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Accreditation for green language schools launched

An association working to build environmental sustainability within the language education sector has launched, aiming – among other targets – to reduce the carbon output associated with international travelling.

Environmental sustainability is "an issue that all companies should be taking more seriously, including all language schools"

Green Standard Schools will seek to ensure the language education profession mitigates its impact on the environment by providing leadership, guidance and support to educational authorities, teaching institutions, teachers and learners.

“The accreditation process has to be rigorous for it to be meaningful”

Accreditation will also be awarded to both online and brick and mortar language providers via a rigorous process where educators can show they adopt, adhere and commit to policies and practices to protect the environment.

“Green Standard Schools will all have demonstrated their commitment to environmental sustainability, so accreditation should help both agents and students identify which schools are taking these issues seriously,” said Jonathan Dykes, one of the organisation’s four founding members.

GSS’s ’12 Commitments’ cover a range of aims including reducing energy, water, plastics and paper use, promoting recycling and lowering the environmental impact of purchases and marketing activities, while also encouraging accommodation partners to adopt sustainable practices.

The association also requires members to “compensate for the carbon generated by students and staff travelling to the school”, in addition to systematically including environmental issues in the curriculum.

“We are not dodging more difficult areas such as carbon emissions,” Dykes noted.

“Schools that want to become accredited – especially study abroad schools – should log the flights taken by students and staff, then calculate the volume of carbon these flights have generated,” he explained. This will make it easier to identify ways to offset carbon emissions.

Applicants will be scored on their operations, with 200 being the maximum number of points available. Schools reaching 130 points will be eligible for accreditation.

“The majority of first-time applicants will fall below this score, but that’s when we can provide feedback on how to improve their performance and improve their score the next time they apply,” Dykes explained. “The accreditation process has to be rigorous for it to be meaningful,” he added.

Since launching at the end of September, 19 schools have undertaken the application process with four achieving the score to make them eligible for accreditation.

Environmental sustainability is “an issue that all companies should be taking more seriously, including all language schools”, Dykes added.

The association’s expertise includes Dykes’s work at IH Barcelona, where he registered the school on the EU’s Eco Management and Audit Scheme. “We know that this generated some additional business for us,” Dykes said.

Additionally, IH Belfast’s ECOApp launched in collaboration with study abroad agents ESL “added an extra element to that school’s value proposition”.

“While we’re not suggesting that students or agents will necessarily choose a school depending on its environmental credentials alone, it’s entirely feasible that they could choose a school that has been accredited for its environmental policies and practices over others on their shortlist, if other factors (fees, course types, accommodation options, etc) are more or less similar,” Dykes explained.

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5 Responses to Accreditation for green language schools launched

  1. While director of IH Barcelona, Jonathon Dykes spent much of his time taking planes to far flung places such as China, Canada, Columbia Playa del Carmen and Belfast to oversee his investments in the various IH schools he helped found outside of Eastern Spain. Little attention was paid to green issues until he stumbled upon it as a possible way to stand out from other schools in order to make money. While we recognise his job was in part to make money,what we find unacceptable is that he had no qualms about investing the profits from the IH Eastern Spain in anywhere but IH Eastern Spain and the hard working staff at these schools, not only had to accept no cost of living parity from 2012-now, but we also had to later swallow that around 2016 he doubled his own considerable monthly salary while claiming there were no profits being made in the International Houses in Eastern Spain, and that no revenue from those schools was being invested outside of Spain!

    Although Mr Dykes was ultimately sacked from his job as Director of International House ES, he is still shareholder of the company which has unceremoniously left its workers in limbo with no right to claim dole or compensation as yet.

  2. Jonathan Dykes is a shameless self promotor who used the fees paid byIH Eastern Spain clients to “invest” in schools in other parts of the world, and enrich himself. After he was fired a desperate, and unsuccessful attempt was made to save those schools which are now in liquidation with employees in limbo and faithful customers abandoned.

  3. CORRECTED COMMENT: Jonathan Dykes is a shameless self promotor who used the fees paid by IH Eastern Spain clients to “invest” in schools in other parts of the world, and enrich himself. After he was fired a desperate, and unsuccessful attempt was made to save the schools in Eastern Spain, which are now in liquidation with employees in limbo and faithful customers abandoned.

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