By Kiran Gandhi
Adjectives best describe this week.
- Tragic- the Belgium bombings
- Historic- Obama’s Cuba visit
Michelle Obama championed the cause of cross-cultural exchange when she sported a Kashmiri gown during her visit in Cuba. The higher education scene also witnessed similar attempts at cultural exchange (though not strictly in a fashion sense) this week.
Sticking to fashion, an exchange program for Dutch and Filipino students will take place in partnership with Slim’s Fashion and Art school as part of the celebrations marking 65 years of diplomatic relations between Netherlands and Philippines, the Inquirer Libre reported. The Embassy of France has announced academic scholarship programs, offered either as part of an exchange or a degree-awarding program in all levels and fields of study in France for Filipinos, Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. To another Asian country China and here a dictation competition is what is forging cultural ties. The Pivot Dictation Competition (a French language based spelling competition) sponsored by French Cosmetic giant Pierre Fabre gets the credit for that, according to China daily.
Come summer and there is a plethora of enrichment programs. Trying to be innovative with their summer enrichment programs is the Summit schools in Colorado, US. The design and motivation of the program which is in its second year is to keep kids’ minds sharp, maintain year-round enthusiasm for learning and allow ingenuity and originality to flourish, according to summitdaily.com. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that students can now apply for the Upward Bound program at Arkansas State University. It is a federally funded program to help students in eight through eleventh grades to develop the skills necessary to enter and complete post-secondary education.Through Upward Bound, students receive additional classroom instruction,tutoring, academic and career counselling, ACT preparation (The ACT (American College Testing) is one of the strongest benchmarks and most used indicators of college readiness across the county. ACT sets college readiness benchmarks, which are strong indicators of a student’s likelihood of success for entry into college level courses in the core areas of math, science, reading, and English.), college experience through attendance in summer camp, and development of cultural enrichment and social skills.
Students are not the only ones undergoing training at this time of the year. Star Malaysia reported an English Enrichment Training Programme (EETP) for teachers there to provide them with more skills to enhance their English teaching. Another English related programme from Arkansas, US were also in the news. The English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) programme (The ESOL programme is designedto help children who speak languages other than English to achieve academically at school and help them socialize better with other students) atGravette Schools put up a multi-cultural event to help parents and family members celebrate other cultures, diversity and learning together, the Westside Eagle-observer reported.
A marked departure from the College-preparatory courses bandwagon was the news from Norway where the researchers at the University of Nordland pondered over the question, “what motivates high school students to pursue college education?”. According to sciencenordic.com the research found providing information to be the most effective motivator. “We find that parents and friends have influenced the student in only a limited degree,” says Researcher Thor-Erik Sandberg Hanssen. They need to be told why it is wise to get a higher education, according to him and in that respect the school’s advisory services can be helpful. The theory gets some vindication from North-west Arkansas where students have been hailing advisory classes as really helpful in dealing with school and improving their social skills. According to North-west Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, High schools across Northwest Arkansas schedule time at least once a week for students to meet with an adviser who keeps track of how they are doing in their classes, offers guidance on planning forafter high school and assists students with social skills.
The information literacy programme by University of Lesotho and Tshwane University of Technology in association with Central University of Technology was the main news from Africa. The Programme will assist post-graduate students with their research, the New Age (Western Cape) reported. Meanwhile Daily News reported Centre for Continuing and Professional Education‘s (CCPE) (a division of Durban University of Technology) programmes aimed at the diverse group of life-long learners. There are professional courses, fun courses, credit and non-credit bearing courses and even customised courses.
About the Author
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.