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Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 18; May 18, 2010

Let’s Go Canada

Rising Graduate Opportunities – Healthcare in Canada

Abroad Perspective

E-learning grows at Kenyan universities

Over The Counter

Failing Grades for Aussie College

The Edge

Education Agents in India. The art of lying.

1) LET’S GO CANADA – Rising Graduate Opportunities – Healthcare in Canada

With the escalated population of ‘baby boomers’ nearing old age, the demand for health care workers in North America is steadily on the rise.

In the U.S. alone, it is predicted that around 233,000 additional jobs will open up for registered nurses (RNs) each year through to 2016; and that only 66,000 RNs will actually be available to fill those openings each year (U.S. Bureau of Labor). That’s less than 30% of the estimated demand.  And in Canada, there is already a great need throughout the country.

According to Ms Wu, a Chinese emigrant who has been working as a nurse in Quebec for nearly 20 years, salaries are high for nurses in Canada, even at the entry level.

“It is around $17 to $20 per hour,” she says, “and increases by $1 to $2 per hour each year, up to about $40 per hour because of accumulated experience.” It is also work that can be qualified for without obtaining lengthy or multiple degrees.

“In Canada,” Wu explains, “after graduating from high school, students can study at nursing schools for eighteen months and then become nurses. Students can also study at colleges for three to five years to obtain a Bachelor degree in nursing.”

Wu is just one of many trained foreign health care providers who have come to Canada in search of career opportunities. In fact, according to a 2005 paper by M. Kingma*, outlining the migration patterns for health professionals, more than a quarter of the medical and nursing workforces of Canada, Australia, the UK, and the U.S. are foreign-educated. Originally coined as the “Brain Drain” – the movement of skilled professionals from developing countries to developed countries, as well as between industrialized nations – it is a trend that has only grown since its beginnings in the 1960s.

Yet even with this movement, the demand remains high. And, with Canada’s population steadily aging (and bound to live longer, thanks to medical advances), the need is only going to grow.

Sources: “Aging Populations Boost Nursing Jobs”. The Epoch Times, May 13, 2010.
“The ‘Brain Drain’ of physicians: historical antecedents to an ethical debate, c. 1960-79”. Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanity in Medicine, 3:24, 2008.
*“Migration patterns of health professionals”. Cahiers de sociologie et de démographie médicales, April-Sept 2005.

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – E-learning grows at Kenyan universities

Universities around the world are integrating e-learning into their teaching strategies – and Kenyan universities are some of the newest followers to the trend.

Students at a number of Nairobi-based universities, including Strathmore University, United States International University, and University of Nairobi, are now being enrolled in e-learning courses as soon as they register at the schools.

Allowing students to follow lectures online, submit papers, look up grades, take part in online discussions, and interact with professors, platforms such as ‘Moodle’ (which is used by a number of the universities), are being chosen for the efficiency they offer both students and professors. Also, with this ‘distance learning’ capability, participating universities have greater opportunities to conduct remote lectures, invite high quality guest lecturers from abroad, build e-learning partnerships with other foreign universities, and increase the numbers of students able to take part in each course – all benefits gained in an extremely cost-efficient manner.

However, these programs are not exactly without fault, as in-depth awareness campaigns need to be undertaken to ensure all participants – both professors and students – know how to fully use the system, and with local internet connections slow and/or unreliable across much of Africa, e-learning is not always a sure-fire method of education in the region.

For now, steps are being made to maximize the systems’ performance, and a number of the Kenyan universities look forward to offering full degree courses through e-learning as early as next year.

Sources: “Kenyan universities turn to e-learning”. Business Daily via AllAfrica.com, May 6, 2010.

3) OVER THE COUNTER – Failing Grades for Aussie College

A Southern Australian college was served a notice last week stating that its registration as a training provider could be taken away.

The institution, called Adelaide Pacific International College (APIC), has about 450 students, mainly Indian, whom it trains in such areas as Community Services Work, Aged Care, Business Management, Automotive Skills, and Security.
Based on findings from a March audit, the Department of Further Education alleged that the college has not complied with 12 of 14 standards under a national framework. Unless the college succeeds in defending itself, its registration will be cancelled.

Were this to happen, however, South Australia’s Further Education Minister, Jack Snelling, has ensured that all current APIC students will have the opportunity to continue their studies elsewhere, with no further or repeat payments necessary.

Amidst these allegations comes wider concern regarding the validity – and purpose – of such institutions. Australia’s Motor Trade Association (MTA), for one, has stated its worry about these colleges’ focus on providing a migration pathway to Australia – especially as overseas students are paying tens of thousands of dollars for training which is not actually approved or supported by the related industries in the country.

The Indian Australian Association of South Australia has also voiced its concern on the issue, with President Vickram Madan urging the Government to keep the welfare of these international students in mind – many of whom, he says, have made huge sacrifices to study abroad in hopes of finding better opportunities for their future.

Sources: “International student college fails audit”. ABC News, May 11, 2010.
“Adelaide Pacific International College is a leading Registered Training Organisation in Australia”

4) “THE EDGE” – Education Agents in India.  The art of lying.

After 13 years in the field and more than a hundred trips to India, I’m well accustomed to the lies I’ve come across from this most common and seedy manifestation of the international education industry.

I’ve been photographed alongside agents with those pictures positioned on websites and office walls to give tacit approval of representation of the universities I am associated with.  I’ve been threatened with jail time if I not sign up with the local agent association. I’ve had visa officers regale me with tales of imaginative ways in which agents submit fraudulent Study Permit applications.

Over a dozen years I have hundreds of examples of lies and all-out fraud by agents. Misrepresenting to students, lying to institutions, fabricating documents for visa applications, these are all stock-in-trade tools of the business.

At a recent education fair in the southern Indian city of Chennai, a Toronto-based recruitment agency purported to represent several Canadian institutions. When I inquired  with Carleton University if it worked with this agency, it advised that it had told the agent “No” to numerous requests to represent it. I also inquired with York University, which was also on “the list” of universities represented by the agency.  York issued a cease and desist letter to the agent, and just days ago York was dropped from the agency’s official representation listed on its website.

This is all the norm in this industry – especially in India and right across South Asia. For Carleton and York it’s not possible to know who is misusing their names unless brought to their attention. They can not be held accountable for such abuse. But there are many institutions – universities, and public colleges, who openly engage with suspect agencies. In the case of this agency, it’s likely it does have an official representation status with  a university or college.  Some institutions will plead ignorance. Some will plead naïveté. But all should be performing their due diligence.  This diligence can include contacting Canadian authorities, truly checking out references, including references to other institutions, and above all, spot-checking through drop-in visits and imposing additional scrutiny on randomized student applications.

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