Six founders of NCEE’s Superintendents Alliance make the case for proficiency based education. Read more.

Headlines for Sept 17-23, 2021

In this week’s headlines: New Zealand’s “Hardship Fund” will support higher education students impacted by the pandemic, New South Wales is investing in training for aspiring school leaders, Estonia will offer benefits to attract doctoral students, and the UK is training educators and administrators to identify students struggling with mental health.

New Zealand Boosts Spending to Support Students Affected by Covid-19

New Zealand recently approved NZ$20 million (US$14 million) in additional funding for a pandemic-response education fund. The Hardship Fund, established last year, supports students engaged in higher education and vocational training who are experiencing adversity as a result of the pandemic. It can be used to cover things such as technology-related expenses for virtual schooling. The Tertiary Education Commission, which promotes and funds skills and careers training, will work directly with schools to ensure eligible students are able to access the aid. Read more at the Tertiary Education Commission.

University

New South Wales Introduces Training Program to Upskill Aspiring School Leaders

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell

New South Wales has developed a training program for assistant principals and head teachers with a goal of building leadership capacity and raising student outcomes. Research suggests “middle” leaders can have a substantial role in shaping pedagogy and student achievement in their schools, according to Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell. The 18 month program will be run through the government’s School Leadership Institute at no cost to the educators. Leaders will participate in two leadership conferences, online classes, and group work centered on leadership development, evidence-informed decision making, improving student outcomes, and building productive relationships. Mitchell said that the program “…will be world-class and groundbreaking in the impact it will have in our schools.” Read more at NSW Education.

Estonia Offers Pay, Sick Leave, and Other Perks to Lure Doctoral Students

In an effort to attract more doctoral students, Estonia has guaranteed them a salary with paid sick leave and benefits, as well as offering a way to earn a degree while still working in their field. The so-called “transfer of knowledge” doctorate lets students earn credits as part of their employment in an area related to their research interest. Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna said the goal of the reform is to “diversify the options for completing a doctoral degree.”  She also said that Estonia needs more people with knowledge and experience gained through doctoral education “to face the future challenges in Estonia and make the society more science-based.” For more see The Ministry of Education and Research.

Liina Kersna, Estonia's Minister of Education and Research
Liina Kersna, Estonia's Minister of Education and Research

UK to Train School Mental Health Leads

UK Minister for Children and Families Will Quince
UK Minister for Children and Families Will Quince

The UK Department for Education is investing £9.5 million ($13 million) to train educators and administrators in nearly 8,000 schools and colleges to identify struggling students and connect them to mental health services. The government will offer this training to all schools and colleges by 2025. “Today marks an important step forward in our commitment to making wellbeing a central part of education recovery, by giving school and college staff the confidence to not only teach about good mental health but also understand what steps to take if they feel a pupil is struggling,” Minister for Children and Families Will Quince said.