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ELT in the Gulf States

ELT in the Gulf States

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ELT in the Gulf States

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  1. ELT in the Gulf States Alison Devine Regional Manager Education UK Middle East

  2. Agenda • Gulf States overview • Gulf students and UK ELT – the figures • The competition – US • The competition – Australia • Cultural points • Impact of the ‘financial crisis’ • Promoting your institution • Local ELT markets • British Council objectives and strategies • British Council Education UK staff in the region

  3. The Gulf States

  4. Populations of the Gulf States Source: www.indexmundi.comNote: youthful population – over 50% below 24yrs

  5. Need for English language • Arabisation e.g. Emiratisation, Kuwaitisation – born of a concern about increasing unemployment among local nationals and the Gulf’s reliance on foreigners to provide services • Serious initiatives afoot to involve larger numbers of the local population in all areas of the economy • English language is recognised as key to working in a globalised world and as a lingua franca for international access and dialogue • Graduates from local Arabic secondary school generally have very low levels of English and ELT comprises a large % of local foundation courses for entry into tertiary education

  6. Need for English language • Ministries of Education and Education Councils across the Gulf are acutely aware of the problem and aiming to reform their education systems from kindergarten level upwards • In the meanwhile, many send groups of students overseas for summer schools e.g. UAE’s Abu Dhabi Education Council, or for longer ELT programmes e.g. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulla Scholarship Programme (KASP) • Cambridge ESOL reported 15,000-20,000 examinations in the Gulf in 2008 which included YLE, KET, BEC, BULATS, TKT and CELTA • Cambridge ESOL and IELTS numbers (around 50,000) are increasing each year as there is a need for using externally assessed examinations which are internationally benchmarked

  7. Gulf students and UK ELT Source: English UK (2009)

  8. Saudi students and UK ELT Source: English UK (2009)

  9. Gulf students and UK ELT Source: English UK (2009)

  10. Summary student weeks Source: English UK (2009)

  11. Market share Source: English UK (2009)

  12. Detailed country breakdowns 2008 Source: English UK (2009)

  13. Detailed country breakdowns 2007 Source: English UK (2009)

  14. Detailed country breakdowns 2006 Source: English UK (2009)

  15. The competition - US Source: Institute of International Education (IIE)

  16. The competition - US Source: Institute of International Education (IIE)

  17. The competition - US Source: Institute of International Education (IIE)

  18. The competition - US Source: Institute of International Education (IIE)

  19. The competition - US Source: Institute of International Education (IIE)

  20. The competition - US Source: Institute of International Education (IIE)

  21. The competition - Australia Source: Australian Education International (AEI)

  22. The competition - Australia Source: Australian Education International (AEI)

  23. The competition - Australia Source: Australian Education International (AEI)

  24. The competition - Australia Source: Australian Education International (AEI)

  25. 6 month student visa applications Source: UK Border Agency

  26. 6 month student visas issued Source: UK Border Agency

  27. Cultural concerns • Brief host families to better understand Middle Eastern students e.g. • basics of Islam • prayer times and the importance of prayer – particularly on a Friday • location of nearest mosques • halal food – prepare a list of local halal shops and restaurants • alcohol – actually offensive to many Muslims • pork – particularly offensive • dogs – touching a dog is considered by many Muslims to be ‘haram’ • modest dressing • hygiene (lack of bidets or ‘hoses’) • very few will have ever used public transport • some have limited experience of managing themselves e.g. waking up in a morning

  28. Manage expectations • Manage student expectations beforehand about the standard of UK accommodation • many students will be coming from well-off families and live in luxurious, modern, spacious villas • Gulf students are used to high levels of hygiene – many perceive UK bathrooms as ‘dirty’ – perhaps warn about lack of bidets/hoses • Be prepared to deal with fears and concerns about safety in the light of the Hastings incident last summer and give honest, appropriate advice

  29. Characteristics of learners from the Gulf • Not used to independent study and critical thinking – rote learning; study skills support may be helpful • Want the fastest route to achieve certificates • Expect a significant social element – trips and visits • Enjoy shopping!

  30. Impact of the ‘financial crisis’ • On the one hand, the recent 30% devaluation of the £ makes a UK education even more attractive (all Gulf currencies besides Kuwait’s are pegged to the US dollar) • On the other hand, Gulf nationals too have been hit by the crisis and may have less disposable income • While the full impact of the crisis on the Gulf is not entirely known, it is generally perceived that the region will fare ‘least badly’ in the context of the world economy

  31. Promoting your institution • Prestige & branding – Gulf students are extremely brand conscious • ‘Home of the English language’ • Affordable – price sensitivity • Accessible – visas, entry routes • Welcoming e.g. picture of local mosque and halal restaurant • Promotional material in Arabic & sensitive to Islamic culture • Shout about your strengths & achievements

  32. Promoting your institution • Agents • Exhibitions • ‘Alumni’ – leverage • Speakers at Gulf ELT conferences • Research cooperation • Problems with visiting local schools

  33. Importance of personal relationships in the Gulf • Relationship building is critical in the Gulf • Visit major sponsors, for instance the armed forces and the police, who send a lot of students to the UK to study English • Investigate opportunities to work with firms in the private sector on business English courses • Keep agents up to date with developments at your institution, especially success stories of students they sent • Visit the cultural attachés in London • What sets you apart from other ELT providers?

  34. Local ELT markets – Saudi Arabia • Broadly, the private ELT market is underdeveloped • Berlitz, Wall Street, ELS and Direct English present • Big foundation year programmes at universities a real growth area – offer opportunities for potential UK/Saudi partnerships • Massive demand for teacher training, especially CELTA, as most of these universities ask for it • Nobody is offering CELTA in the Kingdom, apart from British Council’s annual course to women only in Jeddah • “I would say the market here is wide open”

  35. Local ELT markets – UAE • International House – mainly Teacher Training and CELTA options • Inlingua, Berlitz • Several small language schools • Offer a range of services including training in languages, management skills, soft skills and IT • Large foundation year programmes at universities and Higher Colleges of Technology • High demand for IELTS

  36. Local ELT markets – Qatar • Growing demand - all 6 colleges/universities in Education City require IELTS 6 to enter programmes or at least 4 to join the bridging (foundation) year • Demand for ELT is met mainly by universities and colleges (College of the North Atlantic in Qatar in particular) • A few local private centres, but they do not satisfy a large % of the demand – Bell, CNAQ, ELS, CHN, Expression, Academic Bridge, Berlitz, Language Training Institute • Increasing demand from schools for teacher training and language training for staff and students

  37. Local ELT markets – Bahrain • Berlitz, American Cultural Centre, Dar Al Ma’arafa • The market for adult, young learner, corporate and IELTS courses is growing • English language competence is a key skill for university entrance and employment

  38. British Council objectives and strategies • To increase awareness of the Education UK brand and UK educational offerings to target groups and the wider general public and increase the number of ME-domiciled students studying ELT in the UK by 10% year on year through: • more outreach work into schools, colleges and various institutions across the ME • more extensive use of media & PR, e-newsletters and identity/brand profiling • specific campaigns focusing on English Language • proactively working with, training and supporting Education agents, Careers’ Officers & School Counsellors across the Middle East • cultivating closer relationships with Scholarship Agencies

  39. British Council objectives and strategies • Establish Middle East education collaboration priorities at governmental and institutional level and devise mechanisms for bringing ME and UK key players together • Secure the UK’s position as a leader in international education via various regional projects e.g. • English for the future • Quality Assurance in higher education • Research capacity building • Skills for employability

  40. British Council Education UK staff in the region Bahrain Ms Maryam Abdulla Kuwait Mr Rafat AbuTaleb Oman Zainab Al Barwani Qatar Ms Rana El Adaoui Saudi Arabia Mr Mahmoud Mouselli UAE Mr Tim Carnley UAE Ms Alison Devine