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Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 5; February 10, 2010

Let’s Go Canada

Not Honourable ! China cuts off the University of Calgary.

Abroad Perspective

India Class 10 Exams. One “Final” Time.

Over The Counter

South Africa’s eight most popular study abroad destination?

Globe Tipping

How to Pack Luggage Efficiently

1) LET’S GO CANADA – Not Honourable ! China cuts off the University of Calgary

China has removed the University of Calgary from its list of accredited institutions after the Dalai Lama’s visit to Calgary in September 2009 where he was awarded an honourary doctor of laws degree by the University.

The Chinese government did not notify the University of Calgary of the decision to delist, instead, the University found out through staff and students from its international student centre last December.

A spokeswoman with the Chinese Consulate in Calgary, Danna Hou, did not equate the move by the Chinese government to delist the University of Calgary to the visit of the spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalali Lama, but hinted that University “should know” why.

Last April, officials from the Chinese Consulate in Calgary had presented their concerns regarding the Dalai Lama’s visit to the University of Calgary representatives and asked that he not be granted an honourary degree.

The University of Calgary who has 600 Chinese students studying at its institution is concerned about the perception of the degrees it grants or those held by its alumni, and how useful these degrees would be in China. As a result, the university is working to dispel any concerns of its accreditation with the Calgary Chinese community as well as partner institutions in China and other stakeholders.

This is not the first honourary degree granted to the Dalai Lama by a Canadian institution.  According to the Calgary Herald, he has received honourary degrees from the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, among several other international institutions.

Source:  ”China snubs U of C over Dalai Lama”, Calgary Herald, February 4, 2010.

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – India Class 10 Exams. One “Final” Time.

This is last time the month of March will be a period of dread and anxiety for millions of Indian teenagers. This year, 2010, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), ends its decades long final exam system for Class 10 students.

For many it’s a welcome change. The pressure on Indian 15 year olds from parents, teachers and society can be a choke-hold on a young person’s life and aspirations. In India, CBSE Class 10 final examination results make front page news and television headlines for weeks, and each year they are accompanied by stories of brilliant minds and tragic tales of teens committing suicide as they succumb to the overwhelming pressures.  Class 10 results can determine opportunities for future education pathways and carry with them an enormous stigma if one fails.

Critics of Class 10 exams also point to the lack of play and imagination among Indian teens, who are pushed out of most non-classroom activities which are not strictly related to exam prep and results. One goal of the new system is to encourage a more open mind and education, once young teens are released from exam pressures. Final examinations in India and the huge pressures connected to them, is another reason India produces so few world class athletes, as Sport is considered almost irrelevant next to studies, and the upper economic classes who can afford to train and compete, actually discourage it.

But it is India, and there will be great challenges to adjust. Only a very small percentage of the country’s schools are well enough equipped with resources and teachers to adequately train students to succeed in the even more important Class 12, end of schooling exams. Class 10 exams (as are Class 12) are a national standard test and marking system, and for a generation have presented a standard and measure of academic progress. Now it will fall to the final grades given by individual teachers, and in a country prone to using influence for advancement, there are huge holes for potential exploitation. An all too common practice is for teachers to give low marks unless students take up private tuitions with that teacher.  A typically modest salaried Indian teacher, can double and triple their earnings to teach students at home instead of at school.

3) OVER THE COUNTER – South Africa’s eight most popular study abroad destination?

South Africa has 2.2 percent of the global share of international education market and is the only African country that has more students studying at its institutions than it sends abroad. 

According to the Council on Higher Education (CHE), in 2006, 53,738 international students were studying in South Africa whereas a mere 6,638 South African students where studying abroad.

South Africa has strong higher education institutions that are both financially and geographically accessible to students in other parts of the continent.
The 2009 Global Education Digest by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) indicated that there were 2.8 million university students studying abroad in 2007, 62 per cent of those students went to the top six destinations: US, UK, France, Australia, Germany Japan followed by Canada, South Africa, Russia and Italy.

There seems to be a growing trend of mobile African students choosing to stay within the continent.  This trend is welcomed by South Africa who has national higher education plan to boost international student recruitment from other Southern African Development Community (SADC) especially at the postgraduate level.  The trend would help the region’s human resource development and would ease concerns of losing Africa’s brightest to non-African countries and economies.

Source: “SA: International students – big numbers, small income.”  University World News, January 24, 2010.

4) GLOBE TIPPING – How to Pack Luggage Efficiently

Packing efficiently has always been a skill that many people wished they had but few ever learned. Now with tighter airline restrictions, federal regulations, and checked baggage fees, it has become more important than ever to understand and utilize good packing techniques. Whether you plan to check luggage or carry-on, here are 5 tips to help you pack for your next trip:

1. Plan in advance: think about each day of your trip, the weather, places you will visit and plan your wardrobe accordingly. This way, you won’t forget often overlooked items like remembering to bring a hat or an umbrella. Then categorize the items into “what you need to bring”, “want to bring” and “can leave at home”. Next, start packing in this order. By packing what you need to bring first, you will avoid over packing.
3. Maximize space: how you pack determines how much you can fit in a luggage. The idea is to make use of every centimeter of space in that luggage. For example, place socks insides shoes and place shoes and other heavy items towards the bottom and side of the bag. Roll T-shirts or fold pants and shirts into compact squares. Place breakable items in the centre of the bag so clothing can provide a cushion effect. You can even use compressor bags to remove air from clothing so they take less space or packing cubes to keep items in one place and avoid wrinkling.
5. Wear heaviest items on the plane: consider wearing your heaviest shoes and carrying your coat instead of packing them.
7. Pack only the toiletries you need: many hotels provide soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and hair dryers so leave those behind and save space in your luggage for more important items.
9. Pack a small carry-on if you plan to check baggage: in case your luggage is lost, it is always best to carry a few articles of clothing, key, cash, business documents and medicine.

Source: “How to Pack Luggage Efficiently”, Tips from the T-List, February 5, 2010.


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