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Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Volume 10, Issue 30; September 7, 2011

The Edge

Foreign cheating begins right here at home.

Over The Counter

Do Nigerian Bombers Target Foreign Studies?

Abroad Perspectives

Shifting trends for Dubai MBAs

Globe Tipping

Frequent flier tips for all frequent flier levels, Part I

1) “THE EDGE” – Foreign cheating begins right here at home.

A big story over the Labour Day weekend in Canada took aim at international students as the most likely to cheat in their studies. The Globe and Mail cited international students as disproportionately plagiarizing or conniving on exams, and quoted a Toronto legal aid clinic stating more than half of its clients fighting academic offenses are international students.

Not surprising, of the more than 500 comments posted by readers of The Globe and Mail on-line edition, the vast majority labeled the foreigners as cheats who know the difference between right and wrong. For sure there is much here which is an ugly truth. Many assignments at the undergraduate and even graduate level in foreign universities are an exercise in copying sources, and without attribution. And yes it’s true that the majority of international students are coming from nations where leadership and governance are not exactly standard bearers for integrity. So not exactly breaking news that there is a certain amount of clashing cultures as well as truth on trial.

But of course there is a good deal more to this story and it is only hinted at in the last line. “There¹s lots we can do,” said an Academic Integrity Officer with the University of Windsor. “The challenge, though, is time and resources.”

There is shockingly little due diligence by universities everywhere (the Canadian example is the norm). There is almost no checking of academic documents from applicants abroad. There is paltry sophistication and research on the quality of institutions from where international students come. It is also common for universities to not follow through on insuring that students even passed their final high school exams, when final results are only released a few weeks before the start of first year university classes.

Universities cry poor, but many have annual budgets in the hundreds of millions (some in excess of a billion dollars a year). Why not spend to protect the most valuable asset of a university – its credibility.

So while the target of allegations of impropriety is the foreign students, and yes there are cheats in that group, why are universities allowed to get a free pass? Where is their responsibility in all of this?

After all, if one cheats to get in, why won’t they cheat to get out?

(“The Edge” by Mel Broitman, Director of the Canadian University Application Centre. Archived issues of “The Edge” can be found at http://www.overseasoverwhelmed.com/theedge-archive.php)

Source: “Why many international students get a failing grade in academic integrity”. The Globe and Mail. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/universitynews/why-many-international-students-get-a-failing-grade-in-academic-integrity/article2152899/

2) OVER THE COUNTER – Do Nigerian Bombers Target Foreign Studies?

As Dani Zaretsky wrote from his recent travels in Nigeria, the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Abuja two weeks ago has a decided connection to the world of international education. Boko Haram, the name by which the organization claiming responsibility for the attack is popularly known, is loosely translated from the Hausa language as “Western education is forbidden”.

The national system of education in Nigeria under the West African Examinations Council aegis presents formally as Western in orientation. The WAEC system in Nigeria has a mandatory requirement to study either Christian Religious Knowledge or Islamic Religious Studies in high school. While the attack has a variety of national implications and geopolitical ones, it also has the effect of highlighting a significant pocket of virulent opposition to Western education in Nigeria.

3) ABROAD PERSPECTIVES – Shifting trends for Dubai MBAs

According to a report by Al Bawaba media, the number of MBA students now funding themselves at Dubai-based Bradford University School of Management has jumped from 20% to 90% in just the last four years.

While most Dubai MBA students used to be funded by their companies, these new findings by Bradford – considered one of the world’s top business schools – suggest how much more competitive the business world (and in particular, employers) are becoming.

Areej Nassar is just one of these ‘new-style’ self-funded students. At age 26, she is due to graduate from the Bradford MBA in Dubai later this month, and says that by putting herself through the Executive MBA program, she was able to prove to employers that she was serious about her own career – and consequently, just landed a Brand Manager job with Johnson & Johnson.

“The fact I am doing a self-funded MBA showed Johnson & Johnson that I am a driven individual and prepared to invest in my career to excel professionally and academically. I have always been very ambitious and progressed quickly at [my current company], becoming one of their youngest brand managers.”

Along with these funding-source changes, the school says it has also seen a shift in the sectors that students are coming from, with fewer from banking and service backgrounds, and more from engineering, telecoms, IT and aviation.

“Our MBA student profile has changed in the last four years,” explains Bradford’s Director of Executive Education, Julian Rawel, “and overall numbers are considerably up. This year we are seeing a lot of highly successful ‘technical’ people who have hit career ceilings and see the MBA as the route to senior management. In the past most would have been funded by their employer. Now they are demonstrating commitment by investing in their own careers.”

Source: “MBA students in Dubai now funding themselves”. Al Bawaba, August 24, 2011. http://www.albawaba.com/business/pr/mba-students-dubai-now-funding-themselves-389747

4) GLOBE TIPPING – Frequent flier tips for all frequent flier levels, Part I

Even if you aren’t one of those travel warriors who spend as much time out on the road as they do at home, here are some tips to get some of the same travel perks they do – without having to rack up all those thousands of ‘frequent flier’ miles!

1. Get into business class lounges. Savvy fliers know that even if they’re flying in economy class, they can still access business class lounges when flying overseas. How? By becoming a member of Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge, Continental’s Presidents Club, the United Red Carpet Club, or the US Airways club. By showing these or any of the other associated club cards, you can access all Star Alliance business class lounges when flying internationally – no matter what class you’re flying in at the time!

2. Becoming ‘elite’. Did you know that most airlines award elite status ‘for life’ once you’ve reached the million miles mark? The problem – besides racking up all those miles! – is that airlines are very specific about what miles they do and don’t count towards this collection. Some only count miles flown on the main airline, while others include their alliance partners’ flights as well. Meanwhile, a select few, such as American Airlines, actually add in extra points, like credit card spending and promotions, towards their totals. Choose – and count – accordingly. And once you get that lifetime elite status, know that certain airlines will often match other airline’s frequent flier statuses in order to snag your (frequent) business.

3. Becoming ‘elite’ faster. For those hoping to fast track their way to elite status, consider collecting miles through foreign alliance programs. Aegean Airlines, for example, awards Star Alliance Gold elite status at a much lower threshold than many of its other alliance partners.

4. Buy miles when it’s beneficial. There are some promotions where buying miles can help save you big bucks, and help you to fly business class overseas for as little as $1,000 – a bargain compared to the average $4,000 – $7,000 business class fares. Also worth looking into are bonus transfer offers. British Airways, for example, recently offered a 50% bonus on transferred points through the American Express Membership Reward points website (ie: transfer 100,000 points and you actually get 150,000 miles). Want to find out more about when to buy points? Visit http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/blog/6932062/buying-miles-is-it-ever-worth-it/

Want to know more? Check out next week’s installment of Globe Tipping for more frequent flier tips!

Source: “Fly Guy: Frequent flier tips that only the pros know”. USAToday.com, June 28, 2011. http://travel.usatoday.com/experts/hobica/story/2011/06/Fly-Guy-Frequent-flier-tips-that-only-the-pros-know/48896120/1

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