After our successful joint e-Mission with UED and their member agencies a few months ago, we wanted to speak to Gokhan Islamoglu, coordinator at UED Turkey, to get an update about the current situation:
1. Could you tell us more about the current Covid situation in Turkey?
As you probably know, in Turkey schools were opened and face to face education re-started. It seems this made an increase in the number of cases, however, because of the effective vaccination, we are able to limit this increase in an acceptable level. The number of new cases per day started to decrease from 28.000 level and it is slowly but stably going down now.
Even if the number of dead per day is still a bit high (about 230), officers announced that all of these people are not vaccinated or had only one dose.
In Turkey, everyone 15 or above, is able to get the vaccination and the majority of the nation has gotten two doses of Biontech.
2. From speaking to your member agencies, how big is the interest in studying English abroad? What type of courses are the students most interested in?
I am glad to say that the interest for study abroad is quite high. Researches show that the willingness to study abroad is at its highest in the history of the Turkish market.
As always, ESL /EFL courses are still the most popular programs. Therefore, by 2022, we all in UED expect to see a quick recovery in the market which is led by English Language programs.
As far as the interesting programs are concerned:
First of all we should say that the demand is still focused on face to face programs for English Language education. Online programs might be an option for second foreign language -as Italian, German, French, Spanish etc-in the Turkish market, but when it comes to English Language education, especially for General English courses, our students and parents still looking for face to face programs.
However, some of prospective students or professionals who need certification also may ask for virtual exam preparation courses and virtual programs in some niche areas. But please note that, they are keen to prefer the virtual option if only the cost of these virtual programs are affordable.
Regarding the length of study: now the short term programs are more frequently asked for than in the pre-covid time.
3. You have recently done a webinar with UED members and officers from the Embassy of Ireland Visa Office about Irish student visas. Could you tell us more about the visa situation in the various English-speaking countries in general? Will Ireland be one of the top study travel destinations for Turkish students in 2021/2022?
Yes, as you sure know, after a long wait, the Embassy of Ireland in Ankara has started to issue visas. Even if it was notified by the officers of the visa department that the evaluation process can be longer than usual- because the embassy will investigate both the applications waiting in the Embassy and the new applications at the same time- it was great for all of us to see that the green light was given for short term, long term and work & study visas.
Other good news for Turkish agencies came from the UK: Turkey was removed from the red list and added to the amber list. However, Turkish vaccination certificates are not being accepted but we expect to hear good news by 4th of October about this issue.
Regarding other English Language Education Destinations:
Malta: Any Turkish student, who have valid Turkish vaccination certificate can enter Malta after 14 days after the second doze.
Canada: Turkish students who had two dozes of any vaccine accepted by Canadian Government (for Turkish students this means Pfizer-Biontech) can travel to Canada if there is at least 14 days between the date of the second doze and the entry date to Canada. However, most probably because of the applications coming from Afghanistan, applications are taking more time than usual nowadays.
USA; Application is open for the F, M and J type visa applicants, however, visa services are running on a limited basis and appointments are available only petition-based.
South Africa: Student can travel to South Africa as well.
4. At Quality English, we’re proud to work closely with UED to bring our schools together with your accredited agencies. Is there any additional information our schools can provide you with that will make your members’ lives easier?
During the pandemic, it was really difficult to follow the developments and travel restrictions in each separate destination. We were also confused by the contradictory information coming from the different partners & institutions. So we will be looking for the right information regarding the recent development on visas and travel.
We are also expecting to see that our partners are supporting us for our lobbing studies in foreign government bodies and foreign diplomatic missions located in Turkey.
5. What plans does UED and its member agencies have for the end of 2021/2022?
As UED, our first plan will be giving a new start to UED studies as UED Summit and UEDucation Magazine - those we gave a mandatory break because of the pandemic.
On the other hand, we will also continue to use new options that technology provided for us and will continue to organize informative webinars - both for our member agencies and institutional member schools - and online workshops with our partner institutions.
The pandemic showed us how important is it to get proper agreements with partner schools. We have noticed the importance of many points, e.g. commission payments ( for cases where the student left the program before full payment), refund and cancellation policies.
UED is planning to organize an internal committee to discuss more about agency agreements and inform UED agencies about the points they need to care about.