Sunday, November 1, 2015

Scholarship: Gratuate Institute Master and PhD for African Students in Switzerland, 2015/2016 Academic Session.

The Graduate Institute strives to support talented scholars from around the world. Financial aid packages may include cost-of-living scholarships, tuition reduction and/or a paid position, in various proportions. Aid is awarded with consideration to both financial need and academic merit. More information on financial aid
A number of special scholarship opportunities are available to students who meet specific additional eligibility criteria:

Scholarships for students from Africa (MA and PhD programme)

Support outstanding and highly motivated candidates, citizens of an African country, who intend to pursue a Master or a PhD at the Institute. Candidates need to demonstrate financial needs and academic excellence. Candidates may be enrolled or have completed an undergraduate programme outside of Africa.

Prunier Foundation Scholarships for students from Japan (MA and PhD programme)

Support outstanding and highly motivated Japanese candidates who intend to pursue a Master or a PhD at the Institute in one of the following programmes: Master in Development Studies, Master in Anthropology and Sociology of Development, Master in International Economics, PhD in Development Economics, PhD in Anthropology and Sociology of Development.

Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Scholarships (PhD programme)

Support outstanding and highly motivated students enrolled in the Institute's PhD programme who have either completed a degree programme in an American university, irrespective of their nationality (two scholarships), or who come from a Muslim country (two scholarships).

Application Instructions:

Complete the online application for admission, including the general scholarship application pages. If your profile matches the specific criteria for one of the aid programmes described above, the Scholarship Committee will consider you for the relevant aid package.
The Foundations do not accept direct solicitations.
Deadline: 15 January 2016. Study programmes start September 2016

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund (MMMF) Education Awards, 2015.

The MMMF is a nonprofit, public charity whose mission is to award educational grants to outstanding women from developing countries, who demonstrate a commitment to improving the well-being of women and children

The MMMF was founded in 1981 in memory of Margaret Craig McNamara by members of the World Bank Family Network (WBFN) in recognition of her life-long commitment to women and children worldwide and her advocacy for education. For more than three decades the Fund has awarded over 250 educational grants to women from low and middle-income countries, steadily increasing number and size of grants annually; from its first grant in 1983 to 24 grants in 2014.

The grants for this year opened on September 15, 2015 till 16 January 2016.

The MMMF awards education grants on a competitive basis to exceptional women from developing countries who have financial need and are committed to working to empower women and children.

Applications are made online at the MMMF website ( during periods indicated for each program cycle (US/Canada, South Africa and Latin America).

Women applying for the MMMF grant must meet all of the following criteria:

1. Demonstrate a commitment to working to empower women and children in developing countries. (see detailed instructions on applications)

2. Demonstrate financial need

3. Intend to return to a developing country within two years of completing degree or intend to remain in developing country at least two years to work towards empowerment of women and children

4. Are 25 years old at time of application deadline (See detailed instructions on application)

5. Demonstrate satisfactory academic performance

6. Be a national of a country listed on the MMMF Country Eligibility List (see list on website)

7. Be enrolled at an accredited academic institution at time of application and plan to be enrolled for a full academic year upon receipt of grant

8. Not be a relative of a World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund or Inter-American Development Bank staff or his/her spouse

9. Have not received a MMMF grant previously

10. Must be enrolled as a full time student with relevant student visa (see detailed instructions on application)

11. May not hold: US citizenship or permanent residency (green card) or Canadian citizenship or Canadian landed immigrant status

 For more information click here.

Source: MMMF official website

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Study of the U.S Institute (SUSI) Program 2015 , A 5 weeks Training in the USA + Seed Funding

Ashoka’s Youth Venture is pleased to partner with the University of Connecticut and its “Study of the U.S Institute” (SUSI Program 2015) to support the Student Leaders from North and Sub-Saharan Africa to be Social Entrepreneurs.

Ashoka Youth Venture/University of Connecticut (UCONN) SUSI Student Leaders on Social Entrepreneurship 2015 Program (5 Weeks Training in the USA + Seed Funding).

After 5 weeks of intense learning in the U.S. the African students are ready to launch their own social ventures to support the development of their communities. Youth Venture will assist SUSI participants in this process.

The students already have identified social challenges that they want to address in their communities, they have strong passions and talents to be change makers.

Eligibility Requirements:
The challenge is open to all individuals, organizations, and partnerships, including non-profit, for-profit, and public organizations.

· Entries may should be specific and well-planned, whether they are new ideas or established strategies with proven impact.

· Entries must be submitted in English.


· After 5 weeks of intense learning in the U.S. the African students are ready to launch their own social ventures to support the development of their communities. Youth Venture will assist SUSI participants in this process.

· Submit a complete version of your Action Plan and receive seed funding to implement your idea.

Assessment Criteria:

Winners of the challenge will be those that have submitted a written description of a project, invention, solution and/or initiative which, in the opinion of the judges of the challenge, best meets all of the following criteria:

· Innovation

· Social Impact

· Sustainability


· Entry Deadline : November 1, 2015

· Virtual Panels : December 18, 2015

· Seed Funding Approval : January 15, 2016

· All projects funded : February 1, 2016

For More Information: Visit the Official Webpage of the Ashoka Youth Venture/UCONN SUSI Student Leaders on Social Entrepreneurship 2015 Program

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bristow Helicopter Crashes In Lagos Lagoon

A helicopter flying in from Port-Harcourt owned by Bristow Helicopters crashed into the Oworosoki end of the Lagos lagoon around 3pm today. A total of 12 people were reportedly on board when the helicopter went down.

Speaking on the incident, Ibrahim Farinloye, NEMA spokesman said,”We don’t know exactly what happened but we have called the Nigerian mission control centre (NIMCC) to confirm the distress signal.” he said, adding that “the centre will ascertain this through the COSPAS-SARSAT, also known as the beacon, which is a hi-tech satellite based equipment made by Russia, USA and Canada for search and rescue purposes.”

According to Vanguard, three of those on board have died while four injured ones were moved to the nearby Gbagada General Hospital.

An eyewitness, Adaora Moka, was the first to tweet about the incident:
I just saw a helicopter crash into the lagoon from 3rd Mainland Bridge. I hope the people survive
— Adaora Moka (@jugomoka)August 12, 2015
This thing is so devastating. The helicopter burst into flames when it crashed into the water. I don’t know if people will survive. — Adaora Moka (@jugomoka) August 12, 2015

See photos from the crash scene below (Photos by Michael Opeyemi):

NEMA officials conducting rescue efforts at the scene of the crash

NEMA senior officials directing proceedings at the site of the crash

Victims getting medical attention

Officials of LASEMA at the scene of the helicopter crash

Helicopter at the scene of the helicopter crash

Money found on some victims of the helicopter crash

May the soul of the victim rest in perfect peace and for those who are still in the hospital, I wish them quick recovery.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mothers Who are Preparing to Give Birth Abroad:

I'm passionate about delivering my next child abroad and became curious to get vital information on this matter.  So, I contacted experts  to gather reliable information on how to give birth abroad and I found it worthy of sharing on this blog.

Here are my tips for Mothers who are preparing to give birth abroad:

1.   DO YOUR PRE-BIRTH RESEARCH: Which country?  Which location? What type of extended housing and transportation is available at the location? Also, remember to check the visa requirement for such country. You can ask around other expats, search the internet and don’t be afraid to reach out to those expats bloggers with your questions.

2.    GET A STANDARD HOSPITAL IN THE COUNTRY OF YOUR CHOICE: Register with a standard and affordable maternity hospitals in the country of your choice and after finalizing with the hospital proceed to the country Embassy in your home town to get your visa with the original documents to proof your reasons for traveling to the country. After getting visa, you can book a flight.  Do not forget to get an affordable health insurance and make a budget for your trip.

3. CHECK FLIGHT REGULATIONS FOR FLYING WHILE PREGNANT: If you are planning to fly to another country to deliver your baby, you must find out the airline’s regulations for flying while pregnant. Regulations are not the same for all airlines and all airports. Airports policies are different depending on whether they have a clinic to do the pre-flight check. Some airlines let you fly with a doctor’s note until you’re 35+ weeks pregnant. Other airlines won’t even let you on the plane (even with a doctor’s note) if you’re 33 weeks pregnant. Do your research on the regulations and make sure the note from the doctor is dated no later than a week before your flight.

4. GET YOUR BAGS PACKED FOR THE TRIP: Since you might have to fly out a month before your due date and then you’re looking at another month or two after you deliver to take care of passports and visas, you’re going to want to put a little more thought than usual into your packing. It is important to pack smartly (travel as light as possible) to avoid any inconveniences in your journey.

5. SECURE A PLACE TO STAY:  By the time you have passport and visa in hand combined with flying restrictions you may find yourself relocated for 2 to 3 months. You want comfortable and affordable accommodations. Check with other companies/organizations that have home offices in the city you will be staying. Maybe if they have vacancies you can get a cheaper rate than through a private rental. Also, check with the hospitals themselves, especially, if the country is known for medical tourism.

6. HAVE A BIRTH PLAN READY:  There are many different cultures and many different religions. This means that people have a lot of different cultural and religious preferences when it comes to the birth of a child. Prepared to tell the hospital staff what you want and what you do not want. Please, remember to ask your doctor to provide you a pre-typed birth plan, this will help you indicate your preference.

7. DON’T BE AFRAID TO PESTER PEOPLE WITH QUESTIONS: If you aren’t sure of anything  ask questions from experienced people and when you get to the country also ask question from your Doctor and Nurses.

8. REPORT THE BIRTH TO YOUR EMBASSY AND APPLY FOR THE BABY’S PASSPORT: Not many moms have to pack up and head to the embassy with baby in-tow a mere week after giving birth. Lucky you! It’s not ideal but it has to be done. You’re required to make an appointment for this so don’t just show up to the embassy unannounced. There are also a good bit of documents you need to have ready to turn in once you’ve made your appointment. It is crucial to ask for the list of the needed document and be sure if you are to bring photocopy or original copy of such document to the Embassy.

9. LOOK FOR INTERPRETER: If you don’t deliver in a city where all nursing/doctor/staff speaks English well, to have a friend in the city come and help interpret. Or take advantage of a hospital’s interpretation services (many hospitals with high expat patient numbers have this service). Or, if you already know the language, brush up on some terms you might encounter.

10. ASK A FRIEND TO “PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE” PICK YOU AND YOUR FAMILY UP FROM THE AIRPORT ONCE YOU RETURN HOME:  Nobody wants to take a taxi (or maybe even 2 with all of your luggage) once you get back to your home city.  Don’t underestimate how much others want to help you. When there’s an opportunity to hold a precious little newborn baby, people are going to be quick to offer you some help. You might feel guilty asking someone to drive way out of the way to come and get you but trust me, people want to help. Don’t rob someone of the joy that comes from helping others. Speaking as a person who likes to give, it really does bring me joy. So let the givers give and the helpers help.

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Scholarship: the University of Geneva,Faculty of science offers Masters Scholarships.

The Faculty of science of the University of Geneva is awarding excellence master fellowships for students from any country. Fellowship is open to students from any university with very good performance in their studies and that have completed the Bachelor degree or expect to complete it within 6 months. The Excellence Fellowship consists of a grant amounting to CHF 10’000 to CHF 15’000/year (no teaching duties). Selection of the applicants will be based on excellence. The application deadline is 15 March, 2016.
Study Subject(s): Fellowships are awarded in any discipline available within the Faculty of science. They cover a broad range of scientific disciplines: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Computer Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Physics.
Course Level: Fellowships are available for pursuing Master of Science program at University of Geneva.

Scholarship Provider: University of Geneva, Switzerland
Scholarship can be taken at: Switzerland
Eligibility: Application for an Excellence Fellowship is open to students from any university with very good performance in their studies (belonging to the best 10% of their bachelor’s program) and that have completed the Bachelor degree or expect to complete it within 6 months.
Scholarship Open for International Students: Students of any country can apply for these excellence master fellowships.

Scholarship Description: The Faculty of science of the University of Geneva is an internationally top-ranked scientific institution covering a broad range of scientific disciplines: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Computer Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Physics. It has a strong focus on research and hosts three National Centres of Competence in Research of the highly competitive Swiss National Science Foundation (Frontiers in Genetics; MaNEP; Chemical Biology) and many European collaborative research projects. The Masters of the Faculty of Science constitute an ideal entry for high-level professional and academic careers.

Duration of award(s): It is awarded for one year and extended for the regular duration of the chosen Master’s programme (three or four semesters) provided the applicant is academically successful at the end of his/her first semester of studies.
What does it cover? The Excellence Fellowship consists of a grant amounting to CHF 10’000 to CHF 15’000/year (no teaching duties).
Selection Criteria: Selection of the applicants will be based on excellence. Evaluation will be made on the basis of the documentation sent by the applicants.

How to Apply: Applications should be sent as an unique pdf file by e-mail to the Dean of the Faculty of Science: The application (in English or French) consists of:
1. Application Form
2. A Curriculum Vitae including the transcript of exams passed during the bachelor education, with grades.
3. A two-page essay in which the applicant describes his/her specific scientific interests, specifies the Master’s program at the Faculty of Science he/her would like to pursue, and motivates the intention to pursue a Master of Science programme at the University of Geneva.
4.  Letters of references from two professors (preferably sent by them directly to the e-mail address   indicated below). They should specifically attest if the candidate fulfills the conditions of the Excellence Fellowship Program.
 5. Other pertinent information like results of GRE (General requirement examination), of TOEFL or other language test.
Scholarship Application Deadline: The application deadline is 15 March, 2016.

 Click here for further information and applicatiofor the Scholarship.

Inside KSA: Princess Reem named UN goodwill ambassador

Princess Reem Bint Mansour Al-Saud was named a UN goodwill ambassador, the first Saudi princess to receive the honor, for her humanitarian work.

Princess Reem holds an M.Sc. in social policy and a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern studies from Oxford University. She is a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government working on enhancing Saudi labor policies, especially those pertaining to women.

She was named as a UN goodwill ambassador at an award ceremony held at the Conrad Hotel in Cairo.

Afaf Abdullah Yamani, the official Saudi representative to the Friends of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), was present at the award ceremony and delivered the acceptance speech on Princess Reem’s behalf.

In the speech, the princess said her priority would always be her country and that her newly earned title would aid her in breaking new ground in Saudi society.

Thanking UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Friends of WFUNA for the honour, she said she had always had a strong interest in the role of Saudi women in the Islamic world and that the UN title would enable her to contribute more to the world’s social and humanitarian issues.

The Princess also thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for the efforts he has put into humanitarian and women’s issues in Saudi Arabia.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Expat caught skinning rotten sheep carcasses

I saw this post on Saudi Gazette and found it useful for my Muslim fans who care so much about their deen. Please, say capital 'NO' to junk food.
Expat caught skinning rotten sheep carcasses

JEDDAH — An expatriate restaurant worker was caught skinning rotten sheep carcasses and cutting the meat outside a police compound in Hafr Al-Batin.

The man was preparing the meat for use in sandwiches sold at a cafe.
During a routine round, municipality inspectors noticed the worker outside the police compound in a deserted area. They kept watching him and soon they saw him pull out a carcass from dead sheep dumped at the place by farmers.
The inspectors monitored the worker until he skinned three carcasses and started cutting the meat. The officers surrounded him and phoned the police, who arrived at the scene and arrested the worker. The café was immediately closed down.

Culled: Saudi Gazette

Friday, August 7, 2015

Australia – 2015 Full Master Scholarships at South Australia University

The University of South Australia is a globally-focused, locally-engaged institution established on the dual principles of equity and excellence. With more than 33,000 students, the university is South Australia’s largest and has more than 10,000 International students. The University of South Australia is inviting applications for the President’s Scholarships available for Australian and International students and awarded on the basis of academic merit. Scholarships are available to support students enrolling in areas of research concentration and research strength and are nearly always given to doctorate by research candidates but can be given to masters

Description of Ideal Candidate:
In order to be eligible for the scholarship you must have a University of South Australia supervisor willing to nominate you for consideration and outstanding academic records, and be a citizen of an overseas country eligible for entry to Australia for the time required to complete the research degree.

Criteria for Australian applicants:
Generally an applicant must have first-class Honours or equivalent to be eligible;
Scholarships are awarded on the basis that the candidate will be studying full-time. In some cases, candidates can apply to receive scholarships on a part-time basis if there are compelling social reasons (eg the need to provide full-time care of children, disabled, sick, injured or elderly). The need to undertake part- or full-time work is not considered a compelling social reason.

Criteria for International applicants:
Generally an applicant must have first-class Honours or equivalent to be eligible;
An awardee must be enrolled on a full-time basis as a candidate for a Masters by Research or PhD at the University of South Australia.
An awardee shall be enrolled as an internal candidate at the University of South Australia.

Hope this is helpful?

Latest Exchange Rates to Naira

Here are your latest exchange rates as at today Monday 7th August 2015
1 US Dollar = 199.01 Naira
1 European Euro = 218.262 Naira
1 British Pound = 310.333 Naira
1 Kuwaiti Dinar = 656.699 Naira
1 Libyan Dinar = 142.554 Naira
1 Israeli Shekel = 52.89 Naira
1 Brazilian Reals = 57.89 Naira
1 Argentine peso = 21.65 Naira
1 Egyptian pound = 25.41 Naira
1 Ethiopian Birr = 9.58 Naira
1 Moroccan Dirham = 20.23 Naira
1 Kenyan Shilling = 1.96 Naira
1 Japanese yen = 1.6 Naira
1 Chinese yuan renminbi = 32.04 Naira
1 South African Rand = 15.67 Naira
1 Emirati Dirham (Dubai AED) = 54.17 Naira
1 Qatari Riyal = 54.64 Naira
1 Saudi Arabian Riyal = 53.06 Naira
1 Malaysian Ringgit = 51.67 Naira
1 Canadian Dollar = 151.548 Naira
1 Ghanaian Cedi = 52.10 Naira
1 Gambian Dalasi = 5.02 Naira
1 Russian Ruble = 3.177 Naira
1 Australian Dollar = 144.896 Naira
1 Indian rupee = 3.11 Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 4.35 Naira
1 Mexican peso = 12.37 Naira
1 Czech Koruna = 8.07 Naira
1 Algerian Dinar = 2.00 Naira
1 Liberian dollar = 2.15 Naira
1 Angolan Kwanza = 1.57 Naira

Note: These are the base exchange rates which Forex agents work from - you will pay a higher rate than this with a Forex agent because they charge commission/service fee. TravelArmy does not sell foreign currency, these serve only as a guide.

Looking at the above exchange rate you can see that our  naira (NGN) is really going through terrible devaluation, I hope our new President (Muhammadu Buhari) will rescue us.

Have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Early Childhood Education in Australia

Working with Children can be one of the most rewarding experiences of anyone’s life. Child Care Centre Managers direct and supervise child care workers, develop and implement programs to enhance the lives of young Australians and provide care for young children in before-school, after-school, day and vacation care centres.
Child Care Cenre Manager is currently on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) to view this list Please Click Here

Employment in this Qualification has rose very strongly in the last 5 years and is expected to keep growing. This is wonderful for anyone currently studying or thinking about studying this course because there is a very strong chance employment opportunities will exist when they have completed their course. ‘
Career Information:
The average hours worked by a person in Child Centre Managers are 37.6 hours per week compared to the national average of all occupations 41.1 hours per week.
The Average Pay for someone working in Child Care Centre Manager is $1115.00 per week.

Child Centre Manager Courses:
Certificate III in Children Services
Course Duration: 6 months (including 240 hours of practicum working in a childcare)Common Course Requirements:
Must have graduated year 11 in home country
Must have a minimum of IELTS 5 in all 4 components

Course Outcome:
Assistant in a Childcare Centre
Assistant in Family Day Care Provider
Pathways: Most Certificates in Early Childhood Education courses provide a pathway to Diploma of Early Childhood Education.
Diploma Of Early Childhood Education

Course Duration: 1 year (including 240 hours of practicum working in a childcare) Common Course Requirements:
Must have graduated year 11 in home country
Must have a minimum of IELTS 5 in all 4 components
Course Outcome:
Qualified Child Care Group Leader
Family Day Care Coordinator

Pathways: Most Diploma of Early Childhood Education courses provide a pathway to Bachelor or Bachelor of Education majoring in Early Childhood. If you complete a Diploma of Early Childhood Eduction, you may be given Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) for your Bachelor of Education and reduce the time of the course significantly.
Education Pathways:

Child Care Centre Manager (134111) is currently on the Skilled Occupation List. The current education qualification requirement to obtain a positive skills assessment is a Diploma of Early Childhood Education. By studying a package of courses that go for 2 years and result in a Diploma of Children’s Services you may be able to begin your pathway to living and working in Australia. You may even be able to do this without being sponsored by an employer and you may not need to live in a regional area. Below are some simple steps that may allow you to go down this pathway.
Step 1: Study a course or package of courses that go for at least 2 years and includes the Diploma of Early Childhood Education
Cert III in Early Childhood Education (6 months)
Diploma of Early Childhood Education (1 year)
Diploma of Management (6 months)
Step 2: By studying for 2 years and undertaking 360 hours of vocational placement during your studies (most education providers will arrange this for you), you may be eligible to apply for and receive the temporary graduate visa

The graduate visa is a work visa that allows the visa holder to live and work in Australia for up to 18 months. For more information on the graduate visa click here.
Step 3: On the graduate visa, you will be able to undertake part in the Job Ready Program.

The benefits of the JRP is that on completion you will be provided with a positive skills assessment for general migration purposes. On this program you must work for at least 12 months as a Child Care Centre Manager. The Childcare will need to have a minimum of 20 children in the 0-5 age group. Your employer will not need to sponsor your visa, as you will already be on the graduate visa. This will mean that you have a lot higher chance of finding employment as it is very easy for the employer to hire you. You may find this video on the Job Ready Program helpful.
Step 4: Once you have completed the Job Ready Program as a Child Care Centre Manager you will receive a positive skills assessment. Once you have the positive skills assessment you will be able to apply for general skilled migration visas.

If eligible, the general skilled migration visas do not require you to have an employer that is willing to sponsor your visa. Please note that you will still be required to pass the points test and health checks to apply for this visa.
Job Forecasts & Facts:
Employment in this sector rose very strongly in the last 5 years and also in the long term as well (10 years).
Growth in this industry is predicted to be very strong over the next 5 years.
This Industry is also growing in Regional areas creating more & more employment opportunities.
The most common level of Education Attained is a Bachelor Degree (49.2%).
There are currently 26000 Child Centre Managers employed in Australia.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Shocking: Most Boko Haram members are Christians – Report

Shocking revelation emerged that most members of the Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria are Christians.
The insurgents have attacked many churches in the country, killing several worshipers.
According to a obtained report by Radio France International, Nigerian researchers met in Paris this week at the European Conference on African Studies and took part in a round table entitled “Within and around Boko Haram in Nigeria” where it was revealed that most people terrorizing the continent are from the Christian community.
The report authored by a certain Daniel Finnan claimed that, their decision to join the violent group was due to lack of jobs and the money involved.
According to the report, “The real problem of Boko Haram is that no one has actually infiltrated them or if they have, they haven’t come out, or they’ve joined them. So the level of knowledge about the insides of Boko Haram is remarkedly small.”
On how many Christians that were forced to join the bloodthirsty group, the report claimed, “It’s almost certainly bound to be about 5,000, but some people put the numbers up way higher. The other problem is that of course as far as we know it’s quite a good job, at one point you could be paid 400 dollars a month for just simply joining them, you wouldn’t have to go fighting, you would spend your first months doing logistics or training. It’s quite profitable joining Boko Haram because you not only loot places, but you share the loot out at the end. And the third point that I think is important to realise is that there are plenty of Christians who are part of Boko Haram because it’s a job”.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

PhD scholarship for 3 years commencing Semester 1, 2016

Teaching and assessment of 21st century skills:

University of Melbourne, Australia. Will commence PhD scholarship for 3 years, the Semester 1, start up by 2016.
Expressions of interest (EOI) are invited from suitable candidates (domestic and international) interested in undertaking their doctoral studies (PhD) as part of a program of research investigating the teaching and assessment of 21st century skills, with specific focus on collaborative problem solving. This program of research is led by the Assessment Research Centre in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.

Previous research has focused on the definition of 21st century skills, the development of online collaborative assessments with automatic scoring and reporting systems, and associated teacher professional development materials. Future research will examine how teachers can use the assessment approach to collaborative problem solving that was developed previously to inform the teaching of the skill. There is also a focus on alternative approaches to the development of online collaborative assessment tasks. Two possible PhD projects have been developed to reflect these research objectives:
This research will focus on the effect of curriculum content on collaborative problem solving and the reciprocal influence of collaborative problem solving in enhancing the application of process skills in a curriculum area. The curriculum areas of interest are either Science or History in lower secondary school.
This project will investigate the capacity of templates use to generate assessment tasks to collect process data which reflects student skills. This represents a considerable shift from a previous project (ATC21S™) strategy where every new task had to be field tested with thousands of students and separately coded and calibrated.

Applicants with an interest in this program of research and a background in educational assessment, educational measurement, psychology and/or secondary teaching in Science or History are encouraged to apply.


The successful applicant will receive a PhD scholarship to the value of $25,849 for the duration of three years, a tuition fee waiver (if applicable), extensive mentoring support, and will be part of an active research community working on a growing and stimulating program of research.


In order to be eligible for this scholarship scheme, applicants must have completed tertiary studies equivalent to a Masters degree, with grades in the 'high distinction' (or equivalent) range. Relevant professional and research experience (including publications) will be regarded positively.

All applicants also need to satisfy the general University of Melbournerequirements for entry into the PhD program.

All scholarship offers will be made under the condition that applicants commit tofull-time study and commence their PhD studies here at the University in 2016.

How to apply

In the first instance, potential applicants are invited to contact Associate Professor Esther Care,, 03 8344 0975, to discuss their application.
Upon this discussion, applicants should email a cover letter, CV, completed EOI form, research proposal, copy of academic transcripts and Masters thesis examiners' reports (if applicable) to Associate Professor Esther Care, The deadline for EOI is no later than Friday 21 August 2015.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview in August –September 2015, with all applicants to be advised of the outcome of the EOI by the end of September 2015.
If offered the scholarship applicants must then formally apply for admission to the PhD – Education at the University of Melbourne. The deadline for applying for PhD studies at the University of Melbourne commencing in 2016 is 31 October 2015. For more information on the application process, visit How to Apply.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pickpockets arrested in Makkah

MAKKAH — Sixteen Arab expatriates, who had formed a pickpocket gang and robbed Umrah pilgrims of their possession, have been apprehended, said Makkah Region Police spokesman Col. Ati Al-Qurashi. The gang of five men, four women, and seven children was arrested by secret police agents. All stolen amounts of money and cell phones were confiscated. Also, another gang of thieves was arrested near the Grand Mosque. All of them were women, two Arabs and an African. They were caught red-handed with the stolen items, which included women’s dresses, cosmetics, and cash. Investigations showed that they live in Jeddah and come to Makkah to rob Umrah pilgrims. Last week 878 pickpockets were nabbed near the Grand Mosque and all of them were undocumented workers.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Part 2: Essential Information for Your Vacation/ Honeymoon in Thailand

Entry Requirements: U.S. and Canadian visitors staying fewer than 30 days do not need a visa to enter Thailand, but they do need to show a valid passport (one that will not expire for six months) and proof of a return ticket. But if you are from any other country, you need to apply for a Visitors' visa or Tourist visa  through Thailand embassy in your home country.

Currency: The Baht comes in both paper and coins and $1 equals about 30 baht.
Major credit and debit cards are also accepted in most establishments and shopping centers; there are occasionally additional fees from both the retailer and your card provider. Travelers cheques can be cashed at most banks throughout Thailand, but not at all stores or restaurants.

Climate/Best Time to Visit: Thailand has a tropical climate and the best time to go for a honeymoon there is from November to April, which is considered the high season. The low season (May to October) coincides with the rainy season, which often means cheaper accommodations (although that’s not likely a consideration for honeymooners). From March to the end of April it is hot and dry with average temperatures of 82 to 91 degrees (Fahrenheit). May to October temperatures run 80 to 86 degrees. November to February is pleasantly cooler, with average temperatures of 75 to 80 degrees.
 Language: Thai is the language of the land, but English is widely understood, especially in Bangkok. Road and street signs are in both Thai and English.

Electricity: 220 volts AC. Travelers with appliances and electronic gear are advised to bring an adapter kit. Many hotels will have adapters available for guests on deposit.

Water: Tap water is not safe to drink, recommend that your clients stick to bottled water. Most hotels offer complimentary bottled water in the room on a daily basis. Be wary of the ice in cold drinks, although ice that is served in restaurants is usually delivered to them from government inspected ice factories.

Time: Thailand is 12 hours ahead of Standard Time in the Eastern time zone, 11 ahead of Central, 10 ahead of Mountain and 9 ahead of Western, 6 ahead of Hawaii and 13 ahead of Atlantic (Canada). Thailand does not observe daylight savings time.

Phone: The international dialing code for Thailand is 66. To make international calls from Thailand, first dial 001, then the country code, followed by the area code and telephone number. SIM cards of local Thai network providers are widely sold and may be used to call/text both local and internationally.

Wedding Regulations/Vow Renewals: If you wish to have a destination wedding in Thailand there are some essential rules and regulations you need to know.

A legal marriage in Thailand is legal in the U.S. and Canada, but it must be performed according to Thai law and in addition, paperwork and legal formalities have to be completed to ensure the wedding is recognized in your home country. (Note: Canadian citizens should check with the Vital Statistics Office of the province or territory where the couple will live.) In Thailand you are only legally married once the wedding has been registered at the District Office ("amphur"). Suggest you arrange for them the services of a wedding planner. Better yet, many major hotels offer wedding packages that include the services of a wedding coordinator to oversee all the details.

Note: The author of Travel Army (Rashidat Muhammed) is a certified  'Thai The Knot Specialist' approved by  the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

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The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is now accepting applications for IRENA scholarship programme available for international students. Up to 20 highly-accomplished applicants are annually awarded an IRENA scholarship at the Abu Dhabi based Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MI), with the generous support of the Government of the United Arab Emirates. Applications for the IRENA Scholarship Programme 2015-2017 can be submitted by 15 September 2015.

Study Subject(s): Scholarship students received one of eight Master of Science Programmes: Chemical Engineering, Computing and Information Science, Electrical Power Engineering, Engineering Systems and Management, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Microsystems Engineering, Water and Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Critical Infrastructure offered at MASDAR Institute.
Course Level: Scholarships are available for pursuing masters degree at at MASDAR Institute of Science and Technology.
Scholarship Provider: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Government of the United Arab Emirates
Scholarship can be taken at: United Arab Emirates

Eligibility: All graduate and foundation year students enrolled at the Masdar Institute can also apply to the IRENA scholarship programme through the online Masdar Institute application process or after arrival at Masdar Institute. Successful applicants gain access to the IRENA lecture programme, short term assignments with IRENA, the possibility of first-hand experience with IRENA through an internship and the opportunity to network.

Scholarship Open for International Students: International students can apply for this IRENA scholarship programme.

Scholarship Description: As part of the programme, up to 20 highly-accomplished applicants are annually awarded an IRENA scholarship at the Abu Dhabi based Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MI), with the generous support of the Government of the United Arab Emirates. The IRENA scholarship programme offers various opportunities in addition to the Masdar Institute Scholarship. These include exclusive high-level lectures, aimed at presenting the latest developments in the field of renewable energies. Furthermore, the scholarship programme offers: IRENA sponsored short term assignments to scholars on a case by case basis; opportunities for participation in IRENA events; internships; and most importantly, the opportunity to network.

Number of award(s): In an effort to promote human capital development, the IRENA Scholarship Programme was launched in 2012. Up to 20 highly-accomplished applicants are annually awarded an IRENA scholarship at the Abu Dhabi based Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MI), with the generous support of the Government of the United Arab Emirates. The IRENA scholarship programme offers various opportunities in addition to the Masdar Institute Scholarship. These include exclusive high-level lectures, aimed at presenting the latest developments in the field of renewable energies. Furthermore, the scholarship programme offers: IRENA sponsored short term assignments to scholars on a case by case basis; opportunities for participation in IRENA events; internships; and most importantly, the opportunity to network.

Duration of award(s): Scholarships are awarded for a period of two years.
What does it cover? All accepted students at Masdar Institute receive a full scholarship for 2 years, which includes tuition, textbooks, housing, medical insurance, laptops and travel expenses with no bonds upon graduation. Additionally, the institute also provides each student with the cost of living allowance for other expenditures. The Masdar Student Academic Handbook provides crucial information about aspects such as general procedures and policies, research possibilities, registration, etc.

Selection Criteria:
The applications received for the IRENA Scholarship Programme shall be selected as per the following selection criteria, with candidates being ranked in accordance with their overall score. The top 20 students are selected.
-Interest in renewable energy technologies and their applications and Interest in International Development Projects in particular specific IRENA projects.
-Strong motivation and clear approach for development of knowledge, skills and experiences in a specific focus area and Preference to focus areas which are mutually relevant to IRENA and Masdar.
-Academic accomplishments in terms of prior education, achievements, certifications, GRE and TOEFL scores.
-Diversity of background is preferred and Relevant work experience to match interests in specific focus areas.

Online Application: Interested candidates aiming for foundation or graduate level education at the Masdar Institute can apply for the IRENA Scholarship Programme through two possible ways:
-Applications can be submitted through the online Masdar Institute application platform, by selecting the box for ‘IRENA scholarship’ in addition to the ‘Masdar Institute scholarship’ box. The candidates for IRENA scholarship shall be selected from the applicants who have been successfully admitted to Masdar Institute and have successfully met the criteria stated for IRENA scholarships.
-It is important to comply with the Masdar Institute selection criteria to be accepted for the Masdar Institute Graduate Programme and also for the IRENA scholarship. The applicant criteria for Masdar Institute requires an undergraduate degree from a college, university or technical college of acceptable standing in the field of science, engineering or information technology; minimum CGPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0; competence in spoken and written English verified through a minimum TOEFL score of 91 (IBT) on the international TOEFL or a minimum academic IELTS score of 6.5; and a minimum GRE quantitative score of 700 (or 155 on the new scale).
-Once admitted to Masdar Institute, the students can also submit their IRENA application by the 15th of September annually via email. The applications should mention the student’s faculty at Masdar and include an up-to-date CV, together with a statement or letter of purpose.

Scholarship Application Deadline: Applications for the IRENA Scholarship Programme 2015-2017 can be submitted from 1 November 2014 as part of the online application for the Masdar Institute Graduate Studies Programme 2015, or after arriving at Masdar Institute, by 15 September 2015.

Application Form
Further Official Scholarship Information and Application

Scholarship Programme in Bristol University, UK.

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The University of Bristol is delighted to announce ten International Office Scholarships for new international students for 2015 entry:
Five scholarships of £8,500 each will be available for prospective undergraduate students.
This is divided as follows: £3,000 in Year One, £3,000 in Year Two and £2,500 in Year Three. No awards will be made for subsequent years.
Five scholarships of £8,500 each will be available for prospective one year taught Masters students.
Who can apply?

Eligible students:
All applicants must be classed as international students for fee purposes.
All applicants must already hold an offer of a place on a full-time undergraduate or taught masters programme at the University of Bristol.
Applicants may be from any discipline.
Sponsored students and students in receipt of another scholarship/award over £3,000 are not eligible to apply.
Current University of Bristol students are not eligible to apply.
How to apply

To apply for the International Office Scholarships, please click here.

All applicants are required to answer the following question:
"Why do you think it is important for a university to have students from around the world?"
(max. 350 words).

Should you require further information about this scholarship, please contact the International Office at:
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Ramadan -- the annual Muslim festival of fasting, sacrifice and worship -- gets underway across the world on 20 July and will last for 29 or 30 days, depending on lunar sightings.
Those used to Dubai’s fast-paced nature will see a different side to the city as locals conservative Muslim roots come to the fore, with shorter business days, a quieter nightlife scene and an emphasis on spending time with loved ones. And for  visitors to the city, there are a few dos and don’ts that will help you best enjoy this time of charity and peace.

Do visit. Dubai does not shut down completely during Ramadan. Many expats and visitors to the city enjoy this time of year because most things remain open but the city empties out as both Muslims and expats head off for cooler shores. Public transport and taxis operate as normal, although come sunset most taxi drivers will stop for a while to break their fast. Muslims do not eat, drink or smoke between sunrise and sunset for the length of Ramadan, and in Dubai everyone must follow this rule. 

Dubai’s tourist attractions like the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) orWild Wadi Waterpark will not be as busy.
Make an effort to understand this religious time of year and what it means to the city. Visit Jumeirah Mosque  where tour guides can explain how important this time of year is to Muslims for reflection and prayer, as they use the month to focus on their actions over the past year and to cleanse themselves for Eid al Fitr, the festival that marks the end of Ramadan with a celebratory feast.
Go to an iftar -- the meal Muslims' break their fast with every evening at sunset. Almost every hotel offers an all-you-can-eat iftar feast during Ramadan, serving traditional Emirati and Arabic foods like slow cooked lamb and rice, as well as plenty of dates for energy for the next day. Beachside hotels like the Atlantis andJumeirah Beach Hotel often erect grand iftar tents where people come to eat, play board games,
Don’ts During Ramadan, dress codes get more conservative. Dubai is usually relatively liberal, but during the Holy Month women should cover their shoulders and their legs down to their knees when out in public -- carry a pashmina or a shawl if you do not want to wear lots of layers. For men, it is shirts or T-shirts as usual but make sure shorts are knee length. Expect uncomfortable stares or even a fine if you ignore this rule during the Holy Month.
Everyone has to abide by the “do not eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in public between sunrise and sunset rule” -- and that includes tourists. These laws can be punished with fines or even jail time if broken. Restaurants will not be open during the day, but there are some designated cafes open for non-Muslims hidden away behind curtains in most shopping malls; ask at mall information booths for their location if you need a soft drink or a snack. It’s easy to get dehydrated if you are not used to the summer heat.
Don’t expect bars to open before 8 pm (depending on the time of sunset). Bars are open (clubs are not) during Ramadan, but they will be quieter and will not play any music, live or otherwise. You can still get a drink, however, once the sun goes down.

Ramadan Khareem.