ASILS was founded to connect Italian language schools across Italy, to represent the interests of the industry and to create a universal benchmark of high standards.
Today, ASILS is the foremost organisation representing the Italian language teaching industry in Italy. It is the only Association whose membership is subject to a qualitative inspection conducted by an impartial third party. This inspection evaluates member schools from both the administrative/organisational and didactic perspectives.
As has been frequently expressed by our organisation, the teaching of Italian in Italy is a sector which has been overlooked by public institutions for too long. Even today we see a troubling absence of regulations governing the conduct of teaching organisations.
In the absence of such regulatory oversight, ASILS has created a quality protocol to which all its members must adhere.
UNITER: A Guarantee of Quality
To become a part of ASILS, and subsequently to retain membership, each school must pass a strict quality inspection. These are repeated every five years.
Our quality control scheme drew inspiration from the protocols established by the major associations of language schools at a European level, and responsibility for its application has been entrusted to the external inspection body UNITER. With UNITER we developed an excellence checklist and immediately began the process of inspecting our affiliated schools. No school has passed their inspection without at least one request for adaptation, demonstrating the genuine and thorough nature of this independent process.
Today, with pride, we can state that the quality of all ASILS Italian schools has been successfully verified.
CST: Statistical Data
Just as we have invested great energy, both individually and collectively, in certifying the quality of our premises, teaching and personnel and customer management, we also felt the need to publish our statistical research. We attach great importance to this, both for its relevance to ourselves as we continue our work in the sector, and as being an important resource for those who indirectly benefit from tourist flows brought about by our industry.
From the ASILS statistics we can see, for example, that our students stay in Italy for an average of four weeks, with a notable impact on the local economy: they rent accommodation, they spend money on tickets for museums and shows, night life, booking excursions, in restaurants and of course much more.
The data also shows interesting trends regarding the nationality and age of Italian language lovers: Germans and Americans have always proclaimed their affection for our nation’s culture, but Asian markets have been growing over some years, notably those from China, Japan and Russia. We note that in many schools outside the big cities the average age of students can be strikingly high, and that programmes specifically designed for students of the ’50 Plus’ generation have become very fashionable.
In 2018 our sector employed 721 workers, including teachers, administrators and managers. Nearly 30,000 students have attended Italian language courses at ASILS schools and over 1200 exams have been sat for Italian language certification. ASILS schools have generated a combined turnover of around twenty million euros and the overall turnover of the industry is estimated to exceed fifty million euros.
The final impetus behind the collection of these certified numbers was a request by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for statistical data to help chart the phenomenon of Italian language teaching in Italy. In fact our statistical data has been processed and published in the White Book of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for several years (download the 2017 edition here).
The work of ASILS is greatly assisted by a huge range of international partners who support us and from whom we draw useful and interesting ideas. The absence of public recognition of the language school sector in Italy, for example, is something that we have discovered we have in common with other countries.
The models from which we draw greatest inspiration are those of the Anglo-Saxon and French language teaching systems. In these countries governments have recognised for decades the value of linguistic and cultural tourism, and have understood its value as a significant economic stimulus. Some other countries now show signs of beginning to invest in the sector but, as sadly is often the case, Italy lags behind in this regard.
However, thanks to our network of international contacts and our experience in the field, we are perfectly aware of what Italy needs to do to support our industry and we are working in partnership with the national authorities to fill the current legislative void.
Our efforts and our perseverance have meant that the foremost international organisation within the language school sector, EAQUALS, has recognised both our quality protocol and our association’s work. They have opened their doors to us as Associate Members – a development of which we are enormously proud.
A.S.I.L.S. (Association of Italian Schools in Italy), is the most representative organization of private schools teaching Italian in Italy. To learn Italian in one of our schools, means to get the best certified quality possible. Our inspections are regular and independently run and cover the fields of: teaching, premises and services.