12th October 2016
Targeted recruitment sessions in Nisantisi, Istanbul
Registrations are open for universities, high schools, summer schools and pathway providers to attend our Study Abroad exhibition on Wednesday 12th October 2016.
Our targeted, well-focussed event aims to attract students who are ready to enrol for international universities and pathway programmes abroad. Students will be pre-filtered and attending with transcripts and support documentation to enable speedy assessment for admissions. Exhibitor spaces are strictly limited to 20 to ensure maximum conversion potential.
The event will include seminars for students and teachers, presentations and discussions aimed at providing the most complete event for those interested in studying abroad. We will hold a University Alumni Reception in the evening.
Universities, high schools and pathway providers are encouraged to register ASAP due to the strict limit on exhibitors.
Event Fee: £2950 (includes stand, presentation, dedicated online profile 12 months) Event Times: 3pm – 8pm Venue: St Regis Hotel, Nisantisi, Istanbul
Discounted Fee: £2250 (Levant Education Study Abroad Partners, Exhibitors attending the Baku exhibition).
Can’t attend? Our year-round digital marketing package is localised, Turkish-language and social media, and is guaranteed to generate enquiries and provide traffic from Turkey. Choose ‘online marketing only’ to register and confirm your Turkey online campaign for 2016/17.
Every language training provider struggles to strike a balance between finding students itself, if possible; and supporting agencies that are established in-market. Word-of-mouth referrals aside, very few providers can generate significant new enrolments without supporting an agent network.
Click below to download a quick guide to the more common marketing strategies / initiatives in our industry:
A strong desire to study abroad among Turkey’s growing number of young people makes the country a prime location for international student recruitment, a study suggests.
Some 95 per cent of Turkish students surveyed by the British Council’s Education Intelligence research service say they want to study overseas, with the UK and the US the most desirable destinations.
Ninety-six per cent of the 4,816 students polled in all 81 Turkish provinces think overseas education will help them to secure professional jobs, says the report, The Importance of International Education: A Perspective from Turkish Students, published on 12 September.
There were about 3.5 million students enrolled in tertiary education courses in Turkey in 2010, but a great deal of demand remains unmet, says the report, which was launched at the European Association for International Education’s annual conference, held in Istanbul from 10 to 13 September.
Only 530,000 of the 1.8 million pupils who sat the country’s university entrance exam, known as the YGS, gained places at domestic institutions, the report says. While 86 per cent of the students surveyed by the British Council cite cost as the greatest barrier to overseas study, the report says that tuition fees at Turkey’s 71 private universities often exceed those levied by Western European and American institutions.
Students not offered state-funded places at home show increased interest in studying abroad, the report adds.
Elizabeth Shepherd, Education Intelligence’s research director and author of the report, said that many UK and US universities were overlooking Turkey as a market for international students despite its growing affluence and soaring numbers of young people.
“There is not a great deal of awareness about the potential of Turkey, but there will be soon,” Ms Shepherd said. “There is a real opportunity for Turkish students to go abroad…and many of them think it is important to get an international education.”
Turkey has a greater proportion of young people than any European Union member population (43 per cent are aged 24 or under) and overseas universities may be an option for many of those wishing to enter higher education in the decades to come, the report says.
With its demographic advantages and healthy economic indicators, an increasing number of Turks “of relevant age can afford to pay for education, either directly or indirectly via their families”.
“The…increased personal disposable income of the growing middle class could mean overseas study [becomes] more affordable for more students,” the report adds.
However, this may benefit Germany more than the UK. In the former, overseas student tuition fees and living costs are about a fifth of those in the latter (£4,020 a year on average compared with £19,450, according to an HSBC report published last month).
Germany’s large Turkish diaspora has also made the country an attractive destination for young Turks, who often move there to apply for university. About 28,500 Turks were studying in Germany in 2012, compared with fewer than 4,000 in the UK and about 12,000 in the US, the report adds.
Nevertheless, the UK and the US are the joint favourite destinations for overseas study, the survey finds, with 30 per cent of respondents placing them top of the list, compared with 8 per cent who favour Germany and 4 per cent who prefer Canada.
Twenty-six per cent of those who favour the UK say that learning in English is their primary rationale, but only about 5 per cent state that study in the country would aid their employment prospects.
Germany, which has recently liberalised its post-study employment restrictions, is seen as the most attractive destination for getting a job, with 17 per cent listing employment as their top reason for studying there.
However, the academic reputation of British universities appears to be the highest among respondents, with 63 per cent citing it as the most compelling reason for studying there, compared with 62 per cent for Germany and 53 per cent for the US.
“Students in Turkey see an overseas university education as a way to achieve greater individual success, and education as a whole as the way for the entire country to move forward,” Ms Shepherd said.
Since the widespread, largely peaceful protests in Turkey (against irresponsible town planning, corruption, creeping islamisation, police brutality, and more) were successfully if brutally suppressed by the state in June, Turkey has returned to a sort of normality, all be it one that is more deeply divided than ever.
While the root causes of the protests continue to bubble under the surface, the government maintains its hardline position that the protesters are in fact vandals and terrorists. The impression of an Orwellian state ruling through fear and paranoia has been reinforced by measures to encourage citizens to report on their neighbours’ activities, using anonymous informant boxes to alert police to crimes such as banging pots and pans in protest against the government (“The Confidential Police Notice Point Project”).
Alongside medical workers, lawyers, architects and what is left of the free press, most prominent among those who were standing up for secular and civil society and greater democracy were Turkey’s youth. Arrests of young protesters continue to be reported on an almost daily basis, for crimes including tweeting about protests and organising a fast-breaking dinner in Gezi Park. Meanwhile Prime Minister Erdoğan continues to blame international conspiracies for Turkey’s troubles, and describes any form of debate or protest ‘illegitimate’ compared to voting at the ballot box. One thing most people agree on in Turkey is that Erdoğan and the AKP will again win local and Presidential elections in 2014, and national parliamentary elections in 2015.
In this climate, and considering the repression of Turkish-language media channels, we expect that learning English and studying in foreign universities will have greater appeal for millions of young Turks in the coming years.
This morning we took the Metro to our office in Nisantasi. Over the weekend Prime Minister Erdogan has been making bellicose speeches that seem designed to divide the nation, and ‘his’ Police force (he always uses the possessive adjective) locked down Taksim and the surrounding areas in order to prevent protesters or trade unions gathering. To even try to protest in Taksim, according to the AK Parti, makes you a terrorist.
In the underground this morning people were tired and wary after a tumultuous weekend. There is an air of tension and distrust – people probably thinking am I sitting next to a rioter/political agent/AK Parti Fascist/Secular Fascist?
Coming out at Osmanbey and immediately the tear gas stings your nose / eyes / throat. The confrontations went on until the early hours but the gas still gets you at 10am.
Pavements have been ripped up in an attempt to make barricades. HSBC cash machines have been smashed, but not AK Bank ones next door. Erdogan repeatedly blamed ‘international forces’, ‘international media’ and ‘interest rate lobbies’ in his speeches, stoking the anger among his followers. In the night there were many reports of AK Parti gangs out with batons, looking for ‘capulars’ and shouting islamic slogans.
People working in the market will know that the divisions in society (broadly speaking between secular and islamic points of view) are present in the Turkish ‘education travel’ agencies, like all things here. Levant Education warned about these issues and the lack of trust in the state or the law last year, in the ‘Turkish Market Report’ written with support from English UK and published by the British Council. Aware of its position as a cog of British diplomacy, however, the British Council redacted the chapter (you can read it here).
What is happening now is that existing divisions are being widened and made more hostile – not because of an environmental protest or democratic demonstrations, but by a seemingly deliberate strategy of tension that will harden existing AK Parti support for the ‘strongman’ leader with elections due in the coming 18 months. The lack of united, effective opposition, despite the millions protesting in one way or another, makes this strategy likely to succeed unless opposition leadership can harness peaceful protest. A similar ‘strategy of tension‘ was allegedly used in the 1970’s and 1980’s by right-wing groups to shut down communist and then islamist opposition. Erdogan himself was imprisoned for ‘inciting hatred based on religious differences’, and the AK Parti narrowly avoided being closed down in July 2008 for allegedly plotting an Islamic state. The Party’s pursuit of the ‘Ergenekon‘ deep state within the judiciary and military (who have overthrown several democratically elected governments) has been praised by David Cameron, who spoke recently of Turkey’s ‘remarkable’ journey.
The Gezi Park protests were peaceful, joyous and colourful. The park became a forum for debate, a place to share stories, and a place for music and dancing. These are the pictures I took on Friday 14 June, the night before Erdogan’s Ankara rally and subsequent forceful ‘clearing’ of the park using indiscriminate firing of gas canisters.
How this will continue or end is unclear. Everybody wants to get on with their lives and jobs, but the climate of tension and continuing repression of human rights of protest and opposition means we are taking things day by day. People have to be able to express dissatisfaction in a democracy, and the more the government tries to suppress the energy that is driving the peaceful protests, the more that energy will emerge in other forms.
Today we closed the office at 4pm and took a taxi home: the metro closed down again, Trade Unions and protesters trying to march in Sisli and Osmanbey, and the area filling up with ‘Erdogan’s’ police forces…
Would we advise education industry professionals to still travel to Istanbul? The UK FCO advice is to avoid protests. But with Taksim locked down, transport chaos, and protests cropping up unpredictably, anybody can get caught up in a protest, and that is a dangerous possibility. So this week we advise to stay away if you can: after this we can only guess that a sort of normality will return, people are taking stock and coming to terms with what appears to be the new reality. The battle lines have been drawn, but the street confrontations can’t go on (can they?) and hopefully Mr Erdogan is due a holiday…
Implications of the unrest in Turkey for student recruitment from Turkey
While the demonstrations are ongoing and the results still uncertain, there are some pointers for the international education student recruitment industry:
Traditional Media: For several years now the Turkish media has effectively been shackled, with dissenting newspapers facing crippling fines for daring to oppose the government. So it is not surprising that TV and Newspapers massively failed to cover the protests, largely following the government narrative or ignoring what is happening. If young Turkish people were already infrequent readers of traditional print media, the current unrest has only confirmed that newspapers are generally under government control, and to be avoided. Established TV channels have shown themselves to be unwilling or afraid to do anything other than follow the government line.
Social media: The only way young people have been able to quickly communicate and broadcast within Turkey and to the outside world has been through Facebook and Twitter. As usual, the government has blamed the medium (eg Twitter) for carrying the message (about corruption, police brutality and creeping islamification). As has happened in other countries facing demonstrations or upheaval, ‘foreign elements’ have been blamed. The increase in use of ‘smart’ phones and social media does highlight that using Social Media is easily more important than print media to reach the target segment for study abroad.
Learning English / Studying Abroad: State control of the media has frustrated millions of Turkish people who saw that their protests (whether demonstrations or pot-banging on the balcony) were going on unreported. In turn people were keen for the outside world to understand what the protests were all about – meaning that posting/tweeting or publishing adverts in international press had to be done in English. So, there will have been a massive realisation that not having the ability to communicate in English leaves one at a disadvantage compared to being bilingual, and that those with an awareness of international media, legal and political systems are better off than those without.
The ‘English Language Market Report: Turkey’ was written by Levant Education and published by English UK and the British Council in September 2012. Although the taxpayer-funded British Council’s Istanbul office costs £5m per year to run and staff, nobody in that office felt confident enough in their knowledge of education exports to write it, so they outsourced it to us… (This lack of expertise doesn’t stop the BC charging £200 per session should you wish to pop in for market advice).
While the British Council didn’t contribute towards the content of the report, they did redact the parts that, as a vital part of the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, they felt should be left out in case they offended the Turkish government.
In light of recent events in Turkey, I’m publishing the chapter that the British Council refused to print last year. It was written to give UK Language Centres some background about Turkish politics, society and (lack of trust in) the law, which shows how hard it really is for people and agencies working in Turkey.
14. Law in Turkey
“Akan suya inanma, el oğluna güvenme
Beware of the river: like a stranger, there is danger beneath the surface.”
It is hard for British people used to living in a stable society governed by English / EU law, to appreciate that people living in Turkey cannot count on the state or the law.
People in Turkey do not trust the police, who are perceived to be ill educated, corrupt and inconsistent at best; or the judiciary: anybody unlucky enough to be involved in a legal process needs to put aside a few years and all of their savings. (A note: It would not be safe to write this paragraph in Turkey.)
Here’s a sample question from a report about young Turks and their faith in the legal system (the respondents are law students).
Do you have any trust in the current Turkish legal system?
– 2% of the participants trust the Turkish legal system
– 57% of them have some trust
– 38% of them said they have no trust at all
How do you feel about the future of Turkish legal system?
– 62% of them are pessimistic
– 32% of are optimistic
Without a fully functioning legal system, you can’t take it for granted that the law of the land protects you when it comes to business or day-to-day life. It also means that daily business relationships can be precarious, and dependent on trust – of which there is little. This explains why so many agencies in Turkey are mini-dynasties of family members. Staff are not necessarily recruited for their abilities or experience.
Recruitment from outside of the trusted circle of family is a gamble, and even within the family, nothing is safe. The deepest rivalries between Turkish agents are rooted in family feuds, break-away offices and (alleged) treachery. An employee hired through a due interview process in the UK, leaving for another company (even a competing one) raises few eyebrows. In Turkey, if your brother, cousin or long serving employee leaves for another company (or more likely to set up a rival company) it is the beginning of a feud.
Politics, like everything in Turkey is divided along the religious / secular fault line, so that if your party is in power, you are more likely to win government contracts or find a sympathetic ear within the municipal council / government. Watching recent ‘Red Shirt versus Yellow Shirt’ disturbances in Thailand (urban cosmopolitans versus rural folk) will have struck a chord with people in Turkey.
Conclusion (June 2013): The British Council can be a cog of the diplomatic machine; it can be an independent, fee-charging advisor and service provider to international education providers. But it can’t be both.