30 December 2013

SCHOLARatRISK: Unchained

Scholars at Risk
Dear SAR Friends,

Just two weeks ago, a scholar we have been helping escape threats in Iran finally arrived at a host university in Norway. It took months of work, involving many partners, to identify a campus ready to host, arrange the necessary support, get the invitation, and secure visas and tickets, all while working around restrictions in Iran. Even on his way to the airport, we all knew the scholar was not yet free. He could be turned back or detained at any time before takeoff, as so many others have been. Finally, we got the message that the plane was on its way. It said he was, finally, “unchained.”

Over the last year, Scholars at Risk helped over 250 scholarsescape threats and overcome pressures, including arranging positions at network-member campuses, providing advice, referrals and other services, and advocating for those held in prison or otherwise still under threat at home.  But there is still so much to do.  Right now we have over 200 pending cases of scholars needing our help. 
Will you help us to help them?  Will you please make a gift of $100, $500, $1000 or whatever level to Scholars at Risk today?  Every gift helps us protect more scholars.
Click here ("DONATE now") to make a contribution.   If you have already made your gift, thank you!

Rob Quinn
Executive Director
Scholars at Risk
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17 December 2013

WORLD BANK: Malaysia economic monitor: high-performing education 2013

Malaysia's economy regained momentum but yearly growth is set to decelerate in 2013. Export recovery into 2014 is expected to offset slower domestic demand and lead to a pick-up in growth. Fiscal consolidation is picking up pace with subsidy cuts, sin tax increases, and less generous public service bonuses. The full implementation of the minimum wage in January 2014 will provide an additional boost to households, as will increased cash transfers that are part of the government's strategy for subsidy rationalization and modernizing social protection. Malaysia performs very well with respect to access to education. Enrolments at primary and lower secondary levels are nearly universal and recent gains in pre-primary education have been note-worthy. Among East Asian countries that participated in the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Malaysian students only outperform their Indonesian peers, and lag even lower-income countries (including, by a wide margin, Vietnam). Expenditure on basic education is more than double that of other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and the decline in learning outcomes occurred while inputs to education were expanding and the size of the student population was falling. The key constraints to improving the quality of basic education thus relate not to the quantity of inputs but institutions. 46 percent of principals report a lack of qualified teaching staff as a constraint, and Ministry of Education (MOE) admits that in recent years some candidates enrolling in teacher training institutions did not meet minimum requirements of academic achievement at the secondary level. Lifting these constraints entails refining some of the measures recommended in the Education Blueprint for high-performing education system: (1) moving towards school-based decision-making; (2) improving parental involvement and enhancing accountability; and (3) improving incentives and recruitment for teachers. The government may consider piloting fixed contract recruitments with tenure contingent on performance, and tying retraining and up-skilling efforts with certification.

Scholars at Risk (SAR) Academic Freedom Media Review, December 7-13, 2013

Scholars at Risk monitors reports of threats to academic freedom and higher education communities worldwide, including media articles, blogs, opinion pieces and other announcements.  Unless otherwise indicated (such as in articles written by SAR), the language and views contained in the search results reflect those of the originating author and/or publication and do not necessarily represent the views of Scholars at Risk or its members, affiliates, board or staff. Archived media reviews are available at http://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu/Events-News/Academic-Freedom-News.php

Protecting higher education from attack – Report
Peta Lee, University World News, 12/13

U.S. Colleges Finding Ideals Tested Abroad
Tamar Lewin, The New York Times, 12/11

Ukraine Crackdown Turns Sinister
Inter Press Service, 12/10

Law Professor Fired for “Spreading Political Views”
Sophie Beach, China Digital Times, 12/10

Students 'persecuted for protest', says MP
Hannah Richardson, BBC, 12/9

Egypt govt. takes over Brotherhood-owned schools
Aswat Masriya, 12/9

Egypt puts Brotherhood leader on trial, students protest
Tom Perry And Shadia Nasralla, Reuters, 12/9

A Scholar Is Back Home and Defiant in Hungary
Paul Hockenos, The New York Times, 12/8

06 December 2013