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Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Volume 8, Issue 21; June 10, 2009

LET’S GO CANADA

Australia still reeling

ABROAD PERSPECTIVE

Stopping scams from the inside

OVER THE COUNTER

Medicine without Merit


GLOBE TIPPING

North American travel? Passports now required

1) LET’S GO CANADA – Australia still reeling

Australia continues to be plagued by terrible press in India and street protests following a rash of attacks on Indian international students.

Virtually every day there are news reports in the Indian press about fresh assaults on Indian students the day before.

On 7 June Indian students and their supporters took to the streets of Sydney to protest attacks they see as racially motivated. The Australian government has aggressively condemned the violence and is taking steps to reassure families in India and other source countries that Australia is a safe place to study. This past Sunday evening, the Australian High Commissioner to India appeared on one of India’s top tv talk shows to address the growing fears and anxieties.

At stake is the country’s AUS $15.5 billion a year international education sector. The violence is already straining bilateral ties between the two countries. In the wake of the violence against Indian students, China, too, has begun expressing concern over the safety of its students. There are 97,000 Indian students in Australia; there are 130,000 Chinese.

Speculation over a possible exodus of international students from Australia has also hit the news.

Emerging New Zealand’s education export sector has distanced itself from Australia since the attacks. “Whenever another country has problems with international students that’s going to have a positive spin-off for us,” says Waiariki Institute of Technology’s Chief Executive Pim Borren.

Education professionals in New Delhi project that the number of Indian students enrolling in Australian institutions may drop 30 percent by July enrollment. Counsellors, travel agents and industry observers working in India project that the number may reach 50-60 percent before November’s enrollment, with students choosing instead to study in the UK or Canada.

Such a drop would spell trouble for an industry that has so far managed to weather the global economic storm.

Source: “http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=47095,” IPS, 4 June 2009.

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/a-13-2009-05-29-voa24-68802127.html,” Voice of America, 29 May 2009.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/indian-students-protest-at-attacks/story-fna7dq6e-1225729461599,” The Australian, 8 June 2009.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/06/01/2586437.htm?section=australiaABC News, 1 June 2009.

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20090604192907534,” University World News, 7 June 2009.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/5444944/Australia-must-protect-foreign-students-from-attacks-say-China-and-India.htmlTelegraph, 4 June 2009.

http://www.rotoruadailypost.co.nz/news/aussie-attacks-may-steer-students-towards-rotorua/1005833/,” The Daily Post, 4 June 2009.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/50-60students-may-opt-for-uk-canadian-varsities/360054/,” Business Standard, 8 June 2009.

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Stopping scams from the inside

Despite new regulations governing UK colleges and universities, some unscrupulous institutions are still in business.

According to a report in the UK’s Times Online, 22 May, King’s College of Management in Manchester contintues to operate under a renewed license despite it being revealed that the college sells diplomas. The college had close ties with the now defunct Manchester College of Professional Studies, the school that gave places to eight of the students arrested in April for suspected involvement in an al-Qaeda terror plot.

The Australian government has recently agreed to investigate sixteen of its more notorious colleges. The colleges are reputed to sell students letters of proof for work experience they never gained, or to enrol students in courses they have no interest in studying knowing that students have few avenues for recourse.

The revenue opportunities associated with international education are impossible to deny. Both the UK and Australia rely on international student fees to support their under-funded institutions, a financial prop even more important during these tough economic times.

Source: “http://www.watoday.com.au/national/our-schools-for-scandal-20090522-bic6.html?page=-1,” WA Today, 22 May 2009.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/,” Times Online, 22 May 2009.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/highrisk-training-colleges-face-new-audit-20090520-bfp7.html,” The Age, 21 May 2009.

3) OVER THE COUNTER – Medicine without Merit

Called a “den of corruption” by the High Court in Delhi, the Medical Council of India (MCI) is under intense scrutiny for its regulatory role in granting licenses to new medical colleges in India. At issue is the practice of selling admission to medical studies to the highest bidder, commonly done, yet few Indians will openly admit it.

A Times News exposé caught one medical college director on campus asking the equivalent of USD $100,000 for a seat. That’s not expensive. A shortage of medical seats and the lucrative private practice billing results in some medical seats commanding a price tag of almost half a million US dollars. With such high “capitation fees” (as they are called in India), it is not good for “business” to fail students regardless of their abilities, and critics call into question the competence of graduating medical professionals in India.

India’s Supreme Court banned capitation fees six years ago. But in that time span, the MCI licensed 55 new medical colleges. Some MCI regulators are even linked to medical colleges who benefit from seat sales, including the Director of MCI.

The Times of India, the flagship newspaper of the Times News Network, published a front page editorial on 6 June calling for the purging of the MCI.

4) GLOBE TIPPING – North American travel? Passports now required

As of 1 June 2009, residents of North America must carry passports when traveling by road between the three countries: the US, Canada, and Mexico.

The new regulation under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative brings road travel into line with air travel regulations already in place.

So if you are planning a quick trip across a border for a summer Fair, make sure you are carrying the proper ID.

For more information on the WHTI, see:
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_2223.html

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