Douglas Todd: Chinese students’ river of cash unlikely to dry up

Speculation, of course, but my guess:

A business college at the University of Illinois has taken out an insurance policy against the potential catastrophic loss of revenue from high-fee-paying students from China.

Educators and social-media commentators are expressing fears the river of money flowing from Chinese students into Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia will dry up because of a brewing trade war and the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.

The government of China has said it has more than 600,000 students studying abroad, the vast majority of them in English-language countries. Highly desired Canada has more than 186,000 of them, according to China’s Toronto consulate (the federal government’s figure is slightly lower). That means China’s young people make up roughly one in three of all 500,000 international students in Canada.

Despite China’s ambassador to Canada last week hammering English-speaking countries as “arrogant” and rife with “white supremacy” for their defence of Meng’s arrest, there is no sign that China’s leaders are ready to follow the lead of Saudi Arabia’s rulers, who reacted to Canada’s human rights comments last year by calling back most of the Saudi students in Canada.

“I don’t think the Chinese will be as petulant as the Saudis were, or as unsophisticated, although they may make more subtle changes over time,” Andrew Griffith, a migration researcher and former senior director in Canada’s Immigration Department, said.

Canada could even attract more Chinese students in the future in part because the number entering the U.S. appears to be flattening out, possibly because of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about China and immigrants. That’s why Illinois business college dean Jeffrey Brown, realizing his school had become highly dependent on Chinese students’ money, took out an insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London.

Canada hosts eight times more Chinese students per capita than the U.S., suggesting this country’s educational institutions are more dependent on, if not addicted to, their fees than U.S. colleges. Some higher-education researchers are calling the phenomenon “academic capitalism.”

It’s the expanding trend in English-language countries to make up for steadily eroding taxpayer funding of schools, colleges and universities by capitalizing on the full fees paid by students from mostly well-off families from around the world, with China providing by far the biggest group.

Some Canadian educators, and researchers like Mengwei Su and Laura Harrison of Ohio University, say the intense concentration of Chinese students in Western schools brings with it drawbacks, however, mainly for the students themselves.

Even though Western universities welcome Chinese students as “a particularly lucrative market,” Su and Harrison found many of the young Chinese struggle with English and integrating into Western culture — partly because they are ending up in classrooms and living situations dominated by other students from China.

“Seventy per cent of the students in my class are from China,” one Chinese student told the Ohio researchers, describing the sense of social segregation. “The class is not much different from that in our country,” said another Chinese pupil. One young woman from China opted to study in the Netherlands rather than North America, saying, “I want to avoid too many Chinese students.”

Against a backdrop in which the taxpayer-funded proportion of the operating budgets of B.C.’s public universities has drastically declined in recent decades, more than half the foreign undergraduate students at Simon Fraser University, more than 2,700, now come from China.

The University of B.C. has 5,000 students from China, almost one third of its international student population. Scores of public high schools, colleges and two-room private language institutes also take in hefty fees from the roughly 50,000 Chinese students in B.C., mostly Metro Vancouver.

The dark blue at the top of this chart indicates more than half the undergraduate international students at Simon Fraser University since 2011 have come from China. (Source: SFU)

The federal Liberal government is busily wooing more Chinese students, however. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen is following the enthusiastic lead of former minister John McCallum and saying “We’ll do whatever we can” to bring in an increasing number of students from China.

Hussen maintains international students in Canada, whose numbers have been recently jumping by roughly one quarter annually, funnel $11.6 billion a year into Canada’s economy, adding they also enhance “cultural exchange.” To make it easier for more Chinese students to jet across the Pacific Ocean to Canada, the Liberal government recently opened seven new visa centres in China. Hussen acknowledged such students can contribute to the housing and rental squeeze in cities such as Toronto and Metro Vancouver, particularly since many offshore parents buy Canadian homes for their offspring.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says “We’ll do whatever we can” to bring in an increasing number of students from China.

Western “higher education institutions are slowly evolving into a corporate-like enterprise that pursues monetary gains, at times eclipsing their educational mission,” write Su and Harrison, of Ohio University, echoing growing sentiment among scholars of higher education.

The Ohio researchers found a key financial problem is that some overseas recruiting “agents” are exploiting international students, with more than half the Chinese students they surveyed hiring these advisers to navigate their complicated route to the West.

The trouble with agents dominating the field of global education, according to Su and Harrison, is many are providing misinformation to students, steering them to inappropriate schools and not warning them about how difficult it will likely be to learn workable English. Many students get stuck in never-ending English-remediation classes.

To root out abuse and increase overseas families’ trust in such agents, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Ireland have developed a code to regulate them, say Thompson Rivers University researchers Victoria Handford and Halying Li.

But Canada has not signed on to the protocol, which is designed to ensure the agents behave more ethically.

Meanwhile, Canada’s recruiting continues apace.

Source: Douglas Todd: Chinese students’ river of cash unlikely to dry up

School agents benefit both Canada and China – The Conversation

The analysis of the numbers and practices is more interest than what appears to be shilling for education consultants while indicating a possible regulatory gap:

China is the No.1 source country of international students who come to study in Canada. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, 150,000 international students from China studied in Canada in 2017.

Any political impact on Canadian and Chinese relations is potentially serious for a wide global network with something at stake related to Chinese students in Canada — including students and their families, universities and services related to international study, such as education agents.

Education agents play a significant role in counselling and referring students to international education providers. They connect the people involved in international education, linking students, parents, education providers, visa offices, professional service providers such as language training institutions, academic program evaluation agencies, travel and accommodation providers and finance institutions to each other in order to facilitate study in another country.

As an education researcher focused on studying trust and leadership, and as part of my university’s recruitment efforts, I have studied how students and their families decide to invest in international education, including through using education agents.

I also supervised a student’s research project that investigated the role of education agents in China. The student, Haiying Li, helped to inform this article. Li worked as an education agent between 2001 and 2014 in various capacities: among her roles, she worked for our university, and as a consultant for Beijing-, and Guangzhou-based firms and at a program supporting Masters students based in Vancouver and Shanghai. This was before she became a student in Canada.

What I have seen is that education agents play a significant role in helping international students come from China to Canada, and the agents’ work benefits both countries’ economies and people.

How agents work

The agents provide services such as identifying the institution and course of study that meet the student’s needs, helping the students finish applications, submitting grade records and serving as a liaison. Some agencies may also provide training for required language proficiency tests. In some cases, after the student enrols the agent can play the role of cultural mediator.

Based on research conducted in 2014, 60 per cent of international students used an education agent to apply to Canadian colleges and universities.

Among the three different types of education agents, the first is an institution representative who receives a commission by the school they represent. The second type is the student’s representative; the student pays for advising services typically to apply to academic programs offered by the best-ranked universities.

The third type of agent may be remunerated by both a student and an institution. The student pays for the agent’s professional overseas study consulting service; the agent may also receive commission from schools who she or he works for.

Canada benefits

I teach and supervise many international students, including Chinese students. Students’ eagerness and wonder in a new place is common, yet no less beautiful each time it unfolds, reinforcing the significance of intercultural experiences.

International students bring Canadians the opportunity to begin to understand cultural differences and similarities and to become better equipped to live successfully in a multicultural global economy.

International students bring both more money and jobs to Canada, contributing more than $15.5 billion to Canada’s economy annually. They bring knowledge, information and skills to Canada.

The federal government reports that international student spending directly and indirectly supported 168,860 jobs in Canada in 2016, an increase of 38 per cent over 2014. Thus international students have direct impacts on GDP, jobs and tax revenue.

Agents working for schools recruit students to Canadian institutions but if they perform their role successfully, they also raise the brand image of the institutions.

These agents also market Canada. They show the advantages of Canada amid other prospective countries of study, empahsizing the quality of education, the multicultural nature of Canada, safety, the beautiful Canadian environment, the potential for new economic development, the high-quality life style and immigration pathways for international students.

A 2013 report commissioned by the Council of Ministers of Education Canada based on a voluntary survey of 145 elementary, secondary and post-secondary Canadian educational administrators, and government officials in education says that how schools use and manage agents varies significantly (of note: Québec survey responders reported minimal use of agents). More research about agents’ work in Canada would be helpful.

Agents in China

Consultants EY Parthenon report that the total agent market size in China is USD$1.2 billion. In 2017, according to the Chinese Ministry of Education, 608,400 Chinese students were going abroad.

Students who leave China to study internationally come from across the country, including from what China classifies as first-, second- and third-tier cities. China ranks these cities based on five indicators: availability of business resources, urban hubs, activity of urban people, lifestyle diversity and future plasticity.

From the perspectives of parents and international students, the education agent is a conduit. Working with an education agent is reassuring because the agent can understand parents, students and their families and speak their language and thus help navigate a huge emotional and financial decision.

Trustworthiness

Some existing studies suggest that students and their families often choose the institutions that the agents recommend.

But researchers Mengwei Su and Laura M. Harrison argue this reliance has not always been beneficial to students: they argue that in our globalized economy students may be exploited for economic gain and that “delegating recruitment to overseas agencies causes mismatches between host institutions and the Chinese students.”

In a context where Chinese study abroad has grown rapidly and not every country agrees on regulatory practices (Canada is not a signator to an 2012 agreement signed by the U.K., Australia, Ireland and New Zealand for best practices agents’ trustworthiness is a significant issue for families and schools.

Eight interviews recently conducted with people knowledgeable about agent work (one agent in China, one director of international marketing representative from a Canadian university, three mothers of international students and three international students) suggested some values and standards that could be probed in further research.

In creating trustworthy relationships between clients and agents, positive feedback from the client’s friends was significant: in other words, a word-of-mouth referral. Successful experiences shared by previous clients, coupled with objective comparisons of service price, service quality and personal qualities of the agents all mattered.

With the growing markets in international education, high-quality services by trustworthy professionals are essential.

Source: School agents benefit both Canada and China – The Conversation

Immigrant kids in U.S. deliberately build STEM skills


Similar pattern in Canada (chart above looks at Canadian-born visible minority university and college graduates compared to Not VisMin):

U.S. immigrant children study more math and science in high school and college, which leads to their greater presence in STEM careers, according to new findings from scholars at Duke University and Stanford University.

“Most studies on the assimilation of immigrants focus on the language disadvantage of non-English-speaking immigrants,” said Marcos Rangel, assistant professor at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy. “We focus instead on the comparative strength certain immigrant children develop in numerical subjects, and how that leads to majoring in STEM subjects in college.”

About 20 percent of U.S.-born college students major in STEM subjects. Yet those numbers are much higher among immigrants — particularly among who arrive the U.S. after age 10, and who come from countries whose native languages are dissimilar to English, Rangel said. Within that group, 36 percent major in STEM subjects.

“Some children who immigrate to the U.S., particularly older children from a country where the main language is very dissimilar to English, quite rationally decide to build on skills they are relatively more comfortable with, such as math and science,” said Rangel.

Those older immigrant children take more math and science courses in high school, the authors found. Immigrant children arriving after age 10 earn approximately 20 percent more credits in math-intensive courses than they do in English-intensive courses.

This focus continues in college, where immigrant children are more likely to pursue science, technology, engineering and math majors. Those majors, in turn, lead to careers in STEM fields. Previous research has shown that immigrants are more highly represented in many STEM careers.

“Meaningful differences in skill accumulation … shape the consequent contributions of childhood immigrants to the educated labor force,” the authors write.

Source: Immigrant kids in U.S. deliberately build STEM skills

Karen Robson: Why won’t Canada collect data on race and student success?

While I always favour more data to better understand the differences in outcomes between groups, I am puzzled by the assertions regarding data gaps made by Karen Robson in her recent opinion piece.

First, the OECD PISA study includes both first generation children, born abroad, and the second generation, born in the destination country, where issues related to racism and discrimination can be separated out more clearly from more basic integration issues (e.g., language fluency).

Secondly, while the visible minority category may not be perfect, it does provide a race-based breakdown in the Census with respect to education, along with other economic and social outcomes, which can be used to provide municipal level data at the census tract level. Toronto school board data uses largely comparable categories.

Ironically, the same pattern she cites with respect to Toronto, where the school board collects race-based data, can be seen nation-wide: Asian and South Asian students with stronger outcomes, Black and Latino weaker ones.

The following three charts illustrate this, looking at the highest level of education attainment for 25-34 year olds, or later than the high school data that she cites (i.e., the social and economic outcomes that reflect, in part, high school outcomes). The first looks at the university graduation rates for visible minorities, immigrant and non-immigrant (Canadian-born) compared to not visible minorities, the second provides a breakdown of the highest level of educational achievement for Toronto (I have done the same for the other cities) and the third looks at median employment income for university graduates:

 

Her academic article (journals.sfu.ca/cjhe/index.php…), on which this op-ed is based, doesn’t make these mistakes and is a comprehensive and interesting study of Toronto District School Board data.

But her arguments that the lack of comparable data to Toronto across the country is a significant data gap is less convincing.

Census data allows comparisons between municipalities (and down to the census tract level) and the richness of the data provides considerable scope for analysis. Whenever I find a blockage elsewhere (e.g., police force diversity numbers), I usually can find census data to respond to my key questions:

Although the impact of income inequality and gender on education outcomes is much discussed in Canadian government-level policy debates, factors of race and racism are seldom measured or addressed.

However, as an education researcher comparing student outcomes in Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Chicago and London, I can see Canada’s policy-makers have a big knowledge gap because they don’t deal with or have access to information regarding race.

Students are impacted by factors of income, gender and also race. The combinations of these identities undoubtedly shape how students experience access to education, work and other types of social mobility.

Research shows that low-income can be highly racialized, yet in Canadian cities, the patterns are not completely divided along racial lines. Therefore, examining income alone overlooks the many important ways that inequalities in education are not simply an issue of economics.

In the United States and the United Kingdom, research reports regularly provide summaries of student outcomes by various characteristics, including race.

In Canada, we have a tendency to focus exclusively on whether a student comes from immigrant parents. I believe this focus is problematic.

Canada has been deemed an education superpower because comparisons between the standardized test scores (PISA) of Canadian children with those in other OECD nations find Canada near the top. As well, the 2016 federal census revealed that Canada has the highest proportion of post-secondary graduates in all 36 member countries of the Organization for Economic Development (OECD). This mean that more than half of adult citizens in Canada between the ages of 25 and 64 have a college or university credential.

In particular, the success of immigrant children is used to argue that Canada is leading the way in equity.

In a country grappling with the heritage of colonialism, the success of immigrant children comes as good news to share and promote. This success can be interpreted as a sign that multiculturalism has been successful, that racism is not a barrier to education attainment and that immigrants are treated equally and have the same opportunities as children born in Canada.

This story continues in other arenas. Education researcher Trevor Gulliver analyzed citizenship guides for new Canadians and found that group identities in these education texts creates an idealized version of Canada as “Canada the redeemer.”

Such celebratory concepts of Canada need to be carefully considered.

There is a common misconception that racism is something that occurs in the U.S. and not in Canada.

One of the reasons that children of immigrants do so well in Canada is because of our immigration system which favours certain assets. The “points system” of immigration awards points to applicants who speak one of Canada’s official languages. Points are also awarded for job skills and level of education.

This is not to discount the work that teachers and schools do to integrate, educate and welcome students of immigrants; my point is that there are some reasons that such children who already speak an official language may be doing better than immigrants who arrive as refugees in another immigrant receiving country, like Sweden.

Focusing on the success of immigrants detracts from the problem of how systemic racism contributes to inequality in educational experiences and outcomes. Another common misconception is that race and immigrant status are equated; of course they are not the same thing.

The celebrated study about how well Canada did with global assessment scores only carries information on immigrant status, not race. With the exception of the Toronto District School Board, boards of education across the country do not record race data.

This lack of data has led to a dearth of studies examining the relationship between race and educational outcomes in Canada. Researchers simply do not have the data to analyze.

In response to research demonstrating a gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous student outcomes in Canada, a Canadian think-tank reports that some provinces have pledged to begin asking Indigenous students attending mainstream schools to self-identify when provinces collect their PISA data. No known similar move is afoot, however, with regards to collecting data about racialized students or their income levels.

The Ministry of Education in B.C. has opted to ask students about the language students speak at home rather than their self-identified race.

Not only do we not have data on race, but it seems Canadians are also reluctant to talk about race. Even Statistics Canada defers to its old and outdated notion of “visible minority” when attempting to measure and discuss issues around race.

Lumping all non-whites together masks the huge differences we see in the educational outcomes of racialized students in Toronto.

Basically, this means comparisons are made between white and non-white people. This comparison happens even in areas like Toronto where “visible minorities” make up more than half of the population, making whites in fact, a minority. Further, the data tells us nothing about poverty by postal code.

In Toronto, where we do have data, the figures show that Asian and South Asian students trend toward having high marks and are more likely to go on to university. Black and Latino students trend toward lower grades and are more likely to be placed in the “applied” stream of high school courses (which are not eligible for university).

Considerable research in Toronto has identified Black males as having the lowest post-secondary opportunities due to their disproportionate placement in the “applied” stream of study.

These problems are not unique to Toronto; they are only measured in Toronto.

Lack of data does not mean lack of a problem. By not collecting data on race and other important sociodemographic factors of students, we fail to correct systemic barriers to success in our educational system.

By conflating immigrant success with a blanket commitment to equality, we blindly assume we are doing OK as we do not have any evidence to the contrary — because we haven’t taken the time to collect it.

Source: Karen Robson: Why won’t Canada collect data on race and student success?

Labour market outcomes for college and university graduates, class of 2010 to 2014

Good study on the differences in economic outcomes by gender, coming out just before my presentation at the ACS organized conference, STATISTICS CANADA: 100 YEARS AND COUNTING, looking at visible minorities and outcomes.

Same gender gaps but when one compares  visible minority women, Canadian-born, with not visible minority women, a number of visible minority groups have comparable economic outcomes whereas visible minority men, Canadian-born, do relatively worse compared to not visible minority men.:

Even with the same university degree or college diploma, female graduates earn, on average, less than their male counterparts two years after graduation. Results from a new study, based on administrative data, are focused for the first time on the annual employment income of college and university graduates over time in all provinces and territories.

From 2010 up to 2014, over 900,000 students under 35 years of age graduated from a Canadian public postsecondary institution and entered the labour market. Most of these graduates obtained an undergraduate degree (53%) or a college-level diploma (14%). The median employment income two years after graduation was $43,600 for those with an undergraduate degree and $39,100 for college-level diploma holders.

For all graduating cohorts from 2010 to 2014, men with college-level diplomas or undergraduate degrees had higher median employment income than women with the same credentials. The median employment income was $43,900 for men who graduated with a college-level diploma and $36,200 for women who obtained the same qualification. For those who obtained an undergraduate degree, the median employment income was $47,200 for men and $41,300 for women. Gender differences in employment income are influenced by various factors, such as choice of field of study, occupation, and hours of work. The current study cannot identify whether or not the occupation is related to the field of study of the graduate.

The employment income of graduates varies by educational qualification

Among graduates who obtained their postsecondary credential from 2010 to 2014, the year of graduation had little impact on their employment income two years after graduation as each cohort of graduates entered a similar labour market environment. However, differences in income were observed by type of qualification for all graduating classes.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two years after graduation, by educational qualification, 2010 to 2014 cohorts
Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two years after graduation, by educational qualification, 2010 to 2014 cohorts

Chart 1: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two years after graduation, by educational qualification, 2010 to 2014 cohorts

For the most recent graduate cohort (students who obtained a credential in 2014), the median employment income two years after graduation ranged from $32,600 for graduates with a college-level certificate to $71,600 for those with a professional degree (which includes graduates from law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry or pharmacy). The results varied for other qualifications. For example, it was $38,100 for a college-level diploma, $42,700 for those with an undergraduate degree, $57,600 for a master’s degree, and $60,800 for doctoral degree graduates.

Median employment income for men ranged from $35,300 (graduates with a college level-certificate) to $72,800 (graduates with a professional degree). The median employment income for women ranged from $30,400 (college-level certificates) to $70,800 (professional degrees).

Studies in architecture, engineering and related technologies and in health and related fields lead to relatively high median employment income

Graduates from 2014 in architecture, engineering and related technologies, and in health and related fields, had the highest median employment income two years after graduation for college-level diplomas ($47,600 and $44,900, respectively) and undergraduate degrees ($60,000 and $58,200, respectively). Women and men had slightly different results.

For 2014 college-level diploma graduates, the median employment income two years after graduation in health and related fields was $44,000 for women and $50,500 for men. This was followed by architecture, engineering, and related technologies, with women earning $41,100, while men earned $48,900.

Women who obtained an undergraduate degree in health and related fields had the highest median employment income two years after graduation at $60,800, followed by architecture, engineering, and related technologies where the median employment income was $55,900.

Men with an undergraduate degree in architecture, engineering and related technologies had the highest median employment income ($61,000), followed by graduates in mathematics, computer and information sciences ($56,100). Health and related fields programs yielded the seventh highest median employment income for men at $44,100.

Among the 2014 cohort of graduates, women represented 16% of the college-level diplomas and 20% of the undergraduate degrees in the architecture, engineering and related technologies field. In contrast, they accounted for 84% of college-level diplomas and 80% of undergraduate degrees in health and related fields.

For graduates from most provinces, architecture, engineering and related technologies, and health and related fields were also among the top-earning fields of study for both college-level diploma and undergraduate degree graduates.

Employment income increases over time for postsecondary graduates

The 2011 graduating class saw their median employment income increase between 9% (for college-level diploma graduates) and 26% (for doctoral degree graduates) when measured first at two years, and then five years after graduation.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 2: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 3  Chart 3: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 3: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 4  Chart 4: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 4: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Students who obtained a professional degree in 2011 continued to have the highest median employment income five years after graduation, with an increase of 14% between year two and five. Those with a master’s degree had a slightly higher median employment income two years after graduation than those who earned a doctoral degree, some of whom may have pursued postdoctoral studies. However, five years after graduation, the doctoral degree graduates were earning more.

For graduates who earned a college-level diploma in 2011, the median employment income for males increased by almost 18% between two and five years after graduation. Female graduates, in turn, had a more modest rate of growth of 4% over the same period.

Among male students who earned an undergraduate degree in 2011, overall median employment income increased by almost 26% from years two to five following their graduation. The rate of growth in median employment income for female graduates over the same time period was lower, at 15%.

Median employment income for graduates in health and related fields grows slowly

Although median employment incomes in health and related fields had the lowest growth rate among those with an undergraduate degree from years two to five after graduation (at approximately 4%), it was still among the top fields of study in terms of employment income. Graduates from humanities programs had the second highest growth rate of median employment income (28% between year two and five after graduation), however, their income ranked as one of the lowest among graduates from the major fields of study who obtained an undergraduate degree.

Chart 5  Chart 5: Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 5: Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 6  Chart 6: Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 6: Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 7  Chart 7: Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 7: Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 8  Chart 8: Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 8: Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 9  Chart 9: Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 9: Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 10  Chart 10: Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 10: Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort

As was the case for students with an undergraduate degree, those with a college-level diploma in health and related fields had the lowest rate of growth (less than 1%) from two to five years after graduation, but started with relatively high median employment income. College-level diploma graduates in visual and performing arts, and communications technologies, had larger income growth between two and five years after graduation at 17%, but started with the lowest median employment income.

German schools teach Islam to students to give them a sense of belonging

Interesting article on a newer German approach to integration:

It was the second week of Islam class, and the teacher, Mansur Seddiqzai, stood in front of a roomful of Muslim teens and pointed to the sentence on the chalkboard behind him: “Islam does not belong to Germany.”

He scanned the room and asked: “Who said this?”

Hands shot up. “The AfD?” one student with a navy blue headscarf said, referring to Germany’s far-right anti-refugee party. “No,” Mr Seddiqzai shook his head. “Seehofer,” tried another. “Yes, and who is that?” “A minister,” said a third.

Finally, someone put it all together, identifying Horst Seehofer, the head of Bavaria’s conservative Christian Social Union and chancellor Angela Merkel‘s interior minister and coalition partner, who has on multiple occasions threatened to torpedo her government over the issue of immigration.

“Yes, that’s right,” Mr Seddiqzai said, turning to the others. “And what do you think? Is he correct?”

In a country where the debate over “who belongs?” has deeply divided Ms Merkel’s government, fuelled massive demonstrations and propelled the rise of anti-immigrant populism, these 16 and 17-year-olds confront versions of that question every day, in the headlines and in their personal lives: Do I belong, too? Can I be German and a Muslim?

Public schools in some of Germany’s most populous cities are helping such students come up with answers in a counterintuitive setting: Islam class.

The classes, taught by Muslims and intended for Muslim students, were first launched in the early 2000s and now are offered as electives in nine of Germany’s 16 states, by more than 800 public primary and secondary schools, according to the research network Mediendienst Integration. They include lessons on the Quran, the history of Islam, comparative religion and ethics. Often, discussions shift to the students’ identity struggles or feelings of alienation.

“When a German asks me which country I’m from, I tell them Turkey,” said Gulendam Velibasoglu, 17, who is taking Mr Seddiqzai’s 10th-grade Islam class this year. She was born and raised in this western German city. Still, she says, “If I said ‘German’, they wouldn’t accept the answer. They will see me as a foreigner, even though I’m a German citizen.”

Germany has the European Union’s second-largest Muslim population after France, according to estimates by Pew Research. In 2016, 4.95 million people, or 6.1 per cent of the German population, were Muslim. But less than half of those pray regularly, and even fewer regularly attend a mosque, according to the latest government surveys.

The country’s leaders have expressed an ambivalent view of Islam, at best. Mr Seehofer’s statement that “Islam does not belong to Germany” came just months after the Islam-bashing AfD, or Alternative for Germany, entered parliament. Ms Merkel denounced the statement and ruled out sharing power with the AfD. Nevertheless, the AfD has steadily gained support over the past two years: on 14 October, it scored the biggest electoral gains of any party in Bavaria, Germany’s most populous state.

Last year, the AfD hung campaign posters in Dortmund featuring women in burqas and the slogan “Stop Islamisation”. This year’s poster bore the words “Islam-free schools!” under an image of five beaming, light-skinned children.

Mr Seddiqzai, who was born to Afghan parents in the German city of Bochum and who wears a full beard and Nikes to school, said he worries about the effect on his students. “These posters tell them, ‘We don’t want you here’,” he said.

“They are not accepted in Germany, they are not accepted in the countries of their parents, and that produces this craving for a group to belong to,” he continued. “And then an Islamist comes to you and says, ‘Yeah, you don’t belong to anyone. Therefore just be Muslim.’ They offer them a third way.”

Mr Seddiqzai sees it as part of his job to make his students more informed in their consumption of such appeals.

Earlier this year, when local politicians were discussing a ban on headscarves, a group calling itself Reality Islam launched a social media campaign to protest the proposal and recruit students. Mr Seddiqzai showed his students how to trace Reality’s Islam’s links to Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist group banned in Germany since 2003. He also encouraged them to question the group’s stance on the headscarf, which it claimed the Quran mandates for women.

“I show them the Quranic verses about the headscarf, and we discuss it and we see there is no clear rule that a woman or girl has to wear a headscarf,” he said. “Most of them think the Quran itself has no contradictions, and even that is wrong. There are many contradictions in the Quran.”

Some German politicians are pushing for an expansion of Islam classes in public schools as a way to encourage the cultural integration of Muslim students and to promote an interpretation of Islam that highlights German values.

“We need more religious education,” Kerstin Griese, a lawmaker from the governing centre-left Social Democratic Party, wrote in an op-ed, “because it’s the only way to start a dialogue about our own traditions and values and to understand those of others”.

Such advocates generally don’t envision non-Muslim students taking these classes to gain a better appreciation of Islam. While a few German school systems offer religion classes that include multiple faiths or ethics classes that touch on religion, religion as taught in public high schools and supported by Germany’s Basic Law is generally targeted at specific denominations.

A further rationale for Islam classes is to “immunise” Muslim students from fundamentalism, as Protestant leader Heinrich Bedford-Strohm put it.

Of particular concern is radicalisation that might lead to violence. Since 2013, more than 1,000 people have left Germany to fight with or support the Islamic State and other terrorist organisations, most of them under 30.

But some educators and politicians resist the notion that Islam has a place in German public schools.

“Besides the fact that we have much more important problems in schools, it can’t be true that a German bishop is promoting Islam,” Alexander Gauland, a leader of AfD, said after Bedford-Strohm voiced his proposal.

No studies have examined the effectiveness of Islam classes in preventing radicalisation, according to Harry Harun Behr, a professor of Islam studies and pedagogy at Frankfurt’s Goethe University.

Still, he said, the classes are valuable because they show students their faith is as important as others taught in their schools and because they show Islam as a religion that is open to reflection and self-criticism.

At Mr Seddiqzai’s school, where almost 95 per cent of students are first or second-generation immigrants, Islam class is highly popular. When he crosses the schoolyard, he can barely walk five steps without being stopped by a student wanting to tell him about grades, romances or plans for the future.

“What Mr. Seddiqzai is teaching me is not really something you learn at mosque,” said 17-year-old Yusuf Akar. “How to interact with non-Muslims who may not be sure how to interact with us. Or who are scared of us.”

But it is more than that, too. “It shows me I’m welcome here,” Akar said. “Because the school no longer demands that we distance ourselves from our religion. They accept it and even create an opportunity to learn about it. And that gives me the feeling that I’m part of this society.”

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-islam-muslims-rightwing-extremism-afd-merkel-a8616886.html

Racism, citizenship and schooling: why we still have some way to go

Interesting article on the Australian and New Zealand experience with education approaches for Indigenous peoples. Spoiler alert, the better model is New Zealand with the Maori (I was always impressed when my New Zealand diplomatic counterparts would be both in English and Maori):

At a Senate Estimates hearing in May, LNP Senator Ian MacDonald saidhe found it difficult to find any but “very rare” cases of racism in Australia. Though, he did concede perhaps this view had developed “living in a bubble”. Bubbles are dangerous places from which to make public policy.

MacDonald may not have had personal experiences of racism, but 20% of Australians have experienced racism in the past 12 months due to the colour of their skin, ethnic origin or religion.

Racism means people experience citizenship differently. It means opportunities and capacities are not equally available to every citizen and egalitarian justice, the idea of a “fair go” for everyone, doesn’t work as it’s intended.

Racism divides societies and fractures the idea of common nationhood. It helps explain why some people don’t get a fair go at school, for example.

Racism and school policy

Schools operate outside MacDonald’s bubble. But they aren’t ideologically neutral.

Historically, education policy was explicit. Schools were not meant to work for Indigenous people. In the 1890s, inferior curriculums were officially circulated for Indigenous people.

By 1937, the idea of inherent Indigenous intellectual inferiority remained. A parliamentary committee heard and ignored arguments for better schooling:

I say that a full-blood can be educated just as well as a half-caste or non-Aboriginal…I say they must have qualified teachers…At present they are not qualified…

Indigenous people could be excluded from New South Wales public schools until 1972.

Separate schools for Indigenous peoples were established to meet the requirement for education set out by the Aboriginal Protection Acts. But education was usually for domestic service or labouring, and often marked by physical and sexual abuse.

Exclusion is the lived experience of some of the parents of Indigenous people who are in school now. As well as being a denial of equal human worth, the experience of racism at school directly predicts lower test scores.

Racism also occurs at other levels of the education system. For example, in 2017, an Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association member survey found 60% of Indigenous doctors and medical students had experienced racism and/or bullying during training.

Education and culture are universal human rights. But when some people can bring their knowledge, experiences and worldviews to school and others can’t, it produces systemic discrimination. It means different people get different levels of access to education.

Who decides what knowledge counts

Canadian multicultural political theorist Will Kymlicka argues:

the state unavoidably promotes certain cultural identities and thereby disadvantages others. This may be true, but the state can also intentionally promote some cultural identities at the exclusion of others.

In 2008, Julia Gillard insisted bilingual schooling discontinue in the Northern Territory. It was an ideological position that undervalued the relationships between language, cultural identity and intellectual development. Nor did it consider that there are broader and more important contributors to school effectiveness such as teacher quality.

The question of who decides what knowledge counts for Indigenous people is also important. Can Indigenous people really be equal citizens if they can’t contribute to these decisions?

Again in 2008, a Northern Territory government submission to an inquiry into the Northern Territory Intervention made it clear even the citizen’s right to go to school was conditioned by systematic racism.

According to a government submission, policy measures to combat truancy were problematic because if they worked, the system would not be able to cope with the anticipated increase in school attendance. The failure of this policy was expected and accepted for Indigenous citizens.

Where are we now?

In Australia and elsewhere in 2018, policy rhetoric allows Indigenous peoples to pursue higher aspirations. It insists on fundamental human equality and aims to shift MacDonald’s observation from the naive to the prophetic. Eliminating racism from public policy means positive difference is a reasonable expectation of citizenship.

Everybody should enjoy the same political capacities to influence what happens at school, why and for whose benefit. The claim for influence, as a capacity of citizenship, inspires the contemporary call for a guaranteed Indigenous voice to parliament.

But diminishing racism and the policy failure that it causes requires Indigenous voice at all levels of public policy-making and implementation. Culture counts not just in classroom practices, but also in policy evaluation.

There are, for example, important arguments of equal citizenship for Indigenous policy makers to examine the apparent contradiction between low Indigenous achievement in NAPLAN and the only Closing the Gap target on track to be met – halving the gap in year 12 attainment by 2020. Policy failure can be reduced by replicating examples of success.

What does work?

In 2016, a National Health and Medical Research Council forum proposed establishing an Aboriginal community-controlled education sector. This would parallel the 143 existing community-controlled health organisations and contribute to a citizenship of influence.

The Indigenous Stronger Smarter Institute’s educational principlesreflect an expectation that schools must work equally well for everybody; that education should occur on principles of equal citizenship. This includes acknowledging and embracing a positive sense of identity, Indigenous leadership in schools and school communities, and having high expectations for Indigenous staff and students.

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership provides examples of these principles working in practice to improve Indigenous achievement. But the institute’s listed instances of “what works” are not generally measures that have been trialled, evaluated and replicated across whole school systems.

All New Zealand schools are evaluated explicitly and publicly on Maori achievement and their efforts to improve it. Many have raised Maori achievement with reference to an Effective Teaching Profile developed by the Maori led Te Kotahitanga research and teacher professional development project. Its six presumptions are that:

  • teachers care for their students as culturally located human beings above all else
  • teachers care for the performance of their students
  • teachers are able to create a secure, well-managed learning environment
  • teachers are able to engage in effective teaching interactions with Māori students as Māori
  • teachers can use strategies that promote effective teaching interactions and relationships with their learners
  • teachers promote, monitor and reflect on outcomes that in turn lead to improvements in educational achievement for Māori students.

Te Kotahitanga and its successor professional development programmes are widely implemented and the Coalition Government Agreementbetween the Labour and New Zealand First parties commits to further investment in the project.

The contrast between Australia and New Zealand is ultimately one of expectations about what it means to be an Indigenous citizen entitled to a “fair go” as racism’s opposite.

Source: Racism, citizenship and schooling: why we still have some way to go

ICYMI: Multicultural children face discrimination at South Korean schools

Not surprising but the impact on educational outcomes worrisome:

Children with multicultural backgrounds face discrimination at school, reflecting the prejudices against biracial people in the wider Korean society. To make Korea accommodating to them requires a change in Koreans’ attitudes, according to experts.

Kim Hye-young, 32, a Korean language teacher at Guro Middle School, says multicultural children at her school often face discrimination from classmates.

“Children from multicultural backgrounds are treated as second-class citizens by their peers,” Kim told The Korea Times on Tuesday. “Some of the students call their classmates with a Chinese parent jjang kkae.” Jjang kkae is a demeaning term Koreans use to refer to Chinese people.

Park Sung-choon, an ethics education professor at Seoul National University, said he made similar observations while interviewing multicultural children.

“One child with a Mongolian parent that I interviewed said it happened everywhere, whether it was in the classroom, the sports field, or a playground,” Park said at a multicultural family forum hosted by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Tuesday. “They made fun of him and ignored him for his family background and accent.”

Due to such circumstances, the school dropout rate is four times higher for children with multicultural backgrounds than their peers, according to 2014 data from the Ministry of Education.

Park says this discrimination of children with mixed heritage is fuelled by a faulty understanding of multiculturalism in Korea.

“Koreans approach minority cultures here as something on the receiving end, as something that requires paternalistic aid,” Park said. “There needs to be more multiculturalism education programmes that teach people to regard countries like Vietnam as equal partners with just as much development potential as Korea.”

Changing demographics

As more children of international marriages enter the public education system, schools are becoming the first testing ground for a multicultural Korean society.

Guro Middle School is feeling this change most acutely. It is in Guro-gu, western Seoul, which has a large Chinese population. About 20 per cent of its students have a Korean-Chinese parent.

“The number has increased twofold since I first started teaching here four years ago,” Kim said.

There are about 1 million multicultural children enrolled in the public education system. About 90 per cent are children from marriages between a Korean and a foreigner.

The number of multicultural children increased most steeply in elementary schools, with one in 50 students now having multicultural backgrounds.

Experts forecast that about 20,000 multicultural children will enter elementary school every year.

Kim says these multicultural children have big potential due to their bilingual abilities.

“These children have the potential to become global leaders and build bridges between Korea and other nations on the international stage,” Kim said. “But there needs to be more institutional support for multicultural children at school, especially those who cannot speak Korean well because they lived abroad first.”

Source: Multicultural children face discrimination at South Korean schools

What Silicon Valley Could Use More of: Inefficiency – The New York Times

Worth reflecting upon:

Hypocrisy thrives at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula in the heart of Silicon Valley. This is where Google executives send their children to learn how to knit, write with chalk on blackboards, practice new words by playing catch with a beanbag and fractions by cutting up quesadillas and apples. There are no screens — not a single piece of interactive, multimedia, educational content. The kids don’t even take standardized tests.

While Silicon Valley’s raison d’être is making platforms, apps and algorithms to create maximum efficiency in life and work (a “friction-free” world, as Bill Gates once put it), when it comes to their own families (and developing their own businesses, too), the new masters of the universe have a different sense of what it takes to learn and innovate — it’s a slow, indirect process, meandering not running, allowing for failure and serendipity, even boredom.

Back in 1911, the English philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said that “civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.” By that metric, Uber and Google and Amazon Prime have given us a whole lot of civilization. And there’s no doubt our lives are better for it. (Ordering Chinese takeout in 30 seconds on an app might not be up there with Shakespeare or the incandescent light bulb, but it’s pretty great.) This unrelenting drive for efficiency has, however, blotted out a few things we all know intuitively but seem to be forgetting.

To create a product or service that is truly efficient often involves a lot of inefficiency — more like learning to knit than pressing a button. Likewise, gadgets built with a single-minded focus on efficiency can often backfire, subverting their purpose. Algorithms designed to dish up the news and information we most prefer end up blinkering us to all but a narrow slice of political and social reality. Our smartphones untether us from the office, saving us energy on travel, but also allow our lives to be interrupted nearly 24 hours a day, chewing up any productive idle time.

This all seems fairly obvious. But, as Edward Tenner writes in “The Efficiency Paradox,” “we sometimes need to be reminded of the obvious.” Tenner has made a career worrying about unintended consequences. His 1996 book, “Why Things Bite Back,” dealt with phenomena like the overuse of antibiotics leading to resistant bacteria and the introduction of football helmets causing an increase of neck and spine injuries. In 2003, he published “Our Own Devices,” in which he turned to what he called body technologies — sandals, office chairs, computer keyboards — and how they had impaired as much as enhanced us. In short, for every three steps forward, he sees the two steps back.

With the internet now a dominant social force, Tenner is ready with his wet blanket. But he is not a cyber-pessimist or a fetishizer of the analog. He is, instead, a staunch moderate: “Silicon Valley’s mistake is not in developing efficient algorithms from which we all benefit, but in encouraging the illusion that algorithms can and should function in the absence of human skills.”

The dehumanizing effects of big data are well known and Tenner adds no groundbreaking insight here. (Books like Cathy O’Neil’s “Weapons of Math Destruction” and Evgeny Morozov’s “To Save Everything, Click Here” were more pioneering on this front.) But what Tenner brings is a new frame. Unlike critiquing the denizens of Silicon Valley for deepening social and economic inequality, destroying our brains or helping to undermine democratic norms (issues that seem to matter to us more than them), questioning efficiency is truly kicking the geeks where it hurts.

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Drawing on an eclectic bunch of anecdotes and studies, Tenner makes his way through four sectors in which “intuition, skill and experience” have been effectively crushed by “big data, algorithms and efficiency”: media and culture, education, transportation and medicine.

A few of his examples:

Search algorithms have extended the ability to find scientific journal articles and books dating to the 19th century. In principle, this means scholars may encounter a broad range of research and discovery, dredge up forgotten work and possibly connect important dots. But in reality, as one sociologist found after studying citations in 35 million scientific journal articles from before and after the invention of the internet, researchers, beholden to search algorithms’ tendency to generate self-reinforcing feedback loops, are now paying more attention to fewer papers, and in general to the more recent and popular ones — actually strengthening rather than bucking prevailing trends.

GPS is great for getting from one point to another, but if you need more context for understanding your surroundings, it’s fairly useless. We’ve all had experiences in which the shortest distance, as calculated by the app, can also be the most dangerous or traffic-clogged. Compare the efficiency of GPS with the three years aspiring London cabdrivers typically spend preparing for the arduous examination they must pass in order to receive their license. They learn to build a mental map of the entire city, to navigate under any circumstance, to find shortcuts and avoid risky situations — all without any external, possibly fallible, help. Which is the more efficient, ultimately, the cabby or Google Maps?

In the early 2000s, electronic medical records and electronic prescribing appeared to solve the lethal problem of sloppy handwriting. The United States Institute of Medicine estimated in 1999 that 7,000 patients in the United States were dying annually because of errors in reading prescriptions. But the electronic record that has emerged to answer this problem, and to help insurers manage payments, is full of detailed codes and seemingly endless categories and subcategories. Doctors now have to spend an inordinate amount of time on data entry. One 2016 study found that for every hour doctors spent with patients, two hours were given over to filling out paperwork, leaving much less time to listen to patients, arguably the best way to avoid misdiagnoses.

Faced with all these “inefficiently efficient” technologies, what should we do? Tenner wants more balance. Let’s not put the brakes on the drive for efficiency. These tools are good. But they should give way a bit to human sensibility, to our own instincts and insights, which could help them work even better. “Analog experience can enhance digital efficacy,” he writes. “Digital tools can improve analog access. We don’t have to choose between the two.”

His recommendations are sensible, if hard to imagine actually coming to pass. He wants us to spend more time in the physical world, in the “terrain” of our cities or between the paragraphs of a printed book. We need to get a little lost, pursue “productive and instructive disorientation, distraction, wild-goose chases, dead ends.” He likes the idea of systematically educating high school students in the skill of online searching, so they can make the algorithms work for them rather than slavishly accepting their results. He wouldn’t mind if we returned to the days of the dial-up modem, when we waited patiently for the pixels to materialize on the screen one by one. Instant gratification has dulled our senses. He’d put us all in Waldorf schools if he could.

If this sounds like Tenner is a man impassioned, I should be clearer: This is no manifesto. There is not much blood flowing through this book, which reads more like a report issued by a concerned think tank. Maybe it’s just that preaching moderation doesn’t lend itself to writing that pulls your face to the page.

But it would be unfortunate if Tenner were dismissed as just a cranky man in his 70s who thinks we spend too much time on our phones. What he is asserting is something we all know to be true. It’s bigger than the tyranny of efficiency. What he’s really asking is that we remember that the tools we’ve invented to improve our lives are just that, tools, to be picked up and put down. We wield them.

via What Silicon Valley Could Use More of: Inefficiency – The New York Times

Countering the rise of radicalism in private Islamic schools in Indonesia – Opinion – The Jakarta Post

More on increased radicalization in Indonesia and the influence of Islamic schools, with a useful breakdown of the different types:

A series of terrorist acts has rocked Indonesia in the past week. Starting from a clash in a detention centre at the Police Mobile Brigade headquarters in Depok, West Java, last week, attackers then bombed three churches in Surabaya, East Java, last Sunday, followed by another terrorist bombing at Surabaya Police Headquarters. Dozens were killed and wounded.

In response, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has reiterated the government’s commitment to exterminate terrorism down to its roots.

We must appreciate Jokowi’s statement. However, terrorism is a complex issue because there is no single factor that can explain why a person becomes a terrorist.

The importance of schools to prevent radicalism

One of the strategies that the government can use to stop terrorism in Indonesia is to take preventive steps using educational institutions to promote tolerance, which can eventually stop the spread of radical thoughts.

But what is happening in Indonesia is the opposite. Many schools in Indonesia have become fertile ground for radicalism.

The latest surveys from the Wahid Institute, Pusat Pengkajian Islam Masyarakat and the Centre for Study of Islam and Society (PPIM) and Setara Institute have indicated the spread of intolerance and radical values in educational institutions in Indonesia.

A student tolerance survey from Setara Institute in 2016 revealed that 35.7% of the students showed a tendency to intolerance in their minds, 2.4% were involved in acts of intolerance, and 0.3% had the potential to become terrorists. The survey was based on 760 respondents who enrolled in public high schools in Jakarta and Bandung, West Java.

Surveys from the Wahid Institute and PPIM have shown the same worrying trend.

The characteristics of schools prone to radicalism

In 2017, I was involved in research on efforts to respond to radicalism at 20 private Islamic schools in Central Java. The research involved academics from Monash University in Australia, Walisongo State Islamic University in Semarang, Central Java, and Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta with funding support from the Australia-Indonesia Centre.

We managed to identify three types of schools that are prone to radicalism. In accordance with confidentiality principles, we will not publish the schools’ names in this article.

These three types of schools are:

1. Closed schools

Instead of embracing changes, this type of school offers students a narrow perspective and tends to shut them off from foreign ideas.

We interviewed one of the headmasters from these schools. He explained the importance of Islamic civilisation to protect students against Western values.

Aside from see Islam and the West as being in conflict, closed schools also stress the importance of practising their version of Islamic teachings and reject the moderate Islam that most Muslims adhere to in Indonesia.

2. Separated schools

These schools can be identified from their teacher recruitment system and their limited participation in social activities.

The teacher recruitment process in these schools is very strict, especially the recruitment of religion teachers. In addition, these schools do not want to participate in social activities that they deem to be against their values.

This type of school is very different from other Islamic schools that are affiliated with the country’s more traditional Muslim organisations such as Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) or Muhammadiyah. Whereas separated schools recruit religion teachers from their own groups only and will use their networks to recruit alumni who share the same Islamic values, NU and Muhammadiyah schools will not consider differences in their teachings as an issue. For example, one of the headmasters from a NU-affiliated school stated that his school also recruited teachers from Muhammadiyah.

NU and Muhammadiyah schools are also active in social activities, including interfaith activities. Separated schools are not.

3. Schools with pure Islamic identity

The third type can be identified by the way they create students’ Islamic identity. The schools that are prone to radicalism tend to build in a student a single Islamic identity, refusing other identities.

This understanding is different from other Islamic schools, which tend to consider that a person’s identity as a Muslim is not against his/her other identity. Moderate Islamic schools do not see a conflict between their students’ identity as Muslims and as Indonesian citizens.

When a school builds this single Muslim identity, that school will also foster radical attitudes among students as they only believe in a single Islamic interpretation that is in line with their values.

Headmasters from this type of school usually order their students to follow all religious rituals at schools, despite the students’ different religious background.

A headmaster told us that his students with a NU background must abandon their prayer ritual in the morning called qunut when they are enrolled in his schools.

This policy is different from other schools that allow flexibility for their students in their religious practices.

In addition, the rejection of other identities creates a “we versus them” attitude not only between different religions but also within the larger Islamic community itself.

What we can do

These three types of schools contribute to the growth of intolerance as well as radicalism at schools, which can lead to terrorist acts.

Therefore, we believe that the recent terrorist attacks should give momentum to the government to plan preventive measures to promote diversity, social integrity and diverse identities in various schools across the country.

The government’s campaign on tolerance should reach different educational institutions via the Culture and Education Ministry as well as Religious Affairs Ministry.

The government must also provide platforms and programs to promote tolerance. Apart from that, related government institutions in the regions must develop the capacity to identify schools that are prone to radicalism and apply persuasive approaches to prevent the spread of radicalism in those schools.

via Countering the rise of radicalism in private Islamic schools in Indonesia – Opinion – The Jakarta Post