USA For Students Education Fair

From Education in Malaysia, because Tony’s summarized it so well:

USA For Students , a US Education Fair would be held this Saturday, 14th June 10am to 4pm at Wisma MCA.

This event is co-organized by US Embassy, MACEE, American Universities Alumni Malaysia and Discover US Education – KL.

This is the 3rd year such a US Education fair is held in Malaysia, and this year, there will be 51 top US Universities, including Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Stanford etc. A series of seminars would be held too, covering topics from US Education System, Visa, Applications for undergrad and postgrad, interviews, job prospect after graduation etc.

Do check it out at USA For Students !

Malaysia fares well in UNESCO survey

According to UNESCO, Malaysia provides well for its students:

BANGKOK: The Malaysian education system has done well in terms of facilities provided to students and teachers’ salaries, according to a study carried out in 11 countries by Unesco’s Institute for Statistics. Malaysia scored a high percentage in the availability of electricity, blackboards, sufficient seating, library facilities and computers for students and administrators.

The report, released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation yesterday, showed that educational expenditure per primary school pupil was highest in Chile (US$2,120 or RM6,900), followed by Argentina (US$1,605), Malaysia (US$1,552), Brazil (US$1,159) and Uruguay (US$1,063).

In contrast, expenditure per primary school pupil was less than US$700 in India, Paraguay, Peru and the Philippines.

It’s good to know that Malaysian schools provide a lot for their students. However, I would like to know the following to make more sense of this report:

  • How well-maintained are the resources and facilities? Are students given recent and up-to-date resources, or are they still on highly outdated resources (such as computers running Windows 95)?
  • What percentage of that money is that compared to the rest of the National Budget? How does it compare to national living costs?
  • How effectively is that money utilized? Is the money well-spent?
  • Where in Malaysia, besides the completely rural areas, do you get 18 students for one teacher? Our classrooms were commonly filled with 30-40 people.
  • How effectively are the students learning? Do the resources actually contribute to student education? Are the teachers doing well?

EDIT: It seems that the priorities may be a little misplaced. From Nat Tan quoting Malaysiakini (emphasis Nat’s):

The government has spent a total of RM3.2 billion over the past five years to carry out the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English, Deputy Education Minister Razali Ismail told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Out of the amount, the government paid a whopping RM2.21 billion for the purchase of information and computer technology (ICT) equipments.

The rest of the expenditure went to the payment for educational incentives (RM638 million), teachers’ training (RM317 million) and ICT software (RM2.4 million).

WHOA! But what’s the point of all that money on technology if you don’t train teachers to use it? What about language training – apparently some teachers still revert to Bahasa Malaysia! What’s “educational incentives”? Why does hardware need to be that expensive? What about other non-computing learning tools, books, field trips?

Where’s all that money going through and where does it all come from?

IssueLab: CloseUp on Volunteering – research resources

IssueLab is an organization that aims to archive, distribute, and promote research conducted by the non-profit sector. This research can be used by students, activists, organizations, and anyone else interested in various non-profit-related issues.

Every month they have a CloseUp, which focuses on a specific issue. This month’s CloseUp is on volunteerism, and for this topic they have various resources such as:

  • Government reports and statistics
  • Foundation studies
  • Opinion pieces
  • Practice advice

and much more.

They also have a CloseUp on youth media which is equally as informative.

IssueLab is relatively new, but they’re already a great resource for information and are worth a visit. Keep an eye for future CloseUps and research pieces on various other issues.

Thanks to Vanessa Beck for the heads-up!

Other resources for opportunities – alternative education, youth empowerment, getting involved

There have been many opportunities for fellowships, conferences, scholarships, courses, and so on that come my way and should really be on this blog. However, I haven’t always had the time to post all the information that comes my way – especially when about 10 of them come at once in a newsletter.

I get my information mainly from a few sources, and I would recommend that you check those sources out to find more great opportunities for youth and alternative education. Here’s where to look:

TakingITGlobal – awesome resource for young people looking to make a difference. Events, scholarships, groups, projects, whatever – everything you need is there.

Have Fun Do Good – Britt Bravo’s blog has a lot of information and resources on making a difference in creative ways. I particularly like the books she recommends – she has great taste (and great luck because she gets the books for free!)

TinKosong – this blog, started by a bunch of Malaysian university students, contains regular information on opportunities for young Malaysians to get involved and expand their education. A lot of the information we have is crossposted between the two blogs, since we both have a similar scope (though they do come from a more Ivy base).

Education in Malaysia – the other top Malaysian education blog (haha), whose founder Tony Pua is now an MP! While EiM is more about analysis and commentary rather than opportunities, they do sometimes appear, and it’s a good resource for current affairs in education anyhow.

Ask MetaFilter – every so often there will be a question about travel, education, or opportunities, and the answers given would be top notch. The main site, Metafilter, doesn’t really carry much links about opportunities, but it’s worth a watch.

The Star: Education – Every week in their Sunday pullout, they write up about different educational opportunities and events across Malaysia, and it’s republished on the website. Youth2 is another good source in the paper; however, their website isn’t quite as regularly updated.

GoAbroad and TransitionsAbroad – both great resources for anything to do with travel and going abroad. GoAbroad also has a regular newsletter with information on different programs that you can subscribe to.

ActNow – This Australian-based website is all about educating and empowering youth to make change in their communities. Within their pages are plenty of information and resources on current issues, and ways you can get involved.

World Youth Foundation – this Malaysia-based organization releases a regular email newsletter with all sorts of updates and information on youth empowerment and making a difference.

Young Social Enterprise Initiative – they provide various programs and fellowships for young social entrepreneurs to gain funding and mentoring for their work and enterprises. Their social network, FutureShifters, allows young social entrepreneurs to connect with each other and share ideas.

Global Youth Action Network – the organization that links youth-based organizations together. Their newsletter, YouthLink Express, has all sorts of information on events, conferences, possible scams (which are unfortunately an issue with youth conferences), organizations, and many others.

International Young Professionals Foundation – not just for young professionals, but for any young person seeking to make a difference. Membership is inexpensive (and there are funding options if you can’t afford it) and they have tons of information on various opportunities across the globe.

Social Edge – Opportunities – such an AMAZING resource for anything to do with social change and social entrepreneurship. Check out their main site too for discussions and resources on the same topics.

Do you have any other resources for such information and opportunities? Post a comment and share them with us.

Entrepreneurship and Languages – two blogs for you

If you’d like some entrepreneurial inspiration, or would like to learn Japanese in double-quick time, here are two blogs you may want to subscribe to:

1) Australia-based HatchThat is filled with interviews with inspiring entrepreneurs from a wide range of industries. They cover all sorts of interests – from sexual and reproductive health to DJs and party planning. They are always on the lookout for other entrepreneurs to interview – maybe some of you from this list would be interested!

2) A lot of young Malaysians are into anime and manga, and consequently are trying to learn the Japanese language. What if I told you that you could learn enough Japanese in 18 months to not only be really fluent, but also be able to understand technical documents and ultimately be hired in software engineering? Impossible? Young African man Khatzumoto has done exactly that.

On his blog, All Japanese All The Time, Khatzumoto explains his method for learning total Japanese in such a short time – essentially being totally immersed in the culture (surrounding yourself with Japanese media, doing fun things in Japanese, etc), aiming to understand rather than memorize, as well as some smart use of flashcards. He is currently using the same system to learn Chinese, and shows you how to use this system to learn any language – no matter how old or young you are.

If you have any other interesting blogs, please share them with us!

World AIDS Day – Take Action Now

Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day. Even though this day has been commemorated for many, many years, there is still no cure, there is still much work to be done.

Get Educated: Pelf of The Giving Hands has an excellent post all about the basics of HIV/AIDS. Considering the amount of misinformation out there, it is still important that we know the facts and that we educate each other about the facts. MTV’s Staying Alive campaign is also chock-ful of information about health, testing, and advocacy, as well as ways to act that are fun and interesting.

Get Involved: The Malaysia AIDS Council regularly organizes events and activities to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and to help those affected by the disease. The “Volunteering” section on their site isn’t up at the moment, but pay attention to local media and events and do get in touch. If you prefer to go international, volunteer organization i-to-i has opportunities to work with AIDS-affected communities in Mombasa and Nairobi, Kenya. World Vision has resources for Christian college students, while online handmade goods store Etsy is collecting donations of gifts for Housing Works, America’s largest minority-run organization working with HIV/AIDS.

Get Connected: Youth activism portal TakingItGlobal has set up the HIV/AIDS Guide to Action Network, a collection of resources on youth working with HIV/AIDS awareness, advocacy, and care. They have also teamed up with some youth organizations to create the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS, which aims to empower youth leaders working with HIV/AIDS issues in their community. UNICEF also has a resource page on HIV/AIDS aimed on collecting opinions, experiences, and knowledge from world youth.

If you have any more resources for youth and HIV/AIDS, please post them in the comments. Thank you.

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