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Saturday, November 11th, 2006

Issue 8.40 Nov. 1, 2006

Let’s Go Canada

Ottawa Mulling Cuts to International Academic Programs

Abroad Perspective

U.S. Student Visa Applications up 40 Per Cent in China

Over The Counter

In India, Demand for Well-Schooled Employees Outpaces Supply

Globe Tipping

Carbon Offsetting Groups Arrange Green Donations for Frequent Flyers

1) LET’S GO CANADA – Ottawa Mulling Cuts to International Academic Programs

Canada’s competitiveness as an international educator could be hurt if the federal government goes ahead with some funding cuts now under consideration, says an official with the Canadian Bureau for International Education.

Last July, Ottawa’s Treasury Board announced it was reviewing funding to various international academic programs, including a number of scholarships for international students. The possible cuts are part of a wider spending review being carried out by the federal government. The international education programs under review cost the government about $13.5 million each year.

The funding review comes just as Canada’s rivals on the international education scene, such as the U.K. and Australia, are stepping up incentives for international students, said Jennifer Humphries, the C.B.I.E.’s vice-president for scholarships.

A December, 2005 NASSCO study found that “only about 25% of technical graduates and 10-15% of general college graduates are suitable for employment in the offshore IT and BPO [business process outsourcing] industries.” The rest were lacking in technical or English-language skills, or had not been trained to work in teams or deliver presentations.

Sources: “Invaluable Experience on the Chopping Block,” Embassy, Sept. 27, 2006

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – U.S. Student Visa Applications up 40 Per Cent in China

A 40-per-cent increase over last year has brought the number of U.S. student visa applications in China back to pre-Sept. 11 levels, officials from the American Consulate General said last week.

The consulate issued nearly 12,000 student visas in China for the fiscal year ended Sept. 2006, officials said. There are now more than 65,000 Chinese studying in the U.S., most of them graduate students. Chinese students make up nearly five per cent of all the graduate students in the U.S.

Sources: “Applications for U.S. Visas Back to pre- 9/11 Levels,” China View, Oct. 26, 2006, sourced from ShanghaiDaily; “MoreStudentsStudyingOverseas,” China Daily, Oct. 16, 2006

3) OVER THE COUNTER – In India, Demand for Well-Schooled Employees Outpaces Supply

Indian firms are reported to be getting increasingly concerned about the ability of the country’s higher learning institutions to produce enough quality graduates to keep up with demand. According to an August, 2006 study commis- sioned by India’s National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCO), “although India has almost 1,400 engineering schools, only a handful of schools are recognized as providing a world-class engineering education.” The report calls for a dramatic ramp-up in spending on quality engineering education in the country.

A December, 2005 NASSCO study found that “only about 25% of technical graduates and 10-15% of general college graduates are suitable for employment in the offshore IT and BPO [business process outsourcing] industries.” The rest were lacking in technical or English-language skills, or had not been trained to work in teams or deliver presenta- tions.

Sources: “India Slow to Keep up with Surge in Job Needs” International Herald Tribune, Oct. 16, 2006,
sourced from New York Times; executive summaries of the Nassco reports of Aug. 2006 and Dec. 2005 are available

4) GLOBE TIPPING – Carbon Offsetting Groups Arrange Green Donations for Frequent Flyers

Air travel: fast, convenient—and polluting! As concern about climate change builds, environmentalists are calling increasing attention to the airline industry’s contribution to carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. However, the last few years have also seen the birth of companies specializing in arranging “carbon offsets”—donations to support tree planting or research in renewable energy—for travelers. Amounts donated depend on an estimate of the donor’s carbon emissions. Organizations arranging such offsets include Carbon Footprint, CO2 Balance, and Climate Care; their web sites feature quick ways of calculating your offsets.

According to the web site of Climate Care, a return NewYork-Sydneyflightforonepersonwouldresultinthe emission of 5.18 tonnes of CO2, with a recommended carbon offset of £38.84, or $84 (Cdn.).

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