Wooing international PhD students, future citizens

There is a move in Ontario universities to make tuition free – or at least, more affordable – for international PhD students, a move that was given momentum by the Ontario government’s announcement that universities could use 10% of the grants they receive for graduate students to enrol more graduate students. Research-intensive universities can use up to 15%. This means that 1200 students will be funded for the next three years, up from 133.

Last month, the University of Toronto announced that international graduate students would now only pay domestic student fees. Brock University more recently announced that fees would be completely covered by the university for international graduate students.

Why? There are a few reasons, but a very compelling one is the obvious from a recent study from the University of Toronto that found that half of its international PhD graduates become permanent residents.

Read more in The Globe and Mail.

33 new dual language programs announced in NYC

Carmen Farina, Schools Chancellor for NYC, recently announced the 33 new pre-K, dual language programs, effectively more than doubling what is currently available.

“Being able to speak and read in a different language, and understand a different culture, is a game-changer for our kids,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “That’s why we are more than doubling the number of New York City’s pre-K Dual Language programs – meeting the needs of our kids and families, and giving more of our children a critical early foundation in not just one language, but two.”

Read more in the press release.

A nice problem to have: KPU closes international student applications after 41% surge in enrolment

Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond, BC, has had to close applications from all international students to the 2018 summer and fall programs. Applications are up 41% this year, while applications to the summer program specifically doubled over last year.

The university hopes that closing applications (which are normally accepted until April 1st) will allow them to catch up on the existing backlog. They are not sure when applications will be accepted again.

Read more in Richmond News.

EF English Proficiency Index 2017 now available

The seventh edition of the EF English Proficiency index has some interesting things to tell about English as an international language. Which nationality is the most proficient? The Dutch. Which country has slipped to last place in Europe for English proficincy? Italy (thereby putting France in second-last place).  And while European countries overall are more proficient than other parts of the world, there are interesting facts on all continents. Also interesting are the profiles of English language teaching initiatives in 20 countries.

Check it out for yourself.

Wish list: time travel edition

Over the past year, there have been numerous occasions when we at English Central were looking at a book and genuinely thought, “I wish my teachers had used this with me.” Now it is too late for us, but it is not too late for your students. Nicole, Calin and Anahita want to tell you about what would have been on their wish lists if the books had existed when they were students.

Calin Stefan, Sales & Marketing Coordinator, writes:

When I started university, I quickly discovered that high school had not prepared me for post-secondary academic writing or the expectations of my professors. Hamburger-style essays and unsupported claims simply would not do in this new context—this is why I truly wish I’d been given Contemporary Academic Writing (CAW) to use a resource both before and during my undergraduate degree.

CAW is a hard-hitting, concise crash course in academic writing. For me, it checks all the boxes, including those that aren’t necessarily visible in the finished written product. Most importantly, it frames writing as a process; and as every student eventually learns, typing words onto the page happens at the end. How to research effectively, how to plan the structure of an essay, how to craft a thesis statement—these were hard-earned skills for me, but they don’t have to be for new undergrads!

Anahita Eftekhari, the newest English Central team member,  writes:

It’s only every day that I struggle against the ever tricky zip, unzip, load, code, and all the sharing of mischief that pops up online. At work, at school, and in all areas of life, ICT skills are key. Need to make an items inventory? Easy… If you’ve got sharp Excel skills. Presentation on Leonard Cohen? If you want it memorable and catchy, you’ve got to know your PowerPoint down to a T. And everyone’s got hobbies. Us Millennials use ours as side gigs to help pay the rent. But to be a professional anything nowadays, you need a fancy website. Plus the navigation skills to do online commerce and advertise. Not easy.

Now imagine a December oh so many years ago when I could boost my performance at school and at work, and get my side gig to hit a boom. All I need is one wish—cue Mariah Carey’s famous words—all I want for Christmas is… Binary ICT Skills.

(Email us for more information on our computer skills books.)

Nicole Graham, the lady who has been chained to English Central for 15 years, writes:

When Garnet Education published the first edition of the Transferable Academic Skills Kit (TASK) a few years ago, it was such an unusual publication that I decided to work through the book myself to better understand it. It wasn’t too far into the Critical Thinking module that I was overwhelmed by the realization that I would have gotten so much more out of my university studies if I had worked through TASK before hand.

TASK does not teach language skills (though I probably could have benefitted from that too); instead it teaches the academic skills – such as critical thinking, researching and referencing, numeracy, teamwork and presentation skills – that all students need in order to succeed in their post-secondary studies. TASK was written with the international student in mind, though, and takes into consideration the extra hurdles that they face. In the second American edition, the publisher was also kind enough to take on board a number of changes/adjustments that English Central had to make the book particularly relevant to the North American context (that’s why our logo is on the cover!). If you teach EAP (or native teenagers planning to go on to college or university), you really would be doing your students a favor if you introduced them to TASK.