The deal was finalised late last year and includes the sale of both the English language school and a private training establishment.
The move marks the end of founder Jim Clark’s 25-year ownership of the CCEL group. Hideo Sawada, CEO of H.I.S. took over as CCEL’s president while Lane Clark has stayed on as the group’s CEO.
“After 25 years operating CCEL and CC it seems the right time for a change”
H.I.S. is one of Japan’s largest travel agencies with a worldwide network of 230 branches in 141 cities abroad and 295 retail stores in Japan. This is the group’s first foray into education.
Since the sale, CCEL has established a partnership with St Lawrence College of Ontario to offer courses on its campus in Vancouver.
However, the group’s US operation, Spokane College of English Language in Washington, was not included in the H.I.S. purchase and on May 31, this school closed, citing an irreversible drop in students over the previous 12 months.
“Over the last year SCEL staff have done many things to try and source new markets and new revenue but have been unsuccessful due to factors beyond their control,” Clark wrote in a statement on SCEL’s website.
“The drop in student numbers over the last 12 months, especially the last 6 months, has made it impossible to maintain the college as a viable operation. Current enrollment is 8 students and previous enrollment was 150 students.”
Clark said all students have been transferred to other institutions in Spokane or Vancouver and their financial responsibilities have been met. An SCEL scholarship ESL program for new immigrant students has also ended as a result of the closure.
Clark said his decision to sell CCEL was based on his intention to spend his time and resources fully on the group’s online platform and curriculum, Smrt English Ltd, which now has offices and programs operating in Mexico, Brazil, China and Saudi Arabia.
“After 25 years operating CCEL and CC it seems the right time for a change,” Clark told The PIE News.
Smrt English Ltd teaches more than 100,000 students and is offered by 166 institutions globally.