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Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 9; March 10, 2010

Let’s Go Canada

Ontario wants more foreign students

Abroad Perspective

More post-graduate students look to Europe

Over The Counter

Saudi story. Millions or made up ?

Globe Tipping

1) LET’S GO CANADA – Ontario wants more foreign students

It seems that everyone is salivating over the revenue international students contribute to the economy at large and post-secondary institutions in particular, including Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. This was very clear in the ‘Open Ontario’ Throne speech which was full of promises to boost the number of domestic and international students attending post-secondary institutions in Ontario.

The five-year plan includes:
• adding 20,000 spaces in 2010 in post-secondary institution.
• increasing enrollment rates of Ontario students from 62 to 70 percent.
• creating an Ontario Online Institute, which will offer e-courses from several universities toward acquiring a diploma or a degree.
• aggressively market abroad to attract more international students.
The plan has been criticized by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) as falling markedly short. The OCUFA pointed out in a press release published on Monday, March 8, that Premier McGuinty’s plan does not address:
• 20,000 new spaces to be created over the next five years is insufficient to meet the growing demand in the Greater Toronto Area alone, which is estimated at between 45,000 to 75,000 students.
• the creation of additional seats for students without the allocation of funds to staff faculty and add appropriate classes.
• it would be unfair to international students for under-funded universities to rely upon them for their revenue streams.
 
Source: “Text of throne speech.” Toronto Star, March 8, 2010.

Source: “Ontario faculty concerned about McGuinty’s plans to expand university system.” CNW, March 8, 2010

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – More post-graduate students look to Europe

Statistics from a 2009 post-graduate study by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a London-based private provider of higher education information services, indicates that post-graduate students are opting to study in Europe rather than in North America.


The analysis is based on information provided by prospective students who register to attend the QS World Grad School Tour, a series of education fairs which take place in about 60 cities around the world each year.

Statistics from the 2009 QS report indicate that 57 per cent of students surveyed preferred to study in Europe whereas 33.5 per cent opted for North America; in 2007 the rates where 50 and 39 per cent respectively.

One explanation of the rise in rates of Europe-bound post-graduate students is due to the availability of more English language courses in post-graduate programs coupled with the notion that North American universities are ‘pricing themselves out of the market,’ explained Dominic Scott, chief executive of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (Ukcisa).

The report suggests that there are other factors involved such as Europe’s aggressive marketing abroad, the added incentives of some European countries, such as the U.K.’s two-year post-graduation work schemes. In addition, the entry of countries like France, the Netherlands and Germany who weren’t historically active in the international student recruitment arena are now on equal footing with UK’s 11 per cent of the global international student market share.

Source: “North America’s appeal to postgraduates wanes as more European universities run courses in English.” The Independent (UK), March 4, 2010.

3) OVER THE COUNTER – Saudi story. Millions or made up ?

Two weeks ago, South Dublin’s newly launched Citywest Institute of Education announced that it had reached a 6-year agreement worth $340 million dollars USD with the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education to house and teach English to 750 students commencing this April. But this was news to the Saudi Ministry.

In fact, according to the Irish Times news article, the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education announced on its website that it has not signed a contract with the Citywest Institute and that the ministry does not recognize the college’s accreditation!

Jim Mansfield, the Irish land developer mogul and owner of hotel resorts, Golf Clubs and even a small airport, announced his plan to convert his South Dublin’s Citywest Hotel complex to house the 750 Saudi students in February. The Mansfield Group even applied to South Dublin County Council for planning permission to change the intended use of the building alleging the agreement with the Saudi Ministry.

Everyone involved in the case, from Ireland’s Department of Justice who has not received any notice of an influx of Saudi student visa applications to Professor Ghazy Almakky, the Saudi Cultural Attaché in London responsible for Saudi students in the UK and Ireland is perplexed by the supposed agreement.

The Mansfield Group have declined comments when probed by the Irish Times on the alleged agreement with the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education.

Source: “The strange case of Citywest, 750 Saudi students and the disputed contract.” The Irish Times, March 2, 2010.

4) GLOBE TIPPING – Booking a Flight the Frugal Way

If you don’t have the luxury of a good travel agent to book your international flights, or have grown frustrated navigating sites such as Travelocity or Expedia, do not stop there.  The New York Times’ Frugal Travel offers a few user-friendly sites where you can book your flight yourself – and more importantly book your flight for less!

Kayak.com – a simple airfare search engine with minimal graphics, no discount vacation deals to clutter things, and it searches almost every other site out there — and also the most flexible. 

Vayama.com – a booking site that specializes in international flights and claims to have access to private deals unavailable elsewhere.

SeatExpert.com  - a reference site with insider information on the best and worst seats on a plane.

Source: “Booking a Flight the Frugal Way.” New York Times, February 16, 2010.

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