Tag Archives: International Educators

20 International Education Hubs: A Global Movement

December 13, 2012

Education Vector Word Cloud

It used to be that if, for example, a student from Malaysia, Singapore, or Indonesia wanted to earn a degree from a university in the United States or the United Kingdom he/she had to attend the university in the county where it was based. But that’s no longer the case. More and more countries are seizing on higher education as way of making it more international, affordable and accessible. Aspiring students seeking a degree from Yale University or MIT or University of Glasgow will no longer need to fly out to the U.S. or U.K., instead they can attend one of the global education hubs that are fast becoming a preferred international destination for students.

What is an “education hub?” According to Global Higher Education, an education hub is a “designated region intended to attract foreign investment, retain local students, build a regional reputation by providing access to high-quality education and training for both international and domestic student, and create a knowledge-based economy…include different combinations of domestic/international institutions, branch campuses, and forming partnerships, within the designated region.”

Competition amongst countries set on establishing global education hubs is fierce and Asia seems to be leading the movement. Some countries pushing forward with plans to be an education hub see it as a cost-effective way for students in the region to receive quality education while some higher education authorities question whether some hubs will be successful or may simply be a fad likely to fizzle and fade. It’s too early to tell. Several of the education hubs already in operation are in countries with proven experience in education-related projects but there are also some little-known aspiring hubs forming which are interesting to watch. There are probably some new hubs being launched as we speak.

Below is a list of 20 education hubs we’re aware of that include the already established, those which are concepts in the making and some up-and-coming ones (#s 15-20):

1. Abu Dhabi http://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
2. Dubai Knowledge Village/Dubai International Academic City http://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
3. Dubai International Financial Cityhttp://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
4. Dubai Healthy Care City http://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
5. Dubai Silicon Oasishttp://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
6. Bahrain http://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
7. Kuala Lumpur Education Cityhttp://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
8. Iskandar (Malaysia) http://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
9. Singapore’s Global Schoolhouse http://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
10. Incehon Free Economic Zone (South Korea) http://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
11. Education City (Qatar) http://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
12. Republic of Panama – City of Knowledge http://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
13. Jeju Global Education City (South Korea) http://monitor.icef.com/2012/08/little-known-aspiring-education-hubs/
14. Songdo Global University Campus in the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) (South Korea) http://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
15. Doha (Qatar) http://monitor.icef.com/2012/08/little-known-aspiring-education-hubs/
16. Manama, Bahrain http://monitor.icef.com/2012/08/little-known-aspiring-education-hubs/
17. Fort Clayton, Panama http://monitor.icef.com/2012/08/little-known-aspiring-education-hubs/
18. Colombo, Sri Lanka http://monitor.icef.com/2012/08/little-known-aspiring-education-hubs/

19. Bangalore, India http://monitor.icef.com/2012/08/little-known-aspiring-education-hubs/
20. Bhutan’s Education City http://monitor.icef.com/2012/08/little-known-aspiring-education-hubs/

It’s too early to gage the effectiveness and success of these education hubs, but it goes without saying that Western countries, once the destination point of international higher education, are keeping an eye on this global phenomenon and most probably taking notes and learning new strategies. This new approach to bringing the best of the West to the East certainly takes the international mobility of students and the globalization of credentials to another level.

Website to check out for more information on each of the above countries:
http://www.globalhighered.org/edhubs.php
http://www.nafsa.org/_/File/_/ie_julaug12_asia.pdf
http://www.thebhutanese.bt/bhutan-education-city-board-in-place-a-step-closer-to-fruition/
http://monitor.icef.com/2012/08/little-known-aspiring-education-hubs/

Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI
www.acei1.com

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20 Fun Facts About Estonia

December 06, 2012

DSC01156, Song Fest Grounds, Tallinn, Estonia

You may be wondering why we chose Estonia for this blog. We don’t receive too many academic documents from Estonia for evaluation and have not had the opportunity to visit this country, at least not yet! But when we asked one of our staff to pick a country, he chose Estonia. So, here are some non-evaluation related facts you may enjoy about this country in northeastern Europe.

Let’s get started with “tere” which means Hello in Estonian!

Fact 1:
While the official capital of Estonia is Tallinn, the country is unique because it has more than one recognized capital. In fact, it has several capitals that change throughout the year. Tartu is established as the “cultural capital of Estonia”, while Parnu is known as the “summer capital”. 


Fact 2:

Estonia was the first country in the world to use online political voting.


Fact 3:
Estonia has two Independence Days. It first achieved independence from the Soviet Union on February 24, 1918 and again on August 20, 1991 after 51 years of occupation. The second date is known as the “Restoration of Independence Day.”

Fact 4:

Estonian is the official language. Russian is also widely spoken.



Fact 5:

The Estonian currency was the Kroon, but they have joined the Euro-zone and Euro is their official currency now.



Fact 6:

Even though Estonia is considered to be a part of the Baltic countries; Latvia and Lithuania, there is no real political alliance.



Fact 7:

Estonia is named after the “Ests” who inhabited the region in the first Century AD.



Fact 8:

Estonia is the least religious country in the world with only 14% of the population claiming any religious beliefs.


Fact 9:

Almost 50% of Estonia is covered by forest.

Fact 10:
Estonia has a population of 1.3 million and one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe.

Fact 11:
Estonia has the highest number of meteorite craters per land area in the world.

Fact 12:
Estonia is the homeland of Skype, Hotmail and KaZaA.

Fact 13:
All Estonian schools are connected to the Internet.

Fact 14:
Chess Grandmaster Paul Keres was born in Estonia. When he died in 1975, over 100,000 people attended his funeral (10% of the country’s entire population).

Fact 15:
Out of the nearly 200 countries in the world, Estonia ranks in the second place with a literacy rate of 99.8%.

Fact 16:
In 1994, Estonia became the first country to institute the flat income tax.

Fact 17:
They have the biggest collection of folk songs in the world with written records of 133,000 folk songs.

Fact 18:
The Estonians invented Kiiking, which is considered a sport. It involves fastening yourself to an enormous standing steal swing (kiik means swing in Estonian) which has a full 360 degrees of rotation to it. To swing a kiiker the contestant must pump by squatting and standing up on the swing. The swing gains momentum taking the person in full circle by his skillful pumping.

Fact 19:
Estonia produces quality vodka and boasts Viru Valge and Saaremaa as its most popular brands.

Fact 20:
And, in case you are thinking of relocating, Estonia doesn’t accept dual citizenship.

Hope you enjoyed this. Head aega! (That’s “goodbye” in Estonian.)

ACEI

Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.
www.acei1.com

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Biting the Hand that Feeds Us: Turning Our Backs on Out-of-State / International Students

June 14, 2012

Bite Across the Dotted Line

I recently read an article on the MercuryNews.com about a constitutional amendment proposed by the California Senator Michael Rubio (D-Shafter) that would “prevent any UC campus from enrolling more than 10 percent of its undergraduate students from outside California.” According to the article, “out-of-state and international students made up 8.4 percent of UC undergraduates this year. The figure was higher–1.2 percent–at UC Berkeley, and about 30 percent of that campus’s freshmen this year from outside California.”

Sen. Rubio argues that out-of-state students are taking spots away from California-based students whose “parents and grandparents (of UC applicants) have paid taxes to build these campuses.” His concerns would make sense if California state institutions were not faced with the biggest and most drastic budgetary cuts in the state’s history. So, exactly how does he intend to pay for the California-based students? Clearly he must know that out of-state and international students studying at UC campuses are not getting a free ride and benefitting from low tuition rates available to Californians? He must be aware that nonresidents pay a much higher tuition which in fact helps the institutions stay afloat and in an odd roundabout way, end up making enrollment of the resident student possible. For example, tuition at UC Berkeley for a non-resident is about $34,000 per year versus $11,124 for the resident student. The article points out that “State funds make up 12 percent of UC Berkley’s budget this year.” The surplus revenue generated from the non-resident students’ tuition actually makes up for the funds lost in budget cuts imposed by the State.

If the good senator wants to make a difference, then he would need to protect our public institutions against any further funding cuts. Otherwise, our public institutions have no choice but to seek other sources to generate revenue, e.g. non-resident and/or international students and even entertain taking drastic measures, like the recent steps UCLA’s Business School has taken in privatizing its MBA program. On June 7, 2012, the Academic Senate at the University of California Los Angeles voted 53 to 46 to approve a proposal to stop accepting any state funds for the university’s M.B.A. program, and to replace those funds with tuition revenue and private support. The proposal awaits the final approval of Mark Yudof, president of the university system. (It’s expected that Mr. Yudof will approve the proposal.)

If we stop and listen, we can hear the grumblings of students protesting on the campuses of our public institutions. They are angry and their anger is not going to dissipate by turning non-residents away. It’s the tuition burdens put on our CA-resident students that need to be addressed, and cutting back the educational budget is definitely not the way to go about it.

The Frustrated Evaluator
www.acei1.com

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Embracing International Students: Lowering Standards for the Almighty $$$

May 3, 2012

Dollar Sign in Space - Illustration

As we seek ways to attract international students to our college campuses, lowering our standards and accepting candidates solely to boost revenue and clout doesn’t seem to be a smart way of going about it. But, it is exactly what’s happening. As states cut back on subsidies, slashing budgets and tightening belts, our colleges and universities are feeling the strain and altering their screening of foreign applicants.

In a way, being admitted on the basis of having famous parents may not necessarily get one into a university, but having influential relatives as likely donors will give the student a leg up. At least, that’s what Douglas Christiansen, the dean of admissions at Vanderbilt University is quoted as saying in an April 17, 2012 piece “Colleges angle for influential foreign students like Bo Guagua” on Reuters. Where a family’s clout overseas was once not a factor in the screening of applications of international students, more and more U.S. institutions are feeling the pinch and slowly abandoning their purist admissions practices and considering to “think about screening foreign applicants for their capacity to help boost revenue and prestige,” is how Phillip Ballinger, Admissions Director at the University of Washington in Seattle puts it in the same article.

You may have heard of Bo Guagua, and his “party-boy” persona, and even following the recent headlines surrounding his parents who are accused of political corruption and even murder of an English businessman in China. (Children of China’s political elite are commonly referred to as “princelings,” a strange moniker for a country that did away with emperors and all things princely.) Despite what news articles have uncovered about this young man’s spotty and subpar academic record beginning with his secondary education at Harrow (a prestigious boarding school for boys in England which appears to have admitted him on the basis of a strong recommendation from the very English businessman, now deceased), to his stint at Oxford University, where he was suspended for a year for “poor academic performance,” the 24-year old Bo Guagua was admitted to Harvard University’s Kennedy School to pursue a Master’s. And, he was on a scholarship!

What happened to academic performance? Parents are breaking their backs to put their students in college-preparatory programs and paying for private tutors so their children will score high on SAT’s and get into top notch universities. They apply for student loans and take second mortgages on their home to be able to pay for their child’s college tuition. And while soon-to-be high school graduates double up and pack their schedules with extra-curricular activities to strengthen their college applications, there are those, like the young Bo Guagua, who simply jump to the front of the line because of family ties and financial resources.

There’s something wrong with this picture and as one who has been involved in international education for nearly 30 years, I know the answer lies in the proper vetting of the international student with a thorough and detailed verification and evaluation of his/her academic documents. This may sound like a self-serving statement, but it is true. As public universities here in the US are feeling the pinch and pressured to loosen their reins on screening foreign applications, more and more are looking at ways to exercise more flexibility and at times turn a blind eye on the importance of credential evaluation. Sadly, one of the first departments that appear on an institution’s chopping block at times of financial hardship tends to be the international student office. Yet, the institutions set out to aggressively recruit international students knowing that they are a guaranteed revenue generating source.

Fortunately, there are still some holdouts in the education market. Just yesterday I spoke with the director of the international admissions office of a local community college who was adamant about having the applications of potential foreign students screened before encouraging them to apply to his institution. He wanted to be sure that a) the institution the foreign applicant had attended in his/her home country was accredited; b) the academic documents were bona fide, and c) that the studies were equivalent to U.S. high school graduation and beyond with satisfactory and above average grades. At least he has the good sense to verify these students’ academic documents in advance. Let’s hope that more institutions see things his way.

In our quest to attract international students, enriching our campuses with diversity and multiculturalism, boosting revenues that help our local and regional economies, we can maintain the integrity of our academic institutions without compromising our standards. If a community college is capable of doing this and still remain an attractive destination for international students, other institutions can do it too.

Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI, Inc.
www.acei1.com

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Packing My Bags & Heading South to NZ

April 12, 2012

Karori and Cook Strait, Wellington, New Zealand, 14 Nov. 2008

While catching up on my backlog of newspaper and magazine articles, my eyes caught sight of this headline in this piece from April 2, 2012 in the NYT: ”New Zealand Casts Itself as Destination for International Students.”.

It seems that our friends in the island country in the south Pacific have a great plan to attract and retain international students. While we here in the U.S. tighten our borders, implement stringent visa requirements for international students, increase tuition fees, and put more pressure on our college administrators to become part of the bureaucracy known as SEVIS Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), our counterparts in New Zealand are doing the exact opposite.

In fact, the government in New Zealand has embarked on a strategy of reducing tuition fees for international students, and making it easier for students from countries like India and China to apply for visas. Their immigration department has opened offices in India, China and Hong Kong that serve as application centers to help students applying for visas. They are even, as stated in the NYT article “enticing students to stay on after they graduate by offering a one-year graduate job search visa. If the student finds a job relevant to their qualification, they are then eligible to apply for a graduate work experience visa for up to three years.” Given these perks, why would anyone in their right mind turn down an offer for a hassle-free student visa application, lower tuition and the prospect of employment after graduation? Not to mention, with a population of about 4.4 million, and blessed with spectacular natural beauty, New Zealand is an ideal place to seek serenity and a peace of mind.

Just this morning, on my way to work, I heard on the radio news of two international students from China who were shot dead in their car while parked outside the campus of a well-known private university here in Los Angeles. This is, according to LAPD, the fourth such shooting in this particular area.

In the words of a second year international student from Vietnam studying for her bachelor’s degree in commerce and administration at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand is not only cheaper “than Switzerland” but the country has “less people…it’s quiet and peaceful…its affordable.” Heck, if I were an international student, I’d pick New Zealand over Britain, Australia and the U.S. in a heart-beat.


The Frustrated Evaluator
www.acei1.com

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As Seen in International Educator

“Full-page advertisement for the Association of International Credential Evaluators in the NAFSA publication “International Educator.”

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