Posts

Florida Universities Waived Rules and Regulations for Caribbean ScholarsFollowing a request from Governor Rick Scott, Florida schools have waived their rules and regulations for Caribbean scholars who have been left deprived and affected by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. State Education Commissioner, Pam Stewart was one of the signees of the order for students from Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other Caribbean nations.

In a public address, Stewart announced, “Entire communities were destroyed, and we do not know how long it will take to restore schools and other essential infrastructure…It is critical that these students and teachers have the opportunity to participate in our state’s outstanding public education system. We are pleased to remove barriers to enrollment and help these students and teachers return to the classroom.”

As of now, students from the islands are able to continue their classes and permeate into the Florida public school curriculums without their birth certificates, official transcripts and health forms that transfer students would traditionally be required to have. Also, those who are seeking teaching positions are being given the opportunity to apply without their health records and age verifications, along with proof of degree-attainment and subject-mastery documentation. The federal government has obliged school districts to label students affected by hurricanes as “homeless” to allow the students to be eligible for free meals and more accessible transportation.

Futhermore, some public colleges in Florida have agreed to offer in-state tuition to affected Caribbean students. These colleges include: Broward College, Hillsborough Community College, Miami Dade College, Palm Beach State College, Seminole State College of Florida, the University of Central Florida, Valencia College and St. Petersburg College.

In a statement made by Scott, the governor claimed he wanted to, “ensure students from Puerto Rico can more easily continue their education here in Florida and that teachers from Puerto Rico have every opportunity to continue to succeed in their careers.” He also pointed out that, “as families work to rebuild their lives following the unbelievable devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, we are doing everything we can to help them throughout this process.”

While their education is furthered in the U.S., many of the students wish for recovery for their respective homes. However, because these Florida schools have waived their rules and regulations for Caribbean scholars affected by the hurricanes, many students are able to continue following their dreams and their career paths. Without initiatives like these, many hurricane victims would have to be stuck on pause until the recovery of their homes.

Jalil Perry

Photo: Flickr

More Aid Needed to Support Universities in Developing Countries
From 2002 to 2013, approximately one point six trillion dollars was spent on foreign aid by the world’s richest countries. Only two point seven percent of that total was spent to support higher education, such as universities in developing countries.

The second Millennium Development Goal was prioritized to reach free universal primary education because studies showed that primary education increased the level of social capital. However, tertiary education builds human capital and contributes to economic development.

The World Bank and IMF’s structural adjustment policies helped expand the challenges to increase access to tertiary education by pressuring developing countries to decrease their investments in education to reduce public spending. In return, universities lack the resources necessary to address the rising number of students.

Many private institutions find markets in developing countries, and many are creating more problems. In Ghana, 43 private institutions are banned because they did not meet the requirements of the National Accreditation Board to operate.

Private institutions admit students who fail to achieve university-level grades, their admission standards are relaxed to turn tertiary education into a business, and over 1,000 students have been withdrawn due to the university procedures.

In order to create a successful tertiary education structure, it must be aligned with primary and secondary education structures. By aligning these programs, students are more prepared to transfer their skills to universities in developing countries. Also, an effective tertiary education program provides trained teachers for primary and secondary schools.

Sustainable Development Goal targets for education include increasing access to tertiary education. Many donors are already preparing to make higher education a larger part of their aid programs. The UK Department for International Development is expected to make its biggest push ever for higher education funds in 2016.

In June 2015, USAID launched a statement for their Higher Education for Development Partnership Program that will make investments for tertiary education in developing countries a bigger priority moving forward. Higher education increases national output and helps meet the demand for skilled workers.

USAID goals include increasing access to higher education, improving its quality and research, and improving the relevance of development programs for the workforce in developing countries. Global partnerships will be the key to increasing the quality of education for students and to meet the growing demands for more universities in developing countries.

Donald Gering

Sources: The Conversation, UN, University World News, USAID
Photo: Huffington Post

global_education

Many young people in countries around the world do not have access to the kind of education Americans have in the U.S. In an effort to support global education, universities can make important additions to their programs.

According to Ethiopian Education Activist Selamawit Adugna Bekele, global education can help solve many social and health problems. For instance, education in Africa could help solve the continent’s problems of corruption, gender inequality and HIV.

Girls, children with disabilities and children living in areas of conflict are particularly at risk for being denied education. Many of the countries that have a large population in poverty are also without public education systems to which impoverished families can send their children.

UNESCO reported in October 2013 that 31 million girls of primary school age are not in school, which is 4 million more than boys of primary school age. The EFA Global Monitoring Report for 2013-2014 found that girls at the lowest level of poverty have the least chance of finishing primary school.

Here are 13 ways for universities to support global education:

  1. Create video conferences in global classrooms. Video conferences can connect one American class with another class around the world.
  2. Offer low-cost study abroad opportunities for students studying education. This will show students the forms of education around the world and encourage them to be active supporters of global education.
  3. Encourage the U.S. to increase foreign aid to global education. Widespread education leads to better economies, which would also help alleviate global poverty.
  4. Encourage the U.S. and the UN to support governments’ efforts to create public education systems for both boys and girls. This may even include providing help when militant groups oppose education.
  5. Invite representatives from organizations such as the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the VIF International Education, who promote global education, to speak during lectures or events.
  6. Invite teenagers or adults from less-developed countries to speak about their education during lectures or events.
  7. Make connections with national and international organizations to set up internships for the university’s students. The students will already be able to envision making global education their career.
  8. Dedicate a week or more out of each semester that focuses on increasing awareness about the need for global education.
  9. Create special programs to teach students how to combat global poverty. For instance, Austin College has a Social Entrepreneurship for Poverty Alleviation program that teaches students the skills they would need, such as finances, writing, community development, ethics, race relations, public speaking and human rights.
  10. Have requirements in certain classes for the students to visit local grade schools and promote a global perspective. This would likely apply to relevant departments, such as English, global studies, liberal studies, business and social work. Methods to promote a global perspective could include crafts, pen pals or showing videos of schools in other countries online.
  11. Encourage seniors to participate in the Fulbright Program, where recent graduates receive grants to teach English in other countries.
  12. Create majors and offer degrees that focus on promoting global education.
  13. Start an Adopt-A-School program, where the university adopts and supports a school in a poverty-stricken area in another country.

There are many ways that the students and staff of universities can use their resources to promote the education of everyone around the world, and campaigns to combat global poverty also contribute to the establishment of global education.

– Kimmi Ligh

Sources: The Olympian, VIF Program, Borgen MagazineFulbright Online, UNESCO Report 1, UNESCO Report 2
Photo: Day Trading Friends

Campuses_going_green
Policies, companies, restaurants, and homes are all ‘going green.’ Universities are no exception to the new wave of environmental consciousness. In fact, students at college campuses around the world come up with some of the most innovative and creative ‘green’ initiatives to lower their schools’ carbon footprints, increase recycling, and spread awareness.

The oldest national environmental organization, the Sierra Club, compiles a list of the top most sustainable schools in America every year. This year’s winners will be hard to beat as campuses come closer and closer to their carbon neutral goals. Here are the top five greenest universities from this year’s competition, and some of the initiatives that make them the coolest schools:

#5 Cornell University
Offers 340 sustainability classes
25% decrease in GG emissions over 2 years
35-acre botanical garden
100-acre arboretum

#4 University of California, Davis
60% of waste is diverted
Holds weekly on-campus farmers markets
Agricultural-education powerhouse
America’s biggest planned zero-net-energy community

#3 University of California, Irvine
19-megawatt cogeneration facility
Saves 20 million kWh per year since 2009
16-acre botanical garden
LEED Silver minimum requirement for buildings

#2 Dickinson College
Collects grease from restaurants for biodiesel
Uses wind power to offset all electrical needs
Student-grown produce served at cafeterias
Solar panels power school’s irrigation

#1 University of Connecticut
Offers 600+ sustainability courses
15% decrease in water use since 2005
30% of meals are vegetarian
Retrofitted buildings prevent 2,640 tons of CO2 emission

While the schools come in different shapes and sizes, and have varying levels of LEED certification, GG emissions, and waste profiles, all of the universities on the Sierra Club’s list share common projects and areas of focus for sustainability. These areas can serve as checkpoints for all college campuses aiming for greener footprints.

Sustainable Areas of Focus
· Energy efficient building design
· Renewable energy
· Water re-use
· Locally produced food
· Waste disposal
· Green transport
· Sustainability curriculum
· Awareness raising events
Students in other countries are engaging in equally innovative sustainability projects. The International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) features some of the most pioneering ideas circulating around international campuses with state of the art technologies and comprehensive sustainability programs. The ISCN also holds a Sustainability Competition with four award categories: building, campus, integration, and student leadership. The 2013 Winners are as follows:

Excellence in Building: University of Gothenburg, Sweden
The Energy Saving Project at the Laboratory of Experimental Biomedicine overcame infrastructural challenges and air quality requirements in the building with the highest consumption of energy on campus, and achieved 25% energy reduction.

Excellence in Campus: Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland
The Green Campus Project involving comprehensive innovations in renewable energy technologies, energy storage technologies, environmental management systems, and energy efficient buildings.

Excellence in Integration: Chatham University, PA USA
The Zero Net Carbon Emissions Project is the first fully aligned program in the word that integrates sustainable development, living, and learning. While the private institution has expanded footage by 36%, increased enrollment by another 45%, it has managed to reduce its greenhouse gas net emissions by 68% since 2007.

Excellence in Student Leadership: Zhejiang University, China
The Green Truth Program integrated creative student energy and mobilized sustainability efforts across the campus. Now the university holds science and technology competitions, new media programs, survey projects, and Green Chess events.

The potential to curb climate change and help alleviate social and environmental injustices lies in the hands of young, passionate, and resourceful college students entering the work force today. Amongst the hundreds of thousands of college graduates there will be leaders, innovators, and educators leading society into a more sustainable future.

The next generation of policy makers and executives has the ability to pave the way with more cohesive sustainable legislation; scientists and engineers can invent new green technology to harness renewable energy sources; passionate teachers can instill ethical and sustainable values in younger generations; and activists will continue to challenge systems and institutions, allowing for awareness and evaluation of areas that still need improvement. Students today have all of the resources to make a change. In the words of the famous Jesuit Ignatius of Loyola, it is our time “to go forth and set the world on fire.”

– Gloria Kostadinova

Sources: Top Universities, Sierra