In today’s talking points: Tsinghua University breaks top 50 in world university rankings; More needs to be done to encourage Asian language studies in Australian schools; Basic research and long-term funding focus welcomed by Australia’s research leaders; Greenwood College’s diversity of perspectives proves secret to debating success.
Tsinghua University breaks top 50 in world university rankings
Beijing’s Tsinghua University was recently ranked number 48 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, breaking the top 50 for the first time. Behind Tokyo University and Kyoto University, it was the third top ranked university in Asia. Other Chinese universities also fared well, with 45 mainland Chinese universities making the top 500, up from 18 in 2009. Peking University was ranked 71, with Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Science and Technology of China and Zhejiang University all making the top 150.
Read more at: China Daily
More needs to be done to encourage Asian language studies in Australian schools
Language studies, in particular Asian languages, in Australian senior schools is lagging, according to Kathe Kirby, director of the Asia Education Foundation at Melbourne University’s Asialink. “Fewer than 6 percent of Australian school students are studying an Asian language, and only about 11 percent of our students are studying any language in year 12”, she said. This follows on from a report last year by the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney, which showed that while the overall number of students learning Chinese had doubled to 172,832 students between 2008 and 2016, the number of year 12 students had decreased over the same period. There is also a disparity between states, with Victoria having 3,027 year 12 students studying Chinese, while NSW had only 849 students enrolled in 2016.
Read more at: The Australian
Basic research and long-term funding focus welcomed by Australia’s research leaders
The National Research and Innovation Alliance welcomed Labor’s science, innovation and research agenda outlined today by the opposition Leader, the Hon Bill Shorten MP. Australian research leaders gathered at the Australian Academy of Science to discuss with The Opposition Leader his vision the future of Australian knowledge creation and its applications. Mr Shorten highlighted focus on both basic and applied research, education and sustainable, long-term funding. Co-conveners of the Alliance, Science & Technology Australia CEO Kylie Walker and Australian Academy of Science Chief Executive Anna-Maria Arabia, said they were heartened by the value placed on basic research by Labor. “A strong and sustainable research sector underpins knowledge creation, policy development and innovation,” Ms Arabia said.
Read more at: Australian Academy of Science
Greenwood College’s diversity of perspectives proves secret to debating success
A multicultural group of students is surpassing expectations after making the semi-finals of Western Australia’s schools debating competition. A number of the students joined the team to improve their English skills, never expecting such success. With hard work and persistence Asmaa Hameed was able to transform her basic vocabulary into a set of language skills that has her winning debates. Asmaa is one of five members of Greenwood College’s Year team, and one of three where English is not the first language. When competing against Perth’s most elite schools the team believes their diversity has been its greatest strength. “I am good at wording and I am a very emotive person when it comes to debating,” she said. Even though the team has been impressive of late they still get extremely nervous before a debate, calling themselves “nervous but empowered”.
Read more at: ABC