Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 18

Gayby Baby: Australian education minister bans schools from showing documentary about LGBT families

Gaybe Baby wants to dispel the myths surrounding LGBT parents

Gayby Baby Gayby Baby

By Chris Mandle

An Australian education minister has come under fire for banning every public school in his area from screening a film about children with gay parents.

New South Wales Education Minister Adrian Piccoli refused to let around 50 schools around the country screen the documentary ‘Gayby Baby’, which was going to be shown as part of the nationwide ‘Wear It Purple’ day, an event that supports the inclusion of LGBT pupils in schools.

Piccoli told 2GB Radio that the documentary, which looks at the lives of families with same-sex parents and was given a PG rating in Australia, wasn’t being shown because it wasn’t on the school curriculum.

“During school hours we expect them to be doing maths and English and curriculum matters. This movie is not part of the curriculum and that’s why I’ve made that direction.”

Full story at Independent (August 2015)

Tsinghua crowned 'wealthiest'

The western gate of Tsinghua University. The Beijing-based university has become the country's richest institution for higher learning with its annual revenues reaching 12.36 billion yuan in 2014. [Photo provided to China Daily]

By Zheng Xin

Beijing's Tsinghua University, one of the two most prestigious institutions for higher education in China, has been crowned the country's wealthiest school, with annual revenues reaching 12.36 billion yuan ($1.93 billion), a new ranking said.

It was followed by Zhejiang University, Peking University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, according to a list of the richest universities in China based on balance sheets from 76 varsities.

Though Chinese universities are getting closer to the top global institutions in terms of investment, gaps still exists in their funding, said Xiong Bingqi, vice-president of the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Shanghai.

Tsinghua University expects annual revenue of 12.36 billion yuan for its 2014 fiscal year, followed by Zhejiang University with 10.9 billion yuan and Peking University of 8.6 billion yuan.

The United States-based Harvard University reported an income of $4.2 billion for the fiscal year 2013, while the financial overview by the US-based Yale University indicates it had total revenue and investment returns of about $6.296 billion for the fiscal year ending June 2014.

Unlike many top universities abroad, which see a larger proportion of donations for better financial independence, Chinese universities usually see very few donations compared with the fiscal appropriation, said Xiong.

While the endowment in Harvard University reached $36.4 billion in fiscal 2014, Wuhan University, the sixth-richest in China, and Huazhong University of Science and Technology, the eighth-richest, received respective donations of 40.69 million yuan ($6.35 million) and 27.49 million yuan ($4.29 million) last year, according to their balance sheets.

Full story at China Daily (August 2015)

Technology in classrooms doesn't make students smarter

A global study by OECD finds that more digital devices in schools does not equal better performance

More computers and tablets at school doesn't necessarily mean smarter kids. Photo: Juice Images/Alamy

By Madhumita Murgia

Computers do not noticeably improve school children's academic results and can even hamper performance, according to a report that looked at the impact of technology in classrooms across the globe.

While nearly three-quarters of all the students surveyed from 64 different countries said they used a computer at school, the report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that technology had made no improvement in results.

In fact, in countries that reported the most technology use in the classroom, such as Spain, Sweden and Australia, students' reading performance actually declined between 2000 and 2012.

In South Korea and Hong Kong, students used computers for an average of roughly 10 minutes at school - just a fraction of the full hour spent on the internet by Australian students, for instance.

Conversely, in these Asian countries where less than half the students reported using computers at school, the children were among the top performers in reading and computer-based mathematics tests, according to OECD's assessment program.

According to a British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) report published in January, UK schools are expected to spend £623 million on ICT in 2015, with £95m spent on software and digital content. But this clearly doesn't correlate with better performance.

Full story at The Telegraph (September 2015)

Teachers will get a lesson for accepting gifts

By Zhou Wen Ting

Students give their teachers handmade certificates of merits to express their gratitude on Thursday, Teachers' Day, at a primary school in Handan, Hebei province. HAO QUNYING /CHINA DAILY

Parents in Shanghai give presents to ensure their children get more attention, opportunities

Teachers in Shanghai who have accepted gifts or cash from students or their parents will be disqualified from applying for professional titles that confer higher rank and more pay, the municipal education commission announced ahead of Teachers' Day, which fell on Thursday.

The latest action seeks to further curb gift-giving by parents seeking more opportunities or individual attention for their children. The school district previously barred teachers from accepting gifts or other perks.

Reform of evaluation methods used in bestowing professional titles on teachers is ongoing across the country. The city's core reform centers on teachers' professional ethics, the Shanghai Education Commission announced on Tuesday, two days ahead of the national Teachers' Day, when teachers are typically thanked for their work.

Parents and education experts say the practice of giving gifts on Teachers' Day is widespread and they applauded the education commission's move to further discourage the practice.

One father, who has a 15-year-old daughter in an elite high school in Yangpu district, described the gifts as "clearly a sort of bribe".

"Most parents feel anxious before the Teachers' Day because they don't dare to go against the unspoken rule of giving teachers some practical benefits to ensure the child isn't left out by teachers," said the father, who asked not to be identified.

Zhou Yanli, a mother of a third-grader at a primary school in Hongkou district, said she gave a shopping card worth 500 yuan ($79) to her daughter's teacher in each semester in the past two years.

"My child is modest and shy and performs average academically. I hope the teacher will pay more attention to my child's schoolwork and overall development," Zhou said.

Full story at China Daily (September 2015)

Ernst & Young Removes Degree Classification From Entry Criteria As There's 'No Evidence' University Equals Success

Traymond Boyd Via Getty Images

By Lucy Sherriff

Ernst & Young, one of the UK's biggest graduate recruiters, has announced it will be removing the degree classification from its entry criteria, saying there is "no evidence" success at university correlates with achievement in later life.

The accountancy firm is scrapping its policy of requiring a 2:1 and the equivalent of three B grades at A-level in order to open opportunities for talented individuals "regardless of their background".

Maggie Stilwell, EY’s managing partner for talent, said the company would use online assessments to judge the potential of applicants.

"Academic qualifications will still be taken into account and indeed remain an important consideration when assessing candidates as a whole, but will no longer act as a barrier to getting a foot in the door," she said.

"Our own internal research of over 400 graduates found that screening students based on academic performance alone was too blunt an approach to recruitment.

Full story at The Huffington Post (September 2015)