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Being a Myth Buster in the Age of Fake News & Alternative Facts

June 9th, 2017

Myth

It’s been a while since I’ve written something for this blog and it’s not for a lack of material. I’ve been in a state of disbelief since November 8, 2016. I’ve watched how anti-immigrant, anti-globalization, anti-internationalization rhetoric from the new administration has affected the image of our institutions of higher education—the bastions of learning and innovations—in the eyes of the world. I am astounded as to how myopic, xenophobic, and short-sighted a large majority of my fellow Americans have become overnight. Most likely they have always been this way, and the November 8th elections have liberated them to boldly display and proclaim their hatred and phobia of the “other” for all to see and hear.

I’ve sat quietly on the sidelines, simmering in my own stew of angst and frustration, mentally drafting essays of my opinions but feeling a resistance in actually putting them on paper/screen for others to read. Until yesterday happened. Yesterday, for the first time ever in the ten years I’ve been on social media, I ventured out of my safe zone and posted a comment. It was a comment in response to another comment. And the commenter was commenting about a satiric video featuring Mexico’s Former President Vicente Fox. In the clip, Mr. Fox quips that instead of paying hundreds of millions of dollars to build a useless wall, the U.S. could pay for the university education of hundreds of thousands of students.

The comment that pushed me out of my self-imposed exile of interacting with the human species went something like this, and I’ll paraphrase it here:

“And how about those international students who are here in this country on a student visa, studying for free and then go back to to their countries and never pay back their tuition?”

I stared at this comment for less than 5 seconds and realized that I had to step in and bust the myth.  The myth shared by many Americans who think international students studying in the U.S. are getting a free pass. These same people mistakenly believe that international students return to their home countries without ever paying tuition or repaying the institution for the free education they received. This is far from the truth!

Unfortunately, in this age of fake news and alternative facts, it’s next to impossible to present facts, backed by research and statistical analysis when trying to clarify misconceptions and incorrect assumptions. But, I took a chance and went ahead and posted this comment in response:

“Foreign students must prove financial solvency in order to get a student visa and be admitted into the U.S. to study. They pay a much higher tuition than domestic students or out of state students. The contribution of international students to U.S. economy is quite significant. They not only pay tuition to cover their education but also contribute to the local economy by being consumers of products, renting apartments, buying cars, shopping, eating at restaurants, etc. Many people benefit. Clearly many Americans have the wrong idea of international students. They are not a financial burden but a financial boon to the country’s economy. $32.8 billion to be exact.”

And, in case the commenter and others like him were interested in facts supported by research data, I also included the following link:

http://www.nafsa.org/Policy_and_Advocacy/Policy_Resources/Policy_Trends_and_Data/NAFSA_International_Student_Economic_Value_Tool/

To my surprise, I received about 8 likes to my comment and no angry and nasty retorts. At least, none to date.

I guess the point to this blog is that we can’t afford to sit on the sidelines when we see incorrect information making the rounds or when assumptions are made that have no factual basis. It is our responsibility as citizens, fellow human beings, denizens of this planet to bust the myths and spread the facts. Whether we are heard or not. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we spoke up and didn’t sit silently in the shadows. In the age of Super Heroes, we need to put on our cloaks, take a deep breath and assume our roles as Myth Busters!

Frustrated
Frustrated Evaluator aka Myth Buster extraordinaire

#mythbuster

#fakenews

#alternativefacts

#internationalstudents

#SuperHeroes

#Mexico

#PresidentVicenteFox

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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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20 Facts on Denmark

October 15th, 2015

denmark

In the recent U.S. democratic presidential debate on October 13, 2015, candidate Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont mentioned Denmark as the bastion of healthy social programs for its people. According to Sanders: “We should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.” In this week’s blog, we’ve decided to put the spotlight on Denmark and share a few facts on this Scandinavian country.

1. The Danes are a homogenous Gothic-Germanic People who have inhabited Denmark since prehistoric times.

2. Denmark is the smallest of the Scandinavian countries (half the size of Maine). It is in northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, on a peninsula north of Germany (Jutland); also includes several major islands (Sjaelland, Fyn, and Bornholm).

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3. Denmark is a Constitutional Monarchy. The Danish royal family is probably the oldest uninterrupted European monarchy. It traces back its roots to legendary kings in the Antiquity. Gorm the Old, the first king of the “official line”, ruled from 934 C.E.

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4. The population of Denmark is 5,581,503 (July 2015 est.) which include Scandinavian, Inuit, Faroese, German, Turkish, Iranian, and Somali.

5. The capital of Denmark is Copenhagen with a population of 1.206.million (2011 est.)

6. The flag of Denmark, Dannebrog, is the oldest state flag in the world still in use by an independent nation. It was adopted in 1219.

denmark_flag

7. The principal language in Denmark is Danish but English is a required subject in school and fluency in English is high.

8. Education is compulsory from ages 7 to 16 and is free through the university level.

9. Denmark has had no less than 14 Nobel laureates, including 4 in Literature, 5 in Physiology or Medicine, and one Peace prize. With its population of about 5 million, it is one of the highest per capita ratio of any country in the world.

10. Denmark boasts a literacy rate of 99%.

11. The Danish company Bang & Olufsen (B&O) manufactures some of the most upscale audio products, television sets, and telephones in the world.

12. Denmark guarantees religious freedom and 95% of Danes claim religious affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Islam is the second-largest religion in Denmark.

13. In 1989, Denmark became the first country to legalize same-sex unions (although same-sex marriage was not granted until 2012).

14. Denmark’s Industries include: iron, steel, nonferrous metals, chemicals, food processing, machinery and transportation equipment, textiles and clothing, electronics, construction, furniture and other wood products, shipbuilding and refurbishment, windmills, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment.

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15. Denmark’s Natural resources include: petroleum, natural gas, fish, salt, limestone, stone, gravel and sand.

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16. Denmark has the highest employment rate in Europe (75%).

17. In 2012 Denmark enjoyed the 2nd highest nominal GDP per capita in the European Union, after Luxembourg. At purchasing power parity (PPP), Denmark was ranked in 8th position within the EU.

18. Separate studies have ranked Danish people as the happiest in the EU (2007 Cambridge University study), and happiest people in the world (2006 Leicester University study) or 2nd happiest in the world (World Database of Happiness 2000-2009).

19. The Danish prince Hamlet, the fictional character of William Shakespeare’s famous play, was inspired by an old Danish myth of the Viking Prince Amled of Jutland.

20. The world famous building toys Lego are from Denmark.

denmark_6

Useful Links:

http://facts.randomhistory.com/denmark-facts.html

http://www.visitdenmark.com/heritage/fun-facts-about-your-danish-american-heritage

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/da.html

http://www.eupedia.com/denmark/trivia.shtml

http://eng.uvm.dk/Education/Overview-of-the-Danish-Education-System

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/14/clinton-and-sanders-why-the-big-deal-about-denmark.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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25 Fast Facts on Kenya and its Education System

July 30th, 2015

Kenya

With President Obama’s recent visit to Kenya, we would like to put the spotlight on this country located in east Africa.

Kenya_2
President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Safaricom Indoor Arena in the Kasarani area of Nairobi, Kenya on Sunday July 26, 2015.
Image: Evan Vucci/Associated Press

Kenya_3
President Barack Obama thanks the crowd after delivering a speech at Safaricom Indoor Arena, Sunday, July 26, 2015, in Nairobi. Image: Evan Vucci/Associated Press

Fast Country Facts:

1. Kenya lies directly on the equator, and is surrounded by Uganda to the south, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia to the north.

Kenya_4

2. The size of the country is 582,000 square miles.

3. Some of the oldest known paleontological records of man’s history have been found in Kenya. Kenya’s Great Rift Valley was formed around 20 million years ago, when the crust of the Earth was split.

4. Kenya has a population of 43.5 million with 3.1 million people living in its capital city, Nairobi.

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Nairobi, Kenya

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Photo credit: Amateur South African Gareth Jones was one of the drivers stuck in the traffic jam on 6/25/13 and decided to get out and photograph the unique scene.

5. Although it does not have an official religion, Christianity is highly prevalent throughout the country.

6. English and Swahili are the country’s official languages.

7. It gained its independence from Great Britain in 1963 and became a parliamentary democracy with a presidential republic with a multi-party system. The government has three branches of power: the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The Executive is headed by the president, who is democratically elected for a five-year term. The current president is Uhuru Kenyatta.

8. The Kenyan flag is comprised of three colors, black, red and white edges, and green. In the middles of the horizontal flag is a red, white and black Maasai shield. The Massai shield is a traditional symbol in Kenya that is used to symbolize the defense of the country.

Kenya_Flag

Fast Facts on Kenya’s Education System:

9. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology oversee the country’s entire education system.

10. Old System: 7-4-2-3; established in 1963 after Kenya gained independence. The education system was modelled after the British system and included seven years of primary education, four years of lower secondary education, two years of upper secondary education and three years of university.

11. Current System: 8-4-4-; introduced in 1985 and uses the U.S. education system as a model. It includes eight years of primary education, four years of secondary education and four years of university.

12. School year runs from January to December. The academic year for universities runs from September to June.

13. In 1963 there were only 151 secondary schools, with a total enrolment of 30,120 students. Today there are nearly 3,000 secondary schools with a total enrolment of 620,000 students. Of this total, slightly over 40% are girls

14. Primary education usually starts at six years of age and runs for eight years. At the end of the 8th year, students take exams intended for the award of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) which covers the following five subjects: Kiswahili, English, mathematics, science and agriculture, and social studies.

15. Secondary school education usually starts at fourteen years of age and, after the introduction of the 8 4-4 system of education which replaced the 7-4-2-3 system, runs for four years. At the end of the 4th year of secondary school, students take exams intended for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). The KCSE are national exams administered by the National Examinations Council.

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Form four candidates at the Starehe Boys Centre sit for a KCSE paper.

16. Vocational secondary education is available at youth polytechnics for those wishing to pursue a trade and follows after completion of primary education and the award of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE). These programs lead to a variety of diplomas and certificates.

17. Post-secondary technical study programs are delivered by various technical training institutes and institutes of technology. The admission requirement is generally a KCSE with a C average. The study programs offered by technical training institutes and institutes of technology vary in duration. Post-secondary study programs also lead to a variety of certificates and diplomas.

18. Higher education in Kenya includes universities that are either public or private. There are a total of seven public universities; these are independent and funded by the government. Public universities are established through Acts of Parliament. Private universities are established through the process of accreditation by Commission on Higher Education (CHE).

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19. At the tertiary level, there are also national polytechnics which offer higher professional education leading to a certificate, diploma and higher national diploma. Two polytechnics have been upgraded to university status and offer degree programs.
20. Admission to higher education at public universities in Kenya is overseen by the Joint Admissions Board (JAB) and has representatives from all public universities as well as the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology and the Commission for Higher Education (CHE). Acceptance to a bachelor’s degree program required the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) with a C+ average.

21. Admission to certificate and diploma programs at polytechnics requires the KCSE with a D+ or C- average, respectively.

22. University education in Kenya consists of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. Universities also offer Diplomas and Certificates.

23. Bachelor’s degree programs usually consist of major and minor subjects. Depending on the discipline chosen, a bachelor’s program may take 4 to 6 years.

24. Master’s degree program usually take 1 or 2 years. The first year mainly consists of lectures, with the second year spent doing research and end with a final paper. In most cases, admission to a master’s program requires a minimum of an upper second class bachelor’s degree. Those with a bachelor’s qualification below upper second class may be required to complete a postgraduate diploma in the related field before being admitted into the master’s program.

25. A doctorate degree (PhD or DPhil) is awarded after a period of at least 3 years of research conducted during the doctoral program. Admission to a doctorate degree program requires a master’s degree.

Sources:
http://nationfacts.net/kenya-facts/
http://www.kenyaembassy.com/aboutkenyaeducation.html
http://www.che.or.ke/index.html
http://www.education.go.ke/Home.aspx?department=1
http://www.scienceandtechnology.go.ke/
http://www.jab.uonbi.ac.ke/index.html
http://www.knec.ac.ke/main/index.php

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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 Education System of Greece

July 23rd, 2015

Greece

Given the recent news on Greece and its economic crisis, we’d like to put the spotlight on its education system and offer you some highlights in this week’s blog post:

Greece_2

Greece has been a republic since 1974, and became a member of the European Community (now the EU) in 1981. Greece has an area of 50,949 square miles (131,958 square kilometers); roughly the size of Alabama, with a population of more than 11 million people (almost twice the population of Alabama which is around 4.8 million.) Voting is mandatory for everyone over the age of 18 who is a Greek citizen.

Education Facts:

1. The education system in Greece is centralized, with all levels falling under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs (“Ypourgeio Paideias, dia Biou Mathisis kai Thriskeumaton”).

2. The Greek Educational System comprises of three consecutive levels: Primary; Secondary; Tertiary.

3. Education from Grades 1-9, ages 6-15, is free and compulsory.

4. Primary (“Dimotiko”) education is sub-divided into Pre-school Education and Compulsory Primary Education. The Pre-school Education is offered by kindergarten classes and the Compulsory Primary Education is given by Primary schools.

5. Secondary education is divided into two stages, stage 1 is the Compulsory Lower Level Secondary Education provided in Gymnasiums and stage 2 is the Post-compulsory or Upper Secondary Education which is offered by the Unified Lyceums (“Eniaio Lykeio”) and Technical Vocational Educational Schools (“Techniko Epaggelmatiko Ekpaideftirio – TEE”).

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6. The duration of studies in “Eniaia Lykeia” is three years and in the Technical Vocational Educational Schools (TEE) two years (a’ level) or three years (b’ level).

7. The Ministry of Education has overall responsibility for course development and approval, and also supervises most of these schools. Certain TEE are supervised by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Development.

8. Tertiary education is divided into university education offered by universities and non-university education offered by Higher Technological Educational Institutes and Higher Education Institutes.

9. Higher Education institutions in Greece are fully self-administered legal entities under public law, and are funded and supervised by the Hellenic Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs in accordance with Provision 16 of the Constitution.

10. There are 22 Universities, including Polytechnic Schools, the School of Fine Arts and the Hellenic Open University (EAP), 14 Technological Educational Institutes (T.E.I.) and the School of Pedagogic and Technological Education (ASPETAI).

11. There are also Higher Ecclesiastical Schools, supervised by the Ministry of Education and other higher education institutions mainly supervised by other Ministries (for example Merchant Marine Academies are under the supervision of the Ministry of Mercantile Marine, Higher Military Education Schools that are under the supervision of the Ministry of Defense, and Higher Police Academies are under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Order).

Greece_4
University of Athens

12. Students who successfully complete their studies in universities and T.E.I. are awarded a “Ptychio” (degree) which leads to employment or further study at the post-graduate level.

13. University and T.E.I. graduates can continue their studies to attain an MSc and a PHD provided they meet the criteria set by each department running the courses.

14. Doctorate degrees are obtained after a minimum of three years of original research, including the preparation and writing of a thesis. In some doctoral programs, theoretical courses are compulsory and are taken prior to individual research.

15. Students wishing to study at the tertiary level receive scholarship s from the State Scholarships Foundation (IKY) which also grants scholarships to graduates of universities and technical education institutions for post-graduate or post-doctoral studies in Greece and abroad based on academic achievement of undergraduate studies. In addition, students (at any level) can receive grants to study at other European Higher Education Institutes under the Lifelong Learning Programs (LLP).

Sources:
T.E.I Patras (Technological Education Institute Patras) http://en.teipat.gr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3&Itemid=85 ]
National School Network http://www.sch.gr
Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs http://www.ypepth.gr
OECD Greece http://www.oecd.org/edu/bycountry/greece/

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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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50+ Interesting Facts on Sweden

May 21st, 2015

sweden_flag

ACEI recently offered a training webinar on Sweden and it’s education system, with particular focus on upper secondary (high school) education. We thought in this week’s blog we share with you a few interesting facts we gathered in our research on Sweden.

Geography & Population
sweden_waterfall

• Population is 9.7 million people.
• Capital of Sweden is Stockholm (built on 14 islands).
• The official language is Swedish.
• 3rd largest EU country in land area, after France and Spain.

History
sweden_viking_ship

• Sweden is one of the homelands of the Germanic ethnicity and culture.
• Around 2,000 years ago, the Svear people gave Sweden its name. In their language, svear meant “us” and rike meant “kingdom.” So, Sverige, the modern Swedish name of the country, means “Our Kingdom.
• In the 9th and 10th centuries, Swedish Vikings invaded and settled in parts of Eastern Europe as far as Constantinople and the Caspian Sea.
• In 1954, while excavating a Viking settlement in Sweden, archeologists found a Buddha statue from India.

Government
sweden_parliament
Image: Rosenbad in Stockholm, seat of the Government since 1981

• Parliamentary democracy.
• Sweden’s head of state since 1973 has been King Carl XVI Gustaf.
• Sweden is a member of the European Union, but has its own currency, the krona, or Swedis crown.
• In 1862, Sweden became the first country to grant suffrage for (married) women, although only for local elections.
• With 47% of female parliamentarians (in 2006), Sweden has the highest proportion of women lawmakers in the world.

Economics & Employment
sweden_money

• Sweden has the highest standard V.A.T. rate in the world (25%).
• Total taxation in Sweden amount to 54.2 % of GDP, the highest level worldwide.
• In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Sweden was ranked third in the world for the inequality-adjusted Human Development Index(HDI) defined by the United Nations Development Program.
• Swedish people have the lowest income inequality in the world, with a Gini index of 23 in 2005.
• Sweden has the smallest gender employment-rate gap in the developed world, with only 4% more men in employment than women.
• Sweden has the highest percentage of working mothers in the developed world, no less than 76% of them.

Society, Social Justice and Welfare
sweden_society

Lagom is an important and often-used word in Sweden. Meaning good enough, or just right, it sums up Swedish cultural and social ideals of equality and fairness.
• Homosexual relations have been legal since 1944, and same sex couples have been able to adopt since 2003 and get married since 2009.
• The country was the first in the world with freedom of the press (1766), and is at the top of global press freedom rankings.
• Secular and open to all religions. The national church, the Church of Sweden, is Lutheran, but Catholicism and other Christian denominations are also
• In 2006 Swedish people had the longest life expectancy in Europe (80.51 years).
• A 2007 UNICEF report on child well-being in rich countries ranked Sweden as the best country in terms of children’s material well-being, health and safety, and behaviors and risks.
• Sweden is the only nation where donations exceed 1% of the GDP.
• The Swedish maternity and paternity leave is one of the longest and most generous in the world, allowing the father and mother to take a shared total of 480 days (16 months) off at 77.6% of their salary.

Science & Innovations
sweden_science

• The astronomical lens is a Swedish invention.
• The pacemaker, ultrasound, safety match, astronomical lens, marine propeller, refrigerator, and computer mouse are all famous items that were invented in Sweden or by Swedes who weren’t living in Sweden.
• As of late 2012, Sweden had obtained 30 Nobel prizes, including 5 Peace prizes. This is the 5th highest number of laureates in the world, and the highest per capita ratio for any country with over 1 million inhabitants.
• Sweden has the highest number of patents granted per capita of any European country, with 271 patents per million people.
• Sweden ranks second in Europe (after Finland) in terms of technological achievement.
• In 2012 the Swedish company Ericsson was the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile telecommunications networks, with 38% of global market share.
• Sweden has an excellent reputation as a car-maker with Volvo and Saab. Scania trucks are also Swedish.
• The world-famous discount furniture chain IKEA was founded in Sweden in 1943.

Environment & Energy Self Sufficiency
sweden_environment

• Sweden is set to become the first country in the world to phase out petroleum for biofuel.
• Sweden has the highest number of nuclear plants per capita, with 10 reactors for 9 million inhabitants.
• Only one per cent of solid waste goes to landfill in Sweden – with the rest recycled or used to produce heat, electricity or vehicle fuel in the form of biogas.
• Sweden is so efficient in recycling that it has run out of trash and receives Norway’s trash to process and recycle.

Education Governance
sweden_college

• The Ministry of Education (Utbildningsdepartementet) is responsible for primary and secondary education as well as higher education with a few exceptions (agriculture, in particular).
• The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) is responsible for policy implementation and quality control concerning primary, secondary and adult education.
• The Swedish Council for Higher Education (Uiversitets- och Hogskoleradet) and the Swedish Higher Education Authority (Universitetskanslerambetet) are responsible for higher education.

Education: Compulsory and Upper Secondary
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• Nursery school (kindergarten, förskola) is open to children from one to five years of age. Almost all children also attend non-compulsory primary school at the age of six (sexårsverksamhet). In practice, this means ten years of education in all.
• Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 16 and free.
• Education at the upper secondary level is free.
• The academic year runs from August until June.
• There are also a small number of schools for the Saami minorities in the north of Sweden were classes are taught in Sammi
• The 12-year elementary and secondary system is divided into 2 phases: primary education (Grundskola – 9 years of compulsory school covering primary education and junior secondary education); senior secondary education (Gymnasia – 3 years of senior secondary school).
• Students who complete the Grundskola receive the Slutbetyg Från Grundskola (School Leaving Certificate).
• Student who complete the Gymnasia receive the Slutbetyg Från Gymnasieskola.
• Also at the upper secondary level there are Folkhögskola (Folk High School) and Komvux (Municipal Adult School) which are for Adults (with some previous education & work experience and do not charge tuition.
• Corporal punishment in schools was banned in 1979.

Education: University
sweden_university
Image: Uppsala University

• Sweden has two main types of higher education institutions: universities (universitet) and university colleges (högskola). Both grant bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but only universities grant doctoral degrees.
• Sweden has around 50 public and private universities and university colleges.
• Two of the oldest universities in Sweden are Uppsala University which was founded in 1477 and Lund University founded in 1666.
• The Swedes spend the longest time in tertiary education with an average student age of 25.5 years old.
• Swedish university students are required to pay a membership fee in the student union, but do not pay tuition.
• 40% of Swedish women and 32% of Swedish men aged 25 to 64 participate in education or training.
• Sweden has the highest proportion of personal computers per capita in Europe, with 500 P.C.’s per 1,000 people.

Bonus Fun Facts:

• There’s a golf course on the border of Sweden and Finland with half the holes in one country and the other half in another.
• Sweden has the highest number of McDonald restaurants per capita in Europe (although that is only about half of the US ratio).
• Swedish was made the official language of Sweden in 2009.
• In the interest of safety, Sweden’s auto company, Volvo, made the three-point seat belt design patent open and free to other car manufacturers.
• In Sweden, you cannot name your child Ikea or Elvis.
• The official Twitter account @Sweden is given to a random citizen every week to manage.
• The origin of the word Smörɡåsbord is Swedish which according to Merriam-Webster online dictionary is “a luncheon or supper buffet offering a variety of foods and dishes (as hors d’oeuvres, hot and cold meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads, and relishes).”

For more random facts on Sweden click on this link: http://facts.randomhistory.com/sweden-facts.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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15 Facts on Cuba and its Education System

January 8th, 2015

Cuban_Flag

On December 17, 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease economic restrictions on the nation. The President also said the U.S. will move towards re-opening its embassy in the communist nation and allow some travel, education and cultural exchange and trade that had been banned under a decades-long embargo instated during the Kennedy administration.

With recent developments in the renewal of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, we thought it would be good to start the new year by sharing a few facts on Cuba and its education system.

Country Facts

cuba

Here are 15 facts on Cuba:

1. The official name of Cuba is the Republic of Cuba.

2. Cuba is the largest of all islands in the Caribbean. The country also includes more than 4000 other much smaller islands and cays.

3. The capital and largest city of Cuba is Havana or “La Habana” in Spanish.

4. Cuba has a population of 11,047,251 (July 2014 est.)

5. Original indigenous inhabitants of Cuba were the Guanajatabey people followed by the Ciboney and Taíno tribes. In 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived on the island and claimed it as a Spanish territory.

6. Cuba remained a Spanish colony until the Spanish-American War of 1898 when the country became part of the United States. The country was given independence in 1902.

7. The United States had a strong influence over the island until 1959, when communist revolutionaries, led by Fidel Castro, overthrew the Government of Batista. Castro himself stepped aside in 2008 due to health complications succeeded by his brother Raul Castro as President.

8. The United States pays Cuba approximately $4,085 a year to lease the 45 square miles that the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station occupies. Cuba has not accepted the payment since 1959.

9. Cuba is renown for its music, bands play everywhere in the capital Havana. The main musical form is called son, which is a combination of upbeat rhythms with classical guitar.

10. Sugar from sugar cane is the main crop grown in Cuba, followed by tobacco which is used in the making of hand-crafted cigars that are famous for being the finest cigars in the world.

11. Nickel is Cuba’s most important mineral resource at 21% of total exports in 2011 nearly 4% of the world’s production.

12. In a traditional Cuban meal the food is not served in courses, instead all the food is served at the same time.

13. Baseball is the most popular sport in Cuba by far. The country is also dominant in boxing and has produced a number of Olympic boxing champions. Other sports of interest include basketball, volleyball, cricket, football (soccer) and athletics.

14. The game of dominoes is extremely popular in Cuba.

15. As of 2013 Cuba has 9 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list, 7 of these cultural sites and 2 of them natural.

Education Facts

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University of Havana

Here are 15 facts on Cuba’s education system:

1. Since 1961, the educational system in Cuba has been run by the state nationalizing private institutions at all levels of education

2, The education system is 100% subsidized by the government, meaning that Cuban students at all levels can attend school for free. The Cuban government has been investing a substantial part of its budget into education for many years.

3. According to a 2014 report by The World Bank, Cuba has the best education system in Latin American and the Caribbean and the only country on the continent to have a high-level teaching faculty. The World Bank Report also praises Cuba for its success in the fields of education and health, with social services that exceeds those of most developing countries and, in certain sectors, are comparable to those of the developed nations. The country’s social system that ensures state-sponsored universal access to education and health services has helped Cuba to achieve universal literacy, eradicate certain diseases and provide universal access to safe drinking water and basic public sanitation. Cuba now has one of the region’s lowest infant mortality rates and longest life expectancies.

5. Cuba is also the nation in the world that allocates the highest share of its national budget, 13 percent, to education.*

6. Education is compulsory for children from the ages of 6 to 16.

7. Students attend primary school for six years, after which they proceed to basic secondary or high school for a period of 3–4 years.

8. On completion of the basic secondary level, education splits into two categories: pre-university education and technical or professional training. A pre-university education leads to a Bachillerato diploma; completion of technical or professional training enables students to attend one of the country’s many technological institutes.

9. From an early age, children are indoctrinated in their schools with the government’s political beliefs of communism. Parents who violate this code by teaching their children contrary doctrine face the prospect of prison.

10. All universities and technical schools are run by the Ministry of Higher Education (Ministerio de Education Superior – MES). The MES is responsibilities include managing the schools, regulating teaching methodology and courses, establishing educational policies and ensuring all the schools comply with government standards.

11. Cuba has over 47 universities with a total enrolment of over 400,000 students. The older and more well known universities in Cuba include:
• The University of Havana
• Universidad de Oriente
• Universidad Central de Las Villas
• Universidad Catolica de Santo Tomas de Villanueva
• Universidad Masonica
• Universidad de La Salle en Nuevo Vedado

12. The requirements for entering a university or technical institute of higher education in Cuba are as follow:
• Students must show proof of completing a secondary education
• Students must pass college entrance exams
• Men must show proof of having completed compulsory military service or proof of non-compliance due to medical reasons or family obligations

13. Political Clearance: Students must be cleared by the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution before they are allowed to take the university entrance examinations. Students demonstrating good political standing in relation to their Communist beliefs receive a letter of approval allowing them to take college entrance exams. Students with a “poor” political standing may be “blacklisted” from furthering their education.

14. Distance education is available for students in Cuba to study for a professional career. There are approximately 15 centers for distance education throughout Cuba providing degrees in the following career choices: History, Law, Finance and Accounting, Economics and Science and Technology. Requirements for distance education include completion of secondary education, one year work experience and being between 25 and 35 years of age. Male students must also show proof having completed mandatory military service.

15. There are three stages in the university system which include the following:

Stage 1– The Licenciatura (Bachelor’s degree equivalent) or professional degree (Titulo) is the first stage of university studies requiring completion of 4-5 years of study. A degree in medicine may require 5 to 6 years to complete.

Stage 2 – The second stage of higher education consists of three levels: Diplomado, Maestria and Especialista. Within each of these levels, students must complete a minimum of 200 hours in theory, practicum and internship. Upon completion of this stage, which generally lasts for two years, students are awarded the degree of Diplomado, Maestria or Especialista (equivalent to the Mater’s degree).

Stage 3 – The third stage of higher education is to obtain a Doctoral Degree. Students must study for 3 to 4 years before they are considered for candidacy in a Doctoral program. Once they are approved for candidacy, students are admitted into the Doctoral Program where they will conduct their scientific research, defend the findings of their work and finally be awarded their Doctoral Degree.

*Salim Lamrani, Cuba : les médias face au défi de l’impartrialité, Paris, Estrella, 2013, p. 40.

Alan
Alan Saidi
Senior Vice President & COO

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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 http://www.acei-global.org.

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10 Scary Facts on Education in the U.S.A.

October 30th, 2014

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Since its Halloween, we thought of scaring up some spooky facts about education in the U.S.

1. Thirty years ago, America was the leader in quantity and quality of high school diplomas. Today, it is ranked 18th out of 23 industrialized countries

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2. Since 1971, educational spending in the U.S. has grown from $4,300 to $9,000 per student. But, reading and math scores have gone downhill.

3. Among 30 developed countries, the U.S. is ranked 25th in math and 21st in sciences.

4. Every year, only 69% of American high school seniors earn their diploma.

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5. High school dropouts are 8 times more likely to go to prison.

6. 1.3 million U.S. high school students don’t graduate on time yearly. The States with highest rates (80-89%) are Wisconsin, Iowa, Vermont, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The States with lowest (less than 60%) are Nevada, New Mexico, Louisiana, Georgia and S. Carolina.

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7. Approximately 6 million students, grade 7 through 12, are strugglinh to read at grade-level. Amonth the highest, 70% of 8th graders read below the standard.

8. Teacher quality is one of the most significant factors related to student achievement. In the U.S., 14% of new teachers resign by the end of their first year, 33% leave within their first 3 years, and almost 50% leave by their 5th year.

9. Only 1 in 4 high school students graduate college-ready in the 4 core subjects of English, reading, math and science.

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10. Roughly half of the students who enter a 4-year school will receive a bachelor’s degree within 6 years.

Bonus Fact:

11. In the workplace, 85% of current jobs and 90% of new jobs require some or more college or post-secondary education.

Have a safe and fun Halloween!

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ACEI

http://www.acei-global.org

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