November 3rd: The programme Nightmare to Let, broadcast last night by RTE, exposed the exploitation of English language students, according to trade union Unite which organises teachers in the sector. The union was responding to the allegation that the company Global Academics, which places foreign students with a range of English Language schools, also acts as a landlord squeezing students into apparently substandard, over-crowded and dangerous accommodation.
Commenting, Unite Regional Organiser Roy Hassey said:
“Unite ELT teachers were angered but not surprised last night to see the tenement-like conditions in which too many of their students are living. Based on the allegations in the programme, it appears that the company Global Academics has treated the English Language Teaching sector as a license to print money. Not only do they act an agent for English Language schools but they are also allegedly renting sub-standard accommodation to the same students they places with schools.
“It’s a win-win situation for Global Academics, but the losers are students and the wider reputation of a sector which the Government has targeted for growth.
“Unite has been highlighting the labour abuses, including bogus self-employment, to which many English Language Teachers are subjected, and last night’s programme highlighted the exploitation of students in the sector.
“Unite is calling on the sector’s umbrella body, Marketing English in Ireland, to instruct any members associated with Global Academics, such the Centre of English Studies (CES), an MEI founding member, to immediately disassociate themselves from Global Academics and cease using them as an agent.
“In the medium and longer term, the international reputation of this sector can only be secured by proper regulation ensuring decent treatment of both students and teachers”, Mr Hassey concluded.