Monthly Archives: July 2020

Dispatches from Los Angeles: Moving during a Pandemic

Written by: Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert

Image source: squaremovers

What is the one thing one dreads to do during so-called normal times that would be the last thing on the list during a global pandemic? Can you hazard a guess? If you answered “moving,” then you’re spot on.

After spending the past four months of lockdown working remotely, our ACEI team has proven to be just as productive as they had been while spending their eight hours at the office. In fact, they are dedicating the time they spent crawling on the freeways making their way through LA’s infamous traffic in the comforts of their home offices and getting an early head start to the day. During our first ten years, ACEI called S. Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills its base. Within that ten years we moved our office to larger suites in the same building to accommodate our rapid growth. The next sixteen years, ACEI called Culver City, CA its home. We enjoyed a very large open space with skylights and floor to ceiling windows spanning one entire side of the suites we occupied giving us a panorama of the on going development in the area. We saw the LA metro complete its building of the Culver City stop, a stone throw away from us. Soon after, we watched the construction of a still-in progress giant multi-complex commercial development. We have also witnessed the growing number of homeless encampments that is now become a common sight through Los Angeles.

What we also realized was that the old paradigm of holding on to large square footage of office space, especially the open shared spaces that had become popular in the recent years is no longer an efficient or prudent way to operate a business. With fewer people commuting and working from home, we just couldn’t justify the space that was literally beginning to look like expensive storage for office furniture and our reference library. So, the move. ACEI’s new home will be in Mar Vista, Los Angeles, about five miles west of the current location. We will be returning to individual private offices in a building with a lush courtyard, perfect for a meditative break.  But, preparing for the move which represents sixteen years of accumulated paper, books, supplies, furniture, computer and electronic equipment is not for the faint at heart. It has been cathartic! Where is Marie Kondo when you need her?!

Despite a global pandemic, lock downs, travel bans, campus closures, postponement of in-class instructions, civil protests, looming elections, we rally on, by keeping the proverbial doors of ACEI open and even embark on a move. Having fully embraced the digital age we are able to continue with our daily operations and providing our credentials evaluation and consulting services without a hitch. The point is to not freeze and become passive. As Albert Einstein is noted to have said: “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” And change it is.

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

 

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA.  ACEI is a full-service company providing complete and integrated services in the areas of international education research, credential evaluation, and translation. ACEI’s Global Consulting Group®, offers expertise in the following specialties: Media and Branding, Global Pathways, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to interested institutions and organizations around the globe. www.acei-global.org

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The 3 Child Policy: An Alternate Pathway to Graduate Admission in France

Marie AntoinettePhoto: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

We recently received a diploma titled Grade de Master in Elementary Education, with emphasis in Teaching Social Sciences and transcripts for one year of study (60 ECTS) completed at a university in France. For the purpose of protecting the identity of the individual who submitted said documents, we will not disclose the name of the university. We can, however, state that the university is recognized and the Grade de Master was issued by the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de l’Innovation (Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation).

What was interesting about this case was that there was a 15-year gap between when the individual had finished high school (Baccalaureat) and started the Grade de Master program. When we asked our applicant to provide credentials for previous university studies, e.g. Licence or Bachelor, we were told they didn’t exist as the individual never studied for a Licence or Bachelor or any other university degree, other than the Grade de Master.

We asked for more information on the criteria for admission to the Grade de Master program as we typically see completion of the three-year Licence or Bachelor as a requirement. We were informed by the individual of the existence of a law in France where a person who is the parent of three children can participate in a special lottery to win admission to the Grade de Master program.

In order to verify this claim, we asked the individual to provide us with the link to the section addressing this three-child policy which would appear in the Bulletin Officiel (B.O.) of the Ministère de l’Éducation Nationale, de la Jeunesse et des Sports of France. The B.O. is the reference for all French education which lists all programs and teaching directives. It is amended many times every year.  The B.O. is very dense and searching for information relevant to the subject one is looking for is best left with the individual who studied in the system. We asked our applicant to point us to the section in the B.O. that addresses the 3-child policy. We were directed to item 6.3 in the B.O. which confirms that an individual with three children but no previous university studies may participate in a lottery and the winner will be admitted to the Grade de Master program.

Image source: Amazon

Courtesy of Google Translate, below is the  translation of the text in item 6.3 of the B.O. concerning the three-child policy applied to those who do not hold a previous university degree for admission to the Grade de Master:

“6.3 Candidates exempt from titles or diplomas

6.3.1 Mothers and fathers of at least three children

In application of the provisions of the modified decree n ° 81-317 of April 7, 1981 may apply for the competitions referred to in this note, without fulfilling the diploma conditions required of candidates, mothers or fathers of families of at least three children they actually raise or raise.

This condition is assessed on the date on which the diploma is required to enter the competition.

6.3.2 Top athletes

Pursuant to Article L. 221-3 of the Sports Code, high-level athletes can apply for state competitions without fulfilling the diploma conditions required.

They must be entered on the ministerial list, established by the Minister responsible for sports, valid on the date on which the diploma is required to sit for the competition.”

You may be wondering how ACEI evaluated this credential? Since we recognize the three-year Licence or Bachelor as comparable to three years of undergraduate study in the United States, we evaluated the one year (60 ECTS) for the Grade de Master as comparable to one year of undergraduate credit at the upper division level.

Sources:

https://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/

https://www.education.gouv.fr/bo/13/Hebdo29/MENH1317592N.htm

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, California, USA.  ACEI is a full-service company providing complete and integrated services in the areas of international education research, credential evaluation, and translation. ACEI’s Global Consulting Group®, offers expertise in the following specialties: Media and Branding, Global Pathways, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to interested institutions and organizations around the globe. www.acei-global.org

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Racism, The Earthquake

Written by: Carine Fabius

It was just over 10 years ago that Haiti suffered an earthquake so devastating it is rated #6 on the list of 10 deadliest natural disasters since the 6th century. I am a Haitian-American, living in the States since 1964. I was not on the ground when it happened, but the collective national psyche of Haitians throughout the world collapsed along with all those buildings and structures, died a little with the 300,000 people who perished, and hobbled in spirit with the over one million wounded and displaced. Today, as we in the United States and many countries around the world grapple with the long-ignored effects of racism on modern day society, I can’t help thinking about the Haiti earthquake. Because racism (along with corruption and greed) is at the root of the why of the earthquake’s outsized impact on the Haitian people, just as racism crawls through the infrastructure of this and other countries’ dysfunctional state of affairs.

As evidenced by the outpouring of heart-wrenching stories from African-Americans and other people of color on a daily basis in the last month (which feels like years), incidences of racism often have the effect of rocking people to their core. Just as anyone who has experienced a strong earthquake will attest, you come away feeling off-kilter, confused, shaken, and incapable of explaining why the ground beneath your feet has gone the way of quicksand. You’re left with a pounding heart shouting What the hell just happened?! And just as with a big earthquake, whose aftermath you only come to understand with each passing day — who died, what broke, what’s left, where do I go now, and how do I move forward—so does racism leave in its slug-like wake a slimy realization that despite your best efforts, you’re still not perceived as good enough, smart enough, or human enough to warrant opportunities offered to the least of us, educational standards granted to most of us, and the respect for life that so many take for granted.

In Haiti, the severity of the earthquake’s strike wasn’t all due to mother nature. It had just as much to do with post-colonial racism from France and America, which placed an embargo on trade with Haiti after it fought off the French and declared itself the first independent, slave-free state in 1804. Reason for the embargo? The U.S. worried that its own slaves would catch the revolutionary bug. That economic blockage lasted some 60 years and crippled the island’s economy. From 1915–1934, the U.S. occupied Haiti, and, in addition to helping rebuild our infrastructure (new roads, hospitals, schools, bridges — thank you!), it seized the banks and the national treasury, and put itself in charge of collecting taxes, customs duties and more, skimming billions from the nation’s economy along the way (thanks a lot!). A U.S.-backed 30-year dictatorship, during which Haiti’s treasury functioned more like a personal bank account further eroded Haiti’s finances. There’s a lot more about Haiti’s complicated history than can be said here, which includes a long list of flawed Haitian rulers; but throw in additional economic blockades by the U.S. in the early 90s, and a 200-year-history of racist infighting between mulattos and black Haitians, and you end up with the perfect setup.

The reason so many buildings collapsed during the 2010 earthquake was because of corruption and greed, which allowed for shoddy construction throughout the country (like in so many other countries around the world), enabled by centuries-old racist U.S. policies and a prejudiced ruling class that averted its eyes to the unavoidable wreck waiting to happen. But it wasn’t just the poor who suffered. No one escapes the wrath of racism. Everyone in Haiti knows someone or several people who died. Concrete shacks and fancy hotels cracked. Insurance companies stiffed the rich.

Now, when we think about the impact of racism on the rich in general, we must put aside the 1% because they always seem to turn out OK, don’t they? Its pernicious effects tend to wallop everyone else, though — the poor, the middle and upper middle classes. Let’s take a simple example from recent history in the United States. Black families start moving into white neighborhoods. Racist white people flee like bats out of hell are on their tails. In order to get as far away from people of color as possible, they move into enclaves that are much more expensive than they can afford, thereby cutting back on things they enjoyed before — dinners out, that new car, the family vacation. Both workers and owners at those restaurants lose their earnings; car manufacturers and airlines raise prices on everyone to make up for the lost income. When the loss of the lifestyle they used to love becomes too much to bear, racist white people apply for credit cards and run up debt that is often hard to shake. That’s when the ground beneath them starts to shake and they spend the rest of their lives hopping from one foot to the other to stay steady.

Back in those neighborhoods, when those racist white people left they took the taxes they were paying along with them. And since taxes fund schools and quality of education, future generations get whacked at the knee just as they’re starting to walk. That’s when the tremors start for them, as well. Racist white people have been selling the trickle-down theory for decades — give more money to the rich and their spending will trickle down to the rest of us. Except that in reality, it’s not more economic activity trickling down, it’s less.

My husband likes to recount the story he read years ago of public swimming pools throughout the south, which, after integration, allowed blacks access to the swimming privileges whites had long enjoyed. In the cut-your-nose-to-spite-your-face scenario, rather than mix with blacks, community leaders chose to deprive everyone instead, emptying the pools of water and filling them with cement. Today many former public pools still lie underground. If you’re lucky enough to have a private pool, good for you. If not, too bad.

Racist white people of all classes, and racist people of color like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, have long decried the “nanny state” and “welfare queens.” That is, until something like a pandemic hits and they find themselves out of a job and accompanying health insurance benefits, and on their computers applying for food stamps. And then comes the rattling of their self-esteem, the jolt to their confidence, the jangling of nerves and the jarring clatter of a life falling apart. Who will they blame? It has to be someone’s fault! It must be those immigrants and these black people now running around looting and creating havoc. And so the rumbling continues, with racism destabilizing everyone on its path.

Just to be clear, it’s not America or Americans I’m talking about here. It’s racist Americans. Americans are the first to open their hearts and wallets to disaster zones like Haiti’s after the earthquake. And American companies are stepping up to address the “newly revealed” issue. Just a few days ago The New York Times published an article about a number of companies that have set aside hundreds of millions of dollars and created programs to give grants and assistance to minority-owned businesses that would otherwise be denied access to bank loans easily approved for white people. Those companies include Softbank, Paypal, Youtube and others. I got very excited. Hey, I have an arts education program that needs funding! My friend Lauren’s small business got hit hard by Covid-19! I ran to my computer for the links to apply; except that each and every one of those companies were already overwhelmed by the number of applicants. We are no longer accepting applications. I was disappointed but I felt like Wow!

I just want to remind racist white people in this country that black people aren’t sitting around wishing for a better life. We are ready and raring to go! If only the earth would stop moving beneath our feet — and everyone else’s.

*Image courtesy Brittanica.com

 Carine Fabius is the author of six fiction and nonfiction books, and a longtime contributor to Huffpost, writing on issues of lifestyle, the arts, politics, and more.

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, California, USA.  ACEI is a full-service company providing complete and integrated services in the areas of international education research, credential evaluation, and translation. ACEI’s Global Consulting Group®, offers expertise in the following specialties: Media and Branding, Global Pathways, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to interested institutions and organizations around the globe. www.acei-global.org

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COVID-19 Survey Reports: Impact on International Students

A recent survey conducted by the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley,  the findings of which were published on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, “The coronavirus pandemic that shut down university campuses across the globe this spring has heightened concerns among many international students enrolled in United States institutions regarding their personal safety.”

Participants in the survey include 22,519 undergraduate students and 7,690 graduate and professional students at five public research universities in the United States. Of those surveyed, 77% have remained in the U.S. during the COVID-19 global pandemic, while the others have returned to their home countries.

Here are key highlights from this survey:

  • Overall, international graduate and professional students were more likely than undergraduates to acknowledge worries.
  • Maintaining good health was cited as a top priority for two-thirds of graduate and professional students and more than half of international undergraduates
  • Managing immigration status and visas was another concern as cited by 55% of graduate students and 44% of undergraduates.
  • Having adequate financial support was a concern shared by almost half (49%) of graduate students and 36% of undergraduate
  • Understanding US medical insurance and obtaining health services was a concern shared by 53% of international graduate students and 35% of undergraduates.
  • Travel restrictions were of concern to 61% of graduate and professional students versus 45% of undergraduates.
  • More than half (55%) of international graduate students and 43% of undergraduates said instances of xenophobia had affected their mental health.
  • 30% of international undergraduates and 29$ of graduate students said they had experienced offensive behavior that affected their relationship with their US peers or friends
  • 17% of international undergraduates and 22% of graduate studies said they the offensive behavior they experienced affected their academic or professional performance
  • 13% of international undergraduate and 18% of graduates said these negative experiences were more likely to not complete their degree program.
  • 54% of international undergraduates and 56% of graduates expressed a lack of motivation as an obstacle to adjust to online instruction
  • 44% of international undergraduate and 55 % of graduates cited the absence of interacting with other students as a concern
  • Approximately four in ten international undergraduates who left the U.S. said they were unable to attend online classes mostly because of time zone differences.

As the policy brief of the survey said: “We must recognize the toll that instances of xenophobia, harassment and discrimination have on international students. The effects bleed over into international students’ feelings of safety, their mental health and their relationships with US peers or friends.”

Sources:

SERU COVID-19 Survey Policy Briefs

University World News

Inside Higher Education

The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, California, USA.  ACEI is a full-service company providing complete and integrated services in the areas of international education research, credential evaluation, and translation. ACEI’s Global Consulting Group®, offers expertise in the following specialties: Media and Branding, Global Pathways, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to interested institutions and organizations around the globe. www.acei-global.org

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Filed under COVID-19, credentialevaluation, Credentials, Education, evaluation, History, Human Interest, international education, international students, News, Politics, study abroad, technology, Travel