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Chinese Language In Nigeria Is Increasingly Popular As China-Africa Economic Relations Deepen

The International Business Times – By Michelle FlorCruz

“The study of the Chinese language has become increasingly popular among young students in Lagos, Nigeria. As the West African nation continues to foster economic relations with China, students say learning the language makes them more competitive in the job markets in the East and at home. The demand for learning Chinese, specifically Mandarin, has increased all over the world as the country is seen as a major player in economics, healthcare and politics. Many students in the West caught on to this trend about a decade ago. In 2008, Asia Society, a New York-based Asia-focused educational organization, reported that enrollment in Chinese programs among K-12 level students grew 200 percent over a four-year period from 2004-2008. In Nigeria, and other African nations where there is a significant Chinese expat population, learning Chinese as a way to be more competitive in the job market is still relatively new. Upon graduating in 2014 with a degree in microbiology from Lagos State University, Jolade Oshodi, after being exposed to Chinese pop culture, decided to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Lagos’ Confucius Institute, an educational organization affiliated with China’s own Ministry of Education.”(more)

Educators, advocates see increased importance in US STEM education

Fox News – Brian Mastroianni

“When it comes to education reform in the United States, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is the term that is usually at the tip of the tongue of every policy maker, teacher, or school advocate. For its detractors, STEM is a buzzword for more standardized tests or a de-emphasis on humanities education. For its proponents, STEM signifies an increased dedication to making American schools globally competitive — preparing students for a job market that is becoming increasingly more reliant on science and technology skills. According to 2012 statistics from the National Math + Science Initiative, there are 26 and 19 industrialized nations that perform better than U.S. students in math and science, respectively. The same report shows that, by 2018, it is estimated that 63 percent of all jobs in the U.S. will require some post-secondary education, while 92 percent of all STEM-related jobs will be for individuals with post-secondary training.”(more)

Parents Key in Attracting Girls to STEM

The U.S. News and World Report – Alan Neuhauser

“Parents play a pivotal role in helping build early interest in science, technology, engineering and math – a foundation crucial for keeping children, and especially girls, interested in pursuing education and work in STEM fields. “It starts with parents, and it starts with them really modeling the behavior and embracing curiosity,” New York Times bestselling author Andrea Beaty, speaking at the 2015 U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference in San Diego, said during a panel Monday. “We know readers become readers when they find it important, when they look at their parents and see they’re readers. It sends the message that this is important.” Corporations in the STEM fields, universities and advocacy groups have long lamented broad gaps in STEM interest between men and women. The 2015 U.S. News /Raytheon STEM Index, published Monday, found women still lag far behind men in both STEM education and hiring – a trend that’s been traced to an early loss of interest among girls, which many attribute to social factors that implicitly or explicitly communicate that STEM is for boys.”(more)

Engaging Parents in Kids’ STEM Education

The U.S. News and World Report – Kimberly Leonard

“Though much of teaching around STEM occurs in the classroom, that isn’t where students spend most of their time. It is the time they spend outside of school that can be most valuable in helping them learn about STEM careers and how they can solve problems – and that’s where parents can help to inspire, support and develop their children’s learning. Working with parents has helped various nonprofits expose children to STEM jobs. Speakers at the U.S. News STEM session “Engaging Parents in their Children’s STEM Education” in San Diego on Monday shared strategies their organizations have used that have worked, and what they have learned. Helping parents learn about STEM, they said, can bring their children along as well.”(more)

What Common Core Teaches Us About the Future of Testing

Time – Brian Witte

“Whether you love it or loathe it, the Common Core State Standards Initiative has officially arrived in American classrooms. The origin of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, or the Common Core for short, is a widely recognized need for uniformity in United States education. In other words, a diploma from a suburban California school should mean that a student is as well prepared for college and the workforce as a student from rural Iowa or urban New York. The debate around the Common Core has been fierce, but this article will not revisit it. Instead, it will shed light on three things the Common Core assessments teach us about the future of testing.”(more)