Why might you consider the alternate BTEC route to a degree?

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By Dr. Orville Leverne Clubb, Head ITS Education Asia BTEC Centre

Why might you consider the alternate BTEC route to a degree?

When the opportunity surfaced to work with ITS Education Asia (ITS) as their Head of BTEC Centre, offering the BTEC Higher Nationals qualification(s), it was a perfect fit.  Prior to taking the post, I had retired after a career of 40 years in higher education.  I began to feel I needed to continue to contribute to society as an educator and welcomed the opportunity.

I am a believer in non traditional paths to formal education. I am aware that there are many people who deserve a chance to advance themselves through higher education but due to many different reasons don’t have the opportunity for a traditional higher education path. I feel the BTEC HND is an excellent alternative to direct entry to a traditional university programme for a bachelors degree (or masters).  In Asia, a student can achieve an internationally recognised UK awarded bachelor degree in 3 years by taking  our two year full-time BTEC HND followed by a one year topping up degree. Topping up degree programmes are available either here in Asia or you can go to the UK for the topping up degree course.  Basically, the BTEC HND is equal to the first two years of a British bachelors degree and the topping up degree gives the final year for the award of a bachelors degree.  Depending on your goals, if you wish, in a place like Hong Kong, that means you can have an internationally recognized master degree in 4 years, rather than 5 using the local traditional route.

At ITS, we decided to become a BTEC Centre since BTEC qualifications are  recognized in more than 70 countries worldwide, and in 2013/2014, 2.58 million learners registered for BTEC programmes and other vocational qualifications.

My personal story; when I was a young person, I did not take high school (secondary school) very seriously, I did not achieve grades good enough for me to get university admission. For my first career, I spent more than four years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps as an enlisted man.  While on active duty in the military I had time to think about what I wanted to do with my life. When I left active duty as a veteran of the Vietnam War, I was given an allowance to pursue four years of education.  I decided that I would use the allowance to pursue a bachelor degree.   Not having the grades in high school to gain direct admission to university, I had to find an alternative route to reach my goal. I was able to take advantage of the Hawai’i Community College system to study for an associates degree and then, articulate to the University of Hawai’i Manoa to finish my B.A. in Psychology. Some years later, through continued studies, I was awarded a PhD from a UK university. Prior to the Marines, I was a construction worker.

My experience as a young man made me a believer in nontraditional routes of higher education.  The BTEC HND is an excellent alternative to direct entry to a traditional university programme.

 

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So you don’t think Physics is useful?

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By Chau Kwai Sum, Physics teacher, ITS Education Asia

 

Study the pictures below and read the questions that follow. Do you know their answers?

295-x-182-mm-flyers

How are three dimensional images of objects taken?

Do you know the name of the device? What are its uses?

How does electricity reach our homes from power stations?

How wavelengths of light from a street lamp are measured?

Why radiations are emitted from some substances? What are they?

Why aircraft can “float” and fly in the air?

 

If you are curious to know the answers to the above questions and how other old and new stuff works, you could certainly do worse than choose physics as one of the electives during study in high school.

Physics curriculum of IB or IAL provides basic theories and practices to the understanding of how things work. In the course of learning, students are trained to observe phenomena closely, investigate scientifically factors affecting situations, plan cautiously experiments for verification, think about the obtained results critically and draw reasonable conclusions for applications. From the history of the great physicists, they usually followed these procedures to discover new things and find their respective applications to improve our living. An illustration is the discovery of X-rays which were noted by the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen. Just two weeks after the publication of Röntgen’s paper related to X-rays, the discovery was announced to be used in the diagnosis of bone fractures in the medical field.

Physics is a prerequisite to many majors as prescribed in the university entrance requirements, examples like faculties of engineering, natural science, computing and actuarial science. Schools of law, medicine, business, building, surveying and architecture also accept students with a physics background as they consider these students demonstrate keen observational, and high analytical, abilities in matters; learn fast from new situations and derive appropriate solutions to each of them; deduce sensible and applicable conclusions from results in different trials.

Studying physics doesn’t only satisfy ones curiosity about stuff but it also equips you with a scientific mindset knowing that everything has a limitation. This concept is especially essential in the commercial sector, for instance investors shouldn’t put all capital in one business even though it is beneficial at present because numerous stressed factors can change or degenerate the business’s existing profits or cause the business becoming obsolete.

Teens having acquired the knowledge, skills and scientific mindset can definitely adapt themselves to environments in the rapidly changing and globalized world. It is all about transferable skills and physics certainly provides these. So when you next see the promotion of “STEM” education, let it  arouse your interest in science and consider how it may help different job perspectives in future and open up the opportunity for a useful and rewarding life.

 

The author teaches for ITS Education Asia both at our schools in Hong Kong and through our online school. No matter where you live, if you would like to join supplementary tutorials or take a full qualification at IGCSE or IAL, get in touch with us.

 

 

 

 

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Sewing as a therapy that leads to so much more

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by Danny Harrington, Founder & Director, ITS Education Asia

 

I enjoyed this article in The Guardian the other day not least because it confirms something we have known and been doing at ITS since 2009 – that sewing workshops provide a space and a meaningful activity in which people from any walk of life and at any age can come together and gain value in their lives.

I’m not able of course to say with any scientific certainty why this is the case but anecdotally it would seem to link to a number of factors. First is the pace of modern life. This is undoubtedly faster, especially in large cities (perhaps no coincidence that places like London in the article, or Hong Kong for ITS are centres of sewing popularity), and many people feel the need to slow down, or at least have spaces in their busy lives that run at a slower pace. Sewing workshops are certainly calm and friendly spaces with gentle chat as a background to participants’ concentration as they work on their skills and creative projects. Really it falls into the active meditation tradition.

As a corollary to that, many people are forced through an education system, often by those around them with good intentions or else through a self-imposed feeling of the need to “get on”, into careers they have no real interest in and which have long hours and high levels of stress. Very few people can work in high stress environments constantly and especially if they feel they have arrived there through no real choice of their own. Our workshops often have a lawyer or a banker quietly enjoying the chance to slowly allow their creativity out and work within an open and free space with a variety of pointedly different-minded people who happen to share one interest. It cannot be healthy to spend our entire lives surrounded by only like-minded people or only people who are determined for whatever reason to present only one conformist persona to those around them.

Thirdly we see people who may want the chance to gain a new skill and see where it leads them. I might note the fast pace of life but I do not judge it. It is what it is. One of the great characteristics of modern societies like Hong Kong that I have enjoyed is the culture that allows anyone to start a business if they choose. So while some people are in a mindset of trying to gain employment in “stable” careers, others are looking to follow their dreams more independently. Often the former, having given themselves a stable financial platform, gained valuable business experience, or simply realised employment is not for them, will jump off into the wild and exciting world of entrepreneurship. Sewing is a skill that underlies all fashion and we often see people coming along with an eye on a future business idea. Indeed, we have helped to launch a number of people into these dreams.

And some people come to get out of the house and because it’s their hobby. And that’s fine too. We don’t have to over-analyse it 🙂

See all our sewing and fashion classes here

Work in a relaxed and social environment.

Work in a relaxed and social environment.

 

Make your own dolls with couture outfits

Make your own dolls with couture outfits

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ITS and Scoolsmart sign collaboration deal

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by Danny Harrington, Founder & Director, ITS Education Asia

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Scoolsmart founder Haroon Hasan (left) with colleagues Calvin Yu and Dilip Parmanand meet with ITS founder Danny Harrington (2nd from right)

 

We are delighted to announce that after a few weeks of discussions, ITS and Scoolsmart have formalised an agreement to collaborate on the new Scoolsmart app for schools.

The app is an up-to-date School Information System which allows schools and parents to check when students have arrived at school and when they have left, increasing personal security for children. Besides this, it allows for a large range of functions such as accessing homework, tracking academic performance, combining all school communications in one place, school shop and access to other services linked to school and education.

The app is fully flexible as each service within it is a separate app, so each individual can choose which services they would like displayed and in what order on their screen. As with all apps, the services come with notifications such as badges and alerts. It is available for both iOS and Android.

Pilot schemes are due to start with selected schools in a number of Asian countries at the end of May through June 2017 and we hope the app will fully launch in the summer. Agreements are being signed each week with schools, government and cell phone networks to allow for a smooth regional roll-out. ITS will work closely with Scoolsmart as their educational consultant, particularly for the international education sector.

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Don’t forget June SAT cancelled!!

Hong Kong Education, ITS Educational Services Comments Off on Don’t forget June SAT cancelled!!

by Mike Li, Director of US Admissions, ITS Education Asia

 sat-exams-cancelled

We have had a few queries that indicate not everyone knows that the SAT schedules for June 2017 was cancelled in Hong Kong. Please make note of it if you were planning on that session.

Thankfully, this does not have a huge impact on most US-bound students. In any case, students find very little score improvement when they take the SAT consecutively in May and June – and we usually discourage it. Without the June option, students who do not take the SAT at their own school should register for the May and Oct SAT exams 3-4 months in advance, since thousands of students from China take their SAT at the AsiaWorld Expo as well.

Students should take not take the SAT more than twice (ideally students to take the SAT in May and Oct in their application year). We also, however, recommend that students take the ACT twice in addition to the SAT twice. The schedules stagger so students can take their first ACT in Apr or June and their second ACT in September. With the revamp of the SAT, preparation for the ACT and SAT is virtually the same. This also gives students an added bonus of having four chances at a top score, while only having to report two of them to the universities.

In short, the cancellation of the June SAT will not affect students in 2018 and beyond, as there are plenty of test dates to rally around.

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