#China, #ChinaSchool, #ChineseEducation, #XiJinping
Beijing/IBNS: China’s crackdown on for-profit education gained steam in the current month as authorities push to make private elementary and middle schools public under a banner of promoting "fairness" in education, according to Nikkei Asia newspaper.
Image credit: China pushes private schools to turn public in ‘fairness’ lesson: Media report
The world's largest financial newspaper from Japan reported the rise of the private sector in education has caused costs to soar, with parents spending tens of thousands of dollars a year to get the best education for their child, and this has made many young couples think twice about starting a family.
The Jinping government looks to nationalize private schools and regulate fees for after-school tutoring and test-prep companies – so-called cram schools – to correct disparities and to promote births, but the trade-off could be the loss of quality education due to lack of state funding, reports Nikkei Asia.
More than 16 million students attended private elementary and middle schools last year, and the number includes close to 15 percent of all middle school students and nine percent of all elementary students, the Japanese newspaper reported.
According to a report by Nikkei Asia, earlier this month, the education officials for the inland province of Shaanxi told journalists that they will encourage operators of private schools providing compulsory education to transfer their assets to local governments and convert to public schools.
The clampdown on private schools trace back to directives sent in May by the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council, reported Nikkei Asia adding that "barring exceptions, no new private school will be permitted to open."
Some private schools serve migrant workers who cannot enrol their children into area public schools because the families are not entered into home registries, and these private schools will continue to operate, but local governments will manage budgets, the newspaper reported citing local media reports.
The Japanese media outlet reported there are private schools in China jointly operated by public schools and enterprises.
The central government in China has told local authorities to convert the majority of these schools into fully public schools by mid-2023, reports Nikkei Asia.
The May notice cast a critical eye on excessive education fees as in Beijing, some private elementary and middle schools can cost over ¥200,000 ($1765) a year, while the government is mandating that private elementary and middle schools be nonprofit, according to Nikkei Asia newspaper.
Elementary and middle schools have been required to teach “Xi Jinping Thought”, the Chinese president’s political ideology, since the September school term, and the conversion of private schools into public schools suggests that the Communist government seeks friendlier venues to consolidate loyalty and control, the Japanese financial newspaper reported.
#CanadaEducation; #SubstituteTeacherShortage; #Covid19Pandemic; #RetiredTeachers
Toronto/Canadian-Media: The persisting shortage of teachers in Canadian schools has become worse due to Covid-19 pandemic pressure on school systems causing education experts to search for both short-term solutions as well as longer-lasting efforts to fill the gap.
Image credit: www.teacher.com
Having learned how being short-staffed for school support roles can directly affect operations, Canada's largest school district board Toronto District School Board (TDSB) announced its decision this week to grant approximately 290 unvaccinated staffers a temporary exemption from its COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
Areas with most pronounced teachers shortage rely on hiring uncertified supply teachers and some areas in B.C. are employing uncertified staffers in classrooms not just on a day-by-day basis, but all year long, CBC news reported.
Many retired teachers who had been active in the past to fill the gap, have declined to help due to fear of Covid-19.
#UNESCO; #AI; #Science; #Education; #Culture; #AssistiveTechnology
New York/Canadian-Media: All the Member states of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted on Thursday a historic agreement that defines the common values and principles needed to ensure the healthy development of AI.
Image credit: Unsplash/Possessed Photography
Artificial intelligence is present in everyday life, from booking flights and applying for loans to steering driverless cars. It is also used in specialized fields such as cancer screening or to help create inclusive environments for the disabled.
According to UNESCO, AI is also supporting the decision-making of governments and the private sector, as well as helping combat global problems such as climate change and world hunger.
However, the agency warns that the technology ‘is bringing unprecedented challenges’.
“We see increased gender and ethnic bias, significant threats to privacy, dignity and agency, dangers of mass surveillance, and increased use of unreliable Articificial Intellegence technologies in law enforcement, to name a few. Until now, there were no universal standards to provide an answer to these issues”, UNESCO explained in a statement.
Considering this, the adopted text aims to guide the construction of the necessary legal infrastructure to ensure the ethical development of this technology.
“The world needs rules for artificial intelligence to benefit humanity. The Recommendation on the ethics of AI is a major answer. It sets the first global normative framework while giving States the responsibility to apply it at their level. UNESCO will support its 193 Member states in its implementation and ask them to report regularly on their progress and practices”, said UNESCO chief Audrey.
AI as a positive contribution to humanity
The text aims to highlight the advantages of AI, while reducing the risks it also entails. According to the agency, it provides a guide to ensure that digital transformations promote human rights and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, addressing issues around transparency, accountability and privacy, with action-oriented policy chapters on data governance, education, culture, labour, healthcare and the economy.
One of its main calls is to protect data, going beyond what tech firms and governments are doing to guarantee individuals more protection by ensuring transparency, agency and control over their personal data. The Recommendation also explicitly bans the use of AI systems for social scoring and mass surveillance.
The text also emphasizes that AI actors should favor data, energy and resource-efficient methods that will help ensure that AI becomes a more prominent tool in the fight against climate change and in tackling environmental issues.
“Decisions impacting millions of people should be fair, transparent and contestable. These new technologies must help us address the major challenges in our world today, such as increased inequalities and the environmental crisis, and not deepening them.” said Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for Social and Human Sciences.
#UNESCO; #EiffelTower; #GlobalEducationMeeting
New York/Canadian-Media: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) logo illuminating against the Eiffel Tower on Friday commemorated the agency’s 75th anniversary.
Image credit: © UNESCO/Christelle Alix
But not far from the World Heritage Site monument in France, more than 20 Heads of State participated in a special ceremony to mark the occasion at the agency’s headquarters where artists Forest Whitaker, Renaud Capuçon, Angelique Kidjo, Aryana Sayeed, Farrah el Dibany, the group Joussour, Ray Lema and Laurent de Wilde, also joined the festivities.
Critical role In a message shown during the event, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres noted that “UNESCO was born as a pillar of the United Nations system, in the wake of one of the darkest chapters in human history”.
“For more than 75 years, UNESCO has promoted dialogue and mutual understanding. World Heritage sites, Biosphere Reserves…emerged at UNESCO”, he said.
During a time of great inequalities, environmental crises, polarization and a global pandemic, the UN chief upheld that UNESCO’s role is “more critical than ever...to restore trust and solidarity...greater access to education for all, [to] promote cultural diversity, and steer technological progress for the greater good”.
Future Working with a diverse set of partners, Mr. Guterres said, UNESCO is forging a new social contract for education and lifelong learning.
The agency is also developing new tools to combat hate speech and misinformation while launching flagship initiatives in Iraq and Lebanon, using education and heritage to heal and rebuild.
For the Secretary-General, each of these efforts “speak to UNESCO’s importance at the centre of a more networked, inclusive and effective multilateralism, that delivers tangible benefits for people across the world”.
New decisions UNESCO’s General Conference, underway in Paris until 24 November, is also marking the anniversary.
During the event, the 193 Member States are poised to take landmark decisions, including adopting global recommendations on the ethics of artificial intelligence and another on open science.
Earlier this week, during the event, UNESCO hosted a Global Education Meeting and published the Futures of Education Report.
An adventure A new exhibition, that can be seen online or at the agency’s headquarters, tells the story of UNESCO’s endeavours to understand, preserve and convey the best of humanity.
According to a note on the agency’s website, the UN cultural agency was born in the aftermath of two world wars out of the conviction that political and economic arrangements between States are not enough to build lasting peace.
“Reconciliation and development require stronger foundations, deeply rooted in societal interactions, and built upon intellectual and moral solidarity”, the agency explains.
The exhibition includes images of “often titanic projects”, such as the rescue and displacement, block by block, of the great temples of ancient Egypt, but also documentation on scientific projects about early tsunami warning systems and shared methods for studying soils, aquifers and the oceans.
There are also images illuminating exploration missions along the Silk Roads, in addition to campaigns that collect and preserve knowledge, traditions, music and the world’s memory.
“[They] all portray the aspiration to weave stronger links between people for the exchange and circulation of knowledge for centuries to come, in the hope that full consciousness of our affiliation will dispel forever the spectre of war”, according to the agency.
#Washington; #LibraryOfCongressLawLibrary; #HistoricalCongressionalLegislation
Washington/Canadian-Media: Users of Library of Congress (LoC) Law Library were facilitated by last month’s Congress.gov release to search for historical congressional legislation, or more recent legislation by grouping together those options through the use of checkboxes on the legislative quick search form and the advanced legislation search form, LoC reports said.
Image credit: Twitter handle
In its latest release, LoC introduces a similar enhancement in the form of a Legislation Date Range filter on legislation search result pages that will allow you to narrow your results to recent or historical legislation.
The full list of the enhancements for this release is available below.
Click “add to calendar” on a Committee Meeting Detail page to add a committee meeting to your personal calendar. Image credit: LoC
Enhancement – Committee Schedule – Add to My Calendar
Updated United States Congressional Web Archive includes member websites from the House of Representatives and Senate, as well as House and Senate Committee websites.
These are the most-viewed bills for the week of October 31, 2021:
1.H.R.3684 [117th]Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
2.H.R.5376 [117th]Build Back Better Act
3.H.Res.57 [117th]Impeaching Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States, for abuse of power by enabling bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.
4.H.R.1319 [117th]American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
5.H.R.4350 [117th]National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022
6.H.R.2377 [117th]Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2021
7.H.R.3755 [117th]Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021
8.H.R.1996 [117th]SAFE Banking Act of 2021
9.H.R.133 [116th]Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021
10.H.R.2119 [117th]Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021
#NewYork, #Diwali, #NYPD, #WorldTradeCentre
New York/IBNS: The World Trade Centre in New York city was lit up by Diwali animated lights for the first time, surely touching Indians and people of the diaspora all across the world.
The animation on the building went live on Nov 2 at 6 pm and it continued till Thursday when Diwali was celebrated by the Hindu community across the globe.
New Jersey-based non-profit South Asian Engagement Foundation hosted the All-American Diwali experience.
It was dedicated to the first responders of the country.
The NYPD conducted a ceremonial Colour Guard with One World Trade Center standing at the backdrop.
NYPD Desi tweeted: "Happy #Diwali #Festivaloflights to our #Hindu, #Jain, #Buddhist, and #Sikh brothers and sisters."
Diwali in New York. Image credit: Image: One World Trade Twitter page video grab
"May your lives be filled with happiness and prosperity always," the tweet further said.
#Britain, #Diwali, #RoyalMint, #DiwaliCommemorativeCoin, #Diwali,
London/IBNS: UK on Thursday unveiled a new commemorative coin on Diwali, celebrating the life and legacy of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.
Rishi Sunak. Image credit: Twitter handle
The special coin launched in silver and gold features the image of India's national flower lotus and one of Gandhi's most famous quotes: "My life is my message."
It is part of the Royal Mint’s wider Diwali collection, including the UK’s first gold bar depicting an image of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, the UK government said in a statement.
The commemorative coin has been launched to coincide with Diwali and in the 75th year of India’s Independence, it added.
Rishi Sunak, Britain's finance minister, called it a "fitting tribute to an influential leader who inspired millions of people around the world".
The £5 coin, which is on sale from Thursday, is part of the Royal Mint’s wider Diwali collection, which includes 1g and 5g gold bars in henna-style packaging, and the UK’s first gold bar depicting Lakshmi – the Hindu goddess of wealth.
Hindus make up nearly 1.6 percent of Britain's population and are the third-largest community after Christians and Muslims. Most Hindus in Britain are of Indian origin.
Nicola Howell, Chief Customer Officer at the government-owned mint, said it was "delighted to unveil the first official UK coin commemorating the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi.
Last year, Sunak commissioned the new “Diversity Built Britain” 50p coin following discussion with the ‘We Too Built Britain’ campaign, which works for fair representation of minority communities’ contributions across all walks of life.
Around 10 million of the coins, which recognise and celebrate Britain’s diverse history, went into circulation in October 2020.
#Washington; #LibraryOfCongress; #NationalBookFestival; #QRCodes; #Authors; #Poets; #ClassroomResources; #Students; #Teachers
Washington/Canadian-media: Resources from the Library of Congress (LoC)'s National Book Festival's videos offer great opportunities for students to hear from authors and poets with whom they may be familiar as well as new authors and poets, LoC news reports said.
Library of Congress. Image credit: Twitter handle
Recordings from the 2021 National Book Festival and from past Festivals facilitate students to watch poets and writers reading and discussing their work.
The videos for 2021 can be sorted by genre, including “Children” and “Teens.”
A search of the Library of Congress' online collections of film and videos, limited to videos from the National Book Festival, currently returns nearly 2,000 Festival videos dating back to 2001.
2021 National Book Festival. Image credit: Lib of Congress
The left-hand sidebar of these results can be refined with many options including narrowing by date, subject, and author.
Further conducting a keyword or phrase search on an author’s name using the search box at the top of the Library’s film and video collections home page would include any videos featuring the author, not just those from the National Book Festival.
The videos can be watched in a class after reading one or more poems by the writer to offer students an opportunity to listen to the writer speak about their work.
The students can be taught to create an online bulletin board facilitating them to share links to one or more authors they discovered.
Display of the works of poets and writers whose videos are available from the Library of Congress can be linked to the videos by creating QR codes.
#Washington; #LoC; #EmbroideringGeographicalMaps; AmericanandBritishSchoolGirls
Washington/Canadian-Media: A map of England and Wales, collected from the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress (LoC) and carefully preserved by the staff of the LoC Preservation Directorate was embroidered by Sophia Mason in the year 1802, with her name stitched at the bottom of the map; the year 1802 is printed beneath her name, LoC reports said.
Sofia Mason. A map of England & Wales. 1802. Geography and Map Division.
From the 18th to the early 19th century, needlework was considered an important part of the curriculum for girls but the use of map needlework for geographical education started to decline during the 1820s. American and British school girls received their geographical education by embroidering maps on pieces of cloth. Girls were educated either at home or sent to boarding schools or dame schools headed by single women.
Extensive research on antique map samplers was conducted on Dr. Judith A. Tyner, a cartographer and historian, and the author of the book "Stitching the World: Embroidered Maps and Women’s Geographical Education." Very little information was available about the use of map samplers to educate young women in geography before her book was published.
Research on embroidered maps was overlooked, according to Tyner because cartographic historians did not consider them to be true maps, some even considered them as cartifacts, an object with a map on it that is used primarily for decorative purposes. But Tyner thought them to be true maps noting the accurate placement of the counties and bodies of water on the detailed sampler. She also thought that map embroidery must have been a very effective method for learning geography.
Detail from A map of England and Wales.
Detail from A map of England and Wales.
The young mapmakers who stitched them will always remain anonymous. Many existing map samplers, being in a state of deterioration were discarded because of their condition. All map samplers that were embroidered during the 18th and 19th centuries are cultural artifacts that should be preserved. We are fortunate to have this map sampler in the Library’s collections as embroidered maps are an important part of cartographic history.
#Washington; #LibraryOfCongress; #WaltWhitman
Washington/Canadian-Media: Library of Congress (LoC)'s By the People launched May 26 a new project Whitman campaign in honor of Walt Whitman’s May birthday, focusing on the diaries and notebooks in the Manuscript Division’s Charles E. Feinberg Collection of Walt Whitman Papers, LoC reported.
Library of Congress. Image credit: Twitter handle
Walt Whitman. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
By the People is an online transcription platform where anyone with an internet connection can transcribe documents from Library of Congress digitized collections. Everyone is welcome to contribute to this crowdsourcing project including members of the public, non-specialists and specialists alike, to help make data more usable and discoverable.
A journalist, essayist, autobiographical and freelance writer, critic, and poet, Whitman carried small and often hand-made notebooks with him most places he went to note everything under the sun, and made them into creative assemblages of his thoughts, observations, and miscellany.
Containing names and places, the notebooks provide evidence of Whitman’s thoughts on politics and politicians, the natural sciences and the organic composition of the soil beneath our feet, and the nature of time, death, and eternity.
“The Insects.” Idea of a poem. Whitman notebook of government, nature, trial lines and self-advice, c. 1855-56. Feinberg-Whitman Papers, Manuscript Division.
Whitman wrote in his notebooks about what His observations while on the streets of Washington during the Civil War were transcribed to his notebooks including the hotels, recently enslaved persons classified in property terms as “contraband” walking up wartime Fourteenth Street, Union soldiers waiting for their pay.
Besides compassionately describing the severity of the conditions of the patients he met while volunteering in Civil War hospital wards, he also sketched scenarios of the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the haze of camp fires during his visit to the Union army encampments at Culpeper, of the sun setting behind the U.S. Capitol, and political opinions formed after witnessing proceedings while sitting in the gallery of Congress.
Combined with resources from the Whitman-Harned collections with two hospital notebooks containing information translated into Whitman’s journalism and poems about the Civil War were, they form a basis of Whitman’s published memoirs about Washington in the war period. The Whitman campaign materials in By the People relate closely to other campaigns of collection items about the Civil War.
Description of Union army camp at Culpeper, VA, Feb. 1864. Whitman hospital notebook 12, Washington, D.C., c. 1863. Whitman-Feinberg Papers, Manuscript Division. Image credit: LoC
Description of Capitol Hill at sunset, Feb. 1863. Whitman diary, 1863. Whitman-Feinberg Papers, Manuscript Division.
Especially for the literary minded, these notebooks reveal Whitman as a wordsmith who was perpetually working at and ruminating upon his writing and demonstrate the creative behind-the-scenes work of the writer’s craft.
Many concepts on which Whitman worked later appeared in published form in Leaves of Grass or in his many prose writings. He jotted down ideas he had for his freelance writing. He compiled figures of speech, turns of phrase, and words and slang he heard spoken or that he had encountered when reading from a variety of sources. Always working toward utilizing a newer American vernacular in poetry and songs, he evoked philosophies and defined for himself the meanings of words like “microcosm” (“the great whole world”). He imagined a new form of opera that would incorporate American folk song, dialects, and idioms of speech—a concept that would later be manifested in productions like Porgy and Bess, the poems of Sterling A. Brown, or the plays of August Wilson.
Focusing upon philosophies of writing and of life, he records titles of books and the authors he’s reading. he had thoughts about writing a poem about libraries, poems about American names, letter writing, occupations, artists, singers, musicians, tools found in hardware stores or used in trades, tears, insects and plant life, Indigenous peoples, and the various states.
He examines the mandate for equality in light of the perpetual hierarchies created by humankind and figured liberty as something still in the process of being realized. He champions the felon, the prostitute, enslaved people, and those who are dying. While thinking about the nature of personality, of introverts and extroverts, magnetism and ego, he writes of infusing the spirit of joy into poems.
Trial lines and concepts that we see Whitman working on in the notebooks became distilled in such poems as “Song of Myself,” “I Sing the Body Electric,” “Proto-Leaf,” “Starting from Paumanok,” “Song of Occupations,” “the Sleepers,” “Song of the Broad-Axe,” “To the States,” and “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.”
We ultimately see in the notebooks Whitman achieving what poet Alberto Ríos has called a “rugged pluralism.” That is poetry freed of the parlor and brought out into the neighborhoods and the streets, enlivening and honoring what is witnessed, and dealing and struggling, sometime imperfectly, with major questions. The notebooks show poetry as a live and dynamic and changing thing. In the notebook pages we find seeds of influence and work that have since Whitman’s time continued to grow and expand and entwine more communities in ever more diverse languages and voices. This is happening as writers of increasingly polyglot identities take up the mantle of poetry writing today, and as students in classrooms, and those who are penning their own thoughts and trial lines as they walk down the streets of their city, join poetry slams, and see all around them the poetic, as Whitman did, in animal, vegetable, mineral, Earth, and in the faces of strangers and those passing by.
The By the People crowdsourcing transcription process provides volunteers a chance to engage closely with Whitman as he was in effect thinking aloud on the notebook pages and recording information he could turn back to or rework later. They will find that many themes remain evergreen. Whitman writes about caste, and of social hierarchies, and the immorality of slavery and its lasting influence on the body politic.