Saturday, March 30, 2013

Harvard Joins Rivals Reporting Record Low Admission Rates

English: Harvard Yard, Harvard University, Cam...
Harvard University, Cambridge (Wikipedia)
by Janet Lorin, Bloomberg:  

Harvard (3252), Yale, Princeton and Columbia universities reported record-low freshman admission rates for the 2013-2014 academic year as applications climbed above or held near all-time highs.

Harvard offered seats to 2,029 students, or 5.8 percent of a record 35,023 applicants, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based school said yesterday in a statement.

Yale accepted 6.7 percent, Princeton offered admission to 7.3 percent and Columbia accepted 6.89 percent, the schools said in statements.

Top U.S. colleges that offer generous financial aid are luring record numbers of applicants even as the cost to attend increases faster than the pace of inflation and the number of high school graduates declines.

The Common Application, an online form that lets students apply to multiple schools, has helped drive the surge, said Robin Mamlet, former dean of admissions at Stanford University.

“More students are going for their reach or dream colleges through the use of the Common App,” Mamlet said in a phone interview. In years past, completing laborious paperwork for each school limited the number that most students applied to, Mamlet said. “That barrier has been taken away.”

Yale, in New Haven, Connecticut, offered admission to 1,991 students, and expects 1,350 to attend, the college said in a statement. It received 29,610 applications. It admitted 6.8 percent last year.

Princeton accepted 1,931 students from a pool of almost 26,500, and expects about 1,290 to attend, the Princeton, New Jersey-based school said. A year ago, it accepted 7.9 percent, a record low at the time.

Financial Aid

The four schools, which make up half of the northeastern U.S.-based Ivy League, are among the wealthiest universities in the U.S. They are “need blind” institutions, where a student’s ability to pay isn’t taken into consideration for admissions.

Harvard increased its financial-aid budget for the coming year by 5.8 percent to $182 million, the school said earlier this week. Almost 60 percent of the new freshman class will need assistance, said financial-aid director Sarah Donahue.

Much of the application increase over the past few years has been driven by students seeking Harvard’s aid, said William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, in a phone interview.

Harvard hasn’t increased marketing to potential applicants because it would be “counterproductive to invite people into a pool and then turn them down,” Fitzsimmons said.

Princeton said 60 percent of its current student body receives financial aid, and the average grant in the coming year is expected to be more than $39,000. Tuition, fees, room and board will rise 3.8 percent for the next academic year, totaling $53,250, Princeton said in January.


Columbia offered freshman seats to 2,311 students out of a pool of 33,500, the New York-based school said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. It accepted 7.4 percent of applicants a year ago, and 6.92 percent in 2011, less than half a percentage point above this year’s rate.

The competition for spots at the most selective colleges is also behind the surge in application numbers as students apply to more schools and cast wider nets, said Brenda Poznanski, president of the New England Association for College Admission Counseling.

“Our high-achieving, No. 1 students are not necessarily Ivy-bound anymore,” said Poznanski, a counselor at Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, New Hampshire.

“It’s very discouraging to the students. What we try to do is help them see that it’s not personal, it’s not because they’re not good enough.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein are alumni of Harvard. Former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush attend Yale.

President Barack Obama is an alumnus of Columbia’s undergraduate college, while first lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor attended Princeton.

Students have until May 1 to accept the schools’ offers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janet Lorin in New York at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lisa Wolfson at
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Centuries Wasted Applying for Grants?

English: A reviewer at the National Institutes...
A reviewer at the National Institutes of Health evaluates a grant proposal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Rob Brooks, Professor of Evolutionary Ecology; Director, Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at University of New South Wales

Grant-writing season is finally over for Australian academics.

Actually, grant writing season is never over, but with the deadlines now having passed for the ARC Discovery grants and Discovery Early Career Research Awards and the NH&MRC Project Grants, most academics move from compliance-checking and form-filling to thinking about ideas again.

And maybe doing a bit of teaching and research.

Which is why many researchers would have been intrigued by a piece of correspondence in last week’s Nature, with the no-nonsense title “Australia’s grant system wastes time”.

Well, everybody who has ever applied for funding and been rejected knows that. But the staggering part of the story is just how much time it wastes.

Danielle L. Herbert, Adrian G. Barnett and Nicholas Graves from Queensland University of Technology analysed the 2012 NH&MRC Project Grant round of 3,727 proposals.

By surveying a sample of applicants they estimated that each grant took 38 person days of work, whereas resubmitted grants (ones that narrowly missed in a previous round and were modified and then submitted in 2012) took 28 person days.

In total, they estimated that that single round of funding - admittedly Australia’s biggest funding round - took up the same amount of time as a single person working for 550 years.

And given that 80% of applications were unsuccessful, they estimate over four centuries of effort went unrewarded. This monumental wasted effort, they argued, should be considered by the funding agencies when designing their schemes:
If these [proposals] were more focused, it would reduce preparation costs and could improve the quality of peer review by reducing workloads.
Not all rejections are wasted effort

The idea of over four centuries of wasted effort makes a good headline. And yet not all of the effort involved in writing an ultimately-rejected grant is wasted.

You do, as they say, have to be in it to win it. And often the process of writing the grant can lead a researcher to new ideas and research directions that can be explored independent of the funds being applied for.

Seven years ago I applied for a very large grant for which I was decidedly under-qualified. The referees identified that my CV fell short of the lofty standards of the scheme and my idea was somewhat undercooked.

But in imagining and planning what I would do with such a large and prestigious grant, I arrived at ambitious and exciting research questions around which to structure my research program. It was the most productive rejection I ever experienced.

And yet it is hard to argue against the fact that a lot of researcher time and effort, not to mention morale, gets wasted every year in granting rounds.

Add to the four centuries of wasted time in the 2012 NH&MRC Project round the time spent fruitlessly applying for other schemes, including those of the ARC, and we probably waste over a millenium’s working time every year.

And that is just the applicants and those helping them. Add to that the time spent reviewing the applications.

Costs of applying for funding

Governments spend considerable sums each year supporting a variety of research schemes. And public money should always go to the most deserving candidates and the most interesting, important projects.

In order to weigh which projects are most deserving, interesting and important, funding agencies rely on comprehensive applications addressing tightly-specified criteria.

They also rely on the voluntary or nominally-remunerated efforts of expert peer-reviewers who assess the quality of proposals, and panellists who weigh these peer-reviews and make the unenviable decisions about which grants to fund.

I spend about one working week each year assessing grant applications, mostly from the ARC but also from overseas agencies. In my experience about 75% of applications deserve to be funded.

The researchers have excellent track records in relation to the opportunities they have had, and the proposed projects involve interesting world-class science with every chance of succeeding.

Informal discussions with former panellists suggest a similar point of view. About 10% of applications are exceptional, leaving no doubt in anybody’s mind that they should be funded.

But the next 65% or so of applications are all fundable and the decision about whether each gets funded comes down to tiny differences, including near-negligible differences between the referee’s scores.

If your application is part of this two-thirds of the group, a degree of luck can determine the difference between funding and rejection.

Many researchers find themselves on the wrong end of this luck year after year. These are the people whose careers are being eaten away fruitlessly competing for a small piece of a funding pool that shrinks steadily in real terms.

Could the process be streamlined?

We can argue all we like about how much public money the government should be spending, or what kinds of research it should be funding. But surely everybody with an interest in research funding should embrace greater efficiency in the application and assessment process?

What if we could slice a century out of the “time wasted” column without reducing the quality of the funding scheme or the research it supports?

Here are a few thoughts about the kinds of things that designers of granting programs seem to gravitate toward and that researchers and peer-reviewers, in my limited experience, equally consider a monumental waste of their time.

Artificial projections of the impact of the research

Sometimes an application seeks funding for research that will have a particular applied purpose. That is wonderful, and it forms a strong part of the rationale for the research.

But some agencies require fundamental or strategic basic research applications to project exactly how the research will have “impact” - despite the fact that the applicants haven’t yet done the research.

The “Pathways to Impact” statement required by the various schemes of the Research Councils of the UK suffers from this problem. As you might expect, these sections get inflated with managerialist newspeak.

As an overseas referee asked to comment on the scientific merits of grant applications and applicants, I grow incensed at the waste of my time and the applicant’s time making fictionalised assurances about the likely ways the just-conceived project will change society and strengthen the economy.

In my limited experience of UK schemes, this section has nothing to do with the quality or likely success of the research itself.

Institutional Commitment

In ARC schemes, applicants are now required to work with their host institution to prepare a statement about the research environment or the commitment of the institution.

Remember that only certain organisations are eligible to host ARC grants and fellowships. And yet applications require a 2-page outline, signed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) of such eligible institutions, concerning (in this case from the DECRA guidelines):
  • the fit between the application and the existing and/or emerging research strengths of the administering organisation;
  • the support the applicant will get from the organisation; and
  • the opportunities the fellow will have to become an independent researcher who is “competitive for research and/or research and teaching pathways at the Administering Organisation” during and after the project.
I have read about a hundred of these statements for various schemes. They universally tend toward bland corporate verbiage about the institution’s “Strategic Plan” and “Research Strengths”.

Amazingly every project falls into a current or emerging strength. Likewise every institution promises to back the researcher as though they were already short-listed for a Nobel prize. And they promise to turn out a well-rounded and highly competitive researcher after the three-year period.

DECRA Fellowships constitute some of the toughest money to win - worldwide. The best of the best PhD graduates compete with their burnished CV’s and scintillating ideas.

To suggest that somebody could win one without already being highly competitive for a research career is patronising in the extreme.

Likewise, asking institutions to discuss how committed they are to a Discovery or NH&MRC grant is like asking “Do you want your research to be funded?”. There is only one correct answer.

And yet sometimes as much as 10% of the mark used to score a proposal is based on this section. A section that reveals little about the quality of the applicant or the project.

A reviewer wishing to give a very good mark might not know whether to score this section an 8 or a 10. And yet the two-point difference can determine whether an application ends up in the funded 20% or well outside the fundable range.

I’ll probably make myself very unpopular with research administrators for saying this, but if I were in charge of funding schemes, I’d definitely get rid of this section. The time it takes to write, check and assess it cannot be justified.

How would you streamline the granting process?

I’d love to hear from researchers and research administrators, either in the comments below or via Twitter (@Brooks_Rob), how best grant application and assessment processes could be streamlined without compromising the quality of the applications funded. Perhaps we can save a few centuries' effort.

Rob Brooks does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.
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Millions Wasted in Education? That's Not What the Evidence Says

Charles Sturt University Study Centres
Charles Sturt University Study Centres (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Andrew Vann, Vice-Chancellor, Charles Sturt University

Over recent years we have seen a wave of angst about Australia’s school education.

The complex issue of teacher quality is, of course, part of the equation, but state governments are also concerned that too many people are being allowed to study education leading to an oversupply of graduates.

The dots are perhaps too easily joined here - governments now see raising university entry scores as a way to deal with oversupply, the problem of lifting the status of the profession and lifting quality all at the same time.

After all, it’s easy to assume that lifting entry scores would be a solution when courses that are hard to get into (like medicine) are highly respected and those that have lower cut-offs, (like teaching) are less so.

But there are plenty of questions left here and a closer look at the evidence is needed. Does making a degree more exclusive drive respect or vice-versa? And what might be the unintended consequences of mandating higher entry standards?

What oversupply?

We need to examine the numbers to see if there is actually an oversupply of teaching graduates. A recent article in The Australian reported the extremely poor employment outcomes for teachers, claiming that “about 90% of teachers graduating university in NSW and Queensland fail to find a job.”

But it is difficult to understand the evidence base for this which is entirely contradicted by Graduate Careers Australia data. According to GCA, 74.9% of initial teacher education graduates in 2012 were employed full-time and 20.7% part-time.

Full-time employment rates for the last four years have been within 2% of the national average and the combined full and part-time rates are 4-5% above the national average. One possible objection is that this data doesn’t prove they are working specifically as teachers.

However, in 2011, 81.5% of the full-time graduates said that their qualification was a “formal requirement of the job” and a further 9.8% said it was “important” which would surely imply that they are employed as teachers.

Data from Charles Sturt University for 2012 shows that 62% of graduates were employed as school teachers, 71% were employed as education professionals and 84% had jobs where a teaching degree was directly relevant (CSU Internal Analysis of GCA Graduate returns, based on job title).

This does not look like a system where there is a massive oversupply of graduates.

Dubious links

It is also dubious that entry standards are key in determining respect for professions. Medicine has lengthy and very expensive training, including intensive postgraduate training even after a five or six year undergraduate degree.

Salaries also drive esteem and medicine commands significantly higher pay than teaching as careers develop, particularly for specialists. It is not yet clear that governments are willing to significantly raise teachers’ salaries.

There is also little evidence of a causal relationship between entry score and success as a teacher. In their submission to the NSW “Great Teaching, Inspired Learning” review, the NSW Deans of Education said:
It should be noted that the arguably most rigorous of all reviews ever done on teacher education in Australia, and likely in the world, the Australian Government’s Top of the Class (House of Representatives, 2007), spent much time examining the issue of entry scores and ended up providing strong advice that it was largely a fruitless exercise and that the time and effort should be put into ensuring that, whatever the entry score, the required output was achieved through the suitability of the program itself.
Finally, what might be unintended consequences of raising the entry bar for teacher education? It is well known that students from regional schools tend to achieve relatively less well than metropolitan counterparts and unreasonably lifting entry standards is likely to discriminate against them.

We also know that it is extraordinarily difficult to persuade graduates to move from capital cities to regional areas. We are still dealing with a shortage of doctors in rural and regional areas and the same factors that created that crisis, has the potential to trigger an equivalent problem in teacher availability.

Evidence needed

We currently seem to have a political debate on teacher quality that is outrunning the evidence. Before we commit to sweeping changes to teacher education, it is very important we draw breath, take a cool look at the evidence and ask what is in the community’s best interest.

Andrew Vann is Vice-Chancellor and President at Charles Sturt University in regional New South Wales.

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.
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Coalition Wants Goverment’s Education Proposal

Road to 2015: Sturt 10
Christopher Pyne (Photo credit: Make Poverty History Australia)
THE federal government must release the full education funding model it plans to put to the states, opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne says.

Mr Pyne said the government had now completely abandoned the Gonski reforms and admitted that a national uniform funding model could not be achieved.

But the states still had no idea exactly what they would be asked to agree to at the next Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.

Even if an agreement was reached at COAG and legislation passed in the federal parliament in June, the states would be left with just five months to implement a new funding model, which was impossible, Mr Pyne said.

“They (the government) should accept the coalition’s generous offer to extend the current funding model for another year to give people time to implement whatever the government and the states agree,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Mr Pyne said the coalition would wait and and see what the government proposed and gauge the reaction of the states before forming a view.

“There is no Gonski model. There is a cobbled-together pig’s breakfast of a proposal from the government,” he said. “We need to have a clear understanding of what the government proposes.”
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gillard Seeks 3% School Funding Rise

by AAP, 21st Century News:

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has challenged all states and territories to commit to a three per cent rise in school spending each year.

Visiting a Catholic college in Perth on Tuesday, Ms Gillard said her national plan for school improvement needed the co-operation of premiers and chief ministers.

Federal education officials have been in talks with Catholic and independent school chiefs ahead of the Council of Australian Governments meeting in April which is expected to sign off on the plan.

“During all of those discussions it is becoming increasingly clear that in too many states around the nation we have seen cutbacks to funding going into schools,” Ms Gillard told reporters.

“Those cutbacks not only hurt directly but they actually affect the indexation funding formula for the future. So I’ve got a clear message to state governments around the nation and that is to stop the cutbacks and it’s also to properly index their funding for the future. They should be offering an indexation arrangement of at least three per cent for the future.”

Ms Gillard also dismissed concerns that a Canberra-based bureaucracy would be running the school system, which varied from state to state.

“Our drive here is not for a national uniform model, but a nationally consistent model, recognising the flexibility that jurisdictions need to get on and manage their schools,” she said.

OPINION: Why an MBA is Nothing More Than an Over-Rated $150,000 Job Interview

by Goro Gupta, 21st Century News:

mbaGoro Gupta explains why an MBA is nothing more than an over-rated $150,000 job interview.

Approximately 8 years ago, a study done by the Stanford Business School based on 40 years of data about people who had completed MBA’s, came up with the following surprising yet common sense conclusion:

“There is scant evidence that the MBA credential, particularly from non-elite schools, or the grades earned in business courses are related to either salary or the attainment of higher level positions in organizations.”

An MBA these days can cost anywhere from $100,000 to about $400,000 depending on where you get your degree from. Yes you can get a ridiculous HECS loan that cripples you for the next 10-30 years to support this, but let’s face reality for just a moment and look at the facts:

a) Most high paying employers rarely look at your degree, rather they are more focused on the results you have produced in the past.
b) Even if employers do require a degree, they hardly ever check the validity of what’s on your resume.
c) Most resume’s end up on a pile, with a minor chance of your’s being read.

In today’s job market, you must be dynamic, and prove yourself as a professional. Your LinkedIn account in just as valuable as an MBA. Imagine spending those 3-5 years of your life learning how businesses really work, by adding value and learning the art of true entrepreneurship.

A company is more likely to hire you based upon the contacts you have within the industry rather than a piece of oversized paper that’s verified by an institution.

This article is not about giving yourself permission to be lazy, instead its about finding other ways to add value. It is a proven fact that when companies look to hire someone (outside of a regular recruitment agent), its usually based on their past experience and contacts with management that really matter.

While an MBA might just help you get the foot in the door, its not going to help you be successful in the interview.

Applied knowledge is true power in today’s world. Imagine you’re a high paying employer- put yourself in their shoes just for a moment and play along.

Behind door A, you have an MBA graduate student that has graduated from one of the top schools in Australia. Behind door B, you have a person who you have met a few times before or have seen their work on business forums and perhaps even used their products or services - which one would you pick?

Making an impact in 4 years will get you much further than a ‘paper-based’ education.

Yes, you do need to know most of the terminology and look at successful case studies; however, these can be obtained for a fraction of the cost.

Some resources to look at could be as cheap as picking up the book - ‘the personal MBA’ or attending various entrepreneur-designed courses such as the Business Education Summit or the unconvention (and its relevant MBE course) held every year in major cities around Australia.

Educate yourself the new way - by learning and applying at every step. You will find it much more rewarding, both mentally and financially. 

Goro Gupta is a leading lifestyle design coach, 21st Centurys Platinum success coach and a qualified life coach and mortgage broker.

Ministerial Revolving Doors: Why Higher Education Needs Stability Now

Sharon Bird, Minister for Higher Education - AAP/Alan Porritt
by Belinda Robinson, Universities Australia

Craig Emerson is definitely a multitasker.

Who can forget his singing routine on national television last year when he borrowed the tune of the 1970s Skyhooks rock classic Horror Movie and lampooned alarmist commentary about the impact of the carbon tax?

Perhaps he could consider adding “Four Ministers In One Day” (apologies to Crowded House) to his repertoire.

Maybe Craig Emerson’s multitasking abilities were a factor, but we can safely assume it was not for his singing that prime minister Julia Gillard beefed up his ministerial responsibilities as part of Monday’s reshuffle, adding Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research to his Trade and Competitiveness portfolio.

Actually, the significant international education sector is a neat fit with the Trade and Competitiveness portfolio. After all, international education is Australia’s largest non-resource export earner worth around A$15 billion a year and supporting 100,000 jobs.

Universities are also central to the blueprint for action outlined in Ken Henry’s Australia in the Asian Century white Paper, another of Dr Emerson’s ministerial responsibilities.

But an equally significant factor in the new arrangements is that the decision by the prime minister reflects a new type of thinking about the central role played by tertiary education, science and research in the economy.

Announcing the changes, Gillard described Dr Emerson’s new responsibilities as “the critical human capital and productivity portfolio”.

Universities Australia has been making the point for some time that university education and research are critical to lifting productivity, innovation and competitiveness in order to transform and expand the economy, improve our existing industries, create the new knowledge based industries of the future and to strengthen our society.

The new arrangements also replace one minister and a parliamentary secretary with one Cabinet minister and two junior ministers.

Sharon Bird has been promoted to become the Minister for Higher Education and Skills, while Don Farrell will be the new Minister for Science and Research. Greg Combet continues on as Minister for Industry and Innovation.

All three ministers will face a steep learning curve but there will be no time for reading in with the process of shaping the May budget and the sensitive pre-budget negotiations well underway. The sector will need strong advocates within government to counter the axe-wielding efforts of the Department of Finance.

Along with many others, the sector was a victim of last year’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook when $1 billion was stripped from higher education and research forward estimates.

Now more than ever the sector needs policy stability as well as influential and senior representation within government.

The sector has faced a revolving door of ministers in the past sixteen months with the most recent, Chris Bowen only appointed in February this year and resigning last week.

Universities fear that with such a loss of continuity, key policy decisions including in relation to funding strategic national research infrastructure, investment in university fellowship programs and implementation of the AsiaBound program could be at risk or delayed.

The government has some ground to make up with the sector to ensure that despite the swift turnover in ministers, the issues confronting universities are front and centre of the national agenda.

Having made that point, I know that if anyone can provide the sector with the confidence it needs it’s these four capable ministers.

But forget the honeymoon this time.

Belinda Robinson is the Chief Executive of Universities Australia.
The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Memorize Hiragana and Katakana Instantly

The Japanese word mon—meaning gate—in kanji (b...
The Japanese word mon—meaning gate—in kanji (black), hiragana (red), and katakana (blue) (Wikipedia)
by Danny Moji

Each of us are simultaneously auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners.

When learning hiragana / katakana (or anything for that matter) we must use all of these types of learning.

In their 1987 paper, Learning And Teaching Styles In Engineering Education, Richard M. Felder & Dr. Linda Silver talked about different types of learners requiring different styles of teaching particularly in the challenging field of engineering.

To meet the challenges of a class full of diverse learners, they mention the importance of "teaching to address all learning styles."

The same holds true of learning Japanese kana (hiragana & katakana). What Dr. Silver and Richard Felder were saying is true. Different types of learners should use different methods of learning.

Taken a step further each of us learn with all learning styles but at different levels information retention for each of the those styles. For example, you maybe by 10% kinesthetic, but 40% auditory and 50% visual.

So you are not only an auditory learner that soaks up information on audiobooks, or just a visual learner who gets information with picture or simply a kinesthetic learner that needs an activity ... but you are all of these at different levels with each new set of information and/or skill set that will be learned.

This means you must use all methods to learn new information. Use all senses to collect new data.

Visual Learning Techniques

あ is a hiragana letter (aka kana) that makes the "AH" sound. With visualization it helps to use shocking imagery such as violence or sex.

For example, to memorize あ, imagine the letter "e" slapped so hard that if flips backward then stabbed with a sharp cruciform sword that looks like t. The stabbed and backward e makes a dying pitiful "Ahh" sound as it passes into the afterlife.

Merging t and e is not exactly how あ looks but its close enough to help with memorization. The more shocking the visual the less likely you will forget it.

Auditory Learning Techniques

We used a little of auditory with the visual learning technique of our dying あ making the "Ahh" sound and you can used that with all of the letters of hiragana and katakana. Auditory works even better with words.

Because you can use sound in Japanese that sounds like something your recognize. For example, the Japanese word for "you are welcome" is "dou itashimashite". This sounds like "Don't Touch My Mustache" in English.

Sound association is a good way to remember entire Japanese hiragana, words and even phrases.

Kinesthetic Learning Techniques

Kinesthetic includes some sort of movement or activity. So including flash cards, or writing or mouthing the words are all examples of kinesthetic (aka tactile) learning. You can also merge is with our first visualization of あ.

We imagined the shock of e being stabbed, but if we included kinesthetic we might imagine what it would feel like to do stab "e" ourselves. Kinesthetic is best for learning to write hiragana and katakana.

Above are just a few examples of using visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning to memorize and retain hiragana and katakana. Don't be restricted in any one style of memorization because we are all visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.

Merge them all together using all the senses to capture the language. Don't be fooled by the dominance of one of your learning styles and don't down play the effectiveness of your weakest.

We have developed a Hiragana practice game called Moji Master for the iPhone that incorporates the combination of these learning hiragana and katakana with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

Hiragana Practice and katakana practice can be done with our revolutionary software coming to a mobile device near YOU. Learn info on our site: Hiragana Moji Master.

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The Rise of Free Online College Courses

Are MOOCs about freedom?
Are MOOCs about freedom? (Eleni Zazani)
by Jason Kay

To say that attending college is an expensive process is an understatement. As at 2012, total student debt in America is believed to have exceeded $1 trillion.

In 2011, the New York Times reported that average student debt was approximately $26,500 and online college courses are not much cheaper.

However, the advent of free online college courses, other known as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), could change the face of education forever.

It started off as an experiment but all signs point towards it being a huge success with large numbers of public universities set to offer MOOCs to anyone who applies in the hope that many of the participants will pass the course; enroll in the college and pay the normal tuition fees.

In a country where a degree in religious and women's studies in a prestigious university can cost up to $100,000, MOOCs could open up the world of education to students.

Why are colleges interested in offering these free taster courses? Many American colleges are in huge debt and need some method of attracting more students.

Growth of a Phenomenon?

The University of Arkansas, the University of Cincinnati and Arizona State are just three of the well-respected colleges involved in the plan. The growth of MOOCs really spiked in 2012 as start-ups such as Udacity and edX came to the fore and offered hope to those who previously couldn't afford education.

These courses were founded by professors of top schools such as Stanford and Harvard with millions of people worldwide taking the teachers up on their offer.

At this stage, one wonders if MOOCs can one day replace college degrees. If this were the case, it would make a profound difference to an incredible number of would-be students. One issue was that colleges were not giving credit for MOOCs but even this looks set to change.

A number of universities in Austria and Germany are giving credit for MOOCs and this could spread to American educational institutions as Colorado State has made noises about following the lead of its European counterparts.

The University of Washington is also considering this course of action though students at the college will need to pay a fee and do extra work with a professor from the institution if it goes ahead with the plan.

The Future of MOOCs

These free online courses are no longer a novelty and will continue to be used as a tool to encourage prospective students to enroll in a university.

The University of Texas in Arlington has teamed up with Academic Partnerships to offer free online college courses to would-be nursing students. To date, more than 80% of those that accepted the free offer returned and paid for the on-campus course.

If nothing else, MOOCs give students a 'try before they buy' option, a valuable resource when courses are so expensive. Free online college courses could pose a threat to traditional education but if these institutions find a way to utilize MOOCs to their advantage like the University of Texas, giving something for free could turn out to be very lucrative.

Jason Kay is a professional resume writer and recommends visiting to help you choose an online college course.

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How To Study for College Classes

English: A Student of the University of Britis...
A Student studying for final exams (Wikipedia)
by TD Lee

The Big Picture

College is full of unique experiences. For many, it's the first time away from home and parents.

There is nobody there to make you do anything so your first priority is to police yourself.

Your teachers will not prod you to do your work. Their paycheck is not contingent upon whether you study for your classes. It's all up to you.

The First Class

Your first classes will consist of introductions to your professors and course outlines detailing dates for lectures, homework assignments, papers and exams. It might seem juvenile, but you'll need to have a calendar that incorporates what you need to do for each class every day.

Don't attempt to trust these important details to memory because you are setting yourself up for failure. Keep class materials in separate binders so that organization is optimal.

Equally important is getting all of your professor's contact information and office hours. If you need additional help with assignments, this information will be invaluable.

Don't Skip Class

The most important step in determining how to study for college classes is to understand that you must actually go to class. It goes without saying that one of the highlights of college is that you don't have to go to class if you don't want to.

Many professors don't take attendance and those that do have a maximum number of classes a student can miss at the student's discretion. When you don't go to class you undermine your ultimate objective to get good grades. If you're not in class, you can't take notes, ask questions or participate in discussions.

And here's a clue for you: the class you skip almost always contains the information you need for an exam and it's generally information you can't get from the pages of your textbook. This is how professors tell who is in class and who isn't without taking daily attendance.

Studying Is Your Job #1

Unfortunately, most students these days must have a part-time job too. Budgeting your time is very important. For every hour you spend in class each week you should spend two hours each week studying.

If you're taking a twelve credit hour class load each semester plan to spend 24 hours each week studying. When possible, it is better to study in a formal setting such as the library. Studying in your dorm room can lead to distractions.

Formal settings are best when trying to study for college classes. If you can, plan study sessions with other students from your classes. There is focus in numbers!

Break Up Then Make Up with Facebook and Twitter

Once you have mastered how to study for college classes you'll understand why this step is necessary. It is impossible to get good grades if you are giving your attention to these two. Don't get too worried.

Facebook and Twitter will still be there when you're done with your studying and you're getting good grades. You'll appreciate your time with them all the more when you've gotten good grades on your assignments and exams.

You now have a broad plan for how to study for college classes. If you truly want the best study techniques and shortcuts that ensure that you're at the top of your class with time for other things then visit this website:

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

English Education in China: The Largest Language Engineering Project

ESL in Hainan
ESL in Hainan (Photo credit: Surfing The Nations)
by Brett Isis

Let's face it: China is expanding on a global front and fast. China is a big-time player in the world's economy and the amount of millionaires surfacing here is shooting through the roof.

Even though the Chinese are dominating the scene, the likelihood that the rest of the world will jump up and learn Chinese is not that high, however, the Chinese already started years ago sending their children to boarding schools in the US and UK to master the world's lingua franca.

The older Chinese generation was deprived of education during the Cultural Revolution and most of them speak almost no English at all. Today, however, the Chinese are obsessed with English. Nearly a fifth of the population is learning the English language.

Gordon Brown, the former British Prime Minister stated during a trip to China, that in two decades China's English speakers will already outnumber native English speakers in the rest of the world.

This sudden desire for English in China is fuelling a market that comprises everything from books, teaching materials and tests to teacher training and language schools themselves.

ETS, an American group that developed TOEFL estimates that China is already the world's largest market for English-language services at a whopping $60 billion a year.

The giants of training schools, Wall Street English, Web International and New Oriental are currently aiding English education in China to soaring success. Web International has 100 training centers throughout China while New Oriental boasted with 15,000,000 students since 2011.

English education isn't only enjoying support from training schools; the Chinese are acquiring English at very early ages as well. Bi-lingual kindergartens are sprouting all over the country.

The latest phenomena in China, the so-called "Dragon babies" boom surfaced in 2012 during the Year of the Dragon. The government now aims to open a gigantic amount of schools to teach these children English.

The Chinese learning English, is happening and currently a whopping 320 000 English natives are employed annually in China to educate the future generation.

Set aside the known big international schools in China, many local schools in smaller cities are also adapting either more English programs, international school methods or employing foreign teachers to educate their students, to go out and be comfortable with fierce competitors in the international platform of business.

Many companies who aim their services at sending Chinese students abroad to learn English are also growing rapidly. Chinese students, seeking an English education, are the largest group of foreign students in American (over 127,000) and Canadian (50,000) universities.

Yes, every person deserves an education. And it is ideal if every nation is fluent in the business mother tongue of the world. English language education in China during the second half of the twentieth century might arguably be called the world's largest language engineering project.

And the fact that China is taking this so seriously also means more jobs for teachers. It's a win-win situation for everyone. China is venturing in to the world and creating an impressive reputation speaking English while doing so while hoards of foreigners are flocking to China to work and live the high-life in the country's vibrant cities.

To be a part of the fast growing business of English education in China, contact Teaching Nomad ( now for more information!

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Why Japanese Isn't As Hard As It Looks

English: Japanese writing
Japanese writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Jon Wynn

Simply mention to native English speakers that you study the Japanese language and you'll receive raised eyebrows, looks of amazement, and remarks of how difficult it is.

You'll also hear stories of how they always wanted to learn Japanese but they quit after they realized how insurmountable it was.

Although the study of Japanese as a second language is certainly not easy, it's not the impossible task that it's made out to be.

There are a few common areas that are viewed as particularly intimidating to the new student of Japanese. Areas that, viewed from the bottom, seem like huge mountains to climb. The first is the written language.

Standard Japanese is written using Chinese characters called kanji, of which there are over forty-thousand that look infuriatingly alike. Compared to English, with its paltry twenty-six character requirement, this seems painfully complex.

Another is the fact that Japanese has completely different languages for formal and informal speech, and different vocabularies for males and females. When potential students learn these and other facts about the language, they often become demoralized.

But, taken in small doses and armed with a few facts, tackling Japanese may be easier than you think. Like any language, Japanese can be broken down into four areas of study: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Although there is quite a bit of overlap between them, we can examine each one of these areas separately.

Many beginning students claim that they only wish to speak and understand the spoken language, and that reading and writing using the kanji system is too difficult. Forty-thousand characters seems beyond their grasp.

But, the Japanese actually use a number of written alphabet systems in addition to kanji. This may appear to make it even more difficult, but it actually simplifies the situation.

The basic alphabet that young Japanese children learn is called hiragana. Hiragana is a phonetic system that is made up of only forty-six characters, each character representing a spoken sound in Japanese.

Every sound that can be uttered in Japanese can be written with a hiragana character, and the entire hiragana system can be (and quite often is) learned in a few weeks.

To make things even easier, each hiragana character only has one sound for each letter, there are no multiple pronunciations like you might find in English (constructions such as the gh in tough and though come to mind or, even worse, the ea in heart, beard and heard).

One of the main advantages to learning hiragana early in the study of Japanese is the tremendous confidence students gain from being able to read and write basic Japanese sentences. By learning the much simpler hiragana system first, a student is rapidly able to achieve that level.

This is exactly the way that Japanese children learn to write in school. Beginning with hiragana, young students add kanji slowly, over a period of years, to their written lexicon.

Even native Japanese high-school students are only required to learn approximately two-thousand kanji characters by the time they graduate, a far smaller amount than the terrifying forty-thousand.

The ready availability of written material on the web is a plentiful resource for the Japanese language student.

Due to Japan's technologically aware culture, and compared to many other languages, Japanese is extremely common on the Internet. This makes it much easier for students to locate inexpensive reading practice materials and study aids.

Japanese manga (comic books) are available on the Web and are a popular way for beginners to gain exposure to casual written Japanese. Because many manga are targeted toward younger readers, they are often written in furigana, a combination of kanji with small hiragana characters written above, to facilitate kanji learning.

A rapid conversation in Japanese may sound impossible to decipher to the uninitiated, but Japanese speech is much simpler than spoken English in a number of ways. English is made up of more than thirty vowel sounds and twenty consonant sounds. These are combined in various ways to make the hundreds of syllables that we use every day.

The Japanese spoken language uses only about one-hundred syllables, making pronunciation much easier and less ambivalent. One of the most amazing things about Japanese grammar is that a complete, grammatically correct sentence can be constructed using only one word, a verb. The rest can be inferred by context.

This can be used to great advantage by a new student of the language. A large amount of Japanese verbal communication is understood by implication and context; in daily speech, sentences are frequently truncated, both subjects and particles are dropped, and meaning is gathered by inference.

If approached correctly, this can be a great asset to the foreign speaker. By using a smaller subset of the language as descriptive words and by being frugal in ones speech, it is quite possible to convey meaning with an almost native syntax.

But a student will be called on to listen much more than to speak, and developing listening skills and comprehension may be the most difficult of the four areas.

Because of the way Japanese verbs conjugate, often a verb used in one tense or mode will sound completely different from the same verb spoken elsewhere.

This is not really different from English (and many other languages) though, and Japanese verb conjugation is accomplished according to nearly unvarying rules. All verbs are divided into two types, yodan and ichidan, and follow the rules for each type.

Unlike English, these conjugation rules can be learned, which allows one to even conjugate verbs that one has never heard before. In English, conjugation seems to be haphazard chaos at best! For an enlightening example of English insanity, read the poem "The Chaos'', by Gerard Nolst Trenit (also known as ``English is Tough Stuff'').

Japanese listening comprehension, in the absence of a native speaker to practice with, can be practiced through the wide variety of Japanese television shows, movies, music, and other media that comes flowing out of the country. As in the case with written material, the modern student of the Japanese language will never be unable to find something to listen to.

Finally, Japanese has different politeness levels that correspond to colloquial, polite, and honorific conversations.

Many newcomers to Japanese worry excessively about the formality of speaking in social situations and fret over whether they are using the correct honorifics, but even native Japanese have trouble remembering the correct etiquette consistently. Polite speech in Japan is called keigo and is a source of much confusion to foreign and native speakers alike.

Although at the advanced level it can be complex, generally accepted keigo is reminiscent of military protocol in the West. One must refer to superiors as "sir'' or "ma'am'', and certain ranks and positions carry certain modes of speech and behavior. This can be troublesome to learn certainly, but not impossible.

There are a number of other reasons that Japanese is easier than English for a non-native learner: English has hundreds of irregular verbs while Japanese has only two; there is no singular or plural in Japanese, the same word is used for both; Japanese verbs don't conjugate for person and number (one of the more complicated aspects of English grammar), etc.

While studying any language as a non-native requires commitment, Japanese is not particularly complex. The language has a logical structure that quickly becomes apparent to intermediate students, so that learning new vocabulary and grammar becomes second-nature.

As a potential Japanese speaker, don't allow myth to deter you. The mastery of this ancient and civilized tongue is achievable by any disciplined and determined student.

Jon Wynn is the owner of, a digital production company that specializes in Japanese / US music, comic and fiction publishing.

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California Bill Brings Online College One Step Closer

The California State Capitol building in Sacra...
The California State Capitol building (Wikipedia)
by Larry M. Elkin

In California, public college students are used to waiting to try to register for popular or required courses.

But if a newly introduced state bill passes, those students may soon be able to take classes online rather than waiting in line.

The bill, introduced by California Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), would allow students at public colleges to take web-based "massive open online courses" (MOOCs) for academic credit in place of certain courses necessary for degree completion if spots are not available in on-campus sections of those courses.

Credit would be awarded based on recommendations by the American Council on Education. While faculty panels would have the chance to review online courses and choose appropriate replacements for particular over-registered classes, schools would no longer be able to withhold credit altogether from students seeking online alternatives.

The bill addresses a statewide problem of over-registration for introductory courses in core subjects, particularly at the community college level. The state's community college system has been sandwiched between budget cuts on one side and increasing demand for higher education on the other.

As a result, last fall, three quarters of California's 112 community colleges were forced to turn students away. The schools' waitlists averaged 7,000 students.

Even those students who are able to matriculate still often find themselves unable to register for the classes they need to graduate or to continue their studies. They must sometimes spend additional semesters in school, simply waiting for spots to open in the required classes.

The online replacement courses promoted by the bill would be offered by third-party providers, some of which are profit-seeking businesses, including Udacity, Straighterline, EdX and Coursera.

The program would be paired with an existing statewide effort to promote the use of free, open-source textbooks, according to a press release from the 20 Million Minds Foundation, a California non-profit that focuses on reducing textbook costs. (1)

Using online resources to fill the course gap makes a lot of sense. Allowing students to study introductory-level material in virtual classrooms can keep them on the path to graduation, while freeing up classroom space and time for more advanced classes.

On the surface, allowing online programs to pick up the slack in introductory-level instruction may seem like a professor's dream. My guess, however, is that instructors and administrators at California's public colleges will not be pleased.

In fact, if it were not for resistance from within academia, there would be no need for the bill, because students would already be able to take courses online for credit.

The reason students need the bill to pass before they can click "Enroll" is accreditation; so far, very few online programs have received it.

The college accreditation process, which is run by private organizations dominated by academics and administrators, serves to entrench existing institutions at the expense of competitors that could prove more cost-effective.

Rather than applying objective, outcome-based standards, the accreditors, who are mostly affiliated with traditional schools, judge potential newcomers based on whether they adhere to established methods. This automatically blocks innovation and has kept most online programs out of the accredited club.

By withholding accreditation, the powers that be in academia have effectively prevented newer online programs from being able to compete for students. Most students need to prove that their degrees are from accredited schools before those degrees are considered legitimate.

Accreditation is also used to determine federal financial aid eligibility. While accredited colleges could choose to grant academic credits to students who complete courses through non-accredited online programs, few do.

This is why students wait to get into in-person classes at accredited schools, despite the availability of online programs capable of delivering the same knowledge and skills.

While university faculty and administrators maintain control over the accreditation system, financial pressure will ultimately make change unavoidable. The ever-higher tuition bills and ever-larger student debt that are the byproducts of the current academic arrangement simply cannot be sustained for much longer.

The California bill is a sign that those financial pressures are having an effect. The arrangement proposed in the bill effectively overrides the accrediting agencies by forcing public schools to lend the strength of their own accreditation to high-caliber online classes.

This sort of legislative jerry-rigging may not be sufficient in the long run, but at least it is a step in the right direction, bringing us closer to the day when students can choose from a multitude of accredited programs that are online, on-campus or a combination of the two.

The share of high school graduates who go on to college has risen from 45 percent in 1959 to 70 percent in 2009. In that half-century span, employers who once might have accepted candidates with only a high school diploma now use college degrees as their hiring standard.

Yet we continue to rely on academic models that were developed when only a minority of students pursued higher education. It is no wonder that those systems are being overwhelmed. We owe it to students to ensure that the educational infrastructure is repaired before it breaks beneath them.

If colleges themselves can't or won't do this, then lawmakers, particularly at the state level, will need to step in.

If the California bill succeeds, it will offer a valuable lesson to the rest of the country. I hope educators are paying attention.

1) Yahoo! News, "New California Legislation to Provide MOOC Courses Full Academic Credit"
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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Homeschooling High School Without Tears

Homeschooling - Gustoff family in Des Moines 005
Homeschooling - Gustoff family in Des Moines (Photo credit:
by Jamie Gaddy

Homeschooling requires a lot, but homeschooling high school really takes effort. As a homeschooling mom of six, I am now homeschooling 2 high school aged children.

Both of them are very different and have very different educational requirements. Yet, I have found with each of them that I need to keep that motivated while challenging them academically.

The only problem I have is that we have a budget to stick to; which means that I don't have a lot to spend on getting them the variety of courses that they need.

For this reason, I began to research the various FREE online courses that are available on the internet. I began to realize that I literally had a wealth of resources right at my fingertips. There are so many amazing options with the open course ware that colleges across our country have made available.

These courses are high quality, and are usually from amazing universities such as MIT and even Yale. During this past year, we have been able to use these courses to gain incredible knowledge, and then to validate this knowledge we have taken the CLEP test that corresponds to each course.

This not only gives them viable course work for high school, but also college credit as well! It is definitely a win/win situation for each of them. This used to be a fairly unused method of dual enrollment.

However, in the last few years, with the explosion of open course ware CLEP testing for college credit is growing exponentially.

If you are wondering how you can find these courses and others like them, you can use a great web site called Let's Homeschool High School. This site has been invaluable for me as I have planned my children's high school years.

I am impressed by the level and quality of the courses that I have used and am even more excited because we have been able to take amazing courses for FREE, with simply the cost of the CLEP tests.

My oldest daughter is now applying to colleges, and has most recently applied to Mercer University and was pleasantly surprised at how home school friendly they were.

For those of you who prefer to homeschool via textbooks and not the internet, the same can be done through your local library. You can purchase a CLEP study book and then check out the books you need to study for the exams for FREE.

This allows you to get the material and formulate it into a course type setting. You can then easily take the CLEPT test to validate your course and again gain college credit that can be transferred to almost every college in the United States.

As a homeschooling mom of six, I help challenge my children with curriculum that I make as well as online curriculum from I am a freelance writer, college professor, pastor's wife, and a aspiring artist. What a mix!

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Learning Difficulties Faced by Students Today

Marc Prensky
Marc Prensky (Wikipedia)
by Amos Tsay

Mr. Marc Prensky once wrote a famous article titled "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants I & II".

He states that today's students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.

These students have spent their entire lives surrounded by computers, digital music players, video cameras, smart phones, and various other tools of the digital age.

Our students today are all therefore "native speakers" of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.

Digital native students work in a multitasking environment where they are doing homework, eating, watching television and texting simultaneously.

On the other hand, digital immigrants 'speak in different accents' where they are printing out an e-mail to read or a document to edit rather than simply editing it on the computer.

This difference leads to our first difficulty faced by students today - learners and instructors speak different 'languages'.

Most learners prefer knowing the answer immediately when solving math problems rather than waiting several weeks and even months for the instructor to correct and record the results, hand them back to the students and explain the correct answers with an answer key. Days of waiting around for results discourages the motivation of a learner.

There was once a university professor who wrote a letter three times to the principal of a junior high school to request that the math teacher return the exam paper to his daughter to review at home but was denied repeatedly.

Today's learners expect an educational program that offers instant solutions to questions, a personal learning map, digital follow-up capability and assessment to determine strengths and weaknesses which will prepare them to handle the learning process better and to be more effective while having fun.

The second difficulty students' face nowadays is the knowledge and qualifications of instructors. An article titled "Prof says teachers need better math" was published in the Maclean's magazine in September 2011.

The article mentions two university math professors spending two hours to understand the decimal division method taught by local high school teachers in order to teach their own kids who are in grade 7. They were frustrated, the article recalls. Today's learners deserve a better quality education to be well equipped to cope with the tougher competitive environment in the future.

The third difficulty is the reformed program from the Quebec Ministry of Education for high schools. The reformation requires students to learn more advanced topics in junior high compared to senior high.

For instance, a few years ago, none of the high schools taught logarithmic functions. Any science major student would know that logarithm function and exponent function are like twins. One cannot learn the exponent function without learning or knowing about the logarithm function. This partial education has frustrated many responsible math teachers.

Nowadays, math teachers teach these two topics even in secondary three. Furthermore, problem solving questions of a few lines have been replaced by two to five pages of situational problems.

There was a Montreal high school principal who told one of our advanced math students that none of teachers in the high school were capable of teaching him any longer. The student was then encouraged to form a math club for other constructivists to self-learn or to get help from other tutoring centers.

These three external factors as well as personal learning motivation, family background, and internal factors have contributed to the learning difficulties faced by today's students. Many assessment tools are available out there such as a happiness or depression index to see if one is happy or depressed.

As for math, I will develop a math-fearing index to diagnose a person's level of fear for math so that we can find solutions to deal with it. As the saying goes, "finding the reason for a problem is half way to reaching the solution."

Therefore, in order to be a good learner, a student needs a quality educational system which incorporates quality instructors, complete and interactive curriculums, and an environment promoting self-motivation in order to learn while having fun. These combined aspects are what I call the I.C.E. learning method.

"Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants I & II" can be read at

"Prof says teachers need better math" can be read at

Amos Tsay is the president and founder of Superkids e-Tutoring Center with 30 years of experience in education. He is also a publisher of many math books, the inventor of the I.C.E learning method and the founder of FQAA (Foundation of Quebec Academic Achievement) - a non-profit organization.

For more info, visit his company website at:

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K-12 World Wide Minimum Mandatory Curriculum: It's Needed, Can We Make It So?

English: Kibera Slum in Nairobi Deutsch: Der S...
Kibera Slum in Nairobi (Wikipedia)
by Lance Winslow

As the coordinator for a think tank, one which happens to operate online it comes as absolutely no surprise to me how often the topic of education comes up.

It seems to rear its head in almost every major topic of discussion when trying to solve problems to humankind's most pressing problems.

When it comes to poverty and starvation, we talk about educating farmers, when it comes to unemployment we talk about educating workers, and when it comes to economic calamity we talk about educating consumers and businesses on financial topics.

Okay so, let's talk because I think there needs to be a new baseline - globally - for education.

First, please understand these recommendations are not due to some "globalist" mindset, rather merely to help all the world and keep things fair in free-markets, trade, and throughout the planet, from the third to first world.

Without the proper education many children and communities around the world just do not have a chance. For instance, in the rural areas in Honduras, the kids need proper schooling and the villages need to learn to make bricks, septic tanks, and how to purify their water.

Just these small things, if they are taught to all at an early age will solve huge problems. If folks can learn the basics of building a house, laying a foundation, building a retaining wall, bridge, etc., it can help them live happier and healthier lives, further they need to be able to access this information in their language and/or with very easy to read and understand illustrations and plans.

Okay so, this is only on aspect of why a global mandatory minimum is needed for planet-wide human education.

Realize too, I am merely throwing this out there. Think of a slum in Africa, perhaps the Kibera Slum in Nairobi Kenya where 880,000 people live in barely 2.2 square miles. Children are born into these conditions and may never enjoy a fruitful life, and those who do survive into their teens and adulthood will not have had a proper education.

Yes, there are community organizations working very hard to educate these kids, but they'll need access to the internet, job skills, and basic education.

Without an educated population, the communities cannot flourish and thrive, nor can their country. Each individual will need a fighting chance and I'd say there is a minimum of understanding needed in the world, there are things that humans need to know if they are to continue forward. Please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Important World Issues. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

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