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What makes people succeed in life?

The world is full of books, DVDs and motivational speakers on the subject of how to become successful. Some are mere lists of platitudes to keep repeating to yourself. Others, like Napoleon Hill’s Classic Think and Grow Rich, focus on the character formation required for success. Others still are based on case studies with a fake-it-till-you-make-it approach.

A bigger umbrella: Rihanna promotes education for all

Rihanna has been pushing for responses from world leaders on Twitter as part of her push to raise awareness for charity the Global Partnership for Education. And she has been getting them.

The pop star from Barbados received, among others, the following replies:

"Hola @Rihanna! Education is in the central core of our political aims. Only education can change the world." – Argentina President Mauricio Macri

UK conference explores mindfulness in higher education

There is a growing body of evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness in areas such as health, medicine, schools, prisons, law, and even government. In numerous clinical studies including over 100 randomised controlled trials, its practice has been shown to correlate strongly with greater wellbeing and perceived health as well as physical health. It has also been shown to foster better decision-making and clarity of thought.

What makes Finnish education so good?

Finnish children don’t start school until they are 7. They hardly have any exams or homework until they are well into their teens. There is only one standardised test, which they take when they are 16. Elementary school students get 75 minutes of recess per day, versus 27 minutes in the US. Finland spends 30% less on education per student than the United States.

These facts may paint a picture of a laid-back nation without too much concern about educational achievement. Why, then, does Finland consistently top global education achievement rankings?

The real Game of Thrones: mediaeval mythology

Higher ed institutions are always looking out for ways to lure students into studying the humanities with courses based on popular culture. It seems like an easy enough recipe: take a wildly popular cultural phenomenon, find an academic angle on it, and watch the student number grow like bacteria in a petri dish. We’ve seen courses on The Walking Dead and The Simpsons, among many others.

Courses for horses: equestrian training

For all the neighsayers out there, you can’t just buy a horse and keep it in the back yard. Well you can, but the horse will be miserable and so will you. These marvellous animals need care, exercise, lots of food, veterinary attention, somewhere to sleep out of the rain and cold, shoeing and hoof care, fences to keep them from disappearing, grooming, companionship and hay. And those are just the basics.