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How does climate crisis change the curriculum?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/12/2021 - 4:02am in

A Climate Crisis Thinking in the Humanities and Social Sciences event. Shifting the question from ‘how should climate change be put into the curriculum?’ to ‘how does it transform the curriculum?’ opens up the subject in new ways across the world. How does it change the way in which each subject (including humanities) is conceptualised, taught and related to other subject areas? What education do students need to equip them with the information, critical abilities and practical adaptability to build liveable futures? How can they develop the skills and vocabularies to deal with emotions around instability, uncertainty and loss? In the coming decades, what will employers want from their employees? What will drive sustainability and innovation in the world of work? What effects will choices embedded in curricula have on the capacity of societies to adapt to change and to manage it in ways that are just and productive? Educators and makers of education policy need a clear picture of the purpose of education in these contexts as well as a nuanced sense of what roles educators can and should play. Countries like the UK have been slow to introduce these issues into education systems, so what can be learned from educators in countries and regions that have been at the forefront of this thinking?

Participants: Rahul Chopra (IISER, Pune; TROP ICSU project) Kim Polgreen (Wytham Woods/Oxford teachers) Amanda Power (History, Oxford) Steve Puttick (Education, Oxford) James Robson (SKOPE, Oxford) Arjen Wals (Wageningen, NL; UNESCO Chair of Social Learning and Sustainable Development) Chair: William Finnegan (OUCE, Oxford)

Learn more about the Climate Crisis Thinking i the Humanities and Social Science here: torch.ox.ac.uk/climate-crisis-thinking-in-the-humanities-and-social-sciences

The Exchange Program Sending American Teens Across State Lines

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/11/2021 - 7:00pm in

A new pilot domestic exchange program is connecting high schoolers who recently graduated with others who come from different backgrounds, have different experiences and live in different areas of the U.S.

The American Exchange Project is an exchange program “with a twist,” says executive director David McCullough, III.

“You actually never leave America,” he says. “So we send students to towns that are demographically and geographically very different from where they are.”

For example, someone who grew up in what is considered a liberal town may travel to a more conservative area and someone from an urban area may go to a more rural area. “The whole idea is for our American young people to learn a little bit more about their country — from the people in places they call home — and to dive into another culture, another socioeconomic class, another set of political beliefs, and maybe build a little bit of empathy for people who are different from them.”

Jake Merritt from Wellesley, Massachusetts works on a cattle ranch in Kilgore, Texas. Credit: The American Exchange Project

During the in-person exchange trips, the students split time between planned activities that exposed them to local life, reflection activities and conversations, and open time to hang out with each other. They all stay with host families, but during the day, they’re together as a group taking part in various activities. Twenty students traveled to four different locations through the pilot program: Palo Alto, California; Kilgore, Texas; Lake Charles, Louisiana; and Wellesley, Massachusetts.

When the students from Texas and Louisiana toured the public school system in Wellesley, Massachusetts — a Boston suburb — they were flabbergasted, McCullough says. They learned that many families move to the area just for the education system, an approach that many from the South are not able to do because their families have been rooted in one place for several generations.

“So kids in Wellesley don’t have that same sense of place that kids from the South have, right?” he says.

In another instance, the students from Wellesley who are very aware of climate change and its effects and the petrochemical industry met with a student in Texas whose parent works in the industry. It gave a new layer to the issue to learn about the many people who would lose their jobs without such industries, McCullough says.

Students from Louisiana, Texas and Massachusetts gather in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Credit: The American Exchange Project

“And so for them, it felt like a real-life example and also created a much more nuanced problem,” he adds.

AEP is for seniors who have graduated from high school, and there are no academic or extracurricular requirements to take part, McCullough says. What may be most attractive to would-be exchange students is that the program is entirely free for students.

“Whoever you are, wherever you come from, you’re right for our program,” he adds.

Students from Texas at the Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County, California. Credit: The American Exchange Project

Funding comes from community foundations, individual donors and communities, he says.

“If we want to fix our democracy, if indeed polarization is the issue that is on the forefront of most Americans’ minds, we want to do something about it and we need to start donating,” he says. “And giving money at every level to organizations that help fix polarization. It’s not enough to just talk about these issues and promote how bad they are.”

When 18-year-old Maëlys Ciezki moved to San Diego during the height of the pandemic last year, she felt like she was starting over, knowing few people and with little to do aside from virtual learning.

When she heard about a program connecting students from all over the country, she thought she should give it a try. At the time, the program was online.

“It just sounded interesting,” she says. “It was introduced as a bunch of virtual meetings with kids from all over the country. And we would just discuss different topics at each virtual hangout. And since I didn’t have anything better to do after school, I went ahead and joined.”

Matthew Murray from Stamford, Connecticut talks with Reece Nichols, a resident of Kilgore, Texas and owner of the 5 Cent Cattle Ranch. Credit: The American Exchange Project

During the virtual hangouts, Ciezki and a handful of other students taking part in the American Exchange Project would discuss everything from food to politics.

“Sometimes it would be silly debates,” she says. “And sometimes it would be something more intense, like, what do we think about gentrification?”

From 2019 to early 2021, hundreds of students took part in about 500 virtual discussions, says McCullough, the grandson of the noted historian and author.

Ciezki opted to travel to Palo Alto on her exchange trip.

“Because you’re around people who are your age, you hear a lot of points of view, but since they’re your age, you’re more apt to listen,” a student said. Credit: The American Exchange Project

During the trip, she says that the group bonded a lot more than she expected. One person, in particular, seemed the exact opposite of her on paper, she says.

“But by the end of the week, he ended up being one of my favorite people, if not my favorite,” she adds. “A person that I met on that trip, his presence became very comforting to me.”

The group, she says, may come from different experiences and backgrounds but they listened to the same music (Olivia Ridrigo) and have similar hobbies. She believes this is why it’s beneficial for young people to get together with other young people.

“Because you’re around people who are your age, you hear a lot of points of view, but since they’re your age, you’re more apt to listen,” Ciezki says, adding that there were kids on both sides of the political spectrum as well as other issue areas.

The group still keeps in contact through social media, she says.

McCullough hopes the program catches on. It’s already scaling up. The plans for the next exchange will involve about 40 communities and as many as 250 teenagers. Ultimately, he would like to see the program become legislatively enacted, making it a state, municipality or federally sponsored initiative.

“There are problems in our country right now and they’re not going to get better unless we do something about it,” McCullough says. “And they’re certainly not going to get better if we avoid them and stay at a distance. And while these issues are created by adults, they’ve fallen to young people to solve.”

This story was originally published by Next City. It is part of the SoJo Exchange from the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rigorous reporting about responses to social problems.

The post The Exchange Program Sending American Teens Across State Lines appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

Original framed 39-year-old

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 25/10/2021 - 8:27am in

Original framed 39-year-old Sydney Uni student union theatrical poster in the dining room at the Lord Wolseley Hotel (1878). Ultimo.

Warning! Possible student loan repayment hike ahead – Sean Wallis

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/10/2021 - 3:47am in

How to betray a generation and attack education

Defend students: past, present and future!

Students and ex-students with post-2011 student loans — some five million young people — face an anxious wait this autumn.

In September, the Financial Times reported that the Conservative Government was planning to reduce the repayment threshold for these student loans from the current £27,321 a year (£524 a week, ‘Plan 2’) to around £23,000 (£440 a week), the current median graduate salary. The loan is written off after 30 years. 

The FT sardonically remarked that a tax raid on ‘Generation Rent’ could result in ‘Generation No Pension’.

These changes would be applied to existing loan holders, so any student who had taken up a loan for fees or living costs since 2011 would be required to pay an additional £400 or so more a year for the remainder of their 30 year period. That’s £8,000 to £12,000 per person more, plus inflation.

Note. If the very latest reports are to be believed, suggesting a threshold as low as £22,000, this would cost students around £475 a year more, or a cost of £9,500 to £14,250 per student.

Treated as a conventional loan, student loans are poor value for money, attracting interest at 3% over RPI. Interest is counted from enrollment, not graduation. This means that working class students that pay back most (if not all) of the loan over their lifetimes pay far more than wealthier students. Thus the NUS showed that a student who paid the entire loan off over 30 years would pay £83,000 for a debt of £27,000.

It is right to criticise a retrospective cut in threshold for betraying a generation of students. But many who object to this attack now did not merely fail to speak out about the scheme. Some actively promoted the entire tuition fee and loan system!

Chief among the consistent opposition to fees are the university staff’s trade union, UCU, which has always opposed tuition fees as a point of principle. In 2010, the Labour Party and the NUS joined UCU in campaigning and protesting against the scheme, enacted by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government in 2011. New organisations like the Campaign for the Public University and the Council for the Defence of British Universities also sprung up to oppose the market system.

When loans and fees were first promoted, students were told that they would only have to pay the loan back if they got a high-paying job. If the Conservative Government does now reduce the repayment threshold, it will change that equation over night. Every student and ex-student who took up a student loan from 2011 onwards will be made to pay. And, since the Government can take the money at source through the tax system, refusal will not be an option!

When this article was first published prior to the Autumn Budget, it was unclear whether the Conservatives would take the political gamble of announcing the change this year. But it seems increasingly likely that they will calculate that, with record numbers of UK undergraduates going to university, now is the best time to make such a change.

The righteous indignation to this proposal has even spread to Conservative MPs.

One of those speaking out now, Martin Lewis, from moneysavingexpert.com, gave financial advice promoting the ‘real cost’ of higher education that was entirely predicated on a high threshold and a low real rate of repayment, calling it a ‘no win, no fee’ system of funding higher education. But this advice did not pay sufficient attention to an important catch – the government of the day always had the right to change the terms of the loan retrospectively.

The hard truth is that the entire high-fee-plus-student-loan system was always unsustainable, as Andrew McGettigan explained in the HE Convention’s Alternative White Paper, published in 2016. That is because the ‘RAB’ charge – the expected amount of the loan left unpaid at its end – is around 45%. In other words, under the current system, about half of every student loan will never be paid back.

 Student Loan Statistics, House of Commons.The student debt mountain by end of the 2020-2021 academic session had reached £160bn. Source: Student Loan Statistics, House of Commons..

The loan is, in effect, ‘paid forward’ and subsidised by future taxpayers. So not only is the loan mountain growing, but even when graduates start earning enough to really contribute to paying it off, it will still grow at a rate of more than £10bn a year in current money. Sooner or later the Treasury will be forced to bring this debt under control.

But who can afford to pay off the debt?

The UK is a low-pay economy, even for highly skilled workers. It is not just arts graduates who can expect to be low-paid, although, partly in anticipation to Government cuts, some universities (such as Roehampton, Chester, South Bank, Worcester and Goldsmiths) have started to cut arts and humanities courses and staff.

Science workers are also not well paid. Thus the Conservatives introduced a rule into Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) visas that set a minimum earnings requirement for international recruitment. They were then compelled to create exceptions for PhD holders to allow scientists, medics and many others to stay in the UK (or be recruited from overseas). The minimum earnings requirement is £20,480 for ‘shortage occupations’ or those with a PhD, or £25,600 in general. Compare these figures to the current repayment threshold and you can see the problem. So much for ‘joined up government’.

When the financier David Augar was tasked by the Conservatives with investigating how to bring costs under control he had a number of options. These included

  1. Reducing the up-front tuition fee from £9,250,
  2. Capping the loan amount, limiting what students could borrow,
  3. Increasing the interest rate payable, and
  4. Reducing the income threshold above which students must pay it back.

Option 1, to reduce the tuition fee, ran straight into opposition from Vice Chancellors. The same VCs who lobbied for tuition fees (from £1,000, to £3,000 to £9,000) insisted that they had invested in education and that their costs had risen. The Provost of UCL, for example, was quoted in the Guardian saying that no undergraduate course was covered by this fee.

The truth is that universities’ costs have grown as a result of competition and capital spending. They have planned to rely on £9,000+ fees for decades, and they have made long-term investments in buildings and campuses. Reducing per-student funding from government cannot be done overnight. Faced with a cut in tuition fees, English universities would raise income from students through other ways. These would likely include lobbying to be permitted to demand additional charges or local ‘top up’ fees, which would mean that the result would be similar to Option 2 (capping the amount a student could borrow). Some universities might be able to increase student rents, but the most likely result would be that universities would prioritise international recruitment. The latter strategy is precisely what Scottish Universities have done since 2011. Rampant competition for UK students is thereby escalated into international recruitment.

The other problem with Options 1 and 2 is that they don’t address the current debt mountain of some £180bn and counting that the Treasury is sitting on. They might only reduce the growth of the debt mountain going forward. In order to reduce the accumulated debt, the Treasury would have to increase repayments from students. This means Options 3 and 4.

They could increase the interest rate, but it is already very high. And it does not increase the number of people who will pay their loans back. The only way they can do that is to reduce the threshold.

The FT estimates that reducing the threshold to £23,000 will raise £2bn a year (possibly ~£2.5bn if the threshold is dropped to £22,000). But this will still mean that the debt mountain continues to grow by some £7-8bn a year! 

Of course, one way that figure may fall further is if fewer students go to university, or fewer students take up the loan in the first place. The growth in Higher Education over the last decade fueled by government-backed tuition fees can go into reverse.

The Conservative justification for reducing the threshold is ‘fairness’. Why should tax payers (workers in the main) who did not attend university pick up this huge debt? The first answer must be that, leaving aside the fact that the entire debt has been created by the Government in the first place, the beneficiaries of an independently-minded, highly trained and skilled workforce are not merely the students themselves.

When you go to the dentist, you benefit from dental school education! The main beneficiaries of mass higher education are the employers who can cherry-pick from the graduate market.  The tuition fee scheme passes on the cost of higher education onto workers, inflates this cost by an elaborate loans scheme, and then invites the working population to argue between ‘tax payers’ and ‘students’. We have to oppose this framing. 

What we can do

If Rishi Sunak announces a retrospective cut in the repayment threshold, there must be an organised response from the whole Higher Education sector.

We cannot leave it to Vice Chancellors and Conservative MPs to object. The stakes are too high for everyone, and they have a long record of campaigning in their self-interest.

Dropping the threshold will directly affect existing students, but it will also be a huge attack on ex-undergraduate students. Within the university sector, these are our younger colleagues – existing PhD students, postdoctoral research staff, junior lecturers, technical and support staff.

It will also impact on young skilled workers everywhere across the UK.

And it will affect future students and their academic choices. In this respect, the proposed change would be a drastic act of social engineering by a Conservative Government that claims to believe in market forces. Reducing the threshold will make future student choices more instrumental. It will force less wealthy students to chase courses with high graduate income expectations. The problem for individual students is that by the time they graduate, a market shortage in, say, biochemists or computer programmers can be filled.

The knock-on effect for the sector is also predictable, with a likely intensification of competition for home and international students, more course closures and redundancies, and more pressure on universities that over-extended their finances.

This is no way to run a knowledge economy.

We are left with a simple proposition. Education is the gift each generation bequeaths to the next. Education is a social good, not a private one. Knowledge is not a commodity that should be, or need be, rationed and artificially kept in short supply.

It is education, and not a debt for life, that we should bestow!

These attacks on students past, present and future, reveal the fundamental unsustainability of the current market system, begun a decade ago. It is time to demand a far more equitable, accountable and coherent Higher Education sector, one that can partner with Secondary and Further Education to rebuild society. We need to revive the idea of a National Education Service to parallel the NHS.

With UCU balloting over attacks on staff pay and pensions, and students under attack, there has never been a more important time to unite to defend Higher Education, and its staff and students.

See also

Universities During The Covid Crisis: Let’s Milk Those Student Cash Cows!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/09/2021 - 3:01pm in

Host, Ross Ashcroft, met up with National Outreach Coordinator for Pause or Pay UK, Ben Dusserre-Robinson, and the founder of Queen Mary University Rent Strike, Net Tshisekedi, to discuss how students have been treated during the pandemic.

The post Universities During The Covid Crisis: Let’s Milk Those Student Cash Cows! appeared first on Renegade Inc.

Universities During The Covid Crisis: Let’s Milk Those Student Cash Cows!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/09/2021 - 3:01pm in

Host, Ross Ashcroft, met up with National Outreach Coordinator for Pause or Pay UK, Ben Dusserre-Robinson, and the founder of Queen Mary University Rent Strike, Net Tshisekedi, to discuss how students have been treated during the pandemic.

The post Universities During The Covid Crisis: Let’s Milk Those Student Cash Cows! appeared first on Renegade Inc.

Test your CORE knowledge using Quizlet

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/09/2021 - 11:33pm in

Tags 

Blog, Students

The updated CORE glossary, available in The Economy ebook and on the CORE website, has proved very popular. But our students asked for more help in learning and revising our course, and a glossary spreadsheet isn’t very useful for that.

So we have also taken the glossary for all The Economy units and broken it into pieces to make 22 flashcard sets to help you learn and revise: access them here. In addition, we made 12 flashcard sets grouped by themes, such as microeconomic, game theory, or key concepts for Units 1-11.

Besides using flashcards, you can test yourself in six additional test modes, for instance as multiple-choice questions or games in which you match the word to the definition

You will need to register for Quizlet, but it’s free and does not take long. You can also download the excellent Quizlet app for iOS or Android, so you can consult the glossary any time you want

The post Test your CORE knowledge using Quizlet appeared first on CORE.

Holme Building (1912)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/08/2021 - 8:14am in

Tags 

vintage, Students

Holme Building (1912), the University of Sydney. Original home of the University’s Student Union. Designed by the Government Architect of the time, Walter Liberty Vernon, in the ‘Federation Arts and Crafts’ style, with extensive use of Sydney Sandstone and 'Sydney red brick’. The Union still operates the building, but the Student Union Bar has long since been moved to a stand-alone venue across campus. Heritage Listed. Camperdown.

How is the demand for part-time HE affected by changing economic conditions?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/09/2017 - 9:10am in

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Students

As the economics of tertiary funding hits the spotlight once more, Gavan Conlon asks what relationship there is with wider economic conditions and demand for part-time HE.

The post How is the demand for part-time HE affected by changing economic conditions? appeared first on Wonkhe.

The golden triangle of retention

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/09/2017 - 9:02am in

Tags 

Students

We should move beyond the educational deficit model when we consider retention, argues University of Lincoln vice chancellor Mary Stuart.

The post The golden triangle of retention appeared first on Wonkhe.

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