Deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on schools and universities, their students, and staff have become more widespread over the past five years, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) said in the 2018 edition of its flagship report, Education under Attack 2018. It identifies more than 12,700 attacks from 2013 through 2017, harming more than 21,000 students and educators.  Over the past five years, 41 countries suffered at least five attacks on education, including at least one that was intentional or deadly, GCPEA said. This marks a dramatic increase from the 2014 edition of the report, when GCPEA documented 30 countries experiencing this level of attacks on education between 2009 and 2013. The report includes profiles of 28 countries that experienced at least 20 attacks on education from 2013 through 2017. GCPEA found that nine countries either suffered more than 1,000 attacks on education, or suffered attacks that harmed more than 1,000 students, teachers, professors or other education personnel … Attacks on higher education personnel, including targeted killings, abductions, threats, harassment or violent repression of education-related protests that injured or killed a student or university staff member, were found in 52 countries, including all 28 countries profiled in the report. – Brendan O’Malley, University World News. Read more

Southeast Asia will become a bigger presence in global education, specifically in countries that form part of the ASEAN bloc. And Malaysia has delivered an impressive new blueprint for employability-linked tertiary education. These were key messages delivered to a delegation of 1,000 industry stakeholders at the Going Global conference in Malaysia. Quality assurance and mobility measures will see southeast Asia increasingly considered as an education destination said His Excellency Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, deputy secretary general for Socio-Cultural Community at ASEAN. “We have become more and more connected and we want to position ASEAN as an outward-looking [region],” he continued. “We have three aims: to harmonise ASEAN quality assurance, build capacity in institutions and develop stronger linkages between universities and communities.” – Amy Baker, The PIE News. Read more

When is a rich trove of course data too rich? Perhaps when it helps lower an undergraduate’s grade point average a quarter point? New findings by researchers at Stanford University suggest that academically competitive college students actually perform worse over all when they get access to digital course-planning platforms that show how previous students performed. In a paper to be presented at the ACM Conference on Learning at Scale in London, the researchers say they’re not entirely sure what’s at work, but that the effects are noticeable: using the platform corresponded to an average drop of 0.16 units in overall GPA – enough to move a B-plus grade about half the distance to a B. Researcher Mitchell L. Stevens, of Stanford Graduate School of Education, invoked an economist’s phrase, calling the effect “nontrivial.” He added that it’s “enough to catch someone’s attention.” Freshmen and sophomores who used the platform saw the worst declines, at 0.26 units, while juniors and seniors saw their GPAs drop by just 0.09 on average. – Greg Toppo, Inside Higher Ed. Read more

The US Department of Education plans its first effort to expand access to free, open digital textbooks and materials for colleges nationwide with a $5 million federal appropriate. The money will support development or expansion of open peer-reviewed academic materials under an intellectual property license that allows free use. A recent study by the Babson Survey Research Group showed that the share of college instructors using open educational resources (OER) grew from 5 per cent in the 2015-2016 academic year to 9 per cent the next academic year. Intended as a grant program for campuses to submit ideas for expanded digital textbook access, Ed Department officials said that the public commenting period remains open, and that a formal pilot will be introduced this summer with a goal of funding projects with the greatest cost-savings potential. The cost of printed textbooks has grown by 65 per cent in recent years, creating a financial burden for many students.  Many colleges and universities are adopting open-source materials – either as campus-wide initiatives or through departments or individual instructors. – Jarrett Carter, Education Dive. Read more

Ho Chi Minh City will undertake programs this year to improve its universities and colleges to meet ASEAN accreditation standards. The programs will be carried out under an action plan to improve the quality of training. The plan, unveiled by the city People’s Committee recently, will help improve training to supply highly skilled human resources meeting its socio-economic development, global integration, industrialisation and modernisation needs. It will also improve the professional knowledge of managers and lecturers at its universities and colleges, who will be sent to other countries for three weeks for training.  It will upgrade facilities and technologies and equipment at the IT faculty at the Thủ Đức College of Technology; mechanical and electronics engineering faculty at the HCM City Technical and Economic College; healthcare faculty at the Phạm Ngọc Thạch Medical University; education- service faculty at the Sài Gòn University; mechanical engineering faculty at Lý Tự Trọng College; economics-finance faculty at the College of Economics; and logistics faculty at the College of Transport. – Viet Nam News. Read more


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