Wednesday, December 4th, 2002
LET’S GO CANADA
In a joint effort by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, the third annual celebration of International Education Week took place from November 18 to 22, with events held in almost 80 countries worldwide and 45 U.S. States.
Numerous universities held study abroad presentations and activities. More than 1000 high school students from the former Soviet Union living with American host families this academic year made presentations at their American schools; online linkages connected youth in Azerbaijan with youth in New York; and six U.S. high schools engaged in a “virtual dialogue” Internet exchange with six Brazilian student groups.
Overseas, many U.S. embassies and advising centres sponsored conferences and workshops where alumni of U.S. exchange programs shared their experiences with non-alumni.
A closer and more coordinated collaboration amongst various stakeholders to create a similar celebration would reward Canada’s efforts to be perceived as a country welcoming to international students. Such an initiative would also assist in demystifying the nature and value of international students to a sometimes ill- informed Canadian public.
Luciana Rodrigues, Manager of our New Delhi office, reports that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in India is contemplating an overhaul of its current grading system. The CBSE, responsible for conducting Class X and XII examinations throughout the country, currently works with a numerically-based grade system. A switch to a letter-based grading system would mean that a student scoring between 90-100 percent would be given an A1 letter grade, while a student scoring 80-89 percent would be in the A2 category.
India’s highly competitive education system (which is attributable to insufficient number of high quality institutions able to accommodate high quality students) means that board results are crucial in gaining admission to universities. The motivation behind the change is to give students who receive a difference of only a few percentage grades the same chance at admission to Indian Universities. Under the proposed system, a student scoring 98 per cent would have no better chance at admission than a student scoring 91 per cent. It is hoped that this more flexible system would decrease the pressure experienced by students at exam time.
The CBSE recognizes that the decision is a weighty one, and requires further study. According to P.I. Sabu, Deputy Secretary of Secondary Exams at CBSE, the board is facing some opposition from universities.
Luciana may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
OVER THE COUNTER
In its ongoing efforts towards cleaning up student recruitment operations for overseas study, the Chinese government’s Ministry of Education (MOE) is planning to enact tougher rules by which local agencies are to abide. The MOE is to work with the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in issuing permits to recruitment agencies that qualify under specific criteria. In addition, foreign institutions wishing to engage Chinese agents must now first register with their local education ministries, then with the Chinese embassy or consulate situated in the institution’s country of origin.
O&O Issues 2.10, 2.11 and 2.12 earlier this year canvassed a variety of problems associated with student recruitment in China. The challenges the Chinese government faces in this campaign relate to the vested interests of both local agencies and foreign institutions, many of whom have worked together to use misrepresentations and other abuses to their advantage. At minimum, foreign institutions that choose to work with agencies must institute effective monitoring and ongoing diligence, and ensure that they are not accused of wilful blindness if certain abusive practices are exposed and the institution is named as party to the abuse.
Excited about an upcoming overseas trip, or more worried about keeping your stomach in working order?
Aside from ingesting contaminated food and water, traveller’s diarrhea (TD) can also be triggered by other factors such as swimming, walking barefoot, eating spicy food, following irregular sleeping and eating schedules, and stress. To avoid this unfortunate condition, paying special attention to one’s food and drink will suffice in most cases.
If it is too late and the “curse” has already overtaken you, a few self- treatments should help:
- modify your diet to include lots of fluids (ie. sports drinks, fruit
juices, clear broth) and salted crackers
- avoid dairy products and caffeinated drinks
- severe dehydration may be treated with oral rehydration solution
packets which are available at pharmacies