Note From the Editor
Friendlier student visa policies are happening in the United States and the United Kingdom amid the persisting travel restrictions. Meanwhile, there are movements being made to help Nigerian students with costly IELTS exams. In Afghanistan, public universities are reopening, although education for young women still faces a huge room for improvement. Despite challenging times, good forces in the international education space globally are enabling reformations that will make studying abroad more accessible to all.
US Launches 22 New Stem OPT Fields, Aims To Enroll 20M International Students by 2029
The Biden administration has updated its policy by offering 22 new STEM fields to the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. These 22 new fields of study are Bioenergy, General Forestry, Forest Resources Production and Management, Human-Centered Technology Design, Cloud Computing, Anthrozoology, Climate Science, Earth Systems Science, Economics and Computer Science, Environmental Geosciences, Geobiology, Geography and Environmental Studies, Mathematical Economics, General Data Analytics and Quantitative Methods. Students enrolled in STEM fields are eligible to apply for a 36-month visa extension under OPT.
Statistics Show Irish People Are the Most Interested in Online Courses in EU
Students or at least people looking to learn in Ireland are mostly going for online courses. Around 27 percent of people in the European Union who are between 16 and 74 years old attended an online course or made use of online learning material, an increase from 23 percent of people doing so in 2020 per reports, and Ireland had the highest percentage of all those from the EU. Additionally, 46 percent of Irish citizens and residents went for online learning and resources.
Drop in International Students Felt in South
International student numbers in the south of New Zealand continue to be affected by the pandemic-fuelled border restrictions. In 2019, about 3,000 international students attended at least one university in Otago. This year, the government has allowed access for 1000 foreign students to study in the country and only 300 of these are university students.
Significant Nonimmigrant Visa Fee Increase Expected by September
The Biden administration has proposed raising the fees on almost all nonimmigrant visas. Visa applications for tourism, B1 and B2, and student visas, F, M, J, will increase from $160 to $245, a 54% increase. Senior policy adviser to the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration Jill Welch said that they are still evaluating the potential impact of the proposed rule on international student flows to the United States. International student career expert in Washington Marcelo Barros said that the increase in nonimmigrant visa fees will not have any meaningful impact on students’ enrollment.
Not All University Students in Manitoba Ready to Return to the Classroom
A university in Manitoba, Canada has announced the return of in-person classes after winter break, but the students think otherwise. Adherence to protocols like social distancing and self-isolation requirements are obvious concerns, but international students currently in their home countries are pushing for a settlement of remote learning instead.
Int’l Students Entering Taiwan Between Feb. 15 – 28 Cannot Use Government Quarantine Facilities
As the increase in COVID-19 cases pose the risk of reaching capacity in Taiwanese government quarantine facilities, the Ministry of Education announced that domestic arrivals will be prioritized in these facilities. This results in international students entering Taiwan being deferred to designated hotels between February 15-28. Higher education institutions that are expecting inbound foreign students are required to properly notify global learners and education staff about the recent change.
Afghanistan: Students Welcome Reopening of Universities
The students of the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan see a glimmer of hope as decisions were made to reopen the universities in the Islamic Emirate. The Taliban’s Ministry of Higher Education announced recently that all public universities in warm areas will reopen on February 2, while those in cold areas will reopen on February 26. Female students are, however, still only allowed to study up to sixth grade.
IELTS: UK Home Office Reacts to Nigerians’ Call to Skip English Proficiency Test
While a petition on change.org has garnered 60,000 signatures to stop foreign universities from requesting English proficiency tests from Nigerians, the United Kingdom Home Office said that changes will not be implemented anytime soon. Most foreign universities demand an IELTS requirement for international students, but these tests are costly for many aspiring global learners in Nigeria. The author of the petition, Policy Shapers, is keen on holding a stakeholders strategy session to further plan and decide on the next steps.
Scottish Universities See Continued Drop in Number of EU Students Due to Brexit
Although there was a decline in the number of students from the European Union studying in Scotland due to Brexit, there was a recorded 8.6 increase in the overall record number of students in universities in Scotland. This increase is also noticed among international students, signaling that Scotland remains an attractive destination for prospective global learners.
Featured Institution: Collège Multihexa
Since 1986, in the province of Quebec, Multihexa has been known as one of the first private companies in Canada to have made computer training its primary focus. The College is located in a building in which 10 companies operate in information technology including the multinational CGI, one of the largest concentrations of IT companies in Saguenay and one of the most important in Quebec. With more than 1,200 trained IT students, and over 25 years of teaching experience, Multihexa is a good choice for international students who are after high employability. Additionally, Saguenay offers tons of activities, affordable lodging, and a low cost of living from which international students can benefit, and Collège Multihexa offers quality internships and a high potential for employment.
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