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Yemen Talks Coordination on Higher Education with other Arab Nations

Yemeni Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Hisham Sharaf met in Riyadh on Friday, March 14 with his Moroccan counterpart, Soumia Bankhaldoun to discuss cooperation on higher education between the two countries. The meeting, held as the 14th conference of Arab Ministers of Higher Education drew to a close in Riyadh, emphasized the countries’ commitment to cooperation in areas like research and scholarship exchange. Mr. Sharaf said that he hoped Morocco would continue its support for cultural scholarships for Yemeni students as Yemen seeks to strengthen its higher education system and provide skills for its graduates.

Young girl waiting in line at Oxfam's cash distribution

Yemen is currently in the midst of an effort at increasing the openness and reach of its higher education system. After the conference of ministers ended on Friday, Mr. Sharaf announced an agreement with the Saudi Minister of Higher Education, Khaled Al-Angari that would allow Yemeni students over 35 years old to enroll in Saudi universities. He also said that Saudi Arabia would provide financial aid for Yemeni students studying abroad, as well as more than 400 scholarships for Yemeni students.

Yemen’s school system is still in dire need of reform. Its teachers are few and often underqualified, and truancy and school enrollments have yet to recover from the upheavals of 2011. Improving the higher education system by offering its students more opportunities for study abroad and scholarships may provide a more skilled workforce that can help facilitate the transition to a new, improved education system.

Creative Commons Love: Oxfam International on Flickr.com

New Start Given to Libyan Revolutionaries

111019 NTC fighters claim Bani Walid | مقاتلو المجلس الوطني الانتقالي يسيطرون على بني وليد | Les combattants du CNT revendiquent la prise de Bani Walid Five thousand former rebel fighters will get the opportunity to pursue higher education abroad as a result of an agreement approved by the Libyan government. Ideally, this initiative will not only teach these fighters marketable job skills, but will also assist in the country’s ongoing efforts to demobilize and reintegrate fighters into society.

To accomplish this, the Ministry of Higher Education will cover all expenses to send these former rebels abroad to a variety of unnamed countries and universities. Due to a high demand for English language training, popular destinations for education abroad will likely be the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

According to Mustafa Sagezli, director of the Warrior Affairs Commission, “The programme aims at building a new Libya. It is a move from military era to one of knowledge and construction of the country.”

Higher education has the potential to meet one of the greatest demands put forward by former rebel fighters: stable employment. High rates of unemployment have plagued Libyans under the age of 30, who make up nearly 70% of the population. If increasing educational programs succeed in building job opportunities, they have the potential to increase the nation’s overall stability by decreasing the dissatisfaction and unrest felt by youthful populations.

The government has developed various educational initiatives aimed at transforming Libya’s existing education system. With extensive funding available from oil reserve profits, education remains tuition-free to all Libyans. Although free, the quality of higher education remains limited due to overcrowding and outdated curricula.

To improve the nation’s higher education system, the government has proposed multiple educational reforms aimed at creating international partnerships to teach language and vocational skills. Through international cooperation, Libya hopes to produce a highly educated workforce capable of supporting the nation’s reconstruction efforts which largely focus on the growth of private industry.

In addition to the study abroad initiative, the Libyan Board for Technical and Vocational Education has signed an agreement with TVET UK, a British organization that works to export technical and vocational knowledge. This agreement created a partnership that will facilitate the sharing of UK technical experience with Libya in an effort to support ongoing industrial development.

Creative Commons: Magharebia on Flickr.com

Indian Universities Work To Recruit East African Students

India’s higher education sector is determined to once again achieve the title of being the leading destination for students from Africa and is holding workshops in East Africa in an effort to attract more students.

Studying

According to Sibabrata Tripathi, the Indian High Commissioner to Kenya, Indian universities are popular because of the affordable cost, use of English, and the quality of education. Additionally, the institutions arrange for visas for the students, making the process easier on the students and parents.

Some of the courses that marketed to foreign students include Bachelor’s Degrees in: engineering, nursing, commerce, information and communication technology, and law.

Kenya, with 3,500 students in India, currently has the most African students there. Uganda is currently working with India to sign a pact to ease the student visa and temporary work permit process for students, due to a growing interest to study there.

There are currently 25,000 African students studying in 500 public and private universities throughout the country.

Creative Commons Love: Steven S. on Flickr

From Brazil to S. Korea to Learn Science

Brasília - DF A group of 85 Brazilian college students are leaving their country to study science, engineering, and technology in South Korean universities for a year.

The students are travelling with scholarships granted by the program Science without Frontiers (Ciência sem Fronteiras, in Portuguese), a program developed by the Brazilian government that aims to improve, expand, and internationalize science, technology, and innovation in the country by promoting international mobility of students, teachers, and researchers.

Meanwhile, a group of 15 students from the Brazilian University of Unisinos is returning home from South Korea. They started the same program earlier this year, and in addition to experiencing Korean culture and education, they had the possibility of training in some of the biggest Korean technology companies, such as Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Elevators, Samsung C&T, Samsung Electronics, and Hana Micron. These internships were a unique opportunity for these students to gain real professional experiences, which can be decisive for their careers once they return to Brazil.

The Science without Frontiers program was created by the Brazilian government as a way to suppress the country’s skill shortage in the science and technology areas by promoting international exchanges and internships that allow Brazilian students to make contact with competitive educational systems in the technology areas.

The program, launched in 2011, granted more than 1,200 grants this year alone and aims to send more that 100,000 students to study abroad.

The exchange has the support of the NIIED (National Institute of International Education), a Korean organization that promotes student exchange programs with international educational institutions and grants government scholarships to invite foreign students to study in Korea through Study in Korea, a program dedicated to promote the globalization of Korean universities, as well as to inviting foreign students to study in Korea by providing overseas study information and processing admissions and visa applications for these students.

Creative Commons Love: dilmarousseffz at Flickr.com

YES Abroad Participants Arrive in Sarajevo, Ready for Cultural Exchange

A group of four US high school students arrived in Sarajevo, BiH, where they’ll be spending the upcoming school year living and studying in the country’s capital. These students are participants in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad program that now, for the first time, includes Bosnia and Herzegovina in its list of host countries.
Studying Abroad

The YES program was established in 2002, in a response to the 9/11 attacks, with the aim of tackling stereotypes and promoting a relationship between Americans and people from the countries with a majority Muslim population. The program was established and is funded by the US Department of State (Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs), and it is run by the American Council for International Education. The YES program gives high school students from 38 countries around the world an opportunity to spend up to one academic year in the United States. Similarly, the YES Abroad program, established in 2007, provides scholarship for American students to live and study in one of nine YES designated countries.

American students who went to BiH will be enrolled in an IB (international baccalaureate) program at Second Gymnasium in Sarajevo, where they will attend classes in English, while at the same time learning the local language(s). During their stay in BiH, students will live with the local host families, which will give them the opportunity to be completely immersed in Bosnian culture and  the Bosnian way of life.

Creative Commons Love: SLU Madrid Campus on Flickr.com

“Sea Turtle” Chinese Students Turning into “Seaweed”? Cultural Shift Devalues Study Abroad?

Meng Yan Li (Lily)Chinese students who study aboard for their higher education are often labeled “sea turtles” in China. This is due to the fact that these students will have the world on their back (in a good way) when they return to China. Nowadays, however, these students are being called “seaweed,” which is at the opposite end of the spectrum from sea turtle.

A degree from top western universities (like those list-toppers in the US and Great Britain) has newly decreased in value. Before, these foreign degrees practically guaranteed a job for students when they returned to China. However, there is little to no chance of finding a job now.

There is a belief that some companies fear studying abroad would shift the attitude of Chinese students. They wouldn’t be complacent. Instead, they might be too feisty. Simon Lance of Hays Recruitment believes being feisty might not be so bad, especially in today’s competitive international economy. He suggests companies strongly consider these candidates. They would have international skills and experience that could be an advantage. However, this cultural shift has yet to take place. There are still many new challenges for Chinese students studying abroad to face.

In the employment field, knowing another language is a huge advantage. Thus, studying abroad would automatically check off this credential. Exceptions have appeared these past few years. These days, Chinese universities provide a higher level of language education. Now, a job candidate will likely have a strong foreign language skills whether they study abroad or not.

Another reason is the financial situation (both before and after their education). Studying abroad has become too expensive, especially with the wages that are being offered in the Chinese job market. Ivy Wang studied in Loughborough University. When she returned to China, most jobs offered too low of a salary. She wouldn’t have been able to pay off her student loan and pay for her rent.

The once “sea turtles” who left the shore with such high hopes may be returning as “seaweed.” Chinese universities are now starting to compete against international universities. Are there still advantages to studying aboard? Does the Chinese job market even care?

Despite these doubts, there are still a high number of students going abroad.

Creative Commons Love: David Schroeter on Flickr.com

New Zealand Universities Discriminate: Charge Asian Students Higher Fees

Teaching English in China

The Human Rights Commission began looking into higher education in New Zealand when they found that Asian study abroad students are charged higher fees than Middle Eastern or South American students. These students, who want to study English, have been told by universities that their students coming from their countries are charged more fees.

One university charged Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese nationals US $2250 for a 12 week course. Brazilian and Saudi Arabian students were charged only US $1500 for the same course. The Human Rights Commission has called for students to come forward with their experiences with higher rates, which will help the Human Rights Commission assuage the situation.

“On the face of it, it would appear that any practice of setting different tuition fees for different passport holders could constitute discrimination on the basis of national or ethnic origin,” said a commission spokesman.

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Taiwan Offering Scholarships to Attract International Students

Taiwan - The Heart of Asia

Taiwan’s National Science Council (NSC) and Academia Sinica, as part of the Overseas Technology Talent Recruitment Program, have launched a public-private scholarship program worth USD $5 million in order to boost the falling number of Taiwanese students studying abroad. The $5 million will benefit 116 doctoral and postdoctoral students from 2013 to 2016, helping them study at the world’s top 30 universities.
In 2010, 33,900 Taiwanese students studied abroad. This year, that number has decreased to 24,000, the lowest it’s been in ten years. This is a problem because as fewer students study abroad at top universities, Taiwan has fewer highly skilled professionals. Fewer skilled professionals negatively affects the economy. On the flip side, Taiwan is also looking to attract more international students to its schools. The goal is to have 95,000 international students in Taiwan by 2014.

Creative Commons Love: at Flickr.com

International Student Identity Card Partnering with MasterCard for a Revamp

ISIC tuning

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC), the only globally recognized student identification and discount card, is now also an international prepaid debit card, courtesy of MasterCard.

Why this card? It provides a safe, easy, and widely-accepted way of purchasing necessities abroad. Like any good debit card, the ISIC offers fraud protection and online monitoring with the added perk of the universally-recognized MasterCard name (the ISIC is accepted anywhere MasterCard is accepted). The ISIC even offers text message alerts.

The card itself costs US $25 and doesn’t need to be connected to a bank account. Since 2009, the US is the 11th country in the world to adopt this version of the ISIC. Other countries include Argentina, Russia, and Hong Kong. ISIC says more countries are hopping on the bandwagon. In the US alone, over 250,000 students are expected to purchase the card this year.

As for the old-school, just-ID version, it’s held by about 4.5 millions students in 124 countries.

Creative Commons Love: Jan Kaláb at Flickr.com

Macedonian Government Allocates Scholarships for PhD Studies Abroad

The Macedonian Ministry of Education and Science has decided to allocate some of its budget funds to finance individuals who enroll in PhD programs or specialized studies in the fields of medical, dental, or pharmaceutical sciences in one of the 100 most renowned universities in the world.
Help with Phd

The first round of application calls is restricted to those pursuing their studies in one of the fields mentioned above. The second round will be open to those wishing to continue their education in any scientific field. The scholarship amounts have no limit as long as candidates meet the criteria, and funding will be provided for the duration of the student’s studies (but no more than six years). Besides tuition, the scholarship will also cover accommodation and cost of living (in line with the standard of living of the country where studies will take place).

Upon their returns to Macedonia, scholarship recipients who successfully finish their doctoral or specialization studies abroad will be required to work for up to 12 years (two years for every year spent abroad) in one of Macedonia’s higher ed institutions or research facilities. Returning scholarship beneficiaries will work in either public or private sector in positions that are appropriate for their levels of education. However, in case a candidate decides not to return to Macedonia after his or her studies, he or she will be responsible for paying back ten times the amount of the scholarship granted within a year of the completion of his or her studies.

Creative Commons Love: Mink on Flickr.com