Funding awarded for Sierra Leone health partnership

From Kings College London news, their Global Health centre has been awarded a grant to improve health professions education in Sierra Leone.

The partnership will draw on the expertise of staff from across King’s Health Partners to work with staff at COMAHS to develop revised curricula for all programmes, provide training in modern teaching methods, equip classrooms and develop proposals for new training programmes. This will involve visits by medical, nursing and pharmacy educators to Sierra Leone to conduct needs assessments and hold curriculum workshops, as well as provide distance mentoring and support.

The project will also use an online learning platform called MedicineAfrica

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Red herrings in education reform

Clarke L Reubel has been teaching English at a high school for 14 years and reflects on educational reform, drawing a distinction betweenissue which have focused on reforming specific aspects and a wider philosophical view of improving education. He notes that many changes of curriula and standards and scores have resulted in many different systems leading to additional training and resources being required He highlights issues with structural reforms being drawn into continuous cycles regardless of the type of school

Our system stifles independent thinking among leadership the same way teachers are tasked with subverting critical thought in our students. Those of us who resist become agitators, drawing the ire of a frustrated public who consider us problems rather than potential solutions, which leads to increasingly adamant demands to rein us in.

Charter and private schools are not immune to this cycle. They are products of it, and vouchers, like merit pay, will only serve to legitimize the fundamental flaws in the current system. Ironically, demanding structural changes without philosophical adjustment contributes to the structural problems.

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School Districts and Modern Technology, or, Things That Make Me Bang My Head On My Laptop

Orangespicedrop aka Diane succinctly notes that technology is great when it is used correctly and works correctly.

Our school district constantly boasts about the fact that they use technology in the classroom. To the point of annoyance and nausea.  And it’s true–the Tweedles’ homework these days is mostly done “online.”  When I walked into various classrooms on Teacher Conference Day, a Smartboard was present in most of the rooms.  On the school’s website, you can do everything from checking your student’s grades or the event calendar, to putting money into their lunch account.  Each Friday, the principal of the school sends out a mass email, detailing events of the past week and informing parents of upcoming important dates.

She has a hypothesis that people fail to use technology correctly 90% of the time and provides several anecdotes highlighting how both information and technology have been used to illustrate this.

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Characteristics of the Zamorano Dairy Plant – Education, Innovation and Outreach

cflorian describes the Zamorano university enterprise in Honduras, which has a fully functional plant where students can learn all the different processes including pasteurization, packaging, manufacturing cheese, yoghurt, ice-cream. The enterprise supports the local economy by processing thousands of litres of milk from local organisations and sells products in local markets. The profits are returned to support the student scholarship fund. The students can also take part in a range of research:

One example of these research projects was an evaluation of new dairy cultures for cheddar cheese with the aim of reducing maturation time and improving its taste. Other studies have involved the analysis of stabilizers to improve cream chesses and the development of natural preservatives to increase the duration of natural milk, among others. New product development by Zamorano students has resulted in products that will soon hit the market, such as yogurt-based dips, smoked cheeses, liquid yogurt and traditional and artisanal products like industrially-manufactured curds

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Africa – Incubators and Tech Hubs : A Young Professionals Key to ICT Entrepreneurship

Karen Triquet summarizes recent initiatives which have provided platforms for students to connect with other entrepreneurs and share knowledge. An infographic on the blog shows how everything can become connected through the community. She profiles Afrilabs which include iHub – Kenya, Hive Colab – Uganda, ActivSpaces – Cameroon, BantaLabs – Senegal, NaiLab – Kenya, MEST – Ghana, iceAddis – Ethiopia, Co-Creation Hub – Nigeria, iLab – Liberia, RLabs – South Africa, BongoHive – Zambia, Malagasy i-Hub – Madagascar, m:Lab EA – Kenya, Wennovation Hub – Nigeria.

She includes videos of iHub in Kenya.

Education and Employment are ways of fighting poverty, and these internet HUBs are a way of increasing access to it as well as linking individuals potential to wider audience-more global.

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Why MOOCs will not save universities

Dr Stefan Popenici reviews discussions about economics, moocs and universities’ role in changing themselves or having less impact on what could be described as education. He highlights differences in perceptions of academic roles, their status and influences on changing academic practices. He looks at the current economic models and management practices where risk taking by both academics and students has not been ecnouraged or supported.

He looks at the ‘ideas’ initiatives which churn out ideas and describes how a push for greater efficiency is removing the conversation away from universities

These forums of ideas and debate have no equivalent initiative organized by an academic institution in the last decade. This used to be an integral part of any university mission, but the culture of debate, inquiry, exploration and public conversation crumbled under the pressure of efficiency. Universities are not capable nor even interested to have something similar and most academic conferences are now paper-presentation-marathons with little if any discussion about what goes today as serious research

He goes on to look at Moocs and questions the economic viability, the engagement of large audiences and reflects on the ability of tools and platforms to realistically change the future.


Burundis push for universal education

Jocelyne Sambira of Africa Renewal Online reports about the opportunity for free education through cooperation with the Burundi government and partners such as Unicef offering facilities and educational materials. They point out that whilst the rates are higher in rural areas, the drop out rate is high. In some areas the drop out rates vary by gender and wonder about economic issues that may be affecting these decisions as well as maturity.

The problems compound across the entire education system, Mr. Wedenig explains. “If you have a low intake in early childhood development for instance, it is sure that you would have lower achievements and retention in primary school. If you have high dropouts in primary, low transition to secondary and high dropouts in secondary, obviously you will have a problem in terms of the quality not only for university and tertiary education, but also for teacher colleges and for the future of teaching.”

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Speaking notes from Special Chiefs Assembly on First Nation Education: National Chief Shawn Atleo

via Working Effectively with Aboriginal Peoples™.com, this speech reflects on First Nation Education, the impact of educational policies over the years, looking forward to the future

When our young people do complete high school – they are twice as likely to get a job. When they graduate from university, their earnings triple. AND more importantly, it is these very students that are returning home, starting families and re-building their entire communities to become places of hope, independence and success.

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Welcome to LAMB School Bangladesh

from Kenthinksaloud – an introduction to the NGO, great photos and a series of interviews with students who have progressed through the school, which originally started as a project with health care clinics providing healthcare and education to people in the local village.

Now we cater for, more or less, all the LAMB staff’s children plus quite a few others from outside too – especially amongst the poor Santal villages lying nearby. Although coming from a particular religious faith point of view, the school welcomes all and we have Muslims, Christians and Hindus in the classes just as we do amongst LAMB staff. Respect for all has always been the key philosophy to our teaching here. We’ve a built a good reputation in the area on it.

He explains the changes throughout the school, the weekly routine and a tour of the school and offers a perspective on examinations and their relevance.

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Nigerian students spend N160b in Ghana varsities

James Ogunjimi notes that many Nigerian students are choosing to study in universities outside of Nigeria and wonders what can be done to develop Nigerian higher education.

No fewer than 75,000 Nigerian students are currently studying in three Ghanaian universities incurring a total of N160billion expenditure annually, the Chairman, Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Dr Wale Babalakin, has said.

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