International News: November 2010

Ghana UEW launches distance-learning centre

Over 10 hectre land and a four classroom block with offices and an ICT centre for its distance learning programme has been given by the Techiman Municipal Assembly to the authorities of the University of Education, Winneba, at Ghana. This brings to three, in addition to those at Bechem and Attebubu, the number of study centres in the Brong-Ahafo Region. The Techiman Municipal Chief Executive, Alex Kofi Kyeremeh, described that for a number of years the skills and competencies of the people, especially, the teachers, have been improved without leaving the classrooms through the said facility, which brought higher education closer to them. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, Prof Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw, mentioned the move was an opportunity for the University to locate closer to its clients.

London schools outsource mathematics classes to India

Ashmount Primary school in north London has outsourced mathematics teaching to India. Shortage of mathematics teachers in British schools has for some time presented an opportunity to Indians to teach the subject. Many of them have even immigrated to Britain to teach mathematics. A British firm, Bright Spark Education Company (BSEC), is facilitating the online mathematics classes by teachers thousands of miles away in Ludhiana. Lessons are booked 24 hours in advance; and at a stipulated students log on and converse with their tutor over the Internet. The lessons, designed for children between seven and 16, cost

One of America’s most prestigious Harvard University has appointed a noted Indian urban designer and educator, Rahul Mehrotra, Professor, Urban Design and Planning, and Chair of the department of Urban Planning and Design. Additionally, he has been invited by Harvard’s South Asia Initiative to be part of their steering committee as they defi ne new areas of engagement in the region. At the Graduate School of Design, he will teach and hold seminars on architecture and urbanisation in India, and work with students on research projects related to infrastructure, historic preservation, and questions of rapid growth and extreme urban conditions in South Asia. He has long been actively involved in civic and urban affairs in Mumbai, having served on commissions on historic conservation and environmental issues, with various neighborhood and citizens groups, and, from 1994 to 2004, as executive director of the Urban Design Research Institute. He is a well known writter in fi eld of architecture, conservation, and urban planning in Mumbai and elsewhere in India.

It has been recently announced by the government that the next phase of its 150m Smart Schools = Smart Economy Strategy and a follow up on last year’s 23.3m investment in hardware, will be a further of 20.7m in grants for 698 schools to buy ICT equipment. In order to implement ICT as an integral part of the learning process, Ireland primary schools are to receive a base grant of 1,700 and a payment of 63.45 to buy equipment. Schools based in socially disadvantaged areas – designated DEBE (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) – will receive a higher basic grant of 2,550.

Richard F Heck of the US and Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki of Japan have been awarded  this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, it was announced in Stockholm recently. Development of a chemical tool used for creating advanced chemicals, ‘palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis’ helped the three win the prize. Among its uses are carbon-based molecules that are as complex as those created by nature. The chemistry prize is the third Nobel Prize to be announced this year.

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