UN oversight office to follow up on findings of Volcker report on

The United Nations Department of Management has asked the UN oversight office to see if any action needs to be taken in the area of procurement, after the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) into the Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme found both misadministration and evidence of corruption, a UN spokesman announced today.The request for follow-up from the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) comes two days after the release of the latest of the series of Volcker reports, in the wake of which the Secretary-General Kofi Annan took quick action toward reform, according to the spokesman, who yesterday listed some of the measures already being implemented.Among those measures, he said that staff will have the ability to seek protection from a newly established Ethics Office when managers or other staff try to penalize them for reporting misconduct. There will be a very clear and thorough set of provisions, outlining what kinds of complaints will be protected, and what kinds of actions could be considered reprisals.The UN has also adopted a new, proactive approach to tightening controls over large donor-funded humanitarian programmes, the spokesman said, citing the example of the tsunami response, which is being administered by the office of the UN relief coordinator with help from PricewaterhouseCoopers.To promote transparency in procurement, all vendors are listed on the UN website and full information is provided on each contract throughout its life and a two-tiered bidding process is in use, separating the financial bid from the technical part. Thus the requisitioning office has no information on cost. Only after the technical bid is completed is the sealed financial bid opened to evaluate which is the lowest qualified bidder. read more

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Applied Linguistics accredited by TESL Ontario

There’s nothing wrong with trumpeting good news – in any language.Brock University’s Department of Applied Linguistics has learned that its accreditation with Teachers of English as a Subsequent/Second Language (TESL) Ontario has been renewed for 2013-14.Teachers of adult ESL learners at Ontario institutions need to be TESL Ontario-accredited. Programs designed to educate these teachers as well as faculty members who deliver the courses also need to be accredited.“Accreditation is not a given and needs to be renewed every year at this point. The process is time-consuming rather than difficult,” said Hedy McGarrell, graduate program director in Applied Linguistics.“This year, the report format had been changed (lengthened). The report includes a list of ‘new resources’ and I’m grateful to the library staff for generating a report on new acquisitions every year.”Accreditation reflects the recognition that teaching English as a second language is a “complex process” that requires more than familiarity with the language, McGarrell said. TESL Ontario has developed an accreditation system for teachers of adult ESL learners and providers of the education for such teachers.To be eligible for TESL Ontario accreditation, individual teachers need to demonstrate that they have reached the minimum education levels set out for accreditation, McGarrell explained.Institutions that provide education for teachers of adult ESL learners also need to be accredited by TESL Ontario, hence the annual need to renew accreditation for the program in Applied Linguistics. To ensure accreditation, minimum curriculum requirements need to be met or exceeded and all faculty members who teach in the program need to be accredited as TESL Ontario Educators, she said.“Program accreditation is very important for Applied Linguistics at Brock as only graduates of accredited programs are eligible for accreditation as instructors of adult ESL learners,” McGarrell said.“Accreditation, or at least graduation from a program recognized for accreditation, is also increasingly required for positions abroad.”Applied Linguistics offers students two routes: either a four-year Honours BA in Applied Linguistics/TESL or, for individuals who already have a relevant degree, the one-year TESL certificate program. read more

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