Levant Education had the pleasure of accompanying Enterprise Ireland and Irish education providers to Tehran in November to look at opportunities for future business from Iran.
With political tensions affecting relations between Iran and other English speaking destinations, Ireland represents an excellent option for Iranians considering studying language or at university abroad.
Currently numbers of Iranians studying in Ireland is relatively small compared to other nationalities, however with marketing efforts improving and greater awareness of Ireland as a study destination, Iran has the potential to become a top 10 source market for Irish universities.
Factors driving demand for study abroad in Iran include limited local capacity, career development, business needs, and assisting the country to rejoin the international community. Ireland offers a safe environment, is an EU member country, is English speaking, has no record of interference in Iranian political or economic affairs, and offers courses that are on average 30% cheaper than those in the UK.
Importantly for international students graduating in Ireland, post-study work visas are offered after UG (12 months) and PG (24 months) courses. With Ireland home to dozens of international businesses and multinational corporations – and many more moving to Ireland as the UK exits the EU – career development opportunities will be a key pull-factor for international students deciding on where to attend university.
The Iranian EFL market is one of the largest in the world, with an estimated 16,000 language centres employing hundreds of thousands of teachers, training millions of students.
Teachers are highly skilled and highly qualified, having travelled abroad for CELTA training and obtained masters degrees in Teaching and TEFL.
The demand for ongoing professional development in Iran is therefore huge. However Iranian EFL teachers and managers can have difficulties obtaining visas to travel to workshops abroad, and trainers and lecturers have similar issues working in Iran.
Levant Education works across markets in Western Asia and provides solutions for such challenging circumstances. This week we had the pleasure of welcoming 20 Language Academy Directors from Tehran, to our Istanbul HQ. The Directors work for one of Iran’s leading language training companies, employing 1000 teachers and educating 30,000 students per term.
Multi-lingual, multi-talented and multi-functional Thom Jones lead a lively and enjoyable day’s training covering creative teaching methods, motivation strategy, management challenges and best practice.
David Mitchell, Levant Education Director: “Thanks to a lot of great work by our Turkish and Iranian colleagues – and excellent partners such as Thom and our clients in Iran – we are really excited by the possibilities for international education and EFL development in this exciting market”.
With the opening of our Iran offices in Tehran and Isfahan, we are delighted to invite Higher Education and Pathway partners to attend seminar/interview sessions to meet Iranian students and their families.
Levant Education has led 2 market entry missions to Iran in the past year, and has developed online/social media channels to support education marketing in Farsi.
Our teams in Istanbul, Tehran and Isfahan are preparing for sustained marketing campaigns in Iran in the coming months and year ahead.
Levant Education HE partners
Seminars in Tehran and Isfahan: £2950 (Tehran only £2500)
Supported by targeted social media campaign, magazine distribution, database communications and WoMM. Senior Levant Education personnel can stand in where travel to Iran is difficult, e.g. visa issues.
Credit card payments are not available in Iran, and bank transfers are difficult. Levant Education will ensure hotel bookings and internal travel are safely arranged.
For more information and a registration form, please complete the following form:
In late-April 2017 Levant Education Managing Director David Mitchell led a Higher Education mission to Iran, with a busy programme of high level meetings with experts and leaders from the Higher Education, Vocational Education and Language Education sectors.
Iran is one of the most important countries in the region for Higher Education and Research, producing (with Turkey and Israel) the bulk of research in the Middle East. 25% of Iranian research is co-authored internationally, with the favoured partners being from the USA, UK, Canada, Germany and France.
The mission included visits to the universities of Tehran, Sharif University, Shahid Beheshti, Shahid Rejaie, Islamic Azad University, The University of Applied Sciences & Technology (the largest public university in Iran, preparing nearly half a million students for the world of work), the National Oil Company and associate bodies, as well as private HE colleges, private High Schools and Language Training Institutes.
The busy schedule gave delegates a full and detailed entry into the education sector in Iran, which has seen exceptional growth in recent years owing to a youthful demographic. At the same time, economic growth and international re-engagement is driving demand for language and vocational / business training.
During the mission, the key themes became clear: access to international education and training, the need to upgrade/modernise education provision, access to international validation, accreditation and materials, and access to internationally recognised qualifications. Education providers at every level were keen to engage with partners abroad, and local demand is pushing providers to offer better and more internationally focussed programmes.
Meanwhile, with 50,000 Iranian students enrolling abroad every year, opportunities for international recruitment are multiplying as the US – usually the top destination for Iranian students – closes its borders to people from majority-Muslim countries.
At the end of April Levant Education undertook a mission to Iran with colleagues from Higher Education in Ireland and Canada, in order to assess the education landscape in the country.
Sponsored by University College Cork (Ireland) and University of Alberta in Canada, the mission covered all aspects of education in Iran, including state and private provision, High Schools, Language Schools, Universities and Colleges.
With a young demographic – 40% of the 80 million population of Iran are under 25 – education and training are key aspects of the economic growth promised by presidential candidates in the upcoming election. Incumbent President Rouhani – who has pinned his hopes for growth and re-election on increased economic engagement with the rest of the world – is facing 5 officially approved challengers for the top spot.
The Levant Education mission was the 2nd this academic year – the first one organised with London-based Middle East Association was beset by visa and permission issues. This time there were no such worries, and the delegates enjoyed a packed programme.
Our delegation visited a semi-private university with a national enrolment of 1.6 million students, a vocational college with 478,000 students, and a language school with 2000 teachers! While average incomes and therefore fees are lower than in the West, numbers like that allow for interesting economies of scale.
‘Montaj’ and the importance of international branding
A common theme you encounter in Iran in the importance of international branding and recognition. For many years copies (or ‘montaj’) of international brands were developed, with varying degrees of success or quality. Since the sanctions were partially lifted last year, it has become easier to buy the better quality ‘real thing’, and wealthier Iranians in particular enjoy the social status of driving a BMW, owning an iPhone or wearing European clothing brands.
This desire for international brands is also important in education – although frustrations remain. All teachers of English in Iran crave the CELTA teaching certificate – but with no CELTA courses in Iran, candidates must travel to other countries to take it, for 4 weeks… The course, travel and hotel fees add up to around GBP2000 at least, a huge amount for a teacher, if they can get the time off.
International exams for students are available, but only at a select number of institutions. Centres must be either licensed by IDP (due its political agenda, the British Council is banned in Iran) for IELTS exams, or work with the locally approved Cambridge agent for FCE/CAE/CPE exams. Naturally, established language centres that do not have these licences, for whatever reason, complain about the effect on the playing field for their businesses.
Both state and private universities or colleges are eager for international partners to better commercialise their courses. While many international partnerships have been struck up with Iranian HE providers, the trick seems to be making them last.
Suspension of Belief
With the Presidential election underway, tensions with the Trump government and US/Israeli hawks, US and British support for the Saudi intervention in Yemen, and the holy month of Ramadan beginning at the end of May, earlier optimism in Iran discernible in October last year has now wained as people hold their collective breath.
President Rouhani only narrowly won the election last time around, with 51% in the first round. This time he faces competition from moderate progressives and ‘principalists’ – Islamic conservatives.
If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote on May 19th, a second round will follow between the top 2 candidates.
The nuclear non-proliferation deal agreed last year between Iran and the international community has brought a progressive lifting of international sanctions. The detente opens the way for international re-engagement with all education sectors in Iran, such as:
Higher education: research collaboration, faculty and student exchange and mobility;
Business and vocational training: especially in Business Management, IT, Oil & Gas, Medical;
Language training: English language training and ELT teacher training;
Secondary education: curriculum support, classroom technology, school operators.
As President Hassan Rouhani told reporters in Tehran in August, “Foreigners must bring investment and technology and partner with Iranians so that both sides can benefit by winning a share of the Iranian and regional markets. The ultimate aim is to create employment for our youth.”
After years of international isolation, there is a great need in Iran for modernisation, internationalisation, language, vocational and academic training development. It is estimated that one in four Iranian graduates leave the country to pursue their career or life goals, with a loss of US$50 billion to Iran’s economy. It more vital than ever for Iran to provide education, training and career pathways that will help graduates – 60% of whom are female – contribute back to their country.
More than half of Iran’s 18-24 year old population are enrolled in post-secondary education and 85% of them are self-funded, which equates to a market of US$3 billion a year. Education capacity in the country has expanded, yet Iran will likely look to foreign partners to help them overcome economic and social challenges at home. Study abroad continues to grow, with 50,000 Iranians enrolling on a foreign education programme every year.
With the recent easing of political tensions and economic sanctions combined with a more open attitude, there is still time to plan your market entry or re-entry into Iran. The opportunities for both Iranian and international investors, businesses and institutions are exceptional, and partnerships will be key to achieving results in the Iranian market.
About the Mission
The Iran Education & Training Mission 2017 will be the perfect opportunity to meet senior colleagues from both private and public Iranian universities, colleges and schools.
We have also invited Ministerial level delegates from Government, and representatives of major companies interested in training contracts, education projects and business partnerships.
Who will attend:
Universities, colleges and language centres
Language training companies and publishers
Language testing companies
Vocational training providers and purchasers
Education provision and school operators
Dates and locations
Saturday 22 April 2017:
– Ministry of Education seminar
– Legal & Financial Seminar
– Visit to State University in Tehran
– ELT in Iran seminar
– Cultural visit
– Networking Dinner
Sunday 23 April 2017:
– Afternoon official visit, evening VIP Reception
Monday 24 April 2017:
– Seminar: Introduction to Iran Education Market: Background, Education System, Legal & Financial, State & Private, Internationalisation – Visit to private HE provider in Tehran
– Visit to a 2nd private HE provider in Tehran
– Cultural visit
– Networking Dinner, Private HE Sector
Tuesday 25 April:
– Cultural visits
– Fly to Kish Island
Wednesday 26 April: – Seminar: Education opportunities in Kish
– Meetings with local education leaders
– Tour of Kish Island
Thursday 27 April: – Morning Event with Kish Island students: Kish Island is home to several international universities and Iranian private HE providers, with over 50,000 students enrolled on UG or PG programmes.
Iran is a wonderful country to visit however events can change at short notice due to unforeseeable circumstances. The itinerary is therefore subject to updates/additions/change.
Apply to attend
REGISTRATION NOW CLOSED. WE WILL BE LEADING A GROUP OF IRISH AND CANADIAN UNIVERSITIES TO TEHRAN AND KISH. To receive information about future missions and reports, please fill out the form below :
About Levant Education
We have been successfully organising education and training events to the highest standard with international universities, schools, training companies and national education ministries for over six years. We organised the first Iran Education Mission in September 2016, and hope you can join us on this exciting follow-up mission. All delegates will receive a comprehensive 60-page guide to the Iran Education Market, and an online profile in Farsi on Levanteducation.com or Studybritish.com.
This up to the minute report is published exclusively by Levant Education, international education consultancy specialising in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Azerbaijan.
Feedback for the report:
“A very well-written and helpful report which will assist my colleagues and I in our approach to Higher Education collaborations and outreach in Iran”. Ramesh Vahidi, Business Faculty Programme Leader, University of Southampton.
“A much higher standard than the usual cut & paste British Council efforts!” Anon.
To receive this comprehensive Iran Market Entry Report complete the form:
Levant Education and universities from the UK are visiting Iran from September 25 to October 3, in order to explore academic links and potential collaboration for research and training.
Levant Education Managing Director and Founder David Mitchell is leading the mission, which will include meetings with universities in Tehran, Shiraz and Esfahan. The mission is being organised in partnership with the Middle East Association in London.
UK and Iranian universities have pursued successful collaborative projects together for over two centuries, producing excellent research and improving knowledge and teaching. As international relations improve it is hope that students will come to Iran for language and cultural studies.
Iran has one of the world’s fastest growth rates in scientific production, visibility and high impact publications. The UK is among Iran’s preferred academic collaborators, and UK research production depends on high quality research collaboration.
The group will also explore the potential for joint delivery of courses, internet based teaching collaborations, and sharing of academic and vocational training content.
Academic, vocational, cultural and language training can contribute to developing the career opportunities of Iran’s youth, while bringing economic benefits, while building trust and international understanding.
During a visit to London last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that the Iranian Embassy in London would open its visa section in the “next few weeks”.
The two main barriers to schools and universities working more extensively in Iran– visas and inter-bank networks – should soon be lifted.
British FCO Minister Philip Hammond simultaneously also on Friday that the UK Embassy in Tehran would begin issuing visas by the end of this month. Mr Hammond added that both sides would seek to resolve the issues existing between the two countries to facilitate inter-bank relations after the lifting of sanctions.
Although the UK embassy in Tehran reopened last August, following several years of closure, visa services have not been offered. Iranian citizens have been travelling to third countries such as Turkey or UAE.
During the meeting Mr. Hammond said that the two sides were aiming to improve mutual relations, especially in economic and commercial areas.He expressed hope that the visit of Mr. Zarif would be “the first of many meetings” in London and in Tehran.
Mr. Hammond commented on Twitter that the first trip to the UK by an Iranian foreign minister in over 10 years was a symbol of warming relations between the two countries.
Levant Education will be assisting schools and universities to enter the Iranian market in the coming months. Digital marketing is already available on Studybritish.com in Farsi (with local social media support). Levant is also organising an international education event in Tehran, and is compiling a market report for the international education sector.