Wednesday, April 2nd, 2003
ITELP Enters the Ring
Bombay a Bust
Backlog of Chinese Students Applying to Irish Institutions
Colombo and Kandy by Train
LET’S GO CANADA – ITELP Enters the Ring
The International Test of English Language Proficiency (ITELP), as developed by Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, is a re- cent addition to the English language testing arena. Since its launch in January of 2002, the test has been administered on three occasions in China.
Dr. Glenwood Irons, co-developer of the ITELP, is also the Director of ESL and Testing Services at Brock. He indicated to Higher-Edge last week that the ITELP is distinguishable from other English language proficiency tests in that it not only provides an indication of a test-taker’s English ability, but also makes recommendations based on those results as to how much ESL instruction is required. While the recommendations on the number of ESL instruction hours are based on criteria set at Brock University, Dr. Irons stated that because Brock is a member of the Council of Second Language Programs (CSLP), the variances in programme offerings at various Canadian universities are easily bridged. Brock University is also working in conjunction with institutions and universities in China that will provide on-site ESL instruction to Brock candidates.
For more information, visit http://www.brocku.ca/ researchservices/itelp
ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Bombay a Bust
Education India 2003 opened in Mumbai this past weekend. At- tendance was abysmal. The Fair’s featured country, France, was buried in the back corner of one exhibition hall, where most of its dozen university representatives sat around with little to do. Delegates from Canadian institutions also expressed deep disappointment in the very poor local organization.Several representa- tives from universities in Cyprus asked for refunds. Carol Ojawang of the University of Capetown expressed surprise after last year’s large turnout for the first EduIndia (in Delhi only).
Most informed observers blamed bad promotion for the relatively empty exhibition halls.Higher-Edge visits to some of Mumbai’s top high schools and colleges the day before the Fair, revealed that the schools had no idea that EduIndia 2003 was even taking place.
Russell Kean, the Managing Director of the Fair’s British marketing company said that they were caught in the middle of a newspaper rivalry for promotion. The Fair’s press partner,HindustanTimes, is not widely distributed in Bombay, where the Times of India is the paper of choice. The Times also promotes a competing Fair in late April. Local critics said there was no excuse for the failure of organizers to adequately advertise. Suresh Sundaram of India’s popular Internet education portal Infozee, said Mumbai is an excellent education market and the turnout for EduIndia 2003 is not indicative of the potential in the city. Regardless, EduIndia is al- ready talking about not returning to Mumbai next year. They expect significant success in Delhi later this week (April 3-5) where more publicity is in place.
OVER THE COUNTER – Backlog of Chinese Students Applying to Irish Institutions
Ireland is grappling with serious fraud problems in attempting to woo foreign students from China.Whereas in recent years Chinese students had flocked to Ireland, the movement has slowed considerably.
The biggest reason was that getting an Irish student visa became a process of one year or more. The problem has been the prevalence of fraudulent documents, which is common in China when working with education agents (as almost all Irish institutions do). In attempting to address the problem, the Irish government sent four dedicated visa officers, including Joe Keating from its Justice Ministry in Dublin, to head up its new visa office in Beijing. Previously, Irish student visas were processed in Dublin, but now they are all checked at the source in China and, due to the diligence required, a huge backlog built up which created a 14-month wait- ing period. Now, new applicants, from March 1, 2003 on, will be processed within a six-week time frame.
When Higher-Edge recently visited Ireland’s new visa office in Beijing,stacks of boxes were piled high.Joe Keating estimates from past experiences that almost half of all applications in those boxes are fraudulent.“I’ve had education agents who have sent us 40 ap- plications call me up,”said Keating.“Some directly tell me that 29 of the 40 applications they submitted are fraud, but please sir do process the 11 legitimate ones as fast as possible!”
GLOBE TIPPING – Colombo and Kandy by Train
Agnes von dem Hagen,India’s Higher-Edge representative,has just wrapped up a nine-day tour of Sri Lanka’s major cities Colombo and Kandy.
Agnes reports that the route between Colombo and Kandy offers local trains that have first class cars (otherwise known as“observa- tion saloons”) that are situated at the back of the train.The express train, which departs twice daily, also offers a first class car that costs about 122 LKR (approximately $2 CAD).
For findings on the Sri Lankan education system, stay tuned for next week’s newsletter.