Education Talking Points | 08/12/2017

In today’s talking points: Julia Gillard commends China for providing thousands of children access to “quality education;” “Life-changing” Australian study experience shared during English lessons in rural China; Australian literacy rates rise six places; Prestigious British school sets up six branches in China


Julia Gillard commends China for providing thousands of children access to “quality education”

During a recent visit to the People’s Republic of China, Former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, expressed her belief in the “win-win” nature of partnerships between Australia and China, especially in the fields of education and scientific research. Gillard also noted China’s ability to “make sure hundreds of thousands of children get a quality education even in remote locations outside urban centers,” and excite students to study science, technology, engineering and math. As Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, Gillard has focused much of her energy since leaving leadership on improving education in developing countries. On China’s involvement in the Global Partnership for Education, Gillard said, “there’s technical collaboration and good ideas from China that can be shared with other nations.”

Read more at: China Daily


“Life-changing” Australian study experience shared during English lessons in rural China

University of Queensland graduate, Liu Xiaochun, shared her “life-changing” experience studying in Australia with a group of girls from Gansu and Guizhou Provinces, as part of a free English lesson program organised by the Australia-China Youth Association (ACYA) and Educating Girls of Rural China (EGRC). EGRC, founded in 2005 by Chinese-Canadian Tien Ching, promotes the education of women as a foundational key to societal improvement. The foundation helps students to attend college by providing financial assistance for living expenses, allowing students to devote more of their time to their studies and campus experience. Reflecting on her experience in Gansu, Liu said, “Every time when I shared the emotional moments in my life, I could tell from the girls’ eyes that they were empowered, or inspired, and so was I.”

Read more at: China Daily


Australian literacy rates rise six places

Recently released Progress in International Reading Literacy Study rankings show that Australian primary literacy rates have improved by 6 places, jumping from 27th in 2011 to 21st in 2017. The study examined 580,000 students across 50 countries to assess their reading and literacy abilities. Australia outranked other developed nations including Spain, Portugal and New Zealand. Despite the improvements however, issues still persist within the education system. The number of students in the lowest benchmark remained unchanged at 7%, while the number of students reading at an intermediate level was 69% at disadvantaged schools compared to 80% generally. Sue Thomson of the Australian Education Union indicated that despite the positive change, more work needs to be done to address the needs of children who continue to struggle.

Read more at: The Guardian


Prestigious British school sets up six branches in China

The Westminster School, one of Britain’s top public education institutions plans to operate 6 schools in China to teach the Chinese national curriculum. The Guardian cites that the school is quite excited ‘about being able to influence [the] education of Chinese pupils in China’. Education specialists such as Xiong Bingqi from Shanghai Jiaotong University, and Steve Tsang from the China Institute at London university however note the many limitations that the Westminster School may face in its attempts to alter any teachings provided by the Chinese curriculum, both emphasising the imperative to abide by local rules.

Read more at: The Guardian