November 8th, 2019


In my last post on White Privilege I ended my piece with a quote from Trevor Noah, who in his Netflix show, Son of Patricia said, “There should be a rule in America. You can hate immigrants all you want but if you do, you don’t get to eat their food.”

That line, in its simplicity, gets to the point of the question of “why diversity”? Why is it so important that schools are hiring directors and consultants to help them diversify? Is it imperative that our education system introduce cultural differences as a way to break down barriers – a.k.a. bringing about world peace? Or do these unique attributes enkindle students’ intellectual, moral and social growth thus making them better, more interesting people? Or is it just that there’s no getting around diversity?

I’ve been watching and re-watching the Playing for Change remake of The Weight. It too, very simply demonstrates the value in diversity. The ukulele played often in Hawaii, originated in Portugal. The congo drum is Afro-Cuban. The oud is originally Persian. Maybe you prefer the original version. It is pretty great, but I prefer the richness of the latest version with the various riffs from people all over the world.

Maybe music and food aren’t your thing. You’re more of a sports fan. In an article by James C. Witte and Marissa Kiss writing for The Institute for Immigration Research, on Predicting the Outcome of the 2019 MLB All Star Games they conclude “so with this year’s game coming on July 9th, die-hard fans, inquiring minds and hopeful gamblers want to know who will win: the National League or the American League? Our answer? The team that plays the greatest percentage of foreign-born players.”

Their findings are based on statistics.

Let’s put aside the many wonderful flavors and sounds that enrich the U.S., so many brought here from other countries. There is no getting around diversity in most of America these days. According to the Migration Policy Institute as of 2017, 44.5 million immigrants resided in the U.S. 14 % of the nation’s population are not from America. These statistics are increasing annually. And it’s not only in the U.S. According to a report (Gurria, 2018) from the European Association for International Education (EAIE), one in ten children in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with 36 member countries, are foreign-born.

Instead of being frightened by these statistics can we be intrigued by the scents, the sounds, the visual effects and stimulation that those varied and colorful cultures bring us? Imagine the stories these people have to share. Think of friends who have traveled and the tales they have told. Sometimes they make us scratch our heads. Sometimes they make us laugh at their absurdity. But they mostly intrigue us and compel us to get out and see more of the world.

In an article in Diverse Magazine (Elfman, 2019) Dr. Alyssa N. Rockenbach whose project, Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS) reports that “having a diverse peer group enables college students to understand and appreciate other cultures and reduces prejudice,” a.k.a. world peace. This seems obvious to me and I could never really grasp how it wasn’t obvious to everyone until, in one of my classes at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS), we were asked to introduce ourselves and tell when we first experienced diversity. Most students talked about the first time they went abroad or when a study abroad student came to their school. My first experience was the opposite. It happened when I left my home in Cambridge, MA for college in San Diego, CA. My college campus was so white. There were a few black students and two Iranians but that’s all I can recall of diversity. Not only did that help me appreciate the richness of cultures I’d grown up with, but it made me an open-minded person, excited to break down barriers of exclusion so that my friends could also know the excitement that comes with experiencing another’s culture.

That said, it isn’t obvious to everyone which I was reminded of while listening to an episode of Safe Space Radio. The podcast Can We Talk: Talking to White Kids About Race and Racism is led by two mothers, one black and the other white. The black mother explained why it was so hard to talk to white children about race. “My job is to protect you (her children) out there and the white parent’s job is to create a bubble to keep their kids safe.” If we’re not purposeful in bringing our children together are we causing more harm, actually sowing division? We need to consciously decide to break down barriers by creating a culture of diversity and not just between black and white families, but that’s a good start here in the states.

I will always love the idea of and work towards world peace, but what I really want to relay is how much richer our children’s education will be when schools consciously make an effort to diversify. That comes in the form of teachers and staff, curriculum and the students themselves. Children are born eager to learn. It’s inherent and it’s our responsibility as parents, teachers, and schools to encourage the full range of exploration that includes not only thought and intellectual stimulation but what culture brings. So why diversify? Does it matter if we do so because the world is just going that way or should we bring more intention to it in order to reap the benefits of variety in tastes, sounds and sights? Mmmm. Suddenly, I‘m craving my nana’s lasagna and some Italian opera.

Encompassing All Voices Diversity and Inclusion: a strategic issue for European universities, Anna-Lena Claeys-Kulik p 5 (Gurria 2018)

Suggested Readings:
This Land is Our Land: An Immigrants Manifesto – Suketu Mehta
WHY ARE ALL THE BLACK KIDS SITTING TOGETHER IN THE CAFETERIA And Other Conversations About Race – Beverly Daniel Tatum, PHD


Kathleen Hylen, M.A. International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Graduated with honors from UC, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Community Studies, focus on anti-bias. Kathleen is also a member of ACEI’s Professional Consultancy Team. Her focus is on helping institutions and organizations develop and/or bolster their diversity and inclusion strategies. acei@acei-global.org

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What is Transnational Education?

November 1st, 2019


We have been hearing the term “transnational education” used when referring to distance learning programs, teaching partnerships, off-shore campuses, and MOOCs. And we can be sure that with the global demand for higher education overpowering supply, transnational education will continue to grow and assume permanency in our lexicon.

Although there are many definitions and interpretations, the definition provided by the UNESCO/Council of Europe Code of Good Practice in the Provision of Transnational Education (Riga, 6 June 2001), states “all types of higher education study programmes, or sets of courses of study, or educational services (including those of distance education) in which the learners are located in a country different from the one where the awarding institution is based”.

Transnational Education may include any one of these arrangements:

  • Articulation
  • Course-to-Course Credit Transfer
  • Branch Campus
  • Franchising
  • Joint Degree
  • Dual Degree
  • Distance Delivery
  • Progression Agreement or Sequential Degrees
  • Degree Validation

If your institution is exploring engaging in any one of the above-mentioned arrangements, there are a number of informative papers and articles on the subject. Rather, than repeat the same information and guidelines, below is a list of a few reports with links you may find useful to visit.

CIMEA: http://www.cimea.it/files/fileusers/5592_2004-What%20is%20transnational%20education.pdf
EAIE: https://www.eaie.org/blog/key-elements-transnational-education-tne.html
NAVITAS: https://medium.com/navitas-ventures/transnational-education-partnerships-and-internationalisation-gei-75-6fc581aa5122
INSIDE HIGHER EDUCATION: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/world-view/transnational-education-what-impact-local-institutions

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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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U.S.A. – China: Sharing Expertise on International Credential Evaluations

October 25th, 2019

On October 18, 2019, the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI) had the pleasure of hosting representatives from the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE) and China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center (CHESICC) and colleagues from the American Education Research Corporation (AERC).

The purpose of the meeting was to learn more about our respective organizations and discuss the role of the US Department of Education and the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE).

From L-R – Mr. Wenjun (Edward) Chen (CHESICC), Mr. Alan Saidi (ACEI), Ms. Martha Alvarez (AERC), Ms. Weiping (Heather) Yuan (CHESICC), Ms. Xiaoshu (Susan) Li (CHESICC), Ms. Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert (ACEI), Mr. Weixing Cheng (CHESICC), Mr. Bo (Simon) Zhou (CSCSE), Ms. Lei Zhu (CSCSE), Ms. Xiao Huo (CSCSE)

Association of International Credential Evaluators

Founded in 1998, AICE is a professional membership association recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for those involved in international credential evaluation and comparative education research. The mission of AICE is to provide guidelines and standards to be used by Endorsed Member credential evaluation services regarding the best practices in international credential evaluation. It also provides a forum regarding the development of standards for its member organizations. These member organizations are endorsed by AICE for having demonstrated excellence in credential evaluation and adherence to professional standards through a rigorous membership process. ACEI and AERC are both Endorsed Members of the AICE. For more information on AICE, please click here

Endorsed Members Representatives from AICE:

  • Martha Alvarez, Director, American Education Research Corporation (AERC)
  • May Li, Senior Credential Evaluation, AERC
  • Alan Saidi, Senior Vice-President & COO, Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI)
  • Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert, President & CEO, ACEI and President AICE (Association of International Credential Evaluators)

Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE)

The Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange was founded in 1989. It is a public organization under the Ministry of Education (MOE) of the People’s Republic of China.  CSCSE was initially founded due to the increasing number of Chinese scholars studying abroad and returning to China which necessitated the establishment of a specialized department to provide comprehensive services for this group of people. CSCSE mainly engages in international education services by supporting students who are pursuing international student experience and fostering dialogues between higher education institutions and organizations in international exchange and cooperation. CSCSE specializes in offering professional services for international scholarly exchanges, including Chinese students and scholars studying abroad, returnees from abroad, and international students and scholars coming to study in China. One of the services CSCSE provides its students, whether returnees or international students and scholars intending to study in China, is help with the evaluation of their educational credentials for comparability to the Chinese education system. For more information on CSCSE, please click here

Representatives from CHESICC:

  • Lei Zhu, Head of Evaluation Team (US & Canada), Overseas Academic Credential Evaluation Office
  • Bo (Simon) Zhou, Evaluation office, Overseas Academic Credential Evaluation Service
  • Xiao Huo, Evaluation Officers, Overseas Academic Credential Evaluation Service

China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center (CHESICC)

The China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center was founded in 1991 and is the MOE-authorized qualification verification institution in China. It is also the only MOE-authorized body for the verification of higher education qualification certificates. CHESICC maintains the China Higher Education Student Information (CHSI), an official higher education student data depository entrusted by the MOE, which manages a nationwide database that covers all MOE-recognized academic institutions and all post-secondary level students. CHESICC offers digital administration and services for student enrollment, student record and qualification management, employment information, ad military conscription. CHESICC verification service includes postsecondary student record, qualification certificate, college transcript, high school diploma, and Gaokao (National College Entrance Exam) scores. Student record and qualification verification are provided in different forms, including online verification, online verification report, and verification report. In China, the verification service is widely used for employment, graduate admission, and judicial examinations. For more information on CHESICC, please click here

Representatives from CHESICC:

  • Mr. Weixing Cheng, Director of Information Division
  • Mr. Wnjun (Edward) Chen, Project Manager of International Promotion Department
  • Ms. Lan Gao, Director of Verification Service Division
  • Ms. Xiaoshu Li, Project Supervisor of International Promotion Department
  • Ms. Weiping Yuan, Manager of International Promotion Department

At the meeting, we quickly realized how issues such as fraudulent documents, diploma mills, determining legitimacy of institutions and their accreditation/recognition are global problems and not unique to one country. When our CSCSE colleagues shared their questions about professional degrees in law and medicine from the U.S., we concurred that here in the U.S. we face the same conundrum when evaluating international professional qualifications in these fields as we try to determine their U.S. equivalent. From the U.S. side of the table, we shared our concerns about the inability to verify Chinese high school transcripts. Our CHESICC colleagues expressed that since high school education is under provincial control and records are not housed in a central depository, their verification is very difficult. They recommended that the provincial department where the school is located be contacted for help with verification. CSCSE indicated that the number of Chinese students returning to China after completion of their study abroad has been rising as is the number of international students coming to study in China. For this reason, evaluation of these students’ credentials is very important as the CSCSE reports on degree comparability intended for employers, higher education institutions, and other interested parties. It is heartening to learn that although we may be in opposite sides of the planet, we face the same dilemmas and employ similar standards when evaluating international credentials. We look forward to continued collaboration and mutual exchange of information amongst our respective organizations.

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

President, Board of Directors AICE

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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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5 Steps on the Study of Law in the U.S. for Professional Practice

October 18th, 2019


If you are thinking about studying law in the United States and want to practice as a lawyer in this country, it is important to know that requirements for the study of law are different compared to other countries. Here are five quick facts about the study of law in the U.S.:

Professional Field
In the U.S., law is a professional field and admission to the degree of Juris Doctor (JD) which is the credential needed to practice law, requires completion of an undergraduate bachelor’s degree. In most countries, students can enter a law program at a university immediately after graduating high school. In the U.S., it is offered at the completion of a bachelor’s degree. Some exceptions may exist, depending on the State.

Law School Admissions Test
The  Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is another requirement for students planning to be admitted to law school. Most students will sit for the LSAT exam immediately after finishing their undergraduate studies and earning their Bachelor’s degree. The LSAT exam is a standardized test administered four times a year testing student’s analytical and logical reasoning skills.

Law Schools
The American Bar Association recognizes over 200 accredited institutions in the U.S. Admission to a law school is highly competitive and will take into consideration the students overall grade point average and scores on the LSAT.

Juris Doctor Degree
Once admitted to law school, students study for three years (full-time) to earn the Juris Doctor (JD) degree. The first year of law school is known to be the most rigorous, includes a set curriculum developed by the institution and provides the foundation of the skills students need to continue their legal education.

Bar Examination
To practice law in the U.S., students have to pass the Bar Examination. Each state board of bar examiners in the U.S. has its own licensing requirements. Students need to contact the board of bar examiners in the state they are interested to practice to learn about their requirements, register and sit for the test. Once they pass the exam, they can enter professional practice as a lawyer.

Helpful links:

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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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10 Fun Facts about Finland

October 11th, 2019


Not only has Finland been in the news recently, with its President visiting the US but the 2019 meeting of EAIE (European Association of International Educators) was also held last month in Helsinki, the country’s capital. We’ve decided to put the spotlight on Finland in this week’s blog post and share some fun facts about this Nordic country. We’ve also invited ACEI’s President and CEO, Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert, who was in Helsinki for the EAIE conference to share her perspective.

1. Happiest Country in the World

Image: REUTERS/Petr Josek

The latest World Economic Forum report ranks Finland as the happiest country in the world. Finland has climbed from number 5 to number 1.
Jasmin: “I can vouch for this ranking. During my recent visit to Helsinki where I was attending the EAIE conference, not once did I experience an unpleasant encounter with a Finnish person. Every person I met, whether at the hotel, taxi drivers, restaurant workers, shop keepers, and even locals, greeted me with smiles and genuine hospitality. I always felt welcomed. On my first evening in Helsinki, my hotel recommended my husband and I who was also traveling with me, to check out a restaurant known for its authentic Finnish cuisine. It was clearly a popular venue as there were quite a few people lined up ahead of us waiting for a table. As we inched our way closer to the host, a young man approached us and invited us to join him and his party rather than stand in line. We gladly accepted his invitation and joined his party which included a number of Finns and Italians. They were in Helsinki to attend the “No Labels, No Walls” event that weekend. We spoke at length with our new Finnish friends about life in Finland and they had nothing but positive things to say. They all agreed that in order to coexist as they did, some compromises had to be made, but overall they followed the Finnish ethos where taking care of one another is embraced as an important aspect of their social construct.”

The top 20 happiest countries 2019 Image: World Happiness Report 2019

2. Minimum Wage and Average Salary


The minimum wages in most professions in Finland is among the highest in the Eurozone. The average salary in Helsinki is around net € 2,500 euros per month. Although Helsinki has the highest salaries in Finland it also has the highest cost of living when it comes to property and rent prices. But, compared to its Nordic neighbors such as Sweden and Norway, its cost of living is considerably lower.

Jasmin: “When I asked my taxi driver if Uber (the ride sharing service) is popular in Helsinki, he said “no.” When I asked him why, he said that people in Finland make a good living thanks to the living wage and don’t need to have a second job.”

3. The Sami (Lapp) People

Image: stock photo Google images

The first inhabitants of Finland were the Sami (Lapp) people who were there when the first Finnish speakers migrated in during the first millennium B.C. The Lapps moved north into the section that is today known as Lapland.

Jasmin: “I took a taxi from my hotel in the City Center of Helsinki to the convention center or locally known as Messukeskus. When I asked the driver if she was from Helsinki, she told me she was from Lapland. How great is that?! It’s not every day one meets someone claiming to be from this enchanting place where, as children, we were told Santa Claus lived!”

Spanning 30% of Finland’s land area, Lapland is home to just 3% of its population. Lapland’s far north is known as Sápmi, home of the Sámi, whose main communities are around Inari, Utsjoki and Hetta. Rovaniemi, on the Arctic Circle, is the most popular gateway to the north.

Jasmin continues: “In the 15-minute drive to the convention center, my driver took me on a virtual journey of her idyllic birthplace. She spoke of the midnight sun, the Sámi peoples, the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) and roaming reindeer, the magical snowy winters, the sense of space, big skies and pure clean air.”

4. Saunas: “The poor man’s pharmacy”

Image: stock photo Google images

Finns are fanatic about their saunas. With a population of 5.4 million, Finland has over 3 million saunas. It is said that there are more saunas than cars in Finland. Dubbed the “poor man’s pharmacy,” the sauna is not a luxury but a substantial part of Finnish culture and national identity. The only Finnish word to make it to the English language is ‘sauna.’
Jasmin: “Yes, I did enjoy a few minutes of heat and serenity at the hotel’s sauna. We heard that even a Burger King in Helsinki has a sauna which gives a burger, fries with a side of sauna, a whole new meaning!”

5. Free Education

Finland offers free education at the elementary, secondary and even university levels. This free access is also offered to students from the EU/EES. It is no wonder that Finland is ranked number one as the happiest country in the world.
And one more thing, non-EU students can also benefit from free education if they take classes that are taught in Finnish or Swedish or complete doctoral studies in any language. Oh, by the way, in Finland, when someone earns this PhD, they receive a top hat and a sword!

Image: stock photo Google images

6. First European Country to Give Women the Right to Vote

Thirteen of the 19 women elected to Parliament in 1907. Photo: Helsiniki City Museum

In 1906, Finland became the first country in Europe that gave women from all levels of society the right to vote and stand for parliament. Finland had its first female prime minister (Anneli Jäätteenmäki) in April 2003 which made it the only country in Europe with both a female president (Tarja Halonen) and prime minister.

7. Prohibition and Consumption of Alcohol

Image credit: Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert

Just like the U.S., Finland had its own temperance movement that led to the prohibition of alcohol from 1919-1932. Of course, this didn’t stop the Finns from making their own brew and households were known to have perfected moonshining. Smuggling of alcohol into the country was also par for the course. Today, you can only purchase beer and cider in supermarkets throughout Finland. Wine and other spirits can be purchased at state-sanctioned stores. In restaurants, if you order anything but beer by the glass you need to specify the size in terms of liters. There are several speakeasies in Helsinki.

Jasmin: “On a boat ride around the islands near Helsinki, the Captain told us the story of one famous smuggler who during WWII had turned to smuggling about 150 Jewish people from Nazi Germany to safety.”

8. Finnish Language is Unique

Source: Pixabay

The Finnish language is part of the Finno-Ugric language group and is said to be similar to Estonian than the Scandinavian languages such as Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. It is not even an Indo-European language but belongs to the Uralic language family. Finnish uses gender-neutral words in their language.

Jasmin: “I made it a point to learn the 3 basic words of saying hello, goodbye and thank you in Finnish. The word for hello is hei or moi, and goodbye is hei hei or moi moi, and thank you is kiitos, though everyone we met in Helsinki was fluent in English and would respond with a pleasant smile when I’d say any of these words in Finnish.”

The Finns love their language so much that they celebrate it each year on the 9th of April. To learn more about this special day, click here

9. The Land of the Midnight Sun and Aurora Borealis

Image: Stock photo Google images

A quarter of the country is in the Arctic Circle which puts Finland’s Lapland and other northern sections in what is known as the “Land of the Midnight Sun”. The sun in this area doesn’t set for 73 consecutive summer days annually while it doesn’t rise at all for 51 days during the winter (known as polar night). Except for the summer, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) are seen regularly in every season in Lapland and other parts of Finland

Jasmin: “My taxi driver who was from Lapland said that she loved the long nights and long days. She said that to her these were what made her region so special and unique.”

10. General Country Facts

  • Total Population: 5.4 million
  • Capital: Helsinki
  • Land area: 338,424 km2
  • Government: Republic, parliamentary democracy
  • President: Sauli Niinistö
  • Primary minister: Juha Sipilä
  • Currency: Euro
  • Official language: Official languages are Finnish (spoken by 88.9%) and Swedish
  • (5.3%). Sami is also recognized as a regional language.
  • Official Website: Finland.fi
  • Member of EU: Yes.
  • Member of NATO: No

Source: https://www.swedishnomad.com/facts-about-finland/

Bonus Fun fact:

11. Least Corrupt and Most Transparent


When it comes to the reporting of the news, Finland is by far the most honest and transparent. This is mostly due to its commitment to equal rights and emphasis on transparency. Finland’s press has been rated the freest one in the world. Transparency International, based in Berlin, has rated Finland since 1998 as the world’s least corrupt country as is its reporting of domestic and international news. If you’re looking at alternative fact-based non-partisan reporting of international news, best you turn to the Finnish press, such as Helsinki Times.

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

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

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20 Fun Facts About Estonia

October 4th, 2019

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.)

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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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12 Quick Facts on Kenya’s Temporary Operating Licenses for Universities

September 27th, 2019


Here’s what you need to know about the proposal recommended by Kenya’s Ministry of Education eight-year limit for new universities to operate on a temporary license:

1. The proposed plan amends the University Act 2012, whereby the Ministry is suggesting that newly established universities will receive a letter of interim authority (temporary license) for four renewable (once) years.

2. The proposal was presented to the parliamentary Education Committee at the end of August 2019 that will allow universities to operate on temporary/interim licenses for only 8 years without the option for renewal.

3. Only institutions that meet the Ministry’s requirements will receive the temporary license.

4. The intention is to ensure that institutions meet standards and requirements within the established timelines.

5. The Commission of University Education (CUE), which is the regulator of higher education in Kenya, confirms that 14 universities operate on letter of interim authority.

6. In 2017, the CUE conducted a review of universities operating on a letter of interim authority which concluded in the denial of licenses that were issued to three of the universities previously assessed.

7. Currently, according to the CUE, there are 14 universities operating on temporary licenses

8. The following institutions had received temporary licenses more than eight years ago and could have their licenses revoked if the proposal is passed into law:

  • East Africa University
  • Gretsa University
  • Kiriri Women’s University
  • Management University of Africa
  • Pioneer International University
  • Presbyterian University
  • Riara University.
  • Aga Khan University (the oldest in the list as it received it temporary license in 2002)

9. The following institutions received their temporary licenses later than 2012 which will remain valid should the regulation be approved and enforced:

  • International Leadership University
  • Lukenya University
  • UMMA University
  • Zetech University
  • RAF University
  • Amref University.

10. The following institutions had their licenses revoked in 2017, after a review conducted by the CUE, but later were granted an extension to operate provisionally on the condition they confirm to the CUE standards:

  • East Africa University
  • Kiriri Women’s University
  • Gretsa University.

(Note: Despite a directive from the CUE to the above 3 institutions to not accept any new incoming students, it was overlooked.)

11. The following institutions have been allowed to continue teaching based on their temporary licenses:

  • Aga Khan University
  • Management University of Africa
  • Pioneer International University
  • Presbyterian University of East Africa
  • Riara University.

12. If the Ministry’s proposal is approved into law, it will reopen the debate as to whether universities that have been operating with temporary licenses for more than the proposed eight years will be allowed to continue as such or face closure.






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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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