International students in United states
Profile of international students in the US
New york, Dec 07: Recently, the Institute of International Education released its annual report
Open Doors on the numbers and profile of international students in the US.
According to the report, an estimated 671,000 international students were
studying in the US during the academic year 2008-09. Not surprisingly, India and
China topped this list with 103,260 and 98,235 students, respectively.
Pakistan was not among the top 10 or 15 as one would have expected based
on sheer population numbers, but ranked at 23 with only 5,300 students studying
in the US during 2008-09. These numbers are considerably below other developing
countries such as Vietnam, Nepal, Thailand or Nigeria and also below Muslim
countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia; many of whom have seen a
sharp increase in the intake of students in the US recently.
Doors report indicated that 2008-09 was a historic year with the largest number
of foreign students since they started counting them in 1948, with also one of
the highest annual growth rates. This makes the numbers on Pakistani students
more poignant, not only because Pakistan stands so far below other countries,
but also because the number of Pakistani students in the US have continued to
decline sharply from around 8,600 in 2001-02 at the time of the 9/11 terrorist
attacks to 5,300 now.
America's higher education system is considered
among the best in the world. This is not only the view of those who know and
understand the global higher education market, but also consistently shows up in
global ranking of universities i.e. the prestigious Times Higher Education and
Shanghai University's Jiao Tong Academic Rankings.
For the past many
years, Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, California Institute of Technology,
Yale, Colombia and Princeton have been among top US institutions, and Cambridge
and Oxford among the top 10 from the UK. So it is quite distressing that student
numbers from Pakistan are falling and their share is declining in the US. This
is happening at a time when higher education is becoming a universal aspiration
and numbers of students who go abroad for higher education has been growing
exponentially over the past few years.
Two decades ago, there were fewer
opportunities for Pakistanis wanting to pursue higher education, either at home
or abroad. With an expanding middle class that values higher education, there is
clearly more demand for tertiary education. The quality of students coming out
of high schools continues to improve. So potentially there are more and more
eligible Pakistani students who qualify for higher studies.
certainly more options for higher education in Pakistan now, both due to the new
private universities as well as improvements in some public-sector institutions.
There has been impressive increase in the access to higher education in
Pakistan, thanks to the work of the Higher Education Commission (HEC). The total
number of universities in Pakistan has increased from 59 in 2000 to 124 in 2008,
leading to a doubling of the number of students in Pakistani universities. But
clearly demand outstrips supply, and there are needs of both undergraduate and
post-graduate education abroad.
The HEC has been providing scholarships
for bright young Pakistanis to go abroad. Many of the scholarships are being
funded by donors like US and Japan and donor initiatives like the US Fulbright
programme and UK scholarships have also been growing. According to available
data an estimated 9,300 Pakistani students were enrolled in the UK, close to
7,000 in Australia, 5,300 in the US during 2008-09, and many others in China,
Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Trends show that Pakistani
students have shifted away from the US as a higher education destination after
9/11 and have started going to the UK and Australia, and increasingly to East
Asian destinations like China and Malaysia in recent years.
could be the possible reasons for this phenomenon? The issuance of student visas
from Pakistan is clearly a key issue mainly related to security threats,
especially for 18-29 year old students. The US should not be singled out though
for restricting visas for eligible Pakistani students.
While the US has
been doing this increasingly after 9/11, other countries are also joining the
group. In March 2009, the UK made stringent changes to the student visa system
which reportedly led to about 5,000 aspiring students not getting their
applications processed in time and another 9,000 Pakistani students appealing
This coming in the wake of the April 2009 arrest of
Pakistani students in the UK for their alleged involvement in terrorist
activities means that the doors to higher education are increasingly being
closed for Pakistanis in countries that host the top ranking academic
institutions. Since many countries advise their citizens not to travel to
Pakistan, our students also get cut off from activities such as academic fairs,
student recruiter visits, and other events which are increasingly being used to
woo talented students in major academic markets. Even those Pakistani students
who are lucky enough to go for studies abroad feel vulnerable because being
Pakistani is becoming synonymous with being a 'potential terrorist'.
a 1943 speech at Harvard University, Winston Churchill said that "the empires of
the future will be empires of the mind". He was absolutely right. With
globalisation and the rise of knowledge-based industries a lot of big
corporations and academia are fighting the 'battle for brains'. While the
potential higher education pool is growing in Pakistan, and the country is in
dire need of people who can contribute with better education and global
knowledge, the options for grooming that talent with education and training
abroad is getting more and more difficult.
If the US and UK want to win
hearts and minds in Pakistan, among other things, they need to open the doors to
higher education for bright and young Pakistanis. Keeping this talent at bay is
not going to win hearts in Pakistan neither will they be able to influence minds
that can be groomed in their institutions. Dawn
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Students deported from UK yet to receive Govt assistance
Peshawar: The Pakistani students who were detained on charges of involvement in
a terror plot in the United Kingdom (UK) and then deported are yet to receive
any assistance from the government or national or international rights body
despite the lapse of more than six months.
The British police arrested
ten Pakistani students on April 11 during raids in Manchester, Liverpool and
Lancashire on the basis of MI5 intercepts that the young men were allegedly
planning to bomb a city shopping centre and a night club. The intelligence
linked the students to al-Qaeda and other terror networks.
weeks after their arrest, the students were freed on April 22 and later deported
to Pakistan with only two of them staying back to fight their deportation thus
ruining their studies and their future back in their home country.
are no more able to get employment in multinational companies," said Janas Khan,
who is resident of Namak Mandi locality of Peshawar. The 26-year-old was an
employee of a pharmaceutical company before going to UK for master's degree in
business administration (MBA) to get a lucrative job back in his hometown.
However, not only that he could not manage to get the degree, he was
also robbed of the available cash and what he spent on his education during his
more than two years stay in UK. "I used to do part-time job to meet my education
expenses," he recalled.
Janas Khan, who remained for two months in jail
along with nine other Pakistani students to fight their case against
deportation, said they were deported and the Pakistani government did nothing to
take up the matter with the UK authorities. "They should have asked them that
why we were arrested, jailed and then deported without proving the allegations
against us," said the young man.
Janas Khan said the university where he
studied for two and half years now wanted 6,000 UK pounds as fee to issue him
the degree. "How can I manage that much amount when I'm jobless. It was possible
for me in UK because I was doing a part-time job there," he
Ramzan, another deported student, who was doing his MBA from
Liverpool Hope University said that the baseless charges against them
ruined their future.
"We had gone there in the hope to get master's
degree and return to the country to get handsome jobs, but the charges ruined
our career as we are unable to apply for a job in a multinational company," said
Ramzan, who is from the troubled South Waziristan Agency.
The young man
said he had contacted Senator Talha Mehmood and Senator Saleh Shah and they
assured support initially, but there was no response from them or other
government official so far. "We are given a short-shrift everywhere as if we are
not Pakistanis," he grumbled.
Ramzan said he had also talked to the
Pakistan's high commissioner in UK Wajid Shamsul Hassan once and he said the
government did whatever it can. "Later, an official told me that the government
can't take up the matter with British authorities as it may affect their ties
with that country," he added.
Another student Abdul Wahab also lamented
the serious loss to his career due to the neglect of the British authorities. He
said the British authorities should have proved the allegations. "If not, then
they should have not deported us and allowed us to continue our studies," he
Wahab also belongs to South Waziristan and is presently living in
Islamabad. In a telephonic chat, he said that not a single government
official contacted the deported students to know their problem since their
deportation six months ago.
"The baseless allegations has not only ruined
my career, but also bitterly harmed the reputation of my family," said Wahab,
who was getting his degree in computer education from John Moore University,
He recalled that he had to appear in a semester for one paper
on May 5. However, he was detained along with other Pakistani students on April
8 and thus could not sit in the examination. Wahab said he had spent around
900,000 UK pounds on his studies there.
The students, who were arrested
by British police with banner headlines in the British media the next day about
their alleged terror plan, were not charged for lack of proof against them.
Eight of the arrested students arrived back in Pakistan while two are still in
jail to fight their deportation.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who
recently paid a visit to UK, said he had discussed the issue with British
foreign secretary David Miliband. However, the students want the government to
be quick to save their future and career.
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Teachers reject proposal to replace kidnapped VC
Peshawar: The teaching staff at the public sector universities of the province
have rejected a proposal to replace the kidnapped vice-chancellor of Kohat
University of Science and Technology Prof Dr Lutfullah Kakakhel and pledged to
resist the move.
A senior professor of the
University of Peshawar said that the authorities wanted to replace the kidnapped
VC with a new full-time VC on the plea that this might prompt the kidnappers to
"This I think is not the right way to secure the release of
the senior academician. The government should use other possible and effective
means for an early and safe recovery of Dr Lutfullah," he said.
concerned at the kidnapping of the VC, the teachers warned the government in a
meeting, the other day, to ensure safe release of the kidnapped VC or else they
would stop attending their classes from Tuesday.
The teachers are of the
opinion that the VC can be recovered if the government and the security forces
make sincere efforts. When contacted, the Peshawar University Teachers
Association (PUTA) President Dr Arbab Afridi said that if the NWFP governor, who
is also the chancellor of the public sector universities in the province cannot
ensure release of the kidnapped ailing vice-chancellor, he has no right to
remain in power. "The governor should better resign if he cannot recover the
vice-chancellor," he added.
Another professor said that when it had
become clear that the VC was in the captivity of militant Commander Tariq
Afridi, who wants to swap him for his men in government custody, the authorities
should evolve an effective strategy to ensure his release before the expiry of
the deadline given by teachers.
Prof Dr Shafiqur Rahman, senior professor
at University of Peshawar, appealed to all the government functionaries, top
academicians, legal fraternity, media and people from all walks of life to
employ every possible mean to secure the safe reunion of Prof Lutfullah with his
Kidnapped on November 6, Dr Lutfullah has earned wide national
acclaim as a highly qualified, experienced and respected professor of Physical
Chemistry with scores of publications and MPhil/PhD students produced to his
credit, Dr Shafiqur Rahman said.
"Dr Lutfullah is also a top notch
information technology expert and pioneer of computer science education at the
University of Peshawar," he said, adding that his wife too was a senior
academician at the same university.
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Another IIU blast victim died
Islamabad: Aqsa, a student of International Islamic University (IIU),
Islamabad, who sustained critical injuries in the suicide blast at the
university expired here on Sunday. She was 18. She was admitted in the Intensive
Care Unit (ICU) of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS). After her
death the death toll of twin blasts occurred at IIUI on October 20 has gone up
to nine. PIMS sources told this agency that she sustained critical injuries to
her head and neck. Her respiratory system was also damaged and she was in coma.
Hospital sources added that she was the last IIUI blast victim still admitted at
the hospital. The news
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QAU observed Sindhi Topi Day
Islamabad: Sindhi students at Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) held a rally
on Sunday pledging to continue promoting and safeguarding the Sindhi culture.
The rally was organised by Mehran Council, a cultural and social
organisation of Sindhi students, in connection with the first ever Sindhi Topi
Day as called by the people of Sindh.
The rally started from the main
cafeteria and ended at Bab-e-Quaid. Over 100 Sindhi students wearing their
cultural dresses - Qameez, shalwar, Sindhi caps and Ajrak - took part in the
rally carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans in favour of their
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Nepotism in appointment of caretakers
Layyah: Two out of 800 or so candidates who were dropped during the
recruitment process for six posts of caretakers (BS-9) in colleges of this
district have alleged nepotism in the entire exercise.
and Abdul Raheem have filed an application with the Dera Ghazi Khan commissioner
seeking a probe into the matter.
According to their complaint, colleges
district officer (DO) Muhammad Jameel Qureshi was head of the committee and he
selected his niece and another close relative, both belonging to Muzaffargarh
district, in clear violation of the recruitment policy. The DO gave an
advertisement seeking applications against six posts of college laboratory and
hostel caretakers (four men, two women) in a national daily on Dec 10, 2007.
The new government stopped the recruitment process temporarily. However,
he gave another advertisement on May 9, 2009, and applications were sought from
intermediate candidates domiciled (preferably) in the district having five-year
experience in office work. As many as 800 candidates applied.
merit list was prepared and displayed at the office of colleges DO in which
Nadeem and Raheem, who, according to their claim, were graduates and possessed
requisite experience, were dropped and "ineligible" candidates were selected.
The DO made four appointments against the six vacancies. The selected
candidates included DO's niece Sobia Qureshi and a relative of his wife, both
residents of Kot Addu in Muzaffargarh district.
The complainants alleged
that the DO, being chairman of the recruitment committee, violated the policy by
appointing his relatives who did not belong to Layyah district.
also alleged that the merit list was tampered with to accommodate Sobia as her
experience certificate included time period when she was still studying.
DO Qureshi said that all the requirements under the government
recruitment policy of 2004 were met during the process. He said that he had made
all these appointments strictly on merit. Dawn
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