Monthly Archives: March 2010

Register of Tier 4 Sponsors – 31 March 2010

Differences against the Tier 4 Register 30 March 2010

The following schools and colleges were removed from the Register:

  • None

The following schools and colleges were added to the Register:

  • eCollege london Limited
  • ICON College of Technology and Management
  • London Ambassador College
  • London College of Law and Management
  • Stratford College of Management

Download the Register of Sponsors Tier4: 30 Mar 2010

Register of Tier 4 Sponsors – 30 March 2010

Differences against the Tier 4 Register 29 March 2010

The following schools and colleges were removed from the Register:

  • London School of Business and Finance
  • the Practice Development Unit

The following schools and colleges were added to the Register:

  • Abraham Baxter Limited
  • Belgravia College
  • SEVERN BUSINESS COLLEGE LTD
  • Shapwick School

Download the Register of Sponsors Tier4: 30 Mar 2010

Study Group UK Discusses the new Highly Trusted Sponsors list

Following the Home Office’s announcement in November of yet another review of the Points Based System, the education sector was a nervous wreck, waiting for news that could destroy the industry in the UK. Alan Johnson went someway to settling our nerves in February when he announced that education providers on the new Highly Trusted Sponsors list could continue to teach foundation and A-level programmes. We wanted to learn more about this new accreditation and how to achieve it.

Initially, the UK Border Agency said that applications for inclusion on the list could be made from 22 March 2010. However, with the system due to launch on 6 April, only 9 days later, the short timescale worried me very much indeed. From past experience, we knew the application process would be bureaucratic, slow and exhaustive. It could have been worse however, as if we were unable to issue CAS numbers until the new Highly Trusted system launched, then our usual busy weeks before our September intake would be unusually quiet. Positively, it seems that industry action from the likes of English UK and Study UK has had an effect; the whole process was revised following a recent meeting with the UK Border Agency on 27 March.

The UK Border Agency’s position on the Highly Trusted Sponsor programme is now that all education providers that receive public money will be automatically included on the new Register on 6 April and will be given until 30 May to submit all relevant and required documentation to keep their Highly Trusted licence. Deadlines have been extended for current A rated sponsors on the Register of Sponsors too, to 30 April and the UK Border Agency aims to process all education providers by 30 June 2010. During this time, we will be able to issue CAS numbers, thank God!

The other interesting element of the new Highly Trusted Sponsor programme is the statistics; the UK Border Agency has set strict thresholds for student dropouts, which institutions must stick to in order to retain their licence. Initially the UK Border Agency proposed 3% as the baseline and that any education provider who was Highly Trusted would be allowed a further % dropout rate from students who complete at least 75% of the course. The recent meeting with the UK Border Agency did not see these percentages changed, but instead they will be applied to all publicly funded institutions too. Further, the UK Border Agency seemed to soften their stance, stating that education providers who exceed these baselines would not necessary have their licence withdrawn, but would be subject to UK Border Agency review of the sponsor’s processes.

The extended deadlines for the submission of relevant documents for a Highly Trusted Sponsor licence applications is warmly welcomed as is the UK Border Agency’s revised approach to dropouts.

We expect the education sector in the UK to remain in a state of shell shock, but the impact of the new system has definitely be softened. However, major damage has been done following the UK Border Agency’s intervention, with the UK losing many international students to the USA and Australia. We’re confident that the new approach from the UK Border Agency and shift in attitude signals a new era and offers real hope that the UK Border Agency is finally beginning to consider all the variables at play and making informed decisions when deciding policy. Hopefully we can now move on and secure the UK’s reputation for a fine education as well as begin to repair the damage to the sector’s reputation.

Legal Challenge of Alan Johnson’s Immigration Policy

English UK is currently instigating a judicial review of the home secretary, Alan Johnson’s decision to prevent students with beginner’s English from entering the country for English language courses.

Tony Millns, Chief Executive of English UK, said, “It’s clearly absurd requiring students to know English before they come here to study it. We are already seeing evidence from agents, who book students onto courses, that they are saying the UK doesn’t want students any more.”

Worst Experience Of Life Time (UK)

well i came in the uk on 8th march at the time of my entry i m not aware that my college got suspended but immigration officer allowed me to enter as i m a genuine student after that i tried to contact to my suspended institution but no response its shutdown after that i visit several colleges but they said u need to get permission from UKBA so v can enroll u when i spoke with UKBA they said u need CAS letter to move new fresh application i told them what the colleges asking me to issue me CAS letter they said no as per ur policy v dont restrict colleges to issue u cas letter i mean its realy shameful as student i loss my money which i paid to my suspended institution they just runaway now i dont know where i am standing i call the ukba lets say if i get CAS letter then how come i provide u bank statement as i take a loan from a bank for my higher studies they 1st said u need to show bank statement from inside uk i told them how come i opened a bank account as i m not enroll with any college so no bank open my account then how come i transfer money from my country then i told them that i have my loan approval letter with me and the issue date is 1/feb/2010 they said NO its more then a month old so v refuse ur fresh application on that ground i told them if my parents sent me another fresh loan letter then i have to wait for next 28days and if i wait my colege change time expires they said v cant help u in that case i mean is this what a genuine students today i understand what quality education and affordable price education stands for yes UKBA strict their policies day by dat but it discourage genuine students too i mean how can u diffrentiate btw genuine and fake students i decided too leave UK as i already suffer alot i loss my fees i loss my time so for other student i need to give them a message just stick to ur countries education providers either stick to them or else unite against such unjustifiable policies of ukba in their policy student is not safe anywhere if a student provider how have the duty to return ur fees i mean whats ur mistake either allow us to enter or return ur visa fees and college fees its not ur mistake v read their name in ur tier4 register n then pay them n get urself enrolled anyways GOOD BYE UK……..

This post was submitted by Anil.

Can a Tier 4 Student dependent work as Freelancer or Self – Employed?

Hi

My wife is a Tier 4 Student in London. She is a doing course in Health care NVQ 3. She is in London from November 2009. She has a work & study visa. Now I am in India working as computer programmer and planning to apply for dependent visa in next week. My query is can I work as a freelancer or self-employed in UK.

My second query is as my wife got Tier 4 Visa for UK before declaration of new rules, so for me dependent rules will be applicable as per new regulations or as per old one?

This post was submitted by Anil kumar.

Register of Tier 4 Sponsors – 29 March 2010

Differences against the Tier 4 Register 26 March 2010

The following schools and colleges were removed from the Register:

  • None

The following schools and colleges were added to the Register:

  • Edgware Academy
  • EF International Language Schools Bournemouth
  • London East End College Limited

Download the Register of Sponsors Tier4: 29 Mar 2010

St Agnes College – The Final Frontier – Concerns Arising

KEEPING BRITAIN SAFE AND PRESERVING ITS EDUCATIONAL INTEGRITY

By:

Concerns Arising

The provisions of Tier 4 (and the proposed adjustments) raise further difficulties for colleges that wish to offer premium education to foreign students. Table 2 refers.

Table 2 Adjustments

Issue UKBA position St Agnes position Adjustments requested
English IELTS 5 / 5.5 or equivalent IELTS 6 for each module Minimum IELTS 6 for each module and provision to check results on line. Exception noted under recommendations.
Academic record Apparently not considered See Appendix 1 Along the lines of Appendix 1
English certification Not checked Not checked Secure certification system
Visa process Documentation is sufficient Personal verification of each student All students must be interviewed by knowledgeable UK staff
Bank details One day balance is sufficient Not applicable Bank balances should show a six-month healthy bank account
Bribery checks and balances Unknown Not applicable UK checks and balances need to be advised
Re-sits Two resit attempts are acceptable Not applicable Visa extensions to be also on the basis of a minimum of two resits for the whole course

Source: UKBA and St Agnes sources

Comments

The UKBA (and colleges) rightly believe that students have the right to study English in the United Kingdom.

This must be an earned privilege not born out of sentimentality or financial considerations.

The six-month special visa to allow students at a low level of English to complete studies in the UK could lead to another process when undesirables could exploit this process and gain entry to the UK for “other” purposes. We have more than our fair share of illegal individuals working / living in the UK.

The UKBA’s English level requirement, as evidenced by the current problems being experienced in colleges and universities, will only cause further problems where, for example:

  • Student frustration with course content will be exacerbated – adding to teaching problems and the unfair treatment of students.
  • Absenteeism will spiral due to demotivation – dropout rates will increase.
  • Colleges and students will be unjustly penalised. After all, the UKBA allows “inadequately prepared students of English” to enter the field of UK tertiary education – their presence has a negative impact on UK educational goals.
  • Course providers would remove their courses from a college that had been penalised by the UKBA because of either dropout rates due to an inability to cope with the course because of a lag in English proficiency.
  • Colleges will be removed from the register due to low student attendance and poor exam results. The poor attendance being the result of NOT having sufficient funding, as per their visa requirement, will cause students to seek employment outside their 20-hour limit, or in the case of the 10-hour work limit, cause further problems – the 1-hour per week would equate out at around £60 per week. With today’s cost of living this would not be sufficient because few students, if any, bring the money in their home country bank account with them.
  • Colleges attempting to gain greater credibility with regard to their academic pass rates suffer because of the non-performance of students who cannot cope with academic English and this in turn will affect negatively the image of UK education. It is unfair to expect colleges to raise their academic standards when students are allowed student visas with an academically low standard of English.
  • The English level set by the government could be construed as misleading and bordering on dishonesty. Academic advancement needs English of a higher standard than the low level currently being bandied about. A low standard causes problems now – why perpetuate it?

In this connection, we might consider the analogous situation where the Biblical pharaoh (UKBA) demanded that the Israelites (Colleges) not only build for him but also had to make their own bricks . Colleges have to cope with inadequate “English material = the straw” to meet government standards. We would quote the words of our famous Winston Churchill, “We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire…Give us the tools and we will finish the job” .

Part 1: Background issues behind this report and St Agnes College Responses
Part 2: Concerns Arising
Part 3: Recommendations

St Agnes College – The Final Frontier – Recommendations

KEEPING BRITAIN SAFE AND PRESERVING ITS EDUCATIONAL INTEGRITY

By:

Benchmarking

  • Students who do not attain to a minimum IELTS 6 level for each module of English should attend British Council run courses in their countries. Training under the BC will help bring students up to a minimum IELTS 6 level for each module.
  • After gaining a minimum IELTS 6 for each level, applications for a student visa could be considered.
  • As a compromise, students visa could be offered for students with an IELTS 5 or 5.5. average if the college ran a six-month course for such students. The six-month course would then run as a bolt on qualification and be included in the fee and attendance structures. The college would then set their own conditions as regards a minimum number required to cover the costs of running such a course.
  • Provision should be made for colleges to check the recorded IELTS scores. This must be on-line and instantly accessible.
    TOEFL and TOEIC entrance levels should be raised to equate with the IELTS ratings.
  • There should not be any exceptions. Our language is a precious heritage and individuals wishing to be part of our education system must conform to our minimum requirements.
  • Adjustments needed ( See Table 2) under Adjustments Requested.
  • Students wishing to study in a particular discipline should have a basic knowledge of the subject. For example, there must be evidence of an interest in the subject prior to applying for a course. Experience has proved that too many applicants want to do a course but have no proven or intended interest in the course – other than gaining entry to the United Kingdom as a student.
  • The BAC, ASIC and the UKBA should consider inviting experienced individuals from colleges and universities to share their knowledge of scams, illegal activities and difficulties experienced by / with students. This would be on a paid basis. The credibility in the inspection and monitoring processes is understandably weak – as evidenced in the on-going fraud being perpetuated by A grade colleges. It might be helpful to the much needed services of the accreditation bodies if they allowed themselves to listen to those at the coal face.

Part 1: Background issues behind this report and St Agnes College Responses
Part 2: Concerns Arising
Part 3: Recommendations

St Agnes College – The Final Frontier

KEEPING BRITAIN SAFE AND PRESERVING ITS EDUCATIONAL INTEGRITY

By:

Purpose of this Report

St Agnes college representatives have consulted with selected stakeholders in the private education sector with regard to the highly valued and appreciated Tier 4 rules and taken note of the UKBAs published intention to promulgate amendments.

The writers request that the recipients of this report consider the seriousness and depth of feeling that motivated this Paper.

Acknowledgement and informed feedback is requested.

Background issues behind this report

The initial intake of foreign students presented the following major obstacles that lecturers and students identified as the foremost problems impinging on student academic progress.

A. The English Language

  • An inadequate knowledge of English – especially academic terminology.
  • An inability to use English as a means of verbal and written communication.
  • An inability to understand spoken English.
  • An inability to comprehend written course material.
  • An inability to understand exam questions.

B. Studying Methodology

The majority of students had no concept of studying at a college level and were unable to undertake research and complete course assignments.

C. Employment Incentive

In a snap-survey, the majority of students revealed that their main purpose in securing a student visa was to earn income and then to study at the same time.

D. Alleged Misdirection by Agents

The majority of students indicated that their agent had told them what course to follow but had no idea what the courses were about.

Upon arrival at St Agnes College many discovered that they were not interested in the course – it was not what they had in mind as a route to their career path. However, most in this group indicated that they were adjusting to the subject.

St Agens College Responses

To address issues of English (A) aforementioned, St Agnes set each student an Intermediate English proficiency test Some 85% of the student body did not pass the test. Individuals who did not attain the set pass grade had to attend the free three-hours per week English class.

The English lecturer, who holds the Cambridge CELTA is also of Asian background and her teaching is of a high standard.

However, many students did not attend the class, some citing the following reasons:

  • Employment
  • Not interested – I did not come to the UK to learn English
  • Too tired

To address study methodology (B) two-hours of course time were given to a lecture on study methodology and basic academic reading techniques. A POWERPOINT presentation was then sent to each student who requested it.

To address the allegations about misdirection by agents, made under D, St Agnes will commission staff to check applicant motivation, understanding of the course and English proficiency in the home country as a priority feeder for admission consideration. A form is being prepared for students to complete when applying – this will accompany the application material and St Agnes representatives will continue to give their foreign consultants further training on admission criterion.

St Agnes has raised their admission level to IELTS 6. Concerns about the validity of IELTS qualifications remain, however. Stories circulate about alleged bribery, forgery, proxy examinees and possible incompetent examiners engaged in the marking process.

The current operations are short term initiatives that will be discontinued once the new recruitment scheme is activated.

Part 1: Background issues behind this report and St Agnes College Responses
Part 2: Concerns Arising
Part 3: Recommendations