (Brisbane and Vancouver). Countries which didn’t produce enough qualified ratings, such as the US, weren’t given recognition.

Country winners

Best Language School in Argentina CHE Buenos Aires
Best Language School in Australia Langports Gold Coast
Best Language School in Canada ILAC
Best Language School in Ecuador Estudio Sampere Cuenca
Best Language School in England LILA* Liverpool
Best Language School in France Accent Français Montpellier
Best Language School in Ireland Galway Cultural Institute
Best Language School in Italy ABC School Florence
Best Language School in Malta ESE European School of English
Best Language School in Mexico Academia Columbus, Playa del Carmen
Best Language School in South Africa Kurus English, Cape Town
Best Language School in Spain Estudio Sampere Madrid

David Sampere, marketing director at Estudio Sampere, voted “Best Language School” in Spain and Ecuador, said the prize reflects the school’s 50 years of good team work. “This isn’t an award for either school but an accolade for every one of the professors and staff that work throughout Estudio Sampere.”

LILA in Liverpool held a party for its students to celebrate the news

LILA in Liverpool held a party for its students to celebrate the news

Statistics of overall student responses on the seven voting areas were also released. Despite “overall impression” ratings rising to 90% approval, accommodation ratings fell to 79% satisfaction, from 83% in 2011.

Teachers received the highest ratings from students, increasing to 95% approval from 92% in 2011. EducationStars’ founder Martin Pfister, said the teaching improvement was this year’s “outstanding highlight”. “The most important thing is the quality of the teachers.” he told The PIE News.

The bump in teacher approval is contrasted with students’ impression of accommodation. Pfister said the company is considering breaking down next year’s statistics into accommodation type “to see if there is a trend”.

EducationStars’ founder Martin Pfister, said the teaching improvement was this year’s “outstanding highlight”

Launched in 2011, the site and awards are the brainchild of Pfister, former owner of Swiss agency Pro Linguis, which he sold to Kaplan in 2008. Pfister said the site is most popular in South and Latin America, Japan, Korea and Europe.

It is free for any institution who wants to be listed but schools are charged if they want to place their course dates, fees, brochures and booking link. According Pfister, 185 schools currently pay for this additional service. Student ratings are only recorded if a review is left as well as a score. “We believe in the value of reviews for prospective students to get an impression of the school,” said Pfister.

The industry has reacted positively to the opinion-driven rankings, encouraging their students to log on and vote.

“I think EducationStars is at the forefront of using modern communication channels to gather independent feedback from clients about their experiences on language courses,” said Celestine Rowland of Galway Cultural Institute. “It is great to have such an open forum and our ultimate goal at GCI is to continue to manage or exceed students’ expectations of their experience with us.”

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