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Eurocentres - 60 years of competence and innovation
Pioneer period 1948 – 1960
An idea turns into a school. Erhard Waespi founds his first language school "on the spot" in Bournemouth, on England's south coast. His goal: learning a language should be a fun, enriching and personal experience, and at the same time, increase awareness and understanding between cultures.
His schools (at that time in Bournemouth and Lausanne) come to the attention of Gottlieb Duttweiler, founder of Migros. He is fascinated by the idea of creating meeting points for adults from all over the world, and thus making possible a dialogue which exceeds all limits set by nationality, race, religion, social position and education. The Federation of Migros Co-operatives takes over the two schools and new centres are opened in Florence, Barcelona and Cologne.
An independent Foundation, under the name Eurocentres - European Language and Educational Centres - is set up by Gottlieb Duttweiler and like-minded people. The number of students per year rises to 4 300.
Initial expansion period 1960 – 1975
In this period the collaboration with schools in France, Spain and the USA begins.
The Council of Europe bestows on Eurocentres (as the only non-governmental organisation) the "Status Consultatif de la Catégorie 1" - advisory status in the field of language teaching and learning.
Eurocentres establishes its Research & Development department in Bournemouth - where the world-famous "Kernel Lessons" take shape.
The number of students exceeds 20 000 per year.
Implementation of new pedagogic concepts 1975 – 1985
The testing and evaluation of "Threshold Level" of the Council of Europe begins in Bournemouth.
London Lee Green is built as the first school in Britain purposely designed for language learning - implementing at the same time pioneer work on new classroom design, the concept of self-access learning in multi-media learning centres and "CALL" (Computer Assisted Language Learning).
Eurocentres Cambridge, the second purpose-built model school for teaching English to adults follows.
Second expansion period 1986 – 1998
The first purpose-built school for teaching German opens in Cologne.
A new school teaching American English is opened in Washington DC-Alexandria. A new centre for teaching Japanese is opened in Kanazawa.
Eurocentres had been involved in the process of the development of the CEFR, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which has had a great impact on language learning in Europe since it's establishement.
"As in the 1990s, when the initial CEFR descriptors were being developed, Eurocentres’ commitment to this European project has been crucial. To a large extent it has contributed to the success of the CEFR."
"We greatly appreciate such a commitment, as it has contributed to fostering and improving language learning, teaching and assessment in Europe, and indeed internationally, and promoted real co-operation among Council of Europe member states in the field of education." (Letter from the Council of Europe Language Policy Unit)
Completion of a new purpose-built school in La Rochelle. There are now 3 year-round schools in France – Paris, Amboise and La Rochelle.
The "Eurocentres Scale of Language Proficiency" as a basis for new course certification is put into practice. It is followed by the development of a computerised language testing system called Item banker which enables teachers to generate reliable tests according to their individual needs.
Formulation of a new strategy with the possibility for Eurocentres to offer consultancy for teaching languages in the home country. As a result, the first consultancy agreements in Switzerland, Spain and Brazil take shape.
Formation of partnerships to offer courses in Canada and Malta.
Third expansion period 2001 – 2008
There are two Eurocentres schools in Canada, and further partnerships develop through the collaboration with partner schools in Malta, Australia and Spain.
By now there are three Eurocentres schools in Australia: Perth, Brisbane and Cairns, plus Auckland in New Zealand.
New school in the fabulous environment of Cape Town, South Africa. Closure at the end of year of the school in Cologne.
New school for teaching German opens in Berlin.
The Eurocentres school network in Australia is completed with the opening of Eurocentres Sydney.
Eurocentres, with a worldwide network of Eurocentres enrolment offices and agents, welcomes ca. 13 000 students every year to its schools in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Japan. We remain committed to our original goal of teaching languages supremely well and providing high standards of services to our clients.
Dedicated to quality
The Swiss Eurocentres Foundation has been a consultant to the Council of Europe for language learning since 1968 and has played a crucial role in the development of the Common European Framework of Reference for language teaching and learning. As a Foundation Eurocentres has provided top quality language teaching and aims to contribute towards a better understanding among people everywhere by helping to bridge national, cultural and social barriers.