Ni Hao! Say Hyderabadis

The Times of India – Preeti Biswas

“As trade relations with China are poised to grow deeper across the twin states, hundreds of people are opting to learn Mandarin, which has already emerged as the trade language in Asia…”Mandarin is becoming a widely spoken language across the world. Unlike French, which has reached a saturation point, the demand for Mandarin is quite high. We are teaching the language to students at a young age keeping in mind the opportunity in the language,” said Emerald Chio, a Chinese national, who now lives in Hyderabad.”(more)

Schools can — and should — teach more than discipline

The Seattle Times – Jerry Large

“Dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline doesn’t require more information or analysis. It requires a will to change strong enough to produce sustained, effective action. Someone said that the other night at a meeting about the pipeline. And a lot of people said what a lot of people have been saying for a very long time, the gist being don’t criminalize kids, educate them. Well, maybe it takes repetition to sink in deep enough to matter. Here’s a definition of the pipeline: “ … the policies and practices that push our nation’s schoolchildren, especially our most at-risk children, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.” That’s from the American Civil Liberties Union, one of numerous organizations working nationally to fix what’s wrong. Schools went along with the tough-on-crime, no-tolerance attitude that swept politics and the criminal-justice system in the 1980s. The result has been a huge increase in the number of children suspended or expelled, often for classroom behavior that could be dealt with productively if it were treated as a teaching opportunity.”(more)

Study Highlights Striking Racial and Gender Gaps in High School STEM

Education Week – Liana Heitin

“While male and female students are earning high school math and science credits at similar rates, boys are still significantly more likely to take engineering and technology classes and to consider pursuing postsecondary STEM majors, according to the National Center for Education Statistics’ latest update of the 2009 High School Transcript Study, released late last month. The results also reveal stark differences in how high school students of different races are earning STEM credits.”(more)

To children, are smart devices new means of education or just ‘digital sugar sweet’?

Tech in Asia – Hoa Ho-Kim

“I remember growing up with The Green Fairy (a popular local story series) and Doraemon when I was a little girl. TV and radio were the only kinds of technology-based means of entertainment we had at that time and I was totally comfortable with that. However, in recent years, the massive growth of handheld devices like smart phones and tablets really alter our lives, exerting a trickle-down effect on even children. When my cousin – a toddler – was allowed to use tablet, many elder relatives disapproved of my aunt: ‘You shouldn’t do that! Don’t spoil your kid!’ as they thought it wasn’t good for a child. I ‘googled’ this issue and realized people mostly talk about two aspects when it comes to pros and cons of using smart screens at early ages: education and social connection.”(more)

The Rise Of Liberal Arts Colleges In Asia

Forbes – Sergei Klebnikov

“One of the most heated debates in education today concerns the liberal arts model. It has come under fire in recent years, and has been increasingly compared to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) learning. The rapid introduction of new technologies which require field specialization are, many argue, outdating subjects such as philosophy and literature…Critics argue that the highly specialized and sought-after STEM degrees, such as informatics, robotics, or laser technology, have presented a preferred alternative to a liberal arts education. With globalization, skills in STEM subjects have become a necessity in today’s job market. In recent years, however, a revival of the liberal arts model may be coming from a most unlikely place: Asia…educators and administrators in countries like China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are focusing on schools which focus on critical thinking and creativity.”(more)

Singapore tops OECD’s global school ranking, US placed 28th

CNBC – Luke Graham

“Asian countries have topped the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s ranking of school performance across 76 countries, according to a report released on Wednesday. The high-profile report, which ranked countries based on 15-year-old students’ average scores in mathematics and science, placed Singapore in first place. The U.K. was ranked in 20th place, while the U.S. came in 28th, below countries including, Hong Kong, Canada and Vietnam…The report claimed 24 percent of students in the U.S. had not acquired basic skills, making it the second-worst high-income country in the world on this measure, after Luxembourg. The OECD argued that if the U.S. could ensure all students reached this baseline, over $27 trillion dollars would be added to the national economy over the course of the students’ working lives.”(more)