Grapejuice or Limejuice? New ELT student prices

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Well, another year’s gone by and we’re back to registration, enrolment and hopeful financial solubility. By now, you will know whether you’ve succeeded. But, certainly in my area, there is a fly in the ointment.

As happens every few years, a new company has raised its head and jumped onto the scene, offering everything student and parents could desire at prices that are lower than a souvlaki.

In short, a new miracle in language learning that its implementers hope will soak up students - and remove all opposition in the area - through fees that seem (to me, at least) economically untenable.

And, to make sure all local residents were aware, the new school had somehow obtained all the phone numbers of families living in the area, and were bombarding them with enticing prices and offering to undercut all offers they had received from competitors.

The sound of the name reminded me of a drink - grapejuice. And, as you all know, I am very fond of limejuice and always check out any opposition to my favourite tipple 

When I first heard of the prices offered for English lessons, from my clients, I blinked. How on earth could they pay for their rent (on a main commercial street) and qualified teachers at such prices?

It reminded me of the time, about 14-15 years ago, when a couple of schools, who were useless at making budget plans, offered really cut price lessons with extra languages thrown in free.

They attracted lots of students and sailed into business, all trumpets blaring.

Alas, they failed to collect enough to cover their overheads and, even though their teaching costs were minimal, by asking first time teachers to teach free (as it looked good on their CVs), they folded and closed in March the following year, leaving a lot of unhappy parents, students and teachers sitting on the doorstep.

Those of my Junior classes who had left, returned to me, their tails between their legs and kids a year behind in their learning. It was an unhappy time for many, but so stupid. Can you imagine any school that has no idea how to plan a budget?

Still, I suppose this new school has managed to set itself up properly, though - with the new regulations as to operation - we are all in a mess of uncertainty.

Even now, some existing schools still haven’t received their licences, while totally new establishments must have a lot more paperwork and expense involved with surveyors, fire department regulations and restricted student place in classrooms to be implemented, to say nothing of the rest of the regulations.

I wonder if they are PALSO members, yet, and whether they’ve ever suffered the problems the rest of us have faced, recently, running schools.

I also wonder what sort of teacher salaries they are offering. Is it 3.7euro per hour?

Well, I just hope these people have done their homework and aren’t going to repeat the fiasco we had in the late 1990s!


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