Who Needs an English Language Proficiency Test?

September 21st, 2018

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English proficiency tests are typically associated with international students, but there are a wide variety of reasons that organizations of all types would need an accurate English language proficiency test. Companies, governments, as well as educational institutions at all levels have a need to precisely determine the English language skill of large or small groups of people in order to compare individuals to one another, monitor language acquisition progress, or develop curriculum.

This article explores the ever-expanding uses of English proficiency tests in order to give an overview of how these tools are used across industries and sectors in our increasingly data-driven world. Most importantly, we’ll also explore why English assessment tools are used and the opportunities they create for those who use them.

Better Than Guessing or Praying

Before we look at how English proficiency assessments are used today, it may help to understand why they came into existence in the first place. My career in international education actually predates the introduction of TOEFL, the first English proficiency test, in 1964. Before then, there was not an English proficiency requirement for admission of international students to US colleges and universities. Administrators simply hoped the students they admitted had strong enough English skills to thrive at the institution.

Similarly, employers had no choice but to do their best to size up the English skills of their applicants and employees based on interviews and conversations. It was all based on gut feeling.

Finally, governments that might have been curious about the English level of their population were left to wonder about it. There was no feasible way to test English language skills on a wide scale.

Thankfully, English testing has come a long way. There are now so many applications for English assessment tools, that there are products designed for specific uses and situations. Let’s explore some of the most common.

Higher Education

One of the most important parts of higher education is the cultural exchange that comes from studying with people who come from different places and backgrounds. International students are a vital part of any vibrant campus. However, when their English proficiency skills are too poor to participate effectively in class discussion or to complete the assignments, it’s harmful to both the international students and their classmates.

As a result, essentially all U.S. colleges and universities now have an English language proficiency requirement for admission of non-native English speakers. Typically, the test is taken at a test center in the applicant’s home country and the score is submitted with their application.

Over time, institutions of higher learning have realized that there is so much more they can do with an English language proficiency test. For instance, by testing students upon arrival and graduation, they can measure how their English language skills improved over the course of their study. If they’re using a test like iTEP that scores specific language skills and sub-skills, the institution can come to understand which language skills their international students are acquiring most quickly, and which may require greater focus in the curriculum.

Intensive English Programs

All over the world, there are thousands of programs designed specifically to help non-native English speakers improve their English language skills. (This site lists over 600 in the US alone).

Since these intensive English programs, or IEPs, exist to improve English language skills, providing proof of English proficiency for admissions isn’t necessary. However, it’s crucial that the students in these programs are placed into the proper level where they are most likely to succeed. An accurate and easy-to-administer test is key this process. iTEP has been working with IEPs for over a decade to refine how proficiency tests are used in placement, and we now enable IEPs to comprehensively assess the English language skills of their students within a few hours of their arrival on campus.

In addition, the potential to calibrate how an IEP functions, using an English language assessment test like iTEP that provides rich data, is tremendous. IEPs can make sure that different instructors teaching the same level are producing the same results and evaluating their students in the same way, for instance.

Secondary Schools

The fastest growing segment of international students are not college students, but rather high school and even middle school students. The English language proficiency skills of these applicants are most accurately measured by an English test designed specifically for them. The word choices and scenarios presented in an English test meant for adults could be confusing or unfamiliar to young learners and skew the results.

Historically, this need has been neglected by the marketplace. ETS’s SLEP exam was a paper-based test that was widely used by private high schools and boarding schools favored by international high school students coming to the US. When it was retired in 2013, iTEP SLATE (Secondary Level Assessment Test of English) stepped in to become the industry standard.

Private Companies

The job interview process is so subjective. With the help of an English language proficiency assessment, comparing the English language skills of applicants is no longer guesswork. This is particularly helpful when a company grows and is rapidly hiring. Particularly if there is more than one person interviewing candidates, it helps to have concrete numbers to compare.

However, not all jobs use all language skills. Waiters, for instance, don’t need particularly good writing skills as long as they are able to speak and understand English quite well. They also don’t need to be able to discuss business or academic topics—their job is mostly focused on food and pleasant conversation. In recent years, iTEP has created English assessment tools for specific industries such as au pairs, real estate, and hospitality. In fact, we even create customized English tests for specific companies when they can identify unique language skills or scenarios they want to assess.

Governments

For governments, data is power. Knowing how well their population communicates in English can be a major help to employment initiatives, attracting international companies, or becoming a popular tourist destination.

Part of our goal at iTEP has been to make English assessment efficient enough to be implemented on a large scale. As a result, our tests have been used in massive initiatives in Colombia, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and more. In addition to national governments, state, county and municipal governments also rely on English proficiency testing, both to get a sense of the skills of their citizens, and to ensure that government workers have the necessary English language skills for their job.

What’s next for English language assessment?

When organizations started to come to us with ideas for how to use our tests that we had never thought of, we began to understand that we had succeeded at creating English assessment tools that were flexible, affordable, and convenient enough that they had taken on a life of their own. With the continued proliferation of English as the global language, I believe we’ve only just scratched the surface of how English language proficiency tests can help organizations of all types do what they do better.

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Perry Akins
iTEP International Chairman and Co-Founder

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33 Facts on Colombia and its Education System

September 14th, 2018

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General Country Facts:

1. Located in northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama

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2. Slightly less than twice the size of Texas

3. It has a population of 47,698,524 (July 2017 est.)

4. It’s capital is Bogota

5. It commits 4.5% of its GDP to education (2016), 95th in world ranking

6. 94.2% literacy amongst the ages of 15 and above

7. The government is a Presidential Republic

Overview of the Education System:

8. 11-year system of elementary (5 years), lower secondary (4 years) education, upper secondary (2 years)

9. At the university level, there are 3 levels of studies that include: profesional (professional/undergraduate), maestría/magister (master’s degree), and doctor (doctoral/PhD).

10. There are also non-university higher education degrees, técnico (technician) and tecnólogo (technologist), offered at technical institutions as well as university level institutions.

11. The Ministry of Education (Ministerio de Educación Nacional) regulates all levels of education ad outlines the learning objectives and subject areas for each grade levels. Schools are allowed to organize their own study plans according to the needs of their community.

12. The state authority of education is the Secretariat of Education (Secretaría de Educación).

13. Basic education is free and compulsory (ages 5 to 15).

14. At the university level, fees are set according each student’s socioeconomic background At public universities, tuition fees per semester can be about $1000 (US).

15. Spanish is the official language of instruction.

16. English was added as a foreign language to the overall education plan after the launch of the 2004 National Bilingual Program by the Ministry of Education.

17. English is not only now part of the state curriculum but bilingualism is also a criteria for accreditation of higher education program.

18. Accreditation of all higher education institutions and programs rests with the Ministry of Education. Accreditation is voluntary and helps enhance an institutions status and reputation.

19. Institutions that have been registered with the Ministry have permission to offer degree programs that are officially recognized and carry the status “Registro Calificado” that confirms they have met minimum requirements.

Elementary and Secondary Education:

20. Elementary Cycle (Educación Primaria) – Certificado de Educación Primaria (Certificate of Primary Education), awarded on completion of 5-year elementary cycle (Grades 1-5).

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21. Lower Secondary Cycle (Educación Básica Secundaria) – Certificado de Estudios de Bachillerato Básico (Certificate of Basic Baccalaureate Studies) or Certificado de Conclusión del Ciclo Básico ) (Certificate of Completion of Basic Cycle), awarded on completion of 4 years of lower secondary cycle (Grades 6-9).

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22. Upper Secondary Cycle (Educación Media) – Título de Bachiller (Title of Baccalaureate), awarded on completion of 2-year upper secondary cycle (academic and vocational tracks), Grades 10 and 11. provides access to higher education.  U.S. educational equivalence: High School Diploma.

Higher Education (Educación Superior):

23. Undergraduate (Pregrado) – requires the Titulo de Bachiller and passing the Examen del Estado (national entrance examination) for admission.

24. Degree programs: Técnino Profesional (Professional Technician), 2-4 years; Tecnólogo (Technologist), 3-4 years; Titulo Profesional/Licenciado (Professional Title/Licentiate), 4-6 years [provides access to graduate admission]

25. Graduate (Posgrado) – Degree programs: Especialista (Specialist), 1 semester to 4 years [specialization following a medical degree will last up to 4 years, and an academic specialization is typically at minimum one semester or as much as 2 semesters; Magister (Master’s Degree), 1-2 years; Doctor (Doctoral Degree/PhD), 2-5 years

More facts:

26. Colombia’s largest educational community, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, has more than 46,000 students enrolled, mostly at undergraduate level.

27. U.S. colleges and universities remain the preferred overseas destination for Colombian students, despite significant competition from other countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, France, and Argentina.

28. There are several factors that make the United States a leading destination, chief among them higher employment opportunities after graduation, the high quality of education, the chance to improve English skills, and a renewed push by the Government of Colombia to encourage English bilingualism.

29. According to the Institute of International Education, Colombia is ranked 22nd in the world and third among South American Countries (after Brazil and Venezuela) in sending students to the United States.

30. There were 7,982 Colombians who traveled to the United States to study in academic year 2016/17, a 2.1 percent increase over the previous year. Based on data from the Institute of International Education, Colombian students in U.S. colleges and universities contributed USD 273 million to the U.S. economy in 2017 academic year.

31. Colombian universities are interested in having agreements with U.S. universities that offer dual degree programs for their students. This can be accomplished through a combination of two or three years at the local university and one or two years at the U.S. university.

32. In Colombia, there is a strong network of 11 Education USA centers administering language programs and doing extensive outreach around the country. Education USA centers are located at nine binational centers, the Fulbright commission, and COLFUTURO.

Fun fact:

33. Aracataca, the birthplace of author Gabriel García Márquez, once held a referendum to rename the town ‘Aracataca-Macondo’ after the fictional town of Macondo from his famous book One Hundred Years of Solitude. Unfortunately, the referendum failed due to low turnout.
(Source: BBC, 2006)

Key Contacts 


Institute of International Education


Colombia Ministry of Education


Colombian Institute for Educational Loans and Technical Studies Abroad (ICETEX)


COLFUTURO


Education USA

Sources:

https://www.topuniversities.com/where-to-study/latin-america/colombia/guide

https://www.export.gov/article?id=Colombia-Education

http://www.oecd.org/education/school/Education-in-Colombia-Highlights.pdf

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

https://www.britannica.com/place/Colombia

https://www.alberta.ca/documents/IQAS/colombia-international-education-guide.pdf

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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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China and Africa…Building Bridges, Not Walls

September 7th, 2018

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Hello friends,

It’s been a while since I posted a blog and it hasn’t been because of a lack of material. Au contraire. Blame it on ennui, lethargy, world-weariness. I’ve been feeling disenchanted with the state of the world, especially, how overnight the U.S. went from welcoming and embracing international students and scholars, to one that is imposing even stricter visa requirements, blacklisting some countries by placing them on a travel list, and spewing rhetoric that is seen as unfriendly and inhospitable by potential students around the globe who have looked at the U.S. as the beacon of higher education. Yes, long sentence, my apologies, but I couldn’t help myself. I’ve a lot on my chest and all I can think is that while we see the numbers of international students dropping at our institutions, one country is forging right ahead with its agenda of winning the hearts and minds of students in African countries. You may already know the savvy country that is ahead of the economic and diplomatic game, but in case you don’t, here is it, drum roll please….it’s CHINA!

Just this week, China pledged 60 billions US dollars to Africa with no political strings attached. Yes, you read correctly. No strings attached. You don’t believe me? Click here.
While we were celebrating our three-day Labor Day weekend, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Monday, September 3rd, that his country would “give $60 billion in aid and loans to Africa over the next three years without asking for any political concessions in return.” Wow!

China’s pledge involves a combination of grants, low-interest loans, financial investment and trade finance. China’s state media added on Tuesday that these types of overseas commitments were presented as “aid” or “support”, which is their way of implying that the country would make no profit.

The bottom line is that this is part of China’s “soft power” drive to anchor its geo-political and economic influence throughout Africa. According to Chinese state media, in just the first half of 2018, China has spent more than Rmb270m ($40m) on “Silk Road scholarships” for students from developing countries, according to state media.

Here is a sample of some of the countries (there are plenty more, but need to keep this blog brief) that are enjoying the financial aid offered by China supplemented by opportunities in education:

Angola

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China is thinking of projects that could contribute to the development of Angola in the areas of industry, agriculture, health and education. China and Angola established diplomatic relations in 1983 and since 2002, China has become more proactive when it comes to helping Angola by financing projects to recover and build roads, railways, airports, strengthen health and education and other infrastructure that is a priority for the country’s development. In the first quarter of this year, trade between the two countries grew 22.4% to US$6.8 billion. To read more, click here.

Kenya

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China and Kenya have established many education schemes, and one is the China-Kenya Vocational Education program designed to help train students and teachers for mechanical engineering. To read more, click here.

Rwanda

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In Rwanda, Integrated Polytechnic Regional College Musanze (IPRC Musanze) is playing an important role in training technical persons in Rwanda. The college which was constructed by China Geo-Engineering Corporation based on funds received from the Chinese government, is the largest polytechnic in northern Rwanda and it is contributing to technical training in the country. To read more, click here.

Sierra Leone

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If you speak to Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio, he will tell you that China has always been “a reliable friend and brother” that has stood by the country at all times. This says it all, but if you want to learn more, click here.

Tanzania

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The Ministry of Energy recently announced that it was inviting applications from candidates to qualify for Chinese scholarship opportunities for postgraduate studies in “one of China’s best Oil and Gas Universities – the China University of Geo-sciences (Wuhan).”

Uganda

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On the recent launching of a project sponsored by China that provides digital learning to rural regions in Uganda, the country’s Minster of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni, said: “This is a project that has several benefits, it will support education and encourage digital learning in rural schools by providing learning aids in form of projectors and televisions. These will be utilized to implement lessons plans and demonstrative education through videos and pictures.” To read more, click here.

Zambia

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The appreciation for China’s supports is also shared by Zambia where the country’s Higher Education Minister, Nkandu Luo, has praised the Chinese Government for supplementing government’s efforts in the education sector. For more, click here.

Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe has been sending students to study in China because it is affordable and gives the graduating students the chance to develop business connections. It makes sense, since China is Zimbabwe’s largest overseas trading company. And, as China’s visa rules don’t allow international students to remain in the country after graduating from university, the students return to Zimbabwe which prevent brain-drain. To read more, click here.

China-Africa: Soft Power Diplomacy

These are just a handful of the countries in Africa, where China has established bi-lateral relations through its “soft power” approach. China continues to award education scholarships to various African countries allowing students to study at its institutions of higher education and to return to their native lands on graduation. It’s a win win situation for all sides.

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I recently saw the big box office hit “Crazy Rich Asians”, a film about a super wealthy Chinese family in Singapore whose son is returning home to attend a friend’s wedding. He brings with him his Chinese-American girlfriend, a college professor who has absolutely no idea of his extreme wealthy origins. The film is billed a rom-com, but for me, it was a reflection of where we are today and what the future holds. Today, the number of Chinese billionaires exceed those in the United States. This is a major turning point for China which now boasts 596 billionaires – 60 more than the U.S.-  after a staggering 242 Chinese people became billionaires for the first time in just one year, according to a new survey.  There may be more Chinese billionaires, but according to the survey, those in America are richer and dominate the list of wealthiest people on the planet with Americans making up seven of the top ten. Regardless of who is the richer billionaire, at the rate China is expanding its reach into Africa, through education, manufacturing and trade agreements, it will not be for long that it will truly be a super power with Africa by its side.

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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.

Related Links:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnXLOm0Bdd8/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=e883epcfuvxk

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2013/may/13/china-educating-africa-what-means-west

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/what-chinese-investment-means-for-african-higher-education

https://www.news4jax.com/news/international/chinas-president-xi-pledges-another-60-billion-for-afri

https://www.newsweek.com/why-china-giving-africa-60-billion-no-political-strings-attached-investment-1104360

https://macauhub.com.mo/2018/08/24/pt-china-estuda-novas-formas-de-investimentos-e-financiamentos-a-angola/

https://www.newsghana.com.gh/china-africa-education-scheme-helps-train-students-teachers-for-mechanical-engineering/

https://www.lusakatimes.com/2018/08/21/nkandu-luo-commends-china-for-support-in-education/

http://nilepost.co.ug/2018/08/31/more-zimbabwean-students-seek-education-in-china/

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The Plight of Liberal Arts Institutions in an Era of Nationalism, Spotlight: European University at St. Petersburg, Russia

August 31st, 2018

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The European University at St. Petersburg (Yevgeny Asmolov/TASS)

A headline in a recent article in the New York Times reads “In Russia, a Top University Lacks Just One Thing: Students.” Said institution is the European University at St. Petersburg.

Like it’s counterpart, the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, the European University at St. Petersburg, founded in 1994, is experiencing similar problems. In the case of the European University, it is the target of attacks from Russia’s reactionary, nationalist forces. As was the case for CEU in its early years, the European University received generous funding from the George Soros Open Society Foundations. It also received funding from the Ford and MacArthur Foundations. And, besides their large endowments and top-notch faculty, the European University is recognized for its outstanding reputation as a research institution. (For more on the CEU, click here)

The troubles for the European University started in mid-2017 when it lost its license over minor building code violations, specifically, plastic windows which were temporarily left outside the building. The building, known as the Small Marble Palace, was built in the 18th century in the Italian Renaissance architectural style and designated a historical landmark. In late December 2017, the university was forced to vacate the premises and moved to a less than impressive building across the street. Critics say the university is being targeted for political reasons because of its liberal curriculum in social sciences and humanities.

Having lost its teaching license, the next obvious casualty were the students who were forced to leave and continue their education elsewhere. In the meantime, the university set off on a frantic search for top-level officials in the Russian government to plead its case and have its teaching license reinstated. Even with support from President Vladimir V. Putin who signed three resolutions ordering officials to support the university, the doors of the campus remain shut and the lecture halls empty of students.

The European University is not the only institution targeted by the nationalists. According to the New York Times, “Last month, the Russian government revoked the accreditation of the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, another highly regarded Western-oriented institution.” The growing influence of Russia’s nationalists has spelled trouble for the European University and any institution seen an intolerable outpost of Western liberalism.

In the New York Times article, Vladimir Y. Gerlman, one of Russia’s leading political scientists is quoted as saying: “The European University’s problem is that it is European. The set of principles followed by our school — academic freedom, self-organization, and international openness — is the opposite of the one followed by today’s Russia: centralized control, power vertical and isolationism. We are not compatible with these principles.”

Immediately following the collapse of the Soviet regime, the European University was set up in 1994 in an effort to stop the brain drain and bring together Russia’s leading scholars in social sciences and humanities with a style of teaching modeled after Western universities which encourage critical thinking and freedom to choose their fields of study.

The university built an impressive cadre of Russian academics who had been teaching at leading universities in the U.S.A. and the United Kingdom. Alongside its permanent faculty, the university regularly invited guest lecturers from abroad. In 2016, it was even named the school the top research university in the country, surpassing the highly respected Moscow State University.

Even with the appointment of a new education regulator who after a survey of the building concluded that the university had not violated any building codes and approved to have its teaching license granted this month so that it can reopen in October, the European University’s troubles have not disappeared. Promises of having its teaching license reinstated were made on and off in the past year and a half and each time it led to disappointment.

The future of the European University at St. Petersburg is uncertain. The question will be if students will return in October, that whether the teaching license will not be revoked just when the University prepares to open its doors.

You may ask what has become of the Small Marble Palace, the university’s former home? The Moscow Times reports that the vacated palace will house a new digital technology academy.

For more detail on the Kafkaesque treatment of the university by the Russian authorities, we highly recommend the links to articles provided below:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/dmitry-dubrovsky/closure-of-european-university-at-st-petersburg-dead-cert

https://themoscowtimes.com/news/authorities-take-over-european-universitys-building-in-st-petersburg-60163

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/26/world/europe/european-university-st-petersburg-russia

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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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Canada and Saudi Arabia: The Tweet that Sparked a Diplomatic Feud

August 24th, 2018

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Image Credit: Alexander Glandien

We recently learned of news that Saudi Arabia has expelled the Canadian ambassador from the country and has decided to recall its students from Canada.

What caused this diplomatic spat between the two countries? The short answer is: a tweet. It started with a tweet sent by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland criticizing the Saudi government over the detention of human rights activists.

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In response, Saudi Arabia responded by taking the following retaliatory steps:

• expelled the Canadian ambassador and announced that it would pull out more than 15,000 Saudis studying in Canada on government-funded courses or grants at colleges and universities;

• ordered a suspension of patients being transferred to Canada for medical treatment;
announced that it is suspending Saudi state airline flights to Toronto;

• on Monday, August 6th, the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau, a division of the Ministry of Education, announced on its website that by the end of the Islamic calendar year in September it will suspend all training and scholarship programs Saudi students are enrolled in at Canadian institutions;

• any accompanying family members of the Saudi students are also expected to leave Canada which according to The Business Insider could bring the number of Saudi nationals departing up to 20,000.

The Saudi government intends to place the Saudi students and their tuition in programs in other countries with similar education systems, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.

No sooner had the Saudi government announced its plans to withdraw its students from Canadian institutions that we hear of a US university announcing its plans to ease admissions process for the Saudi students. Regardless of this offer, relocating so many students to other countries so close to the start of a new academic year is going to be very problematic.

Academicians also see an agenda in this latest move by the Saudi government. According to an interview in Times Higher Education with Dr. Chris Davidson, professor in Middle East politics at Durham University, he sees the transfer of students from Canada to the UK or elsewhere as complicated and costly. Dr. Davidson adds: “I don’t believe that’s their [the Saudi government’s] intention. They want to trim their bloated higher education budget by reducing the amount of students they pay to send to the West.” The Saudi government’s actions are also seen as a warning to other countries to refrain from publicly criticizing Saudi Arabia as done by the Canadian minister.

Canadian universities, especially the smaller institutions, will feel the effects of the financial loss, but they will recover since they continue to be one of leading top countries in attracting and receiving international students. It’s the Saudi students that are going to be affected the most. In an age of political overreaction, we can see that higher education is affected as much as any other entity and blameless students used as pawns.

Source Links:

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/saudi-removal-students-canada-warning-shot-us-and-uk

https://www.businessinsider.com/saudi-arabia-canada-human-rights-students-2018-8

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-saudi-arabia-to-withdraw-all-saudi-students-studying-at-canadian/

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/us-university-welcomes-saudi-students-canada

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/06/opinion/saudi-arabia-canada

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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 VIETNAM

August 22, 2018

Vietnam

Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country on the South China Sea. It is known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. It’s capital Hanoi, pays homage to the nation’s iconic Communist-era leader, Ho Chi Minh, via a huge marble mausoleum. Vietnam’s recent history has been largely dominated by headlines of war and oppression. The Vietnamese have a saying that they were dominated by the Chinese for 1000 years, the French for 100 years and the Americans for 10 years. The country is, once more, demonstrating its strength and resilience through its growing economy, tourism and promoting study abroad opportunities for its students.

Country Facts

1. Country size: 95,261,021 (July 2016 est.) Vietnam is about three times the size of Tennessee; slightly larger than New Mexico

2. Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer, mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

3. In 1887, it became part of French Indochina. Vietnam declared its independence after World War II, but France continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by communist forces under Ho Chi MINH.

Fun Facts

4. Vietnam is the world’s second largest coffee-producing nation after Brazil, producing 16% of the world’s total coffee (Brazil’s is 40%). http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25811724

5. Nguyen is the most popular family name in Vietnam, used by around 40% of the population and is also the birth name of the famous Ho Chi Minh.

6. Vietnam is the largest exporter of cashews and black pepper in the world, and the second largest exporter of rice. http://www.travelingeast.com/asia/vietnam/ten-interesting-facts-about-vietnam/

7. An estimated ten million motor bikes travel on the roads of Vietnam every day

Vietbikes

8. Sepak takraw (A.K.A calameae ball or kick volleyball), is a traditional sport in Vietnam. The sport originated in the 15th-century in Malaysia, with its first mention being from an ancient text in Malacca. Players pass a ball by hitting it with the head and feet. Sepak takraw also is widely played in Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. https://www.rickshawtravel.co.uk/blog/5-strange-facts-about-vietnam/

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9. Vietnam’s flag consists of a golden star with five points to represent farmers, workers, intellectuals, youth and soldiers. The red background pays tribute to the bloodshed during the wars.

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10. Snake wine, which is made by steeping whole snakes in rice wine for their venom or essence, is commonly drunk for health, vitality and restorative purposes.

11. Ong Tao is the Vietnamese God of the Kitchen, advocate of the family and emissary between heaven and earth. http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/top10facts/671594/Top-ten-facts-Vietnam-Ho-Chi-Minh-city

OngTao

Education Facts

12. The country has a literacy level of 94%.

13. Vietnamese students of 15 years of age continue to score high in math on OECD’s latest global education survey, known as PISA. Their score is more on par with Finland and Switzerland than Colombia or Peru.

14. Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) oversees all aspects of education in Vietnam.

15. The education system consists of kindergarten, primary, secondary, upper-secondary (also referred to as high school), and university level, with nationally administered exit and entrance examinations between each.

16. Primary school is five years (6 – 11) and compulsory.

vietnam_classroom

17. Secondary school education is divided into lower secondary (trung học cơ sở) which is four years (grades 6-9, ages 11 – 15) and higher secondary (trung học phổ thông) education which is three years (grades 10-12, ages 15 -18) and neither of them are compulsory. There is an entrance and leaving examination. Students have to choose either the natural or social sciences track.

vietnam_classroom_2

18. Higher education: Institutions of higher education can be universities, senior colleges or research institutes. Furthermore, there are junior colleges, professional secondary schools or vocational schools. The entrance examination is very hard, and according to recent figures, less than one out of three students manage to pass.

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19. Studying at top tier international universities abroad provides the greatest job security for the future.

20. According to the April 2016 SEVIS report, Vietnam ranks sixth among all sending countries with 28,883 students studying at US institutions, mostly colleges and universities but also boarding and day schools.

For further information on the education system of Vietnam and credential evaluations, visit our website at www.acei-global.org or contact ACEI at acei@acei-global.org.

SOURCES:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25811724

http://www.travelingeast.com/asia/vietnam/ten-interesting-facts-about-vietnam/

https://www.rickshawtravel.co.uk/blog/5-strange-facts-about-vietnam/

https://nomadicboys.com/10-interesting-facts-about-vietnam/

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/top10facts/602241/Vietnam-top-facts

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

http://thefactfile.org/vietnam-facts/

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33047924

http://www.businessinsider.com/vietnams-students-test-well-and-a-new-paper-has-figured-out-why-2016-7

http://www.nafsa.org/Content.aspx?id=50572

http://www.chronicle.com/academicDestination/Vietnam/61/

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=2016011313585113

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-releases-quarterly-international-student-data

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/top10facts/671594/Top-ten-facts-Vietnam-Ho-Chi-Minh-city

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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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Latest News on India’s Regulatory Bodies: UGC and AICTE

August 10th, 2018

ACEI_Blog_-_INDIA_News_of_Indias_Regulatory_Bodies__Compatibility_Mode_
If you hadn’t heard already, until recently, India’s government was considering an ambitious plan, proposed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, to merge the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the two regulatory bodies, into a single higher education regulator. This single education regulator was tentatively named Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority (HEERA). Given that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is in its last year, and India is preparing itself for its next election, new legislation to form a single education regulator to be determined in such a short time does not appear to have been favored by legislators. Instead, the government has decided to wait and settled for a revamp of UGC, AICTE and the National Council of Technical Education.

The UGC is a statutory body established to confer degrees and grant funding and set up quality benchmarks for universities and institutions of higher education. AICTE, also a statutory body, was established to oversee technical institution and ensure they meet quality standards.

AICTE has questioned the need for and feasibility of a single education regulator by bringing to light the measures it has taken to reform much of its regulatory criteria. Altogether, focus appears to have been shifted from the push to merge UGC and AICTE toward an overhaul of each regulatory body. For example, one proposed measure would be to give UGC the authority to be able to shut down institutions that do not and continue to not meet standards but also consider taking away UGC’s powers over funding and handing it over to the ministry. This proposal is intended to allow the UGC to focus solely on monitoring and ensuring institutions of higher education are adhering to quality standards.

At the request of the ministry, both UGC and AICTE have been asked to prepare a list of changes they need in their respective Acts and regulations to become more effective regulators. Read more here.

In the meantime, the Indian government is considering the approval of a regulator for vocational training. The proposal, if approved, means successful ITI graduates will be awarded certificates at par with the ones given to Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) allowing them thereby to pursue their studies in other schools and colleges. Read more about this here.

Sources:

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/education/government-may-soon-approve-regulator-for-vocational-training/printarticle/65278618.cms

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/64416946.cms

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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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