Center on International Education Benchmarking

1. Quebec Announces New Funding for Students At Risk of Not Graduating

Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge has announced new dedicated funding for students with handicaps or learning disabilities who are at risk of not graduating from high school. The minister said CAN$47 million (US$35.28 million) would be allocated for school services for special needs students across the province; CAN$20 million (US$15 million) would go to create 150 new classes for special needs students who need additional services and CAN$3 million (US$2.25 million) would fund mobile classrooms in rural areas of the province. This would result in 850 new staff for these students. The ministry plans to recruit retired teachers and teachers  who have left the profession to fill some of these new positions. The ministry estimates there are about 220,000 special needs students, and 150,000 are at risk of not graduating. For more, see The Montreal Gazette.

Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge
Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge

2. Report Examines How to Prepare Australia’s Workforce for the Future

Dr. Sean Gallagher, director of the Centre for the New Workforce
Dr. Sean Gallagher, director of the Centre for the New Workforce

A new report from the Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for the Workforce explores the impact of digital technologies and automation on Australia’s workforce and how it will affect the way the country educates and trains its citizens for the future of work. Based on a national survey of 1,000 working Australians, the report titled “Peak Human Potential – Preparing Australia’s workforce for the digital future” found 1 in 2 Australian workers are fearful of losing their jobs to artificial intelligence and automation, 1 in 3 view digital and technology skills as the most important skills for the future and 56 percent expect jobs in five years will require skills they currently lack. The report also found that workers increasingly value social competencies and learning on the job. To prepare workers for the work of the future, Dr. Sean Gallagher, director of the Centre for the New Workforce, says learning and work need to be better integrated. “First we need to lift all workers into the digital economy by providing them basic digital training,” Gallagher said. “Then, we need to shift learning into future workplaces by trialing new learning partnerships between education institutions and employers.” Learn more about the report and its recommendations here.

3. Japan to Push for More Tech Skills in Elementary School through College

A government panel has just submitted its proposal to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling for each student in elementary, junior high and high school to use a personal or tablet computer at school as early as possible. The panel hopes that the early use of technology will allow for more tailoring of education to each students’ level of comprehension. The government plans to adopt a roadmap for achieving this goal at a cabinet meeting at the end of this month. Meanwhile, at the tertiary education level, Japan’s education ministry plans to create a nationwide curriculum this autumn covering the basics of artificial intelligence, suitable for use at all the nation’s universities. According to an Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry estimate, Japan had a shortage of 34,000 AI specialists as of 2018, and the shortage will further rise to 124,000 by 2030. There are also very few top-level AI professionals in Japan. The new curriculum will include entry-level programming necessary to run AI, statistics to process vast amounts of information, and computer engineering.


4. More Grade 3 Students Take Standardized Test in Hong Kong


A survey conducted by Hong Kong’s Professional Teachers’ Union, the largest teachers’ union in Hong Kong, found that the number of schools administering the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) to all Grade 3 students has increased this year compared to last year.  Schools have an option to test all their 3rd grade students or only 10 percent of the cohort. The TSA is an assessment of basic competencies in Chinese, English and mathematics that is administered at Grades 3, 6 and 9. Territory-wide results are reported publicly and used to assess attainment of basic competencies across Hong Kong. School-level results are reported only to individual schools and student-level results are not reported. Last year, in response to concerns from parents and other stakeholders about excessive preparation for the exam, the policy of testing all Grade 3 students was revised to allow primary schools to choose to test all or only some of their students. Schools that test all Grade 3 students receive a report on their school-level results, while schools that test only a sample of students do not. Last year, the first year of the policy change, slightly more than 40 percent of government-funded primary schools chose to test all Grade 3 students; this year, the share has increased to nearly half of schools. Read more from the South China Morning Post.  

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