For the thousands of foreign workers employed as domestics in countries around the world, jobs often carry unanticipated dangers. Recruited by international agents who promise lucrative jobs in exchange for a large fee, these workers often discoverthat legal protections from exploitation or abuse are all but nonexistent. With no
recourse, some are forced into virtual slavery
or resort to crime and prostitution to survive.
In the wake of renewed calls to reduce the age to 18, the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcoholand Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention, located at EDC, has developed a fact sheet and resource bank.
Youth who have survived a natural disaster often have insights that can help their communities prepare for future crises. International agencies recently tapped that knowledge, turning to survivors of the tsunami in Indonesia, an earthquake in Pakistan, and others who had encountered near-death situations or witnessed severe damage to their communities.
For the third time in as many years, the Bush administration has visited an EDC program overseas. In June, during her multi-nation trip to Africa, First Lady Laura Bush visited two EDC projects, meeting with students and teachers who use EDC radio programs for basic education, life skills, HIV/AIDS prevention, and teacher training. Mrs. Bush, accompanied by her daughter, Jenna, visited schools in Zambia and Mali that use the EDC-created programs. The work is funded by USAID through President Bush’s Africa Education Initiative.
Everyone is born with “an affinity for mathematics,” according to EDC’s Wayne Harvey. “But people typically underestimate their mathematical abilities,” he says. What turns many of us off is not mathematics itself, but what Harvey calls “school mathematics” or “textbook mathematics,” which he feels amounts to little more than learning the results of someone else’s work.
At a community center in Bangkok, small-business owners are logging on to the Internet for the first time, using Microsoft Word, Excel spreadsheets, and other business software. These local entrepreneurs—including fruit sellers, garment makers, and artisans—are learning their technology skills courtesy of the multinational computer firm Hewlett Packard (HP).
Business and education leaders from the United States
and the United Kingdom have teamed up to draw on each other’s strengths and to share ideas for improving engineering instruction. The result: Partnerships for Tomorrow, a collaboration to explore approaches to science, technology, engineering, and math—commonly referred to as “STEM.”
Attacks on civilians, torture, the use of child soldiers or biological weapons—all are prohibited in war. But not everyone is familiar with the international humanitarian laws that govern armed conflict. To introduce students to the concepts and content of these rules, EDC and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) developed the Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) program.
EDC is making history with an elementary girls school in Pakistan. The country’s first-ever solar-powered resource center, located within the school, is powered only by 28 panels bolted on the roof producing an average of 1,800 watts of energy at any moment during daylight hours.
Where do teachers find good material for geography, science, and social studies lessons? National Geographic is often a first choice. The venerable magazine has a trove of materials available online—from lesson plans to printer-friendly maps to interactive games and activities. When it was time for National Geographic to update its educational Web sites, the media company turned to EDC’s Center for Children and Technology.
When students play with TinkerPlots, the colorful software program, they can instantly turn numbers into graphs.
Using dot plots, pie charts, scatter plots, histograms, and images of their own creation, students can see patterns and analyze data that might have otherwise been obscure. A new book by EDC, Digging into Data with TinkerPlots, gives students in grades 6–8 hands-on activities to explore data, make conjectures, create and interpret graphs, and write evidence-based conclusions.
Andrea Osborne-Smith, program manager for EDC’s education initiative in
Indonesia recently returned from Aceh, the remote region ravaged in the
tsunami of 2004. Andrea was there to train kindergarten teachers
to use EDC’s interactive audio programs. The lessons, developed with
local educators, weave songs and stories into literacy and numeracy
instruction. She spoke with us from her office in Jakarta.