Do quality classes in language schools equal quality business of language schools?

by Berislav Božanović

It is estimated that in Croatia there are about a thousand organizations engaged in foreign language instruction in the form of trades, companies, agencies or institutions. There is still a market in Croatia for this activity, but the supply has been steadily increasing over the past thirty years. One of the effects of relentless competition is the low prices accompanied by a drop in quality, so the profit margins of schools are low, ranging on average from 6 to 9 per cent.

This situation limits development and forces the industry to constantly seek solutions to reduce costs and increase revenues. Among the good solutions are establishing an institution due to tax relief, seeking nich by developing programs in the preschool population or starting online classes, avoiding constant teacher recruitment, highlighting the market through external quality accreditation, investing in digital marketing, etc.

The former market and its mentality, technologies and needs have also changed, and a good part of us who run schools are still the same people as we were ten, twenty-more years ago.

Look back at our case shows that our school had a steady upward trajectory of progression until 2014. Previously, the number of participants grew every year, we recruited new professors, and then we started new development activities by establishing an institution, competing for tenders for EU funds and developing new programs for acquiring key competences, we opened another language center and after many years of preparations managed to pass external certification of the quality of Eaquals.

Then we reached the maximum of our learning and personnel capacities, after which there was a stagnation of high numbers that lasted for several years. This is followed by a gradual decline, largely caused by the intensive economic exodus of the population to the European Union, along with the unprecedented interest of adults in learning German.

The biggest challenge for foreign language schools, however, is the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, whose longevity has strongly affected the business of most activities, and forced our industry to introduce online teaching wherever possible.

In everyday carrying with organizational and technical difficulties, it has been shown that foreign language schools in Croatia have an enviable professional level and quality of teachers and non-teaching staff.

We share the state of stagnation with most foreign language schools in Croatia, and for the first time we lacked a vision – until the call for partnership in “Erasmus

+ KA 203 Transformation of a traditional language school by means of business model innovation”, no. 2020-1-CZ01-KA203-078478.

In addition to our university, partners in the project are HARMONY ACADEMY s.r.o.and PLUS Academia spol. s r.o.from Slovakia, BIEDRIBA EUROFORTIS from Latvia, Centrum Edukacyjne Feniks, sp. z o.o from Poland and the coordinator UNIVERZITA TOMASE BATI VE ZLINE from Czech Republic.

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