‘English program lacks support from academe’
While Cebu has a big potential to also attract more long-staying educational tourists, the Cebu Business Club-initiated program “Cebu Hub for English Excellence” (CHELE) has not gained momentum due to lack of support from the academe.
In an interview yesterday, Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph said they are saddened that the movement which is led by Cebu Leads Foundation could not take off.
“It is currently floundering from lack of support from the education sector to institutionalize the effort and work together. It is sad,” he said.
CHELE was initiated by CBC in December 2010 as an advocacy to develop Cebu as an English as a Second Language (ESL) destination.
Joseph observed that several institutions in Cebu are already offering ESL courses mostly to Koreans and Japanese.
He said this could further grow if only major education institutions in Cebu would also invest in world-class facilities for ESL courses.
As of 2011, at least 10,000 tourists come to Cebu to take up ESL subjects for six months to a year.
Hesaid there was a huge potential to hit at least 30,000 education-tourists a month, if Cebu players including the academe would be willing to come together to develop the “education tourism” niche for Cebu.
Milagros Espina, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry head for tourismm agreed with Joseph saying Cebu, in itself, needs more English proficient professionals to support the growth of the outsourcing industry in Cebu.
“On the support from the academe, I think there were several initiatives to get them together but failed. I know many schools offering their own ESL courses and are doing well but I think it would be better to promote Cebu as an English Hub,” she said.
Espina said schools like the University of Cebu, University of San Carlos and University of San Jose Recoletos already offer ESL courses.
Promoting Cebu only for ESL is very limiting, she said..
“If you promote Cebu as an English hub, you can also offer courses other than ESL like exams for TOFEL, EILTS and TESOL. There are so many and we can help not only tourism but also other industries that needs English-proficient professionals,” said Espina.
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