UK govt revises student visa system
Islamabad, March 25: UK Home Secretary Theresa May announced changes to the student visa route on Tuesday.
This announcement follows a major public consultation on the reform of Tier Four – the student entry route to the UK of the Points Based System – after a Home Office review revealed widespread abuse of the system. According to a statement issued by UK Embassy here, May said "It has become very apparent that the old student visa regime failed to control immigration and protect legitimate students from poor quality colleges.
"My aim is not to stop genuine students coming here - it is to eliminate abuse within the system. Our stricter accreditation process will see only first class education providers given licences to sponsor students." Stricter controls will be in the best interest of legitimate students. Only properly regulated institutions will be able to sponsor international students. In recognition of the important contribution they can make to the UK economy, we will still allow new international graduates to stay in the UK to take up skilled jobs. But we will end the system where graduates were able to do any level of job, including unskilled work, or no job at all for two years. In future they will have to secure a skilled job with a Tier 2 sponsor. This will ensure that international graduates undertake work that is valuable to the UK and to them or return home.
The main changes are as follows: From April 2012 all institutions wanting to be sponsors will have to be highly trusted sponsors and become accredited by statutory education inspection bodies by the end of 2012; the current system does not require this and allowed too many poor quality colleges to become sponsors. Those coming to study at degree level will have to speak English at an upper intermediate (B2) level. This is a higher that the current B1 requirement; UK Border Agency staff will be able to interview students and refuse entry to those who cannot speak English without an interpreter and who therefore patently do not meet the required minimum standards. Students at universities and publicly funded further education colleges will retain current work rights but all other students will have no right to work, and we will place restrictions on work placements at courses outside of universities. Only allow postgraduate students at universities and government sponsored students will be able to bring their dependants. At the moment all students on longer courses are able to bring dependants. We will limit the overall time that can be spent on a student visa to three years at lower levels, as now, and five years at higher levels. At present there is no limit for study at or above degree level. Daily timesYour Comments
Cheating rampant in SSC exams
Peshawar: Once considered a crime and injustice with talented students, cheating and use of unfair means by students is rampant in the ongoing Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations, particularly in examination halls established in private schools.
Bribing of education staff and copying by students has now become a noticeable part of the examinations conducted by the Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE).
"The students don't feel ashamed and are happy with qualifying their examinations, as they get instant support of their parents, administrations of respective schools and invigilators," said educationists. The menace is so deep-rooted that all the stakeholders equally support it for their vested interests.
During a visit to different schools where examination was underway, this correspondent saw piles of pages of pocket guides thrown by the students taking examination. A pocket guide is a small summary book of particular subject and often carried by cheating students to the examination halls.
"We have collected money to serve the invigilation staff. Each candidate has contributed Rs350 to the fund," said a government school student after coming out from the examination hall. Holding a hard board in his hand, he confidently said that he would pass his Mathematics paper because the invigilators were lenient with them and he solved the papers through copying from other students.
Showing happiness, he said: "I was confused when I saw the Mathematics paper because it was difficult for me. But with outside help, I am sure at least I will qualify it. If there was no cheating, I was not in a position to solve even a single question."The candidate said that the invigilation staff got angry over noise and cross talk by students, but they avoid taking copying material from students.
The office boys and peons in the schools also welcome these examinations and earn money through 'helping' students sitting in the examination halls. "The office boys pick solved questions from outside and hand them over to the students. Everything is set up before hand. Students call peons to bring water and the peons do the rest," a school teacher told this correspondent. In return, a student pays around Rs200 per paper to a peon for providing them solved questions.
Students from well-off families also invite the whole invigilation staff to dinners and lunches. A teacher, opting not to be named, said that one student invited the entire invigilation staff for a dinner in Namak Mandi where they were served the traditional Tikka Karai, for which the father of the student paid Rs10,000.
The administrations of the private schools are a step ahead in this regard. They have made the teachers 'duty-bound' to help their students in cheating for showing good results. In one of the model schools, the teachers have been assigned the task to search for the relevant questions in the guides and provide the copies of the same to the students sitting in the examination hall.
The short questions and objectives, which have solid marks, are rarely solved by students in the private schools rather they wait for correct answers sent by their respective teachers from outside the examination centre.
A teacher said that the education boards had also deputed inspectors to visit the examination centres to keep a check on the invigilation staff and ensure transparent examinations. He said that in most of the cases the inspectors were unable to curb the use of unfair means as they were assigned to visit several halls within a short time of three hours. Dawn