There have been three topics covered in the media in the last week and they do have a message for the industry… Read on and you will understand my point on how it impacts the industry. Thankfully, education agents are not being singled out for a change!!!
USA: Several “Tri Valleys” discovered and their modus operandi detailed. Interestingly, education agents have not been targeted since hardly any of those “dodgy students” at those “dodgy institutions” were recruited via Education Agents.
“The rush of Indian students to such a new college would have raised concerns among American consular officials in India if they had seen a flood of visa requests from admitted Tri-Valley students. But the university exploited a rule that allows students to gain admission to one college, secure a visa, then transfer to another without ever setting foot on the first campus. The Indian government found that only 100 students had been granted visas directly from U.S. Consulates in India to attend Tri-Valley.”
Several articles have been written on the Tri-Valley scam but none of them have been as complete as the the one in Chronicle of Higher Education. The above extract is from that article but you must read the full to understand the modes operandi and also to learn about the other Tri-Valleys. Dodgy students and Dodgy institutions exist in all countries. The full article is on this link.
AUSTRALIA: A scam at an IELTS centre is exposed. Interestingly, education agents have not been targeted since the IELTS centre was at an University and the staff was involved. The dependence on IELTS as the sole test for English Proficiency is leading to such corruption. The test is far from accurate. A person with same abilities if he takes the tests in succession will receive varying scores and sometimes I have seen even the subscores varying. In India, students believe that the IELTS conducted by IDP is easier to British Council and also there is a rumour of manipulations in score. Some time ago, some staffers were arrested for being involved in fraud. However, all this happens because of the onus that the Government has put on only one test for a candidate to demonstrate his or her English proficiency. Some believe that the tests by themselves have become a cash-grab exercise and students are being forced to re-sit the tests several times.
“An Indian paid AUD 11,000 (approximately Rs 4,92,817) to a former staff member at a Western Australian university so his IELTS score could be improved for PR purposes. “ ”Australia’s department of immigration uses IELTS to determine whether applicants for PR or students are competent in English.”
There have been several articles on this incident in recent days The above extract is from an Online education news Portal (Indiancolleges.com) Read the full article on this link.
UK: Post-Study-Work remains in UK post April too despite the chaos created by the various long and tedious speeches of the Immigration Minister. The lobbying and active opposition from the stakeholders worked finally. Interestingly education agents are not targeted for using post-study-work pathway in education marketing and in-fact the link has been acknowledged by the government and institutions.
“University leaders have extracted concessions from Home Office ministers over plans to slash the number of non-European students coming to the UK every year.”
“In the biggest success for the education sector, ministers decided not to scrap the so-called “post-study” route, which allows foreign university graduates to stay in Britain to seek work. The threat to abolish the route alarmed university bosses and employers because it is cited by Indian and Chinese students as a prime reason for choosing to study in the UK rather than the US, Australia or Canada – Britain’s competitors in the lucrative international education market.”
The above extract is from the Financial Times. Read the full article on this link.
Conclusion: Time to realize that education-agents have been made scapegoats in the past years. There are good and bad doctors, good and bad lawyers and good and bad education agents. Education agents are NOT THE ONLY ONES responsible for education and migration linkage OR IELTS fraud OR recruitment to dodgy colleges.
Through the above three chosen articles I am trying to put out that viewpoints are changing:
- Dodgy institutions exist in all countries and students can reach them even without an agent’s help – dodgy finds dodgy,
- IELTS fraud can happen even at an University and is largely because we have only one test system currently and
- With UK reversing the earlier announcements of the Immigration Minister regarding PSW and acknowledging that Post study work is a marketing tool for overseas education, a change in mindset across the world is in offing on this. Education remains a pathway to work or settlement overseas.