There was an IKO instructor meeting in Cabarete last month and as I understand, IKO is planning on doing more throughout the world this year. RE: ram air kites, IKO just added them back into the teaching program. They were not included before because of safety issues but now that ram air's have better depower, safety systems, etc. they are included.
RE: IKO certification, the class requires a bit more than just the 5 days in the classroom (about 8-12 hours per day). One must have prior teaching experience, etc. etc. Check out the website for details. IKO has standards that instructors must meet to pass. If they do not meet them, IKO has the infrastructure that allows candidates to apprentice at IKO schools to gain the experience needed to eventually attain their certification. Like any profession, a degree or certification does not make a great teacher. It only shows validation that a person put in the time and has attained the knowledge.
As an IKO school, I look for instructors with IKO certification and at least 1 year teaching experience in kitesurfing or another water or extreme sport. The school must then train the instructor for how they want their instructors to teach....
As a school, we never tell people that they will be up and riding in a 3-day course! We tell them they will know the basics of safety systems, weather theory, how to fly and kite and use the wind, how to get onboard, waterstart, ride, self rescue, water relaunch, etc., i.e. an introductory course on the basic principles of kiting. I tell people it normally takes 5 to 15 days to get on the board and ride going upwind somewhat consistently. Progresson depends on the time put into the sport, wind/weather/site conditions, and sports backgrounds that help like wakeboarding, buggying, power kiting, windsurfing, snowboarding, sailing and paragliding.