April 2016 First Week Round Up

By Kiran Gandhi

The excitement this week was a bit muted as far as higher education news was concerned. The summer enrichment programmes has been a continuing theme from last week. Contrasting challenges and how they are dealt with has been a common thread in education news this week.

While sending students to college has been the challenge for the US state of Idaho, for Texas, the challenge was students not being college-ready. The article on magicvalley.com by Scott Maben of the Spokesman-Review cites the reasons for the low college-enrolment percentage of Idaho. One interesting reason is the family influence. The children literally follow in their parents’ footsteps; as many of the parents did not go to college their children also follow suit. Idaho has a very high percentage of first-generation college students owing to this trend. Programs like Direct admissions, Opportunity scholarship have been started to address this. Near Peer mentors is one innovative program in which recent college graduates are hired to guide students in matters related to post-secondary education. Meanwhile according to Texas Education agency’s data, only 54% of the students are college-ready. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the state senate’s education and higher-education committees will be meeting to come up with plans to improve college and career readiness.

Education fairs and seminars made the news this week; particularly striking was the free seminar to be organised by the College Student Development Centre (an agency founded with the aim of improving post-secondary education attainment rates in US) in Hollywood, Florida, the South Florida Times reported. Chennai was the host for Edex Education expo 2016, where students could get guidance on promising higher-education avenues. Chennai will again play the host next week for the Hindu Education Plus fair where students and parents can interact with experts from different fields.

The Mumbai University received invitations from the Kingdom of UAE and Dubai (Dubai invited separately) to set up its campuses there, the Times of India reported. Opening another avenue of international education for Asian students was The Salzburg Urstein Institut, in Austria. The Austrian University has started a Master’s degree program for Asians seeking higher learning. A variety of cultural and practical activities including cooking and skiing are also part of the program.

The Canadian Press reported on the increasing number of skills programs coming up to address the needs of the tech industry in Canada. The Canadian tech industry apparently is finding it hard to recruit tech talents and the job opportunities are immense for people with requisite tech skills. As the Universities are not able to fill the industry demand, skills programs camps are burgeoning. Quite contrary to this is the news from North-west Arkansas. Career education is in vogue in high-schools across North-west Arkansas, according to Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. High-schools are now shifting their academies towards a career-focused approach. A change from ‘preparing for college’ to ‘preparing for a career’ is evident here. Sticking with the re-designing of high-school curriculum, the school-within-a- school concept (developed by Junior Achievement and a cohort of business partners) has been gaining accolades in Atlanta. The high-school curriculum has been re-designed to include business concepts and the focus on the use of rational thinking is helping the students, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Cloverdale High school in California has been focusing their energies on preparing traditionally under-served students for college. Getting more Latino and low-income students to take Advanced Placement Courses, AP and SAT exams have been their focus. Their and such other efforts were recognised when the Cloverdale Unified school district was selected for the Gaston Caperton Opportunity Honor Roll (a list of 130 districts across the U.S. that are being recognized for creating opportunities for traditionally underrepresented students.).

Quote of the week

The world is one big village; it is our responsibility to prepare ourselves [and] future generations to cross cultural boundaries to understand, experience and make use of what we can learn from each other,” – VeronikaGmachl-Abdul, Managing Director of Salzburg Urstein Institut, Austria.

About the Author

I-1936 Kiran-1Kiran Gandhi

Kiran Gandhi hails from the state of Kerala in India. He is currently pursuing Post Graduate diploma in Print Journalism from the Institute of Journalism, Trivandrum .He has a degree in Engineering from the Cochin University of Science & Technology.