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New San Diego Building May Be Largest U.S. Carbon-Neutral Commercial Office Building

New San Diego Building May Be Largest U.S. Carbon-Neutral Commercial Office Building | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

LPL Financial opened its new headquarters last week, which features fuel cells that convert biogas into enough electricity to power the building and an additional 750 homes.


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Michael John Carter's curator insight, April 7, 2014 1:27 PM
Using fuel cells converting Biogas to electricity to generate surplus power. Would like to see what effect radiant heating would have done to the HVAC costs
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Ken Robinson Explains How to Escape the Death Valley of American Education

Filmed just last month, this talk by renowned educator Ken Robinson takes aim at America’s test-centric educational system, a system that increasingly treats education as an industrial process and bleeds creativity and curiosity out of our classrooms. You get that problem when you put technocrats and politicians, not teachers, in charge of things. And you’re only going to get more of it (sorry to say) as computer scientists start putting their stamp on America’s educational future.


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Politicsweb - SGBs and the GDE: SECTION27`s narrow and sensationalist view

Politicsweb - SGBs and the GDE: SECTION27`s narrow and sensationalist view | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

I wish to challenge Section27's narrow and sensationalist view of the issue of the Gauteng Department of Education v School Governing Bodies. I attended the court hearing but I don't intend to comment on the merits of the case but rather put forward a view from the tenches. Both of my children attended government schools for their entire schooling and I spent 13 years on governing bodies.

The impression given in much of the argument in court was that it was a noble battle between the provision of education nationally and the overreach of SGBs. The further impression given is that it is a matter of clarifying the balancing act that the principal has to perform in advancing the admission policy as devised by the SGB, and managing the practical application process on behalf of the Gauteng Department and Education as its employee. It's not. It's actually a grubby war between the changing and unplanned exigencies of an incompetent but overstretched GDE, and SGBs trying to hold schools together.


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Politicsweb - SGBs and the GDE: SECTION27`s narrow and sensationalist view

Politicsweb - SGBs and the GDE: SECTION27`s narrow and sensationalist view | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

I wish to challenge Section27's narrow and sensationalist view of the issue of the Gauteng Department of Education v School Governing Bodies. I attended the court hearing but I don't intend to comment on the merits of the case but rather put forward a view from the tenches. Both of my children attended government schools for their entire schooling and I spent 13 years on governing bodies.

The impression given in much of the argument in court was that it was a noble battle between the provision of education nationally and the overreach of SGBs. The further impression given is that it is a matter of clarifying the balancing act that the principal has to perform in advancing the admission policy as devised by the SGB, and managing the practical application process on behalf of the Gauteng Department and Education as its employee. It's not. It's actually a grubby war between the changing and unplanned exigencies of an incompetent but overstretched GDE, and SGBs trying to hold schools together.


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Daily Maverick - Initiation schools' terrible fees

Daily Maverick - Initiation schools' terrible fees | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it
More than 20 boys died at Mpumalanga initiation schools in the last week. This follows the death of almost 50 young men in only three weeks at the schools last July. There are examples of the practice improving and becoming more regulated. But with oversight shunted to provinces, local government and traditional authorities, there are schools operating with little accountability under a confused mixture of different authorities.

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Teachers must be tested - Times LIVE

Teachers must be tested - Times LIVE | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

Most learners and 37% of teachers fell into the trap of trying to solve the problem by working from left to right. You would be tempted to conclude that our teachers did not go to school, let alone to college or university, where they should have learnt to apply the so-called Bodmas rule which indicates the order in which to solve such operations.

 

It was drummed into our heads: brackets first (6 - 4), then orders (exponents, for example), followed by division (2 ÷ 2), multiplication, addition and subtraction. But that was then.

 

This mathematics problem is cited in the 2013 National Education Evaluation Unit report titled "The State of Literacy Teaching and Learning in the Foundation Phase", and the authors make the rather measured conclusion that "the subject knowledge base in both language and mathematics of the majority of South African Grade 6 teachers is inadequate to provide learners with a principled understanding of these foundation disciplines." They take this finding to the lower grades, the focus of their own report, with the conclusion: "There is no reason to believe that Foundation phase teachers are any better endowed with subject knowledge." I agree.


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Addictive reading just for teens

Addictive reading just for teens | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it
Pupils are gobbling up books written just for them, and learning a thing or two along the way.
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It really is time to talk about sex

It really is time to talk about sex | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

A fearful reluctance among teachers to talk about sex exacerbates their pupils' risk of contracting HIV and Aids, falling pregnant and being discriminated against on the basis of their sexual identities, academic research into sexual education at schools suggests.

"Teachers couldn't even say the word 'sex' when I spoke to them during my research. They'd say: 's-s-s-sex' or 'that thing' or 'you know what I mean'," said Jean Baxen, a professor of education at Rhodes University.

She was speaking at a two-day colloquium on sexuality, society and pedagogy at the University of the Free State this week. Academics from across the country presented papers on topics that included "sugar daddy" relationships and the teaching of sexuality in South African higher education.

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Daily Maverick - SA’s broken education system – Diepsloot's Khan Academy may have an answer

Daily Maverick - SA’s broken education system – Diepsloot's Khan Academy may have an answer | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

On the edges of one of Johannesburg’s densest urban settlements you’ll find the Diepsloot Community Centre, a non-governmental initiative where locals can learn anything from welding to computer literacy. Unlike other community centres fraught by political infighting, this centre’s a hive of entrepreneurial and education success stories. One of these is the experimental Khan Maths initiative that’s having a big, positive effect on Diepsloot learners. By MANDY DE WAAL.


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Pass at 30% ‘no help for youth jobs’

Pass at 30% ‘no help for youth jobs’ | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

STATISTICIAN-general Pali Lehohla on Monday criticised South Africa’s basic education system, saying in an interview the 30% pass mark standard was not helping the youth and was among factors making some of them unattractive to prospective employers.

His comments coincided with the release on Monday of the Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) Quarterly Labour Force Survey, which showed the number of unemployed rose by 100,000 to 4.6-million in the first quarter, taking the official unemployment rate to 25.2% from 24.9%.


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Politicsweb - Govt now single biggest employer in South Africa- SACCI - Top stories

A second highly problematic trend is the increase in the size of the government labour force in relation to the rest of the economy. Government employment increased by 44 000 in the first quarter to 3 072 000 employees or 22.6% of total employed persons (see table below). The government has replaced the Trade sector, which contracted by 66 000 over the same period, as the single biggest employer in South Africa. This is clearly unsustainable as the public sector wage bill is ultimately paid for by the taxes generated by the private sector.


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Eastern Cape Schools Solidarity Visit: delegates find learners using concrete building blocks as chairs

Eastern Cape Schools Solidarity Visit: delegates find learners using concrete building blocks as chairs | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it
Today marked the first day of the Eastern Cape Schools Solidarity Visit. A group of eminent South Africans, led by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, visited two desperate Eastern Cape schools. They encountered gross overcrowding, deplorable ablution facilities and furniture and textbook shortages. The Solidarity Visit is being held to draw attention to the school infrastructure crisis in the Eastern Cape and the need for Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure.

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The Big Debate 10 March 2013

The Big Debate 10 March 2013

This 45 minute debate on the Educational State of the Nation puts national and provincial goverment reps, activist NGO's such as Equal Education and teachers and pupils in the same room to ask some hard questions...


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Teenagers' book choices 'too easy'

Teenagers' book choices 'too easy' | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it
Teenagers are selecting "easier reads" in their book choices, rather than more challenging classics, according to a survey published for World Book Day.
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NEEDU Report released | Teacher's Monthly

NEEDU Report released | Teacher's Monthly | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

On 2 May 2013, the first NEEDU Report (for 2012) was released. What follows is a selective, adapted summary of the report, which confirms that all is not well.

 

 


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Andrew van Zyl's curator insight, May 13, 2013 6:01 AM
It is widely known that South African schools perform below expectations. But much less is known about why this should be so. Is it because they won’t or because they can’t? The implications for school improvement are very different, dependent on how this question is answered. If poor school performance is predominantly caused by teachers being ill disciplined – for example, being absent from school for no legitimate reason, or not being in class when they should be – then they need to be disciplined, a job which lies firmly in the purview of school Principals and Circuit Managers (CMs). Where poor oversight and management coincides with ill-discipline, the situation merits outside intervention. Under these circumstances, the systemic focus must be on strengthening management capacity at school and district levels. If, on the other hand, teachers being unable to deliver the curriculum is the dominant cause of school underperformance, then the solution must take a different course, focused on capacitating teachers, through strengthening their knowledge resources.
Irene Reid's comment, May 22, 2013 6:03 AM
Knowledge resources are available and free to access... A tru porfessional will contunally upskill themselves. For me, it is the calibre of person we are attracting into the teaching profession, and the attitudes and behaviours of present day Teacher professionals. Teachers themselves are not lifelong learners and readers and are not leading by example. We should review teacher training and have tough and stringent entrance criteria to attract excellence (excellence of knowledge and practice) back into the profession.
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Dropout rate points to lack of support

Dropout rate points to lack of support | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

Seven years after official data first revealed that about half of undergraduate students drop out of university without completing their degrees, new figures show no improvement in this poor academic ­performance. Educationists and students said inadequate assistance, poor academic support and family ­pressure contributed to high dropout rates. Some 46% of all students who started studying three- and four-year degrees in 2005 at South Africa's 22 universities, excluding Unisa, had dropped out by 2010, according to data newly published by the Council on Higher Education, a statutory body that advises the education minister


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Daily Maverick - What does the right to education entail?

Daily Maverick - What does the right to education entail? | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

Helen Zille’s latest DA Today newsletter puts the blame for SA’s parlous education system squarely at the feet of teachers, based on a report released just over a week ago. But education activists continue to insist that the conditions under which teachers work are equally important. The latest organization to try to lend a hand to setting educational standards in the country is the SA Human Rights Commission, whose Charter of Children’s Basic Education Rights aims to flesh out what we mean when we talk about someone having the “right” to education. By REBECCA DAVIS.


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Andrew van Zyl's curator insight, May 15, 2013 3:35 AM

Given the fact that there has been movement on this problem from the Department of Basic Education, however, one might wonder why the SAHRC would bother to produce its own charter – which, in making recommendations for “optimal realisation of the right” [to education], would appear to amount to much the same thing as a norms and standards document. The SAHRC explains, however, that “it has increasingly been recognised at an international level that national human rights institutions are best placed to determine the monitoring indicators for economic and social rights due to their independent nature and knowledge of local conditions”.

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Politicsweb - The real cause of our education crisis - Helen Zille - Top stories

Politicsweb - The real cause of our education crisis - Helen Zille - Top stories | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

The findings paint a grim picture.  The majority of learners in poor schools start falling behind required literacy and numeracy levels in their first year, and by the time they end the "foundation phase" in grade 3, many have effectively dropped out and will predictably fail to master the curriculum in later years.   This is the main reason why around 50% of children drop out of school before they reach matric. For example, last year's matric class started grade 1 in 2001 as a group of 1,150,637 learners but only 551,837 wrote the 2012 national senior certificate examinations.


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Textbook revelation astounds watchdogs

Textbook revelation astounds watchdogs | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

The basic education department (DBE) has told the South African Human Rights Commission that the department is only obliged to supply every pupil with all the books he or she needs by 2014. This is contrary to all known government policy on school textbooks and emerged from an interim report on the delivery of learning materials countrywide released by the commission for public comment this week. "The representative [from the basic education department] indicated that the target they are working towards is that by 2014 every child should have a core textbook in every subject," the interim report says. "This means that the standard to which government is working does not necessarily oblige a 100% rate of receipt."


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3 rules to spark learning | Video on TED.com

It took a life-threatening condition to jolt chemistry teacher Ramsey Musallam out of ten years of “pseudo-teaching” to understand the true role of the educator: to cultivate curiosity.

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Uphill battle to fill teaching niche

Uphill battle to fill teaching niche | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it
A young teacher’s school desperately needs him but he’s working without pay while an official sits on the paperwork for the job

 

'When I found the man whose sole purpose seemed to be the custodian of the application forms, he asked me to leave my ID with him as collateral while I went and photocopied the forms because there was no photocopy machine in the building."

Tim Hutchinson, a young maths teacher in the rural village of Zithulele in the Eastern Cape, was describing one of many trips he has made in the past five months to the province's education department's offices in Mthatha to try to get a formal appointment to a teaching post in the school he has worked at, unpaid, for four months.

"The master copy of the form was a sight to behold. It was barely legible. There clearly hadn't been a photocopy machine in the building for a long time," he said.


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Energetic atmosphere breeds success - An interview with Tom Hamilton, Headmaster of St Alban's College

Energetic atmosphere breeds success - An interview with Tom Hamilton, Headmaster of St Alban's College | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

Collectively, in our education system and in most public schools, we seem to have created a “Kolkata environment”. Barring fortunate exceptions and pockets of excellence, it is an environment that is the opposite of energetic. Let me explain.

Professor Sumantra Ghoshal explains in a video lecture that every year he used to go to India for almost a month to visit his parents. In Kolkata in July, the temperature is over 38°C, with humidity of 98 percent. He would spend most of his time indoors, resting and conserving energy.

In contrast, he used to live in Fontainebleau, 65km south of Paris. He says the forest there “is one of the prettiest forests in all of Europe. You enter the forest in spring, with a firm desire to have a very leisurely walk and you cannot. There is something about the smell of the air, about the trees, that will make you want to run, jog, jump up, catch a branch, to throw a stone, to do something.”

He called the difference between Kolkata and Fontainebleau “the smell of the place”. He hypothesised that many companies hurt their profit and performance because their corporate environment – the smell of their place – was more like Kolkata and less like Fontainebleau.

In these companies, the culture disengaged employees rather than energised them. (See The Smell of the Place on YouTube.)

So why do we have a “Kolkata environment” in so many schools? What role does leadership play in this? What difference, if any, can the leader of a school make?

Tom Hamilton, the headmaster at St Alban’s College in Pretoria, has institutionalised a “Fontainebleau environment”. There have been great leaders before him, but as a colleague said: “There is no doubt that it is he who has put St Alban’s College firmly on the map of top South African schools. In this, he has left his own mark and his own legacy.”


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The Smell of the Place

Leader and educator Sumantra Ghoshal contrasts his birthplace (Kolkata) and his hometown (Fontainebleau). "Typical of Ghoshal's colourful communication was what he called his “springtime theory”. He would tell his audiences about his annual visit to Calcutta to see his parents in July. “Imagine the heat,” he would say, “the humidity, the noise, the dirt. It sucks up all your energy, drains your brain, and exhausts your imagination.” And then he would take them to the forest of Fontainebleau, near INSEAD, where he was a professor at the time, and point to “the smell of the trees, the crispness in the air, the flowers, the grass underfoot. How one's heart lifts up, how the energy and creativity bubble away.” Go through the door of any business, he would say, and you can tell whether it is Calcutta or Fontainebleau. A manager's task is to create a working environment that is like Fontainebleau, not Calcutta." From The Economist http://www.economist.com/node/13760551

 


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Teachers are clueless - Times LIVE

Teachers are clueless - Times LIVE | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

The first national evaluation of how pupils in Grades 1, 2 and 3 are taught reveals that teaching is so poor, and the children's ability to read so weak, that the children are likely to struggle for the rest of their school years.

Researchers in the national education evaluation development unit of the Department of Basic Education visited 133 urban schools last year and assessed their Grade 1 to Grade 3 classes.

The study has been praised as marking a shift from the focus on matric results to strengthening the foundations of schooling.


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Daily Maverick - Let them be plumbers!

Daily Maverick - Let them be plumbers! | Education - Home and Abroad | Scoop.it

While I agree that we need artisans and that school leavers should be informed of this option, I’m offended by the notion that because of our government’s failure to provide descent basic education to our young people, a failure that limits their options and potential for further study, they should be directed towards specific careers. Imagine being told, “Well, we know you would like to become a leading academic researcher, but the truth of the matter is that our education system is too poor to equip you for such ambition. Now come, we need boilermakers.” Who would accept this?


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