War between Agents & Schools creates Education Wasteland
Once upon a time there was a happy balance between the education agents and the language schools. The agents provided admission services and translations and the schools taught the students. The average commission of 10 percent was paid to the agents. Almost all of the students stayed at the university residences. Everyone was happy.
The Beginning of the Problem
Some schools viewed the benefits of the longer term exchange programs and said "we should offer homestay - live with a Canadian family for the two or three months and enjoy your trip to Canada even more". The schools thought their stealing the exchange program housing was so brilliant that they decided to keep all of the commission. Now the agents had to work twice as hard selling the school and homestay and only got commission on half of the revenue.
The agents decided that they should charge fees for this extra work so created service fees that the students had to pay in advance for forms processing, airline ticket reservations and homestay applications.
The Problem becomes Larger
The schools realized that the agents were making more money from service fees than commissions so they created direct registration internet forms and hired their own staff of foreign speaking sales reps to compete with the foreign located agents.
The foreign agents then decided that since the schools were competing against them as agents then they should set up their own language schools and compete with the schools.
The Competition increases Costs Lowers Revenue
As the marketing wars heated up between agent-schools and school-agents they drove up the cost of trade fairs, coop advertising, brochures, media advertising and sales commissions and they created additional local competition.
The foreign agent-schools then decided that they had to increase sales and advertising spending and demanded higher commissions. They then reduced the cost of teachers, books and educational materials to better compete with the local schools and new groups of local agents.
There are now ex-students and ex-patriots located locally offering tuition discounts, no service fees, free baseball tickets, cheap housing and access to illegal jobs and other incentives to international students. These new local discount agents without an education background, training or experience are unable to distinguish between good or bad schools or good and bad programs or good and bad teachers. They just quote discount prices with stories that all the ESL English schools were the same.
Lower Revenue creates changes in Operations
The local schools went in two directions - some cuts costs and became babysitting schools with no standards no qualifications and no educational value and some attempted to set professional standards and operate with ethics.
Some of the local schools decided to fight the local discounters with summer specials and "special walk-in pricing" offered if you register directly first time in the school.
The foreign agents are trying to use exclusivity and monopoly and lock-down contracts to prevent certain ethnic groups from exercising their freedoms and rights while in countries such as Australia, the USA and Canada.
The local agents are now organizing small language classes disguised as special conversation clubs and opening street front drop-in centers. The agents are giving away food and creating a friendly happy environment with pretty staff to make the students welcome with a touch of "Home". To keep costs low they are offering a combination salary and sales commission to the salesman disguised as a teacher.
This war between education agents and language schools is over money. Just like all the other wars that
humans engage in. The Agent and School War victims are the students who think they have purchased professional
English language lessons, business English or internships but instead attend stripped down, gutted useless
babysitting sessions with unqualified time fillers.
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