Wednesday, May 5th, 2004
English Proficiency Tests for Pakistani Students
Student Visas in a Day
Improvement Suggested For West Africa Exams
Transportation in Istanbul
LET’S GO CANADA – English Proficiency Tests for Pakistani Students
Higher-Edge COO Mel Broitman, in Pakistan last week, reports that the visa processing office of the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad is requiring all students to submit an IELTS or TOEFL certificate as proof of English, along with their student visa application. An Islamabad-based Canadian visa officer stated that the purpose of the requirement is to serve as an additional assessment as to whether a candidate is, in fact, a bona fide student. This policy is not on its own without merit. While completion of A-Levels are highly predictive of requisite English proficiency, there is the possibility that the documentation is faked, a not uncommon practice in Pakistan.
Certainly, using English proficiency tests to filter the applicant pool is understandable for the bulk of Pakistani students from the domestic school boards and the vast majority of the population with inadequate English skills.
However, the new policy confers a considerable further advantage to competitor countries. For example, Pakistani students possessing A-Level qualifications can study throughout universities in the United Kingdom without tendering additional proof of English proficiency.
Considering the UK’s aggressive marketing (and that of other active countries’ institutions), Canadian universities will fall farther behind in attracting the best young Pakistani scholars to Canada. The preferred approach, in our view, is to ensure A-Level documentation is independently verified (corroborated) as authentic, the practice that Higher-Edge has followed on behalf of its client universities for the past half-dozen years.
ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Student Visas in a Day
Applying for a Study Permit for Canada in China can be an anxious process, taking a number of months before an application is finally approved. The UK Embassy in Beijing has instituted a new policy that may ease Chinese anxieties for UK-bound students there. As of May 6, 2004, the Embassy is guaranteeing that Chinese students who apply for a student visa will know the status of their application on the same day.
Students who submit their application and proof of sufficient funds for study from Monday through Thursday, between 9 and 11 am, will be informed by 3 pm if the visa has been granted or denied. In certain cases, an interview would be warranted, and a Beijing Youth Daily article reports that it would only take a few minutes.
With 40,000 Chinese students currently studying in the UK, and Prime Minister Tony Blair’s call to increase the number of international students, this speedy visa policy may encourage more Chinese students to consider the UK as a study abroad destination.
Source: “http://www.chinanews.com/n/2004-04-15/26/425585.html,” Beijing Youth Daily, April 15, 2004
“http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/3595049.stm,” BBC News, April 3, 2004
OVER THE COUNTER – Improvement Suggested For West Africa Exams
The West African Examination Council (WAEC) may be making several improvements to its West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in the future. Among the suggestions made included improving the teaching methods, more emphasis to be placed on deductive reasoning and less reliance on exam guides, also known as “key points booklets.”
The Council also urged greater vigilance over cheating during the exams. One subject that needed improvement was English; its poor use, the Council felt, contributed to the “dismal performance” of students during the November/ December 2003 WASSCE.
Regarding concerns over fake documentation, Higher-Edge offers a verification service, StudentScreen: Nigeria. For more information visit: http://higher-edge.com/studentscreen-nigeria.htm
Source: “http://allafrica.com/stories/200404210692.html,” Daily Champion, April 21, 2004
GLOBE TIPPING – Transportation in Istanbul
With various modes of transportation available, getting around Istanbul is easy and affordable. Taxis are yellow, and the fare starts at 1 Euro, and increases 50 cents per kilometre. Drivers are required by law to use their meters. During the night, there is an extra tariff charged to your fare. The cheapest way to travel is by bus. Buses are green, and a ticket only cost 90 cents. Tickets can be bought from all newspapers kiosks and central bus stations. Public transportation in Istanbul is safe and clean.