ICEF’s roots in international education go back to the 1960s, when Karl Badde, a linguist and pioneering educator, established a chain of language schools in the Middle East. By the 1970’s, this chain included centres in Bonn and London. These centres provided Arabic language training for diplomats and business executives. In 1984, Badde expanded into publishing with his son, Markus Badde, and daughter, Rebecca Stromeyer, producing a series of ground-breaking language travel and education guides as well as directories for the distance education sector and translation industry.
In the 1990s, the Badde family entered the conference and exhibition industry. They formed ICEF (International Consultants for Education and Fairs) in 1991 to spearhead the ICEF Workshop series, which invigorated and internationalised the agent workshop concept. Since their beginning, ICEF Workshops have brought together tens of thousands of institutions and agents from 140 countries.
By the end of the decade, ICEF had also established two affiliate companies catering to new growth areas in international education; Internet Course Finders (now CourseFinders) and ICWE. CourseFinders, launched in 1998, is an Internet platform allowing students to research and discover schools and courses the world over. CourseFinders is now a major student recruitment portal with thousands of students from more than 150 countries using it daily.
ICEF Workshops, the industry’s premier educator / agent networking events, occur annually in major cities across the globe. ICEF events enable educators to hold one-to-one business appointments with relevant, quality student recruitment agents, service providers, as well as with other educators. Around 5 000 industry professionals attend ICEF Events annually. ICEF Workshops set the standard for excellence and attract leaders in international student recruitment from around the world.
The inaugural ICEF Africa Workshop will take place in Cape Town and is set to be the premier networking and student recruitment event in Africa. As such, it will bring student recruitment agents from around the world interested in South Africa as a study destination and will connect international educators and service providers with agents from all over Africa.
In the 2016 i-Graduate ICEF Agent Barometer, nearly half of the agents surveyed said that they viewed South Africa as an attractive or very attractive study destination. ELT student numbers increased by 19% in 2016, and student weeks by 20%. With the November 2016 resolution of a two-year discussion regarding student visa eligibility for ELT students, the sector is now poised for further growth. South Africa has also established itself as a key study destination within Africa. Its proximity and affordability — along with the quality and reputation of South African higher education — continue to be important factors in attracting foreign students.
Africa is a major area of growth for outbound students and countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Botswana and Ghana are emerging markets complementing Nigeria.
In addition to meeting with agents during the workshop, participants are welcome to attend market intelligence seminars and networking receptions.
The ICEF Africa Workshop is the most dynamic and productive way to foster relationships with current partners and new representatives in a range of emerging markets.