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become just another commodity

Le 27 décembre 2017, 07:22 dans Humeurs 0

The two-year degree shows education has become just another commodity
The two-year degree is back. The idea of increased flexibility in higher education is, in the broadest sense, a good one. But it is a sign of how captured we have been by market-centric thinking that “flexibility”, to this government, is manifested as “squeeze the same amount into a shorter period of time to maximise your financial returns later”. The sector has undergone a “catastrophe” as part-time student numbers have collapsed; that the government’s response is a degree format the polar opposite of part-time – and to charge £2,000 extra for the privilege – is indicative of its approach to governance in general.

For most demographics whose access to higher education is restricted, condensing the course doesn’t address the barriers they’re facing. If you’re balancing employment and childcare with a full-time education, especially if you’re relying on sketchy public transport infrastructure, it’s unrealistic to squeeze any more into your schedule. Many universities currently structure their courses around the reality that many students work, at least part-time, while studying. None of this is to mention those with disabilities who may face additional barriers to access.
There are no doubt some – the independently wealthy, for example – who may benefit, but it seems perverse that these people should be the focus of a major policy change. Once again we seem to be seeing policy as a function of the education minister’s pet project rather than the sector’s needs. Troublingly, we seem to have fully accepted the shift from education as a social good to a product sold to students on grounds of higher earnings in the jobs market.
Stop treating university degrees as something to be endured | Jonathan Wolff
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Often, the grand promises of access to employment don’t hold up. The labour market has been increasingly casualised and “hollowed out”, with a gap emerging between the skilled and “unskilled” (or those whose skills are less valued). Progression through the ranks is vanishing, with a degree becoming a requirement for all sorts of jobs beyond simply those with high wages. A study from the Resolution Foundation found that, among those who were low paid in 2001, only one in four had progressed from that wage bracket 10 years later. Average graduate earnings can seem higher because average non-graduate earnings are so low.

Graduate averages, meanwhile, can be skewed by high wages at the very top of the ladder. “Median starting salaries” that approach the £30,000 mark are, frankly, marketing figures: they only take in graduates who got graduate jobs directly related to their degree. They conveniently exclude those who have not been able to find employment after graduating, nor the one-third of all graduates who are in low-paid employment six months after graduating.
Even beyond the gap between the promise and reality, though, lies a philosophical flaw with the current approach. Education should be seen as a social and personal good in itself. What of the factory worker who wants to learn about economics, not because she wants to become a banker but because she wants to understand the chancellor’s autumn statement? What of the fruit picker who wants to study literature because of a love of language and poetry?
What does it say when a society views any aspirations that can’t be expressed in financial terms as luxuries reserved for the rich?
The two-year degree, in and of itself, is neither a good nor a bad thing. For some people it will be a positive, for the majority of others an irrelevance. What is troubling is what it represents about how Britain’s political establishment sees education. It fits well into the reductive free-market philosophy, where every aspect of life can be sold as a commodity. A government that sees the price of everything and the value of nothing will inevitably be drawn to idea of squeezing maximum output into minimum time.
Universities win permission to charge £2,000 premium for two-year degrees
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A government that really wanted to make higher education more flexible, open and accessible would be exploring options that made sense for single parents and working-class people. More part-time degrees, more graduate qualifications, modules that you could take without having to commit to a whole degree, a commitment to learning that people could use at the pace appropriate to them.
It would also help ensure that work was decent at all levels – rather than taking it as read that low pay and miserable conditions are all you can expect without a degree – and that education wasn’t just an expensive commodity you bought on tick as a way of clawing an advantage in an ever more cut-throat job market.
I see no evidence, though, that this government thinks the choice between being stuck in a low-wage hellscape or taking on thousands of pounds in debt to play a roulette wheel with better odds is a bad thing. The days of education policies that address none of the problems with education are far from over.

International education rankings

Le 29 mars 2016, 09:44 dans Humeurs 0

Global education rankings to measure tolerance Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Pisa tests are going to compare countries on how well young people can work together
International education rankings are going to test a very different type of skill next year.
The Pisa tests, which compare teenagers' ability in reading, maths and science, for the first time are also going to test "global competence".
It's a significant departure to move from maths puzzles and literacy tests to asking questions about fake news, global warming and racism.Plan a unique hong kong tour for your clients with PartnerNet's useful travel tips, and various tourist information such as Chinese customs and traditions.

The inaugural tests for global competence will take place in about 80 countries next year - and the results are going to be pushed centre-stage in the following round of Pisa rankings.
The tests, run every three years by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, have become among the most widely used measures for global education standards.
And for each round of tests, one subject is chosen as the headline measure used to construct the international league table.
That lead subject is going to be the new global competence tests, when the results of tests taken in 2018 are published in 2019.
It could mean a very different set of countries at the top of the rankings, rather than the current cluster, which includes Singapore, South Korea, Finland and Canada.
Tackling extremism
But how do you assess global competence? What does it actually mean?
This week the OECD set out its framework for the new test and the thinking behind its introduction.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The tests want to see whether young people can recognise fake news on social media
It's intended to find out how well young people can understand other people's views and cultures, how they can look beyond the partisan echo chamber of social media and distinguish reliable evidence from fake news.
It's a challenge to intolerance and extremism.

Andreas Schleicher, the OECD's director of education, says that international promises about the right to "quality education for all" now have to mean more than the "foundation knowledge" of maths, reading and science, it also needs to be about "learning to live together".
The economic think tank says there has been so much "indiscriminate violence" in the name of ethnic or religious differences, that young people need to be taught about living alongside people of other cultures.
There are other driving factors, says the OECD, including the debate about immigration and refugees and the polarising impact of social networking, where people can be disconnected from anyone not sharing their views.
"It will help the many teachers who work every day to combat ignorance, prejudice and hatred, which are at the root of disengagement, discrimination and violence," says Mr Schleicher.
Climate change
The tests want to find out how well students can critically examine local and global contemporary issues and how well they can understand "multiple cultural perspectives".Putting emphasis on quality learning and teaching together with knowledge transfer, PolyU firmly believes that research study is a significant component of academic life on university campus.
As an example, the OECD suggests a question about different interpretations of evidence for global warming, in which the same information seems to have been used to produce charts supporting and opposing claims about climate change.
Students are asked to analyse the evidence and to question how data might be used selectively or how the findings of research can be influenced by whomever has funded it.
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Another set of questions are based on a scenario in which a team loses when a player walks off the pitch after getting racist abuse. Should the player have stuck it out rather than leaving the team a player down?
It's meant to raise questions about identity, responsibility, regulations on behaviour and the politics of the crowd.
As well as questions, there will also be information gathered about students' attitudes towards people from other cultures, interest in other countries and languages, global inequality and the environment.
But this is difficult territory - and a long way from the neater clarity of a maths answer.
Testing values
International rankings have tended to be based on subjects where comparisons in results are more straightforward.
This latest set of tests talks about "valuing human dignity and diversity" and the "need to live harmoniously in multicultural communities".
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The OECD says young people need to be able to navigate a globalised culture
It's a much more culturally loaded proposition LPG M6.

But Mr Schleicher says young people need to navigate a globalised economy and to communicate and empathise with people from different countries and backgrounds.
There's also a more assertive underlying message of internationalism and cultural openness.
The OECD's origins lie in the reconstruction efforts in the "rubble of Europe after World War Two", part of a drive to bolster international co-operation, market economies and democratic institutions.
It is now literally putting these values to the test.

11 Amazing Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds You Need To Know

Le 3 mars 2016, 04:16 dans Cuisine 0

It’s Halloween season, which means plenty of pumpkin carving. But before discarding the pulp and the seeds you may want to consider keeping the latter ielts score. As you’re about to discover, pumpkin seeds have an abundance of amazing benefits that will do wonders for your health.


1. Healthy Heart

Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, which is imperative for adequate physiological body function. This includes the proper pumping of your heart, as well as tooth and bone formation, DNA synthesis and bowel function. Magnesium is also a natural relaxant.


2. Sleep

Being high in the amino acid tryptophan, pumpkin seeds help you to have a restful night’s sleep. This is because the acid converts to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can effect your sleep patterns. As such, they’re literally nature’s sleeping pills! As a result, they can also have an effect on your mood, because who doesn’t feel great after an amazing sleep?


3. Stress Relief

The seeds are also a great source of another amino acid, glutamate. This is essential to the synthesis of γ-amino butyric acid, which is an anti-stress neurochemical that reduces anxiety and irritability. You have to love being able to get some zen out of your snacks!


4. Menopause Symptoms

As for pumpkin seed oil, it’s also thought to help with symptoms of menopause. That’s because it contains an abundance of phytoestrogens—a plant based xenoestrogen, which functions as estrogen. It is said to help decrease hot flashes, pains, headaches and reduce blood pressure.


5. Stabilizing Blood Sugar

Due to being high in protein, pumpkin seeds help to regulate your blood sugar levels. This has two particularly great potential benefits—weight loss and diabetes prevention. It’s also said to help the latter by decreasing oxidative stress.


6. Anti-Inflammatory

Pumpkin seed oil has also exhibited anti-inflammatory effects that rival indomethacin—a drug that is used to treat arthritis Hong Kong Macau Tour. In addition, it works without also providing any of the side effects that the drug itself does.


7. High In Omega-3

Pumpkin seeds are one of the most notable plant-based sources of obtaining omega-3. This is a fatty acid that’s essential to metabolism health, as well as brain and cognitive performance.


8. Prostate Health

Pumpkin seeds contain a large quantity of zinc, which is incredibly important to prostate health. In fact, the highest quantity of zinc in a man’s body is in his prostate. It’s also believed that the oil within the seeds helps to treat prostatic hyperplasia, or a large prostate.


Zinc is also essential for insulin regulation, cell growth and your immune system. In addition, it helps your sense of taste and smell. A few seeds a day is certainly a small price to pay for great health and improved taste!


9. Good For Your Skin

Pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamin E, which is a lipid-soluble antioxidant. As such, it helps to protect tissue cells from mediated oxidant injury. In layperson’s terms, this means that it helps your skin to remain healthy and looking younger. What’s not to love about that?


10. Energizing

Pumpkin seeds are full of iron, which will give you a fantastic energy boost throughout the day. This is a great alternative to sugary snacks that will only give you energy for a short period of time before resulting in a sugar crash. So, put down the candy bar and pick up some pumpkin seeds. You’ll be thankful once 4pm rolls around and you aren’t slumped half-asleep across your desk!


11. Lowers Cholesterol

In addition to omega-3, pumpkin seeds are also rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid Matching. This helps to lower bad LDL cholesterol and therefore helps to prevent stroke and coronary artery disease.

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