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News and business analysis for Professionals in International Education
Updated: 16 hours 16 min ago

Jordan to recognise overseas degrees

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 06:41

Jordan will begin to recognise degrees earned at universities overseas if they are acknowledged by accreditation commissions abroad, according to the country’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Higher education minister Adel Tweisi said the reform was instigated to ensure that Jordanian students looking to study overseas were able to choose a reputable institution, by understanding the worth of foreign accreditations. 

“It’s not breaking new ground for universities and countries per se”

“The aim of these amendments is to ensure the quality of the different higher education outputs, and to direct students to register in internationally recognised institutions”, he said.

It is also a streamlining effort, Tweisi told local media.

“It does not make sense to reapply our criteria to each foreign university if we consider that the standards used by most official accreditation commissions are similar to ours.”

Paul Fear, chief executive officer at the British Accreditation Council told The PIE News that the announcement would bring Jordan into line with many other countries.

“This wouldn’t be unusual in Europe and in many countries. It’s not breaking new ground for universities and countries per se.”

He continued to say that the move could benefit students, universities and Jordan.

“With any regulatory regime… opening and allowing students to go outside of the country, study and bring those skills back, one it’s good for the students – they can travel elsewhere, they can choose which institutions they want to study at – they have access to the best institutions in the world.”

Accrediting degrees from other countries “is a very good way of making sure that students do come back”, Fear stated. Skills  returning students bring to Jordan could create employment and ensure the economy is up to speed with the best developments elsewhere.

“In other countries that have been in similar situations … they often just lose their best students to overseas institutions, [who] get well qualified and then stay in the country where they studied because their degree is not being recognised back in Jordan itself.”

However, the impact on universities in Jordan could be negative as well as positive, according to Fear.

“[Universities] might see some students choosing to study overseas, at the same time, there’s more opportunities to collaborate with other universities outside of Jordan. It could significantly improve or help develop Jordanian universities, in terms of developing their reputations.”

The ministry lists recognised universities on its website.

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38% international students in NZ apply through education agents

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 03:25

Almost two-fifths of international students studying in a New Zealand university in 2016 enrolled using the services of education agents, according to the latest report from education marketing consultancy, Studymove.

The International Education Benchmark for New Zealand report, which surveyed 1,781 undergraduate and postgraduate respondents, found on average, education agents recruited 38.7% of universities’ international student populations.

“Agents are a key recruitment channel for New Zealand universities across multiple markets as they are one of the most significant influencers when students are deciding where to study,” said executive director of Universities New Zealand Chris Whelan.

“Our universities work hard to build relationships with agents that are high-quality and high performing.”

While education agents played a significant role in New Zealand higher education, Studymove’s managing director Keri Ramirez said the results of the survey showed opportunities for further engagement.

“38% may be seen high but… Australian Universities received close to 75% of their students via agents,” he said, referring to a 2016 report by the Australian Universities International Directors’ Forum.

“Increased outbound mobility is an important part of university life, and part of the government’s international education policy”

“There are still good opportunities to engage more with education agents and effectively increase the number of international students studying in New Zealand,” Ramirez continued.

The report argued that the overall operational costs of using education agents were relatively small, coming to only 3.7% of total tuition revenue generated by all international students on campus.

“From a financial point of view, education agents are quite an effective recruitment channel,” Ramirez told The PIE News.

As well as looking at agent usage, the report found that universities increased revenue by 7.9%, to hit $371.3m in 2016, off the back of a 10.3% increase in enrolments.

China remained as New Zealand’s top source market for students, representing over a third of all international students at universities.

“China is the top market for New Zealand universities representing 36% of the total commencing international students,” Ramirez said.

“This figure is very similar to 38% reported by the Australian Government and 32% by Open Doors in 2016,” he continued, adding that smaller markets, such as Vietnam, South Korea and Indonesia represented some of New Zealand’s most significant areas for further growth.

Outbound mobility of New Zealand students also saw marked increases in 2016, growing 12.7% to 2,874.

“38% may be seen high but… Australian Universities received close to 75% of their students via agents”

Interestingly, while the number of domestic university students going abroad increased, participation rates decreased to 4.3%, with undergraduate students reporting the largest drop, from 8.5% to 6.1%.

“Increased outbound mobility is an important part of university life, and part of the government’s international education policy,” Whelan said.

“However, there are many factors which students take into account when deciding whether to study abroad. Some of these include language barriers, financial issues, a lack of recognition for study done abroad, prolonging their degree, and a general uncertainty about opportunities to study abroad.”

Whelan told The PIE that universities were aware of the barriers and were currently reviewing ways in which to reduce them an increased study abroad among New Zealand students.

A new strategy for international education is currently underway in New Zealand, after a draft and consultation period last year.

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Exclusive: Oxford International new partnership

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 02:00

Oxford International, the private education provider, has agreed a new partnership deal with the University in Greenwich, in London.

The partnership will have Oxford International create the Greenwich International College, which will operate on the existing Greenwich university campus. OI will then provide a range of pathway programs to both prospective undergraduates and hopeful postgraduates.

“We pride ourselves on working collaboratively with our university colleagues to… support the needs of international students”

The companies are aiming to achieve over 500 enrolments to the new centre over the next five years.

The pathways will assist international students in gaining access to the university-proper, by “developing students’ university level study skills and their English language level,” according to a statement.

Undergraduate pathway graduates will be able to choose from degree subjects relating to business and management, engineering, science, computing, and social sciences and law.

Postgraduates who complete the pathway option and move on to the university itself will be able to choose from a range of degrees related to business and management.

The deal marks Oxford International’s fifth university pathway partnership in the UK. The other partners are Bangor, De Monfort (in Leicester), the University of Dundee and the University of Bedfordshire.

The University of Greenwich said the deal was done to improve its global attractiveness and boost international recruitment, according to vice-chancellor David Maguire, in a statement seen by The PIE News.

David Brown, president and co-founder of Oxford International said the each part of the centre would be run collaboratively between his company and the university, adding that Greenwich was chosen as a “natural fit” to the existing OI portfolio of university international colleges.

“With each partnership we pride ourselves on working collaboratively with our university colleagues to deliver an attractive range of programs that support the needs of international students,” he added in the statement.

The value of the deal was not disclosed by the parties involved.

The first cohort will start in September 2018, and recruitment is now open for the first pathway courses.

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GEMS to open four new UAE schools in 2018/19

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:16

GEMS Education will open four new schools in the UAE for the 2018/2019 academic year in “direct response” to the increased demand for high-quality education across the Arabian Peninsula.

Two British schools will open in Dubai, an IB-candidate school will open in Abu Dhabi and an Indian curriculum GEMS school will be launched in Sharjah.

“Our expansion plans are in direct response to the increased demands for high-quality education in the UAE”

GEMS Vertus School will be located in the Al-Waha region of Dubai and will offer the National Curriculum for England. Initially open to students from Foundation Stage to Year 8, fees will range from Dh34,000 to Dh42,500 (£6,647 to £8,311).

GEMS Founders School Mizhar will be located in Al-Mizhar near Midriff, Dubai, and is modelled after GEMS Founders School in Al Barsha. It will offer the National Curriculum for England to students from Foundation Stage to Year 8, with fees ranging from Dh22,000 to Dh29,000 (£4,296 to £5,663).

GEMS will also open a new Indian-curriculum school in the Juwaiza’a area of Sharjah for students from kindergarten to Grade 5. the Indian-curriculum school will have growth in the older grades.

In Abu Dhabi, GEMS will open a new international curriculum school on Al Reem Island. This new IB-candidate school will cater to students from kindergarten to Year 5.

Each of the four schools will expand by adding more grade levels over the years.

CEO of GEMS Education Dino Varkey said: “Our expansion plans are in direct response to the increased demands for high-quality education in the UAE.

“These additional schools and campuses will provide even more families with the opportunity to access great value for money schools.

“Each new school will be built to ensure that students are learning in environments that allow our experienced educators to nurture each of their individual talents,” he added.

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Rhodes expands scholarships to global students

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 08:41

Rhodes Trust has opened up its scholarship program to students from every country with its introduction of two Global Scholarships.

The prestigious Rhodes Scholarships are for postgraduate applicants to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

The addition of the two new scholarships bring the total number of awards to 100. The remaining 98 are awarded to particular jurisdictions. The trust plans to increase from two Global Scholarships to more over the coming years.

“[We] do not feel constrained by who Rhodes was as a person…  our mission [is] to find incredibly talented people”

Charles Conn, CEO of the Rhodes Trust and warden of the Rhodes House at Oxford, commented, “As an organisation based in Oxford, we are very excited to be able to now offer the opportunity to British students to join the Rhodes community for the first time since the Scholarship program was launched in 1903.”

“Students from regions such as Latin America and elsewhere who did not previously have access to a route to a Rhodes Scholarship can now also join our international network,” he added.

The scholarships were originally limited to countries named in Cecil Rhodes’ will, but as more funding became available the trust opened the program to more jurisdictions and regions around the world.

Scholarships were first available for students in China, East and West Africa, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Palestine, Singapore, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. With the introduction of the two Global Scholarships, students from every country are permitted to apply.

Sir John Hood KNZM, Chairman of the Rhodes Trust, said that diversity is paramount for the program.

“Without different viewpoints and ideas, we will not answer the world’s most complex questions,” he said. “We are proud that we are able to announce a truly global offer to today’s courageous young leaders all around the world. I am extremely thankful to our supportive donors, who have enabled our expansion and helped us achieve this goal.”

Despite his death in 1902, Cecil Rhodes has not left the public eye. In 2015, students at South Africa’s Rhodes University protested and demanded the removal of his statue from their campus, arguing it remained symbolic of imperial rule.

The current leadership of the Rhodes trust and Rhodes House at Oxford see this move as distancing the modern scholarship from its creator. Charles Conn said the organisation “do not feel constrained by who Rhodes was as a person… we believe in our mission to find incredibly talented people who will change the world for the better, they’re just as likely to be found in Indonesia as in Ohio”.

Notable Rhodes Scholars include Notable alumni include former US President Bill Clinton, former Prime Minister of Canada John Turner, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and US media personality Rachel Maddow.

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DIFC teams up with Levant to drive int’l student recruitment

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 03:50

Ireland’s Dublin International Foundation College has joined forces with Istanbul-based Levant Education to establish a dedicated Regional office in Istanbul to promote DIFC’s Foundation pathway programs across Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Azerbaijan. 

In 2017, Levant launched its Higher Education Regional Office service, and with a number of international clients interested in the model, DIFC has become the first to put pen to paper.

“Higher education recruitment is an intensive and complex activity requiring local market knowledge”, explained David Mitchell, Levant Education’s founding director.

“We feel there is more energy towards Ireland because it’s a cheaper destination compared to the UK”

“So having an office and dedicated team on the ground will vastly improve DIFC’s ability to service agents and students in this region.”

Ireland has seen a significant increase in the number of language students arriving from Turkey in particular, and factors including EU membership, post-study work visas, quality and value money make studying at university in Ireland an attractive option for international students.

Levant provides partners with a product manager in-country, working from the Istanbul office and able to manage agent support and marketing campaigns locally, in local languages.

The product manager is trained in close liaison with the partner, works to recruitment targets and reports to the HERO director and the HERO client college.

DIFC offers foundation programs for international students in Dublin and Cork, working closely with Irish HEIs as well as UK universities.

Students studying Health Sciences, Business & Management, Engineering & Technology, and Sciences at DIFC have gone on to study at top universities in Ireland, the UK and globally, and are guaranteed a university placement upon successful completion of the program.

DIFC president and CEO Diarmuid Moroney said he is enthusiastic about the link up.

“The HERO service provides recruitment reach and marketing support in a challenging but fascinating region in the coming years. DIFC is experiencing significant growth and with ambitions to open a third centre in Galway over the coming year, we felt it was important to explore potential new marketing opportunities,” he added.

The service reflects a growing trend in higher education recruitment, as third parties provide marketing and recruitment services ‘white labelled’ for HE providers. 

Regarding the move to collaboration with Irish institutions, Mitchell told The PIE News that Ireland’s economic and political situation made it an easy choice.

“Having an office and dedicated team on the ground will vastly improve DIFC’s ability to service this region”

“We feel there is more energy towards Ireland because it’s a cheaper destination compared to the UK, and value for money which is sellable in the market,” he said, adding that “the fact that it is remaining in the EU and it offers post-study work visas, Ireland ticks all of those boxes.”

Though the headline deal with DFIC is the first agreed partnership, Mitchell makes clear than several organisations are responsible for Ireland’s steady rise as a study destination, and Levant will continue to work with them to ensure the relationship remains strong.

“MEI has helped Ireland to become a good destination for language students… But the awareness of it is something we have to work on. We will continue to work with Enterprise Ireland to see if there is more we can do to promote Ireland as a destination,” Mitchell told The PIE News.

In the UK, UniQuest has developed a white label service to boost onshore university enrolment, while Study Group has begun offering white labelled enquiry conversion in partnership with THE’s university rankings.

Visitors to DIFC’s website from Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan will be referred to the Istanbul Regional Office, which is outsourced to Levant Education.

DIFC’s HERO in Istanbul has also begun to build an agent network, training counsellors on product and visa matters, and promoting study in Ireland.

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Liverpool U expands China offering

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 10:54

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University has announced plans to open a new campus in Taicang, China, in 2020 with the aim of enrolling 6,000 students by 2025.

Bosses say that the new campus will offer a high calibre, international higher education experience with the opportunity to study in China and the UK. It is hoped that enrolments at the new campus will add to XJTLU’s target of teaching 24,000 students by 2028.

“The great number of German businesses in Taicang provides a favourable environment”

Currently, there are 12,000 students and 1,000 staff from more than 50 different countries at XJTLU’s existing campus in Suzhou. Both Suzhou and Taicang border the hub city Shanghai.

University of Liverpool’s vice-chancellor, Janet Beer said that she hopes that the new campus will establish itself in the same way that Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou has done since opening in 2006.

“The new campus will forge innovative, dynamic relationships between the university, local companies and society, providing highly-skilled international graduates and contributing to the knowledge economy,” Beer said.

Youmin Xi, executive president and pro vice-chancellor of XJTLU, said that the campus is a part of a larger aim.

“The new Taicang Campus meets our ambitious mission to develop the ‘University of the Future’, establishing a new relationship between the university and companies, industries, and the wider community.”

He added that the new campus will be for ‘Syntegrative Education’, which involves close cooperation with industry where students gain experience within different companies.

“Because the Taicang campus focuses on developing industry elites, the location needed to be near established industries and industrial resources,” he said. “The great number of German businesses and joint ventures in Taicang provides a favourable environment for our experiment.”

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Gabriela Ardito, President, ARSAA, Argentina

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 09:48
Gabriela Ardito, president of ARSAA and founder and CEO of VCE International, first left Argentina with a group of students to study in the UK in the early 90s. She spoke to The PIE News about working as an educational agent for 25 years, why she set up an Argentine agent association and the state of the Argentinian market.

The PIE: How long have you worked in international education?

Gabriela Ardito: I started back in 1993. I used to have a small language school in Buenos Aires and suddenly I decided I needed to come to the UK because I think, as a teacher of English, coming to the UK is a dream you must fulfil. I had a conversation with the parents of my students, and said I’m travelling to the UK for the first time. I have no experience at all, I’ve never been to Europe before, but if you want I can take your kids with me and we will have an experience abroad.

I was 21 and my students were 18, we were like friends. I was guiding them through the streets of Amsterdam and I didn’t know where I was. It was so much fun.

That was my first trip to the UK, 25 years ago. I brought four students, we spent a full month in Wimbledon School of English and then I took them on a tour of Europe. Two years later, I organised another trip and that’s how I started getting more and more students – word of mouth, someone’s cousin, someone’s brother, sister-in-law. So my groups got bigger. Now my groups are 60, 70 – I’ve got 75 right now.

The PIE: You also work in China?

GA: I send individual students, but I wouldn’t organise group trips there. Many people started to learn Mandarin, but there still isn’t a market for that [in Argentina].

The PIE: So what is the market like for English learners?

“It was pretty difficult. Sometimes I had to bring my students with their fees in their pockets”

GA: It’s very good. In Argentina, people prefer British English to American English. That’s why I come three times a year here, and only once to the US. It’s pretty good, it’s going up. Especially as English has become compulsory in schools. Now all kids have a knowledge of English.

The PIE: Has it become more difficult to sell courses?

GA: No, on the contrary. I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but I’d say that there is more interest. Parents see this as an investment for the future. They are ready to pay for it.

The PIE: Do you offer longer trips or exchanges?

GA: High school is a product which is not very popular in Argentina yet because school owners see it as a drawback. If I take a student away from them for six months, they are losing money. If a student comes to the UK to study, they will not pay fees at home. Although the government establishes that when a student does a course abroad, the local school has to recognise credit for that, school owners will always try to dissuade parents from sending their kids abroad.

This is one of the reasons why I created ARSAA – the Argentine Association of Language Consultants. If we get together, and if we have something interesting to take to the ministry of education, they will understand the importance of a study abroad experience for all kids.

The PIE: Could you tell me a bit more about ARSAA?

“There is a rise in the junior market as well. Many school owners are willing to maybe stop lessons for two weeks”

GA: The founders of the association, myself, and two more agencies – Coined from Cordoba and Interway Consultancy based in Buenos Aires. All three of us started thinking about this idea, I participated in FELTA, in 2014/15 and 2016 and then once we became part of that federation, more agencies in Argentina started showing interest.

We set up a membership fee and set up conditions. We want to set up a kind of quality standard. In order to become a member, we need references from schools in the UK, but also from local people who have already used the services of that agency. If you’re an agent in Argentina you need to provide the names of three schools in Argentina you are working with.

2017 was very important because ICEF asked us to be part of a presentation in ICEF Berlin. As a result, we became more prominent in the market and now we are already eight agencies in the association, which is quite a lot. There aren’t many agencies in Argentina. We have a lot of support from ICEF because they offer training courses free of charge for ARSAA members.

I am also an IALC member, an English UK member, Quality English member.

The PIE: How do those other associations help you?

GA: They help me quite a lot. When someone starts looking for a course abroad, the more accreditations you have, it’s like you have more credibility. You go to their website and you can see my agency and you cannot see others. So definitely that attracts the attention of people.

The PIE: Do the other members also focus on British English?

GA: British English, American English, I think there is an agency that focuses on New Zealand, that is Network, one of our partners. We work with Ireland. I am trying to set up a new program in South Africa. I’m travelling there in March.

I am also interested in a program in New Zealand because in Argentina we are good at rugby. I have some schools which have rugby teams and they would like to have a program combining rugby training sessions with English.

The PIE: In 2011, we reported there were difficulties with foreign exchange laws. Is that still an issue?

GA: Fortunately, there was a change in government. We had the same government for 12 years and there was a slump – nobody could exchange money, nobody could send money abroad. It was pretty difficult. Sometimes I had to bring my students with their fees in their pockets. They paid upon arrival. There was no way you could get any foreign currency. If you paid credit card, they charged a tax of 35%, which made it almost impossible.

I arranged with all my partner schools that we would all pay upon arrival and that’s how I could keep coming.

[The exchange laws] stopped on December 15, 2015. I remember exactly when it was – it was one of the happiest days of my life.

The PIE: Is English the most desired language?

GA: Definitely. We speak Spanish, but our most important second language is English, then Portuguese.

“Many people started to learn Mandarin, but there still isn’t a market in that”

The PIE: How many students are learning English with you now?

GA: In 2015, I brought 120 students during the whole year and then 240 more or less. You also get more individual students who are willing to take a month off work to come here and study. That has been a huge change.

There is a rise in the junior market as well. Many school owners are willing to maybe stop lessons for two weeks, in order to send a group here and that didn’t happen before.

The PIE: Are all your students from private schools?

GA: Yes most. State education in Argentina is just for the poor. Middle-class people send their kids to private schools.

The PIE: How many schools would you say you work with?

GA: At the moment, I work with 16 schools. Right now, in the Wimbledon School of English I have people from Corrientes, which is in the north. I’ve got people from Neuquén which is Patagonia. I’ve got people from Bahia Blanca. So it’s not just Buenos Aires. I work all over the country, I travel quite a lot.

I am also a teacher at the Faculty of History, Geography and Tourism [at university]. I worked for 13 years in the modern languages department teaching phonetics and English language. It’s a good combination because my students who are interested in tourism and geography can get a lot from me because I have travelled a lot and I teach them English.

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UK: HEIs receive partnership funding

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 07:34

Seventeen universities across the UK will receive funding to build on and enhance their global strategic partnerships as part of the UUKi Rutherford Fund Strategic Partner Grants scheme.

The scheme will see 88 fellows from 13 partner countries join research teams at 17 UK institutions.

“UK institutions are continuing to grow the kind of international partnerships which will become ever more vital”

Some 85 institutions entered bids to offer short-term fellowships, and HEIs could choose the combination of partner institutions, length of fellowship and number of fellows to host as part of their bid.

The fellowships are funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy through the £118m Rutherford Fund.

Rutherford Fellows will be engaged in research areas spanning CO2 capture and energy research, at the University of Aberdeen; the challenge of food production in Argentina, at Lancaster University; and resource efficient future cities and infrastructure planning, at Brunel University London.

Through this framework of partnerships, UUKi is aiming to enhance research links between UK institutions and key strategic partners, develop opportunities for collaboration and enhance the reputation of the UK and its institutions in a broad range of countries.

Director of UUKi, Vivienne Stern, described the UUKi Rutherford Fund Strategic Partner Grant as “win-win”.

“International early career researchers get to work with world-leading teams at UK universities and our researchers will benefit from the knowledge of their international colleagues,” she said.

“At the same time, UK institutions are continuing to grow the kind of international partnerships which will become ever more vital in the pursuit of outstanding research.”

Maria Kolokotroni, a professor at Brunel, where five short-term fellowships will be offered to Australian researchers, added: “Grants such as the Rutherford Fund allow British universities to attract the brightest young talent in academia.

“Australia is at the forefront of research on new approaches to solving built environment challenges and I’m very much looking forward to welcoming our newest fellows.”

The full list of HEIs receiving grants can be viewed here.

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India launches web portal to combat bogus courses pre-departure

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 06:32

India, the second largest supplier of students in the international education sector, recurrently finds hundreds of Indian students stranded on foreign shores after getting duped by bogus courses and fraudulent agents.

To help prevent such situations, the Indian government is all set to launch a web portal for international education that will list accredited foreign universities and supply verified information on a range of courses and visa norms.

The web portal is a collaboration of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (which oversees education in India) and Indian missions across the world.

PM Narendra Modi is a vocal proponent of students, often raising it with his foreign counterparts. According to sources, it was through these meetings that the students expressed a need for verified information on foreign courses.

“Governments abroad [presume] Indian students commit fraud and don’t want to study. This is far from the truth”

Jayne Rowley, CEO of Prospects, which the UK’s degree authentication system, believes this web portal in India “would fit very well” with global trends.

“In terms of the database project in India, there are a number of initiatives in this area across the globe. Prospects is the UK signatory to the Groningen Declaration Network and sits on its task force for verification policies and best practice. India is also a signatory to the Groningen Declaration,” Rowley told The PIE News.

This declaration serves global academic and professional mobility needs by helping stakeholders share their authentic educational data through Digital Student Data Portability system. The Task Force is working to develop and maintain a database of trusted national verification providers; mapping a list of recognised institutions in various countries.

“Government intervention in this sector will be very useful. This will lead to the decline of fraudulent applications and also help sift rumours from facts,” said Pratik Shandilya, a counsellor certified by the Indian government, and founder of Adelbert International Education and Consultancy.

“A presumption has arrived in the minds of governments abroad that Indian students commit fraud and don’t want to study. This is far from the truth and so it’s quite important for the Indian government to intervene in this scrutiny of universities and agents.”

Every year 220,000 Indian students travel to 86 global destinations to pursue their higher education with currently 550,000 Indians studying worldwide, according to the latest figures released by the Indian government.

According to WES, an overwhelming majority of Indian students (93%) that used agents indicated they did so to shortlist universities. And this is what worries the government as every year new cases of fraud make headlines.

Bogus colleges and substandard courses have been known to emerge even in popular Western destinations, and thousands of Indian students are left in a lurch with a threat of deportation and a blot on their CVs. Many are also lured by false promises of job prospects and flexible study. Sometimes changes in immigration laws are often not conveyed to students by the agents allegedly wishing to boost their commission through admissions.

“Government intervention in this sector will be very useful”

Agents in India were accused by New Zealand of using immigration promises to secure admissions in substandard courses and providing fraudulent documents to the authorities. Over a hundred students have returned to India this month. Many more are fighting to stay in NZ and complete their studies.

Britain saw deportation of 19,000 students when English language tests came under the scanner after a media investigation found evidence of fraud in those centres. 65 colleges lost their license; students found their fees wasted with no degree secured and were shamed when they were slapped with a deportation and a 10-year visa ban.

Many are still fighting the case, as The PIE continues to report.

In the US, almost 4000 Indian students suffered terrible consequences when the Tri-Valley University in San Francisco, California and University of Northern Virginia were shut down due to an immigration scam in 2011.

Prospective and past international students agree that the web portal will be a useful tool.

“The website is definitely a good idea. This way we can be sure the colleges we apply to are for real,” said Ashutosh Gupta who wants to do business studies in Europe in 2019.

“If this had existed a few years ago, I would not have to return to India when the ELT tests scam erupted in the UK and my career was jeopardised,” added a student who asked to remain anonymous.

The post India launches web portal to combat bogus courses pre-departure appeared first on The PIE News.

Brock to pay international PhD fees

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:31

Brock University, near Niagara Falls, says it will extend financial aid to cover all tuition fees for all international PhD candidates.

It currently employs fellowships to cover all but C$3,500 of the tuition rates, but come May, the institution will raise the amount it spends on covering tuition to the full amount.

“We are seeing a lot more interest from developing countries, northern Africa, Latin America”

The change follows a new funding initiative from the Ontario provincial government, which ups the percentage of the provincial grants universities receive from domestic graduate enrolments than can be spent on international students.

Brock and other HEIs will be able to spend 10% of these funds on covering the cost of enrolling international students. More research-intensive institutions, such as the University of Toronto and McMaster in Hamilton, will be allowed to spend 15% of the grant this way.

The HEIs must charge the international PhD candidates the same as domestic students, in order to benefit from the government plan. This was hinted at in January, when the University of Toronto announced that all international PhDs would be charged domestic fees.

If the three year plan runs smoothly, it is estimated that the province will pay for around 1,200 students’ tuition. It currently funds only 133 students.

A spokesperson for the province said that the plan will aim to benefit both international and domestic students in Ontario.

“[It] will help provide international students with a high quality postsecondary experience … and expand learning opportunities for domestic students who interact with their international counterparts on campuses across the province,” they said.

Jamie Mandigo, vice-provost for enrolment management and international at Brock, said that the decision was made due to rising numbers of applications from developing nations.

“We are seeing a lot more interest from developing countries, from northern Africa … from Latin American countries,” he said.

With the degrees earned in Canada, Mandigo said, students can return to their growing home nations with the tools for growth and prosperity.

“That’s an important role we as a university can play. We have a social obligation to disseminate knowledge worldwide and education can be that catalyst of revitalisation in all parts of the world”.

The announcement came as HEIs across Canada announced record PhD applications, with Waterloo up by 41% and 80% at the University of Alberta.

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Quality English and JAOS sign MoU

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:11

Quality English and the Japanese Association of Overseas Studies have signed a memorandum of understanding which bosses say will support, strengthen and promote co-operation and build collaboration between their members and licensees.

President of JAOS, Yasuo Sone, said that the QE brand has the potential to do well in the country.

“Working with such a trusted provider, we are confident in our shared future,” he said. “Through our co-operation together, I am very excited to see what we can achieve.”

Jonathan Swindell, chief executive of QE, sees the agreement as an efficient way for its schools to build up relationships in Japan.

“We believe this [formalised relationship] will help us to promote the high standards of all QE and Quality English Education schools to agents, students and parents across Japan.”

He added that he looked forward to introducing JAOS members to QE schools at a mission in March in Tokyo.

Speaking to The PIE News, Swindell stated that QE believes future plans in Japan including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and changes to university exams could increase demand with young and senior learners.

Swindell added that QE schools offer Japanese students different opportunities to schools in Asia. According to the Japanese Association of Overseas Studies, Asia has become a more attractive study destination.

“It’s clear that destinations such as the Philippines pose a significant challenge but these countries are offering something very different to the nine English-speaking countries where QE schools are located.”

“This will help us promote the high standards of Quality English Education schools across Japan”

Swindell added that MoUs have been an important way for QE to build relationships with agents, access market data and raise its profile in countries. It has previously signed MoUs with BELTA in Brazil, IALCA in Italy, KAEA in Kazakhstan and UNOSEL in France, some of which QE is hoping to renew over the coming months.

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Aus: international students lured into cannabis “crop sitting”

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 04:00

A spate of convictions has revealed an increasing number of international students in Australia are being exploited and lured into the illicit drugs trade through “crop sitting” to overcome financial difficulties.

Since October 2017, seven current and former international students, all from Vietnam, were convicted of “crop sitting” cannabis plants in Victoria state. In total, 22 students faced trial on similar charges in 2017.

According to Victorian court documents, large criminal syndicates set up houses with equipment needed to cultivate cannabis plants and then recruited students to maintain the plants and live within the dwellings to maintain the appearance of regular occupancy.

“This is a very prevalent crime where young people are often targeted by criminal syndicates and exploited”

Many of those charged with cultivating cannabis for profit cited significant financial stress while in Australia but were paid relatively small sums of money – as little as $150 for a weekend.

ISANA president Bronwyn Gilson said it was common for students to fall into financial difficulties once in Australia, adding she did not believe the financial requirements required for a study visa were at fault.

“Most students who fall into a vulnerable situation do so after arriving, normally through no fault of their own,” she said.

“It can be that those supporting the student financially, usually family members, may lose their job or their business falls on hard times and thus the student needs to seek employment or increase their hours of work. These students then become a target for unscrupulous people who offer them an immediate way out of their financial problems.”

In one case from 25 January this year, Thanh Chau said he obtained a student visa in November 2013 with the dual goals of studying business management at Holmes Institute and using in-study work rights to support his family back in Vietnam, after his parents heard of “supposedly very high wages” in Australia.

After failing to find employment, and then being underpaid working at a strawberry farm and later a butcher, Chau’s mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and the area in which he grew up was hit by an environmental disaster, destroying its fishing industry and putting further pressures on him to send money home.

Chau said he was then approached by one operator to tend to a crop in Melbourne’s East Cranbourne, for which he received $3,000, most of which went back to his parents.

“I accept the difficult circumstances underlying and surrounding this offending,” Judge Gaynor said in sentencing.

“That is, the unrealistic dreams that accompanied your arrival in Australia, your failure to find work – whereby you could appropriately support yourself, financial pressures upon… you in relation to your [family] and the duties and obligations you felt towards them, given the sacrifices they had made to send you to Australia in the first place.”

Chau was sentenced to nine-months for cultivating a commercial quantity of marijuana, with time served, and is expected to be deported back to Vietnam once released from prison.

According to Judge Lawson, criminal syndicates are becoming more aware of the pressures placed on international students and targeting them.

“It would be helpful if international students had access to small short-term, interest-free loans via their provider”

“This is, unfortunately, a very prevalent crime where young people are often targeted by criminal syndicates and exploited because of their vulnerable immigration status and they are recruited to crop sit,” she said.

But while Judge Lawson and others have acknowledged vulnerabilities and exploitation around international students, they have maintained the need for harsh punishments as a deterrent.

“Courts must send a message to other people who are in your position who may be attracted to undertaking this sort of work to make quick money, that if you are caught by the police for this sort of criminal offending, then you will face stern punishment and [jail] is likely,” she told one defendant.

Phil Honeywood, CEO of IEAA, said providers needed to ensure students were fully aware of the potential consequences that face them if they chose to undertake illegal activity.

“Education providers need to ensure that in the orientation materials and orientation program that they provide to newly arrived international students that some of these potentially exploitative and illegal activities… are explained fully and the consequences of a student putting their foot wrong are explained in no uncertain detail,” he said.

“When students come to any new country, they must abide by the laws of the land. As many young Australians have discovered when they’ve gone to Indonesia and chosen to use drugs. There is no sort of excuse for this behaviour.”

Gilson, meanwhile, said better services for students who find themselves in dire situations could help to prevent students resorting to the drug trade for money.

“It would be helpful if international students had access to small short-term, interest-free loans via their provider, supported by the Government,” she said.

A recent survey of migrant workers, including international students, found 40% of students were exploited in the workforce, 73% of which were aware that they were being exploited.

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Germany ranks first for int’l students in Europe

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 03:21

Germany has held on to the top spot as the most attractive European country for international students, the 2018 edition of the Study.EU Country Ranking has revealed. Germany’s combination of world-class higher education institutions and a tuition-free public university system made it the first choice for many students ahead of the UK and France.

Drawing from university ranking data, governmental and university organisation statistics, Study.EU ranked 30 European countries across three dimensions: Education (45%), measuring the quality of education; Cost (30%), assessing what students should expect to pay for living and tuition; and Life & Career (25%), evaluating the quality of life and the chances of staying and working in the country after graduation.

“Based on those statistics, most of the countries in our European ranking are safer than the US”

The popularity of Germany as the top study abroad destination for the second year running was of little surprise, having surpassed its long-term goal of hosting 350,000 international students by 2020 three years early in 2017.

Study.EU CEO Gerrit Bruno Blöss told The PIE News that Germany’s combination of high-quality education with near-zero tuition fees make it a “no-brainer” for many international students, particularly with a growing number of English-taught programs.

The UK came in second, taking the top spot for “Education”, and for “Life & Career” but ranking 30th for “Cost” due to high living expenses and tuition fees.

France, with its highly reputed but affordable higher education system, moved up ahead of the Netherlands to take third place, and Russia rounded off the top five.

Poland was the only new entrant into the 2018 edition’s top 10, having consistently increased the availability of English-taught study options and growing its international student population from just 12,000 to over 65,000 in the past 10 years.

Study.EU Country Ranking 2018. Image: study.eu

 

The 2018 edition also took into account personal safety as a factor in the “Life & Career” category.

“We have noticed that students are increasingly concerned with the safety in their host countries,” said Blöss.

The score for personal safety is based on analyses in the Social Progress Index and includes homicide rates, rates of other violent crimes and incidents of political terror.

“Based on those statistics, most of the countries in our European ranking are safer than, for example, the United States,” Blöss added.

The full ranking of all 30 countries can be seen here.

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AMBA celebrates with annual awards

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 04:42

The Association of MBAs presented four awards to AMBA-accredited schools and their students at its annual Gala Dinner in London in February.

AMBA said the awards are designed to raise awareness of the excellence achieved by its schools, students and graduates. Chief executive, Andrew Main Wilson, thinks this year’s awards did just that.

“The standards of innovation across all our award categories are a credit to our industry and tonight we celebrate the very highest achievements in leadership, from both Business Schools and their eminent MBA students.”

AMBA also used the evening to inaugurate its new chairman, Bodo Schlegelmilch. He was dean of WU executive academy, at Vienna University of Economics and Business from 2004 until 2015 and remains professor of international management and marketing at the institution. 

The student of the year was awarded to Antoinette Catonia Mia Bailey from the University of Hong Kong Business School.

Judges selected Bailey for her proven track record in innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability, and social enterprise.

Bailey, who was an entrepreneur before she started her MBA program, has led multiple fundraising projects for social enterprises during her program. She is currently working on a technology platform.

An MBA graduate from Copenhagen Business School, founder and CEO of NINAYO.com, an online trading platform for agriculture in East Africa won the MBA Entrepreneurial Venture Award

Jack Langworthy said his platform allows small holder farmers to meet demand more efficiently. The mobile-friendly platform has over 22,000 active users and is providing access to over 16,000 tons of food.

AMBA said that past winners of the Student of the Year and Entrepreneurial Venture awards have been able to use the attention to build new networks and contacts and help them to grow professionally and as individuals.

“Tonight we celebrate the very highest achievements in leadership, from both Business Schools and their eminent MBA students”

The MBA Employer and Business School Partnership Award went to Donbasenergo Public Joint Stock Company and International Management Institute Business School. They have more than 10 years of cooperation.

Professor Iryna Tykhomyrova, MIM Business School president, said that the award confirmed the hard work of the partnership was worth it.

“We’re elated to receive this award because this is a confirmation of our partnership and it is a new step for us. This partnership is an enhancement of our school, and we share values in our activities.”

Mona School of Business and Management at the University of West Indies won the innovation award for its Bloomberg Financial Markets Lab – a virtual trading room that provides economic data and electronic trading.

The awards allow schools to develop relations and collaborations with other schools and employers as well as using the leverage from their award to attract new students and build their reputations, organisers added.

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Cohort Go prospects boom with IDP deal

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 03:48

Australian-based edtech company Cohort Go has penned a deal with global education agency IDP, to roll out its services to the agency’s 34,000 clients annually.

A culmination of over two years negotiations, the deal will make Cohort Go’s payment services available to IDP clients, a significant boon for the company after experiencing a 24% increase to its user base in the past six months.

Cohort Go CEO and co-founder Mark Fletcher said the deal would increase exposure for his company’s payment services both within Australia and abroad, and aligned with IDP’s growth expectations.

“This specifically aligns with where we are and what we’re looking to do,” he said.

“It is a big deal, and from our point of view we’re very happy with it”

“A lot of [IDP’s] expansion is into Canada, the UK, New Zealand and to a lesser extent the US, which is fairly similar to our footprint as well. There is a nice synergy and match in the type of company they are, who they’re going after, and ourselves.”

Phase one of the agreement will see the payment services rolled out to IDP branch offices in Australia, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and Bangladesh, with eight additional offices launching later in the year.

Fletcher told The PIE News the deal was a significant moment in the company’s history after it was founded in 2011.

“It is a big deal, and from our point of view we’re very happy with it. It continues to provide that credibility and view on how we’ve gone in the past and where we’re going in the future,” he said.

“We continue to think there are opportunities for us to roll out our broader platform.”

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Trinity College Dublin and Columbia University to offer dual degrees

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 03:31

Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and Columbia University, New York have joined forces to offer a dual degree program that will provide students with an international educational experience at two globally renowned universities on both sides of the Atlantic.

It is the first international partnership of its kind for Trinity, where students will spend two-year periods in both universities and receive degrees from both institutions.

“Trinity is a world-class university with many international partnerships and a vibrant and talented student body”

Irish students would pay regular student contributions for the duration of study in Ireland (up to €3,000 per year), and US fees while at Columbia (circa $50,000 per year).

A Trinity spokesperson confirmed that financial support would be available for students studying in Columbia on a case-by-case basis.

Trinity’s provost and president, Patrick Prendergast and Columbia University’s executive vice president and dean of the faculty of arts and sciences David Madigan signed the partnership agreement at a special US-Irish event stateside in Columbia University.

The newly launched programs are unique in that students will graduate with two degrees over the course of four years.

The inaugural cohort will start later in autumn 2018, as students will spend their first two years at Trinity, studying one of four areas—English Studies, European Studies, History, or Middle Eastern and European Languages and Cultures.

They will then go on to study at Columbia for their second two years, completing a core curriculum and several majors.

The program has proved popular with prospective students, with a very high number of applications received from more than 20 countries worldwide, including Ireland, the US, UK, India, Brazil, Canada and China.

“The arts and humanities are pillars of Columbia University’s stellar reputation”

It builds on the success of two other dual degrees Columbia University already has with the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Sciences and City University of Hong Kong.

Commenting on the new programs, Prendergast said it was an “historic” day for Trinity.

“Trinity has produced some of the world’s great minds across the arts and humanities, including the Nobel Laureate, Samuel Beckett, and more recently the Booker Prize winner, Anne Enright.

“Similarly, the arts and humanities are pillars of Columbia University’s stellar reputation, bringing the world’s best art and ideas to our attention. These dual-BA programs offer a truly international educational experience for our students.”

He added that together, both institutions would draw on the traditional and innovative, encouraging students to challenge themselves and develop an understanding of an increasingly globalised world.

Madigan said that as a graduate of Trinity, he felt particularly proud to launch the new program.

“This dual-BA program gives our students the opportunity to be exposed to ideas, literature, language, and culture through immersion into two of the best undergraduate programs in the world,” he said.

“Trinity is a world-class university with many international partnerships and a vibrant and talented student body. We at Columbia University are thrilled to be its first partner in an undergraduate dual-BA program.

“The collaboration between our faculties has created a dual-BA experience that combines the best of our academic programs, at a scale and depth that will benefit our students with an education that is both Irish and American.”

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Guinness World Record broken for ELT class

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 08:56

It’s official: London hosted a record-breaking English language class last summer.

Guinness World Records has confirmed that English UK London and London Nest’s attempt to break the record for the highest number of nationalities in an English language class was successful.

“This is a tremendous achievement and acknowledgement of all the hard work that goes on by our member language schools in bringing people from all over the world to study in the capital,” English UK London Chair Mark Rendell said.

Many in the UK ELT industry will remember the event last year.

At the English UK London summer party on a sunny July 21, students from 57 countries including Angola, St Kitts and Nevis, Sri Lanka and Guatemala attended a lesson on English phrasal verbs.

“This is just the recognition London deserves for being open, welcoming people from all over the world to learn English”

Organised to celebrate London’s cultural diversity and openness, that lesson made history, breaking a previous record of 50 nationalities in a single ELT class.

A confirmation from Guinness World Records was slow to arrive, but the official certificate has now been presented to representatives of London Nest and English UK London.

Commenting on the news, Herbertson told The PIE News:  “This is just the recognition London deserves for being open, welcoming people from all over the world to learn English.”

“It is no surprise that London is the number one destination for learning English in the UK and the most diverse capital in the world.”

“Thanks to all the students that came along to make this possible and all the English UK London schools who made it happen,” he added.

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Hong Kong’s PolyU wins two int’l education awards

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 03:50

Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University has won two awards in a global competition regarded by the higher education sector to be the “Oscars in Education”.

Co-organised by Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and QS, the Reimagine Education Awards celebrates innovative higher education pedagogies that enhance student learning outcomes and employability.

“We shall strive for the best to nurture our university students to be socially responsible and ethical leaders in tomorrow’s world”

PolyU received a gold award in the “Sustainability” category and a silver award in the “Ethical Leadership” categories in the 2018 competition, which received 1,000 entries from institutions all over the world.

Winners were selected by a panel of international judges for having outstanding achievements in terms of innovation, scalability and depth across 17 award categories.

PolyU was presented a gold award in the Sustainability category for its commitment to fostering sustainable development of students and the younger generation through education.

The university’s winning project was a service-learning subject entitled “Promotion of Children and Adolescent Development”, targeting at children and adolescents in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Hong Kong.

The subject aims to enhance resilience and aspiration of service targets as well as social responsibility of university students.

PolyU’s winning entry for the Ethical Leadership category was an intra-personal development subject entitled “Tomorrow’s Leaders” offered to more than 2,000 PolyU undergraduates every year since 2012/13.

The subject aims to cultivate essential qualities of ethical leadership among students, such as morality, integrity and leadership skills.

Associate vice president for Undergraduate Programs at PolyU and the designer of the two winning subjects, Daniel Shek, said the university has been leading in the areas of service-learning and leadership education both locally and regionally.

“We are encouraged by this international recognition and we shall strive for the best to nurture our university students to be socially responsible and ethical leaders in tomorrow’s world,” he added.

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Ireland strengthens education links with Middle East

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 03:05

Students from the United Arab Emirates are able to travel to Ireland without a visa following the easing of travel restrictions to boost trade, tourism and business relationships between the two countries.

At the end of January 2018, the minister for justice and equality in Ireland, Charlie Flanagan, signed an order lifting the visa requirement for Emiratis travelling to the country.

“These students…are extremely curious, willing to learn, polyglots, aware of cultural differences, open to change, and assimilate to new environments”

Flanagan said the removal of visa requirements is a very significant step which will facilitate Ireland’s growing trade, tourism and business relationships with the UAE.

He said it represented “a further strengthening of the strategically important relationship between the two countries” and will foster increased cooperation across areas including education.

“I am very pleased we have been able to lift the visa requirement for citizens of the UAE who wish to travel to Ireland and we look forward to welcoming increased numbers of Emirati business people, students and tourists who will travel to Ireland following the lifting of the visa requirement.”

The ambassador of Ireland to the UAE, Paul Kavanagh added: “This is a big day for developing ever closer ties between Ireland and the UAE in business, education and especially in tourism.”

The easing of visa restrictions for Emiratis serves to further strengthen Ireland’s relationship with the Middle East, after two Irish universities, a third level private college and Marketing English in Ireland visited Iran in November 2017.

The schools, University College Dublin, University of Limerick and Griffith College, which already host a number of Iranian students, met with agencies, representatives of colleges and the honorary consul of Ireland in Iran as part of the excursion.

The CEO of MEI David O’ Grady told The PIE News that it was an excellent introduction to the market in Iran and an opportunity to meet students with a strong desire to learn English.

“Iranian students are marvellous students, and universities long for more of them because they are giving and committed,” he added.

Trade representative at the Embassy of Ireland Abu Dhabi, Eamon Al Sikafi was also in attendance to meet with agents and gain a better understanding of how the recruitment works.

Sikafi told The PIE that the students he met were extremely well educated through self-funding and that Iran is a market Ireland needs to explore further.

“Most Iranians have bachelor degrees, it is the minimum requirement to get a job. When faced with unemployment, they hold themselves mutually accountable; getting another degree and learning a new language is top of their ventures,” he said.

“These students…are extremely curious, willing to learn, polyglots, aware of cultural differences, open to change, and assimilate to new environments.”

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