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Education

University unveils new exchange opportunity

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THE UNIVERSITY OF WALES TRINITY SAINT DAVID (UWTSD) is delighted to announce its new student exchange agreement with the University of Malaya (UM).

The agreement is part of the University’s international strategy and was signed recently by Professor Medwin Hughes, DL Vice Chancellor of UWTSD and Professor Tan Sri, Dr. Mohd Amin Jalaludin, Vice- Chancellor of UM.

UM attracts the country’s best students and is listed by the Ministry of Higher Education as the top University in Malaysia. It is also ranked among the top 30 universities in the world according to the Times Higher Education (THE) – QS World University Rankings.

The University’s international student population represents more than 80 different countries around the world.

University of Malaya is Malaysia’s oldest university and is situated in the southwest of Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur. It was founded as the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore on September 28 1905. In October 1949, it became the University of Malaya following the merger of the King Edward VII College of Medicine and Raffles College, which was founded in 1928.

The University of Malaya’s name is derived from the term ‘Malaya’ – the name the country was then known. The Carr-Saunders Commission on University Education in Malaya, which recommended the setting up of the University, noted in its Report in 1948: “The University of Malaya would provide for the first time a common centre where varieties of race, religion and economic interest could mingle in joint endeavour … For a University of Malaya must inevitably realise that it is a university for Malaya.”

The growth of the University was very rapid during the first decade of its establishment and this resulted in the setting up of two autonomous divisions in 1959, one located in Singapore and the other in Kuala Lumpur. In 1960, the government of the two territories indicated their desire to change the status of the two into that of a national university. Legislation was passed in 1961 and the University of Malaya was established on January 1, 1962.

On June 16, 1962, University of Malaya celebrated the installation of its first Chancellor, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, who was also the country’s first prime minister. The first Vice-Chancellor was Professor Oppenheim, a world-renowned Mathematician.

Currently, His Royal Highness, The Sultan of Perak Darul Ridzuan, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah is the Chancellor of the University of Malaya.

Professor Jalaludin was appointed the eleventh Vice-Chancellor of University of Malaya on November 8, 2013.

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor said : “The University’s partnership with the University of Malaya has taken an important step forward which will lead to a range of exciting curriculum developments as well as opportunities for further collaboration

“This is another significant step on the journey to create a partnership that will allow us celebrate even greater opportunities for students, for staff and for knowledge transfer between our two institutions by giving students from Malaysia the opportunity to study in Wales.”

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Education

821% increase in homeschooling for Ceredigion area

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OVER the last decade homeschooling has risen by 821% in the Ceredigion area, according to figures supplied through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by homeschooling provider Wolsey Hall Oxford.

In 2013, figures revealed that 28 children were homeschooled in the Ceredigion area but by 2022 this had increased to 258.

In the last four years alone, the Ceredigion area has seen an overall rise in homeschooling of 52%. The number of Primary-aged children being taught at home rose from 65 to 109 (67%) and the number of Secondary-aged children has risen from 104 to 149 (43%).

These figures show that despite Covid-19 restrictions easing up, and schools re-opening, many parents have opted to continue homeschooling their children. They reflect a similar picture seen across the UK, as statistics show that there are now more than 71,515 homeschoolers – up from 59,559 in 2018 and 22,408 in 2013. Wolsey Hall Oxford has been collating this information from over 100 UK Councils through FOIs.

Wolsey Hall Oxford Principal, Lee Wilcock, comments: “What seems very apparent is that those parents who chose to try homeschooling for the first time during Covid-19 have realised how beneficial online learning can be. Homeschooling allows children to learn at their own pace and at a time which suits them. It is a much more child-centred approach to education than is available in a traditional classroom.”

Of course, the pandemic is not the only reason parents opt to homeschool their children. At Wolsey Hall we’ve found that some of the most common reasons for parents to choose homeschooling include:

Lack of progress or underachievement at mainstream schools
Frustration with teaching standards in mainstream schools
Concerns for their child’s safety/bullying
Behavioural issues that are not suitably dealt with in mainstream schooling
Medical reasons or learning difficulties that inhibit a child’s ability to learn in a conventional environment
Travelling and expat families
Gifted/higher learning potential students or those who are elite athletes/in the performing arts industry

It is also interesting to note that a well-being survey conducted by Wolsey Hall Oxford in September 2022 – and completed by 343 parents – concluded that 91.5% of parents believe that their child’s well-being has improved since they opted to homeschool.

One parent noted, “My son has thrived. He is a true (gregarious) introvert… He loves being around people socially, but it tires him out, so school left him feeling drained, with no energy for true social interactions. Being able to learn alone and quietly has left him with plenty of energy for social and extra-curricular activities – scouts/young leaders, tennis, drama club, youth group etc. He has become confident in his own abilities and also learnt when and how he can take the initiative to get help when needed.”

To find out more about these statistics or to interview any of our team members, please contact Danielle Hilton: danielle.hilton@wolseyhalloxford.org.uk

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Education

Aberystwyth academic helping to improve British wrestling

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A LECTURER in Film Theory and Practice from Aberystwyth University is contributing towards a ‘code of better practice’ for British wrestling.

Dr Thomas Alcott from the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies has been invited by the All-Party Group on Wrestling at the UK Parliament to participate in a conference on the topic later this month.

The group – which includes MPs from across the political spectrum – recently led an inquiry and published the findings in April last year.

The cross party group reviewed regulation, funding, safeguarding and wellbeing in wrestling, and sought to find ways to better support and regulate the industry.

Dr Alcott’s doctoral research, which explored the relationship between audiences, stars and industry within the world of Professional Wrestling, was one of the resources used and quoted in the report.

Organised by the groups of MPs, Loughborough University and wrestling training school Playfight, the conference will be attended by academics, wrestlers, promoters and coaches.

It is intended to provide an opportunity for training and discussion, and lead to a safer and more inclusive environment.

Dr Alcott told The Ceredigion Herald: “For over a century, wrestling has been a popular form of culture and entertainment. However, a lack of clarity on whether it sits within the sector of sport or theatre has led to complexities about how the industry is governed and regulated.

“The inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wrestling is the first official analysis and intervention in the wrestling industry for many decades. The conference that follows the publication of the group’s report will provide an opportunity to discuss a guide of better practice to improve the industry for the future, for the benefit of both performers and fans.”

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Education

New Japanese partnership to boost climate change research at Aberystwyth University

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ABERYSTWYTH University has signed up to a new partnership with a Japanese university in a boost to its climate change research.

The new memorandum of understanding with Ritsumeikan University includes exchanging research and joint investment in cutting-edge technology.

As part of the partnership, the two universities are collaborating on major projects studying climate change in Mexico and Japan.

In southern Mexico, a joint team will investigate records of past climate change in the region and its role in the collapse of the Classic Mayan civilisation.

Professor Sarah Davies, Head of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University said:

“It’s a pleasure to confirm our commitments with this new memorandum which builds on a long-standing research relationship between our two institutions. These projects will make an important contribution to our understanding of climate change, and its role in the development of human civilisation.

“Together with our Japanese partners and the support of Aberystwyth University and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, we have made a significant investment in our X-ray Fluorescence core scanner. This is a resource of both UK and international importance, enabling very high-resolution geochemical analysis of sediment cores to reconstruct climate variability. These joint investments in instrumentation are an important boost to our future research work.”

Professor Takeshi Nakagawa from Ritsumeikan University commented:

“We are delighted to forge even closer ties with our partners at Aberystwyth University as we conduct ground-breaking research together. The joint research on climate change is a very exciting opportunity to unlock some of humanity’s secrets and better understand our world.”

As part of the partnership, Professor Takeshi Nakagawa and Dr Ikuko Kitaba from Ritsumeikan University are visiting Aberystwyth until 14th November.

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