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Dispatches from Los Angeles: Moving during a Pandemic

Written by: Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert

Image credit: Transport Executive

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 lock-down 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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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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Travels, Education and Observations in Oman

Written by: Alistair Wylie

The view across Nizwa. Photo credit: Alistair Wylie

During 2016, I had the opportunity to visit Oman, based in Muscat, on three separate occasions to support the work of the Ministry of Education. As with other Arab nations, women generally play a secondary role to men in society. For example, during daily prayers, men and women do not mix. Women dress conservatively with hair, arms and legs covered but faces visible. That said, high fashion is often pursued in relation to footwear, watches, accessories and dress trim! Oman differs from other Arab nations though in being regarded as progressive when it comes to working lives. Many Omani women are highly educated and hold senior positions in government and industry. During the time that I visited, the appointed Minister of Education was a woman. In work situations, where a woman is the boss, men will answer to her actions. This clearly sets aside life in Oman from its Arab neighbours.

Oman, officially known as the Sultanate of Oman, is a country on the south eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It sits at in a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and is bordered by Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as sharing marine borders with Iran and Pakistan. Muscat is the capital, and largest city, whilst the country population is approaching 5 million people and is classed as a high income economy. The late ruling Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, who died earlier this year, had ruled for 50 years and was credited for driving and leading much of the massive investment and improvements across the country. Oman is recognised a progressive state in the Middle East and predominantly peaceful. As well as oil, it relies on agriculture, tourism and fishing to support its economy.

My main task while I was in Oman was to assist colleagues in the Ministry of Education. This work was to inform their future planning and thinking around course creation and approaches to assessment and awarding within the school sector. Quite a wide remit and lots of areas to cover! On each of my visits, I worked with staff from the Ministry of Education who were responsible for managing the national school curriculum and covering the full range of subject choices. I delivered a series of seminars, workshops and Q&A sessions to meet an agreed brief and enable them to link into a clearly defined progress plan. They had approached the Scottish Qualifications Authority as there are parallels in several key areas when comparing Scotland and Oman; similar size of country and population, similar approaches to school education and assessment and a desire to learn, review and change their approaches to assessment and national awarding.

 

The Omani people themselves are extremely friendly, welcoming and reverent.  Arabic is the native language but the majority of educated people are also fluent in oral and written English. I was fortunate enough to have the assistance and support of a wonderful translator during my interactions. I was also spoiled on a daily basis with home brewed cardamom coffee (an Omani staple) and home-baked delicacies.

Sunset in Muscat. Photo credit: Alistair Wylie

I was able to experience the difference in seasons whilst on my different trips. My initial trips were in the Spring months where it was hot, dry and sunny but not unbearably so. This changed when I visited again in the month of August and it was well beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit at barely 11 o’clock in the morning! I also had the opportunity to do some exploring in and beyond Muscat. The country itself is split into several distinct regions. Muscat is in the northern area bordering the United Arab Emirates and sits on the eastern coast. There is a lot of greenery and vegetation in this area as well as mountains the further north you travel but once you head inland you are soon met with relentless desert. Moving further south, the country borders Saudi Arabia and travelling away from the coastline you are again met with desert. The same is true of most of the southern part of the country, where the border is shared with Yemen, making this the hottest part of Oman.

Top of the Fort Nizwa. Photo credit: Alistair Wylie

Friend and colleague, Houd, on top of the fort in Nizwa. Photo credit: Alistair Wylie

I experienced a trip to a local sook which is an amazing experience to see all the different local goods on sale and had the opportunity to interact with local people. I also visited the inland fortified town of Nizwa, some 150km from Muscat. The capital itself houses many beautiful buildings such as the new opera house. Old Muscat town is even more interesting and is where I found the most intriguing sook as well as a visit to Al Alam Palace.

Al Alam Palace. Photo credit: Alistair Wylie

Muscat Opera House. Photo credit: Alistair Wylie

A wadi outside Muscat. Photo credit: Alistair Wylie

The one lasting impression that any visitor has when visiting Oman, apart from the friendly people, is the cleanliness and the wonderful smells and aromas wherever you go. I was never a huge fan of oud and “heavy” perfume scents before I visited Oman but once I got to experience real Middle Eastern oud and the rich aroma of pure perfume-based scents I became hooked. Virtually anything that contains oud is now my fragrance of choice! My advice is that if you have the opportunity to pursue any kind of work that involves Oman then take the chance, and if you that means you get to visit too then it will be a trip that you won’t regret. Oman is certainly on my holiday destination list having been ticked off my professional and business list. It is, for me, the unspoiled and relatively undiscovered jewel of the Middle East.

Alistair Wylie has worked in education for the past 25 years, originally qualifying as a teacher in high schools before moving into the further and higher education sector and eventually joining the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) in 2004 as a national manager. He has held the post of Head of Qualifications at SQA since 2016 and has also had a successful career as a published education author. He is current Chair of the TAICEP Organisational Advancement Committee and is interested in all things to do with assessment, education and technology.

 

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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Countries Offering Virtually Free Higher Education

January 3rd, 2020

20200103
Source: german-u15.de

It is a known fact that higher education in the U.S. is a costly endeavor. When one factors in the cost of tuition, housing, text books and living expenses, a student can look into tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars debt on graduation. Some are able to offset the cost by qualifying for grants and scholarship but many will have to take student loans and carry the burden of paying them off over a long period of time. According to a 2011 report from OECD, the average annual tuition for US public colleges cost more than $6,000. And, according to Value Penguin, the average cost of US in-state public university can total $25,290 a year, when you take into consideration the cost of living, books and other expenses.

There are countries where the cost of attending university is not only affordable but in most cases free. These countries manage to subsidize higher education for their citizens through higher taxes in order to guarantee access to affordable education. Some Americans are looking abroad to pursue their higher education in countries that offer international students free education.

Here are seven countries where higher education is virtually free:

Norway
Sweden
Finland
Germany
Slovenia
France
Ireland

Here are the countries which offer virtually free education to their citizens and international students:

  • Brazil: For international students, university education is free when taking classes taught in Portuguese
  • Czech Republic: For international students, university education is free when taking classes taught in the Czech language
  • Finland
  • France: Free classes available to  European Union citizens
  • Germany
  • Greece: For international students, university education is free when taking classes taught in Greek
  • Classes are taught in Greek
  • Iceland
  • Kenya: Free tuition available to high-scoring secondary school students
  • Luxembourg
  • Norway: Tuition is fee but living expenses come at a very high cost
  • Panama
  • Slovenia: Free education for EU citizens
  • Sweden: Free education for EU citizens

Sources:
http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/countries-with-free-college/
https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/080616/6-countries-virtually-free-college-tuition.asp
https://www.businessinsider.com/countries-with-free-higher-education-no-tuition-college#ireland-has-paid-tuition-fees-for-most-full-time-undergraduate-students-since-1995-4


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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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Thanksgiving_2019

“Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.”
Jacques Maritain

From all of us at Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), we want to wish everyone a happy and festive Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends. We hope your day is filled with love, laughter, and gratitude.

We are thankful for all of you.


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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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What is Transnational Education?

November 1st, 2019

Transnational_20191031

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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25 Quick Facts on the Educational System of Indonesia

June 14th, 2019

indonesia

  1. Location: Southeastern Asia, an archipelago between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean
  2. Official Language: Bahasa Indonesia as its official language. (Source: CIA World Factbook)
  3. Capital of Indonesia: Jakarta with a population of over 10 million (Source: CIA World Factbook)
  4. Percentage of total population under 24 years of age: 41.57%  (Source: CIA World Factbook)
  5. Population: Over 265 million (Source: CIA World Factbook)
  6. # of islands forming the Indonesian archipelago: 17,500
  7. # of Indonesians who identify as Muslims: 87%
  8. # of Indonesian students studying abroad: 45,206 (Source: UNESCO Student Mobility Number)
  9. % of GDP allocated for education (2015): 3.6% (Source, CIA World Factbook)
  10. # of years of compulsory education: 9 years (from age 7 to 16)
  11. Start and end of primary to post-secondary education academic year: July – June
  12. The ministries that supervise and organize the entire education system: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs, and Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education.
  13. Education sectors overseen by Ministry of Education: state primary, junior and secondary schools
  14. Education sectors overseen by the Ministry of Religious Affairs: Islamic schools and other religious schools
  15. Education sectors overseen by the Ministry of Research and Technology: universities and polytechnics
  16. # of Indonesian students studying in the U.S. in the academic year 2017-2018: 8,650 (Source: Export.gov)
  17. % of Indonesian students who attend U.S. universities and are self-funded: 95% (Source: Export.gov)
  18. 2 types of high schools in Indonesia: SMA (Sekolah Menengah Atas) – prepares students to higher education; SML (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan) – prepares students with vocational training for employment.
  19. International secondary schools: prepare students for the IB (International Baccalaureate) or the CIE (Cambridge International Examinations)
  20. Types of degree levels at higher education: Diploma 1-3; Diploma 4 “Sarjana sains terapan” (bachelor of applied science); Sarjana 1 (bachelor’s degree); Sarjana 2 (master’s degree); Sarjana 3 (doctoral degree)
  21. Types of higher education institutions: public and private
  22. # of higher education institutions in the private sector: 3,940 (Source: Export.Gov, 2016 Statistics)
  23. # of higher education institutions in the public sector: 372 (Source: Export.Gov, 2016 Statistics)
  24. Top 3 study abroad destination countries for Indonesian students: Australia, the United States, and Malaysia
  25. % of Indonesian students responding to survey by AFS Intercultural Programs in Spring 2017 with interest in studying abroad: 81% (Source: ICEF Monitor 2017)

Sources:

CIA World Factbook: Indonesia. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/id.html

Export.Gov. 3/5/19 “Indonesia – Education & Training.” https://www.export.gov/apex/article2?id=Indonesia-Education-and-Training

ICEF Monitor. 2017. “Study Finds that Young Indonesians are Highly Motivated to Study Abroad.” http://monitor.icef.com/2017/12/study-finds-young-indonesians-highly-motivated-study-abroad/.

ICEF Monitor. February 2019. “Indonesian outbound continues to grow with emphasis in regional destinations.” http://monitor.icef.com/2019/02/indonesian-outbound-continues-to-grow-with-emphasis-on-regional-destinations/

NAFSA IEM Newsletter. Vol.16.November 2018. “Education System of Indonesia”

https://www.nafsa.org/Professional_Resources/Browse_by_Interest/International_Students_and_Scholars/Network_Resources/International_Enrollment_Management/Educational_System_of_Indonesia/

UIS-UNESCO. “Global Flow of Tertiary-Level Students. “ http://uis.unesco.org/en/uis-student-flow

UNESCO “International Mobility of Students in Asia and the Pacific.  https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000226219

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Indonesia. “Fact Sheet: U.S.-Indonesia Education Partnership.”

https://id.usembassy.gov/our-relationship/policy-history/embassy-fact-sheets/fact-sheet-u-s-indonesia-education-partnership/


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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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A 1st Timer’s Reflections on the NAFSA 2019 Annual Conference

June 7th, 2019

nafsa

My excitement and expectations as a first-time participant to the NAFSA Annual Meeting were exceeded. It was a great experience to see how united and collaborative the community of international higher education is. I think this was the first time when I truly understood what networking really means. I was waiting by the information desk to meet with my IEM mentor (via the IEM Connector Program) and I happened to glance over the long hallway of the Convention Center. Everywhere I could see, there were people with a big smile on their face and arms open wide, recognizing and old friend or collaborator. My experience with the conference was one of belonging to a community wholeheartedly dedicated to excellence in higher education.

Two prominent plenary speakers at the conference were former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Collin Powell. Both talked about the importance of international education and the role of the government in creating supporting policies for attracting international students. They shared their own experiences in the White House and expressed intense criticism for the current government’s actions against internationalization. They were so funny and witty!

The recurrent theme of this year’s NAFSA Annual Conference was the anticipated diminishing numbers of international students. The main reasons for predicted lower numbers are the following: difficulties in obtaining student visas, higher visa processing fees, perceived racism and discrimination, higher tuition costs, unstable political discourse, future USCIS plans for restructuring the OPT and CPT, rise in H1-B visa denials.

Where do international students go and why? International students mostly go to Canada and Australia, with the US and UK seeing lower numbers than ever. Canada is seen as more welcoming, with less visa restrictions and more opportunities for securing work after study completion.

At the conference, I attended sessions on how to develop recruitment, admissions and retentions strategies in response to the current unsteady global enrollment climate. I basically tried to learn from what other institutions are doing to develop and implement systemic change to deal with future enrollment. What I found was not a surprise: apply cross-cultural competencies to understand the incoming international student population, make data-driven policies and procedures, and create informative communication plans to teach students/applicants how to navigate the US academic system.

One of the most informative session I attended was Canada’s International Students: A Study in Diversity. This was an exceptionally interesting presentation with a tremendous amount of government data. Contrary to the perception that increased numbers or international students are due to the US and UK’s detrimental policies, the Canadian Government had created a plan to enhance the international student population back in 2013. US and UK’s discriminatory environment has indeed helped their numbers but only because they already had a very structured plan in place to absorb the high number of international students. It was not just luck, it was tremendous work and strong support from the government.

polixenia

POLIXENIA TOHANEANU, has been working as an International Admissions Specialist and Credential Evaluator in the Graduate Admissions Office at University of Idaho since 2016. She holds an M.A. in Francophone Studies from University of Cincinnati. As a previous international graduate student herself, she is passionate for researching new ways to make the process of evaluating international credentials more efficient. Email: polixeniat@uidaho.edu

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SYRIA: Education in Exile

March 29th, 2019

syria

Syria’s brutal civil war that began in 2011 has created the world’s largest displacement crisis, with almost 5.7 million registered refugees, including more than 2.5 million Syrian children now living in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. (In 2016, we posted an extensive piece on the Syrian conflict and its impact on the education system and the millions of its citizens who have been displaced. Click here to read more.)

The civil war has led to the creation of the Syrian Interim Government, an alternative government or a government in exile of the Syrian Opposition, which has been formed by the opposition umbrella group, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. The interim government is seated in exile in Turkey. Its headquarters in Syria are located in the city of Azaz in Turkish-occupied northern Syria.

In effect, at this time, there are 2 governments in operation representing Syria: the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) led by President Assad and the Syrian Interim Government (SIG). Because of the conflict, the Ministry of Education (MOE) in SAR has placed the entire curriculum of secondary education on-line to allow for students to self-study. In this case, students will not receive a report card or transcript for each year of study. The only document they will receive is the certificate for final exams for the Secondary Baccalaureate which provides them access to tertiary education at the universities in Syria.

In direct opposition to the government of President Assad, the SIG’s MOE has instituted its own secondary curriculum for those in the Turkish refugee camps and Syrian schools in Turkey and offers its own Secondary Baccalaureate examinations. The Interim Government’s MOE is working closely with the MOE in the Turkish government to coordinate efforts between the two ministries to oversee all Syrian schools in Turkey. It is also discussing how Syrian university students living in exile can be admitted into Turkish universities to continue their education and qualify for scholarships.

Until recently, Turkey, and with some limitations, France, had been the only countries recognizing the Secondary Baccalaureate examinations administered by the Syrian Interim Government. But on March 11, 2019, the MOE under the Syrian Interim Government announced that its diplomas are being recognized by several European universities in the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden. The diplomas are not recognized by the Syrian Arab Government’s MOE and any Syrian returning to Syria will not be granted admission to the universities based on the SIG MOE’s Secondary Diploma.


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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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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22nd, 2018

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From all of us at Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), we want to wish everyone a relaxing Thanksgiving. We are thankful for all of you.

According to a 2000 study by Emmons and Crumpler, people who regularly express gratitude have better physical health, more optimism, enhanced well-being, and help others more.* So, don’t worry about the 2nd or 3rd helping this Thanksgiving. Adopting an attitude of gratitude will do miracles for the physique!

Cheers!

ACEI Logo with Slogan - FINAL

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.

*If you don’t believe me, here’s the link: https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/10.1521/jscp.2000.19.1.56

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