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Setting up an English language school

January 08, 2007

Hello again,

The festive season is over and it's time to turn our attention to serious issues once again. I noticed a discussion thread in a forum recently on the topic of opening and English language school. So, given recent developments...

... in Europe, I thought I'd address the issue. On 1st January Romania and Bulgaria became member of the EU. Undoubtedly the expansion of the EU to embrace the eastern European countries is a boost to the demand for EELT. Many of the big operators in the field are ahead of the game and have already set up schools across the region. But how should a small, independent organisation go about setting up?

The first step is to research all the legal implications. A certain amount of information can be readily found through using Google. But seek advice from the country’s embassy and make contact with a local organisation that can offer support, such as the Chamber of Commerce.

It will be essential to have a bilingual local partner. Unless you have somebody on your team who is fluent in the local language and familiar with the country, you will have to seek out somebody who is knowledgeable of local business practices and in whom you can place trust. This is the person who will help you liaise with the relevant authorities and help you complete the formal documentation. You will also need this person to oversee all those parts of the operation that require local language documentation and interaction.

It is most likely that you will want to bring in teachers from outside who have the appropriate training and experience. You will, therefore have to inform yourself bout employment rules and practices: contractual obligations, visa requirements, holiday entitlements, social security arrangements, insurance. You will need to gain a grasp of the local cost of living so that you can set appropriate salaries.

On the business side, you will need a marketing plan and again, you will have to understand the local economy in order to set a fee structure.

Don’t neglect the cultural issues either. These can have a direct impact on business. For example, is there a tradition of paying for private instruction? If not, you may find it very hard to get your school off the round without going through channels by which individuals can get funding.

Make sure you know what kind of English tuition is required. If it is academic English, then make sure you are able to set up appropriate courses. It might be that tourism, business English, English for those wishing to migrate to an English-speaking country are the key areas.

It would really interesting to hear from individuals who have grasped this nettle. To all readers, a Happy and successful New Year!

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Comments

  1. dildora Says:

    hello i just looking for the organizations for sponsorig me to open that kind of school but it would be interesting for me and for you because there is rarely schools in our country what must I do

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