"All men are brothers." The sentence came back to me here in the middle of a dinner hosted by the Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange for about 100 Fulbright U.S. English Teaching Assistants soon heading home. The words are from a novel published in China in 1589, Tale of the Water Margin, about what one learns through struggles in a world almost constantly at war. The sentence was later used by Gandhi as part of the title for his book of autobiographical reflections on how many people with many differences could live together if they thought about the aspirations that bound them together.
A recent episode of NPR’s popular broadcast Morning Edition, deplored the fact that 5.8 million young Americans are neither in school nor work. What’s more, according to the show, in some parts of the United States, “the unemployment rate among 16 to 24 year-olds is more than twice the national unemployment rate, which is currently 6.3 percent.” However, youth unemployment is not only a U.S. problem.
Htoo Htoo Wah is the head of the English Department at the Myanmar Institute of Theology, a leading Christian higher education institution in Myanmar. After spending four intense weeks as a visiting scholar at Northern Arizona University, he had a moment to reflect on his experience of U.S. higher education.
Trinidad and Tobago is a Caribbean nation of contrasts. A thriving oil industry and recent investments in natural gas production ensure that the twin island nation doesn't depend on sun, sand, and sea tourism to maintain its status as a developed nation. Yet, despite great wealth, significant poverty exists, with recent reports revealing that more than 20 percent of the population is living below the poverty line.
We stand now at approximately 500 days from the initial target date for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals set in 1990. These goals represent the most ambitious shared aspirations of humanity the modern world ever assembled. As we take measure now of the successes and shortfalls of this global effort, redouble our efforts for real, sustained progress in these final 500 days, and establish the framework for beyond 2015, I am inspired by what has been achieved and worried about what comes next.
With the Millennium Development Goals nearing their deadline, the development sector has been rife with speculation about what the post-2015 development agenda will look like and what role, if any, higher education should play in this future outlook. So it is only appropriate that the United Nations is asking whether Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)—with their focus on offering tertiary-level courses for mass consumption—are a panacea for increasing access to tertiary education in the developing world, or whether they will instead widen the gap between those with access to higher education and those without.
Doing our best to ignore the rumbling of military tanks outside a Beirut classroom, we listened as a group of Syrian university students shared with us how they had fled their homes and studies in Syria and were struggling to continue their education in Lebanon.
The IIE Addis Ababa office held an award ceremony at Fitawrari and Addis Ketema schools to celebrate the final selection of the Higher Education Readiness (HER) recipients. The 100 girls had successfully completed this past spring’s tutoring sessions, attended and did well in the summer enrichment activities including English language training and leadership and life skills development, and scored well enough on the Ethiopian National Exam to proceed directly to the 11th grade academic track. Congratulations to all of the HER recipients! We are very proud of you and look forward to working with you over the coming two years.
Monday, May 6, 2013
The Institute of International Education (IIE) supports open, ongoing and inclusive discussion of the post-2015 global development agenda and upholds the vision of the UN Global Consultation on Education that “equitable quality lifelong education and learning for all” should be central to the post-2015 goals.
A scholar from Afghanistan who is on the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) fellowship sent the Institute the following piece about education in his country. For the last 60 years, it has been a see-saw ride for higher education in Afghanistan. However, the data proves that the news is not all bad. In fact, educational opportunities have increased, especially for girls and women.