EAQUALS Â– European Association for Quality Language Services
EAQUALS is an international association that promotes and guarantees high quality in language teaching institutions. Because of the strict Code of Practice and Charters, accredited members are committed to the continuous development of academic excellence. EAQUALS offers the only widely accepted European quality standard for language teaching.
Mr Alexander Henrich, Director of did deutsch-institut Frankfurt, explains why EAQUALS Quality Seals are such a great honor.
did deutsch-institut Frankfurt has been accredited again with the EAQUALS Quality Seal. For how many years has the institute in Frankfurt been a member of the association?
Mr Henrich: "The did deutsch-institut Frankfurt was certified by EAQUALS in 2003 for the first time. Re-inspection took place in 2006 and again most recently in December, 2009. This proved that the quality standards of EAQUALS are still valid at our institute or even have been improved."
What does this long-standing strict quality supervision mean for your institut?
Mr Henrich: "For our teachers and staff it has become a point of pride that we have not only implemented the quality standards of EAQUALS, but that we also follow them over the long term. For us, the standards are both a quality control, and a tool we use every day to continuously improve our level of service. We try to see our institute through the eyes of our students, who are, in the end, the main controllers of our daily work."
Which advantages do EAQUALS accredited schools offer in comparison to other language schools?
Mr Hernich: "ThatÂ’s quite easy. EAQUALS accredited schools actually deliver what they promise because they must meet strict standards; How is the school structured? How are the lessons organized? What qualifications must the teachers meet? What does the social program offer? What are the criteria for host families? Are all legal requirements met? What about internal quality control? etc. All of these issues are addressed by EAQUALS, a neutral quality assurance association.
EAQUALÂ’s commitment to quality is unwavering.
What actions does did deutsch-institut take to fulfil EAQUALÂ’s strict requirements?
Mr Henrich: "As I mentioned, we attempt to scrutinize our institute from the point of view of students. Of course, participants have the opportunity to evaluate us at the end of their stay and these evaluations are analysed for ways to improve the learning experience here at did deutsch-institut. But even better, our students have the chance to begin providing feedback right from the start. I am available to respond to any question, problem or special request, as are Ms. Eva Frey, chief administration officer, Silvo Dabisch, director of studies, our director of social programs and the entire teaching staff. We respond promptly
We conduct regular, rigorous inspections of lessons and hold frequent conferences and training sessions for our professional teaching staff. Our teachers work in complementary teams and participate in an elaborate instructional system that culminates with an examination system specially developed by did deutsch- institut together with the renowned Â“German Language SocietyÂ”. We are always looking for new developments in foreign language pedagogy.
I suppose the most important thing is that we are flexible and always searching for ways to improve.
What special requirements must did deutsch-institut teachers meet?
Mr Henrich: "Of course, all of our teachers are native speakers. They must hold an academic degree from a university and have had teaching experience already.
All of our teachers must be self-motivated and have quality in mind. This means more documentation, more transparency, more communication and more engagement than at other language schools. They must consider the needs of their students, even after class is finished."
did deutsch-institutes in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich offer a coordinated pedagogical approach, i.e., they have the same course structure, curriculum and teaching materials in all four locations, which guarantees a constant quality standard everywhere. How does this affect the students?
Mr Henrich: "Four totally different cities, four totally different parts of Germany, but the same system and quality in each. A student can begin in one of our institutions, e.g., in Frankfurt, and then continue the course in Berlin, Hamburg or Munich. It is possible to finish class in one city on Friday and begin again in another city on Monday morning without missing a beat, a wonderful way to learn German and get to know Germany at the same time."
EAQUALS grants its label of quality only to institutions that meet its high inspection standards. The EAQUALS Code of Practice and Charters provides clear, specific quality guarantees. This allows people who make decisions about language learning to choose reliable partners. EAQUALS assures a consistent high standard for all individual language learning needs.