15 Facts on Impending Closures of 40% of Universities in Russia

April 23rd, 2015

russia

According to a recent report by University World News Global Education, the Russian Ministry of Education and Science has announced that it will be closing a number of its universities and university branches by the end of 2016. These institutions are being shut down as part of a federal plan the Russian government has implemented for the development of education during 2016 to 2020. The government’s plan is to establish strong federal universities located in the 10 different regions in Russia.

Here are some highlights on these planned cuts:

1. At present, according to data from the Ministry, there are 593 state and 486 private institutions

2. According to date from the Ministry, the state universities have 1,376 branches and the private universities have 682.

3. Seven million students are attending state and private universities.

4. Two million of the students benefit from state-funded education which is about US$3,500 per student.

5. Number of Russian universities will be reduced by 40% by the end of 2016

6. Number of Russian university branches will be reduced by 80% by the end of 2016.

7. According to Dmitry Livanov, Russian Minister of Education and Science, the number of universities since the collapse of the USSR has increased extensively, especially in the number of private universities, as compared to the USSR period. He is quoted in the University World News Global Education as saying: “Unfortunately, the results of our monitoring showed that the quality of education provided by some of them is very poor.”

8. On March, 2016 the Ministry began conducting quality checks of the universities. Results are due on May 30, 2015.

9. Up to 100 universities will be subject to quality assessments within the new few months.

10. Majority of closures will affect private universities that have been determined to provide poor standards of education.

11. The cuts will also affect some state-owned universities.

12. Some of the closed universities, including their faculty and infrastructure, may be absorbed by other universities that are found eligible to continue their operations.

13. Faculty from the national universities have been promised by the Russian government that their salaries will not be cut and the same provision will apply to scholarships.

14. 53.5% of Russians have university degrees, yet, many Russian students, teachers and employers are dissatisfied with the quality of higher education in the country.

15. According to Education Minister Livanov, some of the institutions on the chopping block behaved as “offices for the sale of certificates that do not have an established training process and qualified teachers.”

Please stay tuned as we await the results of the Ministry’s quality checks mid to late this year.

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Dispatches from AACRAO Conference in Baltimore, MD April 12-14, 2015

April 16th, 2015

Baltimore

On route to Baltimore, MD, to attend the 101st annual conference of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officer (AACRAO) I had all the intentions to review my notes for an upcoming presentation, check and reply to emails, work on a training webinar scheduled in May, but instead 30,000 feet up in the air inside a metal tube called US Airways I watched, on my laptop, the new PBS-BBC series “Wolf Hall” based on the novel of the same name by British author Hilary Mantel. From the second the title credits began to appear on the screen, I was hooked. I watched the first episode of this six-part series and found myself captivated by the insanely excellent cast that includes Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and treachery and politicking at work in the 16th century court of King Henry VIII. How watching “Wolf Hall” was going to impact my attendance at the conference and encounters and meetings I did not know, but one thing was quite clear was that I had to watch the second episode on my return flight to Los Angeles.

Two years earlier in 2013, I attended the AACRAO national conference in San Francisco, CA, where I was invited to serve on the Task Force on International Admissions and Credential Evaluation. Now, with the work of the Task Force completed and the report with its findings and recommendations submitted to the AACRAO Board, a session had been scheduled at the conference to allow a few of us who served on the Task Force to present an overview of the report and offer updates.

But before the session presentation, I first had to locate the convention center, check in, pick up my name badge, head to the exhibit hall and set up the display at the booth. This was the year the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE) had decided to have a booth. As a Charter and Endorsed Members of AICE, I represented the Association as its President & Treasurer along with Chair of the Association, Alexander Afagonov with Globe Language Services, another Charter and Endorsed Member, and two representatives from NASBA, an Associate Member of AICE that included Brentni Henderson-King and James Suh. With the booth set up completed, we joined the other attendees for the opening reception that followed the Opening Plenary presented by Scott Simon, Host of Weekend Edition Saturday on NPR and Need to Know on PBS.

JJA
L-R: James Such (NASBA), Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert (ACEI), Alexander Agafonov (Globe Language Services)

This year’s conference offered several sessions related to international education that included topics on China, Cuban Academic Credentials; Russian and Ukraine: Chanted in Higher Education; Brazil: Country Overview; Hong Kong’s Diploma of Secondary Education. EducationUSA representative offered various poster session on China, Ghana, and Mexico.

At the booth, we met a significant number of AACRAO members some of whom said that their institutions do evaluations in house while some were working with outside companies and some were considering looking at other companies, such as those that are members of AICE. I reunited with colleagues whom I had not seen in several years, especially Eva-Angela Adan who travelled with me to Honduras and Guatemala in 1987 for the PIER Workshop on Central America.

At the invitation of the AACRAO Board of Directors, I attended the Reception for Honorees and reconnected with several members of the Task Force. No trip to Baltimore is complete without a visit to Camden Yards, and though I didn’t physically step into the famous sports venue, I was fortunate to have a brief but memorable view of the Baltimore Orioles and the NY Yankees game from the balcony of the hospitality suite along with fellow members of the AACRAO Task Force on International Education and Credential Evaluation.

My last day at the conference ended with co-presenting the session “AACRAO Task Force on International Admissions and Credential Evaluation Update.” My co-presenters included: Michael Reilly, Executive Director of AACRAO; Melanie Gottlieb, VP Enrollment Management at Cottey College & VP International Education for AACRAO; John Yopp, Associate Provost University of Kentucky, Emeritus, Gloria Nathanson, Associate Director of International Admissions & Relations (Ret.) with UCLA and Chair of the Task Force. There were about sixty people who attended the session which was well received. Michael Reilly introduced the impetus behind the formation of the Task Force and its charge, Gloria Nathanson who chaired the Task Force offered a historic overview of the international education and credential evaluation profession, I spoke on the importance of international credential evaluation and reviewed the list of recommendations the Credential Evaluation Committee submitted to the AACRAO Board in ways to foster the profession and its practitioners, John Yopp discussed the current status and challenges of US Study Abroad and International Student Recruitment, studies abroad who presented on the research component of the Task Force’s report, Melanie Gottlieb shared with the audience steps AACRAO Board has taken and considering to take in response to the recommendations submitted by the Task Force. The handout for the PowerPoint presentation will be available through AACRAO. Copy of the Task Force report is already available on the AACRAO website. Please click on this link: http://bit.ly/1b8wOB9

On the return flight home, I had no choice but catch the second episode of “Wolf Hall,” and was quickly lost in this very riveting program with its quiet intensity in which the central characters, like pieces on a chessboard, were being moved to get into positions for the ensuing drama. Though “Wolf Hall” is based on events which took place 500 years ago, the characters demonstrate characteristics compatible to our 21st world.

jasmin_2015

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Steve Jobs’ Hi-Fi System

April 9th, 2015

Steve Jobs, Time, 1982
Young Steve Jobs at his Woodside, California, home, 1982.

I’ve written about the late Apple founder Steve Jobs opting to listen to vinyl over mp3s and CDs at home, even after inventing devices like the iPhone and iPod, which have revolutionized the way the people now consume their music.

I just started reading the new biography on him, Becoming Steve Jobs. While his love for innovation, precision, and great engineering were well-known, I was surprised to find that we shared a few things in common: he had a Porsche 911; was deeply influenced by both Ram Dass’ classic book, Be Here Now and Parmahansa Yogananda’s beautiful Autobiography of a Yogi. I discovered that Jobs also loved his Linn Sondek turntable, which naturally, got me curious about the rest of his home audio system, which he was said to have enjoyed in his 17,000′ mountain estate in Woodside, California. I decided to do some digging to find out more.

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Scottish-made Linn Sondek turntable.

In addition to the Linn Sondek turntable, Jobs owned a 200-watt Spectral Stasis-1 power amplifier, a FET-One preamp, and a Denon Tu-750 tuner. Originally, he’d outfitted himself with large Acoustat Monitor 3 electrostatic speakers, which he later upgraded to Wilson Audio Grand Slamm speakers (the brand Henry Rollins has at home,) though I don’t think Jobs’ were the same top-tier, $200K Alexandria XLF model behemoths that Henry enjoys). And BTW, Henry also detests cd’s.

Later, Jobs switched to a MK1 Gyrotec turntable, a costlier upgrade which would have enabled him to better enjoy his precious vinyl. To my surprise, he never owned a tube amp and preamp—both of which allow for a smoother, more organic sound. Still, good solid state amps like he had are known for their iron-fisted control of fussy (think wildly varying impedance curves) and inefficient loudspeakers, specifically with regard to electrostatics.

The one component Jobs did not own at home was a CD player because he loved vinyl and, therefore, outfitted himself with analogue components. Among his favorites records to listen to were works from the ECM catalogue, Steely Dan, the Grateful Dead, and Bach.

All in all, Jobs’ system was on the modest side of high-end. He could have afforded anything, but some say he was a bit of a tightwad. In the same way that he could have afforded the Mercedes Bismarck S63 AMG, he opted for the smaller Mercedes SL55 AMG instead. Maybe he just didn’t want to be recognized out on the road.

 

toms

Tom Schnabel, M.A.

Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Blogs for Rhythm Planet
Author & Music educator, UCLA, SCIARC, currently doing music salons
www.tomschnabel.com

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21 Facts About ACEI on its 21st Anniversary!

April 1st, 2015

Today, April 1st, ACEI celebrates turning 21! This is no April Fool’s joke. 21 years ago on this day, ACEI opened its office in Beverly Hills, CA, USA and has been providing its international credential evaluation services to students and immigrants from around the world.

We thought in celebrating 21 years of business, we share with you 21 facts about ACEI:

1. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators

2. ACEI’s primary service is international academic credential evaluation where studies completed at institutions outside the U.S. are evaluated and converted into the approximate U.S. academic equivalence.

3. ACEI evaluates educational credentials from all academic levels (e.g. primary/elementary school through high school, university from undergraduate to graduate and doctoral and professional) and from all countries around the world.

4. ACEI also provide a Translation Service where academic credentials issued in languages other than English are translated into the English language.

5. ACEI provides an Experiential Learning Evaluation for Officer Training programs completed while in military service for non-US commissioned officers.

6. ACEI evaluations are prepared by senior level credential evaluators who each have a minimum of 10 years of committed experience in international education credential evaluations.

7. Our processing time in completing an evaluation is 7 business days from the day we receive the completed ACEI Application, educational credentials and fees.

8. We offer three types of evaluation reports: Basic (General) Report; Comprehensive (Course-by-Course) Report and the California Board of Accountancy Report. Each of these reports are designed to meet the specific purpose for which the evaluation is intended: employment; professional licensing; immigration, further education/continuation of studies.

9. We offer 2 types of RUSH services: 24-hour rush and 3-business day rush, if an evaluation is required to be completed faster than our 7-business days.

10. The fees submitted for a credential evaluation provides 2 sets of the evaluation report: an official report and a duplicate applicant copy.

11. ACEI official reports are issued on heat sensitive transcript security paper.

12. ACEI provides customized Virtual Intensive Training programs to U.S. schools, colleges, universities and regulatory boards interested in acquiring a more hands-on knowledge of world education systems and credential evaluation methodologies.

13. ACEI’s blog “AcademicExchange” has been producing weekly blogs since April 2011 and has been viewed by more than 40,000 viewers.

14. The Report is ACEI’s monthly online Newsletter which has a subscription of over 5000 subscribers and provides highlights of education-related news from around the world.

15. ACEI has 2 mail processing centers in the Los Angeles are to facilitate applicants with the delivery of their application packets.

16. Walk-in drop off service is available by appointment only to those applicants who wish to deliver their original documents in person.

17. The ACEI Comprehensive (Course-by-Course) Report in addition to recommending the U.S. academic equivalent of the level of studies completed and any certificate/diploma/degree earned, provides a detailed course-by-course listing of subjects studies with U.S. semester units of credit (for post-secondary studies), U.S. grade equivalents (A, B, C, D, F), calculates the overall Grade Point Average, and classifies course levels for undergraduate studies as lower and upper division.

18. ACEI staff is proficient in several languages including Spanish, French, Farsi, Russian, Armenian, German, Italian, Croatian, Chinese.

19. ACEI senior staff has authored several publications on world education systems that are used by international educators at other credential evaluation agencies, and U.S. colleges and universities and state regulatory boards.

20. ACEI provides 24/7 customer service through its call center.

21. ACEI’s Facebook page has 11,000 followers and its Twitter page has 700+.

Bonus Fact:

22. ACEI has its very own resident office cat, Scruffy, a 14-year old Main Coone with polydactyl paws.

Scruffy

Thank you for supporting ACEI since 1994!

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Cheating in School: A Family Affair in India

March 26th, 2015

Cheating_India
Photo Credit: NDTV

For this week’s blog, I’m going to keep it short and sweet and share with you the true story of hundreds of parents and family members endangering their own lives by scaling walls outside the examination hall in a town in India. No, these parents weren’t risking their lives to rescue their children from a fiery inferno or deranged terrorist. They were scaling the walls to help their children by feeding them the answers to the questions on the final examinations. Yes, you heard me correctly. The parents were complicit in cheating with their children. This brazen act of collective cheating was caught on tape and if you don’t believe me, here’s the video for your own eyes to see: YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14suVlM0FNk

For more on this cheating extravaganza, read the article by the Independent UK newspaper: Parents risk lives climbing exam buildings to help hundreds of Indian students cheat

In the words of James E. Faust: “Cheating in school is a form of self-deception. We go to school to learn. We cheat ourselves when we coast on the efforts and scholarship of someone else.”

Frustrated
Frustrated Evaluator

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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15 Facts on the Republic of Vanuatu

March 19th, 2015

Vanuatu

On March 14, 2015, the Republic of Vanuatu, an archipelago consisting of approximately 82 islands, which lies in the Pacific Ring of Fire between New Caledonia and Fiji in the South Pacific, was hit by a category five cyclone and sustained severe damages. We thought it would be helpful to share some facts about the Republic of Vanuatu. [Note: If you are interested to help with Vanuatu’s disaster relief, please refer to this link for a list of relief organizations “How You Can Help with Vanuatu’s Disaster Relief”]

1. Vanuatu means “Land Eternal.

2. Population as of July 2014 est. 266,937

3. The capital of Vanuatu is Port-Vila with a population of 47,000

Vanuatu_flag
Image: Flag of Vanuatu (The ‘Y’ in the flag signifies the chain of islands of the country.)

4. The country grained independence from France and UK on July 30, 1980. Its government is Parliamentary Republic.

5. During World War II the U.S. launched attacks from here against Japanese troops in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, inspiring James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific

6. The official languages are Bislama, English, French and more than 100 local languages.. Pidgin is one of the languages spoken on the islands.

7. 65% of the population depends on agriculture which includes copra, coconuts, coffee, cacao and fish. Off shore financial services and tourism constitutes the remainder of Vanuatu’s economy. Copra, beef, cacao, timber, kava.

8. Vanuatu’s natural resources include: manganese, hardwood forests, and fish.

9. Christianity is the main religion followed in Vanuatu.

10. The traditional drink of Vanuatu is kava, which is made from the roots of piper methysticum.

kava
Traditional set-up for kava drining (photo credit: Tracy Moreno)

11. Literacy: 83.2%

12. 5% of GDP is spent on education (2009)

13. Primary education is available for almost all children except in a few remote tribal areas. Education is provided in either English or French.

14. Full secondary education is provided by the Anglophone Malapoa College and the French Lycée at Port-Vila; limited secondary education is also available in five English post-primary schools and three French mission schools.

15. For postsecondary education, especially medical and technical training, selected students go principally to Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand.

Bonus fact:

16. The national dish of Vanuatu is ‘lap – lap’, which can be either savory or sweet. It is made from a vegetable porridge, cooked in coconut milk.(See more at: Facts About Vanuatu)

Sources:

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Vanuatu.aspx
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/nh.html

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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6 Common Misconceptions About Mathematics Degrees

March 12th, 2015

[Note: This blog, written by Samantha Woodcock, was originally posted on http://www.topuniversities.com, and reposted here on Academic Exchange by permission from the author.]

math

Considering studying mathematics at university but not sure you fit the right mold? Think it’ll be too difficult, too nerdy, or won’t provide enough career options? Get ready to re-think your idea of the “typical” math student, and what’s involved in a mathematics degree

1.  Maths students are giant geeks.

mathstudent

Now there are the students out there that would remind you of the Sheldon Coopers of the world, but for the most part maths students are just normal people who have a passion for numbers. Not all of them wear glasses; they all don’t carry a calculator everywhere and they also don’t insist on wearing white shirts and plaid. Mathematics is also easy to combine with another subject, including art, all sciences, a language or a subject like history. So not everyone is the super geek you think they will be.

2.  If you do a mathematics degree you can only teach after you’ve graduated.

This is a complete lie! Maths students are great problem-solvers, which means they can fit into any job in quite a lot of fields. Yes, you can teach or train to be an accountant, but you could also work for betting companies, running the program to calculate the live odds of the next footballer scoring in the big derby at the weekend. The possibilities are literally endless, so don’t be under the impression that you have to train to teach at the end of the three year degree.

3.  All mathematics degrees are exactly the same, because numbers are just numbers.

numbers

Every mathematics degree is different. Some will have more real world applications (such as modelling waves in the sea) and others will be stuffed to the brim with algebra; there’s literally a course out there for everyone, whether you really like Excel and statistics or you’re more interested in the applied engineering and game theory side of things. Oh, and numbers are just the tip of the iceberg: hexadecimal values, the Greek alphabet and most of the English alphabet are used too, it’s not just x and y anymore!

4.  Only guys do mathematics degrees.

nowomen

According to The Guardian, 42% of all maths undergraduates in the UK in 2011-2012 were female. So while there still may be a fair few male mathematicians on your chosen course, there will also be a lot of female students equally as interested in all the number crunching and differential equations!

5.  Maths students are amazing at mental maths.

Some people just have that knack for working things out in their heads really quickly, but I don’t think you’ll be able to find many people, even maths students, who can tell you what 6432 ÷ 17 is off the top of their heads in under 10 seconds (it’s 378.353 for reference). Maths students are normal humans, who too rely on calculators for sums. They aren’t all wizards who can do the 27 times table from memory!

6.  A mathematics degree is far too hard for me.

confused

If you have an interest in numbers, statistics, algebra or really enjoyed A-Level standard mathematics, then you shouldn’t be put off. No degree is a walk in the park, but everything you learn either teaches you new skills or builds on existing knowledge. Don’t be scared of a little bit of maths; it doesn’t bite after all!

samantha

Samantha Woodcock is a mathematics graduate of the University of Chester (North West England), Sam is currently working for a finance team in a tourist attraction. She has a giant passion for Excel and when not number-crunching she loves blogging or cooking up a recent recipe find from Pinterest! You can follow her on Twitter (@samcantfindit) and read her blog here https://diaryofamathsstudent.wordpress.com/

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