Education Talking Points | 23/11/2017

In today’s talking points: Western Australian Government introduces compulsory language program into schools; United States Justice Department looks into Harvard’s admission policies; Education, China’s highest priority; Australian students surprisingly rank 10th.


Western Australian Government introduces compulsory language program into schools

The Western Australian Government has introduced a new curriculum change for all year 3 students to learn a new language. The most popular languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, French, German and Italian have a developed syllabus while other languages such as Korean or aboriginal can be taught if the syllabus is approved by authorities. While many schools previously did teach a language to students, these new changes will affect up to 269 schools which did not have a language program. According to the Western Australian Department of Education, learning a language has many benefits including: Improving memory and brain function, enhancing literacy skills and comprehension, and accelerates ability to read and write.

Read more at: ABC


United States Justice Department looks into Harvard’s admission policies

The US Justice Department will force Harvard University to hand over documents relating to its admission policies by December 1st in an attempt to investigate whether their admission policies violate civil rights laws by discriminating against Asian-American applicants. On the other hand, the university claims they have completely complied with the law stating that, “half of the freshmen admitted in 2017 were women, more than one in five was Asian and almost 15 percent African-American.”

Read more at: China Daily


Education, China’s highest priority

With China’s growing economy and the need for innovation, there are serious concerns its worker will not have the skills required to support themselves. A commonly held misconception is that China is bursting with math and science geniuses. Whereas, in reality less than 9% of Chinese had attended school beyond the secondary level according to the 2010 census. From 2008 to 2016, the total number of graduates actually decreased by 1%. As China transforms its economy into an entirely developed one by 2050, education will be the driving force determining this success.

Read more at: Bloomberg


Australian students problem-solving skills surprisingly rank 10th out of 56 OECD countries

According to the first OECD research on collaborative problem-solving skills, Australian students ranked 10th out of 56 countries. The test was conducted in 2015, on 15 year old’s, as part of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The research found, those countries who perform well in maths, science and reading, generally also outperforming their counterparts in problem-solving skills. The 10th place result was considered surprising based on Australian students’ scores in maths (25th), science (14th) and reading (16th).

Read more at: The Sydney Morning Herald