All Posts Tagged With: "international"
How one mother coped when her daughter left for school
From the Maclean’s University Rankings—on newsstands now. Story by Ellen Vanstone.
I wasn’t actually planning to attend college with my daughter Eliza when her acceptance letter arrived in the mail last spring. That would be creepy—like the mother in that Robert Munsch book who stalked her grown-up son, breaking into his house to cuddle him while he slept. I am perfectly aware that the parentally appropriate, non-crazy thing to do when your child leaves home is to let them go and have their own life.
And yet, I still felt there should be some kind of special dispensation in my case—since the school that accepted my child was the Savannah College of Art and Design, on the Savannah River, in Savannah, Ga.
The basics of studying abroad
From the Maclean’s University Rankings, on sale now. Story by Jane Bao.
Study abroad programs let students immerse themselves somewhere else, maybe halfway around the world, while earning credit at their home university. And depending on the field, a stint overseas could give grads a career boost. It’s not uncommon for engineers to work abroad, says Jean Choquette, an executive director at Université de Montréal’s engineering school, École Polytechnique. “Openness to foreign cultures, languages and methodology are part of the basic competencies that employers are looking for,” says Choquette.
Tuition is paid to the Canadian university—a good way around some hefty international fees—but students must count on travel and living costs. And the door swings both ways, allowing international students to study in Canada and meet their Canadian peers.
No snacks? No professor.
A professor at Sacramento State University in California walked out of his first-year psychology class Thursday because his students didn’t bring any snacks, reports the Sacramento Bee.
Some students were upset about missing their last lab before their midterm exam and complained.
But Prof. George Parrott said students were warned in the course handout that “Not having a snack = no Dr. Parrott or TAs. Now you are responsible for your own lab assignment.”
Parott told The Bee that the snack obligation is his way of encouraging students to work collectively, because they must collaborate on what to bring.
“Having these goodies in the class breaks down some of the formality and some of the rigidity in the class,” he added. Parrot, who is semi-retired, said he has required snacks in class for 39 years.
Tuition rally fizzles
Despite having 4,000 police ready in case the protest got out of hand, Scotland Yard says that only about 2,500 protesters showed up for a mass rally against high tuition fees in London, U.K. Organizers, on the other hand, told Sky News that 10,000 showed up, though they hoped more would have joined. After all, more than 50,000 marched with the same demands in the summer, during which protesters smashed the windows of the Conservative party’s headquarters.
At today’s protest, students carried placards denouncing the government’s policy that allowed tuition fees to rise to $14,500 at many schools. Some showed their middle finger as they passed the London Stock Exchange. Twenty were arrested by 4 p.m. local time, police told The Telegraph.
Police had warned on Monday that they would use rubber bullets and batons if necessary to quell violent protesters. Twitter users blamed police intimidation for the lower-than-expected turnout.
Up to 1,000 a year will be accepted
Canada is making it easier for international Ph.D. students—who make up one-quarter of the total—to stay permanantly, Minister of State (Science and Technology) Gary Goodyear announced today on behalf of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Starting Nov. 5, international Ph.D. students can apply to be accepted as federal skilled workers, so long as they have at at least two years of study toward the doctoral degrees under their belt or have graduated in the past 12 months, and are in good academic standing.
Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, said the announcement will give Canada a “competitive edge” in attracting international students.
Taxpayer watchdog opposed
Starting next April, foreign students attending high schools or post-secondary schools in Manitoba will get free health care coverage for themselves and their dependents, reports the Winnipeg Sun. That will save them roughly $400 each annually on private health insurance.
But the Canadian Taxpayer Federation’s Manitoba director says it’s “madness” for the province to pick up the tab, citing a growing provincial debt.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health defended the decision, saying that providing free health care to the province’s 3,200 international students and their families will give Manitoba a competitive advantage in recruiting more students, who may eventually settle in the province. The official did not provide an estimate of how much the program will cost, but suggested it will be minimal because most students are young and healthy.
But how long can it last?
Norway is one of the last remaining countries where foreign students can attend university without paying a cent of tuition money. But with free school increasingly rare, how long can it last?
Shocking as it may seem to many Canadians, Norweigians don’t charge any tuition to anyone—which was, until recently, normal in Scandinavia. Now, Denmark, Finland and Sweden all charge tuition fees, leaving Norway the only free option.
It should be unsurprising then to learn that foreigners are choosing Norway more often than ever. When non-European Union students were charged tuition fees for the first time this year in Sweden (up to $21,000 each), applications dropped 85 per cent. Meanwhile, Noway’s University of Oslo experienced a 60 per cent rise in popularity. Since 2008, the number of foreign students in Norway is up 27 per cent overall.
Forbes lists The Top 10 Most Expensive Colleges
Forbes has compiled its annual list of the Top 10 Most Expensive Colleges in America. The winner (uh, winner?) is Sarah Lawrence College, a 1,300-person institution in Yonkers N.Y., which costs $58,334 per year. So what exactly are students getting for their $240,000 degrees? “In practically all cases, our classes are seminars with an average head count of 12 students,” Thomas Blum, vice president for administration, told Forbes. It’s also noted that their small size means a small endowment, making it difficult to keep classes so intimate without charging more.
Every school on the list topped $40,000 in tuition, but that’s a bit deceiving considering most schools give out large amounts of student aid to most students. For example, the second most-expensive school is the University of Chicago, which gives out an average of $27,460 per student to nearly two-thirds of the student body. An exception is the New School for Design, which offers little aid, but still manages to attract students willing to pay $57,199 to study where Donna Karan did.
Curiously, Columbia University in New York, at No. 5, is the only Ivy League school on the list.
Students fight back with class-action lawsuit
An American college, Linn State Technical in Missouri, implemented a mandatory drug testing program this month, claiming to be the first college in the U.S. to sample students’ urine.
“Drug screening is becoming an increasingly important part of the world of work,” the school wrote in a statement. If students refuse to urinate in a cup, they face possible expulsions.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action lawsuit Wednesday alleging the school has violated its students’ constitutional rights. Also on Wednesday, a Missouri federal judge granted the ACLU’s request for a restraining order to stop the school from analysing the urine specimens it collected or releasing any of the test results, an ACLU spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.
“Linn State Technical College…. has had no documented drug problems over the course of its 50-year history and no reason to suspect that the students subject to testing have been engaged in the use or abuse of illegal drugs,” says the statement of claim filed by the ACLU. “The mandatory, suspicionless drug testing required under the College’s new policy is a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Ordinarily, the Fourth Amendment prohibits such searches…”
Kent Brown, a lawyer representing the college told the Wall Street Journal: “Linn State Technical College takes seriously its responsibility to deliver quality technical education to Missouri students while exploring every available avenue to protect and prepare those students to compete effectively in occupations where pre-employment drug testing is quickly becoming the norm.”
More than 70 universities are charging new maximum
Only 29 per cent of British adults believe that a university education is worth £9,000 ( $14,431) a year, while 56 per cent believe that it isn’t worth that much and fifteen per cent are unsure, according to a new poll by YouGov that was reported on by Times Higher Education.
The news comes as British students enter a school year in which more than 70 universities are charging the new maximum tuition rate of £9,000 ($14,431) a year. When the cap was raised from £3,350 ($5,376) earlier this year, Britain’s Business Secratary had predicted that schools would only choose to charge that amount “in exceptional circumstances.” That proved to be untrue.
Brits are also divided when asked how graduates will fare in the long term, with 42 per cent agreeing that they “will end up worse off in the long term, as their increased earnings will be outweighed by the cost of going to university.” Forty per cent disagree and 18 per cent are unsure.
Finish in four years or pay for it yourself: Ontario government
Six international doctorate students at the University of Western Ontario are fighting a new rule that forces them to pay up if they take more than four years to complete their degrees. They say that if they get sent home, their education — subsidized so far by Canadian taxpayers — will be wasted.
Saad Anis of Pakistan is one of those students. He told Inside Higher Ed that he may never finish his Ph.D. in philosophy, because he can’t afford to pay the international tuition of $16,000 plus living costs to take a fifth year. Although Ph.D. Humanities students at Western take an average of nearly six years to graduate, international students are funded only for four.
“Transfer is one option,” Anis said. “But I think most likely what is going to happen is I will not be able to finish and I’ll just go back home [to Pakistan] and teach at a high school or something.”
Russell Poole, the associate dean of research and graduate studies for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities said: “I feel very sorry for them that the rules have changed and those rules have changed while they’ve been here.” But, he added that Western doesn’t owe them more funding. “It would be simply wrong to say that any time a student is not completing in four years the university has the obligation to provide funding for the fifth or sixth year,” he said.
Henrik Lagerlund, the philosophy department chair feels that it would be a waste for the students not to finish, but added, “I think I can say with confidence that this program is doable in four years.”
Professors will study English, economics
Six North Korean professors will study English and Business at the University of British Columbia over the next six months. Professor Kyung-ae Park, director of the Centre for Korean Research at UBC, told South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency that the six professors are the first group to have been invited under the Canada-DPRK Knowledge Partnership Program. DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The program is very unusual in that it allows North Korea’s professors to conduct research on a long-term basis,” said Park. “Other universities in North America are paying close attention to the program, and through it, I plan to push for exchanges between university officials of the two countries.”
The professors will have much to teach Canadians too. It’s rare that North Koreans are granted permission to travel beyond the borders of the repressive regime headed by Kim Jong Il. Universities, like much of the country, are in shambles due to the failure of its centrally-planned economy. Earlier this year, university students were reassigned to physical labour projects, in part to prepare for the 100th anniversary of the birth of their dead founder, Kim Il Sung.
Park said she believes educational exchanges are an important mechanism through which the two countries can improve relations. North Korea and Canada established diplomatic ties in 2001, but things soured when the DPRK tested nuclear weapons.
This isn’t the first time North Korea has sent professors abroad. They have also sent professors to study economics in Switzerland.
Scholarship money provided by U.S. Department of State
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza is upset that the Hamas-controlled government has stopped eight students from travelling to the U.S. to study on scholarships.
The Minister of Education told the 15- to 17-year-olds, who had received funding through the U.S. Department of State, that they can not leave the country because of “social and cultural reasons.”
“This decision means that a number of our best students will be deprived of benefiting from scholarships to study abroad while we are in a dire need to communicate with the outside world,” said PCHR in a press release, adding “it is neither acceptable nor logical that … we impose illegal restrictions on the enjoyment of the right to education and the right to freedom of movement.”
The Youth Exchange and Study Program scholarship recipients would have lived with host families, attended U.S. high schools and participated in community service, youth leadership training, civics classes and other workshops for one year. Palestinians from Gaza have participated since 2003.
PCHR says they made an “intensive effort” to persuade the Minister to change his mind.
Hamas, which overthrew the Palestinian Authority in Gaza in 2007, is considered a terrorist organization by the Canadian government for having launched hundreds of terrorist attacks.
Public schools compete for high-paying international students
Last year, Patricia Gartland, who works for a suburban Vancouver school district, brought in $16 million selling 1,700 B.C. classroom spots to foreign students, largely from China and South Korea. Gartland, who started her job as director of international education with the Coquitlam School District in suburban Vancouver over 10 years ago, has made the program in Vancouver one of the most extensive in Canada and the envy of the scores of districts across the country looking to cash in on the growing market for international students.
With international students paying $10,000 to $14,000 to attend Canadian schools, public school administrators across the country are setting up for-profit international student programs to compete for their dollars. One 2009 study estimated some 35,000 foreign students in the K-12 system contribute almost $700 million annually to the Canadian economy—a win-win for students, who get an invaluable leg-up when applying to North American post-secondary schools, as well as district administrators, who make up to 50 per cent profit on the tuition.
International student programs aren’t new to Canada, but at the K-12 level they’re rarely talked about, although most provinces have had programs for at least a decade. No province has been more successful at bringing in international students than B.C., with some 9,000. Capitalizing on the demand for a Western diploma and an English-language education, B.C. schools compete with Britain, the U.S. and Australia to recruit students overseas. School districts send staff abroad to meet foreign school officials and to attend trade shows. Domestically, the districts liaise with the Lower Mainland’s tight-knit Chinese and Korean communities, looking for overseas relatives. Once in Canada, the students live with extended family or billets. The students are offered supplementary language classes in tandem with regular studies, though eventually most opt for the standard curriculum.
B.C. has offered an international student program since the ’80s, but recruitment intensified after 2001, according to the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, when the government made cuts to the education system. “School boards were short $275 million,” says BCTF president Susan Lambert. New legislation, she says, “encouraged them to find alternative sources of funding.”
In 2002, Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government passed the School Amendment Act; the bill, seen by some academic experts as a move to embrace a marketized version of public education, cast school districts as business corporations, they say, and parents and students as consumers. By 2007-08, international student enrolment in B.C. peaked at 9,500 students, with an associated revenue of $129 million. But critics say that what’s emerging is a two-tier public education system that punishes the districts that need the most help.
Larry Kuehn, research director at BCTF, reports international student programs exacerbate existing inequalities in the public system by making the richest districts—those that can afford to invest in overseas recruitment—richer, and leaving poorer districts in the dust. Ultimately, says Kuehn, the programs are outside equalization factors in the provincial funding system built to circumvent such wealth disparity. Take Coquitlam, Gartland’s school board, where international student money has kept enrolment high and schools open, and afforded new development opportunities for staff and “very robust” student services, including a Confucius classroom and the first bilingual Mandarin kindergarten class in the province. “I’m wondering at the irony of an education system that says if you’re a for-profit school we’re not going to give you any funding at all but as a public school we’re going to allow you to sell to foreigners,” says Peter Cowley, education policy researcher at the Fraser Institute. “We have seen school districts in B.C. establishing for-profit companies.”
The B.C. Ministry of Education, however, rejects the notion that district inequality is an issue. “Each district has the choice of whether to offer such programs,” wrote B.C. Education Minister George Abbott in an email to Maclean’s. “Our school districts have both the autonomy and the responsibility for international student programs.”
So the districts that can recruit international students hope to emulate Coquitlam or West Vancouver, where foreign students bring in the equivalent of 16.4 per cent of its operating budget. It may not be the traditional portrait of public education, but it could be the future. In Ontario, for example, the number of international secondary students increased by six per cent between 2007-08 and 2009-10.
Back in Coquitlam, Gartland is developing student markets outside of Asia. But for now, she’s sanguine. :Suddenly everyone understands all the great benefits of this,” says Gartland. “Our mayor of Coquitlam says our program is bigger than the casino.”
Profs working in Canada “must have no record of Falun Gong”
A rule imposed by Confucius Institutes — an educational arm of the Chinese government that operates on at least eight Canadian campuses — breaks “all human rights codes in Canada,” human rights lawyer Clive Ansley told The Epoch Times.
The main CI website says that overseas volunteer Chinese teachers must have “no record of participation in Falun Gong,” a spiritual practice with roots in Buddhism and Taoism. China’s government vehemently opposes the practice and has arrested and killed many adherents, according to Amnesty International.
Barb Pollock, vice president of external relations at the University of Regina, told The Epoch Times that she did not know about the rule, but promised that her school’s agreements with China “have everything to do with academic freedom.” She also said that although teachers are selected by their Chinese partner, Hunan University, “what they teach [here] is our business.”
In June, the University of Manitoba rejected the idea of a Confucius Institute on campus. The University of British Columbia has also declined. But more than 320 exist worldwide, where they offer credit and non-credit courses in language and history.
China says that the funding of CIs—$150,000 initially and up to $200,000 per year after that— is meant to promote cultural understanding. But along with the money, schools have signed constitutions that say that “institute activities must … respect cultural customs, and shall not contravene concerning laws and regulations in Canada and China.”
Terry Russell, an Asian Studies professor at Manitoba, says that such rules compromise academic freedom, because academics are dissuaded from discussing Taiwan, Tibet, Falun Gong, or the Tiananmen Square massacre. That could result in an unrealistically positive view of China among the students who pass through the credit courses they offer in Canada, he says.
Protesters want national government education reform
Hundreds of people have been arrested in Chile after students and professors took to the streets to protest new education reforms in the country. Local authorities report that 874 people have been arrested and 90 police officers injured after a series of peaceful protests turned to clashes between students and police. Chile has seen a series of street demonstrations emerge over the past few weeks in response to President Sebastian Pinera’s announcement that education spending will be slashed earlier this year.
According to a report by AFP, students are pushing for an amendment to the constitution to include the right to education, as well as increased financial assistance and government accountability in matters of education. Over the past several weeks, students have staged demonstrations that include a kissing protest and a superhero protest, though neither turned as ugly as Thursday’s rally, which saw police use tear gas and water cannons on crowds in Santiago.
Students and professors plan to file a complaint over police use of force at the demonstration.
Foreign students were staring down 10 per cent fee hike
International students at Dalhousie University have been spared a 10 per cent hike to their already-expensive tuition fees.
Could governments finally be defending the students who bring so much money into Canada?
Dalhousie had proposed a seven per cent hike in differential fees, on top of the regular three per cent increase for all students, which would have meant a 10 per cent hike for internationals.
That was rejected by the Nova Scotia government in favour of an increase of 3.5 per cent in differentials, or 6.5 per cent in total. Currently, international students pay $3,630 more per term (or $7,260 more per school year) than Canadian students.
Dalhousie officials said they had requested the larger increase to support improved services for international students, including more advisors and workshops. Carolyn Waters, vice president academic, told the Chronicle Herald that more services are necessary because the number of international students at Dalhousie has grown by 85 per cent since 2008.
They now make up 10 per cent of the total student population.
But several international students had complained about the proposed increase, arguing that it was unfair and unafforable. Some wrote letters to the provincial government, saying that a fee increase would drive international students away from the university.
“[International students] might have to go back to their own country or shift to another university,” Meela Auaduer, a second year student from Malaysia, who penned one of the letters, told the CBC.
The debate over international student’s fees has been heating up across Canada in the past few years. International students pay up to three times what domestic students pay to attend. For example, a full time domestic student at the University of Manitoba studying Law would pay $8,705 in tuition per year while an international student would pay $19,863 for the same course.
The differential fees are meant to reflect the fact that governments provide much of the funding for domestic students. (Click to see how much of your tuition bill is covered by the government.)
But the students are all very good for Canada’s economy. A report from Foreign Affairs and International Trade showed that there were 178,000 international students studying in Canada, who produced $6.5-billion for the economy in 2008. $291 million went directly into government coffers. In total, international students created economic activity that sustained 83,000 Canadian jobs.
Other student groups will be pleased with Nova Scotia’s decision. ”The term that’s being used here a lot on campus [for international students] is ‘cash cows,’” Aisyah Abdakahar, a former vice-president for the University of Manitoba Students Union, told the Winnipeg Free Press.
Memorial University may invite him back to campus
Qiang Tang, the 23-year-old Chinese student who stabbed a fellow English as a Second Language student in March got a sentence of 12-months probation today, with a condition that he must stay away from Memorial University unless he’s invited back.
Tang stabbed the fellow student after being accused of talking too loudly in class. He had originally been charged with aggravated assault, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault causing bodily harm.
“The fact [that] this occurred on campus was an aggravating factor as assaults in schools have been treated seriously by the court,” Judge David Orr said in court.
Defence attorney Rosellen Sullivan told the court that Memorial University will decide whether or not to allow Tang back on campus after their own investigation is completed.
Citizen and Immigration Canada will decide whether to deport Tang after its own investigation.
Freedom from Pain shows global War on Drugs hurting patients
A documentary made by University of British Columbia journalism students aired on Al Jazeera’s People & Power on Wednesday.
Freedom from Pain, which can be streamed here, shows how patients in developing countries suffer without access to legal painkillers, in part because the global war on illegal drugs like heroin has made legal opiates hard to find.
Students from the school’s international reporting class went to India, the Ukraine and Uganda for two weeks each.
In the Ukraine, they met a former KGB officer who was dying of end-stage prostate cancer and who slept with a gun under his pillow in case of unbearable pain. They showed how a young man risks jail to sell him narcotics.
The student reporters even get the executive director of the UN Office of Drug Crimes to admit on camera that his work causes pain and suffering for patients.
The first UBC International Reporting class won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting for their documentary Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground.
Peter Klein, who has worked for NBC’s 60 Minutes, 20/20 and Nightline, oversees the International Reporting course and was recently promoted to Director of the UBC Graduate School of Journalism.
Chinese citizen attacked fellow student at Memorial
A Chinese student taking English as a Second Language at Memorial University pleaded guilty to stabbing another student Tuesday in St. John’s, reports CBC News. Crown and defence lawyers jointly requested that Qiang Tang, 23, serve 12 months of house arrest, plus probation. Tang was arrested in March at Spencer Hall after the attack.