Tag Archives: international education

Colombia Grants Citizenship and Work Permits to Venezuelan Refugees

February 7th, 2020

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Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Colombia has pledged to be the most educated country in Latin America by 2025. It has laid out several initiatives to achieve this goal which we covered in a blog post last year.

Colombia is also facing an influx of refugees from its neighboring Venezuela. According to UN Refugee Agency, there are more than 1.6 million Venezuelans living in Colombia and approximately 60% lack a regular status. The UN predicts the number of Venezuelans in Colombia to rise to 2.4 million by the end of 2020.

How is Colombia addressing the refugees from Venezuelan?

Work Permit – Colombia is offering migrants work permits in order to bring them into the legal economy. They are offering one kind of permit that renews the visas given to migrants who entered Colombia before November 29, 2019. The second type of visa is given to Venezuelans with formal job offers.

Citizenship – According to an August 5, 2019 report from the New York Times, “Colombia will give citizenship to more than 24,000 undocumented children of Venezuelan refugees born in the country, a rare humanitarian measure amid tightening migration policies elsewhere in the hemisphere.” Colombia will issue passports to babies born to Venezuelan parents on its territory from August 2015 until August 2021.

Access to Healthcare and Education – These permits allow Venezuelan migrants to have access to healthcare and education in Colombia.

Colombia sees this approach as a more effective way of addressing the Venezuelan refugee crisis. It argues that is a more humane and economically sound approach rather than closing its borders and cracking down on undocumented refugees which only perpetuate human trafficking and its illegal revenue stream.

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/world/americas/colombia-citizenship-venezuelans.html

https://newsus.cgtn.com/news/2020-02-06/Colombia-offers-work-permits-for-Venezuelan-migrants-NQuqQ8fVBu/index.html


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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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Violent Attacks on Higher Education Globally

January 10th, 2020

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The protesters inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Monday, photographer: Lam Yik Fei (NYT)

 

According to a 2019 report from Scholars at Risk (SAR), there have been “97 violent incidents involving attacks on higher education communities across 40 countries. At least 32 students, scholars, staff, campus security personnel and others died as a result of these attacks, with many more injured.”

University campuses have been turned into battlegrounds where demonstrations have turned violent and at times deadly. An article in World University News provides a disturbing look at the level of violence against students and faculty that seems to have escalated on university campuses across the globe. Click here to read more.

Here is a glimpse into four countries where recent protests have impacted universities and the lives of students:

Chile

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In November 2019, anger against metro fare hikes sparked mass demonstrations across the country with students protesting against the high cost of higher education. Demonstrations turned violent forcing several universities in Chile to close their campuses in response to safety concerns.  Source: Scientific American

Ethiopia

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Ethnic tensions have claimed the lives of seven students at universities across the country in the past three months. This has prompted Ethiopian government to deploy its federal police to universities across the country to help calm the tense situation. Source: Reuters

Hong Kong

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The pro-democracy student protests in Hong Kong which started more than six months ago have continued into this new year. Hong Kong’s universities have been sanctuaries for the young protesters who wish to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy from China. Several university campuses have become the battleground of the student protests resulting in the temporary closure of some universities and suspension of classes. Source: The New York Times

India

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On Sunday, January 5, 2019, dozens of masked men and women armed with sticks and iron rods shouting slogans used by India’s ruling right-wing Hindu nationalist party attacked students and professors at India’s prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, injuring more than 30 people. Eyewitnesses alleged that police did not stop the violence but had joined the attackers in beating up students. Source: University World News


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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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Don’t Give up, Keep at it! 7 Steps for US HEIs to remain competitive in International Education

December 13th, 2019

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The reports are coming in, and they each speak of declines in the number of international students at U.S. institutions of higher education (HEIs). Panic has set in and decisions based on panic never turn out to be sound or prudent. They are short sighted and cause more damage than good. Panic prompts HEIs to retrench, which leads to laying off staff in international admissions and cutting back on student recruitment. The drop in international student numbers shows itself quickly with a decline in dollars generated from tuition and fees which prompt universities to slash their budgets, cut back on staffing that translate to reduced course offerings and less seats available for prospective domestic students. People forget that the tuition from international students help subsidize a large portion of the infrastructure of institutions, supporting more courses and faculty and more seats available to domestic students. International students also help by participating in the general economy, they are, after all, consumers just like you and me and besides paying their college tuition, they are also spending dollars in the local community.

No matter who or what political party is in power, we forget that the U.S. economy hinges on the global market and our global competitiveness is in trouble, which includes our competitiveness in the international student market. Combining the number of international students in the US government’s net migration target is a flawed policy. We have and continue to have a political environment laden with extreme political opinions where one group is adamantly pro and another passionately against internationalization. Neither point of view is accurate since extremes in any which way tend to be flawed and too simplistic on how the domestic and global market are intertwined and function together as a unit and not separately. The more we remain engaged globally the more we can encourage the coming together of people, ideas and innovations, that will help us better address the challenges that face us.

When the political climate insinuates that internationalization is bad, it trickles down to all sectors of the economy and community, and those of us in international education feel its immediate effects on our campuses and in periphery services supporting our HEIs. Suddenly, there is a dis-ease within the international student community about coming to the US to study. They fear for their safety, they anticipate difficulties in obtaining a student visa and express concern about how they will be treated on arrival at a U.S. airport by customs and immigration officers and by their peers on the university campuses. We have, unfortunately, not been sending a warm welcoming message to the world in this past year and it is resonating loudly and clearly around the globe.

Say what we want, but we live in a competitive world, and when it comes to international education, the U.S. HEIs are competitive to the extent that they remain in the field. Rather than retreating, U.S. HEIs must stay in the game and compete successfully with their counterparts in UK, Canada, Australia, and emerging markets such as China and India. In fact, this is exactly the time for HEIs to collectively work on maintaining a robust marketing and promotion campaign to counter the negative perceptions about international education and students by dispelling myths that deter students from wanting to study in the U.S.

What must US HEI’s do?

1. Intellectual Contribution: Reinforce and Raise Awareness

In an article in The Times Higher Education, Dame Nemat Minouche Shafik, Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science states: “…we need to reinforce, raise awareness of and spread the well-established principles that govern what constitutes a valid intellectual contribution. Practices such as peer review, competitive process for funding research, requirements to publish data, and transparency about conflicts of interest are fundamental to academic life. Most people are unaware of these practices, which are the bedrocks of academic quality and progress – we need to spread the practices to other domains such as think tanks and the media.” These are the hallmarks of U.S. higher education and US HEIs need to carefully craft the language that expresses and conveys this to the public without sounding elitist or academic.

2. Messaging

Which brings us to messaging. Where we seem to have faltered is in our messaging and doing a so-so job at communicating without sounding self-serving. We need to turn things around and emphasize the benefits brought to the community and country by international education and students. We need to use the Internet and social media platforms effectively and share personal stories and progresses in research in a language that is approachable and inclusive, one that will draw in the very camp that is opposed to internationalization. In the same report in the Times Higher Education, Dame Shafik suggests one way to accomplish effective messaging is by “working with thoughtful and effective storytellers to reach a wider public – consider, for example, Sir David Attenborough’s work to raise awareness of the environment or Michael Lewis on the risks inherent in financial markets.” Here are a few suggestions to incorporate in our individual and collective messaging on the unique benefits of international students and scholars:

  • Promotes U.S. foreign policy and international leadership
  • Helps the growth of U.S. knowledge economy
  • Spending by the international students and their dependents contributes significantly to the U.S. economy (approximately $13.5 billion)
  • Education exchange is benefits U.S. education as much as it does the international students
  • Education exchanges enhances and ensures U.S. security

3. Tools to Train an Informed Citizenry

While we craft the messaging to the world outside our campuses, our work as educators means that we must also commit to teaching and training our domestic students to become more discerning citizens. We need to teach them the tools they need that will instill in them an appreciation to be critical thinkers, learn how to distinguish propaganda and disinformation from facts so they are better prepared to engage and debate as informed citizens. Our domestic students will serve as our campus ambassadors and who better than they to welcome the international students.

4. Promote Healthy Debate

From teaching and training students to be critical thinkers, we segue to what is deemed as challenging by most and that is creating a space that respects different opinions and allowing both sides to debate and share their points of view, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel. Absence of this neutral zone for public debate hinders any progress we would like to see in raising awareness on the importance and benefits of institutions of higher education. By allowing and fostering healthy debate on our campuses, we can help broaden the minds of our domestic students who may have a narrow opinion on what it is to be an international student.

5. Promote Diversity and Foster Inclusion

Whether it is our intellectual contributions, messaging, training and informed citizenry, and promoting healthy debate, one thing we cannot and should not forget is that the USA is not a homogenized nation but one that is uniquely diverse whose citizens have ancestry representative of every country on the planet. Simply put, what makes the USA unique is the sheer magnitude of its diversity of people. In fact, this diversity must and should be front and center in our conversation with potential international students. It is this diversity that sets the US apart and we should embrace and promote it.

6. Support Study Abroad

Promoting internationalization on our campuses, is a two-way street. At the risk of sounding repetitive, since this message has been expressed before by others, our HEIs need to demonstrate their commitment by being global leaders in higher education by having in place a robust study abroad program and encourage and support study abroad opportunities for their domestic students, and preferably to countries where learning a foreign language is a prerequisite. This experience will foster a camaraderie and mutual understanding between a returning domestic student from studying abroad and a fellow international student at his/her home campus.

7. Don’t Abandon the Marketing Plan

At the sight of trouble, or a downturn in economy, businesses tend to quickly react and slash their marketing budgeting. HEIs do the same, they cut back on recruitment, outreach, and promotion of their programs overseas. Rather than putting marketing on an indefinite hold, a plan needs to be thoughtfully put into place as to how to keep the messaging alive and robust. The first sign of retreat and defeat is to slam on the marketing brakes when the economy is slowing down. We need to keep the messaging consistent, clear and loud.

If we are not careful and let panic set in, the years of work that have made the US an attractive destination for education for students from around the world will be lost and regaining that competitive edge will take a very long time to recover.

HEIs needs to demonstrate the benefits of international education and international students and their value to the community and US economy. HEIs must not simply accept the current dictates set by government as a given. Rather than retrench and retreat, we need to push on and keep at it!

Is your institution experiencing a decline in the number of international student applications? Please share with us what steps your institution has taken or is taking to address this issue.

Sources:

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/experts-must-fight-back

http://www.nafsa.org/uploadedFiles/NAFSA_Home/Resource_Library_Assets/Public_Policy/restoring_u.s.pdf

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/01/22/nsf-report-documents-declines-international-enrollments-after-years-growth

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

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International Students Enrollment Numbers Drop

November 22nd, 2019

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On Monday, November 18, 2019, the Institute of International Education (IIE) released the latest 2019 Open Doors report confirming that international student enrolment in the US is steadily declining. The annual Open Doors report is compiled jointly by the IIE and the US State Department.

In this week’s blog we will offer a quick summary of the outcomes of this report.

  1. For the 2018-2019 school among 19,828,000 total students in institutions of higher education in the U.S.,1,095,299 were international students which is 5.5% of all college and university students in the U.S.
  2. According to VOA new: The numbers showed a slight increase in total international enrolment, 0.05 percent from the previous year, but a decrease in new international student enrolment, -0.9 percent.
  3. The Open Doors Report shows decreases in undergraduate (-2.4%), graduate (-1.3%) and non-degree (-0.5%) enrollments.

Subsequent news reports reacting to the 2019 Open Doors cite the following as reasons for the declining numbers of international student enrollments:

  1. Negative perception of President Donald Trump and the growing negative rhetoric regarding international visitors, immigrants, and non-U.S. citizens.
  2. International students concern about gun violence and their safety on U.S. college campuses and cities at large.
  3. Sharp rise in value of S. dollar in 2015 and 2016.
  4. Saudi Arabia’s decision in 2016 to cut back on its scholarship impacted the number of Saudi students coming to study in the U.S.
  5. According to an OpEd by Justin Fox in Bloomberg, “public universities in the U.S. aren’t quite as desperate for full-tuition-paying international students as they were a few years ago, with state per-student spendingup 15% in real terms since 2012-2013.”
  6. S. higher education faces fierce competition from Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom when it comes to attracting international students. Lower tuition and safety make these countries a more attractive option.

According to estimates from NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the continued decline in international student enrollment since the fall of 2016 has cost the US economy $11.8 billion and more than 65,000 jobs.

Can the U.S. reverse this tide? Can it reclaim its #1 ranking as the destination for international students and regain its dominance? If so, how?

Helpful links:

https://studyinternational.com/news/trump-blame-decline-international-students-us

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-11-18/trump-is-scaring-away-some-foreign-students

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/19/business/international-students-decline/index.html

https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2019/11/18/international-enrollments-declined-undergraduate-graduate-and


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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

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

September 27th, 2019

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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.

Sources:

https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2019-09-05-eight-varsities-risk-closure-in-ministrys-new-proposal/

http://cue.or.ke/index.php/status-of-universities

http://www.education.go.ke

https://sokodirectory.com/2019/09/list-of-universities-risking-shutdown-in-ministry-of-educations-proposal/


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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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8 Quick Facts about Canada’s New International Education Strategy

September 6th, 2019

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If you haven’t heard, Canada has outlined a five-year CA$148 million plan to bolster its international student recruitment and study abroad. The government sees this as a valuable investment for a future work force that will have an international perspective with strong global networks and cultural savviness in new markets and regions that will only strengthen Canada.

What is Canada doing to diversify its global recruiting efforts in the tertiary sector?

  1. First, it’s the federal government’s financial commitment to the initiative and Canada is doing this by pledging nearly CA$30-million over the next 5 years for its diversification efforts.
  2. Targeting countries with a large and growing middle class which may have limited capacity to accommodate the higher education needs of their student population.
  3. Focusing on regions of the world where receiving a Canadian education in English or French is appealing.
  4. Brazil, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine, are the countries where the Canadian government will focus its marketing efforts.
  5. The government will also attract international students to attend schools in Canada’s smaller cities to bring economic benefits to regions that have received fewer immigrants.
  6. The government will make it possible for some of the international students who complete their studies in Canada to apply for permanent residency in an effort to retain their knowledge and networks.
  7. The government has also planned to allocate $95-million to encourage and support Canadian students to study abroad in countries in Asia and Latin America.
  8. The initiative will also dedicate financial support for study abroad opportunities for Indigenous and low-income students, and students with disabilities.

Sources:

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-trudeau-government-outlines-five-year-148-million-plan-to-attract/

https://thepienews.com/news/canada-federal-budget-millions/


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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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