French Universities Threatened by English Language
Written on Friday, 19 April 2013 16:12

 

The French newspaper Le Figaro reported this week that many French academics [but by no means all] and other champions of the French language are feeling threatened by a new measure, included in the Higher Education and Research [HSR] statute, that will open the way for universities to teach entire programmes through English. The HSR is due to come into force later this year.

Under legislation passed in 2000 to protect the French language, it is currently compulsory to teach university courses in French except in clearly defined cases – foreign language studies, or if the education is given by a visiting foreign academic. Examinations and thesis presentations must be in French. Some institutions manage to circumvent the rules, but they are technically breaking the law. Geneviève Fioraso, minister for higher education and research, now intends to loosen universities’ linguistic shackles.

In the hope of increasing France’s share of international students, the HSR law will allow universities to teach in in English – when courses are part of an agreement with a foreign or international institution, or part of a European programme. Fioraso said that opposition to the reform was about “a resistance to change. To attract young Indians we must offer education in English. For Koreans to get to Proust, we must go via English."

Above: Sciences Po: one of the only French Universities to currently offer an entire undergraduate programme though English

The Académie Française, constitutional guardian of the French language, issued a declaration against the “attack on the status of the French language in universities”. It wished to “draw attention to the dangers of a measure which is presented as a technical application, while in reality it promotes marginalisation of our language”.

In an opinion piece, Le Figaro claimed the new measure “was insulting to French-speaking countries and Francophiles, and especially the numerous francophone students who wished to study in France but could not because of its restrictive visa policy. Le Fiagaro also claimed it was “anti-republican because it attacked the constitutional principle that French was the language of the republic, and it was anti-democratic because it would inevitably lead to closure of certain courses in French, thus penalising French and other French-speaking students”

 


 
Half of Doctors Fail HPAT Test For Entry To Irish Medical Schools
Written on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 15:52

The Sunday Times reported this week that almost half of the Irish GPs surveyed failed to answer  sample questions from an HPAT paper accurately.

The study, published in the Irish Medical Journal, also found that three out of four Irish GPs have little or no knowledge of the test. The newspaper quoted UCC's  Dr Siun O’Flynn, who led the study, as saying “the profession should be aware of the mechanism used to select their colleagues”

Also quoted was Dublin GP, Julie Bressan, who dismissed the HPAT as “absolute nonsense” She commented that it had been hoped that the test “would help choose more men than women. But if women are cleverer then men, then so be it, because you need clever doctors”

This survey follows a recent report from a review team of experts in medical education on the first three years of the HPAT  which revealed that many students who secured 550 Leaving Cert points or thereabouts, and had insufficient HPAT scores, accepted places in courses such as biomedical science, while attending intensive repeat courses for the HPAT. More than 85 per cent of those who repeat the exam secure a higher score on their second attempt. Many of these deserted their alternative course at the end of their first year, to take up a place in Medicine, in Ireland or further afield

The message from the report is that the HPAT system has failed. It does not, as its promoters claimed, identify the best potential doctors. Instead, it has produced a new system with the same old problem, namely, those who can afford expensive preparatory and repeat courses retain a significant advantage.

 

 


 
Danish Student Grants Now Open to UK/Irish Students Under Recent European Court Ruling?
Written on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 04:03

 

A recent ruling from the European Court of Justice has opened up the possibility of UK and Irish students being able to access the Danish system of student grants and, at the same time, has potential to throw the funding of Danish education into disarray.

Stakeholders, including Danish universities, politicians and commentators, are still trying to clarify the impact of the ruling. Per Andersen, Chairman of the Danish Student Grants Committee suggests it is too early to know what the consequences of the ECJ’s decision will be for Denmark.

However, in discussion with several Danish universities, EUNiCAS is told that the current understanding is that all EU citizens studying in Denmark, and who work 10-12 hours per week, attain the status of ‘employee’ under EU law. With this status, they are entitled to apply for grant and loan support. It also appears that the Danish government has resolved that the EU ruling will be enforced.

This ruling is likely to expose Danish taxpayers to a bill running to tens of millions of Euro. Minister of Education Morten Østergaard said the ruling would cost Danish taxpayers DKK200 million a year. “We have found measures within the budget to cater for this year’s expenses,” he told Denmark Radio. The story is only just starting to hit the Danish media with any significant populist force and is likely to prove incendiary when its implications are clear.

Aarhus University

 

The level of support offered to Danish students far exceeds the international average. Firstly, in Denmark, there are no tuition fees (for all Europeans) and any Dane living away from home can receive a grant of €771 per month and a loan of €394 per month for living costs. What is more, Danish graduates face one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe (14%).

Though the application deadline for most undergraduate programmes in Denmark , for Entry 2013, closed last month, there are still a limited numbers of opportunities. However, we can expect a significant increase in applications to Danish universities, from UK and Irish students in 2014, if this ruling is applied as understood above.

 


 
Med & Vet Programmes Still Enrolling Across Europe
Written on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 16:10

Medicine and Vet Science continue to rank amongst the most popular selections of students registering with EUNiCAS, as increasing numbers of UK and Irish students seek alternative routes to careers as Doctors, Dentists or Vets.

Though the deadlines for some of the attractive Medicine degree programmes in Western Europe, taught through English [in Italy, Malta and the Netherlands] have now closed, there are still some excellent alternatives available.

EUNiCAS has been receiving excellent reports on some of the med schools in Poland. See them all here The top-ranked Med Schools in Poland are still taking applications: the deadline for applying to Jagiellonian, in Cracow is 9th May, for Warsaw Medical University, it is 4th May, for Poznan Medical University it is 28 June and for the Medical University of Lodz, you can apply up until 15th July. Of course, all the programmes are recognised by the Medical Council and, in many of the Polish med schools, you can sit exams for a US Licence.

Note that some Polish schools offer 4-year Graduate Programmes for Life Sciences graduates.

Above: Jagiellonian University, Cracow, which hosts Poland's  top-ranked Medical School

There are also good schools in the Czech Republic and Hungary and some attractive options in Slovakia, all of which are still open for applications.

Most of these universities have their own entrance tests. You need to travel to the university to sit the tests for some of these programmes though the Hungarian universities have tests coming up next month, in both the UK and Ireland. The Med School in PJSU, in Slovakia,has its entrance tests in London and Dublin on 27th and 28th April.

Vet schools, too, are attracting increasing numbers of Irish and UK students: there are currently several hundred British and Irish studying the subject in Central Europe. Both Warsaw University of Life Sciences and Szent Istvan University, Budapest, have exams upcoming in the near future, in the UK and Ireland, but you need to apply soon.

EUNiCAS can assist students in applying to these programmes


 
UK University Applications Drop Again
Written on Saturday, 05 January 2013 06:50

BBC News; 03 January 2013

University applications from UK students are down for the second year running, official figures show.UCAS admissions data from mid-December show applications from English students at their lowest since 2009. The trebling of maximum tuition fees saw a drop in applications for autumn 2012 but university leaders hoped demand would recover in 2013. A UCAS spokesman said it was too early to say whether overall applications would be down.

The general deadline for applying to start university in autumn 2013 is 15 January, although people may apply later.These interim figures were collated by UCAS on 17 December, by which time some 265,730 people living in the UK had applied to start degree courses this autumn, down 6.3% on the same point in 2012. Among students living in England, applications were down 6.5% on 2012 at 229,932. 

Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of university group Million+ said: "The worrying trend of falling university applications continues, according to the most recent statistics published by UCAS."We urge the government to step in with a national campaign to promote the value of university for potential students currently considering their options, whether they are about to leave school or considering a university course later in life."

Read more...

 
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