Education Secretary Eddie Ng has rejected criticism that an increase in schools joining the Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) is reducing education choices for poorer students. DSS provides government subsidies to private primary and secondary schools and allows those schools to set their own curriculum, fees and entrance requirements. Critics claim the allocation of public funds to private schools, which then charge increasingly higher fees to students, unfairly draws money away from government funded public schools and leaves them at a disadvantage. Secretary Ng claims that less than 10 percent of schools in Hong Kong have joined the scheme, and that the ministry will closely monitor the policy. Still, parents from working-class families worry that if schools choose to join DDS they will no longer open their doors to students from poorer families. Read more at The Hong Kong Standard.
Image Credit: Asia Society
2. CEDEFOP Hosts VET Conference on Skills Mismatch
On Wednesday and Thursday, June 12-13th, CEDEFOP brought together policy-makers from the European Union, Business Europe, the ETUC, UNESCO, Germany, Greece and Ireland to discuss the mismatch between skills people have and those the labor market requires. Topics debated include how vocational education and training can be improved by information on labor market needs; how various forms of apprenticeship can address youth unemployment; and how peer learning and alliances can help develop work based learning. Video of the conference, which was made available as a webinar, will be posted on the CEDEFOP website soon. Visit CEDEFOP’s event page for more information and to view the full agenda for the conference.
The New York Times reports on the proliferation of tablets in primary schools in the Netherlands, highlighting a new teaching model developed by a foundation called O4NT, which is a Dutch acronym for “Education for a New Era.” Students involved in O4NT are granted unlimited access to iPads, which they can take home and time spent on educational apps will count as school time. The initiative aims to change the way schools work by rethinking how class hours and academic years are scheduled and structured. O4NT creators believe that a more flexible system is needed in order to alleviate pressure on working parents. They propose having brick and mortar buildings open from 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM for 50 weeks a year. The additional hours are not for formal schooling but for additional childcare and will allow for more vacation-time options. If a family decides to travel for two months then children can complete their schoolwork remotely or make up missed classes during the summer. Read more about the initiative here.
Photo Credit: New York Times
4. Shrinking Employment Rates for Chinese College Graduates
The 2013 employment rates for Chinese college graduates are far lower than last year, according to a new report from Chinese education consulting firm MyCOS. The study found that by early April of this year, only one out of three graduates with bachelor degrees had landed jobs compared to the an employment rate of almost 50 percent of students in April 2012. For master’s degree graduates, the prospects are even gloomier with only one out of four graduates being recruited by early April. Vocational school graduates however are having less trouble moving into the labor market. Watch the full story from China Daily here.