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Is veteran school chain Bell English turning its back on UK EFL?

09-11-2017 Hits:562 News Melanie Butler  - avatar Melanie Butler

The operating company Bell English is abandoning plans to increase its number of language schools in the UK, citing ‘a significant shift towards in-country English-language tuition’ and away from language...

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Bilingualism, it seems, is no longer restricted to humans. Chimpanzees can become bilingual, learning a new series of grunts to ask other members of their group for things when they move to a new zoo and share with ‘foreign’ chimpanzees, according to a recent study by biologists at the Universities of York and Zurich.

The study looked at adult chimps raised in Beekse Bergen Safari Park in the Netherlands who moved to Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo.

In recent years, the Gazette has come across several entrepreneurs in China who have become multimillionaires through their various English language teaching operations.

Li Yiang, founder of the Crazy English methodology (aka English as a Shouted Language), became known as the Elvis of English for his mass open-air English lessons. These usually involved him bellowing English phrases at a large crowd through a microphone and the crowd shouting back in unison. His lessons more resembled mass rallies – the Beijing Organising Committee of the 2008 Olympic Games brought in Li to prepare thousands of Olympic volunteers with en masse intensive English lessons. The New Yorker reported Li as saying, ‘The secret of success is to have them continuously paying.’

A judge has ruled that the Irish government cannot restrict visas for non-EU students to those enrolled in language schools accredited by Acels. The judgement effectively scuttles plans announced last September to crack down on rogue operators by only allowing Acels-accredited schools to appear on the register of approved providers.

The case was bought by two non-Acels-accredited schools – Academic Bridge, which is awaiting a decision on accreditation, and the National Employee Development Centre Ltd, which has failed Acels accreditation. Both applicants claimed that they had already been accredited by EDI Pearson and were in good standing with the immigration authorities, and thus should not be banned from enrolling non-EU students.

Angela Snelgrove writes

Recent reports in Australian media outlets including The Australian newspaper and the Fairfax Media agency have stated that the use of essay writing agencies by international students has become widespread. Receipts or proof of work between October 2013 and January 2014 taken from one Australian registered online company, Mymaster, showed that Chinese students from all the major universities in Sydney were using the service, paying anything from AU$300 to AU$1,000 (£156–£522) for essays. The company advertised widely using Chinese social media sites.

Such services exist for English speakers too, with Australian online businesses offering to write essays for between AU$39–AU$50 (£20–£26) a page, including plagiarism checks. Essay writing services are not illegal. It is only when students hand in assignments which have been outsourced to such services that students breach academic ethical standards and can be accused of plagiarism or academic misconduct.

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