Presenting YALS at The English Book event on school management, February 25, 2011 Belgrade

First, I wish to thank The English Book for giving me the opportunity, at the event they have organized, to speak to you on behalf of YALS and about YALS.

I haven’t had a chance to meet all of you today but for those who don’t know me, I am Maja Gavrilović, the school owner of Livingston Language Centre. My school is one of the founder schools of YALS,  and has  been a member since 1999.

YALS, as some of you may know, is  an association of private language schools of Serbia. Since its beginnings it has had a varying number of member schools fluctuating around the number of 13. Our desire is to change this number into another one, steadier and a lot higher.


The answer might be that, we, the school owners probably share the same aims. Our aim, in YALS,  is twofold: to pursue and promote quality in language teaching as well as to perfect the ways of provision of this service. In order to achieve this aim we have succeeded in joining the EAQUALS, as an associate member, in 2001  which enabled us to follow and develop along the well thought out and carefully set path.

I don’t wish to keep you any longer then just necessary with my speech so I will lay out before you just a couple of ideas about why you may wish to consider joining YALS.

I will briefly relate to you my personal experience which, I believe, is more or less similar to the experience of my colleagues in YALS.  At times, during 2001 and 2 and 3, as my school was undergoing the change through the process of complying with the set of standards,  simply and clearly laid out, and when the light in the tunnel was quite dim and far, far away, I did wonder (together with my staff), whatever are we doing this for?! But once the job was done (one developmental stage was behind us /  although still many more ahead, /  of course we weren’t aware of that!) I can only be proud of what both my staff and I have achieved. The result is: our school, and everything about it has its reason, direction, a goal and certainly a reward in all its possible meanings but mainly in that that we do accomplish what  we set out to accomplish.

This was made possible to happen thanks to joining a group of schools and meeting their owners whose enthusiasm, motivation, initiative and endurance were and are  endless. They are YALS. When in such company, you can’t but go with the flow and think and do alike.

Another thing is, we, in YALS, are very well aware of the fact that there are quite a few good schools outside YALS. We would be very happy if these schools would consider the possibility of joining YALS where they, together with their fresh school image, different and new ideas, would be more than welcome. Together we could achieve more.

Being in YALS makes it possible to keep us up-to-date with the events going on in the region. At the moment, three of our members are attending the regional conference in Zagreb, which is organized jointly by the EAQUALS and the British Council. The idea behind the meeting is to form a regional association to promote the shared goal regarding the quality of language teaching and the provision of the services. In view of this action it is only natural to strive to form a wider national association of schools in Serbia, therefore, I once again repeat, re-think the possibility of becoming a YALS member, in order to turn it into a wider, national and more capable association.

For all the factual data about YALS please visit our site and feel free to contact us at any time.

Thank you so much for your time, and once again, thank you, The English Book and The British Council.

Maja Gavrilović,
Livingston Language Centre, Belgrade