Language students protest as fears grow of another closure

Irish Council for International Students describes situation as ‘extremely confused’

A language student protests outside the Modern Educational Centre on Harcourt St, where classes have been cancelled and staff wages have gone unpaid.

A language student protests outside the Modern Educational Centre on Harcourt St, where classes have been cancelled and staff wages have gone unpaid.

 

Fears are growing that another English language school in Dublin has closed down following the cancellation of classes on Thursday.

Dozens of students took part in a protest at the premises of the Modern Educational Centre on Harcourt St, which last week had to apologise to staff for unpaid wages.

There have been heightened concerns about private colleges being used as “visa factories” for international students who are allowed to work for part of the year in Ireland if they are attending a recognised course.

This has led to a clampdown, with 13 private colleges closed in the past year as a result.

Management at the centre did not respond to calls from The Irish Times on Thursday seeking clarification as to the current situation for students.

Irish Council for International Students spokesman Dave Moore said it was an “extremely confused” situation.

“There were students outside protesting the fact classes have not been delivered and standing in solidarity with staff who have not been paid for six or seven weeks now,” he said.

“There was a meeting taking place in the college today and there was due to be more information at noon, which came and went. The whole thing is surrounded with uncertainty but obviously students are very concerned.

“Any college that has failed to pay teachers for a protracted period and is trying to merge students into large and untenable groups is not operating in a way that suggests it’s got a healthy future. In terms of clarity, nothing has come out of the school.”

He added he was “not aware” of there having been any communication from management on Thursday.

Some students have organised another protest at the school through Facebook which will take place at 10am on Friday.

Ignacio Baldes, a Mexican student at the centre, said he was fearful it would close down.

“Now the news is that the school maybe will be closed, so all the students are protesting because we paid and we don’t it to be closed,” he said. “My course was €1,400 for six months. I am only two months into it.

“There are people who just started the course this week. They had only three days in the school and now we are scared it is closing.”