The Federation of Spanish Schools in Spain ( FEDELE) have launched an urgent appeal for government action and support to ensure the survival of the sector due to the impact the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown is having on the sector in Spain.
The federation which represents 102 Spanish language schools is seeking government support and specific measures to help the sector survive. According to the recent FEDELE’s 2019 sector report, more than 138,000 foreign students came to Spain to study the language with an accumulated stay of over 470,000 weeks. The report highlighted that unlike other Spanish tourism sectors the average expenditure of language students is significantly above the average and brings in additional income to thousands of host families.
The state of emergency measures introduced have meant school closures and widespread lay-offs with reservations and courses cancelled. Unlike other areas of the economy the sector´s reactivation depends more on return of international consumer confidence to travel than any relaxation of national of lockdown measures and resumption of flights and opening of borders.
Despite the situation some schools are adapting with online courses. Chris Haworth, Director AIL Madrid said “all the Spanish schools I have spoken to have been forced to make temporary reductions in staff. Some schools, including mine, have switched to giving classes online and this has enabled us to continue with some teaching activity.”
However Mari Carmen Timor, President of FEDELE, pointed out that whilst online courses do offer limited respite – the volume is far less and ” this product has only served to avoid mass cancellations, which means that it will not be a regular service of our schools”