The Malta Independent 20 August 2019, Tuesday

EC English Language Centres opens school in Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 6 March 2018, 13:25 Last update: about 2 years ago

EC English Language Centres has announced the launch of EC Riyadh in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The multiple award-winning chain school aims to provide students at EC Riyadh with the same consistently high standards found across its other schools in the UK, US, Canada, Ireland, Malta and South Africa, including having classes taught by native English-speaking teachers who have extensive experience working in the EFL industry.

The company's decision to open a school in Riyadh is the result of comprehensive research into the Saudi market, and nearly three decades of experience working with Saudi students and respected in-country agencies. EC Riyadh is specifically designed to meet the needs of Saudi students who may not want, or be able, to enrol in a full-immersion programme abroad, or who would like to establish a foundational knowledge of the language prior to studying abroad in order to build their confidence. Commenting on this new venture, EC's executive chairman Andrew Mangion said: "The launch of EC Riyadh is the culmination of focused research, review and in-depth discussion about the specific needs of the region's market, arguably one of the strongest in the EFL world. Of course, full-immersion coupled with quality teaching remains the best way to acquire a language; however, in keeping with our mission to 'help students succeed in a global community', we want to provide students around the world with an opportunity to study English the EC way. We recognise that not every student can participate in one of our award-winning, fully accredited full immersion programmes, so we want to bring the EC experience to the student, in his or her own country. EC Riyadh is our first venture into a non-English speaking country, and we look forward to success in this location and throughout the region."


The decision to open EC Riyadh confirms the company's keen awareness of the impact of global changes on various regional markets, including new challenges related to visa restrictions, and limited funding and scholarship opportunities faced by students from this part of the world. In the past, many Saudi students were able to study abroad through the King Abdullah Scholarship Programme (KASP); however, funding for this initiative was reduced in 2016. By opening a school in Saudi Arabia's capital city, EC aims to provide an opportunity for English language education for Saudi students who may not otherwise be able to study in an immersive programme.

The modern, technologically-advanced school is located in the heart of the capital, minutes away from the iconic Kingdom Centre. The facilities include the same high quality, state-of-the-art equipment that students have access to in all EC schools, including Interactive White Boards (IWBs), a fully resourced computer lab, and a student lounge furnished with additional computers for students to access. Each class holds a maximum of 15 students, with classes held from Sunday to Wednesday.

At the helm of EC Riyadh is the school's principal, Ryan Parmee, who has extensive experience directing English language programmes in the UK, Australia and the Middle East, also speaks fluent Arabic. Regarding the launch of EC Riyadh, Parmee said: "It is an honour to be a part of this new initiative. Our goal is to give as many learners as possible the chance to develop and further improve their English language skills, whether it's for academic, professional or personal reasons. We want to make learning English more accessible, both financially and location-wise, and we want to be available to those Saudi students who want to benefit from language study before starting their full-immersion experience. We look forward to providing the students at EC Riyadh with the same excellent learning experience and VIP customer service that the EC family is known for around the world."

Courses at EC Riyadh are tailored to suit the needs of Saudi students and include General English for students who want to work on speaking, listening, reading and writing skills; Intensive English for those who want an accelerated learning experience; and Exam Preparation (IELTS and TOEFL) for students preparing to attend an English-speaking university. EC Riyadh also offers customised language courses for corporate clients. These specialised courses are specifically designed for a company's employees following a thorough analysis of the company's requirements and the employees' language skills.

The school officially opened for business on 4 February under a franchise agreement with EC's partners in Saudi Arabia, CAMC and their trusted agent network in the Kingdom who will also collaborate on promoting EC Riyadh.


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