08 August

First ladies Obama and Bush urge African leaders to educate, empower women and girls

Education Worldwide

Click to watch video

Click to watch video

In a conversation at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with former first lady Laura Bush, Michelle Obama shared her personal success story and the important role education played in her life.

“I am an African American woman”, she noted, “and there’s nothing in my life that would indicate that I would be sitting on this stage with a former First Lady and the most renowned journalist and every first spouse in Africa. My parents believed in the value of education, even though they were not educated themselves.  And they pushed my brother and I to do the best that we could do.”

Likewise, Mrs. Bush stated that “because only countries where all people are involved can be successful.  When we look around the world and we see countries where half of the population is marginalized or left out, then we usually see countries that are failing.”

Mrs. Obama urged leaders from African nations to empower women and girls by improving their access to education. “Until we value women and girls, we won’t tackle those other problems,” she said. “Until we prioritize our girls and understand that they are as important and their education is as important as the education of our sons, then we will have lots of work to do.”

Read in full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/08/06/first-ladies-obama-and-bush-urge-african-leaders-to-educate-empower-women-and-girls/

02 May

N.Y. Public Library Plans Face-to-Face 'Classes' for MOOC Students

OpenEd & OER

In a pilot program with Coursera, the New York Public Library plans to organize meet-ups at which people taking massive open online courses can gather and discuss the courses with help from “trained facilitators.”

The partnership is part the MOOC company’s effort to build an infrastructure for in-person learning around its free online courses. Research has suggested that MOOC students who receive offline help earn higher scores on their assessments.

Read the article in full:


31 March

The face of internationalisation in Europe: brand new EAIE study unveiled by EAIE

Education Worldwide

Blog_BarometerAs internationalisation of higher education has become increasingly complex and far reaching over the past years, EAIE (European Association for International Education) unveiled a project to undertake comprehensive research to map the state of internationalisation in Europe. In particular, the study will focus on the current state of affairs regarding internationalisation in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the key developments and challenges in the field and the skills requirements and specific needs of staff involved in international education. The study will provide analysis on both a national/regional level and European level.

The survey aims to provide a chance to share experiences, not only strengthening the knowledge base for policy makers but also addressing the performance and skills of people in their day-to-day work in internationalisation. In the midst of a constantly evolving international education field, the survey is expected to provide essential insights to all those organisations working to assist those practitioners directly involved in international education.

Invite to all faculty to participate in the e-survey, which will be  available online from 13 March until 22 April.

Read More:

The face of internationalisation in Europe: brand new EAIE study unveiled

24 February

Harvard, MIT Launch MOOC Student Visualization Tools

Learning Technologies

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the two institutions behind the massive open online course provider edX, on Thursday released a set of tools that visualize the age, gender, location and level of education of their almost 2 million MOOC users.

Called Insights, the tools were developed by Sergiy Nesterko and Daniel Seaton, research fellows at HarvardX and MIT, respectively. In a news release, Nesterko said Insights “can help to guide instruction while courses are running and deepen our understanding of the impact of courses after they are complete.”

A side-by-side comparison of HarvardX and MITx’s enrollment numbers shows Harvard’s MOOCs have attracted more than 1 million users to MIT’s roughly 820,000. More than one-third of Harvard’s MOOC students are in the U.S., compared to about one-quarter of MIT’s. The only other country to register in the double digits among either institution is India, whose students account for 15.5 percent of HarvardX’s total enrollment.

Similar to the student bodies at the physical campuses, MITx students are more likely to be male — 66.2 percent to HarvardX’s 59.5 percent. They are also younger — MITx’s median age is 27; HarvardX’s, 28 — and, by a few percentage points, less likely to hold a postsecondary degree. MOOCs are still dominated by students who hold such a degree, however. Among MITx students, 64.6 percent hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and for HarvardX, those students make up more than two-thirds, or 67.8 percent, of the total enrollment.

Insights will be made available to the member institutions in the edX consortium.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/02/21/harvard-mit-launch-mooc-student-visualization-tools#ixzz2uDGJGmyO

18 February

Women's Rights after the Arab Spring



The revolutions that swept across the Middle East in 2011, known as “The Arab Spring,” promised greater freedoms for many in the region, including women. While there have been some advances in women’s rights, the promise in many cases has not been realized.

While the new constitutions in Egypt and Tunisia guarantee greater rights for women, the laws that keep women safe are often not enforced. On the one hand, revolution took conservative forces to the fore – which do not empathize with women at all. On the other hand, the new political ground empowers women and provides a chance for shift.

Turkey has often been at the forefront of women’s rights in the Middle East. But the recent rhetoric of Prime Minister Erdogan, and more conservative social norms encouraged by the Government have raised increasing concerns about equality for women. A quarter of Turkish marriages involve a child bride. Half of women over the age of 15 have reported abuse at home. Only 26% of girls graduate high school. These are just some examples of the challenges women’s rights are facing in Turkey.

 While the Gulf is often considered more conservative when it comes to women’s rights, attitudes may be shifting. Opposite to these countries where revolutions jeopardized and even rolled back recently achieved rights for women, in Gulf’s Arab Dynasties people have seen greater social and political reforms.

According to Isobel Coleman, a Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, it’s important to remember that every country and the starting point for women in every country is really quite different. Arguably, in Tunisia, women were starting from the highest point – very high levels of education. Education eases women’s empowerment, and that is why in some lands women’s civil society groups organized, got people out, and denounced this as somehow code that “complementary” means not-equal, and really demanded language around equality, which they do have in the constitution.

Women rights are, then, a hot issue not only in Arab Countries but in the whole international community. To cite an example, UNESCO and the Government of Pakistan signed an agreement to support better access, improved quality and safe learning environments for girls in the hard-to-reach areas of Pakistan.

07 February

Horizon 2014 Report Is Out: 6 Technologies Will Change Colleges in Coming Years

Learning Technologies

The six technologies and the changes they’re expected to bring are detailed in“NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition,” a 52-page document  comprised by the 56 international experts.

In a nutshell, the following trends and time horizons were identified by panel members:

 *  The two most imminent, within 2 years,  are the integration of social media into every aspect of college education and life and the blending of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning with face-to-face instruction.

 *  In 3 to 5 yearsdata-driven learning and assessment will have its maximum impact on campuses, helping to personalize learning and improve performance measurement. Also listed as having its greatest impact in three to five years is a shift toward “learning by making and creating rather than from the simple consumption of content.”

 * Two trends were identified  as long-range, with  their biggest impact is still 5 or more years away: the continuing evolution of online learning and universities’ shift to more agile “approaches to teaching and learning that mimic technology start-ups.”

For each of the trends the panel identified, the report offers examples and a further-reading list, as well as a discussion of whether the changes affect leadership, policy, practice, or some combination of the three.

The format of the report is new this year, providing these leaders with more in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership and practice:


See also:


14 January

US Universities Lose Money on Research

Education Worldwide

January 13, 2014

Most universities lose money on research, according to an analysis published in the journal Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors. The study notes that universities seek (and receive) research grants from the federal governments and other sources. But the study also says that these grants cover such a small share of “indirect costs” of research — such as staffing, equipment and facilities — that typically institutions lose money. The authors of the paper are Karen Holbrook, former president of Ohio State University, and Paul R. Sanberg, senior vice president for research and innovation at the University of South Florida.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/01/13/paper-universities-lose-money-research#ixzz2qJh4Kydl
Inside Higher Ed

09 January

University expansion in a changing global economy. Triumph of the BRICs?

Education Worldwide

Carnoy, Martin, et al. University Expansion in a Changing Global Economy: Triumph of the BRICs?. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013.

BRICsThe four largest developing economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) are important international players today, however their future role in the globalized economy will depend on how and to what extent they develop their higher education systems. China has carried out major transformations of its higher education system as well as has been able to improve quality of research; thus, it is likely to turn its economy into a highly developed powerhouse over the next generation

The case of Russia is less clear. The State is in the early stage of trying to reorganize its higher education system and seems little committed to transforming Russia’s economy from oil dependence. On the other hand, this country has a big advantage in the deeply university-trained human capital and its qualified labor force, but the State is not doing much to organize the society to compete in the global knowledge economy.

Brazil is showing itself as an innovative society which is producing high-quality research in universities through a greater investment than the other BRICs in R&D. If these trends go on together with decreasing poverty rates the country could keep its GDP growing and acquire stronger global relevance. Its higher education system experienced a rapid expansion and has increased access for the poor, but the threat of low quality of pre-tertiary education and higher education being mostly private is still there

India gets the most pessimistic picture. Its main weakness is the difficulty to expand education while increasing quality. Enrollment in higher education is growing but almost all in very low quality institutions, many of them private. India is also investing very little in higher education and is facing several challenges, e.g. rural and urban poverty or gender inequality.

Therefore, there is no doubt about BRICs turning into even more relevant global actors, but their future position in the International Community will depend at a great extent on the next steps they will take regarding to higher education.

19 December

Tech-Enabled Experiments Must Be Part of Education Reform, U.S. Report Says

Education Worldwide

The U.S. Education Department must experiment with alternative models, such as stackable credentials and competency-based programs, as part of broader reforms of the nation´s postsecondary-education system, according to a report titled “A Path Forward.” published on 8/12/2013 by the Center for American Progress. The call for reforms aligns with goals of combating rising costs in higher education, addressing workplace needs and clearing the way for innovation.

Competency-based education receives special attention in the report. It calls for the development of standards and measures -based on job placement, earnings, and other factors- to assess the productivity of such alternative models. It also advocates engaging employers in order to better align higher education with workplace needs. Today, employers draw candidates with certain majors but may not know much about their actual workplace skills. Among the most prominent competency-based programs are those offered by Western Governors U. and Southern New Hampshire U.

Existing technology systems are named  part of the problem. They buttress a higher-education system that continues to deliver instruction by in-person and online classes held 2 or 3 times a week for up to 15 weeks. These systems will need to be modified significantly to record credits earned not in a classroom but ultimately to be awarded based on an assessment, the report says.

Even bigger changes will need to take place at the organizational level of colleges, with entirely new roles for administrators and faculty members. Some will specialize in the technology used to deliver content, and some will focus on assessment, but both will have little responsibility for instruction. Others will be instructional coaches, helping students through particularly difficult learning modules and competencies.

Read in full:

Tech-Enabled Alternatives Must Be Part of Education Reform, Report Says

“A Path Forward” Report

19 December

What does Mandela mean for ordinary people in South Africa


The most touching Mandela tribute came from the least expected place…

The choir began an “impromtu” rendition of Asimbonanga [We have not seen him], singing:

Asimbonanga [we have not seen him]
Asimbonang’ uMandela thina [we have not seen Mandela]
Laph’ekhona [in the place where he is]
Laph’ehleli khona [in the place where he is kept]

Asimbonang ‘umfowethu thina [we have not seen our brother]
Laph’ekhona [in the place where he is]
Laph’wafela khona [in the place where he died]
Sithi: Hey, wena [We say: hey, you]
Hey, wena nawe [Hey, you and you]
Siyofika nini la’ siyakhona [when will we arrive at our destination]

The song was written during Mandela’s incarceration as a call for his freedom.

17 December

What does Mandela mean for the world?


MandelaMany things, which will become clearer with deeper reflection. There is nostalgia for the example of the life dedicated to the public good, now a chimera in an age of cheap populism. There is affirmation for the principle of leadership through values. And here, Mandela’s life and death could be a mirror from the South back to the North. We should remember that Margaret Thatcher’s government denigrated him as a terrorist.*

We should also remember that apartheid was founded in the racism of British colonialism…

Read in full:
Mandela saw equality of opportunity through education as the key to emancipation


* as the US government also did. It was only in 2008 when Mandela was removed from the US terrorist list.
In fact, as reported by William Blum, it was the US Central Intelligence Agency tip about Mandela’s whereabouts and appearences that helped the security service of South African government arrest Mandela.

21 October

‘An Industry of Mediocrity’ & Change from Outside?

Teacher Development






By BILL KELLER, NYT, 20.10.2013 


“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach teaching.”  

This sounds like a scary aphorism, however, National Council on Teacher Quality described this summer teacher education in U.S. as “an industry of mediocrity.” Academic entrepreneurs, philanthropies like the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship  Foundation  are arising to compete with the public universities which have a full monopoly on ed schools. Once again, we are facing an old issue: when a (public) system is unable to reform itself from inside, then an  outsider will try to do the job.
As an example, the Harlem Village Academies charter schools started a graduate education school that will be integrated with her K-12 campuses in Harlem. It will join a young cottage industry of experimental teacher training.
There are 3.3 Mln. public school teachers in America, and they … can’t all be trained by start-ups. Of course, raising up the standards of the university programs should be an urgent priority.  As one of this article´s reader comments:

In spite of all the.. difficulties, there are many, many dedicated and skilled teachers. But as a society, we also have to accept that we need to pay teachers better wages to attract more talent. This is one of those cases where “the markets”, which economists are so fond of, will not help. This is purely a social and political decision, and ultimately, if we have poor teachers teaching our children, we have only ourselves to blame…

Will market be able to help or not, remains to be seen. But if one reason for the widespread mediocrity is recognized as a “cozy, lucrative monopoly” of universities, then competition will challenge this. It’s about time the leaders of our education schools did feel threatened.

 Read  the article in full:

30 September

The European Commission launches "Opening Up Education" to challenge the lack of digitalization of Education

OpenEd & OER


According to the European Commission’s data, education throughout the European Union is far from reaching the digital penetration which is needed to guarantee that students acquire the digital skills that are increasingly indispensable. The Commission states that by 2020, 90% of the jobs will require wide digital knowledge from job seekers. These skills need to be gained since a very early education stage and consolidated later on.

To face all these challenges, the European Commission launched the “Opening Up Education” project on September 25th. There are three objectives set:

  • To promote Innovation for organizations, teachers and students by granting support in developing new business and educational models and ensuring that open online resources are available.
  • Access to Open Education Resources (OER) in order to strengthen its centrality by ensuring that all educational materials supported by Erasmus + program are available under open licenses; encouraging partnerships between content to increase the supply of OER; and launching the Open Education Europa portal, which will be introduced below.
  • Fostering Connectivity and Innovation by promoting research on cutting-edge learning technologies, applications, services and resources.

Although there is public interest and even enthusiasm about such an initiative towards a digital revolution, it still has a long way to walk. Actually, no budget has been allocated yet to the project, except that it will be funded by the Erasmus + and Horizon 2020 programs. The Erasmus + program (2014-2020) has been set aside €19 billion, whereas the Horizon 2020 budget is still under consideration.

In the meanwhile, the Open Education Europa portal has been launched. There are many resources available to organizations, teachers and students such as Massive Open Online Courses and platforms to exchange good practices and experiences. So far, that might give just a taste of what is yet to come: the will to undertake the modernization and digitalization of education in the European Union.

For more information:

EC Staff Working Document

EC Press Release

EC Communication Opening Up Education

12 July

The Wert Law and the ‘Mcdonalization’ of Spanish -and Catalan- education

Education Worldwide

The law adopted by the Spanish Government, to take effect on 2014 – 2015 (known as Wert Law), has caused a heated public debate in Spain. We came across an essay of Ferran Ruiz Tarragó, chairing the Education Council of Catalonia, on this particular issue.

One point that Ferran rightly emphasizes is that the new law would substantially change the educational model of an entire country without a previous rigorous analysis and without the active participation of all agents involved in the educational system.

The goal of the law is not to guarantee a top-quality, social and democratic education system, which provides opportunities for all citizens, but to base the system in quantification, rankings and costs, without proposals for a new pedagogical models and/or new educational practices and without the will to improve personalization of education. It is hardly possible for students to become creative individuals with critical thinking when all that is expected from them is to follow straight academic careers and obtain scores based on strict standards, as Ferran Ruiz believes.

The law neglects the vision of educating citizens to simply produce students that get easily insertable into the labor market, regardless of their personal, social and personal motivations. Perhaps we should look at some positive aspects of the current education system, especially in the case of the Catalan schools, where, despite the existent problems, a successful model has been achieved, based in the integration of all communities and with a strong social function beyond following strict educational itineraries.

Read the article from Ferran Ruiz (in Catalan):

La llei Wert i la mcdonaldització de l’educació espanyola (26 June, 2013)

11 February

A Call for Drastic Changes in Educating New Lawyers

Education Worldwide

GavelThe legal system has always been the least flexible pilar of our society´s institutions;  the very nature of conservatism was supposed to secure order, stability and continuity. That’s why proposal made by the  Task Force on the Future of Legal Education of the  American Bar Association last week has come as a surprise for many:
licencing legal technicians, cutting the curriculum to 2 years, requirement for practical training for students – and, eventually, real-world experience for faculty, global exposure.

“There’s a time for incremental change and a time for bold change.
This is the time for bold change.”

- Paula Littlewood, a task force member and the executive director of the Washington State Bar Association

Read more:

Image by | SalFalko under CreativeCommons License By-NC 2.0


20 December

Federica Project at the IX International Seminar

Education Worldwide

Federica Project  a web learning platform from the Italian University of Naples Federico II, participated on November as a demo presentation  in our “IX International Seminar Transformative Changes in Education: System-wide Approach”. Rosanna de Rosa, its executive director, described Federica Project as a “mindful model for a lifestyle learning”.

Evelina Bruno, content manager of the Federica website has recently published a summary of her personal experience in the Seminar, both as demo presenter and participant:

Il convegno si è posto come obiettivo la discussione e il confronto interdisciplinare sui sistemi di apprendimento “estesi”, dal punto di vista geografico, sociale, culturale. In riferimento alla situazione geograficaAzra Naseem ha spiegato come l’e-learning riesca a standardizzare l’apprendimento all’interno della loro Università, che ha varie sedi nel mondo, e a renderlo semplice e fruibile per tutti. Per l’aspetto sociale, invece, il progetto relativo alle scuole low cost in Sudafrica, introdotte da James Tooley è stato esemplificativo: infatti, la rivoluzione dell’istruzione a basso costo presso le scuole private sta cambiando profondamente i processi educativi dei paesi in via di sviluppo.

Federica Project facilitates the access to students to content and they have nowadays and open courseware from 13 different faculties with about 5.000 lessons available.

You can read Evelina Bruno’s full post here.

* Post language is Italian but we kindly advise you to use browser translation tools at your convenience.


13 December

Florida Leads International Student Literacy Test

Education Worldwide

The U.S. National Center for Education Statistics has released results of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), where Florida State outperformed the rest of the 52 education systems participating, becoming this way the world leader.

In this PIRLS, reading skills of fourth graders are compared with their peers around the world. Florida participated as a separate education system than the U.S. one. Just 4 other education systems were not measurably different and the remaining 48 scored lower. The world average was 500 and Florida had an average of 569.

© Foundation For Excellence in Education

Jeb Bush, who was governor of Florida from 1999-2007 and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education declared: “Reading is the gateway to learning. We cannot rest until every child has gained the power that comes through reading. If Florida can do it, every state can and must”.

Read more.


06 November

"Maybe it's a good thing education has not been an issue in this election", Gene Carter. via @CNNSchools

Education Worldwide


While the whole world is closely following up the election of the 45th president of USA, American educators and parents keep their eyes on two states: Georgia and Washington which vote today on the issue of charter schools, and consequently, the public education in the state.

The parents are undecided and often lost, and no wonder: according to the Stanford CREDO study , only  “17% of charter schools provide superior education opportunities for their students”,  while about half of them do not perform anyway differently from public schools, and the rest fared worse. One more report, “Informing the Debate” study from the Boston Foundation, found “large positive effects for Charter Schools at both the middle and high school levels”.

So, the jury is still out. But state educational agencies, the unions and, first of all, big donors do know what to support.

Read more

Related links:


15 October

The teenager who wanted to go to school

Education Worldwide

© The New York Times

© Photo in The Telegraph by AFP/Getty Images

Updated on October 18th – Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old who was shot in the head by Taliban militants, was described to be “responding well to her care”, according to a hospital’s spokesman. The girl was flown on monday to a UK hospital specialized on treating people wounded in war. Doctors are planning reconstructive operations and they say she faces long-term rehabilitation. Thousands of well-wishers from all over the world are sending their support and prayers for Malala. The hospital’s charity has also a fund where donations can be made for her treatment.

Malala was targeted by the Taliban back in 2009, when she became a national hero after writing an anonymous blog where she condemned the ban on education rights for girls in her area, the Swat Valley. After the Taliban where out of her region she became internationally recognized for her fight. Malala’s family had already received numerous threats and continues to. “We wouldn’t leave our country if my daughter survives or not. We have an ideology that advocates peace. The Taliban cannot stop all independent voices through the force of bullets”, has declared Mr. Yousafzai in Rawalpindi, where her daughter was being treated until now.

The recent attack has horrified and dismayed Pakistan. Numerous human right groups, politicians and citizens have publicly condemned and demonstrated against this brutal attack. Girls in Mingora, Malala’s hometown, have declared that “bullets will not stop them attending school”. Authorities have offered a reward of 85.000 euros to capture the gunmen.

The Pakistan’s Military Chief of Army Staff, Ashfaq Kayani, has also showed his condemnation to the attack: “The cowards who attacked Malala and her fellow students have shown time and again how little regard they have for human life and how low they can fall in their cruel ambition to impose their twisted ideology”.

Related media links:

Malala has been flown to UK for further medical care - video

Malala back in 2009 in the Swat Valley (Pakistan) - video

“We are all Malala”

Life goes on in Mingora

Other links of interest:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights


30 January

10 Inspiring Education TED TALKS

Education Worldwide