Choosing a language school abroad III – Quality standards in Spain, Germany, and Italy

Inspection and recognition of quality standards for language schools

Inspection and recognition of quality standards for language schools

Spanish schools in Spain

The Spanish Instituto Cervantes is the main official institution granting quality certifications to Spanish language schools in Spain and abroad.

The Instituto Cervantes carries out inspections and renews accreditation permits every two years to its accredited or associated centres. Some of the aspects evaluated are the quality standards in the teaching of Spanish, the legal requirements for carrying out teaching activities, adequate teaching resources, properly qualified and trained teachers, teaching plans guaranteeing satisfactory progress, maximum number of students per class, certificates of attendance, accurate publicity clearly reflecting the services offered as well as course and supplementary services fees, and policies for addressing complaints.

The University of Alcalá de Henares through its CEELE Quality Seal, the National Federation of Spanish Language Schools in Spain –FEDELE-, the Association of Spanish Language Schools in Madrid –AEEEM-, the Asociación Mediterránea de Escuelas de Español de la Comunidad Valenciana –AMEELE-, the Association of Spanish Schools Granada, etc, are other institutions and associations granting quality seals to schools of Spanish as a foreign language in Spain.

German schools in Germany

In Germany, schools of German as a foreign language may be accredited as a TestDaF (Test of German as a foreign language) centre. Naturally, in order to be accredited as a TestDaF examination centre, schools need to fulfil certain conditions such as experience in administering and executing language examinations with trained and qualified teachers, suitable premises with an equipped language laboratory, as well as correct management and administration of the school.

German language schools in Germany may also be telc accredited examination centres. telc GmbH, which sands for The European Language Certificates, is a subsidiary of the German Adult Education Association (DVV) in Germany, and it is the federal government’s exclusive partner for the language tests taken at the end of the integration courses for migrants.

In order to get a telc institutional licence, schools need to have premises which accommodate the requirements set forth in the examination regulations, equipped with central office facilities, appropriately qualified teaching staff, language courses taught along Common European Framework guidelines, and the payment to teachers must be commensurate with the generally recognised reimbursement of language teachers.

Italian schools in Italy

The main organization certifying the quality of language schools in Italy is A.S.I.L.S. (Associazione delle Scuole di Italiano come Lingua Seconda). Schools of Italian accredited by A.S.I.L.S. are required to adhere to strict didactic and professional requirements including a permanent study centre where Italian language courses are held, brochures and publicity with a detailed description of the courses and the various services offered, professional teachers with university degrees and experience teaching Italian to foreigners, etc.

Italian schools in Italy may also be authorized examination centres for the CILS certificate (Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera), offered by the Università per Stranieri di Siena (University for Foreigners of Siena). The CILS certificate is a title of proficiency in the Italian language and is recognized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Therefore, it is widely acknowledged in all fields yielding this certificate essential when seeking employment in Italy or the international labour market. Furthermore, the CILS certificate is recognized by the Italian Ministry of Education and it is considered as a requirement for the admission of International students to the Italian higher education system.

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