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Agency association YEDAB aims for sector support

The Turkey-based Association of Study Abroad Counsellors (YEDAB) has published a statement on COVID-19 responses, including credit notes, tuition protection, academic scholarships and strong promotion for the autumn, and has expressed belief in the sector’s ability to recover quickly.

05 Mayıs 2020 Salı 07:00
Agency association YEDAB aims for sector support

 Ahead of a zoom meeting of its member counsellors in Turkey and the Middle East region on May 6th to discuss industry responses to COVID-19, YEDAB  issued a statement by email to partners and stakeholders and also posted on the StudyTravel Network, outlining issues and suggestions for each sector.  

Osman Yilmaz , President of YEDAB, said that in the language sector the online programmes offered by schools were not a substitute in the long run, and that for current students they did not offer the same value as money paid for in-person tuition.

He said that as an immediate solution, credit letters to agencies should be transferrable to other students and that the validity period should be prolonged. And he argued that in the case of school closures, student transfers should be guaranteed by governments and/or national associations.

As previously reported by StudyTravel Magazine, similar issues have been discussed by the Federation of Education and Language Consultant Associations ( Felca ) with the Global Alliance of Education and Language Associations ( Gaela ).

The summer season for this year is likely to be lost for the Turkish market even if schools are allowed to open by then, making promotion of the autumn season vital, Osman said.

“Unfortunately, we have altogether missed summer 2020 but it is crucial to push some promotions and special pricing for students who will possibly enrol for Fall 2020 and afterwards to motivate both enthusiastic and hesitant ones. These promotional attacks will be quite important for the survival of the sector,” he said.

In relation to academic programmes, he said that it was clear that there was going to be a dramatic decrease in international students for the 2020/21 academic year, and that advantages such as scholarships should be offered to help revitalise international mobility.

He also urged for flexibility and responsiveness from institutions and visa authorities so that students can quickly resume studies on campus when possible to do so.

A panel discussion hosted by YEDAB last year.

With regards to USA work and travel (J-1) programmes, he said agents were concerned about the ongoing COVID-19 situation in the USA and were sceptical about whether placements could go ahead.

Nonetheless, Osman expressed hope about the ability of the international education sector to survive and rebound strongly, if all stakeholders pull in the same direction.

“We strongly believe the international education sector is a huge family with all elements [such] as language schools, universities, service providers, official institutions and the agencies. We do not doubt that despite experiencing possibly one of the biggest global crises of the century, our sector will come through these difficulties by sharing the big responsibility in favour of every single actor.

“International education professionals and institutions have the great ability both intellectual and operational to recover very soon by the beginning of the normalisation period, hopefully in early July, and all YEDAB member agencies have a strong belief in our big family.”

Click here to read the full letter from YEDAB.

A zoom meeting invite has been sent to YEDAB’s 85 members in Turkey and 181 international members to discuss the threat to the sector and a communiqué on any resolutions or proposals will be sent to partner schools. Click here to request to join the meeting. 


By Matthew Knott

News Editor

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