Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 29

Students, beware: 23 universities, 279 technical institutes in India fake

The UGC and AICTE have put out a list of fake institutes on their websites, warning students ahead of the new academic session that kicks in next month. (Sushil Kumar/HT File Photo)

By Neelam Pandey

Delhi is the fake Capital with 66 colleges -- the highest for any state in India – offering engineering and other technical courses without the regulator’s permission. There are 279 such technical institutes in the country..

Simply put, these schools don’t have the authority to grant degrees. Education certificates issued by such colleges are nothing but a piece of paper..

The Capital also has seven of the country’s 23 fake universities, the University Grants Commission has said.

In an annual review, the UGC and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) last month put out a list of such fake institutes on their websites, warning students ahead of the new academic session that kicks in next month..

“We send the list of unapproved and unregulated technical institutions to concerned state authorities for taking appropriate action against such institutions,” an official said.

Full story at Hindustan Times (March 2017)

Internet users defend SPM ace attacked over make-up

Screen capture showing Natasha Qisty Mohd Ridzuan during the interview with state news agency Bernama.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Malaysian internet users have come to the defence of Natasha Qisty Mohd Ridzuan who is being criticised for wearing cosmetics during an interview about her straight-A results in the 2016 Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) examination.

The student from Kolej Tunku Kurshiah in Negri Sembilan was also denounced for purportedly speaking with a foreign accent as well as her attire during the interview with state news agency Bernama.

Most comments expressed either disapproval of her appearance or claimed that she will rely more on her beauty than her intelligence to succeed.

“I’m her batchmate, even in school, she’s always been pretty with and without makeup. Always supportive and helpful too. Zz smh at haters,” schoolmate Admalinda Hasan posted on her @admalindaa Twitter account.

Another Twitter user with the handle @kidzaid also rebuked Natasha’s critics for finding fault in her appearance rather than celebrating her academic results.

Ashrul Ashri said the apparent envy seen in the criticism against the top scorer was an indication of the country’s obstacles in its path to becoming a developed nation.

Full story at The Malay Mail Online (March 2017)

Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung blocks Carrie Lam’s pledge to scrap TSA

Soon-to-be leader says she will do her best to abolish assessments after taking office

Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung blocks Carrie Lam’s pledge to scrap TSA

By Jeffie Lam And Ng Kang-chung

Hong Kong’s new leader in waiting, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s education policy faced its first setback yesterday when the incumbent chief executive refused to heed her calls to drop the unpopular territory-wide assessments for Primary Three pupils.

Leung Chun-ying said scrapping the scheme could only happen after June 30, when his term of government comes to an end.

It’s the second time since Sunday, when Lam was elected as the next chief executive, that the duo – once said to be on good terms – were seen to be at odds.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told the Executive Council on Tuesday that he will not scrap the TSA before the end of his term. meets the press before Exco Meeting in Tamar. 28MAR17 SCMP / Sam Tsang

Critics accused Leung of intentionally embarrassing his successor and giving her a hard time.

In her victory speech on Sunday, Lam vowed to “heal the social divide”. But the following day, the government pressed charges against nine key players in the 2014 Occupy protests, immediately sparking controversy over the timing of the decision from Leung’s government. Others said the chief executive was only trying to help by doing the unpleasant task before Lam took over.

But Lam was dealt yet another setback yesterday when Leung speaking ahead of an Executive Council meeting that he would not consider scrapping the much-criticised Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) within his term.

Full story at South China Morning Post (March 2017)

What happened when one school banned homework — and asked kids to read and play instead

By Valerie Strauss

Mark Trifilio, principal of the public pre-K-5th grade Orchard School in Vermont, sat down with the school’s 40 educators last summer to discuss the soon-to-start new school year and homework — how much kids were getting and whether it was helping them learn.

Trifilio had been pondering the issue for some time, he said, concerned that there seemed to be an uneven homework load for students in different classrooms within the same grade and that the differences from grade to grade didn’t make sense. He had looked up research on homework effectiveness and learned that, generally, homework in elementary school isn’t linked to better academic performance — except for after-school reading.

So at that meeting with teachers, he proposed an experiment: stopping all homework in every grade and asking students to read on their own at home — or, if they were not ready to read on their own, to do it with a parent or guardian. He said he was surprised when every one of them — classroom teachers as well as those who work with special-education students and English-language learners — signed on to the idea.

“All 40 voted yes,” he said, “and not just yes, but a passionate yes. When do you get 40 people to agree on something?”

Full story at The Washington Post (February 2017)

Despite false ‘Allah’ claim that cost half million, Bata to issue fresh shoe design

The principal of a school in Batu Pahat reportedly issued a letter dated February 8 claiming that Bata's B-First shoes contained the Arabic word for God on its soles and told students not to buy them. — Picture via Facebook/PerakAjeerr

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 ― Bata will redesign one of its school shoes that was cleared of claims that it featured the word “Allah” on its soles, despite already having lost RM500,000 due to the hoax.

Bata managing director Paolo Grassi said the company has stopped making the B-First school shoes and was changing the design to demonstrate the shoemaker’s understanding of local sensitivities.

“The Home Ministry's Al-Quran Printing, Control and Licensing Board has announced our old sole design has nothing to do with the word 'Allah' but we would like to take precaution by stopping its production.

“We have decided to change the design and it is expected to reach our customers by June,” he was quoted saying by local daily New Straits Times.

“We lost more than RM500,000 in four weeks after the allegation went viral,” he added.

The controversy started after the principal of Sekolah Agama Bandar Batu Pahat reportedly issued a letter dated February 8 claiming that Bata's B-First shoes contained the Arabic word for God on its soles and told students not to buy them.

The claim then spread online.

According to local daily The Star, Bata had recalled 70,000 pairs of the shoes from its 230 outlets nationwide and were only able to start selling them again after the Home Ministry gave its clearance on Thursday.

“That episode not only cost us to lose money, but our image suffered as well,” Grassi was quoted saying by The Star.

Expressing relief for being cleared by local authorities, Grassi said Bata will produce new mouldings for the shoes once existing stock is sold out this June.

“We have been cleared by the ministry. Should anyone continue to put Bata in a bad light after this, we will not hesitate to take legal action,” he said.

In a separate report by local daily Berita Harian, Grassi refuted a new rumour that sandals with the phrase “Ya Hayyun Ya Qayyum” are produced by Bata.

Full story at The Malay Mail Online (April 2017)

Chinese university to open in Oxford despite ideological crackdown at home

Peking University buys stately home for nearly £9m and says it will house a campus designed for students from both Europe and China

By Tom Philips

Peking University has bought Foxcombe Hall, a 19th century manor that was home to the eighth earl of Berkeley. Photograph: Peking University HSBC Business School

One of China’s top universities is preparing to open a campus at the heart of British academic life, just months after President Xi Jinping called for Chinese universities to be transformed into strongholds of Communist party rule.

Peking University, an elite Beijing institution where Mao Zedong once worked as a librarian, will open a branch of its HSBC Business School in Oxford early next year, the respected financial magazine Caixin reported on Thursday.

The school is setting up camp in Foxcombe Hall which it recently purchased for a reported £8.8m. The 19th century manor was home to the eighth earl of Berkeley.

Peking University said courses at its Oxford campus, which is not connected to the University of Oxford, would focus on “professional knowledge of China’s economy, financial market and corporate management”.

Wen Hai, its dean, said Peking University had beaten off competition from three rivals, including an unnamed Oxford college, by offering a “very tempting price” that left the sellers “little room to say ‘no’’”.

Speaking to Caixin, Wen said the university had been able to do so thanks to its close ties to China’s Communist party. Those connections allowed it to “to expedite the transfer of money transfer needed for the acquisition” despite tight capital controls imposed by Beijing in an attempt to stop firms and citizens shifting large sums of money overseas.

Last summer’s vote to leave the EU, which has seen the pound plummet against the Chinese yuan, will also have helped the buyers.

Caixin said the university’s decision to expand into the “city of dreaming spires” came as Beijing pondered ambitious plans to boost the global standing of China’s top universities. Peking University, currently ranked the world’s 29th best university, had been handed billions of yuan by the government to “improve its research facilities and recruit teaching staff from top universities abroad to boost its international profile”, it said.

Prestigious British schools have set their sights on mainland China over the last 15 years with public schools including Harrow, Dulwich College and Wellington all opening spin-offs. British universities have also made moves into the mainland, where it is now possible to study at campuses operated by the University of Nottingham and the University of Liverpool. Last month the University of Leicester said it would open a campus in the north-eastern province of Liaoning.

Peking University described its Oxford campus, designed for students from both Europe and China, as “a bold step” and “an important milestone for the development of China’s higher education, given its inferior position globally over the past century”.

Full story at The Guardian (April 2017)

High school journalists reveal their principal is a fraud

By Joshua Rhett Miller

Kid reporters learn the darnedest things.

That’s a lesson one former principal in Kansas has learned after student reporters dug into her past, ultimately raising questions about her credentials to serve as Pittsburg High School’s top administrator and her $93,000 salary.

“She was going to be the head of our school, and we wanted to be assured that she was qualified and had the proper credentials,” Trina Paul, an editor of the Booster Redux, the school’s newspaper, told the Kansas City Star. “We stumbled on some things that most might not consider legitimate credentials.”

The students began delving into Amy Robertson’s background after an online search of her name produced several stories published by Gulf News about an English-language school connected to Robertson in Dubai, where she has lived on and off for the past two decades, according to Maddie Baden, a 17-year-old junior at the school.

The articles from 2012 said Dubai officials had suspended the license of the school where Robertson worked and accused her of not being authorized to work there as principal. The private, for-profit school got an “unsatisfactory” rating before being shut down in 2013.

“That raised a red flag,” Baden told the newspaper. “If students could uncover this, I want to know why the adults couldn’t find this.”

Full story at New York News (April 2017)