Internationalization May Put Academic Values “At Risk”


Over the past few decades, post-secondary institutions have been very commited to the internationalization of their student bodies. But some questions have arisen, such as:

– Have academic values and principles been protected?

– Has the quality of education suffered in the pursuit of profit?

A recent study by the European Parliament explores these issues and more. Read the 300+ page study or read a succinct article in the The Times Higher Education.

International Students Launch Class Action Against their College


International students at Niagara College have launched a class action suit against the college. Affected students were in a four-month program that was to lead to a three year post-graduate work permit, but they allege that as their courses were almost entirely online, they were denied permits by the Canadian government. The class action represents about one hundred of the the approximate 500 students affected and the argument is that Niagara College should have known that the largely distance-learning based program did not meet Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s requirements for the awarding of these work visas.

Read more in The Star.

Heavy Social Media Use Linked to Mental Health Problems



Ottawa Public Health recently released a study that shows that teenagers who spend two hours or more a day on social networking sites are significantly more likely to suffer from mental health issues, psychological distress and suicidal thoughts. The study involved analysing data captured in the 2013 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, in which 25% of respondents said they spent more than two hours a day on social media.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

Terrifying Tails on Campus


It’s about education going to the birds….

Last week, Times Higher Education published a story online about birds that have terrorized universitites. There is an aggressive turkey that has been written up in seven police reports at the University of Michigan, the racist swan a the University of Warwick who attacks international students,  hawks that dive-bomb pedestrians on the grounds of New Mexico State University.

Life is a little perilous for people at these campuses, but the rest of us will get a good laugh out of the stories.

Read the article.

Test Cheater in UK Goes to Jail


A resident of Manchester was recently sentenced to ten months in jail for sitting the Secure English Language Test for at least six other people who had no chance of passing. Lax identity checks had allowed Arsalan Ashraf to sit the exam for others… who would pay him the rather small fee of 20 GBP to do so. A spot check by immigration officials found him writing for a Chinese man.

Slow Processing Undermines International Student Strategy













On Monday, the Globe and Mail reported that the Canadian federal government’s commitment to doubling the number of international students studying in Canada by 2022 has been seriously undermined by failing to increase the bureaucrats needed to process the increase in visa applications. Processing times for study permits have increased by 30%, while processing time for temporary visas has doubled. This translates into would-be students having to wait much longer for their study permits than they would have to wait if they were applying to the UK or the United States, consequently rreducing Canada’s competitiveness.

Read the article.

Talking Points with Jeremy Harmer: Overcoming Fossilization

We had a wonderful day and series of events on May 21st when Jeremy Harmer visited our Toronto offices. We invited teachers across Canada and the United States to send in any questions they would like Jeremy to answer, and we will slowly be posting video answers over the next six months or so.

The first post is an answer to Liet Hellwig, a teacher in Vancouver. Liet asked, “how do you deal with fossilised errors in your learners, especially recurrent errors that might prevent them from progressing to English levels necessary for their future?”  Here is Jeremy’s answer:

Fraud in International Student Recruitment in Australia: a Warning for the Rest of Us

Danger Fraud Alert

There is a lot of talk in Australia these days on the subject of fraud and corruption in how international students are recruited and dealt with.

To begin with, there is a great deal of concern over academic standards slipping because of pressure on professors to push international students – which represent a fifth of total enrolment in Australia’s post-secondary institutions – through the system, even when their academic performance is below standards. A recent report on international students in Australia from a governmental anti-corruption commission states that the post-secondary system in New South Wales is so dependent on international students that they cannot afford to fail them. The short term problems include international students not receiving the support they need (or education they hoped for). One of the long-term problems is that the quality of education as a whole declines, the schools’ reputations decline along with it.

A further dimension is that Australian media has been publishing numerous stories and reports on problems in the recruitment of these international students. In Australian post-secondary institutions, the use of recruiters to find international students is wide-spread (while it has been a fairly uncommon practice in the US). It is argued that these recruiters are paid on a “per head” basis and therefore it is unsurprising to find that many of them encourage students to doctor their credentials. Fraud and misrepresentation, in other words, are huge problems.

Read more in Inside Higher Ed, which also makes the point that these problems should be considered carefully as there is more interest in the US to start using more independent agents to recruit international students.

One City’s Plan to Address Labor Shortage and Bump Local Economy by Recruiting International Students

Greater Victoria sign

The Greater Victoria Development Agency recently launched, in partnership with local post-secondary institutions, a new program called Education Victoria. Local government and education clearly agree that their interests are aligned: bringing in more international students will boost revenues for both schools and the local economy. It is estimated that international students in British Columbia bring in $30,000 per head in spending, for a total of 1.8 million dollars (and create 21,000 jobs). Victoria is also facing a labour shortage in the next ten years, so this is also seen as a means to address that problem. The benefit of this partnership is that it can ride on the coat tails of Tourism Victoria’s marketing experience.

Read more in the Times Colonist.