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Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 17; May 12, 2010

Let’s Go Canada

Tuition fees and grades. Going up together.

Abroad Perspective

Brazil Ramps Up its Business Education

Over The Counter

PhD research for sale!

Globe Tipping

H20 IQ

1) LET’S GO CANADA – Tuition fees and grades. Going up together.

With the requirement to show one’s university transcript becoming commonplace to enter the modern world’s workforce, there is a reported trend that Canadian universities are becoming more likely to hand out higher grades.

James Côté and Anton Allahar, authors of a 2007 book called Ivory Tower Blues, identified  a trend starting as early as the 1970s.  According to the authors, grade inflation – the concentration of grades at the high end of the scale – has continuously crept its way into the Canadian university scene. So much so that, nowadays, As and Bs are quickly becoming as common – if not more common – than any other letter.

Côté and Allahar  recently posted online, and highlighted Canada’s University of Western Ontario (UWO) as one example of the trend.

Between 1974-75 and 2008-09 alone, they discovered, the number of first-year UWO students earning As and Bs increased between 10 and 20 per cent.  Reportedly, it is not a trend exclusive to the one university. Another paper, authored by Paul Anglin and Ronald Meng, appeared in the Canadian Public Policy journal in 2000, and outlined similar findings – with comparable shifts occurring at seven different universities.

Grade inflation has also figured prominently as a factor of international student recruitment. It’s not good for business to have students struggle, and it’s much better for business if those paying high international fees, get high grades.

“Grade Inflation”. December 31, 2007.
“University grades are inflating”. Winnipeg Free Press, May 10, 2010. 
“Evidence on Grades and Grade Inflation at Ontario’s Universities”. Canadian Public Policy, September 2000.

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Brazil Ramps Up its Business Education

As the Brazilian economy hurtles forward, its business community is fast ramping up its focus on business education.

In August 2010, one of Brazil’s renowned business schools, Fundação Dom Cabral (FDC), will host the international European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD)-FDC conference -Strategic Movements in Business Education. The conference, which will explore the most current themes in business education, will also serve as an opportunity to advance cooperation between business schools around the world, and the Brazilian corporate-commercial community.

One of these themes was featured last week in a seminar hosted by the Canadian University Application Centre at the Canadian Consulate in São Paulo. The presentation, “Open Innovation and University-Industrial collaborations: The Canadian Example” focused on the concept of open innovation with particular emphasis on the Canadian university system’s long-established history of industrial collaborations.

3) OVER THE COUNTER – PhDs for sale !

Enrolled into a PhD program but don’t want to bother with the annoying research? No problem for some Indian “scholars”. For less than $3,000 US, you can hire yourself a “guide” to do your research for you! And not just any guide – a retired university professor, no less.

Or for a fraction of the cost, why not buy a fully completed thesis paper?  The over the counter cost is just 8,000 rupees ($180US).

That’s what a team of journalists from India’s Tribune News Service found out last month, when they posed as PhD students looking to buy “original research”.

While visiting an “authorized” information centre for a South Indian University, the journalists were offered a collection of theses for sale, by a vendor who explained that “these have been submitted in a university but no one is likely to find out.” He did, however, “strongly recommend that a few paragraphs are changed here and there on every page” before any paper is submitted again.

PhD programs in the Indian states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, for example, involve the student registering along with a guide from the university and one of many local co-guides – who, spread throughout the country, offer to do “everything” for their student employer. These students are even provided assistance to help them clear the final viva voce at the end of their program. In fact, all they have to actually do for themselves, explained a woman running two of these university centres, is “just read [their] thesis once in the end!”

For those universities keen to crack down on such faked thesis efforts, the battle is proving substantial.

Although in June 2009, India’s University Grants Commission (UGC) notified “minimum standards and procedure for awarding MPhil and PhD degrees” – an announcement hailed as a positive step toward regulating research around the country – it has yet to actually be adopted by the majority of the nation’s universities.

This notification also stated that soft copies of all submitted theses were to be sent to the UGC for entry into the Information and Library Network (Inflibnet) Centre, Ahmedabad – where “postmortems” will be conducted to examine the content of the research.

Almost a year later, however, Inflibnet has yet to receive a single thesis from any university.

”Original research’ for PhD on sale!” Tribune News Service, April 8, 2010.
“Paid PhDs: UGC, varsities toothless, helpless”. Tribune News Service, April 10, 2010.


Along with the onset of summer heat comes the issue of keeping well hydrated. Especially when travelling to far-flung places where sources of clean water (and clean toilets) can often be few and far between. Thoughts of cool liquids are bound to enter our minds. But how do we know what is enough to drink? And, alternatively, is there such a thing as too much?

On average, a person loses around 80 ounces of water a day just to simple bodily functions alone. Add to that any excessive exercise or heat-induced perspiration, and the quantity becomes significant. So, to replenish these fluids, the US-based Institute of Medicine recommends the following intakes per day: at least 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women.

Signs you might not be getting enough include dizziness, fatigue, profuse sweating, headache, and/or darkened urine. Heat induced illnesses can often seem like they come on quickly, and have the potential to cause extreme reactions, so it is important to keep an eye out for any potential symptoms.

However, if you think your symptoms might be adding up, it’s just as important to try not to overdo it by extreme “compensation” drinking all in one go – because, although you might think it will help, it actually has the potential to do more harm than good.

Brought harshly into light in recent years, due to a tragic death in the U.S. resulting from a local radio station contest, entitled “Hold Your Wee for a Wii”, water intoxication can lead to serious complications.

Apart from straining the kidneys, which can struggle to process large amounts of fluid, drinking too much water too quickly can also put extreme pressure on other organs, causing them to swell. This swelling, if it reaches your brain, has the potential to stop vital functions such as breathing – which, obviously, can lead to death.

However, the chances that such an incident will occur are low. Unless, of course, you’re attempting to drink more than a few litres in just as few minutes. And if it does, there are treatment procedures available, which include giving patients diuretics or drugs to relieve the situation.

For more information on gauging your water intake this summer, visit the links below.


“Keep Hydrated in the Heat of Summer”., August 1, 2006.

“Why is too much water dangerous?” BBC News Magazine, January 15, 2007.

”How To Avoid Water Intoxication”. EHow.


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