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Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Volume 8, Issue 13; April 15, 2009

LET’S GO CANADA

CEC success in Bangkok

ABROAD PERSPECTIVE

Students and scams. The stakes get serious.

OVER THE COUNTER

India’s reverse brain-drain

GLOBE TIPPING

Long, long term weather forecast

1) LET’S GO CANADA – CEC success in Bangkok

If the turnout at last month’s Canadian Education Forum in Bangkok are any indication, there are an increasing number of Thais interested in pursuing higher education in Canada.

The event, hosted by the Canadian Education Council, provided information on Canadian secondary schools, colleges, and universities to hundreds of prospective students.

Thai students already studying in Canada cite several different reasons for choosing Canada over competitor countries. Some thought that the US was too frightening a country to live in, particularly after the events of 9/11, and that UK institutions were too expensive.

Canadian colleges and universities, by contrast. offered high quality education at a reasonable cost. Canada was also seen as safe, friendly, and open to multicultural students. Though the cold, harsh winters were seen as a drawback, many students saw how the climate helped to bring people together, easing the transition.

Thai students who attended the Education Forum outlined many of the strengths Canada has to offer, and even turned one of our downsides on its head. Canadian institutions and policy makers would be wise to listen to these students should we become serious about marketing our country’s international education.

Source “http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/education/14682/study-in-canada,” Bangkok Post, 7 April 2009.

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Students and scams. The stakes get serious.

When your Prime Minister calls it a “major terrorist plot,” it’s both serious and sensational. It is definitely sobering, and when last week British police arrested a dozen men (11 are Pakistanis) and British PM Gordon Brown claimed they were plotting against the Kingdom while in the UK on student visas–the blame game was on.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK said the problem is with Britain issuing too many student visas to non-students.

UK government figures list 42,292 student visas issued to Pakistanis between April 2004 and April 2008. If one considers even 95 percent of such visas issued to those actually interested to study, then it’s still a few thousand visas issued to non-students.

The British Home Office says it checks out all student visa applicants and the British High Commission in Islamabad said last year it only issued about 10,000 student visas our of 27,000 applications.

The siege mentality approach is fueled by British media focusing on unscrupulous education agencies in Pakistan, and the money they make in collaborating with–and selling services to–those hopeful to use a study visa to gain entry to the UK. As reported in Overseas, Overwhelmed in our April 8 issue, the most potent collaboration is in fact with Pakistani agents and school operators in Britain. Our article entitled “Dodging its own dodgy schools” referred to the UK government stating 25 percent of the British institutions who recruit foreign students are bogus.

Higher-Edge Pakistan Director Rubeena Hoodbhoy told the Guardian newspaper she is contacted by small British colleges wanting to sell their courses in Pakistan. “They bombard us with emails and phone calls,” said Ms. Hoodbhoy. “These small colleges have created havoc for everyone. We have complained to the British Council and other authorities. They should have been closed down long ago,” she said.

Source “http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/International/10-Apr-2009/British-police-grill-Pakistanis-in-terror-plot-probe,” The Nation, 10 April 2009.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/11/student-visas-business,” Guardian, 11 April 2009.

3) OVER THE COUNTER – India’s reverse brain-drain

Though Indians have made up the largest share of international students in the US since 2001, the sheen may be wearing off the American dream.

Indian students who previously hoped for good degrees and high paying jobs in the US are seeing their chances dwindle as the economic crisis takes hold, making it more difficult for international students to find jobs while they’re studying and after graduation. Disappearing student loan programs have also added to the stress of studying in the US.

Simultaneously, career opportunities are opening up in India’s booming economy. Though India is also feeling the effects of the downturn, the economy is still growing, as is its complement of young, affluent professionals. A lower cost of living is combining with India’s fast developing modern amenities—like shopping malls, high-class bars and restaurants, and brand new housing—to draw many US hopefuls back home.

Many students who would have otherwise chosen to study in the US are also choosing to stay home. As scholarship dollars at US institutions dry up, even students who have written and passed the GRE test required to get into US schools are abandoning their plans. About 55,000 students wrote the GRE last year, down 20 percent from the year before.

What will amount to America’s loss will ultimately be India’s gain, as thousands of its educated elite either stay home or return to invest their time and energy into India’s economy, Asia’s third largest.

Source: “http://in.reuters.com/article/2009/03/26/idINIndia-38706320090326?sp=true,” Reuters India, 26 March 2009.

4) GLOBE TIPPING – Long, long term weather forecast

Doing global business often involves very long term planning. Events, conventions, and travel schedules are etched out months or years in advance. The only thing we can never plan, however, is the weather.

While we may not be able to bank on what the weather man predicts for the coming days, the World Weather Information Service can at least give you a sense of what to expect out of long term weather patterns.

Use the site to choose when to visit different regions of the planet, how best to avoid major weather events like cyclones and snow storms, and how to plan your events to maximize the best weather conditions or keep attendees focused during the worst ones.

The World Weather Information Service is found at the following:

http://www.worldweather.org/

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