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The Malta alternative

Alexandra Valletta on how the island nation became an ELT hot spot

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UNIQUE EXPERIENCE If learning English conjures up images of fusty class rooms, then Malta will make you think again (Courtesy Malta Tourism Authority)

Ever-improving direct flight connections to the Maltese Islands, getting students from a wider range of countries and the constant development of a number of key niche markets are behind the years of growth and success that Malta’s tourism industry is enjoying. The English language learning sector has become a core segment within the industry, generating approximately 80,000 students annually.

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Armenia opens its arms to new ‘champions of peace’

Gayaneh Seiranyan, communication and partnership manager at UWC Dilijan, tells Matt Salusbury about the school movement’s latest addition

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CREATIVE CULTURE Dilijan has always been a popular city for artists and composers, and is surrounded by a national park with its own microclimate (Courtesy Danil Kolodin)

What is the history and philosophy behind the United World Colleges?

The United World Colleges (UWC) movement was founded in 1962 with the vision of bringing together young people whose experience was of the political conflict of the Cold War era, offering an educational experience based on shared learning, collaboration and understanding so that the students would act as champions of peace. UWC’s clear mission is to make education a force to unite people and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. A UWC college offers an educational experience like no other, in the sense that it is based on shared learning, collaboration and understanding.

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Why it’s good to go Dutch

Matt Salusbury surveys Holland’s English-medium university provision

Of the fourteen research universities in the relatively small country that is the Netherlands, a dozen appear in the THE World University Rankings Top 200. The ancient university of Leiden leads the pack in 64th place, and there’s a cluster of Dutch universities in the seventies – Delft, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen UR), University of Amsterdam and University of Utrecht.

Maastricht University comes in at 101st but holds sixth place in the THE 100 Under 50 rankings for universities founded less than fifty years ago. Groningen and three more Dutch institutions are comfortably within the World University Ranking’s top 150.
Netherlands higher education punches well above its weight, having the highest proportion of top 200 universities per capita of any country.

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Test-takers head for Malta

Matt Salusbury on the proliferation of ELT preparing students for exams

An increasing number of language schools in Malta now run preparation courses culminating in an Ielts or Toefl exam, aimed at those who face a language requirement to study an English-medium degree course. The Gazette surveyed seventeen Maltese language schools and found that all but one offered this type of course in some form. Most reported that enrolments in academic English exam prep programmes were rising or at least holding steady.

Malta University Language School (Muls), an annex of the University of Malta, offers ten-week closed Ielts group courses for students who are ‘strong intermediate’ and above and want to study at the university. The uni is also the predominant destination of students of exam prep courses at Dos English Plus and Inlingua Malta, although some Inlingua students are aiming at a UK university. ECS Malta said its course alumni either end up doing further study in Malta or move to ‘other leading universities within Europe’.

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Turkish transformation

Wayne Trotman reports on developments in Turkey’s university sector

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WIDESPREAD IMPACT Wayne Trotman with international students at Izmir Katip Çelebi University in Turkey (Courtesy Wayne Trotman)


Change is coming to Turkey’s EAP arena once again. The number of universities in the country continues to rise. Latest figures report over 190 of them, and encouragingly this is predominantly in the state sector. This came as a surprise to me, having spotted on a recent visit there five ‘foundation’ (private) universities in Istanbul all within ten minutes of each other.


Although there is certainly no shortage of ELT staff to assist, it is still not easy to recruit the necessary professors and assistant professors to legally open faculties teaching fully in English. To address this, the Ministry of Higher Education in Ankara recently decreed that students for the academic year 2015–16 whose studies in faculties are solely in Turkish need no longer undergo the currently obligatory intensive preparatory year.

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