Note From the Editor
New proposed legislation in Texas, which seeks to prohibit students from China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran from attending HEIs within the state, may be unlikely to pass and yet incites worries over reigniting anti-Asian and anti-immigrant sentiments.
In Canada, Universities Canada has hit the government’s annual budget over the lack of investments in research, international education, and student mental health support. Similar higher ed bodies are at work in the likes of Australia, calling on the government to overhaul university fees and review the reliance on revenues from overseas students.
These and more intl ed stories from France, India, the Philippines, and Iran in this edition of MSM Reporter.
Texas state representative Tony Tinderhol has proposed a controversial house bill that seeks to prohibit students from China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran from attending higher education institutions within the state. The bill also aims to ban all undocumented students from Texan colleges. While parties close to the subject deem it unlikely to pass, the proposed law is feared to reignite anti-Asian and anti-immigrant sentiments. Critics argue that such a move would harm the academic community, hinder academic freedom and cultural exchange, and potentially violate constitutional rights.
The Canadian higher education sector has expressed disappointment over the government’s annual budget, released on Tuesday, over the lack of investments in research, international education, and student mental health support. Universities Canada, which represents Canadian universities at home and abroad, appealed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for an increased budget for the sector, citing a missed opportunity to secure the country’s future prosperity. The organization’s president Paul Davidson, in a letter written on behalf of the universities, said that while the government has set a clear goal to have a clean economy, it has failed to recognize the role that universities play in achieving this objective.
Cherry Silcock-Stone of Concorde International language school has suggested that the United Kingdom government introduce a special protocol for foreign students to come to the country on an ID card, which would help attract international students who are interested in experiencing British culture. The proposal came on the heels of reports revealing government plans to limit the number of foreign students to control migration. While acknowledging the significance of educational exchanges, the Home Office stated that standard visitor rules currently permit a variety of short-term study activities for which entry clearance is not needed in advance.
Australian universities are calling on the government to scrap fee changes that have negatively impacted the sector. The former Morrison government’s Job Ready Graduates fee changes – which increased domestic fees for fields such as humanities, law, and commerce, and cut them in fields like health and education – have ultimately reduced total funding to the sector (with revenue being cut by an average of 6% for each student place) and should be replaced, peak body Universities Australia argued in a submission to the Albanese government’s universities accord panel. Universities Australia is pushing for the full funding of university research and for the government to consider the sector’s reliance on fees from international students, which cover more than half the cost, as unsustainable.
A 2022 Statistics Canada research report gleans on the connection between education obtained in Canada prior to immigration and income after immigration. One of the study’s key findings: Economic principal applicants with Canadian study experience earned significantly more during the first two years after immigration than those who did not. The report goes on to show that the applicants’ improved proficiency in the official language and acquired Canadian job experience were responsible for their higher salaries. In Canada, international students are allowed to work during their studies and may qualify for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) after they graduate, allowing them the chance to acquire job experience in the country.
International students have been allowed to work as many hours as they wanted on Tasmanian farms during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving the agricultural sector a much-needed boost. However, those with international student visas need to comply with a new limit of 24 hours per week starting on July 1, 2023. Agriculturalists are concerned that this action may lead to a manpower shortage and affect their ability to harvest crops. In order to alleviate the workforce crisis, they are seeking COVID-19 provisions that increase workforce numbers, such as the allowance of unlimited work hours for international students.
United Nations deputy secretary-general Amina Mohammed has issued a warning that despite promises and advancements made globally, 263 million children and teenagers are still not enrolled in school, representing a major roadblock to the 2030 goal of attaining universal access to high-quality education. This week’s meeting of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) at the UN headquarters in New York is looking closely at the issue. One of the most urgent educational issues of our time, according to Mohammed, is the situation of Afghan women who are unable to pursue higher education.
The French government has committed to spend more than €500 million to improve the system of subsidies for higher education, including social conditions, food services, and housing. The first component of the reform on student scholarships, which will go into effect in September, was announced by Sylvie Retailleau, minister of higher education, research, and innovation. The 35,000 more scholarship recipients will help students from middle-class backgrounds, bringing the new total to 720,000 scholarship recipients in France. While the changes will apply more to domestic rather than international students, the latter may benefit from a few measures soon in the next academic year, according to higher education agency Campus France.
India’s Andhra University has reported an increase in the number of international students in 2023 to over 1,000, representing 54 countries, from 490 in 2019. To commemorate this milestone (where the the diverse student groups differ “only by their mindset, not by color, culture, or eating habits”), the 73rd Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) foundation day celebrations were held, during which the ICCR’s activities and roles in fostering external cultural relations were deliberated upon.
The British Council in the Philippines has partnered with the Commission on Higher Education to provide new degree programs and courses in teacher education, health sciences, and biology, which Filipino students can obtain under Republic Act No. 11448 without going overseas. The British Council’s flagship program Access and Competitiveness through Internationalisation of Higher Education aims to introduce new degree programs to support CHED’s Transnational Higher Education strategy. The agency aims to launch new programs in information technology, engineering, teacher education, health sciences, and biology over the next few years.
International students living in the Turkish capital of Ankara observe Ramadan – fasting from dawn to dusk to mark the holy month – away from their home countries while experiencing new cultures and traditions. Their time that is supposed to be spent gathering with friends and family to have iftar, a dinner to break the daily fast, now goes to discovering new communities in their host country. They miss their traditional foods and families, but enjoy the new experiences and the communal iftars. Ramadan, also a time for charity and spiritual reflection, sees Muslims spend their time and energy on worship, reciting the Quran, communal prayer, and fasting.
A total of 94,406 foreign students from 91 countries are currently enrolled in Iranian universities. In an effort to further promote diversity in international student admissions, the country’s Ministry of Science has made residence permits available to students from certain countries. These students are studying in various fields of science, research and technology, health and medical education, as well as the humanities, Islamic sciences, and engineering. Predictions suggest that the number of international students in Iran will double over the next three years, with the country estimated to have the capacity to host 250,000 foreign students by 2026.
Hawai’i Pacific University is a private university located in Honolulu, Makapuʻu, and Kāneʻohe, Hawaiʻi, founded in 1965 as Hawai’i Pacific College. The university offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in various fields, including liberal arts, business, science, and health, and society. It has five colleges: the College of Business, College of Liberal Arts, College of Health and Society, College of Natural and Computational Sciences, and the College of Professional Studies. The university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and its nursing and social work programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and Council on Social Work Education. It also has an online learning platform and offers a study abroad and student exchange program. The university has a student to faculty ratio of 12 to 1 and a $44.4 million endowment.
The Disability Support Worker program is a one-year certificate program offered by Sask Polytech, Nipawin, in Canada. It covers basic care skills, behavioral support and crisis prevention, disability support services, and interpersonal, professional, and employability skills. In order to be eligible for the program, applicants must possess Grade 12 education, demonstrate English language proficiency, and provide a valid First Aid/Level C CPR Certificate. International students are encouraged to submit their applications and adhere to the international application and payment instructions. Upon acceptance, students must present evidence of a Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Search before participating in the required coursework and practicum with children, youth, and adults.
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.