International News Desk – At Home and Abroad

At Home:Teaching Assistants at U of T on Strike
The Globe and Mail is reporting that graduate students, who do the bulk of the teaching as teaching assistants at the University of Toronto, have gone on strike over the university being unwilling to increase the funding being provided. The university has argued that it is willing to raise the hourly wage, but the TAs say that it means little when the university is also seeking to lower the maximum number of hours that they are willing to pay for. One student interviewed called it ridiculous, in that the university is in fact offering to pay the TAs less overall even though the workload will not be any lower, just the maximum hours allowed.

Around the Globe: Gender Studied
The Economist is reporting that according to a recent study by the OECD, boys are rapidly falling behind in education at all levels, from elementary to post-secondary. Some of this is due to the boys themselves being less interested in reading or education, with them being twice as likely as girls to report that school is a waste of time. However some of it also seems to stem from biases against boys in school. Anonymized tests done showed that when the markers did not know if the students were male or female, the boys received better scores than when their identities were known. There is some supposition as to why this might be, for instance how most elementary school teachers are female and may favour their own sex, or how students who are polite and quiet, something not as common among young boys, receive better marks as teachers feel they have a better understanding of the subject matter.

And when it comes to post-secondary, the difference is even starker, with campuses in America, Britain and parts of Scandinavia having 50% more women than men, and some countries are even starting specific programs to encourage more males to attend post-secondary.

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