Language School Chains Still Expanding

Language schools make up some of the oldest chains on the Brazilian market. With consolidated networks operating in the country for more than 60 years and dozens of brands disputing the potential students, the sector could be heading towards a period of deacceleration. Everything seems to indicate the exact opposite, though, as the chains are seeing a new cycle of expansion, helped along by the new middle class, the success of the Brazilian economy and by the large sporting events that Brazil will soon be home to.

One of the indicators of the sectoral growth potential is the increase in educational spending by Brazilians. According to data from Provar (Retail Administration Program) and the FIA (Administration Institute Foundation), the new middle-class is spending more of their income on education (from the previous 8-10% to 15-17% currently).” – Exame

My Take

There’s no doubt that more people will be signing up for language courses over the next several years but having administered a SKILL school for a short time, I can say that a lot of what the students learn seems to go to waste. Consider all the small towns that have a local chain and how much actual contact they have with native speakers of, let’s say, English. It’s pretty much down to in-class time with the teacher, who is likely not a native speaker. Language schools, if where I worked was any indication, care about attracting students and being able to say they have a teacher for such and such language, the more, the better. I witnessed very little focus (mostly none at all) on the actual teaching methods and/or ability of the teachers.

One of the other issues is that in the race to offer more than the competition, no thought is given to the fact that lesser used languages are often taken by less serious students who usually have the money to blow on courses for fun. Of the serious students, few are there because of a true interest in the language they are learning as most just want to have their CVs say they speak whatever language it is that, in reality, they know more or less. I won’t go as far as saying stricter criteria should be applied to potential students before they are allowed to take a course (though, I’d apply such tactics if I had a school) but it’s still kind of sad to see money and time being spent on something as interesting and eye-opening as learning a new language when it won’t be taken seriously. But hey, if you have an extra R$100K, language schools seem to be a good bet, according to another article by Exame.



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