Viet Nam Moves Up to 5th Place Among Sending Countries

vietnam buck trump effect

In my latest University World News article I write about the increase in the number of Vietnamese students studying in the US from November 2016 to March 2017, and the fact that Viet Nam was the only country to move up in the ranking of sending countries, displacing Canada in fifth place, as I predicted last year.

Follow this link to the read the article in its entirety.

MAA

You Don’t Have to Study Business to Do Business

book-45Forbes Vietnam published an article by me with the above title in its February 2017 (#45) issue.  An expanded English version, which focuses more on the value and advantages of a liberal arts education and includes more examples, will be published this spring.  Here’s a brief introduction:

Viet Nam currently ranks 6th among all countries sending students to the United States – with over 30,000 at all levels, mostly in higher education.  According to the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, 29.3% of all Vietnamese undergraduates in the US were studying business/management.  This was the second highest percentage of any sending country – after Indonesia.  (The popularity of business is not limited to these two countries.  Almost one in five bachelor’s degrees earned in the US is in business, per the US Department of Education.) 

maa-forbes-2-17-issue-45Why are so many young Vietnamese studying business in the US, among other countries?  Because parents – as the key decision-makers – have bought into the seemingly logical notion that their children have to major in business in order to work in the private sector.  In other words, they believe that their sons and daughters have to study business in order to do business.  This is in part because most Vietnamese are not yet familiar with the concept of a liberal arts education and its many benefits, both intrinsic and tangible.

Viet Nam has consistently ranked #1 in recent years in the percentage of its students who choose business/management as an undergraduate major.  (It was displaced in the 2015/16 academic year by Indonesia.  Still, nearly a third of all Vietnamese undergraduates are studying business.)  Meanwhile, there are many young Vietnamese who were liberal arts majors, and are now pursuing successful careers in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors in Viet Nam and elsewhere.

MAA

“The turn to nativism hinders international education”

nativism

What the United States desperately needs is more patriots and global citizens (the two are not mutually exclusive) and fewer nationalists. The golden question is how to transform the latter into the former. Can this be accomplished through education and training, or are there other factors at play that make this impossible?

Here’s my latest University World News essay, a response to a number of articles there and elsewhere that confuse nationalism with nativism.  (Note:  The title was supplied by the editor.)

My main point is that nationalism in the US is nothing new, nor is there a connection between a rise in nationalism and the ascendancy of Donald Trump.

…I would argue that the ‘turn’ is not toward nationalism, which clearly predates Trump’s election, but toward nativism, the result of populist anger about the negative effects of globalisation.

Follow this link to read the article in its entirety.

MAA

Success Will Come and Go, But Integrity Is Forever

If I could teach only one value to live by, it would be this: Success will come and go, but integrity is forever. Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. It takes having the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences will be.

integrityI recently came across this excellent 2012 article about integrity, defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.”  It also applies to the education industry – in spades.

Here is one of a number of pieces of sound advice, similar to the conventional wisdom regarding gossip.  If someone gossips about others, you can sure they gossip about you, i.e., they are not to be trusted.

A word of advice to those who are striving for a reputation of integrity: Avoid those who are not trustworthy. Do not do business with them. Do not associate with them. Do not make excuses for them.  Do not allow yourself to get enticed into believing that “while they may be dishonest with others, they would never be dishonest with me.” If someone is dishonest in any aspect of his life you can be guaranteed that he will be dishonest in many aspects of his life.

Follow this link to read the article in its entirety.  A belated thanks to Amy Rees Anderson,  “entrepreneur turned mentor & angel investor,” for sharing her thoughts and insights on this important and timeless topic.

MAA

 

ACICS Loss of Accreditation: What it Means for Schools & International Students

acics-loss-of-accreditation
Facebook post on 22.12.16  by EducationUSA

Here is the official announcement from the US Department of Homeland Security that the US Department of Education no longer recognizes the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an accrediting agency, a decision that affects more than 16,000 international students in the US attending nearly 130 Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools and programs that are accredited by ACICS. (There are also implications for the significantly higher number of US Americans students enrolled in these mostly for-profit schools.)

This is an issue I’ve been writing and talking about for a long time, including in the hallowed pages of this blog. The only reason it has come to this is because of the crack investigative reporting of BuzzFeed and the fact that a couple of political leaders, one at the state and another at the national level, took an interest in the sordid results of this long-term lack of oversight.  ACICS essentially dug its own grave by not minding the store. The gig is finally up.

Here’s a blog post I wrote last summer about this reporting and Northwestern Polytechnic University in Fremont, CA.  There are others.  Consider my post an introduction to the rather large elephant in the room, which DHS and EducationUSA chose to ignore.

Another pending issue is the fact that a number of SEVP-certified  schools are not accredited, which means there is no quality assurance or maintenance.  As the announcement points out, “Most SEVP-certified schools are not required to obtain accreditation and can provide evidence in lieu of accreditation.”  To be continued…

MAA

The Tip of the Iceberg? “China’s New Oriental accused of US application fraud”

tip-of-the-icebergIt is thanks to the crack reporting of Reuters that we have this  high-profile story about New Oriental Vision Overseas (NOVO) Consulting, a China-based educational consulting company that has allegedly behaved badly.  Otherwise, it would be business as usual.  You can be sure that this is not an exception to the rule but rather a widespread practice in this often less than savory industry. The fraud allegations include writing application essays and teacher recommendations, as well as falsifying high school transcripts.  (Yes, this is not unique to China.)  

As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, including a December 2014 essay entitled Walking the walk – Ethical agency-based recruitment and a September 2016 essay entitled Take responsibility for ensuring ethical recruitment, external stamps of approval can be useful but have their limitations.  This is an object lesson that supports that assertion in spades. 

NOVO’s parent company, New Oriental Education and Technology Group, is not your average, run-of-the-mill education consultancy.  It is a multi-billion dollar company with a market capitalization of $6.91 billion, a nearly 40% one-year return, and a listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). 

Here’s a description taken from the company website:

New Oriental is the largest provider of private educational services in China based on the number of program offerings, total student enrollments and geographic presence. New Oriental offers a wide range of educational programs, services and products consisting primarily of English and other foreign language training, test preparation courses for major admissions and assessment tests in the United States, the PRC and Commonwealth countries, primary and secondary school education, development and distribution of educational content, software and other technology, and online education.

And here are its first fiscal quarter results from earlier this year:

New Oriental Announces Results for the First Fiscal Quarter Ended August 31, 2016
Quarterly Net Revenues Increased by 16.5% Year-Over-YearQuarterly Student Enrollments Increased by 31.2% Year-Over-YearQuarterly Operating Income Increased by 17.5% Year-Over-Year

BEIJING, Oct. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — New Oriental Education and Technology Group Inc. (the “Company” or “New Oriental”) (NYSE: EDU), the largest provider of private educational services in China, today announced its unaudited financial results for the first fiscal quarter ended August 31, 2016, which is the first quarter of New Oriental’s fiscal year 2017.   Source:  Official Press Release

When the story broke, the stock fell to as low as $37.16 per share and the Relative Strength Index, which “measures momentum on a scale of zero to 100,” hit 29.3.  (A stock is considered to be oversold if the RSI reading falls below 30.) 

Since investors are concerned about the value of their stock holdings and controversy can damage the bottom line, it’s no wonder that a number of investor alerts were issued.  Khang & Khang LLP, an Irvine, CA-based law firm, is investigating claims against New Oriental “concerning possible violations of federal securities laws.”  So is the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC), since that New Oriental is an AIRC-certified agency.

I’m not sure what the AIRC investigation will produce but you can be sure that the organization will rely heavily on the information gleaned the agency itself, the Reuters report, and other investigations conducted by players with substantially more resources at their disposal, including the aforementioned law firm in CA. (Here is the company’s official response to media reports and The Motley Fool assessment of the situation.)

The bottom line, dear colleagues, is that you need to decide whether or not to work with educational consulting company A based on your own set of screening criteria and whatever external information you have access to.  The buck stops with you. 

Kudo to Reuters reporters for another round of outstanding investigative reporting.  And the truth will set you free, or at least alert you to yet another scandal in the education industry!

MAA

“Welcome to the US, Vietnamese students”

vnexpress-intl

This is the title of a recent VNExpress International article for which I was interviewed.  Here is one of the key quotes: 

“Study in the U.S. is not for everyone, but if the U.S. is where you want to study, don’t let the result of a presidential election dissuade you from realizing your dream,” said Ashwill, managing director of Capstone Vietnam, a full-service educational consulting company with offices in Hanoi and HCMC.  

It contains a lot of good information about young Vietnamese studying in the US, including some facts and figures from a recent blog post Viet Nam Ranks 6th Among Countries Sending Students to the US

Follow this link to read the article in its entirety. 

MAA