The English Language Teaching (ELT) industry is facing another tough year, with students holding off on their bookings as they wait to see how Malta weathers the latest spike in COVID-19 cases.
With the number of students drastically down, sometimes just one in an entire school, the local industry, which normally attracts some 85,000 visitors with an annual spend of almost €150 million, requires strong leadership which can bring all stakeholders to the table.
Enter Caroline Tissot, the Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations’ new CEO-designate, who takes over from James Perry, who has taken up a new role as deputy director at the Institute of Business.
Ms Tissot is no stranger to the industry, having worked closely with the previous CEO for the last two years.
As the senior executive officer, she was responsible for managing FELTOM’s accreditation role while taking care of the day-to-day running of the Federation, liaising with international partners and working on the various initiatives organised in partnership with public authorities.
Ms Tissot started her career with the British High Commission before entering the education sector, where she worked for six years with children with different learning abilities.
Speaking to WhosWho.mt, Ms Tissot describes the onset of the pandemic as an “eye-opener”, with FELTOM’s work changing overnight as it sought to adapt and innovate to see how its members can move together and keep afloat.
“Let’s just say it’s been an interesting year,” she says. “And now that COVID has shown its ugly face again, we are working harder than ever to establish the way forward for the English Language Teaching (ELT) industry.”
She believes that a continuing focus on maintaining standards in FELTOM’s three pillars – marketing, accreditation, and advocacy – is imperative to ensure that Malta is ready to welcome students once regular travel is restored.
To make it through the “very, very volatile situation”, Ms Tissot is working to protect Malta’s reputation and attractiveness as an ELT destination by bolstering the Federation’s accreditation scheme, ensuring local schools keep providing excellent academic opportunities.
Ms Tissot has only been in her current position for a week, but she is already busy at work liaising with various entities to make sure FELTOM’s members survive the current crisis, and is looking forward to guide the organisation through the next months on what promises to be a “very bumpy ride”.