Friday, 30 November 2012

The Best Places for Academics in the World

Academics play a vital role in every individual’s life. And most of us look for the most well recognised institution to enroll for our study courses. It is pretty obvious on our part to look out for the best of the lot. There are in fact countless institutions all over the world offering education facility to millions of learners.

Numerous educational faculties in the world are ranked according to the quality of education they provide to the students or learners. The faculty of the institution in fact is solely responsible for the fame these institutions get. The ranking is based on the international examinations result or outcome i.e. taking into consideration the graduation or post graduation rate in the world per year.

Michael Barber, a chief education adviser comments “successful countries give teachers a high status and have a culture of education.” United Kingdom is known for the high quality education it provides to the students. Thus it falls under one of the top ranking academic faculty in the world.
The top ranking countries in the field of education includes Finland and South Korea. Finland in fact holds the first position followed by South Korea. The other countries known for their education system according to their ranking are:
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • UK
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Switzerland
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • Denmark
  • Australia
  • Poland
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • USA
  • Hungary
  • Slovakia
  • Russia
The top two renowned countries compete with three of the Asian educational system i.e. Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.

The Program for InternationalStudent Assessment (PISA) helps researcher and politicians as well as policy makers to judge and compare the various educational systems in the world. However it is one of the most convenient methods of judging educational pattern differences in the world.
Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia are the lowest ranking countries in terms of educational facility. In diverse subjects exam had been conducted that figured out that there have not been much improvement in their educational pattern from the past few years.

Certain factors that determine the role in global academic ranking:
  • Quality of teachers or instructors
It is essential for the institutions to have quality staffs and teachers. Now if you consider school level education, it will be found that UK stands at the top, whereas Finland and Korea are comes under the low level category and Singapore surpasses them in terms of academics. Another important factor is the high payment of the teachers has no connection with their high performance. Teaching skill technique is endowed in them.
  • Data significance
The data analysis on academics gives us a clear view about the best academic institutions in the world. It had been estimated that the education standard had gone up at the end of 1990 and beginning of 2000 but again it went down. But the long term investment and workforce has brought about a massive transformation in the educational system of UK.

However, it is one of the leading countries in the educational sphere; all other nations are still struggling to make it to the top. Hence the department of education all over the world is putting their efforts in giving it a high profile shape for the benefits of the students.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

UNESCO to honour Malala's stand for Education by celebrating an International Day

Both genders, men and women, are meant to be equal.But, In male dominated, economically weak societies and countries, women are suppressed and are made to submit to male dominance. This had been the way of the world and in some countries it still is. Women are deprived of a voice. They are ill-treated and kept far away from the world of education, law and politics. However, as times are changing, women, all around the world need to be given rights that have been kept away from. And the winds of change are blowing in their favour. They are now given importance, a voice and power to match up to the “dominant” gender.

Deprivation of education- A violation of human rights

The first and most important step that needs to be taken is to provide girls and women in “poor” or economically unstable countries, with education. Every human being is said to be equal and every human being regardless of their gender, has a right to education. This right has been taken away from the “weaker gender” so that they remain in the dark. The deprivation of education is also a violation of human rights.

Women are deprived of the knowledge of law so that men can continue assaulting them, physically and mentally. As women do not know of the steps they can take against violence and assault they succumb to it without voicing their opinion. A fourteen year old girl, MalalaYousufzal, was brutally attacked for wanting to claim her right and that of other women, to education. A girl was faced with brutality and violence because she voiced her opinion and wanted to claim her right to education. She wanted to take what was hers. Her brave step and its consequence, brought to the forefront the torture womankind, in less developed countries, have to go through.

Was the protest a risk worth taking?

The case of Malala Yousufzal was an eye opener to the world. It proved that violence against women still prevails in the world. UNESCO wants to salute Malala’s courageous act by promoting education among girls. They will also,“ stage a high-level advocacy event aimed at mobilising ‘deeper commitment’ to educating girls and celebrating the “courage of young girls like Malala Yousufzai”
(Source: thenews.com.pk)

The Director-General, UNESCO, Irina Bokova, made this announcement marking “International Day forthe Elimination of Violence against Women, 2012”. The UN General Assembly allocated November 25, as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The aim of this day is to raise awareness about violence and torture against women. This day historically came from the day the three Mirabal sisters, were brutally assassinated on the orders of Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic in 1960. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Fallacies of the Present US Education System

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was developed in the United States of America with the aim of generating a far more academically inclined youth. Recently we have seen how Barrack Obama’s education policies seem to have turned the tables and the votes in his favor. Now that the votes have been counted and the results speak volumes for itself that the people of America have chosen their leader. So is it the time to rejoice or get to see the larger picture about how the present education system is in the US? Education has to be dealt with a lot of seriousness because education designs the future of the present.

During Obama’s first tenure he has implemented the Race to the Top to increase the academic standards of the youth of America. The Race to the Top was all about awarding certain points to the States for successfully accomplishing certain educational policies.

But unfortunately there have been flaws in the educational system in the US for the last couple of years and these flaws still continue. In spite of so many attempts to revive the academic standards of the people of America all the efforts have gone in vain because all the acts that have been implemented in the recent years have fallen short in some way or the other to meet the criteria of providing quality education.

Though it can be constantly seen that Barrack Obama who is serving his second tenure as the President of the United States of America has extensively said time and again, “we know that education is everything to our children’s future. We know that they will no longer just compete for good jobs with children from Indiana, but children from India and China and all over the world. We know the work and the studying and the level of education that requires.”

So much said already, it is time for people to design their education system just like the youth wishes to design their future.

Monday, 26 November 2012

11 Ways How You are Unknowingly Hurting Your Career

Sometimes many of us wonder how we can keep our vocational life stable and unaffected by any kind of mishap. But none of us ever escape from the darker side of things. At some point or the other we all get subjected to ill fate in our professional life. However, you must remember your efficiency and sharp skill plays a major role in your job.

Hurting your Career

So, pros and cons are always a part of one’s career. No matter how much you want to avoid such a situation some day you will fall into its grip that will disrupt your working pattern. Mostly it could happen owing to your own negligence and carelessness.

But you must be acquainted with the various factors that affect your career. The 11 specific ways of ruining your career are as follows:
  • End of academic life is not the end of learning
You must remember learning has no end, one can continue to expand their knowledge through various resources throughout their life. Even when you enter into the world of profession you actually learn through your work that allows career growth.
  • Unsuccessful in accepting new things
You must be mentally prepared to clinch new changes and challenges. There are possibilities that you may face obstacles in your career pathway. You must not be afraid to shift careers whenever in need.
  • Idleness
People who are lethargic and lazy can never achieve their goal in their working space. They lack the energy and faith and do not give hundred percent to their task.
  • Be stern and alert
This is one of the most essential functions of an employee. You may fall prey to a bad person so to avoid any such circumstance be on your guards. Do not let anyone else persecute or intimidate you.
  • Awful bonding with your superior
You must be aware of the fact that your boss plays a major role in your life. As an employee you must keep on mind that you have to perform according to his or her instruction. You must never get into any controversy with your senior as it is sure to give you a bad name in your office. You may even end up losing your job.
  • Not realizing your occupation is just the first step
You are bound to come across many jobs in your professional life. The job that you possess right now may be temporary; there are chances you could switch over to another company. So never take anything for granted and look ahead for better opportunities.
  • Thinking your present job is going to last forever
You must have seen that there are many reputed organisations and companies that had flourished in the beginning but later collapsed or split up owing to some problem. So there is sudden fluctuation in the economy of the world. Hence you must never rely on the job that you are engaged in but always keep choices in your mind.
  • Must devote yourself
You should never give up on polishing your chief working skill and talent. The knowledge that you have acquired may not be sufficient as the working scenario keeps changing with time.
  • Neglecting network
You must have good networking with others. You may feel you do not need it right now but later you will definitely require so it is important to build contacts with others.
  • Absence of social media
You must make use of social media in your career. In this highly advanced technological platform one cannot function accurately without the involvement of media. So you must understand the importance of media.
  • Depending on others
You generally believe that your professional life is depended on your employer but that is absolutely your wrong notion. This leads to a big time career crash.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

11 Shocking Truths about World Education

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
- Nelson Mandela.

We can hardly under play the role and importance education has in one’s life. But then many of us are unaware of the shocking truths about world education. Many of us, cannot imagine the hardships, the others undertake to receive mere basic education. Illiteracy is a burning issue even in this 21st Century.

Some of these shocking truths about World Education are mentioned below:

  • 1 out of 5 adults in this modern world cannot read or write. They have not received the basic education and hence remain illiterate.

  • Majority of the Illiterates are Women. Though most of the developed and developing countries proclaim about “Women Emancipation and Empowerment” but the hard fact is illiteracy rates among women exceed 70%.

  • About 115 million children don’t have basic primary education, as they are not admitted to schools due to various reasons.

  • About 226 million children, drop out after completion of their primary schooling and hence doesn’t have secondary school qualifications.

  • Many of the children, who have somehow completed their secondary level, do not even have the basic reading and writing skills as their schools lacked proper teachers, books and study materials as well as the infrastructure require to give a proper education.

  • Many children miss out on the basic education as their parents are not financially stable to bear their education cost. Moreover they are made to work somewhere, so that they start earning from a very young age and can start contributing to the family income.

  • In many developing schools, public school is not free of cost. In order to attend classes, one needs to buy books, uniform and pay tuition fees which the families can’t afford and hence their children has to skip education.

  • Many children drop out from school as they are discriminated on the basis of racial and ethnic minorities, members of Indigenous communities and migrants.

  • In spite of being in the 21st Century and claiming to bridge the technological divide through the growing access to Internet, the hardcore fact remains Social traditions and deep-rooted religious and cultural beliefs still prevent girls from attending schools.

  • Whenever the parents face some financial issues, they stop sending the girl child to school. This is not so in case of boys. As many as two out of three out-of-school children are girls.

  • Research shows Educated girls and women are more aware of HIV infection, molestation, human trafficking. They marry at a much later stage and have fewer children who have higher chances of going to school and these educated women also make handsome contributions to family income.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Why Stick to a Single Career throughout your Entire Life?

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan

Many of us desire to give wings to our dreams of doing something creative and quench our thirst for creativity. But very few take the plunge and shift from the current job fearing less pay in a new venture and do what we love and then there some amongst us who throw caution to the winds and take that plunge.

One such person is Morgan Jensen. She is a practicing chiropractor for the past 20 years but she wanted to give wings to her dreams and become a product designer. But her profession was not letting her use her skills. But then one day, while treating her patients, she decided to design a backpack that is going to relieve people of their backache. It was her most challenging patients that gave her the idea to combine her practice with her passion and she came up with this ergonomic and more importantly a stylish backpack.

But the fulfillment of every dream comes with its share of hurdle. Morgan was 55Years when she came up with this idea. She was at a loss as how to promote this bag and raise money for its marketing? That's when she decided register to Kickstarter, a crowd funding site to display and test the demand for "the City Bag" (her backpack). The amazing feedback she got and the money she got from the crowd was enough to make her realize that it was time to shift careers.

Aimee Gilbreath was in a similar scenario as her passion and profession were poles apart. After completing her MBA, she started working as a consultant with Boston Consulting Group. Though the job was very satisfying, her heart was somewhere else. Having grown up with cats, dogs, horses, she always wanted to do something for animals. Hence she joined the local pet adoption center. But soon her hopes crashed as she realized people out there were more concerned with internal politics rather than adopting and caring for the animals. So she left.

However, a few months later, she chanced upon an advertisement on the newspaper looking for an Executive Director at the pet adoption center. Aimee wasted no time and called them up. Soon she realized that both shared the same vision and interests. After a bunch of successful interviews, she is now associated with the center. Though her current salary is less compared to her previous one, but she has no regrets. Under her skills, the adoption center has grown from a staff of 2 members to 40 employees and takes care of more than 90,000 pets.

Changing careers is a very big decision and more often than not, success rate is slow. But research shows that most people regret not because of what they have done, mainly because of what they did not do. Lost chances and not taking the risk is the major regret factor rather than trying and failing. So take that plunge and go for the career change which you have been longing for quite some time. After all if there is a will, there is a way!

Learning has to Conquer Many Obstacles in its Path

A liberal education is at the heart of a civil society, and at the heart of a liberal education is the act of teaching.” - A. Bartlett Giamatti

The public discussion on education in relation to how it has been depicted in the media has often De-generated the discussion into a debate. The public education system is indeed in a crisis. Efforts have to be taken by the educational institutions, parents and governments to bring about the required change. Many countries are coming up with ideas to cope up with the situation. For-Example lets discuss about South Africa and its education system. What South Africa currently needs is an all encompassing education dialogue exchange between all the stake holders. This will help in a better understanding of the prevailing obstacles and the reasons for why they exist. The dialogue should focus on solutions and seek to build the desire to take collective action.

Issues that create Obstacles in the Path of Learning:

With the ever increasing poverty, some of the core needs of children are not adequately met at home and invariably it gets dragged to the school. In many case, children’s coming to school didn’t have a proper breakfast to eat and are in poor health and have lack of proper physical development and hence are unprepared to learn and often display behavioural problems in class. The schools and educational institutes too have to take additional responsibility. Their concern should not be limited to provide the mere education.

In addition to this, is the lack of proper educational infrastructure and payment of the teachers on time. A proper educational setting has to be there to give proper and adequate education to the child so that it contributes to their overall development. These conditions cannot be overlooked nor should they be confused with lack of commitment factor on part of the teachers.

Measures to curb the prevailing situation:

So why do we need this dialogue? Because the existing problems in education system are complex and many-sided. What is required is a collective effort on everybody’s part so that it leads to the proper overall growth of the child.

What is striking about these dialogues is that the participants don’t suffer from helplessness but are eager to confront and overcome the challenges faced. The desire for a better education system and a brighter future of the country is what drives their conversations.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Education is the Key to Stop Extremism and Vandalism

Though there has been immense improvement in the lifestyle of people in the world, there are many things which have still not changed. Still we come across inhuman behavior, corruption, aggression, destruction, violence and all sorts of terrorism that disturbs the decorum of the world. Literacy rate has increased over the years yet flaw exists.

We must keep in mind that if we want our world to be an abode of serenity and peacefulness we must take some necessary steps. The first vital thing that we require to do is educate each and everyone in the world. Education is the substance for fortune, commercial progress, self-fortitude and affluence.

In most of the Muslim countries people become victims of terrorism and crime. They face intolerable pain and suffering. Life seems to have no meaning for them. They struggle every moment with the hope that someday things will get better but things get worse day by day for them. It is the uneducated men in these countries who inhumanly torture everyone in their societies and mostly women are the maximum sufferers.

So we must aim at educating both men and women in these countries. The uneducated men in these countries avert women from being learned. It is these heartless men who brutally torture the women in their society. People getting rebellious with arms only lead to vengeance and assassination. The best way to bring transformation to this chaotic situation is to make use of the power of education.

Breaking into wars with weapons may just give instant contentment but in the long run it creates a gulf between the people in the society. It leads to more hostility and harm to the society. It is time to make the world a better place to live in so the government and the leaders of the nation must intelligently look into the matters that is disturbing the stability in the country.

The government must take the initiative to educate every being in the society at affordable cost. The people must also be endowed with morals and ethics to remain stable or well balanced and keep up with the solemnity in the society. Equal rights to everything should be provided to both men and women. There should be no gender bias and there would be eternal peace in the world.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A Solid Investment is needed in pre-K programs to make a Nation's Education sector more firm!

Pre-kindergarten (also called Pre-K or PK) is the first classroom-based learning environment that a child customarily attends in the United States. It begins between the ages of 3-5 depending on the length of the program. It was created to prepare students for a more didactic and academically intensive kindergarten and is the traditional "first" class that school children participate in. Project Head Start was founded in 1965, as the first federally funded pre-kindergarten program. The majority of pre-kindergarten programs have been operated by private organizations for the purpose of socialization and educational benefits since 1922.
{Source: Andrews & Slate (March 2002). "Public & Private Pre-Kindergarten Programs: A Comparison of Student Readiness". Educational Research Quarterly 25 (3): 59.}

Why Pre – K programs are a necessity?

Pre– K programs plays a significant role in shaping up a child. With the amount of pressure and competitiveness a child has to face, right from the beginning, when they have to appear for the interview process in order to get admission in good schools, the contribution of Pre K programs cannot be ignored. Pre – K Programs helps in
The contribution of Pre – K Programs is recently highlighted by the Alabama School Readiness Alliance Pre-K Task Force when they made a proposal to strengthen and develop the state’s pre-k programs, by requesting the state to make a 10-year, $125 million investment in the program.
Mike Luce, a co-chair of the taskforce, said although education funding has been tight in recent years, more money is beginning to flow into the state’s education trust fund and many lawmakers seem amenable to investing in pre-K. “We’ve got some very strong support in the Legislature to get something done,” he said.

For every $1 invested in pre-K programs the state saves $2 in social costs caused due to ill-prepared students such as custody, welfare payments.

Denise Vincent, a literacy coordinator said that the benefits of Pre – K Programs are many. They are beneficial not only for the child but also helps the parents by providing them the options of childcare and thus providing them the opportunity to continue their work or attend classes.

Pre – K Programs will not only channelise the child’s energy and enthusiasm in the proper direction but will also make them better and quick learners with an creative bent of mind. The early exposure to “building blocks” and answering questions seeing “pictures” i.e. “pictography” helps to develop the child’s visual memory. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Michigan Public Education Finance Act has opened the doors to Online Learning in the K-12 level!

Michigan Public Education Finance Act will change the future of education in Michigan. The Act is proposing to introduce “Online Learning” in K-12 Education. The students will be allowed to not only allow students to choose school districts but also make greater use of online learning tools and earn financial incentives of $2,500 per semester for completing high school early.

The proposed Michigan Public Education Finance Act would replace the School Aid Act of 1979, the law that governs education funding, and provide for learning at "any time, any place, any way and at any pace," said Richard McLellan, the Lansing attorney Snyder tapped to lead a rewrite of the law on how Michigan pays for education.

The proposed draft bill intends to bring about the following changes:

  • The bill proposes to remove district ownership of students, so that the students can be permitted to get all or part of their education from any public district in the state that accepts them. However the districts would have the final cal to decide whether they will participate in open enrollment or not.

  • The districts would have to allow the students to access online learning from across the state and the cost will be borne by the State. However districts that provide online course will receive public funding based on the performance.

  • It will provide allow students to join any district and will provide for per student funding. Each student can go for multi districts. However to comply with the Michigan Constitution, funding will not be given to students opting for private schools.

  • Provide a framework for funding based on performance, once the proper assessment and testing mechanisms are in place.

  • The bill proposes to give scholarships of $2,500 per semester, to a maximum of $10,000, to those students who will finish high school early.

  • The bill proposes to promote year-round schooling by going for a 180-day school year, spread over 12 months instead of 9, with a break of no more than 2 weeks.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Does Exam Success Really make students happy?

Exam Success

Michael Gove, a British politician currently the Secretary of State for Education recently quoted “Tough exams favoring students who can memorize page after page of facts should be a central part of the school experience.” This education minister seems to be going back to the basics of the traditionalist way of approaching education leaving all the modernists surprised. He is one of the firm believers that traditional techniques guarantee higher educational standards. He further added that, “Exams matter because motivation matters, humans are hard-wired to seek out challenges. And our self-belief grows as we clear challenges we once thought beyond us. The satisfaction of passing tough exams spurs us on to further endeavors and deeper learning.”

This speech has indeed left all of us motivated to go back to the basics and do what is best suited for the youth of today considering they are the future of tomorrow. His speech is a must read piece for the students since it is for the students, especially for their betterment. The pattern of education should be changed in such a way that it becomes more of a pleasurable experience for the students whenever they study. Classroom should not just be limited to books but also the practical application of the knowledge so that people not just read up their books as a mere machines but understand what they are reading and how to apply it in the course of their life. This way education will not just become learning but would also become fun learning.

Examination is used a s a tool to analyze the aptitude of the students, the exams should be so designed that it puts to test the memorizing skills of the students as well because the ability to test the memory of the students is also something which holds prime importance.

Hence it is time to re-design examination patterns in order to re-design the future.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

State Board of Education to Debate about the need of learning Cursive Writing in Schools

With the advancement of technology and different softwares available, we are becoming more and more dependent on texting, messaging or email for communicating with the world. We hardly write to convey our viewpoints. With the diffusion of mobile phones at a very early age, the dependency on electronic gadget increases.

Nowadays most of the phones are of smart phones variations with high end softwares which enable one to type out the information, photocopy or scan documents without making the effort to write those in normal paper. As a result the habit of writing notes is increasingly getting lost in the midst of all these gadgets and children hardly write anything to communicate.

Cursive writing

In the recent times, many parents have noticed that Cursive writing is not a part of their children’s curriculum any more. With the inroad of computer and internet at school level, most teens are opting for email and instant messaging to normal written letters.

Cursive writing is no longer a requirement as per The Common Core Standards for English, adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010. But prior to that as well there were no instructions regarding cursive writing being taught in Kansas classrooms.

It’s a motor skill like any number of other motor skills,” said Kathy Toelkes, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Education. “Curriculum has always been a local board decision,” she said. “We set standards and guidelines for what students should know and be able to do … but cursive handwriting and handwriting in general has not been a part of that.”

The lack of cursive writing was also noticed in Indiana, when the State Department of Education sent a memo to principals noting that the Common Core Standards “do not include cursive writing at all.” “Instead, students are expected to become proficient with keyboarding skills,” the memo said.
Chappell (Kansas board member), is not sure whether inspite of this memo, cursive writing will be made a part of the education system.

My opinion is, we need all of the above: We need to be able to work with technology, but we have to make sure kids can still write and communicate. Why give up on it?”

But if we concentrate on the prevailing situation, we will notice that the importances of handwritten documents have diminished. Most of the documents, projects, reports, essay writing submitted in schools are typed out copies or scanned version of typed documents. Students hardly submit hand written articles. As a result their chance of using and practicing cursive writing has been reduced to a great extent. If the State Boards initiative to implement Cursive Writing in regular syllabus is incorporated, then there still is a hope for the revival of the oldest art of writing.

Monday, 12 November 2012

People Revolutionizing Education in Today's World: A Quick Look

It is a known and proven fact that education paves the path to success.Education widens our perceptive and makes us want to contribute towards the progress of mankind. And that is the only reason why young minds seek knowledge. Education is very important for change.

Change is the only constant without which the world would be trapped in stagnation. Change brings about freshness of ideas. Aristotle once described revolution as the ‘modification of an existing constitution’. Unless we modify what already exists in the world, we cannot even think of changing the tides of time.

With the advent of technology the world picked up pace and added a new dimension to everything including education. With technology growing in leaps and bounds, the world has now become easily accessible to everyone. This has helped students across the globe. According to Forbes 15 people have had a great impact on Education.

15 people who revolutionised education

Anant Agarwal , Norman Atkins , Stacey Childress , Eddy Cue , Paul LeBlanc , Jose Ferreira , Sal Khan , Daphne Koller , Alan Louie , Ted Mitchell , Roland Packard , Osman Rashid , Sebastian Thrun ,

 Suneet Singh Tuli , Jessie Woolley-Wilson

The CEO of Datawind, Mr. Suneet Singh Tuli is the mastermind behind the world’s cheapest tablet computer, Aakash. This device is said to have the potential to transform educational admittance in developing countries. Priced at $35, the tablet has over a million orders already.

Aakash Tablet
Mr. Tuli
"I don't care about creating the iPad killer. I care about the 3 billion people who can afford this device."
- Mr. Suneet Singh Tuli
  • Through this device, children all over the world can now afford to spend less but have access to a mini computer that will help them with education. They can now study at online colleges and tutorials that do not cost a fortune. To help the youth to use this technology further, Mr. Anant Agarwal, professor of computer science at MIT and president of edX. edX is the new online offering of MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard and the University of Texas.

Mr. Agarwal

"We've created dramatic access to learning for students worldwide. By reinventing online learning, we can dramatically improve what we do on campus,"
-Mr Agarwal

EdX continues to
bring forth new technology like online laboratories. Such facilities help students worldwide to study subjects they have always wanted to study.
  • Stacey Childress sees to where Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s money is spent, gave away $278 million last year to institutions that incorporate technology and learning.
  • Jose Farreira, founder Knewton, uses revolutionary data mining techniques to create tailored lesson plans for students.
  • Salman Khan, founder Khan Academy, has devised unique educational videos which have been uploaded on the web. These videos have been downloaded 180 million times, a wonderful way for youngsters to learn.
  • Daphne Koller, has launched Coursera, a commercial platform that offers 200 classes from 33 universities at zero cost to 1.5 million students.
  • Jessie Woolley-Wilson, CEO Dreambox Learning, has delivered fifty million online lesson minutes in the past twelve months, privately and schools.
Education has now become a necessity for the youth, as they are the leaders of tomorrow. It is not possible for everyone to study at prestigious colleges and universities as they are expensive and not very accessible to every single budding genius. Few people can make all the difference in making education more accessible.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Conflict of Aspirations and Skepticism in Obama's Education Reforms

The American voters have extended the White House stay of Obama for second term for four more years. Economic concerns were the key focus over the 2012 presidential race as there was an urgent need to help the nation recover from its economic recession. While discussing higher education policies in his campaign trails this year, Obama brought to light his administration’s expansion of federal aid programs. Education indeed seemed to be a hot topic in the campaign trails of both the candidates.

Now that the results are out, we are to see how well Obama turns his plans and promises into actions. It is been estimated that off all the votes the president was able to bag, 60 percent of the voters aged 18-29. Let us take a quick look at two of out of the several reasons that earns him the title of a student friendly president:

  • Obama has adjusted the federal student loan system and now the repayments are based in income rather than on the amount borrowed.
  • The president has stopped the doubling of the student federal loan rates and has increased funding for Pell Grants that provide financial support to disadvantaged students.
What Next?
Several new regulations are expected to take birth in the coming months and these include new rules governing teacher preparation programs and a new round of rule making to deal with frauds. There are some speculations that are going on about how the president will deal with his education reforms. Let us take a quick tour:
  • The president’s victory implies that colleges can expect federal financial aid though the support would be largely through making halts in deep spending cuts rather than spending new money in higher education programs.
  • In the next 10 years he wishes to cut down the amount by which tuition fees rise every year to half.
  • He visions America to be having the highest proportion of university graduates in the world by 2020.
  • He looks forward to support job training initiatives through partnerships with community colleges and private college in this term. He promises that this would result in a 2 million job placements.
  • He is expected to continue with advocating the Pell Grant in the budget negotiations as he has been doing for the last four years.
Only Time will Tell whats in store

What the Center for Education Reform had to say?
The leadership of The Center for Education Reform says “We praised the President in his first term for reminding the nation of our serious problems with K-12 education….that this support was an impediment to meaningful reforms that could lead to better schools and more educational choices”. Some of the suggestions offered to the president for his second term by the Center for Education Reform include:
  • To work across all education sectors and to be open to the ideas from cities and communities rather than listening to just special interest groups.
  • Encourage choice and charters so that students from failing schools are provided with better choices.
  • Ensure more flexibility in approach by reforming the No Child Left Behind law.

Is it worth it?
Well who can better answer this than the students? They have taken a risk in choosing Obama over the business savvy Romney and they have to wait and watch whether they have laid their bets on the right candidate for the second time.
Jeffrey Henig, a political scientist at Teachers College, Columbia University states “It's clear the Obama administration will continue to make education a priority”. There are huge expectations and the entire nation is looking up to how he gives shapes to his plans.
The higher education advocates are of the view that in his second term, Obama will most likely change the nation’s education policy by deploying his own executive and regulatory authority and sidestepping a bitterly divided Congress. The last four years saw the Obama led administration argue that it will not wait for Congress to pass education reforms in both schools and higher education. His legacy as a student friendly president will depend greatly on whether he can stick to his election promises.

Role of Education in the 2012 US Presidential Elections

Well, another presidential cycle ends and it is the perfect time not to just tally wins and losses but to reflect on the nature of the political system of America. Obama definitely won with a better ground game. The Obama campaign spent heavily while Romney could not even launch a range of synchronized attacks.

This year education was a key-issue for voters. Though education did not top the voter’s list the polling results tell a different story altogether. According to the governors, education is a top priority just next to economy and jobs. Majority of the American voters believe that investing in education and innovation is one of the best ways to help grow the country’s economy.

The Image says it all
Education definitely emerged as an unexpected star in the president’s campaign. The contrast in the education policies showed its results in the election poll results. Romney hardly spoke about education on his campaign trails and his education plan missed a lot of details. He left the people unsure about what he would do as president when it came to education. People believed that he should get more serious about education.

A study conducted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund found out that Obama has made “unprecedented investments in education”. His programs were directed towards failing schools and student poverty. On the other hand, Romney’s plan that focused on vouchers would weaken the liability systems that protect unprivileged students. Romney had been inconsistent as well on whether he would cut the federal education funding.

Around 80 percent of the American voters consider education important. They support increased funding for public education even if it meant rising of taxes. Let us take a quick tour through some of the important features of education policies of Obama:
  • Both Obama and Romney supported the revisions of the No Child Left Behind education law. But he and Obama differ on the federal role in education and voucher program that make use of public money to send children to private schools.

  • Obama supported the cry for colleges to be made more accessible. This earned him the approval from Congress for a $ 10, 000 college tax credit for four years and increases in Pell grants and other monetary aids.

  • Education is central theme in Obama’s 2013 budget proposal. Again, Obama’s package included $100 billion for education and this he claimed to save about 300, 000 jobs. This also helped to fund his Race to the Top grants for states and this even received support from Republicans as it promoted school turnarounds, better teacher evaluations and charter schools.

  • Obama understands that class size matters and in an effort to make sure that the classrooms are not overcrowded he has taken initiatives to protect top quality teachers from layoffs.

  • President Obama does not want costs to be a barrier for higher education. This is the reason that he has formulated a lot of policies to make college more affordable for students and their parents.

Why does it matter?

More than 8 out of 10 Americans state that education is very important to them and they only keep economy above education. According to studies it has been found out that US lags behind other countries in reading math and science. The country is also stated to fail to be able to compete globally. Again, the cost of higher education is leaving students buried in debts or they are unable to afford all of it. There is a growing cry all across the nation for need of college and some post-high school training to be able to succeed in the job market. Obama asked all Americans to commit to at least one year of college or career training. The nation still seems to be far from its goals to lead the world in the percentage of college graduates by 2020.

This year the nation saw offerings of two extremely different visions and plans for the country’s future. Nowhere was the contrast more apparent than it was in education. It goes without saying that education did play an important role in the presidential election of 2012. It gave all the Americans a sobering reminder that in spite of all the political rhetoric about equality of opportunity, the guarantee for world class education for all Americans is a factor not to be overlooked.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Obama yet again and over Romney

Candidates need to touch upon all relevant areas that demand developmental attention while they are gearing up for election, more so if it is for Presidential election and that too for a nation like the United States of America. Well we seem to have found the clear winner who will be the epitome of power for the next four years. America has finally taken their call and chosen Mr. Barack Hussein Obama to be the most powerful man in the world. Who would have thought this man with a mixed racial background struggled his way to the top, fighting all evils be it his racial background, the absence of his father whom he considers a “myth” that eventually led to his use of marijuana and cocaine in his youth and his struggle to give up all of these and finally emerge as the most powerful man of the most powerful nation. Sure life has come a long way for him!

The must know facts that gave Obama an edge over Romney are too many to count but both touched upon all the relevant areas that demands development. The most interesting of the lot is their plans towards education. The curly haired Obama plans to strengthen public education with a promise of hiring one lakh new mathematics and science teachers in the next ten years. This man sure has his facts right, knowing that science is the key towards nation building and would help in contributing towards the nation’s economy, thus he creates such a provision.

He scored brownie points during his campaign when he further pushed the envelope by saying he will continue to support the program Race to The Top, his brainchild emerged in 2009 providing education funding to states only after they meet certain criteria.

Mitt Romney had prior exposure in politics and refers to himself as “severely conservative”. His promises towards education are providing more incentives to the states that wish to improve their education.

The add-ons he vouched for are supporting the alternatives to public education and catering greater freedom to parents when they choose a school for their child based on the performance of the school. Romney’s educational plans were not specific but he broadly spoke about working towards both the private as well as the public sector to increase the academic performance of the students.

It seems that the people of America have chosen their path of education by electing the candidate who best suits their pattern of education. After all education is the key towards a better future and they have not just sealed their desired route for education but also their desired President.