Wednesday, November 17th, 2004
US Losing Its Sheen Amongst International Students?
Overseas Kenyan Students Harm Country
Agent Horror Stories in India
LET’S GO CANADA – US Losing Its Sheen Amongst International Students?
The findings of three separate reports released over the past two weeks support the belief that the United States is losing its share in the international education market. The first report, as part of the Institute of International Education (IIE) annual Open Doors publication, declares that “International Student Enrollments Declined By 2.4%, in 2003/04.” The second, from the Council of Graduate Schools, states that international graduate student enrollment has declined for the third consecutive year. The final report, a survey conducted by NAFSA (Association of International Educators), presents a “mixed picture,” as student visa delays do not seem to be a problem, but applications and enrollments have suffered. China and India, which sends the greatest number of students to the US, showed decreases at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
All three reports concur that there are fundamental reasons for the reduced numbers; changing perceptions of the US, stricter visa application processes and aggressive competition from other countries were the most cited explanations. Another important factor recognized by these reports is the wider availability of quality higher education in foreign students’ home countries.
The implications for the US are as varied as the reports themselves. Scientific and technical innovation could be affected, as international graduate students form a large percentage of science and engineering research assistants. The declining number of international students could have implications for “America’s long-term national security interest,” says Allan Goodman, President and CEO of IIE in a press release.
Whether these numbers are an indication of future trends or are simply temporary fluctuations, it is an opportune moment for US competitors. The United Kingdom, Australia, and to an extent, Canada, are countries that have capitalised on the situation.
The individual reports can be downloaded from the following sites:
ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Overseas Kenyan Students Harm Country
For many countries in the developing world, earning an overseas tertiary education is encouraged. Governments hope that their citizens will return home and apply their new found knowledge to aid in the country’s development. One Kenyan Minister of Parliament does not seem to subscribe to this belief however, and blames Kenyans studying overseas for the extraction of Sh. 16 billion ($235 million CAD) from the country’s economy.
The MP suggests that these funds could be better spent on developing the country’s own higher education system. For instance, more private institutions could be established locally to encourage Kenyans to further their studies at home. According to a report presented to the International Bureau of Education (part of UNESCO) at its September 2004 International Conference on Education, only 12 percent of students at the secondary level progress to the tertiary level.
Source: “http://allafrica.com/stories/200411120269.html,” The Nation, November 12, 2004
“http://www.ibe.unesco.org/en/special-pages/notfound.html?tx_indexedsearch%5Bext%5D=1,” International Bureau of Education, September, 2004
OVER THE COUNTER – Agent Horror Stories in India
Indian students eager to go overseas for higher education face two options: independently applying to schools or relying on agents and representatives. According to Higher- Edge’s Jennifer Menard in New Delhi, Indian students are “used to being spoon-fed” and may prefer the latter option for the convenience; this stress-free approach however, can have disastrous results. Recent incidents reported in Indian news media exhibit the pitfalls that students can encounter when using agents; the destinations may be different, but the end result is that students are left exploited.
Three Indian students who believed they were enrolled at a Russian medical school suffered extortion and blackmail at the hands of the school’s representatives in St. Petersburg. They returned to India after 15 days. In Hyderabad, students paid Rs. 1 to 4 lakh ($2650 to $10,600 CAD) each to apply to an Irish business school, only to find out later that the institution was considered a scam operation by Irish immigration authorities.
Source: “http://www.newindpress.com/Newsitems.asp?ID=IET20041031123004&Title=Southern+News+-+Tamil+Nadu&Topic=0,” NewsIndPress, November 1, 2004
“http://www.ndtv.com/,” NDTV.com, November 4, 2004