WENR, June 2015: Americas
NZ Education Minister Tours Latin America on Trade Visit
New Zealand is aiming to increase its profile as a study destination among Latin American students as its minister of tertiary education, skills and employment visited the region for the first time in April and announced expanded mobility agreements with key trade countries.
Minister Steven Joyce traveled to Brazil, Colombia and Chile for 10 days to endorse education and trade between New Zealand and countries in the region.
Latin American students make up just 4 percent of total international student enrollments in New Zealand. However, during the trip, it was announced that New Zealand will be hosting more students from the Chilean scholarship program, Penguins Without Borders. Since its inception in 2013, the scholarship program has so far sent 237 Chilean students to New Zealand to study.
“Being selected as the primary host country for these scholarship students is testament to New Zealand’s strengthening education relationship with Chile, and the great experiences past international students have had in our country,” the minister said.
– The PIE News
May 19, 2015
New Argentine University Adopts Australian Vocational Training Model
A university in Argentina has adopted the Australian vocational education and training system (VET) with support from the state government of Victoria’s international business office network.
The new Eva Peron University in San Luis has been established to provide the region’s first postsecondary training and qualifications for trades, as well as pathways to diploma and associate degrees. The model that broadly replicates Australia’s VET qualifications framework was developed to meet the needs of local industry in the region of San Luis.
A team of Victorian education experts worked with the San Luis Government in creating the new institution. Early skills training programs commenced in May in electrical and mechanical engineering, welding, and plumbing to meet local demand.
– PS News
May 22, 2015
Higher Education Reform Takes on a Life of its Own
While Chile’s universities face an uncertain decade ahead as the government revamps the higher education system, the head of the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH) said on a recent visit to Britain that the changes are now past the point of no return because the country’s population has “big expectations” of what lies ahead.
The momentum for change is undeniable: anger at corruption in the country’s market-driven higher education sector has fueled mass student protests on the streets of Santiago since 2011, and last year, Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, unveiled tax reforms designed to fund free education for all.
Laws have been introduced to ban selective admissions. But legislation for higher education has yet to be finalized and students are keeping up the pressure, with protests as recently as May 14 leading to the deaths of two demonstrators.
On a recent visit to Britain hosted by the U.K. Higher Education International Unit, academics from CRUCH universities told Times Higher Education that the protests were likely to continue throughout Bachelet’s current term (which ends in 2018) because changing higher education will take at least a decade. María Teresa Marshall, executive director of Chile’s council of rectors, said that the transformation will require “deep reforms” of the system of public and private universities, she said, adding that quality assurance, regulation and admissions all need overhauls.
– Times Higher Education
May 21, 2015
University of West Indies to Partner with Chinese Institution on Beijing Campus
The University of the West Indies (UWI) has reportedly signed an agreement to set up a branch campus in Beijing, China.
According to incoming university president, Hilary Beckles, the university has signed a memorandum of understanding with a university located in the heart of the information communication technology district in China.
“We have signed an MOU with the Global Institute for Software Technology (GIST), whereby we are proposing to establish a branch of the UWI in China, and they, in turn, will establish a branch of GIST in UWI,” he said.
Beckles indicated that a key aspect of the agreement is that each graduate will be entitled to a six-month internship with a company located in Suzhou Industrial Park. This, Beckles said, would create a pathway for Caribbean citizens into the Chinese technology world. The signing of the MOU forms part of Beckles’ vision to have the UWI meet the needs of the region.
– The Gleaner
May 4, 2015
United States of America
Flexibility in Study Rights for Spouses of International Students
A new U.S. Department of Homeland Security rule will allow spouses and children of international students to study in the U.S. as long as they are enrolled for less than a full program of study. The amended rule will also remove a cap on the number of designated school officials nominated at any given institution: designated school officials, or DSOs, as they’re called, are tasked with overseeing compliance with U.S. immigration requirements vis-à-vis international students and scholars.
– Federal Register
April 29, 2015
International Agents Most Effective for High School Recruiting
Fourteen per cent of U.S. high schools are actively recruiting international students, according to a report by the National Association of College Admissions Counseling, with the majority of those using private education agencies to bring in their international students.
The report, entitled “State of College Admission,” shows that of the 14 percent of high schools actively recruiting international students, 71 percent of these use education agencies as a recruitment strategy, with the second most popular means of recruitment being recruitment fairs, used by 32 percent. Just over a quarter of the institutions surveyed also have partnerships set up with overseas high schools.
Visa restrictions at public schools, which limit students to no more than 12 months of studies on an F-1 visa, also mean private schools are more likely to have an international cohort. High schools are apt to use agents as brand recognition overseas is very limited in the secondary sector, unlike the U.S. university sector, while recruiting overseas can be prohibitively expensive.
– The PIE News
May 12, 2015
Chinese National Admissions Test Good for U. San Francisco Admissions
Chinese applicants to the University of San Francisco (USF) need not submit a transcript or an SAT score under a newly announced pilot program. Rather, the private Jesuit institution plans to admit students based on their scores on the Chinese university entrance exam, the gaokao, and their performance in an in-person interview in Beijing.
Students admitted through this pathway will not be required to submit standardized English language test results, although USF plans to administer its own English language test during the interview, according to Stanley D. Nel, the university’s vice president for international relations.
Nel said his goal is not to flood the University of San Francisco with additional Chinese students — USF enrolled more than 1,000 students from China last fall, including 846 undergraduates — but rather to identify 5 to 10 top students who do well on the gaokao but not well enough to get into the Chinese university of their choice. This would save the Chinese student a year of preparation to take the SAT and standardized English language tests needed for entry.
“Our hope is in this way we can get at the very top students in China,” said Nel. He anticipates that USF will set gaokao cutoff scores equivalent to the marks needed to get into a first-tier Chinese university in each province, plus or minus a few points.
A number of Australian universities accept gaokao scores for undergraduate admissions, and the test, for all its limitations could represent a relatively reliable source of information for admissions officers who are struggling with the problem of fraud in Chinese student applications.
– Inside Higher Ed
May 20, 2015