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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Volume 7 issue 16, April 23 2008


University league tables ‘misleading’ says British academic


Zhejiang’s Gaokao policy


Come to Canada! Study, Work and Stay !!!

1) LET’S GO CANADA-University league tables ‘misleading’ says British academic

Britain’s university league tables, ranking the performance of British universities have been criticised as both misleading and financially damaging by a leading academic. According to Professor Les Ebdon, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bedfordshire, league tables are particularly damaging with overseas students because, with no official statistics, there is an increasing tendency to only send students from abroad to a university in the top 20. Since those universities cannot take all the students, there is a reduction in how many students come from abroad. Professor Ebdon added “The other concern is that people do not understand that the tables are not officially sanctioned, or produced by the Government. Very often they are made to sell newspapers.”

While Professor Ebdon’s point of selling newspapers with unofficial tables is an accurate portrayal, it is not the top tier which is the main attraction for foreign students going to the U.K. Study-abroad agencies in developing nations, who send the bulk of students to Britain, typically promote the lower end institutions for their ease of entrance standards.

Source: ““, Bedford Today, April 17 2008

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE-Zhejiang’s Gaokao policy

Universities in the Zhejiang province of eastern China will no longer depend on the for admission decisions from 2009. The Gaokao, or the National College Entrance Examination, is the Chinese equivalent of the SATs conducted at the beginning of summer each year. The Gaokao examinations are provincial and each state governs itself in this area.

By diminishing the importance of Gaokao as the sole criterion for college admission, Zhejiang universities will, no doubt, be considering other factors during the admissions process (just as universities in the West consider extra-curricular activities in admissions decisions). This could be a favourable development for students who are weighed down by the pressure involved in writing and performing well in the examination. However, critics of the new system fear that corruption and political pressure may now creep into admission decisions. It remains to be seen how the province deals with this new decision, and whether other Chinese provinces will follow suit.

3) OVER THE COUNTER-Come to Canada! Study, Work and Stay !!!

In the Canadian government’s boldest statement ever that it wants more foreign students in Canada – the federal department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced new rules for international students who wish to stay on in Canada and work after graduation (April 21, 2008, CIC announcement released in Vancouver, B.C.).

In a startling announcement which makes the new regulations effective immediately, international students who have graduated with degrees and diplomas can obtain a work permit with no restrictions on the type of employment and no requirement for a job offer. In addition, the duration of the work permit has been extended to three years across the country. Previously, the program only allowed international students to work for one or two years, depending on the location of both the city of studies and employment.

No doubt this development is fueled by Canada’s miniscule population growth, need for a more skilled workforce, and increased global competition for the best, brightest and most capable students. Still new immigration regulations are required to smooth the transition to Permanent Residency from within Canada while on the new work permits. As well, current regulations which assess the merits of a student visa application continue to maintain the applicant must only be in Canada on temporary status. The new work regulations heighten the tension in the mixed message Canada gives international students (you can apply, but must leave after you finish. However, when you arrive, you can stay !)

“For years one could only whisper in High Commissions, Embassies and Visa Offices that international students can stay on to work and live in Canada,” says Mel Broitman, Higher-Edge Managing Director in Asia. But Canada is playing catchup. Canada lags far behind key competition from the U.K. and Australia in terms of marketing and awareness. Of course the U.S.A. is still a much bigger draw (and will grow), and even relatively new entrants such as Ireland, New Zealand, France and Germany often outperform Canadian recruiting in many markets.

“The new work provisos are a big boost,” says Mr. Broitman. “The question now is whether the institutions, particularly Canadian universities, can recruit effectively even with this
new advantage.”

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