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.

Image result for Scholarship
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.

Image result for Scholarship Programme in Bristol University, UK.

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:
Image result for ramadan mubarak
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.

As an overseas trained teacher, what do I need to be able to teach in the UK?

 In order to come to the UK and teach you will need to have the following:
Image result for teacher teaching students
1. You will need to have QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) unless you are working temporarily for a maximum of four months and you need to be registered with the General Teaching Council.
If you qualified as a school teacher in another country you will need to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) before you can work as a permanent, qualified teacher in England. The TTA's Overseas Trained Teacher Programme gives Overseas Trained Teachers (OTTs) the opportunity to gain QTS while they work in a school. There are special arrangements which give Overseas Trained Teachers the option of presenting themselves for QTS assessment without further training.
2. Your qualifications must be recognised and given a UK equivalent. The best people to talk to about this are NARIC (the National Academic Recognition Information Centre). They can give you further information regarding your qualifications and their equivalent in the UK.
3. You will need a work permit. The Border and Immigration Agency can provide further information on obtaining a work permit.
There is a section in Advice for non-UK teachers about the procedures that you will need to go through and the agencies that can provide you with information.

What is QTS and how do I get it?
Image result for What is QTS and how do I get it?QTS stands for Qualified Teacher Status. This is awarded to a teacher who has completed an appropriate teaching qualification and is deemed to uphold the professional code of the General Teaching Council of England. Only a teacher with QTS can be employed in a maintained school on a permanent contract, with pay according to the qualified teacher pay scale and access to continuing professional development and pension contributions. The most common route to QTS is through the completion of a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) followed by a year’s induction in schools.
What is a CRB and how long is it valid for?
A CRB is the common term used to refer to a background check performed by the Criminal Records Bureau. A clear ‘enhanced disclosure’ from the CRB is an essential pre-requisite for any person who wishes to work with children or vulnerable adults, regardless of their job role.
Enhanced disclosure takes between three and six weeks from initial application. You cannot work in the presence of children or vulnerable adults until this is returned. Under the present DCSF guidelines, a CRB check is valid for three years unless you have a break in service of over three months, in which case a new disclosure will be required.
What is a spine point?
All teachers working in the maintained sector are paid according to the Main Pay Scale. This ensures that teachers’ pay is proportionate to their experience, level of qualification, level of responsibility and the cost of living in their area.
Classroom teachers begin on the main pay scale (MPS). This is broken down according to location into England and Wales, Inner London, Outer London and Fringe. This scale runs from M1 to M6. Each September teachers move up a point on the scale subject to satisfactory performance. It should be noted that at least one period per week must be completed over a twenty-six week period to count as a ‘year in teaching’.
Upon reaching the top of the main pay scale a teacher will be assessed against eight national standards. If successful they will have the opportunity to be assessed to cross the ‘threshold’ to the upper pay scale (UPS). This scale runs from U1 to U5.
Additional salary points and opportunities to earn are made available for further specialism or responsibility.

What is the GTC?
The role of the GTC includes the improvement of standards in teaching and in the quality of learning. It is particularly concerned with professional standards and acts as a regulator of teaching standards, including a disciplinary function.
GTC registration is required for all teachers with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Overseas Trained Teachers (OTTs) may work in England for up to four years without QTS but if an OTT gains QTS then registration is required.
Alternatively, if you are considering teaching in Wales, visit the General Teaching Council for Waleswebsite.

What is the difference between a state school and an independent school?
There are several types of state schools forming what is referred to as the ‘maintained sector’. Essentially, the significant differences between the maintained and independent sector are in funding.
A maintained school is owned and funded by an external body. This is usually the Local Authority for that area, a charitable organisation or a church foundation. Schools in the maintained sector have to deliver the national curriculum.
An independent school is usually funded by fee-paying students and is not maintained by the Local Authority or central government. Such a school is not required to follow the national curriculum, although the majority do.
What is the DCSF?
The DCSF, or the Department for Children, Schools and Families, is the agency responsible for education in England and is headed by the Secretary of State. The goals of the DCSF are; “to give children an excellent start in education, enable young people to equip themselves with life and work skills and encourage adults to achieve their full potential through learning.” For more information, visit the DCSF website.

What is the national curriculum?
The national curriculum (NC) is the outlined educational requirement for pupils of a compulsory school age (5-16yrs). It is organised on the basis of five key stages: Key Stage 1 applies to children aged 3-5, Key Stage 2 & 3 are applicable to primary schools and Key Stage 4 & 5 to secondary schools.

Where can I find schools that are looking for graduates for the Graduate Teacher Training Programme?
This is a tricky one. In the vast majority of instances the most effective way to find a school to support you through a GTTP is by making independent individual applications to all schools in your area. Some positions may be advertised on LA websites. 

Why is it that, when I conduct a search before logging in, I get more vacancies shown than if I conduct a search after I have logged in?
Schools can specify the location (or country) they wish to receive applications from. It is most likely that you are unable to apply for certain vacancies as you are not resident in the country in which the position is advertised. Alternatively, you may not have qualifications which have been specified by the advertisers as necessary for the post. Before applying for positions, please check that you have the relevant qualifications and/or satisfy the specified criteria.

How can I achieve QTS while working in the UK?
The Teacher Training Agency is responsible for enabling Overseas Trained Teachers (OTTs) to attain QTS while working in the UK. Your application must be overseen by a recommending body, such as the school in which you are working. If you feel that you need support you may follow a training plan that could last up to a year. If not, you will need to demonstrate that you meet the required QTS standards. As a qualified teacher from overseas you can apply for QTS assessment without any further training.

How can I find out if I need a work permit to work in the UK?
There are many countries from which nationals do not require a work permit to gain employment in the UK. To clarify your personal situation contact the British Embassy or High Commission in your country.