Singapore Provides Free AI Courses to Interested Students
Students in Singapore can now take free, self-paced artificial intelligence (AI) courses as part of the country’s effort to equip young people with in-demand skills in an emerging field. Students can learn programming skills, machine learning and statistical and critical thinking. Open to students in secondary schools, junior colleges, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and universities, the program supported by the Ministry of Education aims to reach more than 15,000 students over the next three years. Groups of at least 10 students can apply for the program run by AI Singapore, a group launched by the National Research Foundation in 2017 to nurture AI talent. Read more in The Straits Times.
New South Wales Makes Admission to Selective Schools and Gifted Classes More Equitable
Starting in 2023, 20 percent of spots in New South Wales’s selective high schools and gifted primary school classes will be reserved for students from disadvantaged groups. Admission to these top schools is done based on tests, but a 2018 NSW Education Department review found selective schools with test-based entry receive fewer applicants from students with a low-socioeconomic background, are Aboriginal, have a disability, or live in a remote area. Participating students from one of the disadvantaged groups will have to perform within 10 percent of the minimum criteria required for general applicants. If there are not enough applicants to fill the 20 percent of reserved seats, these seats will be offered to the highest-performing general applicants. An additional five percent of places are reserved for students for other special considerations. Read more about the changes at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Poland Focuses Vocational Education and Training on Green and Digital Jobs
The Council of Ministers approved a new four-year action plan for vocational education that focuses on green jobs and making sure teachers’ skills are current by providing work-based learning experiences for them. The council also plans to establish industry skills centers, expand career counseling services, increase digital resources for students, and facilitate better cooperation between schools and employers. Poland intends to make student outcome data by vocational school available. Read the Ministry of Education and Science press release here.
Pass Rates Down as National High School Exams Return in Scotland
Scottish schools have reinstated national high school exams that impact admission to universities, but after a two-year break pass rates are down, according to the Scottish Qualifications Authority. Students hadn’t sat for the exams since 2019 as they were cancelled due to the pandemic and replaced with teacher grades. The exams impact admission to university. Students were given extra support this year and a “generous” approach to grading because of the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. Still, pass rates were down by about 10 percent. Shirley-Anne Somerville, Scotland’s education secretary, said she was confident that this year’s approach had produced “a credible, consistent and fair set of results for our young people.” Read more in The Guardian.