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

09-11-2017 Hits:563 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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Approximately twenty expatriate teachers at a prestigious international school in Jakarta, Indonesia were awaiting deportation for ‘immigration violations’ following an investigation by the South Jakarta Immigration Office.

The Jakarta Post reported that the investigation into staff at Jakarta International School (JIS) was triggered by a child abuse case. Police were called in following allegations of sexual abuse of a six-year-old pupil by contract cleaning staff, which came at about the same time as the revelation that serial paedophile William Vahey had taught at JIS for a decade from 1992 (see June 2014 Gazette).

July 2014

New contracts spark teacher strike

Teachers from Lambeth College in London went on strike in early June for over a month in response to new contracts requiring teachers to ‘work longer hours, have fewer holidays’, according to the Evening Standard newspaper. The strike was suspended at the end of term on 8 July, but the dispute continues. Staff threaten to resume industrial action in the autumn.

Teresa Ortiz, Esol tutor at the college, told the Gazette at a Brixton campus picket line (above) that the new contracts would have a direct impact on students. ‘We just can’t do the job if we don’t have enough time to do it,’ she said.

According to teachers’ union UCU, ‘the college currently gets around 40 per cent of its income from Esol courses alone’.

A letter published on UCU’s website from college principal Mark Silverman stated that Lambeth was ‘likely to take the decision to not provide courses in ... Esol’ if there was ‘significant industrial action in the autumn’.

Princess Basmah al Saud, keynote speaker at March’s London Gulf Education Conference, said that the Arabian Gulf region was moving ‘backwards’ through its efforts to attract academic talent from abroad. Princess Basmah, from the Saudi royal family, urged Gulf states to use ‘the people we have’, following the example set by the West to ‘educate the masses – this is where everybody should start’.   

The comments, made during a Gulf Education Conference debate, were reported by THE, who also interviewed Princess Basmah during the conference. She told THE that ‘flagship’ universities funded by the House of Saud which brought in Western scholars served only ‘the elites of the elites of the elites of the elites – of not even Saudi Arabia’. Princess Basmah singled out postgraduate-only King Adbul lah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), with its generous scholarships for foreign Stem-subject students, and with comparatively few restrictions placed on women. KAUST has been, according to the princess, ‘a disaster – you see Japanese and Chinese coming to learn in Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Arabians have no right to go there’.   

KAUST graduate affairs dean Brian Moran told THE that 37 per cent of its graduates starting last year were Saudis.   

A businesswoman based in west London, educated in the UK and with a Beirut Arab University English literature degree, Princess Basmah is described on her website as ‘deeply affected by the growing disparity between rich and poor, in terms of capital, education and opportunities’. She is a prominent advocate of gender equality in Saudi Arabia.

THE NUMBER of international students going to the US for postgraduate-level study continues to rise, particularly for students from Brazil and India. But masters and doctorate degree enrolments from top-sending country China are down, as are numbers from other important sending countries. These are among the findings of The Council of Graduate School’s Findings of the CGS 2014 International Graduate Admissions Survey, Phase 1: Applications. The survey’s data has been released in the form of percentile increases and decreases rather than in numerical totals.   

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