Big gap as Coast’s language school shuts

MORE than 250 foreign students receiving tuition on the Gold Coast have been left without a school and, for some, a place to live after their English language school was closed suddenly yesterday.

Eight schools operated in Australia by the GEOS group, including one in Surfers Paradise, shut their doors in the afternoon after receivers were appointed when the group went into voluntary liquidation.

Nationally, the closure affects about 2300 students from countries such as Japan, China, Switzerland, Argentina and Brazil.

Jean-Baptiste Fouroux, 29, from France who had been studying at the Queensland College of English in Surfers for two months, said he was shocked.

“We have been told nothing,” he said last night. “I went to class today (Friday) and they said nothing to us.

“If this is true, I want my money back. I’ve paid $320 a week for my course which runs for 12 weeks.

“I don’t know what I will do.”

Mr Fouroux’s host father in Mermaid Waters, Christian Ulrichsen, also was unaware of the administrators moving in.

“I have two students staying with me,” said Mr Ulrichsen.

“I haven’t been informed — I haven’t even gotten an email.

“I will assist them as best I can but I’m limited in my resources.”

Justin Walsh and Adam Nikitins of Ernst & Young are administrators to nine companies operating the schools in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Cairns.

Bill Egerton, who is contracted by GEOS to pick up foreign students for the Surfers Paradise school in his Koala Blue bus, said: “The receivers walked in and told everyone to leave. They have closed the doors. I’m owed about $4000 from them.”

Mr Egerton said there were about 260 students at the school.

He said 15 students were due to arrive this weekend but would have nowhere to go.

“These kids pay $10,000 to $15,000 each for tuition.”

The administrators said a better understanding of the financial situation and a decision on future operations should be known by the close of business on February 1.