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YEDAB – Association of Study Abroad Counsellors ZOOM Meeting Regarding Agents Problems and Solutions after COVID-19

11.05.2020
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YEDAB – Association of Study Abroad Counsellors ZOOM Meeting Regarding Agents Problems and Solutions after COVID-19

As like the majority of the sectors around the globe, ours has been heavily suffered due to Covid-19 recently. All educational institutions are locked-down by governments and the students have to be apart from their studies. And most of the international students came back to their home countries without finishing their courses. During and after Covid-19 Pandemic, YEDAB – Association of Study Abroad Counsellors- has been in strong and continuous communication between its members from Europe, Asia, Africa and MENA Region and all partner schools. Apart from our previous declaration regarding language and summer programmes, it is obvious that academic and working programmes will be faced with some serious handicaps after this period, too. We would like to address these problems within each segment of educational programmes:
Problems regarding Language Schools
After the closure of language schools everywhere, presented online programmes as a temporary solution for students seem to be inadequate and far away than becoming a substitution of traditional education in the long run. And in fees point of view, even for current students, online programmes are not the real value of money as the students paid for an in-class education.
As a solution to foreseeable problems in the near future, the right of using credit letters should be transferrable to other students and the deadlines should be prolonged. The real and concrete solutions should be offered about possible refunds by schools. And in case of school closures, possible scenarios including students’ transfers to other schools should be clearly defined by regarding countries’ officials and the associations.
Right in the beginning of this global crisis, closure of some schools and their attitudes showing some serious financial problems even it is declared or not have increased agencies’ concerns about their students and the stability of counterparts.
It is expected by language schools to launch their studies in latest August almost everywhere and agents keep promoting their partner schools however there is a clear uncertainty about some schools and no information is being given as updates which are another source of concerns.
Unfortunately, we have altogether missed Summer 2020 but it is crucial to push some promotions and special pricing for students who will possibly enrol for Fall 2020 and afterwards to motivate both enthusiast and hesitant ones. These promotional attacks would be quite important for the survival of the sector.
Problems regarding Internship and Work & Travel Programmes
The existence of a charming programme of the USA, Work and Travel remains uncertain for this year even though sponsors declared that it will be realised. The negative situation of America in their pandemic fight keeps concerns and worries alive.
Problems regarding Academic Programmes
Another important aspect is the uncertainty about bachelor’s and master degree students who supposed to start their studies mostly in September 2020. Some countries and universities have already announced that their fall terms will be held online however after normalization quick actions should be taken to welcome them in the campuses for the following terms. In this period, universities and should be in close relationship with the embassies and other governmental institutes to minimise the visa risks for students who already paid a huge amount of tuition fees to avoid any further operational crisis. As it seems clear, the number of international academic students will decrease dramatically. Considering the added value of these students to target countries and the well being of our sector, in particular, universities should offer some advantages such as scholarships to appeal to undecisive students and their families.
We strongly believe the international education sector is a huge family with all his elements as language schools, universities, service providers, official institutions and the agencies. We do not doubt that despite experiencing possibly one of the biggest global crisis of the century, our sector will come through these difficulties by sharing the big responsibility in favour of every single actor.
International Education persons and institutions have the great ability both intellectual and operational to recover very soon by the beginning of normalization period hopefully in early July and all YEDAB member agencies have a strong belief in our big family.
YEDAB is going to host an online meeting on the 6th of May, 2020 at 1 PM (Istanbul) with its 85 local and 181 international members. We would like to discuss with agents; how COVID-19 affected our business in terms of different programs, what are the problems we are having with partner schools and universities, which possible threats we should be ready against, is there any opportunities we should look at more carefully during and after Covid-19 crisis. After this discussion meeting, all the assessments and suggestions will be noted and the joint resolution will be announced to the International Education Sector as soon as possible.

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