Note From the Editor
In the US, the Texas Senate Higher Education Committee has approved a bill that could potentially disband the Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion program and offices from operation in public universities, hitting certain DEI program practices that allegedly work against the goal of inclusivity.
In Canada, international students and immigrants face a looming issue as the cost of rent continues to rise due to a lack of available housing. People are currently resorting to alternative measures, such as moving further away, to find relief in terms of rent rates.
These and more international education stories from Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and Qatar in this edition of MSM Reporter.
The Texas Senate Higher Education Committee has approved a bill requiring public universities to stop running their offices and programs for diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) despite criticisms. Senator Brandon Creighton authored the bill, stating that certain DEI practices are “polarizing and work against the goal of inclusion.” The bill prohibits DEI offices and employees, requiring ideological oaths or statements, and mandatory diversity, equity, inclusion, bias, oppression or gender identity training.
Vancouver Island University has announced plans to build a 266-bed residence building, which is expected to open in 2025 to help address the student housing crisis in British Columbia. Student housing applications at the university doubled the number of available spots last year, leaving students to search for rentals. Michael Witcomb, Vancouver Island University’s off-campus housing coordinator, noted that students who struggle with housing often struggle in classes or socially as well. The government is anticipated to contribute $87 million to the $87.8-million project.
England and Wales employment rates among international students are highest from eastern European countries, according to the latest census data released. The figures revealed that over half of international students from some countries are working alongside their studies, with students from Romania having the highest employment rate at 73.9%, followed by Bulgaria at 62.3%. The census also reported that 32.6% of non-UK-born international students were in jobs at the time of the survey. After India, China and Romania, the most common countries of birth for international students were Nigeria, Poland, Italy and the US.
Australia’s international education system has been described as a “Ponzi scheme” by the CEO of the International Education Association of Australia, Phil Honeywood, during a parliamentary inquiry. Honeywood explained that overseas agents are being paid bonuses to attract international students with the promise of full-time work, on top of commissions from universities. Unregulated agents are also receiving money “under the table” to direct students into courses that do not suit their skills or talents. Moreover, Honeywood stated that such practices have been going on for many years, calling on the government to establish a regulatory framework to address bad behavior in the sector.
Following the reopening of its borders, New Zealand has seen an increase in the number of returning foreign students. Due to the pause brought on by the Covid-19 outbreak, the nation is having trouble finding homes for them. International students from fee-paying schools abroad peaked at 10,103 in 2019, but the numbers dramatically dropped during the pandemic. This year, the number is slowly climbing again with 5,271 foreign students enrolled in New Zealand schools as of mid-April. Finding families to house students has become difficult due to the rapid rebuilding of the $5 billion foreign education sector, according to Di Jordan, international homestay manager at Wellington High School.
Toronto rent prices are increasing due to interest rates, a lack of available housing, and people moving back to their original homes, impacting immigrants and international students. Latest data revealed a 21.5% increase in March compared to last year. To find relief, people live further away from the city, find roommates to share costs, and get help from tenant and housing advocacy groups. This affordable housing issue is a key topic in the Toronto mayor’s race.
The Morrison government’s higher education changes, which led to higher costs for some degrees in the humanities and lower tuition for other programs, are allegedly ineffective for students and should be scrapped, according to the top university organizations. In the midst of the epidemic, the previous Coalition government introduced the jobs-ready graduates’ package with the intention of enticing students to major in fields like science and engineering. However, it decreased the overall government contribution to degrees from 58% to 52% and increased prices for some programs such as humanities, in order to pay for fee reductions in other courses and 39,000 more university spaces.
According to the National Student Clearinghouse in the US, enrollment in culinary programs has climbed by 12.7%, building trades had an increase of 19.3%, and mechanic and repair trade programs saw an increase of 11.5% between 2021 and 2022. However, enrollment at public two-year schools fell by 7.8%, while enrollment at public four-year institutions fell by 3.4%. The Tennessee College of Applied Technology saw growth in its network of 24 campuses that provide training for 70 occupations, despite a decline in community college enrollment in Tennessee during the epidemic. In order to keep up with demand, TCAT Nashville has launched night classes in numerous programs that have waiting lists.
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Qatar is finalizing a new draft law to enhance the quality and excellence standards of universities. They are reviewing a request from a Malaysian research university to open a branch in Qatar and are striving to raise student awareness about the prior approvals required to study abroad. Additionally, the ministry is constructing databases for students on scholarship and certificate authentication, ensuring that tuition in private universities remain under control.
Tel Aviv University (TAU) boasts a diverse campus with over 30,000 students with 2,000 international students, and a multitude of study programs and scholarship opportunities. TAU is the top choice for Israeli students, ranking fifth for entrepreneurship and being among the top 100 innovation universities. Maureen Adiri Meyer, Director of The Lowy International School, expressed: “Our international students and scholars have already contributed immensely to Tel Aviv University. We are privileged to be able to create a great home for bringing the world to Tel Aviv and Tel Aviv to the world.”
After Russia invaded Ukraine, many of the 70,000 international students have been left to seek safety in other countries. Students were required to return to the war-torn country to take professional exams; some of those who enrolled in medical courses had to take the Krok 2 exam, the final assessment for the training program for professionals in the medical field. The Ukrainian Ministry of Healthcare, however, recently allowed them to take the exams in their home countries. Students faced difficulties applying for scholarships due to grants only being available to Ukrainian students.
Tōhoku University has been ranked as Japan’s leading institution of higher education in the World University Rankings Japan 2023, compiled by Times Higher Education. This ranking was based on the evaluation of 16 performance indicators, which were divided into four main categories: resources, engagement, outcomes, and environment. National universities, including those previously established as imperial universities, achieved high scores in the categories of resources and outcomes, yet scored less favorably in the area of environment. International Christian University was the highest ranked private university in the country.
Capilano University (CapU), located in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is a public university with a teaching-focused approach. Its main campus is situated at the base of the North Shore Mountains while additional locations are available on the Sunshine Coast and in Lonsdale. CapU offers a variety of programs including Business Administration, Film, Kinesiology, and Early Childhood Education, among others. Students are provided with opportunities for innovation and collaboration, supported by experienced faculty in small classes that incorporate lectures, discussions, and practical learning.
Fox Valley Technical College offers a two-year Associate Degree in Management Development. Students can learn skills in leadership, human resources, teamwork, quality, finance, marketing, operations, labor relations, business law, employee training, and problem solving. Admission requirements include an academic skills assessment, high school GPA, completion of associate’s degree, GED tests, or ACT/SAT/Accuplacer/Companion/Compass. Possible career paths include department manager, facilitator, professional recruiter, supervisor, team leader, or warehouse manager.
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.