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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Out in the Cold

Students protest after 16 English language colleges close in just one year

The latest one is in Galway.

05/05/2015. International Students Protest. Pictur International students protesting outside the immigration offices in Dublin today

ANOTHER ENGLISH LANGUAGE school has closed in Ireland, bringing the national total to 16 since April 2014.

The news came as students from some of the closed colleges protested in Dublin over the issue.

The spate of closures was recognised today by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), a state agency which develops awards and standards.

It said today that there have been 16 confirmed college closures affecting non-EEA students since April 2014. In many cases, the colleges offered a mixture of English language and other business and related courses.

05/05/2015. International Students Protest. Pictur

“These closures have no doubt impacted on a large number of learners from both financial and academic perspectives,” said QQI.

Some students from closed colleges have protested over the issue.

ACELS recognition

The QQI said it is important, “to ensure that there is clarity regarding the relationship
between these providers and the ACELS recognition process which QQI operates”.

It explained that ACELS is “a voluntary national scheme responsible for the development and management of the recognition / inspection of English language teaching organisations (ELTOs)”.

05/05/2015. International Students Protest. Pictur

ACELS is a voluntary scheme, meaning that English language providers can operate in Ireland without having ACELS recognition.

Many of the colleges that closed over the last year have been operating in the State for a number of years without ACELS recognition.

english colleges qci QQI QQI

“Many schools, including MEC, which has featured in the news over the weekend, also offer non-Irish accredited English language programmes,” said QQI.

QQI went on:

  • Of the 16 colleges that closed, 15 offered English language programmes.
  • Seven of these colleges had applied for ACELS recognition and had been refused or their application was in process at the time of their closure.
  • Three colleges had their ACELS recognition withdrawn prior to their closure.
  • Four had never applied for ACELS recognition.
  • Two had ACELS recognition at the time of closure. One of these ensured that it taught its own students or relocated those students. The second was part of a larger group of providers in the UK which closed and didn’t have any non-EEA students enrolled.

05/05/2015. International Students Protest. Pictur

In 2014, students who were enrolled with providers who had ACELS recognition were offered an opportunity to finish studying with another ACELS-recognised provider at a reduced cost.

This was as part of the national task force for students affected by the closure of private colleges.

QQI said it “understands the concerns of students and staff of the closed colleges” and anticipates that regulatory reforms on student immigration being devised by the Departments of Justice and Education will help in addressing the circumstances
that have led to these closures to date.

Read: Another English language college has closed>

Read: Photocopies of college students’ passports left in a skip on busy street>

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