Wednesday, January 12th, 2005
Higher Education Affected by Tsunamis
International Students & Revenue in UK
Cheating During Tests in China
Illegal Taxis at Shanghai Universities
LET’S GO CANADA – Higher Education Affected by Tsunamis
In the wake of the December 26 earthquake and tsunami disasters in South and Southeast Asia, the education community, like the rest of society, has been affected. The loss of life is the main concern for all institutions, from the primary to tertiary levels. It is believed 103 lecturers have perished from Syah Kuala University, the largest university in Aceh, Indonesia, while 92 faculty members are still unaccounted for. Over 1,000 undergraduate students from the University are missing or dead.
Universities across the globe have shown their support, particularly with individual students from the affected regions. Students have been raising funds to send their colleagues back home to Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India. Chinese students have volunteered for medical and relief teams. Some Australian institutions are considering financial assistance through tuition fee waivers and scholarships.
Higher-Edge encourages its readers to donate to charities that require our support. The following link provides a list of Canadian charities to donate to, as well as other international groups.
“http://www.antaranews.com/en/?id=205,” Antara News, January 9, 2005
ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – International Students & Revenue in UK
Do universities that recruit international students see future graduates or potential income? For the University of Manchester, the largest higher education institution in the United Kingdom, international student fees will form a large part of their revenue. In “Towards Manchester 2015,” a strategic plan, the University hopes to treble revenue “from Fee-Paying Overseas Student Enrolments in real terms by 2015.” An international student studying in the UK can expect to pay as much as £10,000 ($22,900 CAD).
Reliance on international students as a steady source of revenue requires that they continue to choose the UK as a study abroad destination. According to a report published by The Guardian however, there are concerns that the weaker dollar (and thus stronger sterling) and tighter student visa regulations have made potential students consider other destinations. Of particular worry are Chinese students: faced with high tuition and living costs, some are considering alternatives closer to home, such as Australia, New Zealand or even Singapore. While there is no official analysis of how badly British universities have been affected, some colleges are unofficially reporting that half of their “international business” has already been lost.
Sources: “http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2005/jan/11/furthereducation.uk,” The Guardian, January 11, 2005
“http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/thefile,3563,en.pdf,” The University of Manchester, October 7, 2004
OVER THE COUNTER – Cheating During Tests in China
Reports from China indicate that portions of a national English proficiency test were leaked to the Internet a day before the scheduled date. The College English Test (CET) Band 6 is an advanced assessment that is increasingly used by Chinese higher education institutions to measure their students’ English abilities. Some colleges have even made passing the CET Band 4 (a lower level version) a requisite for attaining an undergraduate degree.
In China, great importance is placed on passing such tests, and as a result, the country has struggled recently with instances of cheating. The leaking of questions prior to the test date is usually facilitated through online forums that are popular with Chinese youths. In August 2004, it was reported that a virus was capable of stealing documents with “exam” or “test questions” in their file name. Cheaters have also used technology (cellphones and pagers) to transmit questions to accomplices during the exam itself.
Sources: “http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-08/24/content_1872076.htm,” Shanghai Daily News, August 24, 2004
“http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-01/10/content_2440412.htm,” Xinhua News Agency, January 10, 2005
GLOBE TIPPING – Illegal Taxis at Shanghai Universities
Taking a taxi from a foreign airport can be overwhelming; a fatiguing flight, a strange language and a crowd of drivers trying to grab your attention can make the first available taxi you see very appealing. Travellers arriving at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport should be wary of unauthorized taxis, known as “black cabs.”
These illegally operated taxis have been known to charge ridiculously high fees for foreigners. One easily identifiable characteristic of a black cab is its location. Only authorized taxis are allowed to line up for customers, so black cabs are forced to park away from the terminal exits and rely on accomplices who will physically bring travellers to the taxi. At Pudong, it is better to stay in line and refuse any offer to go to another cab.