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Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Volume 10, Issue 29; August 24, 2011

The Playing Field

In Singapore, its caps and raises time.

Abroad Perspectives

Korean unis to be tested.

Over The Counter

The un“healthy” way. More visa fraud in Punjab.

Globe Tipping

Eating Healthy, Away From Home.

1) THE PLAYING FIELD – In Singapore, its caps and raises time.

Earlier this month, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a pledge to his country – there will be more places for Singaporeans at local universities in coming years. Addressing citizens at a National Day Rally, Mr. Lee also promised that in order to ensure these spots were available to local students, in the future a cap would be placed on the number of foreign students.

The announcement is believed to be a reaction to the unhappiness expressed by some, who feel it is no longer “Singaporeans first” when it comes to local universities. Although Mr. Lee stressed that admitting foreign students has not been done at the expense of local students – but rather been a great benefit to all – he admitted that the primary objective of the country’s universities is to nurture local talent. And, to this effect, that some 2000 university places will be added over the next four years – all of which will go to Singaporeans.

Meanwhile, foreign enrolment levels will be capped at where they stand now, which means the proportion of foreign students will eventually shrink. Currently, they make up 18% of the overall university intake in the island nation.

By 2015, the goal is that universities will take in 14,000 Singaporeans, as well as offer increased numbers of scholarships and bursaries, so that “No Singaporean will be unable to attend university due to financial difficulties,” according to the Prime Minister.

“Many of our students passionately want to go to universities … We should allow as many as possible to have that opportunity.”

This doesn’t mean, however, that opportunities for foreign students will cease to exist. Even though some Singaporeans have questioned the policy of giving foreign students scholarships in the past, Mr. Lee says this issue must be seen from a broader perspective. After all, part of the stipulations put on these foreign scholarship students is that they have to work in Singapore and contribute to the economy.

“The record shows most foreign scholars serve out their bonds,” he says, adding that these foreign students will also help Singapore build trade and business ties, especially to China, in the long run. “When you have this international mix in our universities, it’s good for our students, and we’ve got to keep on doing this.”

SOURCE: “More places for Singaporeans in local varsities”. TODAY online, August 15, 2011.
http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC110814-0000808/More-places-for-Singaporeans-in-local-varsities

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVES – Korean unis to be tested.

Starting this September, universities in Korea will undergo inspections to determine their ability to manage and care for international students. Through these checks, Korea’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology hopes to prevent poorly managed institutions from enrolling foreign students.

This announcement comes after officials became worried that universities are accepting foreign students mainly for financial reasons, without actually providing any special services or cultural programs to help the new foreigners. According to ministry officials, such universities are tainting the image of Korea’s higher education system among the international community.

Beginning this Autumn, thirteen professors and experts will oversee inspections on various four-year universities and vocational colleges across the country which have applied for certification. These institutions will need to prove they have the basic foundation for handling overseas students, and then undergo onsite inspections, before they are approved to host more international scholars.

Beyond certification, approved universities will also have the chance to be a part of the Global Korea Scholarship – a government funded program that provides financial support to foreign students – and receive priority consideration for future job fairs.

SOURCE: “Universities to be checked for overseas student facilities”. The Korea Herald, August 15, 2011.
http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20110815000246

3) OVER THE COUNTER – The un“healthy” way. More visa fraud in Punjab.

Alleging it obtained dozens of visas by fraudulent means, police in Indian Punjab have arrested the owner of one immigration company and targeting at least three other agencies for similar illegal activities.

Healthyway Immigration Consultants Pvt. Ltd. is charged with fraud, and the owner, his family and some of its branch managers were all arrested last week. Healthyway assists applicants for visas to Canada, the UK and Australia. It proudly proclaims a few thousand success stories, and posts pictures on-line of hundreds of visas it claims it has achieved for its clients (http://healthywayimmigration.com/sucessful.html).

Reports state some Healthyway client visa applicants to Britain and Canada have been rejected permanently. Newspaper accounts in Punjab report that police are investigating bank officials who may have participated in the concoction of fake financial papers to support visa applications.

Seemingly and remarkably, authorities say few complaints were lodged by those who have been cheated. “It’s common that those who have been exploited are silent,” says Mel Broitman, Director of the Canadian University Application Centre. “It’s not just Punjab. We see this right across South Asia where people do not believe justice can be served, and that nefarious agents who if caught, can somehow take revenge and negatively influence any future visa applications from individuals who blew the whistle on them.”

Sources: “Visas of 50 students rejected permanently”. Times of India, August 17, 2011.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Visas-of-50-students-rejected-permanently/articleshow/9630575.cms
& “Healthyway Immigration raided”. The Tribune, Chandigarh, August 13, 2011.
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110814/cth1.htm

4) GLOBE TIPPING – Eating Healthy, Away From Home

It’s easy to give up on a diet or healthy eating habits while out on the road – especially if you’re caught up in business meetings or continuous events. And although it may be tempting to just grab fast food whenever the hunger pangs strike, here are some ways to help you steer clear of the junk.

1. Whether flying or train riding, consider packing your own meal for the journey. Instead of opting for the typically unhealthy (and, if flying regionally, expensive) onboard options, pack a few healthy items that won’t get smashed or leak in your bag. Examples include nuts, protein bars, carrot sticks, or firm fruit, like apples.

2. Drink plenty of fluids – especially water – while in transit. Although milk and juices are also adequate, avoid any carbonated beverages, and/or excessive amounts of alcohol (the last of which is also known to contribute to jet lag).

3. Stock your hotel room in order to remove the temptation of raiding the room’s mini bar, or ordering a pizza. Water, fresh fruit, and healthy snacks like granola bars, yogurt, or fiber cookies all make for great snacks between meetings or sightseeing.

4. Avoid fast food. Although it may seem ‘familiar’ and comfortable when in a new city, this type of food is often high in fat and calories – and more importantly, means you’re missing out on experiencing the local culture!

5. Don’t forget breakfast. Although it may be easier said than done, depending on what your travel itinerary looks like, breakfast helps prime your system for the day ahead. If your hotel offers a complimentary breakfast, try to choose a high fiber and protein meal, such as whole grain toast with peanut butter, to give you instant energy and fill you up until your next meal.

SOURCE: “How to Eat Healthy While Traveling”. Travel Tips – USAToday.com.
http://traveltips.usatoday.com/eat-healthy-traveling-1556.html

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