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Canada makes a mess of it.

June 13th, 2013

There is nothing like spending a week talking to students in India’s Punjab to bring a focus to what a mess Canada has made in a market that has spilled over to international recruiting around the globe. Read More

Canada’s int’l edu strategy: Low-lying fruit

May 6th, 2013

Two weeks ago I met with an excellent engineering degree graduate in India whom I counselled for a master degree in Canada. He was dubious about this study pathway and asked me point blank: “Sir, why then do most Indians go for Post Graduate Diplomas ?” Read More

“No Confidence” in the University’s ability to change.

March 19th, 2013

I have never met the president of New York University. I don’t know much about John Sexton, other than the faculty of NYU voted “no confidence” against him last week. What I do know is this is an acute illustration of how poorly structured universities are to tackle the dramatic challenges they face. Read More

Is Canada and India brewing in the same kettle ?

January 10th, 2013

In the recent University Affairs, Professor Douglas Parker of Laurentian University critiques his teaching experience in India. He claims in turn for high tuition fees at private universities, expectations were that regardless of how students did, they passed. Point well taken. But aren’t some of our Canadian pots the ones calling the Indian kettle black. Read More

The Rankings Rankle

November 12th, 2012

The latest Maclean’s university rankings came out last week. It’s a big seller for Maclean’s and biggest con in Canadian post-secondary education. In Canada, where virtually all universities are public, funded to a similar base per student, and regulated to maintain the same standards, it’s a manipulation to make hay with rankings. Read More

Doubling the number of international students in Canada. Is it nonsense ?

October 4th, 2012

Doubling the number of international students in Canada in the next ten years ? Adding more than 200,000 new international students to Canada is called a realistic goal by the federal government commissioned report on Canada’s international education strategy. Realistic ? Or nonsense ? Read More

Strippers or Students ? The new SPP.

August 6th, 2012

I had always considering the Student Partner Program rather dubious. The SPP which was first launched in India after years of pressure applied by Canadian community colleges and local politicians on the Federal government, has resulted in the huge jump of students at Canadian colleges in the last three years. Read More

Do the tea leaves point to a new brew in Ontario ?

May 16th, 2012

A confluence of factors all in the news this week may give us a good indication of what to look for down the not-too-distant-road in Canada’s biggest province with its most number of universities and students.
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Manitoba: Diligence be Damned.

May 2nd, 2012

In December 2004 I was asked by the Province of Manitoba to come to Winnipeg and give a full day information session on how to work with education agents. My workshop’s main message was all about vigilance and diligence. Read More

Student protests, faculty pensions – connect the dots (special commentary for The Globe and Mail)

April 3rd, 2012

Universities don’t dare talk about the connection. But there’s a rather obvious relationship between the thousands of students on the streets of Montreal this month and the billions of dollars in faculty salaries at Canadian campuses.
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Playing loose with provincial licenses, in China.

March 21st, 2012

Last week I visited one of the best high schools in southern China which now also officially offers a Canadian high school diploma via a provincial curriculum. My visit was a disturbing experience, which is all too common in China. Read More

International recruiting’s (not so well kept) dirty little secret

February 15th, 2012

It may be news that America’s Dickinson State University was giving bogus degrees to undeserving students from China, but it’s hardly surprising.

The Vancouver television exposé (Global News, “16×9″ documentary) on BC’s Douglas College granting degrees with doctored grades to its students at its Chinese college partner – is also not going to shock anyone Read More

Lesson in Lahore for Canada. America not wanted !

January 18th, 2012

I spent last week in Pakistan. I’ve been going there since 1998 and have made about fifty trips. Lahore is my favourite city in South Asia. But my how things have changed.

When I first got to Karachi 14 years ago, a Canadian dollar got you about 35 Pakistani rupees. Today it’s almost 90. Back then when I talked to students and families about going abroad for higher education, the United States was almost always the first choice, with the UK, a traditional Commonwealth destination for three generations, still a distant second. No more. Read More

Agents, America and more toothless regulations.

January 9th, 2012

Last year “The Edge” asked if the self-appointed American organization regulating the ethical standards of education agents, is actually able to police its policies.

The American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) was in the spotlight last year, as the debate raged on over whether U.S universities should use recruiting agencies. Read More

Silence of the Deans

November 16th, 2011

There is a connection between the fraud perpetrated by education agents in China (and elsewhere) and the unethical practices of major multi-national banks. You’ll find the intersection at many Business schools at many well known universities. How so ? Highly educated Deans have been silent on the subject, and just like the education agents and bankers, the silence has been bought and paid for.
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Canada’s Aussie coast line

September 28th, 2011

Two announcements last week, impacting on international students made about eight thousand miles apart – have a very intense intersection.

In Canberra, the Australian government announced changes to expedite student visas, and once in Australia, students who then graduate would be eligible for a four-year work permit. For a country reeling from a collapse in international student numbers – some of it was self-inflicted by alleged racially motivated assaults at home and volumes of bad press abroad – that’s called upping the ante !
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Foreign cheating begins right here at home

September 7th, 2011

A big story over the Labour Day weekend in Canada took aim at international students as the most likely to cheat in their studies. The Globe and Mail cited international students as disproportionately plagiarizing or conniving on exams, and quoted a Toronto legal aid clinic stating more than half of its clients fighting academic offenses are international students.
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In conflict: Recruitment and Regulation in America.

May 25th, 2011

Two things to declare up front:
1. I first met Mitch Leventhal at NAFSA eight years ago and have pitched doing work for him to recruit international students. He is currently the Vice Chancellor for global affairs at the State University of New York.
2. As readers of “The Edge” will know, my own company, Higher-Edge, and its brand the Canadian University Application Centre (CUAC), is the leading global initiative recruiting students to Canadian universities.

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Is a former Canadian Minister of Immigration working with Indian immigration agents?

April 27th, 2011

A former Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is fronting for an immigration agency in Punjab. Does that strike you as fair game?

The former Canadian Alliance, Reform, and Conservative party elected representative from southern Alberta (Medicine Hat), Mr. Monte Solberg’s presence in Punjab recently, was organized by the biggest immigration agency and resettlement company in the world for Canada. It was big news with photos and articles splashed across Indian newspapers and TV.
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Student Polling Program (SPP).

March 9th, 2011

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s recent troubles, and those of his governing Conservative Party, have an interesting intersection with the recruitment of international students to Canada’s community colleges.
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An arranged marriage, or a shotgun wedding?

January 26th, 2011

The Ontario government wants its universities and colleges to get closer. The Government wants easy mobility for students moving between the different sectors with an official system of transfer agreements allowing a seamless transition from college to university. Others provinces have such arrangements: BC, Alberta and Quebec. But Ontario ? Colleges and Universities cooperating in that province? Better chance to have Conservatives make nice with the Liberals?
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Change. Crisis. Coming…to Canada.

December 15th, 2010

If you were shocked by Russia and Qatar’s winning bids to host future World Cups of soccer, then your eyes are have been closed for the past few years. You are missing the huge flashing neon signs declaring dramatic changes around the world. Change in soccer, in power, in finance, and more. As New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote on November 11, 2010, about change and the speed of this global transformation:
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What’s a Visa Officer to do?

November 17th, 2010

So the Toronto Star reports (Nov 9) that an Indian Punjabi immigration/education agent collects hundreds of thousands of dollars facilitating hundreds of admissions to Canadian colleges where almost all the Study Permit (visa) applications are fraudulent. What’s new?
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Bogus in Bangladesh

October 27th, 2010

Two young men came to see me in our Dhaka office on October 11th. They showed me their admission letters to a Canadian college and their visa refusal letters from the Canadian High Commission’s Visa Section in Bangladesh.
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Truth be told. The Globe and Mail uses its front page to question the partners Canadian universities get into bed with.

October 20th, 2010

Finally ! Some truths are told in the mainstream media about the perils Canadian universities expose themselves to when entering schemes where unaccountable third party agencies market their programs. Of all such schemes, none is more fraught with this peril, than those known as “foundation” or “bridge” or “pre-U” programs, whether in Canada or abroad, that may expressly entice students ill-suited to study in universities.
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October 6th, 2010

If you saw The Globe and Mail this week and its story on how Canadian CEOs lack international experience and the subsequent global sophistication and competitiveness, you could have just as easily been reading about Canadian universities.
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The missing link. Canadian disconnect on marketing the maple leaf.

September 22nd, 2010

As a Canadian living in Thailand, it’s great being anonymous. People know little, nor care, about Canada. Great for the quiet life I seek here. Not so good for Canada.
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Immigration Minister points in wrong direction

September 8th, 2010

Canada’s immigration minister is in India this week, asking that country to get tough on crooked consultants fuelling immigration and visa fraud to Canada.

Some advice for his Indian minister counterpart. Ask Mr. Kenney what he’s doing about “the source” of the problem.
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SPP. Magic Carpet to Canada?

June 16th, 2010

Spending as much time in India as I do, these days I hear the term “SPP” so often it seems like an old record skipping again and again and again.
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Say Sorry swiftly. Good “call” Canada!

June 2nd, 2010

It’s the biggest news Canada has made in India in years. Unfortunately, it was not good news. India’s media machine (dozens of newspapers and hundreds of television stations) roared with headlines and stories of Canada’s slap in India’s face.
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Education Agents in India. The art of lying.

May 19th, 2010

After 13 years in the field and more than a hundred trips to India, I’m well accustomed to the lies I’ve come across from this most common and seedy manifestation of the international education industry.
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Opportunity Canada ? Not so fast

April 28th, 2010

All of a sudden there’s been plenty of Canadian media coverage about bringing foreign students to Canada. What happened ? Did our sleepy little industry get a wake up call?
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Student visas for sale – in Canada

April 14th, 2010

Sometimes you meet students and you wonder how they are still in Canada.

I saw one the other day in the Indian Punjab who first got a visa to start a Bachelor degree at a university in western Canada. But after just one month he left that university campus to attend one of the big public colleges in Toronto (a theme for another day !) Read More

About Mel

Mel has consulted universities, colleges, governmental and non-governmental organizations in the field of international education since 1997. He is co-founder of Higher-Edge, the parent of Overseas, Overwhelmed, and a director of the Canadian University Application Centre. He is a former award-winning CBC reporter and holds a Masters degree from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism.

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