Boon for the Indonesian teachers here

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Kota Kinabalu: Universitas Terbuka (UT), Indonesia’s 45th state university, paved the way for non-graduate Indonesian teachers in Community Learning Centres (CLC) all over Sabah to obtain degrees in their preferred fields while following the official opening of the university here, Monday.

Currently, the university has 53 undergraduate teachers from Kota Kinabalu Republic of Indonesia Consulate General (KJRI) and 23 from Tawau KJRI.

All 76 undergrads are volunteer teachers who teach children of Indonesian migrant workers in CLCs in the State.

The Indonesian government, in a show of appreciation for the sacrifice made by these teachers, has offered them full scholarships.

“This distance learning programme is offered to Indonesian teachers here with the hope that they will be able to complete their four-year degree here and when they return to Indonesia, they will be able to secure better jobs,” said Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Herman Prayitno.

“In developing Indonesia, I think there is no other way but through education. We want all Indonesians to be well educated,” he added.

Herman said this after officiating the opening of UT at Kota Kinabalu KJRI Office. Also present were Kota Kinabalu Indonesian Consul General Akhmad DH Irfan and UT Rector Prof. Tian Belawati.

“The Indonesian government had consented to awarding these teachers scholarships considering they are far from us and we want to lighten their financial burden.

“The university also welcomes applications from other Indonesians in Sabah who would like to pursue higher education in several fields such as accounting, communication and management.

“Those who wish to do their post-graduate programmes can also do them in UT,” he said.

In terms of collaborative programmes between UT and other local universities in the country, particularly Sabah, Herman said while there are already various collaborative programmes between universities in both countries, he does not see how UT can emulate traditional universities in forging cooperation with one another.

To be fair, he added, Indonesian and Malaysian universities have done numerous collaborative programmes such as student exchange and tutor exchange in the past and present.

“UT is a distant learning facility where students are not required to attend classes. They are supplied with text books, take their tests online. This system enables them to continue working while at the same time earn their degrees.

“The system had been put in place especially to cater to those who did not have the opportunity to further their studies immediately after graduating from high school.

“We hope that successful candidates will better skills, deeper knowledge and as teachers, they can be more professional in their careers,” he said.

In the meantime, Irfan said he is overjoyed that finally Indonesians in Sabah now have the chance to fulfil their dreams of obtaining higher education with candidates who work in oil palm plantations eagerly coming to the office since Sunday.

“The hundreds of kilometres in distance between their workplace and Kota Kinabalu did not deter their ambitions.

Some of them work so far away from Kota Kinabalu, 500 to 600 kilometres away and yet here they are.

“They have come not only to take part in this auspicious ceremony, but also to attend the inaugural lecture session by UT for this first batch under the Elementary School Teacher (PGSD) programme,” he said.

Prof Tian later delivered the lecture as well as a briefing to the undergraduates about the distance learning system, study tips, tips on how to use learning resources, online tutorial and effective study strategy.

HCT Reinforces UAEs Smart Technology Initiatives at 3rd Annual Mobile Learning Conference

(MENAFN Press) The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), the UAE’s largest higher education institution, showcased its leadership in the integration of mobile learning and technologies in education, when it inaugurated its Third Annual Mobile Learning Conference at the HCT-Dubai Men’s College this week.

This year’s conference, held under the theme of Towards a Smarter City, focuses on the impact of mobile technology on learning and society, and was convened with the full support and involvement from the Dubai Smart Government and the Watani Al Emarat Foundation. The opening day was comprised of 50 highly informative sessions and workshops.

The highly interactive event saw over 1,000 educational and technology experts from the HCT gather with representatives of UAE-based schools and post-secondary institutions, agencies and allied industry professionals, trainers and managers to share and discuss ideas and developments relating to the practical implementation of mobile and technology-based learning in the region.

The conference featured the GCC’s first ever mini MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). This will be online from April 6-9, 2015 and is free and open to the world. The HCT’s mini MOOC will consist of online workshops and discussion boards presented and moderated by mobile learning experts from around the globe. It was implemented by HCT to actively illustrate the changes in mobile learning and explore what is being achieved by the online courses. The mini MOOC can be accessed at http://calmdwc.com/lbd/lms/

The speakers for the conference’s opening day included:

HE Ahmed Bin Humaidan, Director General of Dubai Smart Government

Jon Bergmann, Chief Learning Officer of Flippedclass.com

Peter Ingle, Head of Sales for Panopto, EMEA

HE Ahmed Bin Humaidan spoke about the programmes being developed by Dubai institutions to process transactions with the public and also introduce smart solutions in all government dealings, in line with the vision and initiative of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to provide a world-class smart government in Dubai.

In delivering the conference’s welcoming address Dr Abdullatif Al Shamsi, Vice Chancellor of the HCT, praised the UAE’s strong leadership in promoting a knowledge economy. “We are very grateful for the ongoing support of the Dubai Smart Government and for the leadership and encouragement of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, and Ruler of Dubai,” he said.

“This year’s conference highlights all the technological developments that are useful in enhancing the experiences and skills of HCT students. Students globally demand innovative practices of teaching and learning and we must follow our Government’s lead and keep pace with developments in technology,” Dr Al Shamsi added.

The HCT Vice Chancellor noted that the conference reflected HCT’s ongoing commitment to excellence in education and focus on successful student learning outcomes in technology and innovation. “This commitment to the integration of mobile learning pedagogies have touched the interests and passion of the so called the ‘iPad generation’ which makes learning more exciting and therefore increased student engagement and retention,” he said.

“We are very proud of our commitment to providing our students with a technology-enhanced learning environment equipped with cutting-edge devices and practices. It is important that we continue to seek out and implement best practices in education, including mobile learning,” Dr Al Shamsi said.

“It is pleasing to see that this conference is taking the next step in information delivery by offering the workshops online throughout the conference “ allowing for learning and interaction wherever people are located, which is very important for students,” The Vice Chancellor added.

In his plenary address Jon Bergmann, who is considered one of the pioneers in the Flipped Class movement and is a co-founder of The Flipped Learning Network , showcased the international contemporary vision for transformation into smart learning in the classroom and programmes designed for promoting student interaction. A highlight of Mr Bergmann’s presence during the conference was his presentation of a bespoke workshop on flipped classrooms for HCT’s Emirati faculty members in the first afternoon session.

Peter Ingle, a distance communication expert, spoke in the second plenary session about the experience of Oxford University in the use of distance communication and the use of 500 other universities and colleges.

The conference’s 50 sessions and workshops, held on the first day, shared ideas and experiences in relation to the practical implementation of mobile technologies in education and society in general. Some of the session topics included:

Blogging in the Classroom

Create Websites and ePortfolios in Minutes on Your iPad

Creating “Live TV Style” Educational Video Podcasts

Paperless Classrooms

Using Video Streaming as Powerful Means for Enhancing Learning

Using e-Texts in Blackboard Learn to Enhance Student Engagement

Classrooms on the Go

Dr Saoud Al Mulla, Director of the HCT-Dubai Colleges, said: “The HCT believes that smart cities and a smart business environment emerge from smart learning. This is why the conference focuses on the factors that led to the prevalence of mobile learning worldwide. The conference will discuss the new concepts and features in the fields of academic technological advancements, in addition to the advantages of their utilization by UAE companies and institutions. The conference also gives proposals for overcoming challenges in this rapidly growing field.”

The conference also witnessed enthusiastic and active student participation from students enrolled in the HCT’s Faculty of Computer Information Science, both as delegates and as workshop presenters.

American School Launches Online Diploma Programs

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The seal of the American School

This is a watershed moment in American School’s long and glorious history.

Lansing, IL (PRWEB) April 06, 2015

American School is pleased to announce the launch of two online diploma programs which will add to its 118-year tradition of offering students the accredited high school courses they need at a cost they can afford.

“We’re excited to offer online diploma programs to students who prefer to learn that way,” American School President Gary R. Masterton said. “This is a watershed moment in American School’s long and glorious history.”

American School’s General High School Program is designed for students who plan to earn their high school diplomas and then enroll in a two-year college or enter the workforce in the field of their choice. Students in the online General High School Program will complete a total of 18 units of credit—12 required and 6 electives—and upon completion of all graduation requirements receive the regionally accredited American School diploma. The 12 required units of credit include:

  •     English 1
  •     English 2
  •     English 3
  •     English 4
  •     Economics (1/2 unit course)
  •     Government (1/2 unit course)
  •     United States History
  •     Health
  •     Integrated Math 1
  •     Integrated Math 2
  •     Pre-Algebra
  •     Environmental Science
  •     Life Management Skills (1/2 unit course)
  •     Thinking and Learning Strategies (1/2 unit course)

Popular electives for students in the General High School Program include business, career and technical education courses, among others.

American School’s College Preparatory Program is designed for students who plan to earn their high school diplomas and then enroll in a four-year college or professional school. Students in the online College Preparatory Program will complete 18 units of credit—13 required and 5 electives—and upon completion of all graduation requirements receive the regionally accredited American School diploma. The 13 required units of credit include:

  •     English 1
  •     English 2
  •     English 3
  •     English 4
  •     Economics (1/2 unit course)
  •     Government (1/2 unit course)
  •     United States History
  •     Health
  •     Algebra 1
  •     Algebra 2
  •     Geometry
  •     Biology
  •     Chemistry
  •     LIfe Management Skills (1/2 unit course)
  •     Thinking and Learning Strategies (1/2 unit course)

Popular electives for students in the College Preparatory Program include fine arts and world language courses, including ten world language courses offered through a partnership with Rosetta Stone, among others.

While American School is excited to offer online diploma programs, it has no plans to discontinue its popular paper-based courses and diploma programs which have helped more than three million students around the world graduate from high school.

“We know that many students will be excited to earn their American School diplomas online, but at the same time, we know that many students prefer to learn through more traditional means such as reading a book and mailing us their exams,” Masterton said. “We’re happy to be of service to both groups. In that sense, we’re a one-stop shop for anyone who is interested in earning an accredited high school diploma.”

To enroll in one of American School’s online or paper-based diploma programs, visit http://www.americanschool.org/enroll or call 866-260-7221.

American School is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools/Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS), Ai (Accreditation International) and NCPSA (the National Council for Private School Accreditation) and is recognized by the State of Illinois as a non-public high school.

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Civil rights attorney who won $500M looks at S.C. State case

Civil rights attorney Alvin O. Chambliss Jr. arrived in Orangeburg on Friday to get a first-hand view of what’s troubling South Carolina State University, the only publicly funded historically black university in South Carolina.

Chambliss, known for his successful argument before the U.S. Supreme Court more than two decades ago, helped secure more than $500 million for publicly funded historically black colleges and universities in Mississippi. The hard-fought case is known as Ayers vs. Fordice.

In mid-February, Orangeburg attorney Glenn Walters filed a lawsuit against the state of South Carolina claiming that there are duplications of academic programs at other colleges and universities throughout South Carolina and that puts S.C. State at a disadvantage.

The former and current students suing under the name The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in South Carolina Higher Education claim the state should have known that duplicating programs would hurt S.C. State, since research shows white students won’t go to a historically black college or university if the program they want is offered at a traditionally white one.

Whether or not the actions were intentional, the lawsuit claims the impact hurt S.C. State more than traditionally white institutions. For desegregation to occur, S.C. State must offer programs not offered by white schools.

Chambliss, in an interview Friday, said that he is visiting Orangeburg for a few days at Walters’ request as a potential consultant for the case.

“He tried the most important civil rights case since Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education with regards to HBCUs and higher education,” Walters said.

“What this man did was simply brilliant,” Walters noted.

Chambliss, emphasizing that he did not know particulars of S.C. State’s troubles, said “The problem with public black colleges is not necessarily funding. That’s an element, yes, but you’ve got to restructure, you’ve got to make them equal partners in the statewide system of higher education.”

“And when I’m saying equal partners, I don’t mean they’ve got to have equal funding, equal buildings (as white counterparts). I’m basically saying you’ve got to get them a niche to allow them to grow,” Chambliss added.

Chambliss said the reform of HBCUs is not a new topic.

“I graduated from Howard Law School in 1970 and back then we were talking about save and change black colleges,” he said.

“I’m basically saying this is a wake-up call for not just South Carolina State, but for all of these black colleges in the nation. … If you never seek superiority and you allow mediocrity to prevail, then it’s going to catch up with you,” he said.

The lawsuit was filed as S.C. State deals with a number of issues, including unpaid bills, declining enrollment and an effort by state lawmakers to remove all the university’s trustees. Also, the university is on probation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

“The situation (at S.C. State), it seems that it cries out for correction but that’s the fault of the state,” Chambliss said. “You can’t blame the institution. … That’s not to say the South Carolina State officials aren’t blameless.”

Chambliss explained that higher education institutions throughout the state must have the same oversight.

“I doubt very seriously that you would see that situation fester at Clemson or the University of South Carolina or the College of Charleston. So that in itself shows that there is some neglect, but that’s just a general statement,” Chambliss said.

Chambliss is a graduate of Jackson State University and earned his law degree from Howard University’s School of Law.

He is a former director of the Street Law Program at Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law and taught civil rights enforcement, federal court practice, appellate litigation and advanced trial advocacy.

He was listed as one of the most important 100 black Americans in the last century by Black Issues in Higher Education and is a recipient of the NAACP William Ming Award.

In the landmark Ayers case, which originated in 1975 when the late Jake Ayers Sr. sued the state of Mississippi and accused it of neglecting the state’s black universities, Chambliss successfully fought to put more money into the historically black institutions to end segregation and discrimination.

In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the predominantly black institutions in Mississippi were underfunded and the court called for an end the dual system there.

A district court settlement did not occur until a decade later, after the Mississippi Legislature pledged to fulfill its requirements.

Chambliss noted that a lawsuit, such as Ayers, is one for “long-distance runners” – not a quick fix.

“Are you prepared to reform the system?” Chambliss asked.

Chambliss said he prays, seeking guidance from the Lord about all aspects of his life. As for his future involvement with this lawsuit at S.C. State, he said that’s up to the guidance of the Lord and he’ll do what he feels God calls him to do.

Chambliss said he’s not interested in taking part in a strictly “equal funding” lawsuit concerning S.C. State.

His concerns include making the institution an “equal partner” with other publicly funded colleges in the state.

“Everything has to be educationally sound,” he said.

General Labor

Reports To: General Manager

Supervises: No direct reports

Summary: Assist in performing duties specific to various trades, in accordance with the following duties.

Restrictions (may vary by state): Cannot do the following duties because of age restrictions:

  • Cannot operate a vehicle on public streets/highways on business.
  • Cannot use hazardous equipment or operate heavy machinery (i.e. saws, cranes, hoists, etc) commonly found in this environment.
  • Cannot work in excavations of any depth.
  • Cannot work around or near chemicals common to this industry.
  • Cannot work as a flagger in a construction zone.

Work Hours (may vary by state): Minor employees under the age of 15 in this position are restricted to work hours between 7 AM and 7 PM except from June 1st to Labor Day when they can work 7 AM to 9 PM. This position may also work up to 40 hours in a scheduled workweek between June 1st and Labor Day. At all other times during the year minors in this position may only work a maximum of 3 hours on a school day and a maximum of 8 hours on a non-school day.

Qualifications:

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education/Experience:

Less than high school education; or up to one month related experience or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Language Ability:

Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals. Ability to write routine reports and correspondence. Ability to speak effectively before groups of customers or employees of an organization.

Math Ability:

Ability to add and subtract two-digit numbers and multiply and divide with 10’s and 100’s. Ability to perform these operations using units of American money and weight measurement, volume and distance.

Reasoning Ability:

Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written, oral or diagram form. Ability to deal with problems involving a few concrete variables in standardized situations.

Work Environment:

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently working in outdoor weather conditions and is occasionally exposed to wet/humid (non-weather), extreme heat and cold conditions and may work near moving mechanical parts; fumes or airborne particles; risk of electrical shock and vibration. Occasionally work involves high, precarious positions, wet/humid, extreme heat and cold conditions, work near fumes and airborne particles and toxic or caustic chemicals. The noise level in the work environment is usually loud.

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. While performing the duties of this Job, the employee is regularly required use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear. The employee is frequently required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. The employee is occasionally required to sit. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus.

Project will be located in Pecos and Monahans, TX

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EMS USA has been recognized by both the energy industry and the general business community. EMS USA has been nominated and presented with several awards including The World Oil Awards and the Houston Business Journal’s Small Business Award, two years in a row.

Safety is never an afterthought at EMS with a record 2,609,189 man hours worked in 2012 and EMR of 0.56, safety is designed into each and every job performed with monitoring and evaluations being included as elements of project effectiveness.


 

 

Congress gets into survey mode in Rajasthan

Eight months after the BJP government closed down 17,000 government schools in Rajasthan, dramatically pushing up the dropout rate largely among marginal communities, the Congress has decided to undertake a survey, starting in Jaipur’s Amber block, to map the damage.

Once the audit is over, a campaign to force the State government to reopen the closed schools, which represent almost 20 per cent of the total number till August 2014, will follow.

If last year’s general election demonstrated how much the Congress had lost touch with its constituents, the education survey is part of a bold new experiment by the party’s Rajasthan unit. It will hold the State accountable for issues that matter to the people, cutting across the urban-rural, religious, class and caste divides.

“We want to do a different kind of politics,” State Congress chief Sachin Pilot told The Hindu. “One that focusses on what sort of governance model we should have for education, health, police reforms. We want to involve people by concentrating on issues that affect them the most. We don’t want to do emotive politics that relates to issues like caste reservation.”

Mr. Pilot said the idea of conducting the survey came from the party’s State Scheduled Caste department in-charge, Ruchi Gupta, who had been travelling through the State, studying among several things, the impact of closure of the government schools on Dalit and tribal students.

The survey in Amber block, where 81 schools were merged, will be conducted jointly by the various Congress departments in the State, with the full backing of the Pradesh Congress Committee, an activity that will see Dalit and tribal issues being mainstreamed rather than remaining on the margins.

For instance, in Amber’s Banjaro ki Dhani, a hamlet barely 15 km from Jaipur, the entire student community, all Banjaras, dropped out, with many reduced to entering the trash trade, after the Rajasthan government announced its school merger policy. Since then, pressure from the Congress, non-governmental organisations and various communities has forced the State government to overturn its own orders repeatedly, reopening schools selectively and then, in a face-saving gambit, authorising the local education officer to reopen schools in the original building wherever more than 30 students had been enrolled.

In Amber, 24 schools were reopened, citing distance, high enrolment, the presence of a railway line, a deep ditch, a river, all of which made it hard for students from schools that had been shut down to make the journey to another.

Mr. Pilot pointed out that it was not just distance or physical barriers that had resulted in dropouts: in some cases, tribal or Dalit children found themselves unwelcome in schools dominated by Thakur or Jat students.

Ms. Gupta said that when she visited one such “upper caste” school in Amber, the teachers described the Banjara children as “troublemakers.”

Ineligibility to contest polls

The increasing dropout among children of deprived communities comes against the backdrop of the new law in the State to exclude all those who have not cleared Class VIII or Class X from contesting the panchayat and municipal elections, respectively.

One estimate says 80 per cent of rural population in Rajasthan has thus become ineligible in standing for local elections.

Mr. Pilot said: “If this legislation was aimed at ensuring lesser participation by the Congress — as our support base is greater among marginal, rural communities — by forcing Dalit, tribal and minority students to drop out, the numbers of those who cannot contest such elections will mount. Ironic, as 23 of the BJP’s MLAs and two of its MPs have not studied up to Class X.”

The Congress is apprehensive that the empty schools, which are headed for “privatisation,” will be handed over to the RSS. The condition for eligibility is that any private party coming forward must already be running at least 100 schools — the RSS’s Saraswati Shishu Mandirs fit the bill.

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Idaho attorney general: Former Boise aquarium operators mismanaged organization

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UPDATE: Girl injured in car-pedestrian accident on Boise’s Fairview Avenue

Idaho attorney general: Former aquarium operators mismanaged organization

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Ada sheriff offers update on triple murder

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GEN Education Hub is an integrated one-stop tertiary education information centre

KUCHING: GEN Education believes in a world where better education, both academic and applied, is accessible to every person. The first of its kind in Malaysia and South East Asia, the Hub is an integrated, one-stop tertiary education information centre to foster academic awareness and the importance of education amongst all students in Sarawak, as well as providing guidance in pursuit of their dream careers.

At the 70,000-square-foot Hub, GEN Education offers full range of tertiary educational activities and students recruitment events under one-roof with total capacity of 5,000 students. The main activities at the hub include professional education counseling and student placement services, psychometric tests, a tuition centre, dance studio, seminar facilities and exhibition space.

When it comes to education counseling and student placement services, GEN works with over 500 institutions in 14 countries including Malaysia, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Ireland, Korea, Japan, Netherland, Russia, and so on. For the past 10 years, GEN’s counselors serviced averagely 2,000 students each year.

If you’re worried about making the wrong career choice, take the specially compiled and structured Psychometric Test @ GEN by GEN Education in collaboration with education and industry partners. It is a comprehensive assessment which is a combination of a career test and a personality test based on professional findings and knowledge in psychology from the USA, UK, Taiwan, Australia, and Malaysia. Pusat Tuisyen Sentosa Cemerlang, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GEN Education Group, offers private tuition and revision workshops in a multitude of subjects for students from Form 4 to Form 6. Our tutors are professional educators who have extensive teaching experience and are committed to help students achieve their highest potential.

Soul Dance Studio, a partner company of GEN Education, Soul Dance embraces the belief of making the world a better place through dance. Soul Dance offers various types of classes which fall under the category of Street Dance, Belly Dance, and Fitness Classes. Passion is the main drive at Soul Dance, aiming to offer youths in Sarawak a balance and healthy lifestyle through dance and fitness.

At GEN Hub, you will also find bookable seminar rooms and halls of various sizes and shapes with capacity ranges from 10 to 500 people depending on set-up requirements. All rooms are equipped with teaching and learning facilities, perfect for any large or small educational events such as career and industrial talks, seminars or workshops, meetings, presentations, etc. Some events that have done at GEN Hub are: Chinese ink painting workshops, Healthy Lifestyle Day, Love Caring Day, seminars by Institute Kimia Malaysia, AGM and seminar by the Sarawak Counseling Teachers Association and workshops and seminars by Ministry of Health.

GEN Hub provides both indoor and outdoor promotional packages for institutions and industry players. There is a monthly average of 2,000 students participating in GEN activities. Located near the 7th Mile township of Serian-Kuching highway, it is estimated that there are 150,000 vehicles passing by GEN Education Hub daily which works out to be about 400,000 passengers inclusive those on all commercial and long distance buses.

At GEN Education, we believe a well-rounded education is essential, and hence, we complement our core education consultancy services with a variety of other activities made possible to all students, parents, schools, institutions of higher learning, and industry players. In a nutshell, regardless what you are seeking for in tertiary education and training, we have possible solutions for you. Please contact us for further details and queries:

GEN Education Hub is located at No.1, Jalan Batu 6-7 Penrissen, 93250 Kuching, Sarawak. Log on to their website (www.gen-education.com), Facebook (GEN Education Sarawak) or email marketing@gen-education.com. Alternatively, contact their representatives Andy Lee (Mobile: 012-809 1115; Email: andy@gen-education.com), Chua Lee Lang (Mobile: 012-366 9069; Email: leelang.chua@gen-education.com) or Ida Sebi (Mobile: 011-2518 3797; Email: ida.sebi@gen-education.com).

They will be participating in the upcoming Borneo Post International Education Fair (BPIEF), from March 21-22, 10am to 6pm at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching. BPIEF’s exhibitors include universities, colleges, business schools, institutes, training schools, education consultants and agents, and the State Education Department in addition to service providers, and scholarship and education fund providers. Other events and services include sideline talks by educationists, psychometrics tests, free medical checkup by Sarawak Nursing Professional Association, a blood donation drive organised by the Sarawak General Hospital blood bank and a photo booth by Peekture Purfect.

For more information about the event, contact BPIEF Secretariat at 082-330213, email to secretariat@bpief.com or visit www.bpief.com to keep updated with other exhibitors. Check out their Facebook page, or Twitter account via @theBPIEF.

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Nepali surgeon's hunger strike opens healthcare debate

(MENAFN – The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) Nepali surgeon’s fast-to-death over alleged hospital corruption puts government in panic.

A Nepali surgeon’s fast-unto-death against alleged corruption in the medical education system has galvanized civil society and sparked calls for wider reform.

When Nepal’s prime minister and chancellor of Tribhuvan University Sushil Koirala recently gave the green light for the national university to grant new affiliations to private medical colleges, he could hardly have guessed the backlash it would unleash.

Since the decision was made earlier in February to proceed with affiliations that will allow select private colleges to provide medical tuition, the protest of veteran orthopedic surgeon, professor and activist Dr. Govinda KC, who is currently in the 10th day of a fast-unto-death at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, has gained support from a broad cross-section of Nepali society.

The doctor, whose condition is reported to be increasingly critical, has said that his fast will end only when the government implements past agreements and recognizes the ten demands he is making in an attempt to reform Nepal’s health education system.

“Dr. KC is raising genuine demands. He wants to change education in the health sector and he is raising important issues,” Dr. Mukti Ram Shrestha, general secretary of the Nepal Medical Association told The Anadolu Agency. He said that the focus of politicians should be changed to enforcing anti-corruption measures and to improving the health sector.

In support of Dr. KC, resident doctors at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital have refused to treat hundreds of patients seeking medical attention in the outpatient department, and have now boycotted all but emergency services, while the Nepal Medical Association has shut down outpatient services at hospitals across the country.

Students at the university’s Institute of Medicine, which is reported to be obstructing the affiliation process, have shunned classes and publicly burnt report cards.

Professional groups, including the Nepal University Teachers’ Association, as well as human rights activists and civil society leaders, have also expressed solidarity with Dr. KC.

The prime grievances of the doctor and his supporters center on allegations of corruption within Nepal’s medical education sector, and what they claim is the pandering of universities to private medical colleges with deep pockets, through suspect credentials.

Critics of the sector argue that in recent years health education in Nepal has become increasingly commercialized, with colleges paying billions of rupees in set up and affiliation costs, which is then recouped by overcharging students and offering inadequate services to patients at on-campus health centers.

Badri Aryal, a Tribhuvan University student representative protesting in support of Dr. KC, says that irregularities and corruption have tainted the medical education sector, and have flourished amid a lack of political leadership.

“In Nepal, for decades, medical education has been only accessible for the rich,” he said, adding, “Establishing medical colleges has become a business no different to poultry farming.”

In a press statement released before the hunger strike was launched, Dr. KC accused the government of reneging on past agreements by moving forward with new affiliations without a national framework to ensure a uniform standard of education, as promised by the prime minister in early 2014.

“The situation has become even more serious after the government has taken dangerous steps that will have serious impacts on medical education and health services,” read the statement.

According to KC, political parties have succumbed to the interests of a powerful medical education lobby.

“Political leaders responsible for writing a new constitution are busy serving the interests of the medical mafia. My hunger strike is against all of them,” KC told journalists on the second day of his fast.

Despite KC’s protest and the broad support it has received, university officials say they will move forward with their plans.

Speaking in the capital last week, Tribhuvan University Rector Guna Nidhi Neupane told reporters that administrators would not halt the affiliation process as a result of KC’s protest, claiming that to do so would be irresponsible.

“We had issued notice about granting affiliation to medical colleges that have infrastructure and meet the criteria. So we cannot backtrack on the decision just because someone is protesting,” he said.

According to Neupane, the Institute of Medicine’s decision to obstruct affiliations would be legally scrutinized, and, if necessary, overruled.

Still, some health professionals have questioned the wisdom of Dr. KC’s protest.

Dr Subhash Lakhe, a public health professional working in the country’s mid-western region, has argued that given the demand for medical education in Nepal, if successful, Dr. KC’s protest would succeed only in driving students overseas. Dr Lakhe further claimed that the focus of KC’s protest is too narrow and fails to address wider problems within the sector.

Similarly, Dr Banshidhar Mishra, a Constituent Assembly member for the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and project director at Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences, a private institution currently seeking affiliation with Tribhuvan University, questioned Dr. KC’s integrity and labeled his actions as childish.

“Halting affiliation to four medical colleges, which had received the Letter of Intent from the Ministry of Education two years ago, in the name of new rules and regulations is not fair,” he is reported as saying.

The present turmoil has resulted in political leaders attempting to distance themselves from association with private medical education providers.

Though lawmakers from the ruling coalition partner Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) have canvassed within the Constituent Assembly to move forward with affiliations, some party leaders have reiterated their commitment to drafting a medical education policy, and have expressed support for Dr. KC’s protest.

Maoist parties, both within and outside of the Constituent Assembly, have likewise expressed solidarity with Dr. KC, with Baburam Bhattarai, senior leader of the mainstream Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), expressing regret for failing to deal with the issue adequately during his time in office. The Maoist-led 30-party opposition alliance is also supporting Dr. KC.

Leaders of the Nepali Congress, meanwhile, have visited the protesting doctor, and have publicly expressed flexibility regarding the activist’s demands, while the right-of-center Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal have given their support.

After a period of inactivity, and what many have perceived as indifference, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, who is from the Nepali Congress, has now sought to solve the crisis, engaging in a series of talks on Monday with professional bodies and industry insiders. A breakthrough is yet to occur, even as Dr. KC’s health deteriorates and he refuses to be transferred to the intensive care unit.

According to Aryal, the current protest is not leveled at any one party, but the general co-option of political leaders by what he calls the vested interests of the medical education industry.

“Whoever the ruling party is, they get involved in corruption,” he said.

Though the Nepali public has been tolerant of the endless delays in constitution drafting, if a political solution regarding the present crisis is not found, and Dr. Govinda KC succumbs to complications as a result of his fast, the government is likely to be held directly culpable.

As one social media user posted Monday, if the government fails to handle the crisis adequately, the public could soon be mourning the government, instead of the doctor.