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Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

Issue 9.06 February 14, 2007

Let’s Go Canada

B.C. Government Shuts Down Another Private Business School

Over The Counter

Saudi Arabia Announces More Scholarships

Abroad Perspective

Australian Academics Report Pressure to Pass Foreign Students

Globe Tipping

Tipping Taking Hold in China

1) LET’S GO CANADA – B.C. Government Shuts Down Another Private Business School

B.C.’s minister of Advanced Education has ordered another school catering to international students to close—just months after closing one of its sister institutions.

Lansbridge University will close on May 1, 2007, MurrayCoell announcedlastweek.Accordingtothe minister, the school has not been meeting provincial standards in areas such as the advertising of its programs, the information it has been giving to a provincial board, its financial security and the financial obligations of its students.

Lansbridge is owned by Vancouver businessman Michael Lo, who is also the owner of Kingston College, a private business college closed by the province last fall. Mr. Lo is reported to have been a prominent backer of B.C.’s ruling Liberal party; he also served until recently as the provincial government’s appointee to the agency intended to regulate private post-secondary institutions in the province.

Sources: “Vancouver School for Overseas Students Ordered to Close,” CBC News, Feb. 9, 2007; “China Demands Canada Protect its Students from Educational Rip-offs,” National Post, Jan. 17, 2007

2) OVER THE COUNTER – Saudi Arabia Announces More Scholarships

Another wave of scholarships will fund the studies of some 7,500 young Saudis in countries including Canada, France, New Zealand, China and India, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of Higher Education announced recently. Some 10,000 students from the Kingdom came to the U.S. on the King Abdullah Scholarship Program last September (see Not-So-Foreign, Sept. 13, 2006). Early this year, the Saudi government unveiled plans for a “third stage” of the program, involving a number of host countries including Canada.

Source: “5,000 More Scholarships for Higher Studies Abroad,” Arab News, Jan. 28, 2007

3) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Australian Academics Report Pressure to Pass Foreign Students

Weeks after the release of a controversial report on English-language levels among international students in Australia, some academics in the country are complaining of having been pressured to give unmerited passing grades to students from overseas.

At least one Australian academic is reported to have resigned his post because of pressure he says was put on him by senior staff at the university to pass foreign students he says shouldn’t have come close to passing.
“If it were a mark out of 100, I would have given them a five and yet I was told to somehow get them through,” the academic, who asked not to be named, told one Australian newspaper.

Another lecturer said she estimated about half her students had plagiarized their written assignments because the level of English in them was so much higher than the speaking ability they showed in class. She said a colleague warned her against failing her students.

The rash of anecdotes follows the release early this year of a study by an Australian demographer, according to which a third of international graduates of Australian universities have such low standards of English that they shouldn’t have been accepted in the first place.

Australian Education Minister Julie Bishop has said she has seen no evidence that foreign students who deserve to fail because of their English are getting passing grades.

Sources: “Free Pass to Foreigners,” The Courier- Mail, Feb. 10, 2007; “Pressured to Pass Poor Students,” The Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 30, 2007

4) GLOBE TIPPING – Tipping Taking Hold in China

Leaving gratuities was until recently almost unheard of in China, but as capitalism has taken hold on the country, tipping has become more widely practiced and more widely expected. Still, travelers to China aren’t expected to tip everywhere—cab drivers don’t expect to be tipped, although waiters at more expensive hotels might.

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