March 2008

Asia

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Japan grants USD13 million for enhancing literacy in Afghanistan 

Japan's aid package will be delivered through UNESCO for enhancing literacy within the framework of the Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE) which was launched by the Director-General of UNESCO in 2005 as a global framework to support the developing countries to promote literacy towards the realisation of Education for All (EFA).

LIFE is officially adopted in Afghanistan as a national literacy framework which offers a platform for all the literacy players to plan and implement their respective activities in a harmonised manner to collectively achieve the National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) literacy goals.  Funded by the Japanese Government, life will provide actual literacy learning to the 6,00,000 illiterate youth and adults especially women in 18 selected provinces in Afghanistan.
In order to tackle the enormous literacy challenges, to date LIFE has already  put in place in the county by organising the LIFE coordination working group with the initiative of Literacy Department of the Ministry of Education and UNESCO.

Since 2001, Japan has contributed a total of USD 3.2 million for 'Safeguarding Bamiyan Cultural Heritage Site' and a total of US$ 500 thousand for 'LAND Afghan literacy project' to UNESCO in Afghanistan, in support to these activities.

NGC student documentary competition in Hong Kong

With support from the Hong Kong Education and Manpower Bureau and Hong Kong Parents Teachers Association, National Geographic Channel (NGC) Asia and Wiseman Education kicked off the Think Again Documentary Making Competition 2008 in Hong Kong.

1,000 students, forming over 200 teams, have signed up for this year's competition. The organisers received responses from almost 40 teams sent forth by schools in Shenzhen and Suzhou, China, in addition to the local and international schools submissions in Hong Kong.

The themes for the competition this year include science and technology, among others. The aim is to challenge students' language, thinking and analytical skills, presentation, as well as cinematography and editing techniques.

Korean parents support English-only classes

According to Korean online education site Topia Education, 61% of 624 parents with children currently in middle school said they support having English-only classes, while 31% opposed it.

The majority said such classes will help their children learn English more effectively, which could also help them become more globalized. Only 6% said the method would reduce spending on private education.

However, 75% of respondents said they prefer such classes to be limited to the English subject. About 18% said they do not want these classes at all, while only 3% said all classes should be taught in English.

Those against the English-only classes said they are concerned with the teachers' capabilities of teaching solely in English and they are also doubtful as to whether the teaching material would be sufficient for the students. A mere  5 % said all classes should be run in Korean as it could result in students experiencing identity crises and also cause a decrease in the use of the  Korean language. 

Where does Bangladesh stand in achieving the Education for All Goals by 2015!

Bangladesh is likely to meet the adult literacy target by 2015 if the national literacy rate increases at the current rate of  3% per annum.

At a workshop organised in Dhaka on 13 February 2008, the results of a study carried out by the World Bank on the status of Bangladesh in terms of achieving the EFA Goals, was shared with a number of key stakeholders. The study also offers some policy options to accelerate achievement of the EFA Goals. The Government's National Plan of Action for Education for All (2002-2015) embraced all the EFA goals of making education compulsory, accessible and inclusive.
 
The policy note reports low levels of learning achievement, poor literacy and numeric skills of primary school graduates. The progress in the quality of school is more difficult to assess because of the lack of systematic assessment and monitoring of learning achievement results, the study observed.

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