Tag: education

Academics warn of ‘chilling effect’ of Hong Kong security law | Education

Some of the world’s leading scholars on China have called for a united international front in defence of university freedoms, amid claims of an increased Chinese threat to academic inquiry since the passing of Hong Kong’s national security law.

Individual universities will be picked off unless there is a common agreement to resist Chinese state interference in academic research and teaching on China, a group of 100 academics including scholars in the US, UK, Australia and Germany say.

They highlight the threat posed by article 38 of the sweeping national security law, which states that the law is applicable to individuals who live outside the territory and individuals who do not come from there.

The law was imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing in June after more than a year of pro-democracy protests.

The academics say article 38 raises the unsettling prospect that students travelling through Hong Kong and China face being handed lengthy prison sentences on the basis of academic work deemed to be subversive by Chinese authorities.

The signatories, representing 71 academic institutions across 16 countries, cite claims that China-related modules are being dropped and writings self-censored by students for fear of reprisals.

“Universities are supposed to be a place for vigorous debate, and to offer a safe space for staff and students to discuss contentious issues without fear or favour,” says a letter signed by the academics. “The national security law, which under article 38 is global in its scope and application, will compromise freedom of speech and academic autonomy, creating a chilling effect and encouraging critics of the Chinese party-state to self-censor.”

Dr Andreas Fulda, a senior fellow at the University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute and one of the initiators of the letter, said: “Several students – both from the United Kingdom and from mainland China – have told me in private that they are concerned that comments made in class or essays will be used as evidence against them.

“Universities cannot meet this challenge alone. A united front of academic leaders, politicians and senior government officials is needed to mount a common defence of our academic freedoms. We must call out the national security law for what it is: a heavy-handed attempt to shut down critical discussion of China, antithetical to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

He added: “It is widely known that the Chinese party-state is weaponising students to monitor their university instructors in mainland China and Hong Kong. Such attempts to instrumentalise students do not stop at China’s border. Prof Vanessa Frangville has revealed that the Chinese embassy in Brussels tried to hire Brussels campus students to express their disapproval of a Uighur demonstration in 2018.”

A lecturer in Sinology at the University of Leipzig recently told the Hong Kong activist Glacier Kwong that “his students from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China asked if they could drop his class, because they worried about being associated with the criticism others made of the Chinese Communist party in class”.

A separate group of

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Meghan Markle Says Denying Education To Girls Is ‘Robbing’ Society Of Cultural Richness


  • Meghan Markle says educating girls opens the door for “societal success”
  • Markle and Prince Harry joined Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai for a video call on International Day of the Girl Child
  • Prince Harry shared that educating young girls can also help address climate change

Meghan Markle recently delivered an important message, saying that denying education to girls is like “robbing” the society of its cultural richness.

Markle and husband Prince Harry recently joined Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai on a video call and discussed how education plays an important role in the lives of young girls on International Day of the Girl Child, which was observed Sunday.

“When young girls have access to education, everyone wins and everyone succeeds. It just opens the door for societal success at the highest level. It’s not just robbing society of the cultural richness that comes with educating young girls. It’s also robbing these young girls of childhood,” Markle said during the call.

Markle also noted that the dynamics of the community are “shifted” when women take over and talk about important topics such as policy change and legislation.

“What I had realized very early on was that when women have a seat at the table, conversations in terms of policy change, conversations in terms of legislation and the dynamics of the community are all shifted. And when you have to see how you get a woman to embrace her voice, you have to start with where she is a young girl,” Markle said.

Prince Harry also opened how educating girls can also help in tackling climate change.

“The importance of girls’ education to help defer climate change is absolutely critical. So much is at stake when we don’t give a young woman the opportunity to learn and to get an education,” Prince Harry said during the video call.

Their remarks come almost a month after the royal couple donated $130,000 to an organization named CAMFED, a pan-African non-profit that supports the education of young women and girls.

“No better way to celebrate what really matters. Thank you to everyone who donated!” Markle and Harry said after the donation.

International Day of the Girl Child, celebrated annually on Oct. 11 as declared by the United Nations, recognizes girls’ rights and the challenges girls face around the world.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 05: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend The Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 05, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images) Photo: Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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UK Government’s Department For Education Broke GDPR Data Protection Laws

The UK’s Department for Eduction (DfE) breaches GDPR in the way it handles pupil data, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found.

The ICO first began probing the DfE last year after it became the subject of numerous complaints. Human rights groups Liberty and DefendDigitalMe raised complaints about the department for failing to allow parents to see their child’s record in the National Pupil Data, its refusal to correct inaccurate date, and for “secretly” sharing information belonging to minors with the UK Home Office.

At the time, the ICO said: “DFE is failing to comply fully with its data protection obligations, primarily in the areas of transparency and accountability, where there are far-reaching issues, impacting a huge number of individuals in a variety of ways.”

The ICO released the findings of its months-long audit this week and has concluded that there are widespread data protection failings at the DfE. Of its 139 recommendations for improvement, 60% are classed as urgent or high priority.

It found, for example, that the DfE is not providing “sufficient privacy information to data subjects”, that no data protection impact assessments (DPIAs) are being carried out at the correct and early stages of cases, and that no experts are involved in the creation of data storage or retention record system.

The ICO also found that there is a lack of awareness among staff of data protection, “potentially upping the risk of data breaches”.

“There is no formal proactive oversight of any function of information governance, including data protection, records management, risk management, data sharing and information security within the DfE, which along with a lack of formal documentation, means the DfE cannot demonstrate accountability to the GDPR,” the ICO’s report noted.

“Limited reporting lines, monitoring activity and reporting means there is no central oversight of data processing activities. As a result, there are no controls in place to provide assurance that all personal data processing activities are carried out in line with legislative requirements.”

In a statement, the DfE said it treats the handling of personal data “extremely seriously” and “thanks the ICO for its report which will help us further improve in this area.”

“Since the ICO completed its audit, we’ve taken a number of steps to address the findings and recommendations, including a review of all processes for the use of personal data and significantly increasing the number of staff dedicated to the effective management of it,” a DfE spokesperson said.

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Open Society University Network, Cofounded by Bard College, Has Been Elected Cochair of UN Refugee Education Taskforce

Blended learning course for refugees, Jordan 2019.

The Open Society University Network (OSUN)—led by Bard College and Central European University with support from the Open Society Foundations—has been elected as cochair of the Taskforce on Third Country Education Pathways, launched by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).

OSUN will cochair the taskforce with The World University Service of Canada, leading representatives from the Japan ICU Foundation, the Government of Portugal, Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, the Government of Canada, Unione delle Università del Mediterraneo, and the Institute of International Education, among others.

Dr. Rebecca Granato, associate vice president for global initiatives& at Bard College, will represent the Open Society University Network on UNHCR's& Taskforce on Third Country Education Pathways.

Dr. Rebecca Granato, associate vice president for global initiatives at Bard College.

The task force is charged with developing best practices for higher education pathways that respond to the needs of refugees, internally displaced individuals, and others displaced by crises, as well as leading the development of advocacy strategies to ensure access and the establishment of minimum standards for institutions seeking to host students.

Dr. Rebecca Granato, associate vice president for global initiatives at Bard College, will represent OSUN. “I look forward to this work as part of our wider mission to develop the OSUN Microcolleges for Connected Learning Initiatives for displaced and host-community learners.”

Learn more about the work of the taskforce in the UNHCR Doubling Our Impact Report.

Post Date: 09-30-2020

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