ETS has announced its 2012 Toefl scholarship scheme for China, India, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, with over US$300,000 available to assist outstanding candidates in attending one of 8,000 institutions listed in the Toefl directory.
The scholarship programme rewards students who have high academic achievement, excellent English ability, leadership skills, innovative ideas and well-roundedness in extracurricular activities. To be eligible, students must begin undergraduate or graduate study in 2012, and hold a valid Toefl score with a point average above 80 on the 100-point scale. Application details are available on the Toefl website.
ETS has been running the scholarship scheme since 2009, and recently awarded the 2011 scholarships at ceremonies in each country. The winners are now commencing studies in 42 different institutions across 10 countries. The total award has increased from US$200,000 in 2011 to over US$300,000 for 2012.
First Esos conference held at Australian university
The University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia, hosted the inaugural Education Services for Overseas Students (Esos) Conference, bringing together over 100 delegates from the nation’s leading institutions. Under the theme ‘Shaping the International Student Experience’, the conference programme included examples of best practice in international student support and the latest findings from the International Education Resource Centre.
“The Esos legislation provides strong direction for the sector on their obligations regarding international students,” said keynote speaker, University of Newcastle Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Global Relations), Professor Kevin McConkey. “In researching international student support systems of other Australian institutions for the purpose of implementing our own strategy, we quickly realised that experiences across the sector were very different. This inaugural conference is an important opportunity for the sector to share learnings and improve the international student experience across the country,” he added.
Among several positive outcomes of the event, providers concurred that a number of standards in the national code need to be reviewed to remove ambiguity, and agreed to establish a national level communication network to ensure providers have a clarified voice.
South East Asia alliances forming
Plans to integrate higher education in Asia are gathering pace following the ‘International Symposium on Exchange Among Universities with Quality Assurance in the East Asian Region’, hosted in Tokyo by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Mext).
The conference featured Japan, Korea, China and the ten countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean), and held discussions with the aim of creating an Asian model of integration and mutual recognition, encouraging student exchange and reversing the brain drain of young people that leave to be educated at universities in the West. Educational integration is seen as an urgent necessity to meet Asean’s timetable of creating economic and trading blocs by 2015. “Study experience in another Asean country will bring much benefit to all students involved. This activity needs the full support of governments,” said Dr Kalaya Tingsabadh, Vice-President of Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University, in his opening address.
The details for the pilot programme of the CampusAsia project, an initiative to deepen integration and exchange between Japan, Korea and China, are soon to be finalised and will serve as a model for wider engagement in the region. CampusAsia, a concept proposed by former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatayama in 2010, is putting together consortiums of participating universities and is considering exchange credits, joint/double degrees and enhanced employment opportunities. Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand have also been undertaking a joint pilot project involving government scholarships for study abroad.
News in brief
French universities attack tougher visas
French immigration measures that tighten restrictions on international students from outside the EU have been criticised by the Conférence des Présidents d’Université (CPU), an organisation of university presidents in France. Recent ministerial orders have tightened interpretation of 2006 legislation, making it much more difficult for a student to change to an employee status, and limiting stays after graduation to six months. Tougher restrictions on proving financial resources were also introduced. The CPU said it “considers these measures as contrary to the very essence of a university and to the policy to promote the attractiveness of French universities in the context of globalisation”. The CPU has proposed extending the six-month stay to one year, a proposal rejected by the government.
Malaysia ponders post-grad work visa
Malaysia is considering allowing international postgraduate students to stay and work in the country. The Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, has said that such students will assist Malaysia’s aim of increasing its skilled workforce, “Universities can recommend good students who can work here, and we in turn can suggest that the immigration department issue them work visas.”
NZ looks to double postgraduates
New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Minister, Steven Joyce, has announced ambitious plans to double the value of international education to NZ$5 billion over the next five years. The aims include increasing the number of international postgraduate students from 10,000 to 20,000, boosting the number of international students enrolled at New Zealand offshore providers to 10,000, and improving the transition rate from study to residence for international students.