Sunday, October 30, 2011

UN's Global Education Digest 2011

Global Education Digest 2011: Comparing Education Statistics Across the World

The UN has just released its annual education digest. This document contains a wealth of international statistical data on the state of education across the various continents and socio-political landscapes.

Here are some of the highlights:
  • The number of students attending secondary school around the world is increasing dramatically and governments are struggling to meet the rising demand, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where there are enough school places for just 36% of children of age to enrol
  • Globally, secondary schools have been accommodating almost one hundred million more students each decade, with the total number growing by 60% between 1990 and 2009. But the supply is dwarfed by demand as more countries approach universal primary education
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in which the gender gap is getting worse at the upper secondary level, with 8 million boys enrolled compared to 6 million girls; and girls also face significant barriers in South and West Asia
And for data geeks, the report contains a wealth of data on enrolment and teaching staff, measures of progression and completion, youth literacy, international flow of mobile students, etc.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ontario School Board Cutbacks and School Libraries

Library at the De La Salle College of Saint Be...Image via WikipediaOntario school libraries appear to be an easy target for school board cutbacks; unfortunate in many ways, but especially in lower-income areas where access to computers and the Internet at home is not a given. And the decision to target school libraries becomes even more bizarre in light of the provinces EQAO how are these grade 3 and 6 students to get the supplementary readings, books, etc to help with their classroom work?!

Things are getting drastic in some boards. Last spring the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board laid off all but four of its library technicians and dismantled all its libraries. It's goal was to divvy up the library books in its elementary schools and distribute them to individual classrooms instead. Of course, teachers have plenty of time on their hands to pursue collection development and management to ensure their collections remain fresh and relevant...

A recent study by the parent-led non-profit group People for Education found that 56 per cent of elementary schools in the province have a teacher-librarian, down from about 80 per cent 10 years ago. And to make matters worse for students, hundreds of municipal libraries across the province are also facing some major cutbacks.

The above study seems to contradict the government's position on school libraries. A 2008 news release, More Library Staff For Ontario Students, stated that "Ontario will provide school boards across the province with an additional $40 million over the next four years to hire about 160 more library staff." 4 years, eh, that means the 160 extra library staff hiring proposal will be complete come, what happened in Windsor-Essex? Is the People for Education report working with very incorrect data?

It's all a little confusing, but one thing is sure, school libraries are not doing well.

Focus on Education: A Weekly Ontario News Update - October 28, 2011

I've decided to post news items again because I find myself bundling weekly collections for my own why not share them.

Focus on Education: A Weekly Ontario News Update - October 28, 2011 has 20 articles from the past week. Here are some of the news items covered:
  • Cheaters prosper because of school boards' zero intolerance
  • Time to bring controversy, politics into classroom, experts say
  • iPad helps Toronto special needs kids learn
  • Kindergartners Blend E-Learning, Face-to-Face Instruction
and more, see

Friday, October 21, 2011

Information and Communications Accessibility Standards - What this new regulation means to schools and school libraries

This past summer the Ontario Government filed regulation 119/11, the Integrated Accessibility Standards. O. Reg. 191/11 establishes the accessibility standards for each of the three following areas:
  • Information and Communications
  • Employment
  • Transportation
The following post is a review of the Information and Communications Standards (Part II of the regulation), and how they apply to libraries.