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New Action Plan for US schools

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has issued new guidelines for reforming the US’s schools with the help of technology. SETDA’s ‘Class of 2020: Action Plan for Education’ has urged policy makers and school leaders ‘to take bold steps … to improve education for America’s 21st-century leaders.’

The Action Plan notes that every child entering kindergarten this year deserves a high-quality, 21st-century education. The plan includes several white papers, a Student Bill of Rights, and a set of 10 recommendations to improve teaching and learning using technology.

Japan’s schools latest victims of financial rout

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Japan’s top universities are falling victim to the global financial crisis that has caused US$ 964.6 billion in write downs and losses at financial institutions. Keio University said it has 22.5 billion yen (US$233 million) in unrealised losses on investments ranging from hedge funds to real estate investment trusts. Waseda University said it expects a 500 million yen loss on investments as of March to deepen significantly.

‘The universities’ revenues are declining, so naturally they are turning to investing money to boost revenue,’ said Daisuke Okuyama, a bond strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Co. ‘Unless a sound asset management system is constructed, it is possible to see more of these cases,’ he added.

US districts building longitudinal data to track students’ progress

States are making progress in building longitudinal data systems to track students’ academic growth over time, and now they must use the information available to them through these systems to raise student achievement, a new report says.

Six states report having all 10 elements of a comprehensive data system that can track student progress from preschool through college, and 48 states have at least half these elements in place, according to the third annual report from the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), a national partnership to improve the quality, accessibility, and use of data in education.

Washington’s higher education prepares for US$ 600M cut or more

Washington’s Office of Financial Management has asked universities and community colleges across the state to prepare for a possible budget cut of some US$600 million over the next two years — requiring them to consider slashing courses, laying off staff, reducing student numbers and raising tuition. Such a cut — 20 % of the state’s total higher-education budget — would have massive and far-reaching impacts that some say would reverberate for decades.

Community colleges would need to shed at least 6,000 students and end a long tradition of opening the doors to everyone, leaders say. And the University of Washington would need to abandon its plans to double the number of students at its branch campuses in Tacoma and Bothell. The request comes ahead of a state revenue forecast, due today, that is expected to show significantly worse numbers than previous forecasts.

Jobs reward to be given to colleges in England

Colleges in England might be given funding according to the long-term jobs they help people into rather than the qualifications people achieve. Skills Secretary John Denham sees the idea – which came from some colleges – as a useful response to the recession. The suggestion is in the government’s annual grant letter to the Learning and Skills Council, raising its budget for next year by UK£500m to UK£12.1bn.

The letter says the government is ‘very interested in exploring with colleges and providers ways in which their budgets can be used flexibly within key priorities where the learning programme delivers sustainable employment outcomes.’

Ghanaian Education ministry urges students to embrace ICT

Ghanaian Education Ministry has urged the students to take advantage of the opportunities offered by ICT to enhance their knowledge and use it for the development of the nation. Sofia Awotwi, Director, Science Resource Centre, Education Ministry, said, ‘ICT had become more important because of the information it provided people. Hence the Education Ministry is emphasising on ICT training in schools as part of the current education reforms in the school curriculum.’

Awotwi was speaking at a forum organised by Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS) to examine the involvement and contributions of the government to ICT training in schools

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