March 2008


It is interesting to note that many Indian doctors end settle abroad, while the world is suffering shortage of health workers. Fifty-seven countries, most of them in Africa and Asia, face a severe health workforce crisis. WHO estimates that at least 2 360 000 health service providers and 1 890 000 management support workers, or a total of 4 250 000 health workers, are needed to fill the gap. Meantime, those countries better positioned to attract the flows of doctors continue to be advance industrial nations, like US and UK, but this may change. I wonder, what will happen then.

The Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog, March 28, 2008, by Shailaja Neelakantan:

To combat a severe shortage of doctors and in a move to attract back Indian doctors settled abroad, the Indian government has decided to recognize graduate medical degrees from Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, provided they are recognized in the respective countries.

Until now, doctors with an undergraduate degree from India but a graduate degree from another country were not allowed to practice in India. Indian doctors with graduate degrees from the approved countries will now be allowed to practice in India at any public or private hospital. They can also be recruited to teach undergraduates in any medical college, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

(more…)

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This is the latest  book publish by Martha Nussbaum. The book offers  a conceptual study of the American tradition of religious freedom in american  jurisprudence.

A review of the book  in the New York Sun points out a basic question that the book ask:Does the “free exercise” of religion mean “religious equality”?

This is an interesting posting by John Daly describing some of  the reasons and history of the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO in 1985.

From the UNESCO in the Spotlight: Science and Communications:

It occurred to me on St. Patrick’s Day that I might tell you a little about the McBride Report. it was one of the items identified as a cause of the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO in the 1980s. Sean McBride was from perhaps Ireland’s most famous family, and is one of ten Nobel Prize laureates from that island. Yet his name is also associated, incorrectly, with the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO. Here is the story.

In 1974, the United Nations passed a resolution calling for a New World Information Order. During the 1970’s the United Nations was also the site of debates on a New International Economic Order. Both efforts can be seen as related to decolonization and the rise of power of the newly independent states in intergovernmental affairs, as well as their belief that new international orders were required in justice to repair the legacies of poverty and undedevelopment that remained from colonialism.

In 1976, UNESCO’s Director General Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow — following up the UN resolution, with the approval of the General Conference — appointed a distinguished committee headed by Sean McBride to report back to UNESCO on the international communications and information order. Given that, with leadership from the United States, communication and information had been included as the “other C” in UNESCO’s charter, this was not only reasonable but almost necessary. The committee worked over several years, and submitted its report in time for the UNESCO general conference of 1980, and it was sent on to the member nations for their attention. That report, titled Many Voices, One World, has been increasingly seen as a useful and prescient view of the need to give voice to poor people in poor nations.

The discussion of communications and information at the General Conference was not limited to the recommendations of the McBride Report. The delegates of the emerging developing nations had developed their own elaborate set of recommendations, and the United States and other delegations from developed nations opposed many of the specifics. At last a resolution was adopted by consensus, although the UK delegation stated that they would have opposed it on a vote.

One authority states that the Belgrade declaration affirmed that UNESCO should play a major role in the examination and solution of problems in this domain. “The assembly also agreed on a number of guidelines for the new information order:

1. elimination of the imbalances and inequalities which characterize the present solution;

2. elimination of the negative effects of certain monopolies, public or private, and excessive concentrations;

3. removal of the internal and external obstacles to a free flow and wider and better balanced dissemination of information and ideas;

4. plurality of sources and channels of information;

5. freedom of the press and information;

6. the freedom of journalists . . . a freedom inseparable from responsibility;

7. the capacity of developing countries to achieve improvement of their own situations, notably by providing their own equipment, by training their personnel, by improving their infrastructures and by making their information and communication means suitable to their needs and aspirations;

8. the sincere will of developed countries to help them attain these objectives;

9. respect for each people’s cultural identity and the right of each nation to inform the world public about its interests, its aspirations and its social and cultural values.”

The General Conference of UNESCO in 1980 as always conducted a full agenda of business on the organization’s educational, scientific and cultural programs. However, the press in the United States covered little but the discussion of the New World Information Order. While the U.S. Delegation report on the General Conference was not especially negative about the NWIO, the issues continued to draw attention from the members of the press media. (Editor’s note: I have always suspected that the media objected not only to their perception that UNESCO was enabling state control of media in countries with coercive governments, but that the international press services were also concerned that the call for pluralism which might diminish their oligopoly control of world news. JAD)

UNESCO had been drawing negative comment from other segments of the American Public, especially among conservatives, starting from its creation. The idea of a global forum for discussions between East and West, North and South was not universally accepted during the Cold War. Perhaps the low point in suspicion of UNESCO came during the McCarthy era when seven Americans were forced out of UNESCO’s International Civil Service due to allegations of Communist sympathies.

Some Americans had been concerned about the potential impacts of UNESCO educational efforts on American schools. Others had been concerned by the anti-Israeli sentiment expressed by many Arab and developing nations in its fora. Indeed, there remains a segment of the American public that expresses concern about UNESCO’s drawing global attention to America’s World Heritage sites and biosphere reserves.

UNESCO then as today had a huge mandate and a limited budget. It had been subjected to pressures to improve efficiency, as it is still. There also seemed to be a real cultural divide between Amadou M’Bow, the African Director General, and officials of the conservative Reagan administration. In any case, the combination of factors proved too much, and Elliot Abrams, then Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, announced in 1981 that the United States would withdraw from UNESCO. (Editor’s Note: Yes, the same Elliot Abrams who was convicted in 1991 on two misdemeanor counts of unlawfully withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra Affair investigation; he is also the well known neoconservative who is currently Deputy National Security Advisor in the Bush White House, and who appears to have been deeply involved in the decisions on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more generally in Middle Eastern affairs during all of the Bush administration. JAD)

Unfortunately, the old disagreements about the New International Information Order have been unfairly linked in the literature to Sean McBride’s name. The McBride Report produced in 1980 is still available on the World Wide Web. In its honor, McBride’s name has been given to the The MacBride Round Table on Communication. Had its importance been more fully recognized by the Reagan administration, the Report could have helped the world better respond to the Information Revolution, as well as better respond for a need for information services that would better contribute to international development and poverty alleviation.

The old controversy can little diminish Sean McBride’s career as Ireland’s most distinguished jurist, as one of the people most responsible for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and as one of the people responsible for Amnesty International. In the United States he is now perhaps best known for the McBride Principles that helped bring the international pressures in support of the peace process in Northern Ireland and for his critically important efforts to end apartheid in southern Africa.

A useful guide on educational resources for multicultural education created by Jon Reyhner from Northern Arizona University

From Jon Reyhner’s Website:

This guide to over 50 web sites was created to assist multicultural educators in locating educational resources on the Internet. World wide access to multicultural information and current events in other regions makes the Internet an important educational tool. Teachers through the internet have access to lesson plans, on-line photo galleries, stories, maps, virtual field trip, international radio programming, and e-mail pen pals. In the multicultural classroom these resources can be used to create thematic units. Other sites, such as those devoted to art and geography can supplement an existing lesson. Many of the sites listed are source sites with lessons, pictures, problems and quizzes on-line, and other sites are Index sites which provide extensive links related to a subject of interest. Teachers should keep in mind that the Internet is a temporary resource, and sites move and change rapidly. A listing of professional organizations for multicultural educators is also provided. Highly recommended sites are marked by an “*”.

1. GENERAL MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION SITES
2. WORLD GEOGRAPHY WEB SITES
3. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION WEB SITES
4. MULTICULTURAL ART WEB SITES
5. INTERACTIVE SITES & WORLD WIDE PEN PALS
6. LANGUAGE WEB SITES
7. REGIONS & ETHNIC GROUPS

A. AFRICA & AFRICAN AMERICANS
B. ASIA & ASIAN AMERICANS
C. CANADA AND UNITED STATES & NATIVE AMERICANS
D. LATIN AMERICA & HISPANICS IN U.S

8. PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS & JOURNALS
9. ANTI-HATE RESOURCES
10. LINKS TO ARTICLES AND OTHER READINGS ON MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION

Below it is a brief list of video collections from America’s leading colleges and universities.

From  OpenCulture:

  • Harvard Video Archive
    • You can find more free Harvard video here.
  • MITWorld
    • A free and open site that provides on-demand video of significant public events at MIT.
  • Oxford Internet Institute
    • Catch webcasts of prominent speakers, events and conferences held by the Oxford Internet Institute.
  • Princeton University Web Media
    • Catch streamed video lectures from Princeton
  • University Channel (Princeton)
    • Princeton has assembled a collection of public affairs lectures, panels and events from academic institutions all over the world. You can find podcasted lectures here from some of the world’s leading thinkers.
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
    • Audio and video speeches/lectures from one of the leading b-schools in the country.
  • Stanford Humanities Center – Audio/Video Archive
    • An excellent collection of some of the biggest thinkers out there.
  • UC Berkeley (webcasts.berkeley)
    • From this page, you can access webcasts and podcasts of full-fledged Berkeley courses and events.
    • You can also access Berkeley videos straight from Google Video.
  • UCLA
    • UCLA provides live webcasts of important campus events, archives them, and makes them available for on-demand viewing.
  • Yale University – Democratic Vistas
    • As part of Yale’s Tercentennial celebration in 2001, the university presented a series of 15 lectures on the condition and prospects of American democracy. The series, captured in video, features some ofYale’s leading scholars.
  • Yale University – YaleGlobal Online Magazine
    • This online site, run by the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, has numerous video interviews with major international leaders and thinkers — for example, Thomas Friedman, Mohamed ElBaradei, Lawrence Summers and former President Clinton.

This article written by John Seely Brown and Richard P. Adler appeared in the last issue of Educause (January/February 2008).  The authors offer an extensive presentation of  online education resources , while comparing different approaches to learning in relation with social learning online, an the possibility of a new form of learning: Learning 2.0. The article concludes that:

The building blocks provided by the OER movement, along with e-Science and e-Humanities and the resources of the Web 2.0, are creating the conditions for the emergence of new kinds of open participatory learning ecosystems23 that will support active, passion-based learning: Learning 2.0. This new form of learning begins with the knowledge and practices acquired in school but is equally suited for continuous, lifelong learning that extends beyond formal schooling.

From Educause:

The world has become increasingly “flat,” as Tom Friedman has shown. Thanks to massive improvements in communications and transportation, virtually any place on earth can be connected to markets anywhere else on earth and can become globally competitive.1 But at the same time that the world has become flatter, it has also become “spikier”: the places that are globally competitive are those that have robust local ecosystems of resources supporting innovation and productiveness.2 A key part of any such ecosystem is a well-educated workforce with the requisite competitive skills. And in a rapidly changing world, these ecosystems must not only supply this workforce but also provide support for continuous learning and for the ongoing creation of new ideas and skills.

If access to higher education is a necessary element in expanding economic prosperity and improving the quality of life, then we need to address the problem of the growing global demand for education, as identified by Sir John Daniel.3 Compounding this challenge of demand from college-age students is the fact that the world is changing at an ever-faster pace. Few of us today will have a fixed, single career; instead, we are likely to follow a trajectory that encompasses multiple careers. As we move from career to career, much of what we will need to know will not be what we learned in school decades earlier. We are entering a world in which we all will have to acquire new knowledge and skills on an almost continuous basis.

It is unlikely that sufficient resources will be available to build enough new campuses to meet the growing global demand for higher education—at least not the sort of campuses that we have traditionally built for colleges and universities. Nor is it likely that the current methods of teaching and learning will suffice to prepare students for the lives that they will lead in the twenty-first century.

Read full here: Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0

This is a good question: if private lenders leave government-backed student -loan programs what kind of student borrowers will become more affected?

From the Inside Higher Ed:

The phrases “credit crunch” and “student loans” are blaring with increasing frequency from newspaper headlines and TV news broadcasts. With growing numbers of banks and other loan providers announcing layoffs or plans to leave or limit participation in the student loan market, it is clear that the general problems in the financial markets have created a credit crunch crisis for student loan providers. But is there a loan crisis for student borrowers themselves?

That depends in large part on what kind of loans — and what kind of students — you’re talking about. (read A Student Loan Credit Crunch — But for Whom? (Inside Higher Ed) )

From the Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog:

Washington — Three more large student-loan providers are pulling out of the government-subsidized loan program.

The difference this time is that all three of them are banks.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that HSBC Bank USA, the M&T Bank Corporation, and the TCF Financial Corporation have all decided to stop offering federally guaranteed student loans following last year’s decision by Congress to cut lender subsidies by more than $20-billion over five years.

All three are among the program’s 50 largest lenders, together providing more than $560-million of the $119-billion in federally backed loans issued in the 2006 federal fiscal year, the Journal reported.

Several other lenders already have announced they are withdrawing from or reducing their participation in the federal loan program, prompting expressions of concern from colleges and some in Congress. Yet Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has given repeated assurances that hundreds of other lenders remain available to provide student-loan money.

The difference this time, however, is that the three lenders withdrawing from the program are all banks. Non bank lenders had been regarded as especially vulnerable to the combination of the subsidy cuts and the overall crisis in lending attributed to rising rates of mortgage defaults. Banks had been considered less vulnerable because they have their own customer deposits to draw upon as sources of cash.

Initial reaction appears to be falling along the lines already established, with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators calling the banks’ departures a “major concern,” and an Education Department official telling the Journal that the three banks appeared to have been major sources of lending at very few colleges. —Paul Basken

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