Media: Press release
Words: 751 [body]
Date: 09 May 2016
Headline: New UCT English Language Centre to benefit local and international students
Standfirst: The University of Cape Town’s new English Language Centre will host an official launch event on 18 May 2016. UCT English Language Centre aims to position Cape Town more favourably to take advantage of the booming global English language learning market and, provide specialised language tuition to South African university applicants.
The UCT English Language Centre (ELC) is located within the vibrant Faculty of Humanities. ELC offers first-rate English language tuition, while also providing a comprehensive international student package that includes accommodation and visa assistance. It opened its doors to the first cohort of students on 16 November 2015.
One of its chief goals, said Simon Harrison, principal and chief architect of the school, is to aid students in being more successful in their studies and more employable on the global market. It also seeks to position Cape Town as a top destination for English language learning.
The worldwide language learning market (all languages combined) generated a hefty $58.2 billion in 2011. When combined with revenues from language services such as localisation, interpretation, and translation, this figure jumps to $82.6 billion.
“English is a key requirement in today’s global working world. Some view English as a gateway into the best colleges or universities. For others, it is simply about acquiring a new set of language skills and exploring a different culture,” said Harrison. “Whatever their motivation, Cape Town offers a perfect location to study English and as Africa’s top university, UCT is excellently positioned to deliver a quality learning experience to global students.
ELC programmes are already proving popular amongst European and African students. Following five successful five months, equating to 340 student weeks, there are further bookings for an additional 1200 student weeks, stretching into 2018. So far, the highest proportion of students has come from Germany, followed by Saudi Arabia, Italy and East Africa. The first Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course will commence this June and the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) for access courses as well as the general EAP courses will run during the second half of 2016.
“There are currently around 25 language schools [in Cape Town] operating in this space,” said Harrison. “But what differentiates the ELC is that firstly, it is underpinned by the UCT quality benchmark, secondly, students will be immersed in a multicultural university community that will expose them to an unrivalled mix of social, academic and tourist activities, and lastly, students will benefit from the university’s established support systems,” said Harrison.
Currently, the number of international students in South Africa is on the rise. The most recent edition of Study South Africa, an annual publication of IEASA, revealed that the number of international students had “grown dramatically” since 1994, from 12,600 to 72,875 in 2012.
“This is a sector that we think has massive potential for growth and we think that our offering will help to build a highly credible presence for Cape Town and South Africa more broadly in this fast growing market,” he said.
According to the international Travel Student Planning Guide, there is a growing desire among young people to learn additional languages – particularly English – in order to boost their career prospects. This has resulted in more than two million language travel students in the world today, a figure expected to increase to 2.5 million by 2020. Some studies have shown that the ability to speak a foreign language can boost earnings by up to 15%.
Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at UCT, Professor Sakhela Buhlungu, said that the school is one of the first initiatives from Humanities to offer a competitive and commercial course to compete on the open market.
“Humanities is usually seen as the softer side of the university, but this offering is anything but soft. We are offering professional and cutting edge general and business English learning options that are geared towards making students more employable internationally,” he said.
The ELC is not only geared towards capturing the international student market. It is also concerned with supporting local students and widening access into South African universities. Five months following inception, ELC tuition will now extend to include existing UCT students as well as those external applicants who demonstrate academic potential. The Faculty’s established academic support programmes, namely the Extended Degree and the [email protected] recruitment programmes provide the ideal pool of future beneficiaries.
To find out more about the English Language Centre, please visit http://uctlanguagecentre.com
- The new UCT English Language Centre is located within the vibrant Faculty of Humanities, which is the second largest at the University of Cape Town.