Why Science Fairs Matter More Than Ever

The Huffington Post – David D. Etzwiler

“Science fairs had a rough 2015…Critics were saying that science fairs were not achieving what they were supposed to. Instead of generating more interest in science, technology, engineering, and math — the STEM fields — they were inspiring races to the bottom, a constant reheating of unimaginative projects proven to get a good grade…That said, we would encourage parents and educators alike to embrace their science fairs more, not hate them. STEM, after all, is nothing less than the language of our new and still-rapidly changing digital economy. Jobs in these fields are growing three times faster than any other sector of our economy, and yet only 16 percent of American high school seniors, according to the U.S. Department of Education, are proficient in math and even interested in STEM. Science fairs and competitions are helping to close this skills gap…Science fairs, when done right, focus students on solving problems, not just acing tests…they continue to nurture the spirit of innovation that guides success in our global economy.”(more)

Degree Programs for Emerging Entrepreneurs in the Education Innovation Ecosystem

Forbes – Barbara Kurshan

“Teaching some of the most underserved students in New Orleans, Hilah Barbot, the Director for Blended Learning for the KIPP New Orleans Schools, noticed that her students’ low writing proficiency was one of the greatest barriers to college entry. Inspired by education technology tools available on the market, Hilah and her co-worker Adam Kohler had an idea about how to enhance their writing capabilities using adaptive, personalized learning. There are thousands of innovative thinkers like Hilah and Adam who have ideas about how to address some of the most pressing issues in education. Their stories illustrate the need for learning opportunities for new and potential education entrepreneurs as part of the education innovation ecosystem, which I have written about in past blogs. In researching available opportunities for her to grow her idea into a venture, Hilah came across a program that blended her interests in education, business and entrepreneurship that didn’t require her to leave her classroom- the M.S.Ed. in Education Entrepreneurship program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (“Penn GSE”)- and decided to enroll.”(more)

BASF taking innovation where markets are

China Daily- Zhu Wenqian

“BASF director says the firm is coasting on its long history with China to industrial glory
BASF SE’s association with China goes back all the way to 1885. Over the last 130 years, the Ludwigshafen, Germany-headquartered 150-year-old multinational, which deals mainly in chemicals, plastics, performance products, crop protection products, petrochemicals, nutrition and health products, oil and gas, has made China key to its growth and evolution.
Sanjeev Gandhi, 49, one of BASF’s executive directors, now heads the company’s operations in Greater China and Asia Pacific. A BASF veteran, Gandhi has risen through the ranks over 22 years to reach the Board of Executive Directors.”(more)

College established to fight terrorism

China Daily- Du Juan/Cui Jia

“China’s first educational institute of its kind focusing on counterterrorism law has been created at a university in Northwest China, which aims to build a pool of legal experts to help China combat terrorism.
The institute was set up by the Northwest University of Political Science and Law in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, and is expected to receive its first class of undergraduates in spring semester.
“To better fight terrorism under new circumstances, China has an urgent and strategic need for a team of qualified experts who have comprehensive knowledge in the field,” Jia Yu, president of the university, said at the launching ceremony for the institute on Saturday.”(more)

Children: revolt and change the system, teaches artist

The Helsinki Times – Jutta Sarhimaa

“Next spring Kiasma will host a 15-metre-tall classroom.There, Finns will be taught the ABC’s of disobedience. The aim is to fill desks with children and young adults, but adults are also welcome.Teachers include, among others, last autumn’s tax gimmick opposers Riku Rantala and Tuomas “Tunna” Milonoff from Docyenture, rapper Karri “Paleface” Miettinen and Marjaana Toiviainen, a priest from Kallio who has given the homeless a home in her own.”(more)

HK$2.6b extra for pre-school education

HK Edition- oseph Li in Hong Kong

“The recurrent government expenditure for kindergarten education will rise from HK$4.1 billion to HK$6.7 billion, after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying pledged in the latest Policy Address to offer quality, free kindergarten education to children aged 3 to 6 from school year 2017-18 – with a view to lifting the overall quality of pre-school education.
The government hopes to deliver quality kindergarten education through a new curriculum, better teacher quality and improved governance of schools, following implementation of free education.
Subsidies to kindergartens will increase significantly, Education Bureau (EDB) sources said. For a long whole-day kindergarten with 90 students, the annual subsidy will increase from HK$2 million under the existing education voucher system to HK$4.9 million. For a whole-day kindergarten with 90 students, the annual subsidy will increase to HK$4 million from HK$2 million now. And for a half-day kindergarten with 200 students, the annual subsidy will rise to HK$6.6 million from the current HK$4.5 million.”(more)