Wednesday, October 15th, 2003
International Students Face Delay
UK Top Choice for Pakistanis
India Stops Sales of Seats in Schools
Egyptian Social Etiquette
LET’S GO CANADA – International Students Face Delay
The Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE) called upon the higher education community to raise awareness of delays in processing international student applications from within Canada. Students that are most affected are those who are moving to another institution within Canada and graduates who have received offers of employment. According to the CBIE, the processing time at the Case Processing Centre (CPC) in Vegreville, Alberta, is “way above – even two times – the standard,” and some applicants have lost their opportunity to remain in Canada.
A spokesperson from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) said that during the summer months, CPC Vegreville experiences a higher volume of applications, and thus longer processing times are to be expected. Jennifer Humphries of the CBIE, who spoke to Higher-Edge, believes that this “sluggish process” is due to “insufficient resources” at CPC Vegreville. While she is “cautiously optimistic” that the situation will improve, what is more worrying is the effect such delays have on Canada’s image as a destination for international students.
ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – UK Top Choice for Pakistanis
Higher-Edge COO Mel Broitman reports this week from Pakistan and says the “battle over brand” is over. For now at least, the British have asserted student recruitment dominance in Pakistan. Spending hundreds of thousands in advertising dollars, contracting with dozens of agents, and an astonishing 7,000 student visas approved in the last year (according to the British Council), the United Kingdom now dominates the study abroad marketplace in Pakistan. The combination of commissions from expensive tuition fees and the high visa approval rate have education agents pushing British institutions over all other options. The U.S. is a distant second choice as young Muslim men are wary of attempting the visa application process. Mel also reports experiencing a very high anti-American sentiment among students and their parents (in the past week he has interviewed a few hundred students in four Pakistani cities: Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Multan). Australia approves about 600 student visas a year from Pakistan and Canada about half of that figure. Currently the U.K. has approximately 60% of the market and its web site for Pakistan (www.britishcouncil.org.pk) is an example of its efficient branding and promotion.
OVER THE COUNTER – India Stops Sales of Seats in Schools
In a report by The Chronicle of Higher Education (18 August 2003), the Indian Supreme Court ruled that Indian institutes of higher education can no longer demand “donations” from new applicants who do not meet admission requirements. Schools now risk losing their accreditation if the continue to request these “captitation fees.” States must set up committees to determine if the tuition costs of its universities are reasonable and to ensure that such up-front payments are not included. Bhagvaniji Raiyani, an education reformer, claims that “donations will still be demanded, but that now it will be a transaction under the table.” According to Higher- Edge’s Luciana Rodrigues (New Delhi), “parents will do anything to get kids in a program.” She feels that this intense competition leads to the acceptance of such hefty fees, but also notes that some parents “would rather pay for an education abroad then line an administrator’s pocket.”
Source: “India’s Supreme Court Cracks Down on ‘Profiteering’ in Higher Education,” http://chronicle.com/article/Indias-Supreme-Court-Cracks/111032/, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 18 August 2003.
GLOBE TIPPING – Egyptian Social Etiquette
If you are planning a trip to Egypt, there are some important social protocols to remember. Some women still follow certain codes of conduct, such as segregated ticket lines – in this instance women should line up with other women. On public transport, the front of buses and certain subway cars are usually reserved for women. Many Egyptians are accommodating to questions, so do not hesitate to ask. However, men should be careful when speaking to unknown Egyptian women, as some locals may be offended. It is customary for Egyptians to refuse an invitation the first time that it is offered, and it is advised that you do the same. While foreigners are not usually held to these conventions, travellers should be aware of these customs.