Education Talking Points | 06/12/2016


In today’s talking points: Chinese Universities top Emerging Economies University Rankings; The need for Asian Literacy in Australia; MOOC enrollment booming in China; Australian 20-year slide in maths and science learning continues.


Chinese Universities top Emerging Economies University Rankings

On the 30th of November, Times Higher Education (THE) revealed its BRICS & Emerging Economies University Rankings for 2017. China’s tertiary Institutions dominated the list, being awarded seven of the top ten places and holding 77 rankings overall. Peking University stood out in first places, with Tsinghua University claiming second. Fudan University rose an impressive 11 places to take the sixth place for 2017. The competition between BRICS universities is becoming increasingly fierce with 27 of India’s Universities and 25 of Brazil’s universities places in the top 300. China has also introduced policy drives backed with immense funding in order to produce universities that excel at on a global level. Phil Baty, editor of THE’s World University Rankings stated that ‘China’s strong performance in this list of the top universities in BRICS and emerging economies follows its ascent… largely driven by an enhanced academic reputation and research influence and increased success at attracting international talent.’

Read more at: Xinhua

The need for Asian Literacy in Australia

In the wake of Donald Trump’s winning the US presidential election the urge for Australia to fully embrace the Asian Century is stronger than ever. Asian literacy is becoming increasingly important yet Australian schools have yet to recognise its value. In 2015, of the 4000 students sitting Chinese as a year 12 exam across Australia, no more than 400 were from non-Chinese backgrounds. The push for Asian literacy has in fact been a long endeavour in Australian education, with former Prime Minister Bob Hawke having launched in plan in 1987 which culminated into the National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools (NALSAS) strategy under Paul Keating. The trial of an online foreign language program in nearly 300 preschools this year is set to be rolled out across the country in 2017. 32 per cent of pre-schoolers are choosing to study Chinese which is encouraging. Many high schools have established partner schools in China to provide students with a deeper immersion into the Chinese language, culture and history. As identified by Prime Minister Turnbull, it would represent a significant contribution to the national curriculum and provide a chance for every Child to be part of the Asian Century.

Ream more at: Sydney Morning Herald

MOOC enrollment booming in China

According to the recent white paper published by MoE’s Online Education Research Centre, the number of students enrolled on a MOOC in China is set to exceed 10 million by the end of 2016, up from 1.5 million just two years ago, reflecting explosion of interest in open online courses. In the last year alone, the estimated number of registered MOOC users in China has come close to doubling, with the total standing at 5.75 million in 2015.

However, 90% of China’s colleges and universities have not yet begun to develop MOOC provision, and the report suggests that the substantial resources needed to develop a high-quality MOOC and the subsequent building of brand awareness in order to attract users may be the primary barriers for most institutions to develop a course.

Read more at: The Pie News

Australian 20-year slide in maths and science learning continues

According to the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), Australian students slipped down five spots in global rankings in both year 8 maths and science, with Australia is ranked 27th overall in year 4 maths and science and 17th in year 8 maths and science.

Australian Council for Educational Research’s (ACER) chief executive Geoff Masters told News Corp that the figures were concerning and “The 20-year slide in maths and science learning is a national challenge that requires a national response,” Masters said on Wednesday. “We cannot afford another 20 years of stagnation. The answer is not to do more of the same.”

Meanwhile the nation’s Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the results were not an anomaly, as local testing had shown similar trends, where: “These new statistics, our (local testing) results and other international rankings all show that, despite significant funding growth in Australia, we are not getting sufficient improvements in student outcomes”.

Read more at: Xinhua