StudyWorld delegates told UK ELT sector must be poised to pivot
As the annual StudyWorld event celebrated its 50th anniversary at London’s Queen Elizabeth II Centre, just a few minutes walk down the road the new prime minister Boris Johnson lost his commons majority after the dramatic defection of a Conservative MP to the Liberal Democrats. The 700 delegates attending StudyWorld represented 61 countries
Brexit and the UK’s political future was a constant backdrop to the three-day event, but with the UK attracting students from far beyond the EU, the UK’s ELT industry was more broadly considering its future. Meanwhile, more operators explained that they are moving from straight English tuition into mainstream curricula, such as A-level provision and vocationally-oriented programs such as marketing and coding delivered in English.
Regarding the UK’s major market of China, a talk by Igor Skibickij of Bonard highlighted the increased potential of smaller cities in China as a source of students. Many stakeholders echoed his findings that encourage a move away from the traditional stomping grounds of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen and the start of a look at cities such as Chengdu, Nanjing and Hangzhou. Some participants told The PIE News that they have plans to pay visits to second-tier cities later this year to search for new collaboration opportunities. Skibickij showed findings from Bonard on the tier-2 city agent market, explaining how agents are the predominate route for applying to institutions abroad in China – being the method of choice for over 60% of applicants. A fast-changing market, the data showed how almost 50% of agencies have been replaced by new ones over the past seven years.
The preferred method of booking a language course in Canada was through education agents (58 per cent). The second most popular booking channel was through direct bookings (21 per cent). Walk-ins represented 10 per cent and seven per cent of language learners were enrolled through institutional agreements. A further three per cent came to Canada via government scholarships.