Education News

Laurier MBA students rank third in international business competition

WATERLOO – Laurier MBA students Peter Galea, James Moffat and Alex Karlovski ranked second in Canada and third in their zone in the L’Oréal EStrat international online business competition on March 10. The competition attracted more than 5,000 teams from around the world, including Canada, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Laurier will move on to the national finals, where team members will present their business case to judges from the business community. This was Laurier’s first time participating in the competition.

“We are extraordinarily proud of these students,” said Ginny Dybenko, Laurier’s dean of business and economics. “This is a major accomplishment and yet another example of the strength and calibre of both our MBA students and program.”

As one of 300 teams to reach the semi-final round, Laurier finished ahead of American schools such as Harvard Business School, Purdue University, Texas A&M University and the University of California, Berkeley. Laurier also ranked ahead of Canadian universities including Queen’s University, the Richard Ivey School of Business and McGill University.

In the competition, teams of three students managed a portfolio of beauty brands and competed against four other virtual companies over a two-month period. To achieve the highest Share Price Index (SPI) at the end of the simulation, competitors solved strategic corporate issues and made over 150 choices with implications for their virtual organization.

“Our team, Scentuality, learned so much from this competition,” said Peter Galea, a Laurier MBA student and L’Oréal EStrat team member. “Several members of our team are already working on their strategy for next year.”

In its ninth year, L’Oréal EStrat is one of the world’s largest online business simulations, with entrants from 128 countries. It is targeted at both undergraduate and MBA students in their final two years of university or business school.



Higher Education

The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people,” said Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis of the dangers of a disengaged citizenry. However, the American people have occasionally failed to heed Justice Brandeis’ warning, with injustices at home and abroad the result.

I had direct, personal experience with one of those failures: the internment of over 100,000 Japanese-American citizens and legal resident aliens of Japanese ancestry during World War II. My family was forced from our home in San Jose to an internment camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming.

Treated like criminals

Barracks at Heart Mountain became homes for over 10,000 people. Each family was confined to a small, narrow room. We had committed no crimes, nor were we suspected of criminal conduct. Nevertheless, guards with machine guns trained their sights on those below who were imprisoned behind barbed wire fences.

Most detainees lost everything — homes, businesses, all other worldly possessions. But all of us lost the freedom and power of opportunity that brought our parents to America in the first place. We were forced at gunpoint to give up the basic dignity that our nation’s founders promised when they declared that “all men are created equal, and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.”

I often reflect on that experience, and how it might have been prevented. Aren’t American citizens entitled to

expect more from our government? What went wrong?In our democracy, responsibility resides with citizens and government alike. No one is, or should be, let off the hook when the system fails. In 1942, a disengaged and preoccupied public failed to speak out — just as today too few are speaking out on the erosion of civil liberties, on the pathology of poverty or on threats to our environment.

Civic-minded citizens are not simply born; they must be taught and nurtured. America’s public schools have a special obligation in that regard, for more than any other institution they are charged with creating an informed and an engaged citizenry.

Despite its essential role in our society, civic education has been allowed to decline steadily over the past generation. As a result, too many of our fellow citizens do not know how our political system works, nor do they possess the skills and the motivation necessary to hold government accountable or to prevent injustice.

On the most recent national civics assessment in 2006, two-thirds of students scored below proficient, and less than a fifth of high school seniors could explain how citizen participation benefits democracy. Even worse, civic ignorance is spread unevenly across the American population: minority students are twice as likely as their white counterparts to lack civic knowledge and skills, and low-income students score significantly lower than more affluent students on tests of such knowledge.

Joint effort

Moreover, civic education may be the only way that thousands of new immigrants can come to understand how best to affect change in their new country. For them and for us, civic engagement is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

Restoring the civic mission of schools will require a joint effort by school districts, states, and the federal government. The Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools ( has identified a number of strategies, including improved civics assessments, more service learning and professional development, which will help address the problem. But all of us has a role in turning things around.

Today marks the 221st anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. That covenant begins with the words “We the People,” and two centuries later our democracy remains dependent on an informed and engaged citizenry. Only through civic education that prepares the next generation for active citizenship can we ensure the protection of our liberties and our ideals.

Norman Y. Mineta, a native of San Jose, served as a San Jose City Council member, mayor, and in Congress. He was Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton and Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush. He is currently vice chairman of Hill & Knowlton, an international communications and public relations firm.


Spellings Seeks to Boost ‘No Child’

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings yesterday sought to reinvigorate support for the No Child Left Behind law even as the two major-party presidential candidates have distanced themselves from it. She contended that the law has helped improve public education and should be strengthened.

The 2002 federal law, considered one of President Bush’s major domestic achievements, aims to have all public school students proficient in reading and math by 2014. But criticism has grown over the dramatic expansion of testing mandated under the law, and efforts to renew and revamp the law have stalled in Congress.

In a speech to educators and advocates from across the country, Spellings urged support for the law’s core principle: requiring states, school systems and schools to show that students can handle reading and math at grade level.

“We must resist pressure to weaken or water down accountability,” Spellings said in an education summit hosted in the District by the nonpartisan Aspen Institute. “To those who reject this goal, I ask, ‘What’s your answer?’ I have yet to meet a parent who doesn’t want their child on grade level right now, today, not 2014.”

So far, education has been a low-key issue in a presidential campaign largely dominated by concerns over the slumping economy, the war in Iraq and rising oil prices. Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), have said that they support the goals of No Child Left Behind but that the law needs to be revised. McCain, who voted for the legislation, has avoided mention of the law on the campaign trail, while Obama has sharply criticized its implementation.

In an interview last week, Spellings said she does not think either candidate would make renewal of the law a priority upon entering the White House. “It’s not their thing,” she said. “It’s George Bush’s thing. George Bush campaigned for president on No Child Left Behind.”

The law requires annual testing of reading and math skills in grades three through eight and once in high school. Schools must show progress each year, as must groups of students, including ethnic minorities and disabled students. Certain schools that fall short face interventions.

The law has been credited with revealing pockets of underperforming students, even in some highly regarded school systems. But critics say that schools need more federal funding to carry out the mandate and that the focus on reading and math has pushed other subjects, including history, art and science, to the back burner.

In the Bush administration’s waning months, Spellings has used regulatory authority to propose tweaks to enforcement of the law. In the most significant, all states would be required by 2013 to use the same formula to calculate the high school graduation rate.

Spellings also launched a pilot project in Maryland and several other states that moves away from the law’s “pass-fail” system, which makes no distinction between a school in which many students fail reading and math tests and one that misses targets because a few students fall short.


Two minutes with Dr. Fern Snart Dean of Education

Anyone who has attended school in the past 25 years has probably been taught by a University of Alberta faculty of education graduate.

More than 60 per cent of the elementary and secondary school teachers in Alberta are U of A education graduates.

The education faculty dates back to 1942, when it became the first faculty of education in Canada, with one degree program, 12 courses and three full-time professors. It is now one of the largest faculties in Canada with nine undergraduate degree programs and a wide array of graduate programs.

There are more than 125 full-time professors, 64 support staff and 130 full- and part-time sessional instructors, as well as 3,400 undergraduate students and 800 graduate students.

Many faculty of education alumni have become deans of faculties of education, as well as presidents of universities or colleges, nationally and internationally.

Education dean Dr. Fern Snart is a U of A alumnus who has risen to academic prominence. Snart has a BA in psychology from Brandon University, an MA in clinical psychology from the University of Saskatchewan, and a PhD in education psychology from the University of Alberta (1979).

Dr. Snart has been an educator and administrator since 1980; her resume includes terms as associate dean (undergraduate student services) and associate dean (academic). Snart was appointed dean of education in 2005.

One area of focus in recent years has been fostering the development of an aboriginal teacher education program within the faculty of education.

“We have graduates now who are all teaching through their home communities. The most important thing in the success of aboriginal children is having aboriginal teachers in those classrooms.”

A new challenge is also part of a new initiative that will link the faculty of education with medical teaching on campus.

The dean of medicine and vice-dean recently invited education faculty officials for talks about continuing medical education.

“They were hoping to collaborate with us. We’ve been on several hiring committees over there, but most importantly I am co-chairing a committee that is putting together a master’s degree in health sciences education.

“It will be an interdisciplinary program. People will come into the faculty, but they will be medical professionals who want to teach,” Snart explains.

The combined program is projected to start in the fall of 2009.

Another challenge for the faculty of education is developing global awareness among teachers.

“Last summer for the first time ever, we took a group of 18 undergraduate students and taught a course on global citizenship education,” which included visits to a Liberian refugee camp and a Ghana village. “They came back and forever will be better teachers.”

The faculty of education has been funded for a global citizenship curriculum initiative, developing a curriculum that suits each faculty’s needs to promote awareness of global citizenship in their students.

“The profession of teaching has become so complex and so important in the world that every teacher needs to understand how deeply a student’s culture affects their orientation to learning.

“Our challenge is to be responsive to our society, Alberta and Canadian. We need to help our graduating teachers have a much better sense of citizenship.”

Learn more about the faculty of education:


Scrap curriculum, argue Lib Dems


The party says a slimmed-down, Swedish-style curriculum is need

The Liberal Democrats have outlined plans to scrap England’s national curriculum and “close the performance gap between rich and poor pupils”.

Education spokesman David Laws told the party’s conference that Labour treated schools like the last century’s “great nationalised industries”.

He called for the 635-page curriculum to be replaced with a 21-page document.

Mr Laws also said funding for a million poorer children should be at the same levels as for those in private schools.

Some of the £20bn the party had identified in public sector savings would be spent on a pupil premium, a policy adopted at last year’s conference, he added.

‘Grovelling letter’

The premium would follow poorer children, in the first instance those who are eligible for free school meals, and be paid directly to the school.

The party says this will cost £2.5bn, and will raise the funding of a million children to levels found in the private sector.

Mr Laws said: “A society that can look at a child at age seven and know he or she is condemned to failure is neither liberal, nor free, nor fair.

“It should be the central mission of the Liberal democrats to end this great injustice.”

He added: “No school should be directly accountable to ministers.

“And no school should ever again have to write a grovelling letter to the secretary of state, seeking his permission to be creative…

“The 635 pages of the nationalised curriculum should go in the shredder.

“Let’s replace it with something closer to the 21 pages that seem to do the job in places like Sweden.”

‘Father first’

Earlier, party leader Nick Clegg told the Sunday Times he might send his children to private schools because of concerns over secondary schooling.

“I am a father before a politician,” he told the paper.

Mr Clegg added: “I am not holding my children’s future and education hostage to a game of political football.”

He also said he would not rule out “dipping into his pocket” for his two sons.

Meanwhile, Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said he wanted more underperforming police officers to lose their jobs, and renewed his call for an end to the “job-for-life” culture in the police force.

In Malaysia, there is an unhealthy trend among secondary school leavers to enroll in certain popular (or common) courses like IT, Business, Accounting, Engineering, Law, and Medicine. No doubt these courses are considered “critical” to a developing nation like Malaysia, the economy of the future is a diversified economy of ideas, a creative economy that will transcend the conventional 20th Century business-commerce paradigm.

Malaysian universities are seen to be producing graduate manpower and not nurturing talent and building intellectual capital. Such an issue is also exacerbated by the fact that many Malaysian public institutions of higher learning fail to hire the best minds and are in fact losing its best talents to many developed countries in the region. Due to its outmoded and ever-changing education policies, the displacement of English, poor research culture, the inherent lack of meritocracy and race-based policies; many talented Malaysian academicians and graduates have chosen to work and contribute to the economy of countries like Singapore, China, South Korea, India, the Gulf states, the US and the EU.

The recent conferment of Apex university status to Universiti Sains Malaysia is commendable but this further highlights the shortsightedness of the government’s efforts to fully concentrate on the science and technology spheres while marginalising again the arts, humanities, and social sciences that would have struck a better balance in the creation of a developed nation that is not only economically vibrant but socially progressive as well.

What Malaysia needs is a concerted effort to push for a more holistic and flexible education system that stresses both the creative arts and the research sciences, a more vibrant research culture and implementation of English as the second national language and the realisation of the co-relation and interdependence between education, employment, and the economy cannot be disregarded. It is only by maintaining the highest standards of education that its benefits will impact and influence a country’s employment level, its economy and the moral and social wellbeing of its people.

The national education program has overlooked children in remote areas, with the government keen on letting NGOs take over the job, experts say.

Parents and family are the No. 1 enablers, and the No. 1 obstacles” to student success, Sara Martinez Tucker, the undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education, told a group of educators, parents and community organizers at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans on Thursday.

During the daylong summit, held to discuss education reform and Hispanic education attainment, speakers tackled topics from Hispanic high school dropout rates to parental and family involvement in education. Tucker encouraged the audience to “take some of these best practices and give to communities,” to help the children.

Greater community involvement was often cited as a key component to decreasing high school dropout rates and promoting higher education, and thus, a better quality of life. Some promoted educational services to children outside of the classroom, while others lauded community-based programs.

The vice president for children’s programs, Clara López, and development director, María López, of a multifaceted program designed to help Hispanic students and parents get involved in education from pre-school to college presented on the subject.

Eduardo Cancino, assistant superintendent from Hidalgo, Texas, applauded community programs and also noted the efforts of public schools. Cancino has implemented a variety of programs focused on increasing the number of college-bound students in the community, as well as promoting adult literacy, financial literacy and parental empowerment. He said that it was important to “strengthen the home environment.”

Other speakers also emphasized the importance of families.

“Parents need to know what’s going on in their child’s school, and they need to know what options they have, whether it’s good or bad,” said Doug Mesecar, assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education. Like many of the presenters, Mesecar is a strong advocate of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policies. He said that there is a need to break down the walls of communication between parents and schools to improve the engagement of parents in their child’s education.

It is programs like the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), said the institute’s president and CEO David Valladolid, that enable parents to be more active. The training program to help parents work collaboratively with their children’s K-12 schools has graduated over 400,000 parents and has implemented its program in 16 languages. Initiated in 1987 in California, it has proliferated eastward and has recently established a chapter at George Mason University in Northern Virginia. Valladolid said that it was crucial to bring schools, parents, communities and businesses together as equal partners for a child’s education.

Ana Burns, a parent graduate of PIQE with five children, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to learn how to approach and prepare her children for the American school system. Parents also learned important practical functions, such as how to ask questions, talk to counselors and apply for federal aid.

Keynote speaker Margaret Spellings, secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, echoed the need for continued efforts to close the achievement gap. Hispanic students “deserve all that it takes to achieve the American dream,” said Spellings. She warned about the “soft bigotry of low expectations” and flatly stated that “we cannot stand for that attitude.” She praised NCLB for focusing its resources on underachieving student groups, but added that there was a long way to go.



A US-style intelligence test seen by government advisers as helping disadvantaged youngsters get into university actually favours white boys from grammar schools, research has found.

A government inquiry into university admissions, headed by Professor Steven Schwartz, vice-chancellor of Brunel University, recommended the use of American SATs – tests in maths, critical thinking and writing – as a means of helping to improve the chances of young people from disadvantaged homes getting a place at one of Britain’s universities. But, a team of researchers from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has now concluded that they have the opposite effect. The researchers said: “Some students appeared to perform less well on the SAT than expected: females compared to males and Asian, Chinese and those whose ethnicity was unknown compared to white students; whereas students in grammar schools did better than might be expected compared to comprehensive students.”

Their findings echo concerns being expressed about the tests in the United States.

The NFER researchers looked at the results of 9,000 pupils who took part in a pilot of the SATs tests organised by the Sutton Trust – the education charity headed by the millionaire philanthropist Sir Peter Lampl dedicated to increasing the take-up of places at elite universities by young people from disadvantaged groups.

Many universities were waiting in the wings to see the results of the Sutton Trust pilot before deciding whether to go down the route of some elite British universities in using the SATs admission tests.

The research threw up some interesting findings about the performance of pupils on free school meals – saying they performed better than their GCSE or A-level results would suggest in critical reading, but worse in maths. Overall, though, there was no difference between them and the rest – although the researchers pointed out that very few of children receiving free school meals were included in the pilot of top performing pupils in the schools that took part.

The findings appear to confirm fears already expressed in the US – that middle-class families, whose children are more likely to make it into grammar schools, can more easily afford coaching for the tests. In addition, their schools are likely to spend more time preparing their pupils for them. In a speech, Richard Atkinson, president of the University of California, said: “I visited an upscale private school and observed a class of 12-year-old students studying verbal analogies in anticipation of the SAT. The time involved was not aimed at developing the students’ reading and writing abilities but rather their test-taking skills.”

Ministers have so far indicated that – while they want to widen participation among disadvantaged groups in higher education – they will leave it up to individual universities to decide how best to pursue this goal.

The research findings, presented at an international conference in Cambridge organised by Cambridge Assessment – the parent body for three exam groups – coincide with a speech from Alison Richard, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, which warned against government interference in university admissions.

Speedy education

For years, we heard the complaint that too few Indiana high school graduates were going on to college. We shared in that concern. Thanks to a number of initiatives, including the creation of more campuses — the University of Southern Indiana, for example — to make higher education more accessible, more Hoosier young people are attending state colleges and universities.

In fact, Indiana now ranks 10th in the nation in enrollment, with 62 percent of our high school graduates now seeking a higher education, reports Courier & Press staff writer Bryan Corbin.

That seems a fine accomplishment, but now some in the state have a new complaint: Not enough of these students are completing their education in the traditional four years of college.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education, a 14-member board that guides policy for public colleges and universities, is concerned that only 35 percent of our college students graduate in four years, and only 57 percent in six years. So, now the commission wants Indiana to be among the top 10 states in degree completions in 2012. To reach that goal, the commission wants to restructure the way the state funds public universities. It wants to focus more on degree completions than on enrollment growth. Extra money would be linked to on-time graduation rates, course completed and degrees conferred, among other measurements.

State Higher Education Commissioner Stan Jones said that the universities used to say, “Give us more money, and we’ll do a better job.” But now, he said, the commission is saying, “Do a better job, and we’ll give you more money.”

The commission’s recommendation, which is nonbinding, will go to the Indiana Legislature for consideration.

It would be nice if more of our students graduated in four years, but we just don’t see that as a serious concern.

Some students take more time to mature, much less decide on a major. Some work and go to school, some have responsibilities outside of their education. Some only come to a four-year university after spending time in a two-year school. And some students don’t belong in college at all, but it may take them a year or two to find out.

The news that Bristol Palin, the 17-year-old daughter of the Republican vice presidential candidate, was pregnant brought teenage sex and pregnancy to the spotlight again. In addition, the most recently-reported nationwide statistics report an increase in teenage pregnancy for the first time in 15 years.

John McCain supports teaching students abstinence-only sex education in schools. But teenagers have sex and will continue to have sex. Teenagers will continue to get pregnant too, and abstinence-only sex education is no way to stop it. Students should be taught how to be safe if they are sexually active; they should be taught how to best protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases and how to prevent pregnancy. In addition, girls should learn what options they have if they do get pregnant.

Another controversy regarding teenage sex is whether young women should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus, which can cause genital warts and cancer. One argument is that giving young teenagers the HPV vaccine will encourage them to have sex. Being protected against HPV won’t encourage sexual activity, but if women are vaccinated and do have sex, at least they will be protected against the most common sexually-transmitted disease.

Britain vies with Mexico for education wooden spoon

The Labour Government has presided over a huge increase of children aged 3 and 4 in “pre-primary programmes”, from just over half in 1998 to nine out of ten children in 2006, the report, Education at a Glance, says. This compares with an OECD average of seven in ten.

The report found British expenditure on education to be above average, with private sources growing faster than public spending.

Some of that extra money was spent on keeping young primary-age children in school longer than their counterparts. English seven-year-olds endured 100 more hours than average in the classroom each year.

The report said that the UK had among the largest class sizes in primary schools, with only Japan, South Korea and Turkey having more children in lessons. However, class sizes at secondary level were lower than average.

The pace of expansion at university level in OECD countries was outstripping past projections and was expected to continue, it said. While 37 per cent of teenagers in OECD countries went to university in 1995, that figure rose to 57 per cent by 2005.

Britain has an above-average graduation rate, the report said, but had dropped from fourth to 12th since 1995 and was “likely to be surpassed” by other countries. Its dropout rate from degree courses is also relatively high.

Mr Schleicher said that Britain had recently devoted more of its GDP to education than any other country.

It has one of the largest differences in salaries between graduates and non-graduates. Mr Schleicher said:

The rows of children, who were seated obediently, many wearing neat polo shirts in the school’s colors with their hands folded on their laps, hollered approval. Barber seemed to do a little dance as she crossed the stage to receive the coveted certificate from Spelling.

Of about 700,000 schools in America, 320 were named 2008 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools by the US. Department of Education Tuesday. The government program designates public and private elementary, middle and high schools that show impressive academic growth and achievement.

So why did Spellings pick southwest Atlanta’s F.L. Stanton as the site to personally deliver the news?

Flanked by Cox and Hall during a media briefing following the announcement, she said she wanted to honor this school for its “terrific track record” as well as Atlanta’s educational leadership team. During her announcement, Spellings described Hall as a trusted adviser.

Nine Blue Ribbon Schools were named in Georgia, five of them in the metro area.

Barber and the principals of all the award-winning schools are invited to a ceremony in Washington this fall, and the schools will receive a Blue Ribbon flag to fly over their school.

“There’s an expression that says if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door,” Spellings told the children, explaining that their school will be considered an example to others.

Before making the announcement, Spellings and other officials stopped in to visit Christi Giddens’ third-grade math class. In a lecture about organizing and interpreting data, fourteen lap topped-students watched various graphs on their screen.

Career Education In Colleges

Career education programs are used as tools to help college students discover career choices available to them. However, many students have questions about their career path and may want to continue their education beyond the college level.

The Internet is one of the most helpful tools available to college students who want career education. A large number of websites offer personality, skill and knowledge assessments. There are many personality tests that ask students questions pertaining to career choices, and the results help students make the right choices. Assessments can help college students limit their career choices. There are several online courses that are designed to offer continuing education, and there are universities that offer all levels of degrees. Once individuals have received career education and training and skills they need, they may even find a job online.

Assessments help students find out their strengths and weaknesses, making them better able to choose a career. Some government agencies offer career education and job counseling to individuals who are looking for a career.

It may be a helpful for students to set up plan as they start planning their career education path. They need to think about their skills, standards, interests and personality. These factors reflect on the kind of career that is suitable for them. They need to decide on a career and outline exactly what they need to do to get there.

Forty years later and living in Coolidge Corner, Ahmad has grander dreams. He is the founder of the ambitious Asian University for Women, built on the old saying that to educate a man is to educate an individual and to educate a woman is to educate a family.

In March, in Chittagong, Bangladesh’s second largest city, AUW launched its pre-college Access Academy for 128 students from six countries and four religions. In September 2009, AUW expects to enroll its first undergraduates in an innovative program that combines three years of American-style liberal arts education with two years of professional training.

AUW has secured 100 acres from the Bangladesh government and a charter guaranteeing autonomy and academic freedom. It has so far attracted $35 million, including $8 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It has hired renowned architect Moshe Safdie to design its campus, enlisted retired Harvard dean Henry Rosovsky to aid academic planning, and recruited Jack Meyer, former chief manager of Harvard’s endowment, to chair its foundation. Its provost, biochemist Hoon Eng Khoo, a Smith College graduate born in Malaysia in a house without running water or electricity, was vice dean of the prestigious National University of Singapore Medical School. Microfinance pioneer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus serves on AUW’s board of advisers.

The university joins a handful of women’s colleges established recently in Asia and Africa – including the Dubai Women’s College founded in 1989 and Zimbabwe’s Women’s University in Africa founded in 2003 – that focus, for the most part, on the professional education of women in their home country.

The president also mentioned that 12 new universities have been established since the beginning of his administration.

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