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Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
16th Mar 2012

Balkan poll follows Berlitz study showing strong demand for language learning

Prodirekt, provider of education and training in the Balkan region, and its language-focused social network Verbalisti recently announced the results of a poll designed to discover how parents in the Balkans feel about the language education of their children. The survey polled 1566 people from 4 countries: Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Results clearly showed that parents place a high regard for foreign language education:

  • 96% of them would send their children to a private language school – 94% to a language school in a native country, plus an additional 2% who maintained that a local language school was good enough for their children’s language education
  • 78% of poll participants uphold that improving a language in the country where it's spoken is so important that they will provide it for their children regardless of the financial constraints in a family budget
  • Only 5% maintain that learning a language abroad is not important – 2% believe a local language school will do the job, and 3% claim that language education abroad is not important at all

Jasmina Saric, director of educational programmes at Prodirekt, explains, “The prolonged and severe economic crisis apparently does not affect, at least declaratively, the parents’ willingness to spend on their children's education. This makes perfect sense: with the economic crunch and high unemployment rate among young people, parents perceive their children’s language competencies as a key factor in getting a job, especially in the local offices of foreign companies, or at least as a necessary requirement for further education options abroad.” Job opportunities have been shrinking with the global crisis and employers are becoming more selective; therefore, speaking English as a second language has become more important. The Verbalisti survey points out that in developing economies the need for language education amongst young learners is perceived as a must, and that parents are willing to continue spending on their children’s education abroad even in harsh economic times. The Prodirekt poll was inspired by a similar one Berlitz Corporation conducted in Japan, Germany, the USA, Mexico, China, Brazil, France, Poland and Italy earlier in 2011. The purpose of the Berlitz poll was to determine how parents of children between the ages of 4 and 17 perceive the importance of foreign language learning. Their key findings show that almost 90% expressed interest in foreign language learning for their children outside regular school hours. Countries with recent strong economic growth, such as China, Mexico and Brazil, showed especially high interest in language education abroad. The lowest interest was in developed countries such as USA, Japan, France and Germany. “It was interesting to find out from the Berlitz poll how parents in those 9 countries feel about language education of their children, but it is also helpful to see how Berlitz findings relate to our poll conducted in part of Southeast Europe. Furthermore, we wanted to determine what the parents’ opinion about learning a foreign language at home and abroad was,” said Saric. Prodirekt provides strategic management and executive education and training in the Balkan region. Its business group and social network Verbalisti, dedicated to language studies and professional training, helps young professionals and business people achieve their objectives in international communication. Source: Prodirekt

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