Strategy sparks author anxiety as sales staff slashed
By Melanie Butler
Pearson's London headquarters at Shell Mex House on the Thames, the former headquarters of Shell Oil. Photo: copyright Matt Salusbury
Pearson has slashed its UK marketing and sales force responsible for ELT publishing and the Pearson Test of English (PTE) as part of a £150 million restructuring announced by new CEO John Fallon after a 59 per cent fall in group profits. The cuts to the UK team, which also covers northern Europe, come after a record year for its UK book sales, with the firm grabbing nearly 40 per cent of the market, according to distributors. Over two-thirds of the UK-based global marketing team is also reported to face redundancy.
By Melanie Butler and Matt Salusbury
Host father Kevin Garfield Ricks convicted
A US teacher has been convicted of sexually abusing a German exchange student. Kevin Garfield Ricks, who is already serving a 25-year sentence for creating and possessing child pornography, was sentenced to an additional twenty years in January by a Maryland court and is now expected to remain in prison until his nineties.
Ricks is not the first US host father to be convicted of child sex abuse but he may be the most prolific. His abuse dates back to 1978 when he was an eighteen-year-old summer camp counsellor and includes allegations made by high school students and their parents in several US states, as well as a language student in Japan.
By Melanie Butler
Shares in China Digital Education rose some $20 million, about 10 per cent, in two days following the recent announcement of a deal between the company’s US partners Eleutian Technology and Oxford University Press to produce TeachCast, an online teaching project. Neither Eleutian, a privately owned US company, nor OUP, founded in 1586 and a department of the University of Oxford, have stock market listings.
For as little as $100 dollars a year, TeachCast aims to offer daily teacher-led online English language classes available around the world. TeachCast will combine content from two of OUP’s global best-sellers with Eleutian’s synchronous video conferencing technology. Eleutian, which only uses contracted US state-certified teachers, all of whom are shareholders in the company, has delivered over a million online English language classes since it was founded in 2006. The OUP titles used in the project, Business Venture and, for younger learners, Let’s Go, have been used by over 24 million learners.
By Matt Salusbury
The opening of the University of Central Lancaster (Uclan) in Cyprus – the first Cypriot annexe of a British university – is a source of anxiety for the United Nations and its UNFICYP peacekeeping mission on the island. UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said of Uclan Cyprus in his January report to the UN General Assembly that ‘stability ... continued to be negatively affected’ by Uclan Cyprus’ presence close to UNFICYP’s ‘buffer zone’ at Pyla.
UNFICYP’s ‘Green Line’ buffer zone separates the Republic of Cyprus, the ethnically Greek Cypriot EU member state in the south, from the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, a state recognised only by Turkey and Azerbaijan, established in the north following the Turkish invasion in 1974. Travel through the Green Line at its seven crossing points – Pyla is one of them – has eased considerably since 2003, but tensions remain. Last September armed Turkish Cypriot police officers arrested some of their Greek counterparts in the buffer zone.