Top Ten

March 12, 2007

Greece Torn by Riots over Education Reforms

Athens was in chaos on Thursday when rioters took to the streets for three hours in response to education reforms that would increase the autonomy of state-run universities, and relax a ban on police entering campus.  More than 60 were arrested, and more than 40 were injured in the clash. Molotov cocktails were thrown and 13 police officers were wounded. Riots later broke out in Thessaloniki as well.  The Guardian Unlimited

uToronto Nursing receives $10 Million from Private Philanthropist

Lawrence Bloomberg, the chairman of the Mount Sinai Hospital board in Toronto, has announced a gift of $10 million to the uToronto nursing school, the largest private donation to a Canadian nursing school.  With an expected nursing shortage in the next four years, Mr. Bloomberg is making a public call for more donations to help attract instructors and to fund scholarships to draw more young people into the profession. According to the Canadian Nurses Association, imminent retirements will leave the country short 78,000 nurses by 2011 and up to 113,000 by 2017.  The Globe & Mail | The Toronto Star

$5 Million for Green Energy Research at Queen's

The Ontario Fuel Cell Research and Innovation Network (OFCRIN) received $5.4 million from the province last week.  The project is based at Queen's University and involves researchers at RMC, McMaster, UWO, UOIT, uOttawa, uWaterloo and UofT, as well as 12 industry partners.  The funds are for research toward new materials and manufacturing methods for fuel cells (clean energy technology).  Including the new investment, Queen's has received a total of $17 million from the $115 million that the Ontario Research Fund Research Excellence program has released.  Queen's University News Release 

Loyalist College joins Hershey Boycott

Loyalist College has joined an Ottawa-based convenience store chain in removing Hershey products from its facilities, in response to the announced closure of Hershey's Smiths Falls chocolate factory.  The factory is being closed due to "global restructuring" and an estimated 500 employees will lose their jobs.  The college requested that Chartwells, its food service provider, remove Hershey products from its vending machines and other snack outlets, and posted signs explaining "it is the mission of Ontario colleges to prepare skilled workers for the Ontario labour market... and this closure is contrary to the mission."   The Ottawa Citizen

New Law Program open to BC College Students

Douglas College will now offer a unique new program option in Legal Studies, which opens the field of law education beyond those admitted to graduate-level law schools.  The program was developed by BC's former attorney general, with the intention of "democratizing legal knowledge," with the belief that studying the Canadian legal system is beneficial to anyone involved in the community, public sector or criminal justice system.  All the course instructors have law degrees as well as applied experience in the legal system.  The Tri-City News

COU Report on 2005 Applicant Statistics

Last week, the Council of Ontario Universities released a study of Fall 2005 application and registration data from OUAC (which is responsible for processing all first-year full-time applications from students who were not previously registered at an Ontario university).  63% of the applicants were high school students, while "other" applicants were 37% of the total 119,301 applicants.  On average, Ontario applicants made 3.7 applications, and high school students averaged 4.37 each. The overall registrant to applicant ratio was 0.57. For high school students, the ratio was higher at 0.72, and for "other" applicants the ratio was much lower at 0.31.  Read the Report (59-page PDF)

Bill Gates urges Education Reforms

Last week, the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions got advice from Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.  To remain globally competitive, Gates says there are several important changes that need to be made to schools and immigration laws.  His suggestions include the creation of an education-data center, encouraging more challenging standards, boosting math and science education, and designing a curriculum that would be more relevant to the new global digital economy, and more interesting to what he calls "digital natives" (students who are comfortable with technology).  He noted that 30% of American 9th graders fail to graduate high school on time, and identified this as an area where immediate action is needed.  eSchool News

Sorority for Moms redefines Student Experience

A unique sorority, started at uMissouri-St. Louis, gives student-moms the chance to experience sisterhood.  Mu Tau Rho stands for "Mothers Together in Parenting," and the members specialize in birthday parties, not keggers.  The membership has reached 12 young women, including 3 who don't have children but were attracted for socializing and parenting-tips for the future.  The number of college students that do not fit the fresh-out-of-high-school, ready-to-party stereotype is increasing in the US, and interest in services for non-traditional student lifestyles is also increasing in kind.  Associated Press

Adult Learners want an Education that Accommodates

Catering to adult learners means just that: catering.  Students supplementing their academic credentials and professional training want schedules that bend to accommodate the demands of employment and family.  A survey of 25,000 adult learners in the US shows that this is ideally mid-week, late in the afternoon and early in the evening.  Half of respondents also showed interest in alternative delivery methods such as accelerated summer sessions, and online or hybrid formats.  "Convenient scheduling" was cited as the strongest influencer when choosing a school.  CSG News Release

Boredom in US High Schools yields Drop-Outs and Skipping

75% of high school students surveyed say they are bored in their classes because material just isn't interesting.  31% said they did not have any interaction with their teachers.  The director of the study by Indiana University , which included 81,000 students, suggests that high school teaching methods are too heavily lecture-driven, and that more interactive approaches should be adopted.  He emphasizes that it is the teaching style, not class size, that is causing the loss of student interest.  The same study also found that 22% of students had considered dropping out, and fully half had skipped school.  Reuters Life!