Poor English ability in cohort of Indian students with high IELTS scores

400 who have been granted admission to Niagara College for January 2019 based on IELTS test results obtained in India, have been told by the college that they must retake their IELTS test or possibly lose their admission. This decision at the college follows the finding that the number of “at risk” students went from 150 last year to 300 in the fall term. The college subsequently performed an in-house English test and found that 200 did not have the proficiency they needed to pass their coursework and that 80% of those students had taken their IELTS test in India at test centers run by the Australian-based IDP Education.

Read more in the Hamilton Spectator.

Japan introduces AI robots to help children learn English

In an effort to improve the spoken and written English skills of Japanese students, the government of Japan has launched a pilot program that will see 500 AI robots introduced in schools next year.

Part of the appeal of the robots is that they are more affordable than hiring native speakers to teach or giving local teachers the language training they would need to be able to teach English.

Read more in the Japan Times.

Number of international students rising for two decades, domestic student numbers stagnate

Statistics Canada recently announced that the number of international students in Canadian postsecondary institutions has been on the rise for two decades. Int he 2016/2017 school year, international student numbers increased by 11.7% while the number of domestic students was almost unchanged.

The majority of international students continue to be from China, but the gains are attributed to the large increase in Indian students.

Read more.

Two new pathways for international students announced in Manitoba

Manitoba plans to attract more immigrants to the province through the International Student Entrepreneur Pathway and Graduate Internship Pathway.

“By providing students a fast track to nomination for permanent residency, we hope to attract and retain more talented innovators and entrepreneurs from all over the world,” said Education and Training Minister Kelvin Goertzen. “International students bring new ideas, global connections and an entrepreneurial spirit to our province and when they create opportunities for themselves, Manitoba becomes more competitive and innovative.”

Read the Province of Manitoba press release.

Professor argues that university seats for sale at UBC, but not to domestic students

Peter Wylie, an economics professor at the University of British Columbia, argues that, as long as it is believed they can pass, international students with lower grades are admitted over domestic students. The governments of British Columbia and Canada have encouraged the University (and other post-secondary institutions) to admit as many international students as possible “becoming an important instrument of immigration, export and labour market policy, regardless of them meeting the admissions grades required of domestic students.”

Read more in the Vancouver Sun.

International students in Peterborough targeted with fraudulent “Welcome to Canada Tax”

There is a phone scam going on the in the Peterborough area targeting international students at Trent University and Fleming College. Students are receiving calls telling them they must pay a $2500 “Welcome to Canada Tax” and later receive a follow-up call by someone posing as a police officer. In the follow-up call they are told they will be deported unless they pay this tax… through a bitcoin machine!

Read more in the Peterborough Examiner.

Keeping PEI schools open with funding to recruit more international students

The federal government and the PEI government have together granted $1.5 million dollars to the University of Prince Edward Island, Holland College and the College de L’Isle to assist them in recruiting international students. As the numbers of local students has been declining for several years, international students are necessary to keep the schools’ doors open it would seem. It would be curious to find out what the return on investment will be.

Read more on CBC.

Visa scam involving fake university acceptance letters

A recent probe by the Canadian Border Security Agency has revealed that many people are gaining entry to the country with student (and work) visas that were granted based on falsified university acceptance letters. 15 such people were discovered with fake acceptance letters to the University of Waterloo’ masters of engineering program.

This appears to be a growing problem. In 2017, 2779 of the 317000 study visas issued by Canadian consulates around the world were found to be based on fraudulent paperwork.

Read more in the Waterloo Region Record.

Degree not a prerequisite for a job with some tech companies

Shopify recently announced that they – like Apple and Google – do not require a post-secondary degree from job applicants. In fact, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke said, “One of the ingredients in Shopify’s success has been to completely ignore academic credentials in hiring.”

We’re not sure if there is any connection here to the ESL world, but as people in education, we found this story interesting and thought you might too.

Read more in The Ottawa Citizen.