Author Archives: Ravi Lochan Singh
Mirror Mirror on the wall, Who is the most “unwelcoming” of them all !!!
The answer actually is known to all but the policy makers in the UK seem to be under an illusion that they can continue to “tighten” the policies and still be seen as “welcoming”. Indian student numbers have been falling dramatically over the last few years and if we go by the reports, it could be well below the 10,000 students for 2014. Britain, which briefly in 2010, even became the No.1 destination for Indian students has now moved to No.4 place after the US, Australia and Canada… and may even slide below NZ in the coming year… unless the policy makers think hard and in the right direction.
But this “thinking hard and thinking in right direction” is not going to happen… The policy makers are in a bid to woo voters and it is all politics at play in the UK.
News-reports indicate that after November of this year, UK is pushing with more tightening with the student-visas and institutions with more than 10% visa refusals may be restricted from recruiting in overseas markets. This is actually crazy and defies all logic. At this time the institutions have to aim to encourage even the fence-sitters to consider UK and hence the aim should be to aggressively sell the salient highlights of the British education… But what the policy makers seem to be doing successfully is creating more media noise on how unwelcoming they are going to be in the future.
Data revealed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England shows that the number of Indian students fell from 18,535 in 2010-11 to 13,250 in 2011-12 and further to 10,235 in 2012-13. (source: TOI report… UK set to toughen student visa rules further from Nov )
- There is no likelihood of the Post-Study-Work being reinstated in UK for overseas students. At-least not in the near future. Subject to the outcome of the Scottish referendum, there is a possibility of Scotland re-introducing a variant of the same in the coming year and the hope is that England/Wales may have to have a similar policy to remain competitive.
- There is little likelihood of UK changing its degree structures to meet internationally recognised formats. Even the quality Master degrees from quality institutions in UK continue to be for one year, which is a sticky point with its recognition in India (and possibly in some other countries). AIU, India’s peak equivalence granting body, clearly has stated that the less than two year degrees are not-equal. The proposed bridging programs are also non-starters and remain restricted anyways.
Hence, while UK will not grant post-study-work; India will not give post-study-work as it will not award equivalence to the UK degrees such as the Masters…
Now with further tightening being announced and publicised, is UK simply telling students… don’t come near us.
Feeling sorry indeed… for UK and our students… There was just no need for this at this time…
VINASH KALE VIPRIT BUDDHI
India’s becoming a permanent member of Washington Accord is great news but Minister Irani probably misread that all Engineering degrees will now be at par globally…
After years of effort and several failures, India finally became the 17th member of the exclusive Washington Accord on Friday. It will help create equivalence of engineering degree programmes and allow Indians to practice engineering in other member countries.
The credit for making India a member of Washington Accord goes to many individuals who worked behind the scenes for years. Among them are Raman Menon Unnikrishnan of California State University, Fullerton, who pleaded India’s case along with former National Board of Accreditation (NBA) member secretary Dinesh K Paliwal and education secretary Ashok Thakur.
Paliwal was responsible for organizing the World Summit on Accreditation in 2012 that was used for backroom diplomacy to allay fears about the Indian system. The process of accreditation had started during late Arjun Singh’s tenure as HRD minister. During Kapil Sibal’s time, India was made a temporary member. In January, a comprehensive audit of NBA was undertaken by the Washington Accord team.
Washington Accord will, however, not be valid for IT engineers. India will have to sign the Seoul Accord to create similar equivalence of programmes. Becoming part of Washington Accord also does not necessarily mean that all engineering degrees by all Indian colleges will get equivalence with those of other member countries. NBA has shortlisted 220-odd engineering colleges as Tier-I institutes whose undergraduate engineering programme is in tune with what is required under the Accord.
But even Tier-I institutes which include IITs/NITs/BITS Pilani besides many autonomous and deemed universities will now have to apply afresh to NBA and only after extensive verification of their programmes will they be declared fit to be part of Washington Accord institutions. A massive redesigning of course will take place with emphasis on outcomes and letting students explore and innovate.
For the crowded list of Tier-II institutions, NBA has given a roadmap so that they are well prepared to become members of Washington Accord. NBA has asked universities to allow affiliated engineering colleges to design at least 50% of the course. For instance, Washington Accord lays emphasis on teaching social sciences along with engineering.
“Engineers should have knowledge of the environment so that they know how their work is going to have an impact on the ecosystem. They also need understanding of society, management and communication skills,” an HRD ministry official said.
Source for the above is an article from Times of India (see link)
The Washington Accord is an International Agreement among bodies responsible for accrediting undergraduate engineering degree programs. It recognizes the substantial equivalency of programs accredited by those bodies and recommends that graduates of programs accredited by any of the signatory bodies be recognized by the other bodies as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering in the area of their jurisdiction.
The membership of Washington Accord is an international recognition of the quality of undergraduate engineering education offered by the member country and is an avenue to bring it into the world class category. It encourages and facilitates the mobility of engineering graduates and professionals at international level.
India has been a provisional member of the WA for a few years now and there has been a concerted effort on part of the Ministry of HRD over several years towards the goal of securing a “permanent membership”.
Now that India has been granted the “permanent” membership, its a very good news for Indian Engineers seeking employment and migration world-wide.
In February, I had blogged that …
…would “wager my bet” on Accountant and also the various IT professions continuing in the SOL when it is released.
Now that the Minister has issued the press release confirming that “No existing occupations are being removed from the SOL“, It is time to blush a little with the thought that the arguments put forth in February at the time when students and potential migrants in Australia were frothing with the thought of their occupation being moved out of the list based on AWPA recommendation. Even the education providers who “lived” on the international student’s attraction to these programs were keeping their finger’s crossed. That anxiety is now over… and rightly so. In-fact the addition of “Chefs” is welcome.
The media release from the Minister states…
Joint media statement with Andrew Robb – Minister for Trade and Investment, and Michaelia Cash – Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
Chefs, bricklayers and wall and floor tilers will be added to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) from July 1 to help meet the skills needs of the Australian economy, as announced today by the Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon. Andrew Robb, and the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash.
Minister Robb said the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) works independently of government to provide annual recommendations on the composition of the SOL to ensure it responds to Australia’s changing skill needs.
‘The AWPA analyses evidence such as the labour market, education and training, migration and general economic and demographic data to make sure we get the balance right,’ Minister Robb said.
‘In this case, bricklayers and tilers have been added to the list because of an increase in demand predicted for these occupations as well as a decrease in apprenticeship completions.’
Minister Cash said the addition of chefs to the SOL reflects that the occupation is in short supply, coupled with strong growth projected in the café and restaurant sector.
‘Including chefs on the SOL will provide greater flexibility for businesses to recruit skilled chefs from overseas when they cannot source these skills locally,’ Minister Cash said.
‘The addition of these occupations will be especially welcomed in regional areas, where there is a known deficit of skilled workers in the hospitality and construction industries.’
The SOL is used for people applying for the independent or family sponsored points tested visa or temporary graduate (subclass 485) work stream. Before prospective migrants can apply for independent skilled migration, they must submit an expression of interest via SkillSelect.
No existing occupations are being removed from the SOL, which currently lists 188 occupations that Australia needs.
If the Minister “hastily” scraps Delhi University’s FOUR YEAR DEGREE format, it will be her first mistake…
If Smriti Irani, India’s “fresh” HRD minister goes ahead with BJP’s promised agenda item of scrapping the 4 year format, it will be her first mistake. The four year format has faults which can be corrected. The four year format has some uniqueness too which can be explained better. The four year format was also thrust forth by the VC without much deliberations, is also possibly true. But to now scrap it will be even a bigger negative. It will undermine the autonomy of the University. Ms Irani has had meetings with ABVP (which is the BJP patronised student Union) and also sections of the staff unions that have allegiance to the BJP. This is not sufficient. The University should be allowed to run the “already introduced format” for a few years and should also be allowed to correct any inadequacies in the format.
When Delhi University introduced the 4 year degree format, I had aired my views. I had found some merits in the model in place though had felt that the the VC and the promoters of the concept had made an error in quickly equating it to the US 4 year degree. US too offers a 4 year degree but it differs to the Delhi University model in several ways. There are no exit points or the concept of “Honours” in the US format. Except for the duration, there are two totally different formats.
Last year’s blog: Delhi University to offer 4 year degrees. The criticism doesn’t make sense….
However, I want to stress on the following from that article…
US First Lady sells STUDY ABROAD… what a contrast to Indian leaders who consider this as “brain drain”…
In March, the First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to American and Chinese students at the Stanford Center at Peking University on the importance of studying abroad.
When I hear her spell out the advantages for American students to venture out… I could not help but be reminded of what Indian current PM had stated regarding Indian students travelling overseas. This was about six months ago in one of his speeches.
We lost our intellectual capital and also our monetary capital..! Can’t the Indian Government arrange that the youth gets good education in India, they do not have to roam here and there..?
Interestingly, the first PM from Gujarat, Late Morarji Desai, too had similar thoughts as he indicated in one of his messages to my senior colleague (Mr Paul Chellakumar)…