Category Archives: Multilingual Education

Is higher education overrated?

Due to the excessive globalization, technology development and increased world economy integration the times when education was a privilege of rich and powerful people are left behind. In 1960s tertiary education was ‘a preserve of the elite’ in many countries worldwide and constituted only 10 percent of the relevant age group which were enrolled in the universities in the ‘developed’ countries and just a few percent in ‘developing’ ones (Altbach, 2015, p. 6). Currently, the enrollment rates for higher education are almost 80 percent and this number is only growing as education is becoming more and more accessible to the general public. However, with admitting the irrefutable and invaluable benefits and contribution of higher education into the development and prosperity of the humankind, in this blog I will try to state that in some cases higher education is overrated.

Firstly, the massification of higher education has led to the emergence of global knowledge economy and has turned it into a major enterprise. The growth of private colleges and universities, the lack of control and management, the difficulties with assessment of quality and the overall deterioration of quality of higher education are just few outcomes of massification mentioned by Altbach (2015). So some universities fail to provide a good, not saying high, quality education as they are viewed as an industry for making money.  Additionally, the ideology that the university degree is a ‘must have’ of every individual of the 21st century might be artificially compelled by states as it is evident that education is one of the biggest catalysts of economic development. For example, the income gained by attracting international students is 100 billion dollars for various stakeholders worldwide (Altbach, 2015).

Secondly, some jobs, even well-paid ones, do not require university degrees but particular skills that can be acquired by attending short-term courses. People are instilled that getting college degree opens the doors to professional and economic success in life. Indeed, a good quality education may help to find the place in the sun and to succeed in career, but in fact the university diploma does not always guarantee a workplace in the world with appallingly high rate of unemployment. Also, many graduates find jobs outside of their specialties, so they lose time and money on obtaining specialty that is not and might be never used.

In conclusion, I would like to say that not everyone must get higher education as people should find life occupations according to their talents and skills and if only the university study can help to acquire and hone these skills so it is worth to go to university.

Do you think that sometimes higher education is overrated?

Reference

Altbach, P. (2015). Perspectives on internationalizing higher education. International Higher Education, (27).

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Immersion programs tryout

cd364da377df6c4cbc5d59db1182e27dThere are many designs of immersion programs but among them, two-way immersion (TWI), Canadian immersion and European school are the most popular ones. The most popular means the most effective in suggested contexts. In the Kazakhstani context, we have good conditions for raising bilinguals as Kazakh and Russian are two dominant languages in the society and immersion programs would get support not only in the school environment but out of school as well.

What is the difference between these immersion programs? They vary according to the class structure and time of languages teaching. The main feature of two-way immersion program is the almost equal representation of native speakers of two languages within one classroom. In this case, students of different languages spend almost all day together, get instructions in these languages, and develop both their academic literacy and cross-cultural competence (Howard, Sugarman, & Christian, 2003). In this case, we control the number of languages speakers to get the right ratio.

Time of languages teaching is also represented by two configurations. According to De Jong (2011), immersion programs vary according to the time when the second language is added (early or late immersion), and the quantity of time for each language within a school program (full or partial immersion). TWI program refers to 50:50 model of additive bilingualism. The proportion describes the amount of time given for each of languages of instruction within the studying process. Another model, 90:10 refers to Canadian immersion program, where 90% of instruction in K-1 is in the second language with gradual decrease throughout their studying year by year.

European school model implies not only the development of the bilingual and bicultural individual but also is aimed at the formation of the European identity. It can be demonstrated on the example of Luxemburgish education. The primary education is provided in Luxembourgish, after that during four years such languages as German, French and one foreign language are introduced first as subjects and then as languages of instruction.

Consequently, an additive bilingual model can be of different types depending on the amount of time distributed for each language in a classroom and the goal a particular school is trying to achieve. Taking into consideration language situation in Kazakhstan, it is interesting why the potential of two-way immersion programs with 50:50 languages distribution was not utilized. The main reason why this program could be successful is the human capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Russian and Kazakh languages prevail in all domains of the country. They are used on a daily basis. Especially in the central region, where the distribution of Russian and Kazakh speakers is relatively balanced the classroom organization with 50% of native Kazakh speakers and 50% of native Russian speakers would not make a problem. However, not only linguistic human capital is important, but also teacher’s training, appropriate funding, and curriculum overhaul. The school authorities could decide for themselves what type of bilingual model is more applicable to their case, what teaching resources they have and if there are enough materials for introducing this model. Last but not least, the approbation of the bilingual programs would give much experience and provide some solutions to a substantial amount of problems we are facing with the implementation of trilingual education.

References:

De Jong, E. J. (2011). Foundations for multilingualism in education: From principles to practice. Philadelphia, PA: Caslon Publishing.

Howard, E. R., Sugarman, J., Christian, D. (2003). Trends in two-way immersion education: A review of the research. Report 63. Baltimore: Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk.

Photo credit:

https://primeminister.kz/en/news/sotsialnaya_sfera/fotoreportazh-kak-v-stolitse-otmetili-mezhdunarodnii-den-zashchiti-detei-14689

Globalization and language education

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photo credit: https://theyogalunchbox.co.nz/how-do-i-open-my-third-eye/

How English became a global language? Which language is going to be next global language? How the dominance of language affect education? and other many thought-provoking questions were discussed in the “Globalization and language” course. The term globalization bothered me these two years since I frequently used phrases such as “in the globalized world”, “the global arena”, “in the globalization era”. I took the chance to understand and be aware of what the globalization means, identify its key features, define and apply its concepts and explore its relation to education. As our instructor said, “When you will go out from this room you will look at surrounding World through the global eye” (not word by word) (Sparks, 2017). I will be with you honest, I obtained the global look at what is going on all around the World and why the globalization is important not only for the countries but for individuals as well. Therefore this blog post reveals globalization from my perspectives.

In the discussion to follow, I will present my definition of globalization, drawing on the ideas of key authors writing on the topic. There is a significant consensus that globalization refers to the process of exchanging global ideas, recognizing and adsorbing other ideologies, perceptions, and beliefs addressing diversity in different domains of life (Block, 2010; Byram & Parmenter, 2012; Canagarajah, 2016). Examples of this include Block’s (2010) characteristics of globalization that it is the “ever-increasing interconnectedness of the world” (p. 300). In other words, globalization connects diverse people in the framework of similar policies in the economy, education and cultural relations for empowering the interconnectedness and interdependence. Although there are various interpretations of globalization, in this blog post, I am using the term to mean shifts in education policies that shape new ideologies.

Block (2010) describes globalization through Appadurai’s definition of “types of forces and flows” that calls 5-scapes (p. 291). They are ethnoscapes, technoscapes, financescapes, mediascapes, and ideoscapes which are ever-changing dimensions (Appadurai, 1990 as cited in Block, 2010). The author emphasizes the influences of migrants, asylum seekers, exiles, and tourists (ethnoscapes); fast intercultural communication through technology (technoscapes); financial and economic relations between countries (financescapes); TV, newspaper, magazines etc. (mediascapes) and flows of ideas about human rights, fear of terrorism, environmentalism etc. (ideoscapes) which build powerful “imagine ideologies” that depicts globalization. Block (2010) differentiates these dimensions and identifies that shifts of education policies refer to ideoscapes that conceptualizes particular domains in the education field.

My discussion will draw heavily on Byram and Parmenter’s (2012) understandings of globalization who emphasize how the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR) became the global education policy which influences changes in other multicultural countries. They assert Dale’s (2007) theory that “initiative for change comes from outside the state, and that the scope includes not just policy goals but also processes”, saying that while launching policies countries consider experiences and practices of other countries and stipulate building new processes of other lifestyles (as cited in Byram & Parmenter, 2012).  Thus, CEFR as the global education policy used by different countries to increase social cohesion and self-awareness in relation to human linguistic rights.

Based on authors’ key features of globalization mentioned above I am building the conceptual definition of globalization which can be defined as the process of intercultural communication, interchanging practices, ideologies and beliefs that stimulates effects on economic, political, cultural and individual changes.   Although definitions of globalization extend to abstract influences of globalization in every demand I am focusing on the relation of globalization to language education.

This definition of globalization and its relationship with education will help me in my analysis as I try to understand and explain how globalization shape identities through education policies which might be borrowed from other countries. Also, it is important to understand how I can create my own conceptual framework and apply in the discussion.

Reference

Block, D. (2010). Globalization and language teaching. The handbook of language and globalization, 287-304.

Byram, M., & Parmenter, L. (Eds.). (2012). The Common European Framework of Reference: The globalisation of language education policy (23). Multilingual matters.

 

Not ashamed to admit…

Being senior student in master program we discussed several times the topic of being researcher (What is the role of research in my world? ,Research: before and after, My favourite researcher and others). Thus, we have realized that even though we are not actual researcher now, we are on the way of learning of being a competent researcher. We past definite stages of learning to conduct research. First of all, we had to choose the topic. Remember, without any topic of interest in the field of education we went through all the topics, tried to find what seemed for us interesting and uploaded our outlines. Then, we began writing literature review part. I really lacked for the literature searching skills. So many articles were read and some of which became inappropriate to the aim of the research study. However, only finding or reading appropriate articles were not enough. To analyze the articles, to join sub topics under one general topic and give your own critical view throughout the review are another challenges that we are still facing and have to overcome. But now, the issue of gathering data will be discussed here. Yes-yes, it means we achieved the half of the way and now on the stage of data collection.  And this stage is not without its challenges.

In general, data collection means recruit participants of the study to get data from them. Of course, there are studies without involvement of human being, such as document analysis, but it is not my case. Thus, due to the fact that my participants are teachers, recruiting them required to go to schools and talk with the school principals and administration. I realized that not every school is looking forward to welcome me as a researcher. Frightening talks from previous cohort that some research sites even do not let researcher in to talk with principals made me afraid to go to the sites. But no way I scheduled a day and went to the school. So after waiting about 40 minutes for the principal, I even did not have the chance to tell about my research study. The principal invited me to his/her (cannot disclose the gender, ethics) office, and immediately refused me saying that many researchers conducted their research in this school, let there are other 90 schools to be researched too. The principal added that they do not have time to bother with me. Considering that I am pretty sociable person with good communicative skills I swallowed my tongue for such answer. I expected that the principals can refuse me in case if my research seems for them controversial or sensitive but not refusal without even listening to me. To be honest, this visit to school demotivated me a bit. I thought that perhaps conducting research is not mine and time to give up. See, only one school, only first refusal could make me to have second thoughts. But then, having had time to think, I built up enough courage to go to other schools and finally could receive desirable permissions.

As a freshman in research let me share some useful tips to overcome challenges on the research site:

  • Be ready to severe rejections
  • Don’t give up after the first rejection
  • Prepare all supportive papers such as abstracts, outlines to show your seriousness
  • Try to show your motivation and willingness to conduct research particularly in this site

May be it seems that it is weird to share my fail about data collection, but I believe that it is very essential to know such kind of stories for emerging researchers. Nothing is perfect, no one is perfect. Awareness of such stories will let you know that anything can happen and you should be ready for any obstacles.

If you have any stories, feel free to share.

 

 

 

Translanguaging as a way of enhancing learning

CUNY-NYSIEB

Language is more than just a way of delivering your thoughts. It has an impact on our culture and the way how we conceptualize the world around us. Thus, language is a social phenomenon. Therefore, it can be directly related to the history and development of the society. Society influences the development of the language. It also determines the future of the language whether it would expand or diminish. These days, there are some dominant languages, which are rapidly spreading and growing universally, while some minority languages are losing their positions dramatically. In the sense that language and culture are deep rooted, it is of paramount importance to protect and preserve minority languages as they establish cultural diversity and prevent the loss of cultural identity in this globalized world full of multicultural and multilingual societies. This multilingual shift in the 21st century has significantly influenced schooling systems of many countries; although the use of language diversity of their learners as a resource were neglected in most of those national schooling systems before. However, sociolinguistic realities of modern societies forced the educational systems to accept the multilingualism in education and its consequences (Garcia & Kano, 2014). The increase in international migration and erasure of boundaries in terms of globalization process have shifted the focus of schools from monolingual paradigm to multilingual paradigm (Kramsch, 2009). In this case, pedagogical practices and teaching approaches could not avoid this multilingual shift with its global involvement of various language teaching and learning concepts.

There are more chances to become successful in teaching if you know how your students learn. The learning process comprises ensuring learners with various techniques to analyze, synthesize and evaluate academic content. García (2009) states that even though there is a tremendous spread of bilingual education across the globe in the 21st century, how two or more languages cooperate and affect learning has still little comprehension of it. The reason for this might be that in many cases bilingual education programs set apart languages strictly, considering bilinguals as “two monolinguals in one” (Grosjean, 1989). However, quite recently academic society has questioned the rigorous separation of languages in classroom settings, giving an opportunity to reveal the concept of translanguaging.

The term of translanguaging has revealed itself just recently. This new term has roots in the field of bilingualism in general, and related to the area of bilingual education in particular. One of the main proponents of translanguaging, who explicitly promotes this term  Ofelia García with her colleagues Ricardo Otheguy and Wallis Reid (2015), defined translanguaging as “… the deployment of a speaker’s full linguistic repertoire without regard for watchful adherence to the socially and politically defined boundaries of named (and usually national and state) languages” (p.68). That is to say, in translanguaging the role of communication prevails rather than language itself. In some cases languages are taught with the focus on accuracy in particular language for the sake of passing the exams by learners. However, the cases when time is spent on exploring theories with contribution to the knowledge, when students are guided to make connections of ideas and assisting to make the voices of learners to be heard can be considered as the main goal of any teaching and learning process. And in this instance, it is about communicating, and this is where the whole language repertoire as a resource can be very essential.  In other words, translanguaging is when a bilingual individual retrieves various linguistic characteristics or different ways of what is depicted as independent languages, with an eye to maximize communication opportunities and possibilities (García, 2009, p.140). In order to be able to assess the knowledge of bilingual students and to understand what they can do with language, their ability to use specific forms of one language or another has to be separated from their ability to use language. Because only by using their whole language repertoire, bilingual students will be able to show what they know, and particularly what they can do with language.

In conclusion, the role of translanguaging in relation to multilingualism in general and bilingual education in particular is vital. Because it promotes the pedagogical practice that allows bilingual students to use their whole linguistically diverse repertoire in order to obtain and understand the full content of academic knowledge in the classroom.

So, how do you think how the concept of translanguaging can be adapted for the Kazakhstani context?

References:

García, O. (2009). Bilingual education in the 21st century: A global perspective. Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell/Wiley.

García, O. & Kano, N. (2014). Translanguaging as process and pedagogy: Developing the English writing of Japanese students in the U.S. In J. Conteh & G. Meier (Eds.), The multilingual turn in languages education: Benefits for individuals and societies. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Grosjean, F. (1989). Neurolinguists, beware! The bilingual is not two monolinguals in one person. Brain and Language, 36(1), 3–15.

Kramsch, C. (2009). The multilingual subject: What foreign language learners say about their experiences and why it matters. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Otheguy, R., García, O. & Reid, W. (2015). Clarifying translanguaging and deconstructing named languages: A perspective from linguistics. Applied Linguistics Review, 6(3), 281-307.

photo credits to: https://traue.commons.gc.cuny.edu/volume-iv-issue-1-fall-2015/translanguaging-practice-briefs-for-educators/

What do Empirical Studies say about CLIL?

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Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is a form of teaching that has gained a huge popularity across the international educational institutions.  This new model of bilingual education is premised on the instruction that employs a foreign or second language for teaching schools subjects and introducing the content (Quazizi, 2016). Over the last decade, there has been a substantial amount of research into CLIL in the world. Most of them were conducted in Europe, where CLIL takes its origin in 1990’s (Cinganotto, 2016). However, there is also a number of studies made in Mexico, Argentina, Russia, Taiwan, Kazakhstan and other countries. The empirical studies mostly focus on revealing the impact of CLIL on students’ academic performance as well as their language proficiency level. In this blog, I want to share the results of the studies to show you what they say about CLIL.

Lasagabaster and Sierra (2009) conducted a research with the aim to explore whether students taught through CLIL have more positive attitudes towards English than those studied in EFL class. 287 secondary students were enrolled in the study and given questionnaires. The results displayed that CLIL allows learners to keep a positive view of learning languages and makes the learning process much easier than in EFL classes. Moreover, the findings have indicated that in terms of increasing and maintaining students’ motivation towards learning a foreign language, CLIL is a very useful method. These results concur with the findings of Quazizi (2016), whose participants, involved in a CLIL programme, demonstrated not only increased English language proficiency with making no grammatical and lexicon errors, but also the motivation “to use new innovative techniques of learning such as “collective learning” displayed in practicing and adopting new forms of grammar namely “dialogical grammar” (Quazizi, 2016, p. 127).

Similar results were reported in the study by Asomoza (2015). It was conducted in Mexico and included 11 participants from CLIL class. The findings of this qualitative study revealed that CLIL was effective in providing a favourable environment for practicing language and using it in various contexts, enhancing students’ language proficiency and academic vocabulary, and increasing their TOEFL score in certain skills. Last but not least, Surmont et al. (2016) worked with two groups of the first year monolingual pupils of the secondary school in order to identify whether CLIL affect students’ academic achievement. The first group was taught mathematics through the CLIL method, whereas the second group received instruction in their native language. After data analysis, it was revealed that over time the first group achieved considerable progress and outperformed their peers from the second group. The CLIL group reported the development of their speaking, listening, writing and thinking abilities.

When discussing beneficial aspects of CLIL, however, I cannot fail to mention that not all the studies report significantly positive outcomes of the approach. For instance, Agustín-Llach (2015) conducted a longitudinal research study with two groups of students following them within a period of three years. The main goal of the study was to identify the development of students’ English lexical profile. 129 young EFL learners were divided into 2 groups, one received CLIL instruction, the second group was taught through a traditional instructional method. The results of this study revealed no significant difference between students of both groups in terms of developed lexicon and word frequency. The researchers, therefore, could not confirm their data with a growing advantage of CLIL, which in fact they had expected to have after such a long period of time.

To sum up, it can be seen that in general, the implementation of the CLIL approach showed positive outcomes except for a few studies. Most of them reported the improvement of students’ vocabulary and foreign language proficiency, the opportunity to use and practice the target language in different contexts, increased proper motivation and positive view of learning. No wonder why CLIL has been gaining a huge popularity over last years.

But what about Kazakhstan? Are there some studies on CLIL? What do they say?

 

Photo credit: https://www.fluentu.com/blog/educator/clil-method-of-teaching/

References:

Agustín-Llach, M.P. (2015). Age and type of instruction (CLIC vs. traditional EFL) in lexical development. International Journal of English Studies, 16(1), 75–96.

Asomoza, A. N. (2015). Students’ perceptions of the impact of CLIL in a Mexican BA program. PROFILE Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 17(2), 111-124. http://dx.doi.org/10.15446/profile.v17n2.47065.

Cinganotto, L. (2016). CLIL in Italy: A general overview. Latin American Journal of Content and Language Integrated Learning, 9(2), 374-400. doi:10.5294/laclil.2016.9.2.6

Lasagabaster, D., & Sierra, J.M. (2009). Language attitudes in CLIL and traditional EFL classes. International CLIL Research Journal, 1(2), 4-17.

Ouazizi K. (2016). The Effects of CLIL Education on the Subject Matter (Mathematics) and the Target Language (English). LACLIL, 9(1), 110-137. doi:10.5294/laclil.2016.9.1.5

Surmont, J., Struys, E., Van Den Noort, M., & Van De Craen, P. (2016). The effects of CLIL on mathematical content learning: A longitudinal study. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 6(2), 2319-337. doi: 10.14746/ssllt.2016.6.2.7

 

Latinising the Kazakh script: A necessary step to reclaim identity

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 15.45.15Latinisation of the Kazakh alphabet is well under way.  The President has signed the Law; a working version of the new script has been approved; and responsible state agencies have been appointed.  However, the reform continues to generate heated debates in the media, on social networks, and in the old-fashioned offline (kitchen) conversations.  This is no surprise, as the rationales for the policy that are often voiced by officials and the majority of experts are vague and superficial: for example, Latinisation will help students learn English (my knowledge of the Latin script did not help me learn German); Cyrillic has too many unnecessary letters (well, get rid of them—no need to change the whole set); the Latin script will promote the integration of Kazakhstan into the globalised information space (but unifying alphabets will not make Kazakh and English mutually intelligible).  They seem to avoid the real reasons for the reform, which are largely ideological, and thus fail to convince people in its necessity and garner genuine public support instead of the usual compliance with top-down initiatives.  But if we look back at the recent history of alphabets in Kazakhstan (Latinisation in the late 1920s and Russification that followed just over a decade later), we will see why it is essential that the Kazakh script be re-Latinised, or, more importantly de-Russified. Continue reading Latinising the Kazakh script: A necessary step to reclaim identity

Family language policy

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Photo credits to: http://ielts-academic.com/2013/01/13/ielts-speaking-practice-test-3/

A child’s linguistic repertoire largely hinges upon the parents’ attitudes towards different languages and their decision on what language should be spoken within the home domain, and what language should be learnt through formal education. This means that family language policies play a crucial role in raising a multilingual child. For instance, my current multilingual linguistic repertoire is largely the result of my family’s language policy and my parents’ language ideologies.

Curdt-Christiansen (2009) defines family language policy “as a deliberate attempt at practicing a particular language use pattern and particular literacy practices within home domains and among family members” (p. 352). According to Curdt-Christiansen (2009), family language policies are shaped by and are the reflection of language ideologies, or, in other words, the beliefs about the value and utility of different languages within a certain society. Drawing on a number of works, Curdt-Christiansen (2009) asserted that these ideologies, in turn, are heavily influenced by closely interrelated macro-level factors that constitute of political, economic, cultural and social factors, and micro-level factors such as parents’ expectations concerning their child’s future and parents’ own educational and linguistic experiences. He explicated that economic and social factors refer to the economic value of languages that provides access to social mobility, cultural factors represent the symbolic value of languages that links language with identity, and political factors refer to individuals’ language rights determined by state policies.

My family’s language policy and ideology were hugely determined by the political, economic, social and cultural factors mentioned above, and were also influenced by the language ideologies that Kazakhstan is trying to promote. Being born in China and later migrating to Kazakhstan at the age of six, I grew up being able to speak Chinese, Kazakh and Russian. Taking into account the increasing economic value of Chinese language, my parents tried to preserve my Chinese language skills by installing Chinese satellite TV at home and speaking Chinese to me from time to time. Curdt-Christiansen (2009) noted that family language ideologies may or may be in line with the state’s language policy. In my family’s case, the beliefs with regard the economic, cultural and social value of Kazakh, Russian and English were shaped under the impact of Kazakhstan’s language policy and ideology. For instance, recognizing the cultural and social value of Kazakh and Russian within Kazakhstani society, and the necessity of English in a global world, they made sure that I will acquire those languages through formal education. Thus, my language learning experience highlights the significant role of family language policy as well as state language policy in the development of individual multilingualism. However, as mentioned by Curdt-Christiansen (2009), family language policies may not always coincide with a state’s language policy. Moreover, having different views with regard to the value of learning certain languages, a child may resist the family language policy.  In this term, what was your language learning experience like? And to what degree it was shaped by your family’s language policy?

References

Curdt-Christiansen, X. L. (2009). Invisible and visible language planning: Ideological factors in the family language policy of Chinese immigrant families in Quebec. Language Policy, 8(4), 351–375. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-009-9146-7

 

 

Equal opportunities for all of the university admissions

Doesn’t the phrase “equal opportunities” sound so appealing especially for disadvantaged sectors of society? Meaning well, leading world universities offer equal opportunities for all students despite their backgrounds and sometimes “equality” can be opposed to “fairness” in university admissions. Providing equal opportunities for students does not guarantee that they will be fairly selected while dividing available places between students of different backgrounds to make sure the places are equally distributed can deprive students from better schools of opportunities. 

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A recent article on university admissions talks about the matter of “equal opportunities”  in Oxford and Cambridge universities in the UK. These universities are known to be one of the best universities in the world with the brightest students. Admission process and criteria are also way above other regular universities so not anyone can pass, and normally those who pass already have necessary credentials. Of course, universities who accept students from best schools may be criticised for being biased and discriminative against disadvantaged students. In order to have an equal proportion of students from different backgrounds, the universities start accepting students who more or less qualify to study to give hope to people that there is “fairness” in the society and all of us have “equal opportunities”. A business dictionary defines equal opportunities as “principle of non-discrimination which emphasizes that opportunities in education, employment, advancement, benefits and resource distribution, and other areas should be freely available to all citizens irrespective of their age, race, sex, religion, political association, ethnic origin, or any other individual or group characteristic unrelated to ability, performance, and qualification” (Ramsey, 2017). The emphasis here is at the word opportunities, it means that universities have to give a fair chance to all the application despite their backgrounds, both educational and financial, but when choosing the ones who truly deserve to study there all aspects except for skills should be put aside. The article states that in selecting applicants it is “better to look individually, to pool information about bright youngsters who have been attracted to (or encouraged towards) widening-access schemes (this by the way is a genuinely simple and great idea) and to spend time on individuals, rather than on algorithms” (Ramsey, 2017). It seems to be a good strategy, and though it is much work universities need capable students so they should not neglect any way to find jewels.

A good intention of universities to provide equal opportunities for all students is commendable, but the process of selection should be fair. Still, it is difficult to define what is “fair” to students who are not at fault for having fewer credentials than other more advantaged students. Taking away opportunities from students form better schools in order to give places to less advantaged students is not the best example of “fairness”. What do you think? How to make sure that students have equal opportunities and fair selection?

References

Ramsey, C. (2017, November 2). University admissions: ‘equal opportunity’ should not mean punishing pupils from good schools. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/11/02/university-admissions-equal-opportunity-should-not-mean-punishing/

Photo credit: https://thesaurus.plus/related/equal_opportunities/imbalance

 

The Humanities vs The Sciences

Картинки по запросу arts vs science

The sciences vs humanities debate may be as old as education itself, and there is a need to see the actual reasoning behind this. The Humanities have been depicted as lees important than hard sciences for a long time. A vivid example of this are the news in 2015 about Japanese government forcing higher education institutions to limit the provision of social sciences and humanities courses to “serve areas that better meet society’s needs” (Grove, 2015, p. 1).

Certain favouritism trends in the field of higher education are quite obvious, and tend to shift in order to accommodate the needs of the market. That was a move aimed at the improvement of an economic situation of Japan, which may be misplaced, but is clearly influenced by the capitalist society and its construction of values. Often these areas of education are the first ones to receive financial cutbacks and attacks of the government (Hendricks, 2017).

However, there is a different standpoint which emphasises the importance of the humanities education for a people who will be “able to function as democratic citizens in a pluralistic, modern, and globalized, society” (Hendricks, 2017, p. 1). While the author does not depict sciences as of any less importance, she argues for the importance of humanities and arts for the society.

This shows that the diversity of interests, which different people have calls for a wide variety approaches in education, as well as equal treatment for the various spheres with a critical analysis of why one may be valued over the other at a certain point of time. And in a fast-moving and dynamic world in which we live now, limiting education to one specialised sphere impairs the ability of humankind to develop and progress organically in many various areas of human activities.

Have you ever thought why are hard sciences valued more than arts and humanities?

 

References:

Grove, J. (2015). Social sciences and humanities faculties ‘to close’ in Japan after ministerial intervention. Retrieved December 03, 2017, from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/social-sciences-and-humanities-faculties-close-japan-after-ministerial-intervention

Hendricks, S. (2017). Need Another Use for a Liberal Arts Education? How about Learning to Be a Citizen? Retrieved December 03, 2017, from http://bigthink.com/scotty-hendricks/need-another-use-for-a-liberal-arts-education-how-about-learning-to-be-a-citizen

Picture credits:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/marketing-science-vs-art-get-over-kevin-luscombe