Monthly Archives : November 2014

Consul General Phillip A. Min interacting with students at the USIEF-IIE Education Fair in Chennai.


“As we observe International Education Week, Phillip A. Min, Consul General, U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, writes about the power of intellectual exchange.”

This morning over 100,000 Indian students will wake up in the United States and prepare for classes, research and study. Years ago, I too found myself in a classroom halfway around the world from my home.

As a graduate student at the University of Washington, I took time off to pursue language studies and conduct research in South Korea. I remember fondly the kindness and wisdom of my professors, the friends I made from Korea as well as many other countries, and the adventures we shared as I explored the land my maternal grandparents emigrated from eighty years earlier. The year I spent studying overseas helped mould me into the individual I am today. It taught me to be resilient and self-reliant, and exposed me to different cultures and points of view. It also gave me a greater appreciation for my own country, which influenced me to eventually become an American diplomat.

My experiences as an American student, and later a teacher, overseas shaped my view of the world and my place in it. Today, as we celebrate International Education Week (IEW), I am proud to be one of millions who have benefitted from international education and exchange. You can be one too.

U.S.-India partnership

Every day, the U.S.-India education partnership grows deeper through the efforts of our governments and academic institutions. The Fulbright-Nehru programme, administered by the U.S.-India Education Foundation, has nearly tripled in size since 2009, with approximately 300 Indian and U.S. students and scholars participating annually.

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“To engage people as active learners, sharing their ideas and discussing their different perspectives as they learn online.” 

An annual report by The Open University said the current key challenge for education specialists is to engage thousands of learners in productive discussions while learning in a collaborative, online environment.

The report, Innovating Pedagogy 2014, is the third annual report concerning technological trends that could revolutionize education.  It suggests that the next step in the world of MOOCs is to introduce massive open social learning.

“Recent Moocs have taken an instructivist approach, with course materials created by a university and delivered by video and text…it can be a lonely experience,” it says. “There is more that can be done to engage people as active learners, sharing their ideas and discussing their different perspectives as they learn online.”

Mike Sharples, a co-author of the report and chair in educational technology at The Open University Institute of Educational Technology, said the the big question to be answered is to find out “what sort of pedagogies get better as you scale.”

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The overall number of international students in the US has grown by 72 per cent since the first International Education Week briefing was held in 2000.

WASHINGTON: After three years of decline, the number of Indian students at US campuses increased by six per cent to 102,673 in the 2013-14 academic year, according to a new report on International Educational Exchange. 

The number of international students at colleges and universities in the US increased by eight per cent to a record high of 886,052 students in the 2013-14 academic year, the 2014 Open Doors Report released on Monday found. 

The overall number of international students in the US has grown by 72 per cent since the first International Education Week briefing was held in 2000, it noted. 

There are five times as many Chinese students on US campuses as were reported in Open Doors 2000; almost two-and-a-half times as many Indian students; seven-and-a-half times as many Vietnamese students; and more than 10 times as many Saudi students. 


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Nilekani sets his eye on improving elementary education


After and politics, Infosys co-founder is learnt to be betting on education, primarily at the elementary level.

According to sources, the former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is launching a project that is expected to impact the way elementary is imparted, especially to students aged two to seven. As a part of the not-for-profit initiative, Nilekani is creating a team of technologists to build a platform enabling children “to learn faster, quicker and deeper”.

“He (Nilekani) is giving the same amount of importance to this project as he had to UIDAI…he is personally taking the lead in finalising the structure,” said a source close to the initiative.

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The new system will be introduced in phases from 2016


Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur will soon introduce a new “credit-based system” which would allow students the flexibility to complete a four-year B. Tech course in three-and-a-half years. “For each course there would be pre-specified credit which allows a student the flexibility to complete his course at his own pace. Fast-paced students can finish off six months earlier while those who want to go for year-long internship can go in between and come back to finish the course later on,” IIT-Kharagpur, Director, Partha Pratim Chakrabarti said. 

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Education system must maintain the quality of education: President


President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday stressed the establishments of norms and performance-based system for learning outcomes and emphasized on maintaining quality and standards for education in fast expanding education sector. With the growth in the education sector, we must not allow its quality to take a backseat, he said.

“We must establish norms and performance-based marks for learning process and outcome strictly and enforce them across the schools,” Mukherjee said while addressing a function on National Education Day, celebrated on the birth anniversary of India’s first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

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Flexible Credit System


The Fully Flexible Credit System at Vellore Institute of Technology allows students to choose the subjects they want to study and make their own timetable.

“I am now in a college that follows the FFCS,” said Archa Rajeev when I met her after a year. She proudly talked of the new system her college, VIT, follows to provide “quality higher education.” The Fully Flexible Credit System (FFCS) gives the students flexibility to make their own timetable, she said. You choose the subjects you want to study and you choose the teachers you want to study under.

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Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish — and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational “death valley” we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.

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Use Active Learning to Engage Hibernating Students


All teachers know a certain type of student: the hibernator. This is the student who walks in and immediately puts down his his or her head, making it very clear they do not want to have anything to do with you, your lesson, or his classmates.

Active learning is worth the initial resistance, because it ensures that students are learning. Not only do administrators look to see whether teachers are engaging all students, it is an educator’s responsibility to reach them. These recommendations are a good starting point for teachers unfamiliar with active learning:

  • Commit to using active learning and communicate confidently about it.
  • Begin implementing these strategies early in the year. Make them a part of your expectations.
  • Explain the reason for using active learning and how it benefits students.
  • Frequently use this type of learning so students know you are serious; they will accept their roles more readily.
  • Give clear directions. State the goal, time limits, procedures, and partner/group members’ names.
  • Post instructions in a visible location for student reference.
  • Divide students into pairs or groups yourself.
  • Start with low-impact strategies like think-pair-share or in-class writing exercises.
  • Then, move into more involved active learning activities.

The teachers also developed Interactive Learning Non-Negotiables, a model of 10 best practices used in every lesson, every day:

1. Essential Questions: Determine the lesson’s intended goal. Use one essential question per lesson that students must answer by the end of the lesson. Make sure the question is at the highest possible level of learning. To be effective, these queries should require analysis and application, an extended response, and cover multiple skills.

2. Activating Strategy: Get students actively thinking or connecting to that day’s material. Cochrane teachers often use video clips to immediately engage students by piquing their interest and then helping them connect to the lesson.

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