Monday 11 December 2017

Foreign students hit as another school closes

Alan O'Keeffe

HUNDREDS of foreign students have been hit by the closure of another English language school in Dublin.

The students of the Irish Business School (IBS) on Burgh Quay yesterday expressed anger and anxiety after receiving news that it had “ceased trading”.

They had paid up to €3,000 to attend English language classes there.

Several students told the Herald they were extremely upset and worried and did not know what to do following the closure.

The school is in the same building as Eden College, founded by Fakir Hossain, which closed down a week ago, affecting up to 1,200 language students.  

More than 300 students were attending courses at IBS. 

One couple from Venezuela said they had handed over €2,000 in cash to IBS last Friday, only days before it closed.

Jehilyn Gonzalez (31), from Spain, said she had a receipt for her payment which had the Eden College name on the notepaper.

Marcela Caldeira (27) and Edwardo Di Marco (28) had their receipts and said they had only arrived in Ireland and had not yet got their visas. They were asked for €1,000 each to enrol.

“The person we paid insisted we paid in cash,” said Ms Caldeira, through a translator.

Dave Moore, spokesman for the Irish Council of International Students (ICIS), met with the students in the school yesterday and called on the Irish authorities to take action to help them.

“This is the third English language school to close down in three weeks,” he said. “Ireland is trying to market itself as a destination for international students, but these closures are toxic for the image of  Ireland and these students are the big losers.

“On behalf of the students, we are calling on the Department of Education and the Department of Justice to take charge of this situation immediately. These students need to be helped now.”

South Korean Myeongshin Pak (25) said he paid €1,800 to the school four months ago for an English language course.

“I feel awful.I feel like crying. I cannot remain here past my departure date because I have other commitments,” he said.

Paul Maloney, assistant director of studies, said teachers and students were told the school was ceasing trading from Thursday night. He said there were links between IBS and Eden College.

“We were told there was no money in the account to pay us,” he said.

IBS had 18 teachers and five admin staff, said Mr Maloney. Elizabeth Clery, who described herself as the “director and principal” of IBS, confirmed she had told teachers and staff on Thursday that the school had ceased trading. 

While listed as a director of the company that owns the school’s trading name, she claimed she was not its owner.

“I was awake all night trying to come up with a deal so that the students and teachers could continue as normal. My teachers have been working without pay,” she said, adding that she hoped some big educational institution would agree to step in and take over responsibility for teaching the students.

“I am not running away from the students. I’m fighting to try and save things here,” she said.

An Irish woman who taught English at the school said she and her fellow teachers had not been paid for five weeks.

“It’s disgraceful,” she said

Irish Independent

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