Annual Meeting Insights: US-patterned secondary schools in foreign countries; Education development in Afghanistan

August 23, 2013
  • AACRAO Connect
  • International Education

U.S.-Patterned Secondary Schools in Foreign Countries

A panel of international admissions professionals from CUNY, the University of Denver and the University of Colorado discussed the credentials review of undergraduate applicants who have attended private U.S.-patterned secondary schools outside of the United States. Many of these U.S.-patterned secondary schools are concentrated in China, India, the Middle East and Central and South America and are created for the sole purpose of exporting their graduates to attend colleges and universities in different countries.

To assess the quality of these U.S.-patterned foreign high schools, international admissions professionals should check secondary schools for their U.S. accreditation, curriculum, organization that oversees the curriculum and source of funding. They should refer to their institutional, state, and U.S. immigration regulations for policies that may affect the international student's acceptance and track these admitted international students and assess their performance.

International admissions professionals can determine whether an international student's transcript or diploma is sufficient for review if his or her documents are similar to that of a high school located in the U.S. Foreign secondary schools that implement a 0-100 U.S. grading scale and demonstrate a detailed math progression on a transcript can demonstrate the international student's familiarity with the U.S. style of education.

A Journey of Education Development in Afghanistan: Progress, Challenges and Priorities

Representatives from the Afghan Ministry of Education and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan presented information on challenges facing the country's postsecondary education system and steps taken to resolve them.

In 2001, Afghanistan had only a few major public universities and no private universities. Today, Afghanistan has over 17 public universities and 82 private universities registered with the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE). Private universities usually grant degrees in STEM, business and other high-demand fields. The Afghan government funds scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students, and the U.S. government also sponsors programs and scholarship opportunities supporting Afghan students pursuing further education in the United States.

Despite significant improvements in the past decade, the Afghanistan system of higher education still faces significant systematic challenges in public and private universities. Public universities lack the capacity to admit all high school graduates: In 2013, only 80,000 students out of the 200,000 that applied were admitted to public universities. Public universities also lack a standard transcript format and a unified student records system, making it difficult for a student to obtain their transcript or diploma.

Although the MoHE oversees the quality of private universities, they lack an accrediting system similar to that of the United States. This makes it difficult for private university students to transfer to universities within the country and abroad. Most private universities are located in urban areas such as Kabul and require English language proficiency, which significantly decreases accessibility for students located in rural provinces.

By: AACRAO Connect