Toli Papadopoulos, Author at Education Matters Magazine - Page 167 of 172

Toli Papadopoulos

Melbourne Discovery Groups

Melbourne Discovery Groups: Solutions for school accommodation

Melbourne Discovery Groups knows school accommodation. Planning a camp can be stressful but we make it easy. If you want a stress free, easy and educational camp that, most importantly, is full of fun? Then Melbourne Discovery Groups should be your number one choice.

We are the premier provider of school group accommodation in Melbourne. Ideally located in the heart of the city and right on the doorstep of everything the city has to offer. Take advantage of the free tram zone to get to all of Melbourne’s major attractions or make your way by foot through Melbourne’s famous laneways.

School camps are what we do with free itinerary planning, on-site catering and numerous facilities such as a conference room and cinema. Our expert groups consultants will help you every step of the way and make sure your school camp goes off without a hitch and that you get to see the most that Melbourne has to offer. Melbourne Discovery Groups has you covered.

DNA on a smartwatch

Genetic link to education attainment revealed

A recently released, global study has identified 74 genes that could play a role in how long a person attends school, and whether or not they go to university.

Researchers, including a team from The University of Queensland (UQ), analysed genetic information from 300,000 people to determine any links to education attainment.

Professor Peter Visscher of UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute, said genetics may account for as much as 20 per cent variation in how much schooling a person received.

“Your level of education determines so many other aspects of how your life unfolds,” Professor Visscher said. “There is a widely-accepted relationship between educational attainment and health outcomes, but we don’t fully understand its causes.

“And that’s one reason for conducting this research – because of its relevance for broader medical research.”

In one example of how the research has raised further questions for investigation, results indicate the genes associated with higher educational attainment were associated with decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease on average.

“These tiny genetic differences may ultimately help to understand why some people are more susceptible to early cognitive decline than others,” said Professor Visscher.

The research, conducted by the Social Science Genetic Asasociation Consortium was published in Nature.


YGAP: Using small change to drive big change

It’s 2016 and access to education continues to be a global challenge. 1 in 5 people are unable to read or write. Over 124 million kids were denied access to education. Of those, 41 percent will never go to school. These are staggering statistics; that is over five times Australia’s population who are denied the opportunity to learn.

Across Australia, there’s over $150 million worth of five-cent coins in circulation- and it takes only a handful of these coins, just $5, for YGAP to improve access to a quality education for a child.

5 cent piece
Think the five-cent piece is worthless? YGAP has a great use for them in improving the lives of underprivileged children around the world.

YGAP is an international development not-for-profit that finds and backs early stage ventures founded by local leaders in some of the world’s toughest communities. We call these leaders impact entrepreneurs. We believe with our support they have the ability to improve the lives of one million people living in poverty by 2018.

We firmly believe that education is the solution to ending global poverty, so we started the 5cent campaign, encouraging Australians to collect small change to drive big change during the month of May. The concept of collective impact is the driving force behind YGAP’s 5cent Campaign. Individually a five-cent coin has very little value, but collectively they can achieve significant social change.

All proceeds raised by the 5cent campaign will support our local leaders removing barriers to accessing education, providing children with the resources they need to stay in school and increasing their capacity to succeed.

It probably helps to explain just how some of our impact entrepreneurs who focus on education could spend the money raised from the 5cent campaign.

  • With $5, Lyndon Galea from Eat Up Australia can provide school lunches to a partner school for a week.
  • With $25, Carol Kimari can pay for a teacher and a volunteer for the day at a library in Kenya.
  • With $45, Sharon Rapetswa could help a primary school student gain access to one year of study material, transport and lessons in South Africa.
  • With $75, Sihle Tshabalala could help a high school drop out get access to one month of technical education to ensure they get a good job in South Africa.
  • With $150, Josephine Kulea can cover 2 months of tuition for a child rescued from forced marriage in Kenya.
  • With $200, Nonhalanhla Masina could help cover 3 months of tuition costs for one student in South Africa.

By supporting 5cent, YGAP will find and support more entrepreneurs like these, making education accessible for every child.

At the 2000 Millennium Summit, the largest gathering of world leaders in history adopted the Millennium Development Goals. One of those aims was to achieve universal primary education by 2015. UNESCO reported that this would require:

  • US$16 billion
  • Two million more teachers
  • The world’s poorest countries needed almost four million new classrooms in the world’s poorest countries, to accommodate those who are not in school

While progress was made, the deadline passed and millions of children are still not in school.

The time to step up is now. Join YGAP’s 5cent movement – sign up to collect, donate or commit to five dollars a day for the month of May.

Elliot Costello is the founder of YGAP, an enterprising group of individuals dedicated to changing the lives of underprivileged people.

Child and blackboard

Study: Pattern learning underlies language development

New research shows how a child’s grasp of language is learned, while also being ‘inextricably’ linked to his or her ability to recognise patterns.

The study, produced by researchers from the University of Sydney and from Australian National University (ANU), found children who were better at identifying non-verbal patterns also tended to have a batter knowledge of grammar.

The researchers also used controls in order to take intelligence and memory into account, and still pattern recognition was strongly associated with language development.

This is of interest as the question of how some children learn faster than others has been hotly debated for centuries.

Evan Kidd is Associate Professor at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. He says the findings counter traditional theories of that aptitude for grammar in language is innate, not learnt.

“For a long time people thought of grammar as some sort of special cognitive system, like a box in our brain that we are born with, but our study shows that language proficiency is associated with learning – which helps to explain why some people pick it up faster than others,” said Professor Kidd.

“These findings are exciting because in the long-term they could help us develop strategies to assist children who may not be typically developing for their age.”

The study included a sample of 68 children aged six to eight years, assessing them with two separate tests. One test evaluated grammatical knowledge while the other was a visual pattern learning task.

“The study tells us that we have a whole lot of little statisticians running around,” said Associate Professor Joanne Arciuli, co-author of the study and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow.

“Unbeknownst to children themselves their brains are constantly computing these patterns or statistics – for example which words co-occur regularly, which words follow others, and different contexts in which words are used.”

As a result of the study, the Australian Research Council has provided funding for a further three-year study to be undertaken in order to investigate the underlying cognitive mechanisms of language development in children.

The findings are published in the journal, Child Development.


Federal budget 2016

Budget 2016: Mixed bag for education spending

The Federal Government has released its budget for the year ahead, announcing a total spend in education of $33.7 billion, yet not all areas of education are set to benefit.

Despite the spending, the government announced cuts of $152.2 million over four years to the Higher Education Participation Program, as well as $20.9 million over four years from the Promotions of Excellence in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Program.

By comparison the $33.7 billion in spending includes an increase of $1.2 billion of school funding, to be delivered between 2018 and 2020, as well as $118.2 million over the next two years going towards students with a disability.

As pointed our by Senior Lecturer in Education Policy at the University of Melbourne, Glenn Savage, the increase in funds falls ‘short of the $4.5 billion promised by Labor between 2018-19 as part of the Gonski reform model’.

However, the increase is nevertheless likely to be warmly received by educators who have been fearing cuts, with the government previously hinting it might cease all funding to public schools altogether.

‘The funding increase is out of step with education minister Simon Birmingham’s repeated claim that funding does not matter as much as other features of schooling such as curriculum or quality teachers. If this were truly the case, then why the funding increase?’ Savage questions in a brief letter to SBS News.

What funding does exist for schools is expected to be delivered on a needs-based plan. which may require students as young as five or six facing tests in order to determine whether they qualify for extra assistance.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said these changes have been introduced to improve student performance.

‘It is completely unacceptable that the performance of our students in fundamental skills like literacy and numeracy continues to slip even while our funding continues to significantly increase,’ Birmingham told the Sunday Telegraph.

The changes also include minimum standards for students to pass Year 12, as well as changes to teacher pay structure, with performance set to be rewarded over length of service.

Several issues have also been deferred in this budget, with higher education reform pushed back one year and little to be seen for early learning.