Wednesday, November 20th, 2002
LET’S GO CANADA
Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) has announced it is opening a consulate in Chandigarh, India. The office will be devoted to visa and other requirements for which previously residents had to travel to Delhi. It will receive C$23-25 million in federal funds over the next five years, and employ 35-40 people.
Chandigarh is four hours north of Delhi in the heart of the Punjab state, where significant numbers of Indo-Canadians originate. For many years the opening of this office had been a debate between DFAIT desires to have a consulate in the south of India versus the large Canadian voting constituency from the Punjab which demanded one in Chandigarh (which can be serviced by the High Commission in Delhi).
The increased presence will help promote Canadian education in India, for which there is plenty of potential. Data released this week by the Institute for International Education (http://www.iie.org/en/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors) shows Indians taking over from Chinese as the largest group of foreign students in the U.S. Yet in Canada, Chinese students outnumber Indians by about five times.
Big news and big numbers from Australia’s International Education Conference held last month in Tasmania. A report predicts the demand for Australian education to grow by nine- fold in the next two decades. An IDP report states “demand is forecast to increase from 1.8 million international students in 2000 to 7.2 million international students in 2025.”
As Australia’s leading recruitment company, IDP has its own vested interest in promoting such dynamic projections and it is calling for the Australian government to help the country capitalize on the boom by developing more user-friendly policies towards international education. According to Linda Hyam, IDP Chief Executive, “[this] will require a significant shift in government policy, which will need to recognize the holistic benefits of international education to the future economic, cultural and political development and prosperity within Australia.” A newly released report on skills migration in Australia documenting the lifting of restrictions on immigration for Australian-educated overseas-born students, will certainly help drive the lobbying efforts.
OVER THE COUNTER
Malaysia is struggling with the marketplace it has created. It’s perhaps the most commercially competitive of all education environments, and in the race to ringgits (Malaysian currency) it is no surprise that quality is suffering. Recently, two more prominent colleges, Brickfields College and Nirwana Institute were ordered shut for breaching regulations under the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996. Specifically, they were running and advertising courses that had not been approved by the Private Education Department.
The total is now 26 private colleges closed by the government. Recent shutdowns include Institut Mestika Kulim (formerly known as Institute Teknologi Midas), Kedah; Institut Makanan Malaysia’s Kelana Jaya branch, Petaling Jaya; Institut Teknologi Silicon, Penang; Province Teacher Training Centre, Malacca; and Institut Teknologi, Butterworth. Some Canadian institutions will recognize these names as institutions from which students have been admitted and received transfer credit.
Education is big business in Malaysia. Every day newspapers are full of ads promoting study-abroad schemes. Many foreign universities offer their degrees off-shore in Malaysia. Malaysia has also become one of the leading exporters of education, as it attracts thousands of Chinese, Indonesians and South Asians to its private colleges. However, quality education does not necessarily go hand in hand with making a quick buck. Earlier this year “Overseas, Overwhelmed” reported on the lack of confidence that Malaysian employers and teachers had in their own graduates (February 6, 2002 http://higher-edge.com/%20docs/OandO_Feb06%E2%80%9902.pdf).
After cancelling its education fair in Malaysia, security concerns have led to Australia cancelling similar events this month in the Philippines and Thailand. “Our decisions are guided by a number of factors including advice from the Australian Government and Australian diplomatic posts, as well as the advice being given to British, American and Canadian nationals by their governments,” said IDP Chief Lindy Hyam. “Where we believe it is necessary and appropriate we have also organized additional security at our events.”
Globe Tipping will return next week.