International News Desk

At Home: Health Premiums vs. International Students
The Montreal Gazette has a story out about how international students in Quebec are being forced to choose between continuing their education in Canada or not due to the high health premiums they are charged. Single coverage is currently $951/yr, an increase of over 60% since 2009. For those international students with dependants, it’s even worse, as health care costs can range from $2,916 for a single dependant, up to 5,547 for a family of three or more.

Jonathan Mooney, president of the Post-Graduate Students? Society at McGill has said, ?We have had students come to us and say they can’t stay because of the cost of health insurance.? Mooney is lobbying to have international students in the province covered under provincial medicare, something already done in BC, Alberta, and Manitoba.

Around the World: UK Suspends ETS Testing for TOEFL and TOEIC
TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language, and TOEIC, or Test of English for International Communication, are the two most common and widely respected tests used to determine if an immigrant or international student has a sufficient command of the English language to take courses at english speaking universities. ETS, or Educational Testing Services, Inc, is a company that handles a large amount of training for, and administration of these tests.

Recently, however, a BBC investigation revealed that these tests are subject to widespread cheating, with even “fake sitters” being used at one test centre in the UK. The government, in response, has suspended all ETS administrated testing until a full investigation can be completed. ETS has denied any problems with their methods, saying it maintains ?one of the most thorough test security protocols in the world and works closely with in-country representatives to monitor all aspects of test delivery.”

The problem, however, is so open that the BBC program was able to show a website for a student education agency that told an undercover reporter they were able to deliver a “guaranteed pass” on the TOEIC in that specific centre. This is in spite of the numerous spelling or grammatical errors on their site, including in their “Directors Massage“.