English: An essential language for Jobs & Business, Interview with Mr Comlan Juvence BABAGBETO Founder & Managing Director of Eagle Vision Institute
Panafrican Bilingual Corporates Magazine (PBCM): Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your institute?
Eagle Vision Institute (EVI): My name is Comlan Juvence Babagbeto. I am the founder and Managing Director of Eagle Vision Institute. Eagle Vision Institute is a language school, based in Accra, Ghana, specialized in the teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
PCBM: As a founder, what is the story behind the creation of Eagle Vision Institute?
EVI: Eagle Vision Institute started as a small TOEFL preparation center about 15 years ago. At the time, there was a growing demand for effective TOEFL preparation programs to adequately train candidates to achieve their required scores. Basically, there weren’t many training centers available with the right technology, resources and qualified trainers to adequately prepare candidates. We identified the opportunity and decided to take up the challenge. We started with two participants and word about our quality training started spreading. Unfortunately, our classroom at that time could only seat a maximum of 10 students at a go. We had to find a bigger place to relocate because the demand was growing. At the new place, we were compelled to introduce English programs on students’ insistence to start and finish their learning experience at Eagle Vision Institute. With time the new place also became quite small for the numbers coming. We moved to another place with a higher capacity to welcome a larger number of students willing to learn English at Eagle Vision Institute. By the grace of God, we eventually built our own facilities to optimize the teaching and learning of English.
PCBM: Eagle Vision has a very good reputation in Ghana. What makes Eagle Vision Institute special, apart from the thoroughness and quality of work?
EVI: First of all, thoroughness and quality are key requirements to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. However, sustainable success requires more than thorough quality work. The values that define the identity of Eagle Vision Institute immensely contribute to our particularity and success. To achieve Excellence, we adopt the highest standards in all our processes. As we stand for Integrity, we come through on every promise we make. We equally value Teamwork because we work together at all times towards our common goals. Finally, through Leadership, we innovate to continue to stay at the forefront of language training in Ghana and beyond. Therefore, the values that Eagle Vision Institute stands for, distinguish us from the rest.
PCBM: How many students have you trained so far?
EVI: In 15 years of operation, we are proud to have contributed to the success stories of a large number of Africans from all walks of life. We have trained over 7000 students who, today, are occupying various positions on the continent and elsewhere or working for their own businesses.
PCBM: From your answers, Eagle Vision Institute is now a benchmark institute which has trained many senior executives. Could you elaborate further and tell us today who your potential targets or learners are?
EVI: Over the years, we have partnered with many international organizations and universities for the training of their staff or students in English. They believe in the quality and standard of our programs and continue to send us students every year.
We have also established a working relationship with the British Council to standardize our English proficiency tests so that our students can accurately measure their progress.
I can assure anyone willing to speak and write English proficiently that they will not be disappointed at Eagle Vision Institute. Whether you want to continue your studies in Ghana or, live and work in an English-speaking country or network in your area of work, travel around the world, English remains an important language to open new doors and break barriers across the world and Eagle Vision Institute remains your partner of choice.
PCBM: You started your activities in an English-speaking country, precisely in Ghana, what strategy do you have to extend them to French-speaking countries? Are you in partnership with other universities or apart from languages, Eagle Vision Institute trains in other areas?
EVI: Right from the outset, we decided to establish our language school in an English-speaking country, Ghana, to optimize the teaching and learning of English. Ghana is a stable and peaceful country with a lot of opportunities in education. This is why our students prefer to learn in Ghana. However, we are also planning to establish a network of satellite centers in French-speaking countries to be closer to our students so that those who may not be able to come to Ghana can still have the opportunity to learn English. Distance shouldn’t deny them the quality of training they deserve.
Our main partner for the delivery of effective English teaching and testing is the British Council. For the placement of our students in Ghana or abroad, we work with a network of universities to facilitate their admission into serious and accredited educational institutions.
PCBM: The goals you set for yourself at the outset have therefore been largely achieved and since then Eagle Vision Institute has continued to grow?
EVI: To a large extent, we have reached and exceeded our initial goals. I wish to use this opportunity to express my profound gratitude to my wife for her unflinching support as well as all the former and current staff of the school for their dedication and hard work. They have all contributed, in their various capacities, to our achievements. One key thing at Eagle Vision Institute is that we keep reviewing our goals to remain at the forefront of language teaching in Ghana and deliver to our students nothing but the best.
PCBM: On November 27, 2019, the new premises of Eagle Vision Institute were inaugurated. What does this inauguration mean to you?
EVI: November 27, 2019 will forever remain an important date in the life and history of Eagle Vision Institute. From the humble beginning of two students to this achievement, we give the glory to God. This is the true symbol of persistence and vision. We are forever indebted to God for his grace and blessings. It always seems impossible until it is done!
PCBM: Obviously you dream big for yourself and your school. What projections are you making of your institute by 2030?
EVI: By 2030 we hope to lodge all our students in our own facilities so we can create the ideal environment for any students willing to learn and achieve proficiency in English as rapidly as possible. Eagle Vision Institute intends to be a family away from home for each student. We will always go the extra mile for the ultimate benefits of our students. We know that accommodation remains a challenge for a number of students because of the difficulty in finding the right standard of accommodation and the high cost sometimes. We are really committed to making Ghana an attractive hub of English language teaching by removing any barriers on the way. Therefore, beyond a conducive environment for teaching and learning, and effective learning resources, providing befitting student lodging remains our priority by 2030.
PCBM: The world is grappling with COVID-19, and Eagle Vision Institute has not been spared the effects of the pandemic. What lessons have you learned as an educator for the future?
EVI: The COVID-19 pandemic has been a sad reality for every individual and organization. We are all learning new ways of doing things and living. We are creating new avenues for our businesses to survive. No matter what we do to survive, we must never fail to learn valuable lessons for the future. COVID-19 has exposed our weaknesses and shortcomings. Going forward, Eagle Vision Institute is gradually implementing a plan that will make effective English learning accessible online at an affordable cost using the latest technology. It is equally important for businesses to diversify their operations and sources of revenue to remain resilient. Eagle Vision Institute is not an exception.
PCBM: From your experience and dreams, what legacy would you like to leave for the youth?
EVI: The strongest message I would like to humbly share with my brothers and sisters is that it is possible to succeed in Africa. However, we need to guard against illusions and quick success mindsets. When I look back, I can see countless times I nearly gave up because of challenges and lack of support. The journey of entrepreneurship is rocky and rough. It begins with the right mindset; it requires a lot of sacrifices, consistency and persistence. Then it blossoms…