The UK’s British Accreditation Council is developing an international English language education accreditation scheme it claims will be “quite unique” in the English language teaching industry.
L to R: Paul Fear, CEO; Rosie Fairfax, accreditation and quality enhancement manager; Diana Morriss, chief inspector
Set to be launched in early 2018, the standards will target large organisations around the globe that primarily offer English language training offshore.
CEO of BAC, Paul Fear, told The PIE News that the organisation had liaised with a range of UK and international academics, as well as two chains of language schools, to create a set of world-leading standards.
The BAC would not be looking to compete with any accreditation bodies in the UK, he said, but offer a new choice for educators working globally and focus on quality assurance and transparency, with quality assessment linked to CEFR benchmarks.
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Brexit is looming, but there is still much for the higher education sector to be positive about, such as a high prioritisation of research collaboration, according to a panel of industry experts who spoke last week at the Cambridge Assessment English international admissions seminar.
Representatives from Universities UK International, UCAS, British Council, QSand some of the UK’s leading HEIs shared the viewpoints on the topic of discussion: ‘Brexit – one year later’.
While most Europeans working in academia remember feeling shocked when the news of the ‘leave’ vote hit home, head of European engagement at UUKi, Anne May Janssen, was not one of them.
“When the referendum happened most people didn’t expect [the outcome]. I must say I did,” Janssen told the 100 strong crowd of HE international recruitment professionals.
“There was a sense of mourning and disbelief in Brussels, but the way Theresa May spoke… the speeches she gave about the advantage of programs that promote science, education and culture, were actually quite encouraging.”
Janssen added that “signals are very positive” as both the UK government and EU are continuing to talk about the importance of collaboration and research.
While 2016 brought damning news for some HEIs – some lower-ranked institutions were said to be seeing significant declines in EU numbers – , UCAS, the UK’s university application service, experienced an all-time high in non-UK EU student applications.
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This week the British government tabled new rules that will no longer allow non-EU further education (FE) students currently pursuing their studies in the UK to work part-time. Non-EU FE students – those enrolled in non-degree post-secondary programs – will now also be required to leave the country upon completion of their studies and must apply for a work visa from outside the UK.
The Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules was tabled by UK’s Home Secretary, Theresa May in the British House of Commons earlier this week on 13th July 2015. James Brokenshire, UK’s Minister of Immigration made a statement to the House stating the reason behind the reform to the student visa system is to reduce net migration and tackle abuse of those that use the visa as a backdoor to the country’s job market.
Some of the key policies that were confirmed and tabled this week include:
– Effective 3rd August 2015, new non-EU students enrolled at public English FE colleges will not be allowed to work for up to 10 hours per week (or full-time between semesters)
– From 12th November 2015, FE students can only apply for work visa at the conclusion of their studies outside of the country (UK), meaning they must leave the country first
– Also commencing from 12th November 2015, FE visas will be reduced to two years from its current three. FE students are also not allowed to extend their visas unless they can showcase good progress in their studies and unless their institution is affiliated with a university.
The reforms on the student visa system were initially brought forth last week by two government ministers, which was subsequently reported in the British media over the weekend. It was initially understood that the reforms would apply to all non-EU students in the UK; however, official statements this week confirm confining the impact to students only enrolled in FE programs. Read more