I understand why the argument in favour of international students is expressed in hard economic facts, but the academic quality arguments are equally or probably even more relevant for our prosperity and well-being as a nation in the long term. Quality has a clear economic relevance - as long as we are able to look beyond short term objectives. That is something else we should make more prominent in our teaching, especially for the benefit of politicians.
The latest data shows around four in five children do not do enough daily physical activity to keep healthy. While most people, quite rightly, associate lack of activity with a decline in physical health and an increase in obesity, fewer people are aware of a wider, often hidden, consequence; that inactivity affects a child's ability to succeed at school and in life.
I for one, am particularly proud of what my friend has achieved and very excited about what it will mean for the children of Sierra Leone. Sam's work is a vital addition to all of the hard work already going on within the country to provide the next generation with the education they have a right to.
Whatever people do make of nanodegrees, I'm pleased to note that very few are using 'online distance learning' itself as a criticism of the concept. I believe this is a reflection of increasing mainstream acceptance of this study mechanism but also an acknowledgement of the changing face of online students.
Parents involve themselves in every aspect of school life, from running in every time their child has a problem, to falling over themselves to be parent helpers on school trips. And it doesn't stop at the school gate; so afraid are we of our kids making mistakes or doing things wrong that we hover over everything they do, like some kind of over-zealous quality control system.
The shopping is done, the presents are wrapped and plans have been made. Yes, Christmas is just around the corner. And before we know it, we'll be toasting in the New Year. People say things tend to quieten down for businesses around this time of year, but this certainly hasn't been the case in the skills and employment arena. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Though I cannot speak for all us, many of us have been rendered, albeit unwillingly, apathetic to the attacks on humanity suffered in Pakistan because of their frequency. This was the weak argument we were using up until now as we slumbered on in a chaotic world. But there's a time for all of us when we awaken and that wakefulness of our conscience is a blessing in itself that must be grasped, nurtured and fed - and I believe Pakistan has suddenly awakened. Finally. Thankfully...
Here's the resounding message: 'Don't get raped!'. Why is there no talk telling people not to rape, and teaching them what constitutes rape? Considering that most victims of sexual assault are assaulted by somebody they know, the 'don't walk home alone' message is proving to be falling short in protecting students. We need something more.