In today’s Talking Points: Budget cut leaves university places unfunded; Theresa May announces £500 Chinese education deal; Finnish Education System pioneer slams NAPLAN; Sex education training held in Beijing
Budget cut leaves university places unfunded
According to Universities Australia, close to 10,000 Australian university places will be left without government funding following budget cuts announced in December. The cuts will freeze funding at 2017 levels for the next two years, which will amount to a 1.5% reduction in 2018 when indexation is taken into account. Education minister Simon Birmingham insists that per student funding is still at its highest despite the announcement, criticising the amount spent by higher education institutions on advertising and marketing. According to UA, newer universities are likely to be the hardest hit, lacking the alternative funding that older institutions are able to draw on.
Read more at: ABC
Theresa May announces £500m Chinese education deal
During her three day in-country visit to China, British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a £500m education deal focusing on teaching and language exchange programs. The deal is predicted to create more 800 jobs in the UK, and it is hoped will grow the number of Chinese students choosing to study there from the 155,000 currently. As part of the deal, teachers from China and the UK will be able to take part in an exchange program, with teachers from each country having the opportunity to study abroad for two weeks to learn from each other. May also announced the launch of the new ‘English is Great’ program, which seeks to promote and improve English language learning in China.
Read more at: Independent
Finnish Education System pioneer slams NAPLAN
Finnish education expert Dr Pasi Sahlberg was instrumental in designing Finland’s education system where children ‘start at age 7, enjoy 15 minutes of play per hour and are not subject to standardized testing’. Sahlberg, who will take up an academic post at the University of New South Wales, believes that NAPLAN, Australia’s standardised testing system may actually be harmful to children. He says that the idea of such testing narrows the idea of intelligence and neglects the importance of development in music, sports and the social sciences. Programs like NAPLAN, lead to schools ‘teaching the test’ and stunt creativity and critical thinking by teachers. When a school claims they do things that are ‘good for the children [as opposed to merely fulfilling policy requirements]’, says Sahlberg, does he know it is a good school.
Read more at: Sydney Morning Herald
Sex education training held in Beijing
The AIDS Prevention Education Project for Chinese Youth (APEPCY), ran a teaching training program focusing on teenage sex education in Beijing on last Friday 26th of January. 50 teachers from 35 schools in Beijing Fengtai district attended the week-long program conducted by 10 experts in AIDS control and sex education. The courses covered sexual development, sex education in foreign countries as well as AIDs prevention. ‘Sex education is the key to AIDS prevention’, says Zhang Yinjun, the founder of APEPCY, as more young students are being infected due to lack of sexual knowledge. The APEPCY program will run for 4 years until July 2021.
Read more at: Xinhuanet