WENR, January/February 2005: Americas
Distance Learning to Remedy Teacher Shortage Problem
The Brazilian government plans to launch a massive distance learning campaign this year to redress the problem of teacher shortages and to expand access to education. According to the Ministry of Education, Brazil is currently in need of 235,000 teachers in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology.
The teacher shortage results from a lack of investment in education and the growing student population. At some universities, student numbers have more than doubled in the past decade while the number of instructors has stayed the same.
Some schools are already offering online programs to their students. The Faculty for Technology and Science at the University of Salvador, for example, is preparing to set aside 43,500 places for distance learning. Meanwhile, Ibmec Sao Paulo has tripled its enrollment of distance learning students since 2003.
At present, only nine percent of Brazilians between the ages of 18 and 24 are enrolled at an institution of higher education compared with 30 percent in Argentina and Chile.
— Times Higher Education Supplement
Dec. 24, 2004
Osgoode to Offer Joint Degree with NYU
York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School is soon to offer a joint degree program with the New York University School of Law. The new program will be four years in length and enable students to conduct half of their studies in Toronto and the other half in New York. It will be launched in 2006 and aims to meet the needs for licensed attorneys who can work both sides of the border.
There are already similar degree programs in operation: The University of Windsor offers a joint program with the Detroit Mercy College of Law; and the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law has a similar arrangements with Michigan State University and the American University Washington College of Law.
— Globe and Mail
Jan. 25, 2005
Study Warns Restricting Off-Campus Jobs Hampers Overseas Recruitment
According to a recent survey, six out of ten foreign students in Canada say the country is their top choice for postsecondary education, but labor laws are making life hard by restricting opportunities for off-campus employment.
The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), an organization representing universities, colleges and school boards, said foreign students in postsecondary institutions are facing rising tuition fees and little to no chance of employment off-campus to help cover costs. The study warns that many of Canada’s competitors in the overseas student recruitment marketplace – Australia, New Zealand and Britain – have all recently liberalized such regulations. Three provinces – Manitoba, New Brunswick and Quebec, excluding Montreal and Quebec City – have pilot projects under way to allow foreign students to work off campus (see July/August 2004 issue of WENR).
The survey was mailed to students at 36 institutions of higher education across the country. Approximately 1,700 students responded. The CBIE conducted similar surveys in 1988 and 1999. It found that while 90 percent surveyed were satisfied with their decision to study in Canada, about half reported problems covering costs because they cannot work off campus.
— The Globe and Mail
Nov. 16, 2004
The United States
Increase in Student Visas for First Time since 9/11
The State Department in January announced a rise in the number of international student visa applications.
This is the first increase since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Applications for student visas rose by 9 percent during the first six months of 2004 over the previous year. Visa issuances for that period increased by 11 percent.
However, student visa applications are still significantly lower than they were prior to the 2001 attacks.
— State Department for Consular Affairs news briefing
Jan. 6, 2005
Community Colleges Target International Students
Several community colleges are intensifying their efforts to attract international students in competition with the traditional four-year schools by promoting their competitive advantages such as low tuition fees and small class sizes.
Colleges have increased recruitment efforts partly as a response to the downward trend in international student enrollments since the September 2001 terrorist attacks, and also as a response to increasing demand from abroad for cheaper options to the traditional U.S. four-year degree at a time when global financial markets are struggling. Community colleges are also responding to increased competition from abroad as recruiters in Europe, Canada and Australia have increased their efforts in order to capitalize on the effects of stricter visa and security measures in the United States post-September 11.
As a result of the intensified competition and the post-9/11 decline in student numbers, institutions are utilizing more than the standard recruitment tools such as websites and pamphlets. They now focus on face-to-face overseas recruiting. As an example, 22 community colleges sent representatives to Europe on a four-country recruitment tour last fall. The tour, organized by the American Association of Community Colleges and now in its third year, stopped in Turkey, Bulgaria, Poland and Sweden. Previous tours have targeted Asia and Latin America.
— Community College Times
Jan. 18, 2005
Dept. of Education Launches New Web Site to Combat Diploma Mills
The Department of Education launched a new website this month, which features a list of some 6,900 academic institutions that have been legitimately accredited by an accrediting agency or state approval agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education . The website is designed to help employers distinguish between accredited institutions of higher education and unaccredited institutions or outright frauds known commonly as “diploma mills” that offer bogus degrees, usually over the Internet.
Congress announced the website as part of a new campaign to educate the public about the problem of fake degrees. The effort was prompted by congressional hearings and a Government Accountability Office report last year that found at least 28 senior-level federal employees in eight agencies had bogus college degrees (see May/June issue of WENR).
In addition, the Federal Trade Commission issued new guidelines to help employers spot questionable credentials on a resume. The FTA warning signs include: degrees earned in a very short period of time, several degrees earned in the same year, and institutions that use names that sound like those of prestigious colleges or universities. According to a congressional testimony there are more than 200 diploma mills operating in the United States or other countries today. It is estimated that these bogus institutions rake in close to $200 million a year from selling bogus degrees.
— Department of Education news release
Feb. 1, 2005