Education Talking Points | 19/04/2017

In today’s talking points: China builds panda-themed library; Overseas Schooling still a Top Priority for Chinese Parents; Chinese universities to offer big data majors; Australia Tightens Rules on Worker Visas as Unemployment Rises

China builds panda-themed library

Construction of a panda-themed library started Tuesday in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, home of the endangered bears. The library, located at the Chengdu Panda Road Primary School in the provincial capital of Chengdu, is expected to open next year. With a planned area of around 1,000 square meters, the facility is able to house tens of thousands of books and audio and video files on giant pandas in different languages, according to principal Zhang Mingrong. The idea of the library came from several third-graders at the school and was later approved by the local government. The display area will be divided into zones for Asia, Europe, America, Africa and Oceania based on where the files come from, Zhang said. The library issued letters Tuesday to potential donors of books and files, including panda-loving groups and individuals and wildlife conservation organizations worldwide. China had 1,864 giant pandas in the wild at the end of 2015, up from about 1,100 in 2000. There are also 422 animals in captivity, according to China’s State Forestry Administration.

Read more at Xinhua

Overseas Schooling still a Top Priority for Chinese Parents

Recent statistics published by the Chinese Ministry of Education in March 2017 show that over half a million Chinese students had been sent to institutions abroad. These recent statistics illustrate the value Chinese parents place on an international education, with nearly 80% of students going to Anglophone countries including the USA, UK and Australia. The reasons for undertaking study abroad vary, the potential for further career growth, renowned facilities, language development, personal maturity expansion, developing interpersonal skills and gaining experience in another culture, being amongst the top reasons.

Despite the high costs of living and studying abroad, an international education remains in high demand amongst many Chinese students.

Read more at China Daily

Chinese universities to offer big data majors

China has new 32 universities introducing undergraduate big data programs this year to address talent shortage, according to the Ministry of Education. In 2016, Peking University, University of International Business and Economics and Central South University became the first three to recruit undergraduates to majors concerning data science and big data technology. China encouraged universities to set up new degree programs to cater to social and economic development needs. According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, by 2018, the United States alone could be short of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills, as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts capable of using the analysis of big data in decision making.

Read more at Xinhua

Australia Tightens Rules on Worker Visas as Unemployment Rises

Australia will tighten temporary skilled migration visas, scrapping the current 457 program used by almost 100,000 people, as the country’s labor market weakens and anti-immigration sentiment spreads among developed nations. The migration system has to be “seen to ensure that Australian jobs are filled by Australians wherever possible,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Canberra Tuesday. “That foreign workers are brought into Australia in order to fill critical skill gaps, and not brought in simply because an employer finds it easier to recruit a foreign worker than go to the trouble of hiring an Australian. The new visa will allow workers to stay for two years, rather than the current four, and reduces the number of skills that qualify. Applicants will be required to have a higher standard of English and undergo a full police check, while labor market testing will be required to demonstrate someone from offshore is needed. There’s also a medium-term visa with more stringent requirements. Neither will lead to permanent residency.

Read more at Bloomberg