Saturday, December 31, 2011

Save a Girl Child

Let's save a girl child and stand against the genocide that is taking place in the society. Feticide is the most dastardly form of violence against women. Since the technology for sex determination first came into being, sex selective abortion has unleashed a saga of horror in India. In fact nature intended the womb to be a safe space place for nurturing and grooming the foetus before the child could take birth. But today, doctors have made it the most unsafe space for the female child by unleashing the terror of feticide. Today a girl child is several times more likely to be eliminated before birth in India than die of various causes in the first year of her existence.

Save a girl child: Sex determination and sex selection

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Although foetal sex determination and sex selection is a criminal offence in India, the practice is rampant. Private clinics with ultrasound machines and other latest technologies are doing brisk business. Everywhere, people are paying to know the sex of an unborn child and paying more to abort the female child. The technology has even reached remote areas of the country through facilities like mobile clinics. People are getting sex determination done even for the first child.

Save a Girl Child: Historical connection and overall discrimination against the girl child

Earlier when the technology was not available to know the sex of the foetus, the girl child used to be killed by putting a sand bag on her face or strangulating her or some poison used to be applied on the breasts of the mother. The irony was that neither mothers nor their family members used to express any kind of sorrow on the deaths of their baby daughters. Now the scenario has changed. With the help of new technologies one can easily detect the sex of the foetus. So the practice of female infanticide has been replaced by female feticide.

Save a girl child: Discrimination against the girl child and women

Female feticide and infanticide is not the only issues with a girl child in India. Actually at every stage of life she is discriminated and neglected for basic nutrition, education and living standard. When she is in the womb, she is eliminated before she can enter the world. If by chance she takes birth then at the time of birth her relatives pull her back and wrung her neck and after killing her she is thrown into a trash can. If she gets lucky to survive the early feticide and infanticide then her childhood is not more than a punishment with her brother getting all the attention with new shoes, dresses and books to learn while she is gifted a broom, a wiper and lots of tears. In her teenage, she misses nutritious food to eat and gets only the left over crumbs. During the age when she should be in college she is hurriedly "married off" leading to conditions where she remains ever dependant on others for her survival. She does not have either social or economic independence. Further her illiteracy, lack of education results in unwanted and early pregnancies, high fertility rate. This further aggravates the overall condition of females in the country. Again if this female gives birth to a girl child, the whole journey cycle of murder and discrimination begins all over again.

Save a Girl Child: Culpability of the Medical profession

As per some studies the industry of ultrasound and sonography, sex-selection and female feticide is around 500 crores in India and this is run through small clinics, midwives, unregistered doctors and big hospitals. They conduct the abortions very secretly and many a times they become the reason for the death of many women. Many Doctors are involved in this widespread malpractice to make easy money. Actually it is a very profitable business. The machines have become cheaper, so even a new medical graduate can quickly set up a business. It may be illegal but it's very rare that in India medical council debars anyone for ethical malpractice.

Save a girl child: Responsibility and accountability of the medical profession

It is high time that now Doctors are made responsible and accountable. In fact they are the ones who had aggressively promoted the misuse of technology and legitimised feticide. They created a weapon of mass destruction. Worst of worst some Doctors feel that they are doing a great social service and feel happy to provide this service to parents desperate to have a son, in the belief that they are preventing the birth of an unwanted child.

Save a girl child: The oblique way of sex determination

Today when the laws are getting stricter the method of revealing the sex is becoming more oblique. Now either the doctor will hand out blue or pink candy to the family members as they leave or make a remark during the examination by saying something like "Your child will be a fighter" or "The baby is like a doll." It is a clear fact that since the implementation of the legislation has taken place, the business has gone underground. The proof is the ever increasing number of feticide around the country especially in north India.

Save a girl child: Under-the-table fee for sex determination

Now the Doctors who disclose the sex expect an under-the-table fee for breaking the law, ranging from a few hundred rupees in poorer areas to several thousand in more prosperous regions. The plain and simple truth is that the medical fraternity has not been sufficiently regulated in India and there is no sufficient deterrent or awareness even among the medical fraternity which can prevent these malpractices from taking place in the first instance.

Save a Girl Child: The Actual problem in terms of figures

Let's now look at the figures which speak the truth for itself. According to the last official census figures, India with its nationwide ratio of 933 women for 1,000 men had a deficit of 35 million women when it entered the new millennium. Experts are calling it "sanitised barbarism". UN figures tell that about 750,000 girls are aborted every year in India. It as genocide: "More than 6 million killed in 20 years. That's the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust."

Save a girl child: Abortion of a million foetus in a year

Demographic trends indicate India is fast heading towards a million female foetuses aborted each year. In India, if the 1991 Census showed that two districts had a child sex ratio (number of girls per thousand boys) less than 850; by 2001 it was 51 districts. The irony is that the nation of so called goddess and mothers still follows a culture where people idolize the birth of son and mourn the birth of daughters.

Save a girl child: Income level directly proportional to sex selective abortion

Ironically, as income levels are increasing, sex determination and sex selection is increasing all over India. The most influential and affluent pockets have the worst sex ratios. Take Punjab for instance - 793 girls for every 1,000 boys against the national figure of 927. Or South Delhi - one of the most affluent localities of the Capital - 760. In many regions of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan; the sex ratio of girls for every 1000 boys was mere 745 or 754 or at 779 respectively. Based on the number of births in Delhi every year and the sex ratio across the capital - 814 girls for every 1,000 boys about 24,000 female fetuses are aborted in the capital every year, and about one million across the country.

Save a girl child: Warning of unexpected social problems in the near future

Abortion rates are increasing in almost 80% of the Indian states and especially in Punjab and Haryana. These two states have the highest number of abortions every year. UNICEF has warned that unless steps are taken to address the problem across the country, India will soon face unexpected social problems like men unable to find brides, gaps in the work force and increased trafficking of women.

Save a girl child: Answering ethical questions

The other side of the coin is the issue that attempts to regulate women right to abortion inevitably raise delicate ethical questions, but for a contrary like India this is not a pro-choice or pro-life issue. "Equality is a fundamental right," but where is the gender equality when one million girl fetuses are destroyed every year before birth itself. Therefore we need to understand the fact that our situation is really alarming and extraordinary and preventing this discrimination takes precedence over arguments about women reproductive rights.
Save a girl child: The taboo surrounding sex selective abortion
One more major problem is that despite the prevalence of the ghastly and inhuman phenomenon, the decision to abort a female fetus remains a taboo, and it is difficult to persuade women to talk about the issue. If women themselves become party to the problem then how can we ever think about finding the solution?

Save a Girl Child: Misuse of technology

The social evil of discrimination and marginalization of women and killing of girl child is ironically deep rooted in Indian ethos and the most shocking fact is that the innovative and hard high end technologies have actually helped in the brutal killing of the Indian girl child. Earlier it was infanticide. Now it is easier with feticide with technology at the helping end. Innovative techniques, like biopsy, ultrasound, scan tests and amniocentesis, devised to detect genetic abnormalities, are highly misused by number of families to detect gender of the unborn child. These clinical tests are highly contributing to the rise in genocide of the unborn girl child.

Save a girl child: The technology as the devil

In patriarchal States like Rajasthan where infanticide has existed for centuries, this new technology has many takers as it is easy and secretive. There are far less questions to be answered when you abort a girl child rather than kill a baby girl. Today, people pretend overtly that they are modern and that they do not discriminate between a girl and a boy. But when the actual situation arises they do not hesitate to quietly go to the next village and get an ultrasound done and even abort the girl child. Here the technology has become the uncontrolled beast and demon rather than the angel.

Save a Girl Child: Related & Associated issues

Apart from the means of killing of the girl child "feticide" is also one of the most common causes of maternal mortality. Law permits that the she sex of the foetus can be only determined around 14-16 weeks. Because of this most of the sex selective abortions are planned late and this leads to a very high chance of maternal mortality. Either way the woman suffers.

Save a girl child: Feticide a symptom of a larger problem

We must understand the fact that in fact Feticide is a symptom of larger and wider problem related to marginalization and discrimination against women through various social, cultural and economic bias and practices. Feticide is related to issues as varied as privatisation of medical education and dowry. For example Karnataka is a state in India with the highest number of private medical colleges. Here healthcare has turned into a commodity without proper regulation and control leading to terrifying consequences like illegal abortions and feticide.

Save a girl child: Affluent farmers and feticide

Another ironical phenomenon is that wherever agricultural green revolution has happened with resultant increase in income among farmers, feticide has increased. The connection is simple. With more landholdings and wealth inheritance the dowry demands has increased and therefore birth of a daughter is considered as an economic liability. Today, people don't even want their daughters to study higher as a well-educated groom is likely to demand more dowry.

Save a girl child: Male child selection in nuclear families

Even the creation of small and nuclear families have come at the cost of the girl child. Parents who are opting for one child are most likely to go for a male child rather than a female child.

Save a girl child: Demand Vs. Supply debate

Another issue that has been put forward by the medical community to absolve their own culpability in this whole malpractice is the demand and supply debate. Doctors say there is a social demand and they are only fulfilling it. They argue that social attitudes must change. However they are ignoring the fact that in this case supply fuels demand. The easier the technology is available the more likely is the chance of abortion and feticide.

Save a girl child: Tougher regulation and control

There is no option other than tougher regulation and control of the "technology and the medical practice" as technology in the hands of greedy, vested interests cannot be neutral. There is a law in place to prevent misuse of the technology and it must be enforced strongly. On the other hand the solution for curbing the increase of feticide can only work through increasing awareness and overall empowerment of women in every aspect.

Save a girl child: Need for female youth icons and role models

Women participation in workforce, having disposable incomes and their making a contribution to larger society will make a difference to how women are seen in the society. Female youth icons and role models are definitely making an impact in changing the overall perception of the society which has been highly discriminatory till now.
Save a girl child: Laws against violence and discrimination of women
Other issues which are attached to the overall discrimination and marginalization of women include the laws for violence against women such as dowry, domestic violence, rape which are directly in the control of a largely inefficient and corrupt police force which in fact is biased against women with its colonial hangover and resultant approach of doing things. In any case of violence and discrimination against women the whole onus and burden of the case is always put on the women involved.

Save a girl child: Urgent need for police reforms

It's high time that police reforms take place and the country gets a modern police force which is more sensitive to the issues of the society rather than the current one which exists to please the whims and the fancies of their political masters. Today even though good and tough laws exist still the offenders get away with ease. Just like many other laws of the country the law preventing sex determination and sex selection exits but enforcement is a big question mark.

Save a girl child: Myths to be shattered

Another myth that needs to be shattered is that feticide exists among illiterate and less affluent of the society. According to a survey there is a 28.32 % increase in the number gainfully employed and working women in India in the last two decades. But at the same time, what is more shameful and ironical is that there is a subsequent increase in the number of pregnancy terminations or abortions by working women.

Save a girl child: Abortions by working women

The reasons stated behind the practice of abortions by working women are: They want a small family; they want better career prospects; they want a male child and they do not want daughters. Many of these women justify sex selection and abortions because they think that if they deliver a baby boy then they are looked upon in the family. Also, they do not want their daughters to suffer the hardships a girl has to face. Besides that they find themselves unable to afford the dowry expenses the parents of a girl child have to bear. "Since maintaining the high living standards has become so expensive, who will save for her?" say modern mothers. These are the 'serious' reasons these literate and modern women give for not giving birth to a girl child. But they are forgetting that had their mothers thought the same way, they would have also met the same fate.

Save a girl child: The bane of consumer culture

Further the whole problem is just an extension of our consumer culture. If someone can afford to buy a Mercedes, they feel they can afford to secure themselves a son also. If they can pay for an ultrasound, then they don't need to have a daughter - that's the logic.

Save a girl child: Outdated social practices and their consequences

Dowry is a big issue for the urban elite because the amount which people are expected to pay as dowry is astonishing and ridiculous. Over that is the cost of the obscenely extravagant Indian weddings. Aside from the costs of dowries and marriages, there are other reasons why daughters are seen as less desirable like there is general belief that sons will look after their old parents and daughters are anyway to go to a different household and are therefore of not much use in the long run. The social and cultural settings are negatively biased against women. After marriage, a woman traditionally lives with the family of the husband, leaving her own parents to be looked after by a son, if there is one, in their old age. Sons carry on the family name and often the business, usually inherit the property and perform the last rites. All these contribute towards a negative bias against the girl child even before she takes birth.

Save a girl child: The misconception that poverty leads to feticide

From the above analysis we can clearly see that it's a misconception to think that this is a problem related to extreme poverty. It's quite rampant in upper and middle class families. Female feticide is very high in Punjab and Haryana - some of the best-off states in the country. Even money has not brought attitudinal change. In fact more money has led to aggravation of the whole problem. The mind-set remains - girls are not important, girls are a burden, and sons are more useful. With new lifestyle culture in India, when people are rich they want to spend their money on things, not on dowries or marriages for their daughters. So we can see that how social and cultural practices like dowry and extravagant marriages are in fact contributing to the overall menace of female abortion and feticide.

Save a Girl Child: Law against feticide and Implementation of the law

After almost a decade of delays, the Prohibition of Sex Selection Act came into force in February 2003, aimed at preventing the use of ultrasound examinations for sex determination. Any person including pregnant women who seek help for sex selection could be sentenced to a three-year prison sentence and fined 50,000 rupees, or ,200, while If any doctor is found guilty of this malpractice, he can face suspension of his registration by the state medical council.

Save a girl child: The Act that was passed in 2003

Pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostics techniques (prohibition and sex selection) Act, which came into effect on 14th February 2003, was as a replacement of the pre-natal diagnostic techniques (regulation and misuse amendment) Act 2002, that said any kind of sex selection in pre or post pregnancy is prohibited.

Save a girl child: Creating acts and laws not sufficient to deal with the problem

But these acts seem not to be casting much effect on the dark shades of human deeds. No case has come to court, and campaigners against the practice of prenatal sex determination complain that the legislation is impossible to enforce. Law is very well conceived and the need of the hour is legal literacy to ensure the law is implemented. Here the role and competence of the law enforcement agencies is a big question mark? In spite of all the stringent laws framed to curb the female feticide, the practice continues. The declining sex ratio between boys and girls poses a serious threat to the very existence of a balanced social order in India.

Save a Girl Child: Sensitization of the society

There is a need to sensitize the Indian society about the sex selection tests and the impending gender crisis. There is a need to advocate to the society about greater gender equality. Increase awareness about the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Act (PNDT), 1994 as well as its recent amendment passed by the Parliament that bans any form of sex selection tests is needed.

Save a girl child: Awareness in the society

Society has to be sensitized about the pitiable state of women in the Indian society of which selective sex abortion of the female foetus is one of the indicators apart from increasing incidences of violence and trafficking.

Save a girl child: Implementation of the law

Law needs to be strictly implemented and we need to increase compliance amongst the maternity homes, nursing homes, ultra-sound clinics, radiologists for registering their ultra-sound machines under the PNDT Act. Medical community has to be sensitized about the ethics of medical profession and the role they ought to be playing in improving the population crisis as well as sex-ratios in the country. It's also time to have a stricter and tougher regulation of the medical practice in India.

Save a girl child: Changing the attitude

There is a need to build a dialogue amongst the stakeholders as well as track inter-generational change amongst the women through various generations. Achievements of the successful women from different strata of the society as well as from different walks of life need to be highlighted to change the attitude of the society against women.

Save a Girl Child: Closing comments

There needs to be widespread visible contempt and anger in society against the "genocide" against women. Today nobody can say female feticide is not their problem when more than one million girl foetuses are been selectively destroyed every year in the country. It's high time we all did our bit to help save the girl child as time is really running out for the girl child in India. The disastrous consequences of what is happening today will be felt in another 10-20 years time. Therefore to prevent a horrible future the need of the hour is to realize our responsibilities and give a halt to this evil crime of killing the girl child in the womb itself. A determined drive can initiate a spark to light the lamp and show the world that we indeed are the land of the great goddesses and mothers.

Save a Girl Child

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Managing Cultural Diversity - A Key to Organizational Success

Organizations around the world has been realizing the cultural diversity within organization is not a negative aspect, rather can facilitate organizational stalk for glory (Papers4you.com, 2006). However it is not an easy task to manage employees with different cultural backgrounds. Nevertheless there are many policy guidelines that can make task easy.

On a broader perspective, cultural diversity can be manage through communicating (creating awareness among all employees about diverse values of peers through communication), cultivating ( facilitating acknowledgement, support and encouragement of any employee' success by all other workers), and capitalizing (linking diversity to every business process and strategy such as succession planning, reengineering, employee development, performance management and review, and reward systems) strategies ( Cascio, 1995).

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There are many different innovative ways that organizations have adopted to manage diversity. For instance Tabra Incorporation, a small manufacturer of jewellery and accessories in California comprised of modest workforce is composition of Third World immigrants from Cambodia, China, El Salvador, Ethiopia, India, Laos, Mexico, Thailand, Tibet Vietnam and other nations. To acknowledge importance of their cultural association, at least 10-12 different flags are always hanged from the ceiling of its main production facility which represents the countries of origin of the employees. The owner's view point is 'I would like for this to be a little United Nations everybody getting along and appreciating each other's culture instead of just tolerating it'. (Bhatia & Chaudary, 2003)

If cultural diversity can be managed effectively, there is a potential to use diverse workforce for organizational benefits. Cox and Balke (1991) asserts that multi-culturism is directly linked to organizational success as

Effectively managed multi culture companies have cost effective competitive edge

It helps in promoting minority friendly reputation among prospective employees

Diverse cultural corporations help to get better customers which has a variety of people

Diverse group of employees are perceived to be more creative and efficient in problem solving as compared to homogenous group

Ability to manage cultural diversity increases adaptability and flexibility of an organization to environmental changes.

Many organizational examples can be taken in this regard. In Australia, for instance, Hotel Nikko in Sydney has unique edge that staff members in direct guest contact areas speak a total of 34 different languages. Similarly Qantas Flight Catering has sixty-six nationalities on staff, with various overseas-born chefs. So dedicated diverse 'ethnic' kitchens gave Qantas a huge competitive edge that offers food based on customer's ethnic taste and requirements. Moreover Don's Smallgoods through literacy, language and cultural trainings increased cross-cultural communication and increased profits while lowering costs at the same time. Similarly The Cheesecake Factory had put special effort to understand Japanese quality and packaging culture as Asian employees assist management to understand Asian tastes so that they can target exports to Asia (Nankervis et al, 2002)

Hence the discussion suggests that it is imperative to realize that cultural diversity should be taken as a tool for better organizational progress rather than a managerial problem and if effectively managed, it can be a key to gain competitive edge and success

References

Bhatia, S., K., & Chaudary, P., ( 2003),'Managing Cultural Diversity in Globalization- Key to Business Success of Global Managers- Insights and Strategies', New Delhi: Deep & Deep Publication Pvt Ltd

Cascio, W., F., (1995), 'Managing Human Resources' International Edition, US: McGraw Hill.

Cox, T. H., & Balke, S., (1991), 'Managing Cultural Diversity: Implications for Organizational Competitiveness' Academy of Management Executive, Vol 5, Issue 3, August 1991

Nankervis, A. Compton, R., & Baird, M., (2002) 'Strategic Human Resource Management'. 4th Edition. Victoria: Nelson Australia Pty Limited

Papers For You (2006) "P/HR/188. Views on diversity management", Available from Papers4you.com [19/06/2006]

Managing Cultural Diversity - A Key to Organizational Success

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Short Stories for High School Students

So we meet again...

IT was a sunny day when I was waiting for my wife to come at the Mall, so that we could buy clothes for our child. She was 1 hour late. I made a call and found that she was with her mother and they were waiting for the car mechanic to put the new tyre and change the punctured one.

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IT was too late. I must go back to my office. My clients must be waiting for me. Just when I thought to leave that place, I struck a lady. I was going to say sorry, when my senses stopped cooperating me. It was Samantha. My mouth was opened and I was steering like I never say a girl before. She looked at me and said its okay, its not new between us.

So we meet again. She asked me about my wife, children and our old friends. I said they were all okay. Not allowing to let me talk, she again asked about me health. She said that you are looking quite weak. I said no! It's just work pressure.

IT was my turn to fulfill the formalities, so I asked her about her health, family and even if she good married yet or not. She said that she is not yet married. When I asked why, she answered that there was some problem with my fiancée a 3 years back. And after lots of family pressure I am again going exchange rings with a new man. I asked her what was the reason that her relation broke 3 years earlier. She said nothing just then I was not able to decide whom I love and whom I don't.

This strange answer made me think carefully on the issue, but then I saw a guy coming near her. She introduced that guy as her fiancée. We just shaked hands and moved on. I looked back and she was waving her hand towards me. I did the same.

I remembered that when I got engaged she was not there. And she did not came to my marriage. At that time she went to U.S. for further studies. Well it was a nice day, as I met my oldest and sweetest and most respectable friend. I was feeling good. My anger towards my wife was over. So I decided to sit the restaurant and wait for my wife and child and of course my mother in law.

At the restaurant I met Sandy. He said he is the owner of the restaurant and now told that I am his special guest. The coffee was free for me I thought. We asked about what we were doing these days. He said that he got married last year. And his wife is pregnant. I asked him about Samantha. Does he know anything about her. He said that the poor girl broke her marriage 3 years earlier and after so much interval she is again going to be engaged. I said you know everything about her and how does that happens. He said she was going to be married to my elder brother. I immediately asked her then you must be knowing the reason what made her engagement broke. She is so beautiful, sweet and lovable person then how come such a nice lady has to face such a problem.

He looked at me and moved his head down. I again asked why her engagement was broken and why was she saying that I could not decide at that time whom I love and whom I don't?

He answered it was due to you. I was so astonished. How is it possible I asked. He said that on the day of engagement she started crying and remembered she called you also. I said yes, it might be due to new relationships.

Sandy moved his head. I said tell me the truth. He said that actually she stopped the engagement because she was missing you at the party. She told me that she feels alone without me. It was the same day when you were getting engaged. She also made you call to tell you the she loves you. But you were so happy with your engagement that you could not understand, what she was trying to say on the phone.

I said it is impossible. I also loved her. But she never said anything to me. I thought if I said anything to her than I might loose a good friend too. If she only had said once I would leave everything for her love. I looked up and complaint god what is this. Anyway I must move now. I said bye paid the bill and went out of the restaurant with heavy heart.

There I saw Samantha leaving the place with her fiancée. She looked at me from the car. They both waved bye to me, and I did the same. The car went closer from me. And so did Samantha. She was steering in my eyes and her eyes were glowing. I felt like she still loves me. And may be I too...

The Prisoner

After 10 years of imprisonment John comes back to the outer world. He goes back to his house. There he finds no one. The neighbors tell him that on the day his imprisonment his child was taken away by some police officer. His sister never came back to take his child in his custody. John was so worried that who took away his child. He also got angry from his sister for whom he sold his wife's jewelry and even kept his house on sale.

Angry John went to her sister house in the native village. There he found that his sister was dying of Cancer. When she saw her brother she begged his pardon. She said that she made a big mistake by not taking care of his brother's son. She begged his pardon. But John went away from her house quietly.

He then moved towards the officer, who imprisoned him. He was going to ask the officer that why was he imprisoned. On his way he thought of taking revenge by stealing away the officer's child. He went to his house and saw a beautiful girl coming out of the house and the officer was waving good bye to her. He thought that he would kidnap the girl and take revenge from the officer.

He forcibly takes the driver seat and takes the girl to an unknown place. The girl asks as to why he did that but he did not answered. When the girl tells John about her fiancée namely Kennedy who is a very efficient police officer. John feels a little pain in his heart. He feels that why would the police officer marry his girl with the guy whose name is similar to my son's name. He tells the girl that it is due to his father, he lost his son and now by marrying you with the boy name Kennedy he want himself to be forgived. He snatches the locket in her neck. Opens it and see the picture of the girl and a boy. He asks who is he.

She answers that when a young girl puts the picture of young guy near her heart for all the times than this is obvious that she loves her and wants to marry him. John laughs and says that your baby love made John laugh for the first time after 10 years.

She asks John, Are you the one whom was imprisoned by her father. The one who was caught red handed by my father with drugs. John says that yes I am the one. But the drugs were not mine. I told your father that I am innocent. But he did not heard me. Actually it was the work of my brother who was engaged in this activity for so long. My only mistake was that I hide drugs when he was away. That day he was shot dead by your father in an encounter. And during search he found out drugs from my box.

The girl looked at John and said that do you know the Kennedy she is going to marry is his son. She says that her father brought him home, he was sent to boarding school. Later he was grew up so handsome and active that she herself could not resist her and fell in love with him.

John feels ashamed of himself. He writes a note to the officer and asks for sorry. He also thanks the officer in the letter. John begs his pardon from the girl and asks her to go home. The girl forces John to come with her and meet his son. But John denies as he feel so much ashamed of himself that he did not want to show his face to his son. He leaves the girl to her home and leaves the city forever.

Short Stories for High School Students

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Globalisation And Primary Education Development In Tanzania: Prospects And Challenges

1. Overview of the Country and Primary Education System:
Tanzania covers 945,000 square kilometres, including approximately 60,000 square kilometres of inland water. The population is about 32 million people with an average annual growth rate of 2.8 percent per year. Females comprise 51% of the total population. The majority of the population resides on the Mainland, while the rest of the population resides in Zanzibar. The life expectancy is 50 years and the mortality rate is 8.8%. The economy depends upon Agriculture, Tourism, Manufacturing, Mining and Fishing. Agriculture contributes about 50% of GDP and accounting for about two-thirds of Tanzania's exports. Tourism contributes 15.8%; and manufacturing, 8.1% and mining, 1.7%. The school system is a 2-7-4-2-3+ consisting of pre-primary, primary school, ordinary level secondary education, Advanced level secondary, Technical and Higher Education. Primary School Education is compulsory whereby parents are supposed to take their children to school for enrollment. The medium of instruction in primary is Kiswahili.

One of the key objectives of the first president J.K. Nyerere was development strategy for Tanzania as reflected in the 1967 Arusha Declaration, which to be ensuring that basic social services were available equitably to all members of society. In the education sector, this goal was translated into the 1974 Universal Primary Education Movement, whose goal was to make primary education universally available, compulsory, and provided free of cost to users to ensure it reached the poorest. As the strategy was implemented, large-scale increases in the numbers of primary schools and teachers were brought about through campaign-style programs with the help of donor financing. By the beginning of the 1980s, each village in Tanzania had a primary school and gross primary school enrollment reached nearly 100 percent, although the quality of education provided was not very high. From 1996 the education sector proceeded through the launch and operation of Primary Education Development Plan - PEDP in 2001 to date.

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2. Globalization
To different scholars, the definition of globalization may be different. According to Cheng (2000), it may refer to the transfer, adaptation, and development of values, knowledge, technology, and behavioral norms across countries and societies in different parts of the world. The typical phenomena and characteristics associated with globalization include growth of global networking (e.g. internet, world wide e-communication, and transportation), global transfer and interflow in technological, economic, social, political, cultural, and learning areas, international alliances and competitions, international collaboration and exchange, global village, multi-cultural integration, and use of international standards and benchmarks. See also Makule (2008) and MoEC (2000).

3. Globalization in Education
In education discipline globalization can mean the same as the above meanings as is concern, but most specifically all the key words directed in education matters. Dimmock & Walker (2005) argue that in a globalizing and internalizing world, it is not only business and industry that are changing, education, too, is caught up in that new order. This situation provides each nation a new empirical challenge of how to respond to this new order. Since this responsibility is within a national and that there is inequality in terms of economic level and perhaps in cultural variations in the world, globalization seems to affect others positively and the vice versa (Bush 2005). In most of developing countries, these forces come as imposing forces from the outside and are implemented unquestionably because they do not have enough resource to ensure its implementation (Arnove 2003; Crossley & Watson, 2004).

There is misinterpretation that globalization has no much impact on education because the traditional ways of delivering education is still persisting within a national state. But, it has been observed that while globalization continues to restructure the world economy, there are also powerful ideological packages that reshape education system in different ways (Carnoy, 1999; Carnoy & Rhoten, 2002). While others seem to increase access, equity and quality in education, others affect the nature of educational management. Bush (2005) and Lauglo (1997) observe that decentralization of education is one of the global trends in the world which enable to reform educational leadership and management at different levels. They also argue that Decentralization forces help different level of educational management to have power of decision making related to the allocation of resources. Carnoy (1999) further portrays that the global ideologies and economic changes are increasingly intertwined in the international institutions that broadcast particular strategies for educational change. These include western governments, multilateral and bilateral development agencies and NGOs (Crossley & Watson 2004). Also these agencies are the ones which develop global policies and transfer them through funds, conferences and other means. Certainly, with these powerful forces education reforms and to be more specifically, the current reforms on school leadership to a large extent are influenced by globalization.

4. The School Leadership
In Tanzania the leadership and management of education systems and processes is increasingly seen as one area where improvement can and need to be made in order to ensure that education is delivered not only efficiently but also efficaciously. Although literatures for education leadership in Tanzania are inadequate, Komba in EdQual (2006) pointed out that research in various aspects of leadership and management of education, such as the structures and delivery stems of education; financing and alternative sources of support to education; preparation, nurturing and professional development of education leaders; the role of female educational leaders in improvement of educational quality; as will as the link between education and poverty eradication, are deemed necessary in approaching issues of educational quality in any sense and at any level. The nature of out of school factors that may render support to the quality of education e.g. traditional leadership institutions may also need to be looked into.

5. Impact of Globalization
As mentioned above, globalization is creating numerous opportunities for sharing knowledge, technology, social values, and behavioral norms and promoting developments at different levels including individuals, organizations, communities, and societies across different countries and cultures. Cheng (2000); Brown, (1999); Waters, (1995) pointed out the advantages of globalization as follows: Firstly it enable global sharing of knowledge, skills, and intellectual assets that are necessary to multiple developments at different levels. The second is the mutual support, supplement and benefit to produce synergy for various developments of countries, communities, and individuals. The third positive impact is creation of values and enhancing efficiency through the above global sharing and mutual support to serving local needs and growth. The fourth is the promotion of international understanding, collaboration, harmony and acceptance to cultural diversity across countries and regions. The fifth is facilitating multi-way communications and interactions, and encouraging multi-cultural contributions at different levels among countries.

The potential negative impacts of globalization are educationally concerned in various types of political, economic, and cultural colonization and overwhelming influences of advanced countries to developing countries and rapidly increasing gaps between rich areas and poor areas in different parts of the world. The first impact is increasing the technological gaps and digital divides between advanced countries and less developed countries that are hindering equal opportunities for fair global sharing. The second is creation of more legitimate opportunities for a few advanced countries to economically and politically colonize other countries globally. Thirdly is exploitation of local resources which destroy indigenous cultures of less advanced countries to benefit a few advanced countries. Fourthly is the increase of inequalities and conflicts between areas and cultures. And fifthly is the promotion of the dominant cultures and values of some advanced areas and accelerating cultural transplant from advanced areas to less developed areas.

The management and control of the impacts of globalization are related to some complicated macro and international issues that may be far beyond the scope of which I did not include in this paper. Cheng (2002) pointed out that in general, many people believe, education is one of key local factors that can be used to moderate some impacts of globalization from negative to positive and convert threats into opportunities for the development of individuals and local community in the inevitable process of globalization. How to maximize the positive effects but minimize the negative impacts of globalization is a major concern in current educational reform for national and local developments.

6. Globalization of Education and Multiple Theories
The thought of writing this paper was influenced by the multiple theories propounded by Yin Cheng, (2002). He proposed a typology of multiple theories that can be used to conceptualize and practice fostering local knowledge in globalization particularly through globalized education. These theories of fostering local knowledge is proposed to address this key concern, namely as the theory of tree, theory of crystal, theory of birdcage, theory of DNA, theory of fungus, and theory of amoeba. Their implications for design of curriculum and instruction and their expected educational outcomes in globalized education are correspondingly different.

The theory of tree assumes that the process of fostering local knowledge should have its roots in local values and traditions but absorb external useful and relevant resources from the global knowledge system to grow the whole local knowledge system inwards and outwards. The expected outcome in globalized education will be to develop a local person with international outlook, who will act locally and develop globally. The strength of this theory is that the local community can maintain and even further develop its traditional values and cultural identity as it grows and interacts with the input of external resources and energy in accumulating local knowledge for local developments.

The theory of crystal is the key of the fostering process to have "local seeds" to crystallize and accumulate the global knowledge along a given local expectation and demand. Therefore, fostering local knowledge is to accumulate global knowledge around some "local seeds" that may be to exist local demands and values to be fulfilled in these years. According to this theory, the design of curriculum and instruction is to identify the core local needs and values as the fundamental seeds to accumulate those relevant global knowledge and resources for education. The expected educational outcome is to develop a local person who remains a local person with some global knowledge and can act locally and think locally with increasing global techniques. With local seeds to crystallize the global knowledge, there will be no conflict between local needs and the external knowledge to be absorbed and accumulated in the development of local community and individuals.

The theory of birdcage is about how to avoid the overwhelming and dominating global influences on the nation or local community. This theory contends that the process of fostering local knowledge can be open for incoming global knowledge and resources but at the same time efforts should be made to limit or converge the local developments and related interactions with the outside world to a fixed framework. In globalized education, it is necessary to set up a framework with clear ideological boundaries and social norms for curriculum design such that all educational activities can have a clear local focus when benefiting from the exposure of wide global knowledge and inputs. The expected educational outcome is to develop a local person with bounded global outlook, who can act locally with filtered global knowledge. The theory can help to ensure local relevance in globalized education and avoid any loss of local identity and concerns during globalization or international exposure.

The theory of DNA represents numerous initiatives and reforms have made to remove dysfunctional local traditions and structures in country of periphery and replace them with new ideas borrowed from core countries. This theory emphasizes on identifying and transplanting the better key elements from the global knowledge to replace the existing weaker local components in the local developments. In globalizing education, the curriculum design should be very selective to both local and global knowledge with aims to choose the best elements from them. The expected educational outcome is to develop a person with locally and globally mixed elements, who can act and think with mixed local and global knowledge. The strength of this theory is its openness for any rational investigation and transplant of valid knowledge and elements without any local barrier or cultural burden. It can provide an efficient way to learn and improve the existing local practices and developments.

The theory of fungus reflects the mode of fostering local knowledge in globalization. This theory assumes that it is a faster and easier way to digest and absorb certain relevant types of global knowledge for nutrition of individual and local developments, than to create their own local knowledge from the beginning. From this theory, the curriculum and instruction should aim at enabling students to identify and learn what global knowledge is valuable and necessary to their own developments as well as significant to the local community. In globalizing education, the design of education activities should aim at digesting the complex global knowledge into appropriate forms that can feed the needs of individuals and their growth. The expected educational outcome is to develop a person equipped certain types of global knowledge, who can act and think dependently of relevant global knowledge and wisdom. Strengths of the theory is for some small countries, easily digest and absorb the useful elements of global knowledge than to produce their own local knowledge from the beginning. The roots for growth and development are based on the global knowledge instead of local culture or value.

The theory of amoeba is about the adaptation to the fasting changing global environment and the economic survival in serious international competitions. This theory considers that fostering local knowledge is only a process to fully use and accumulate global knowledge in the local context. Whether the accumulated knowledge is really local or the local values can be preserved is not a major concern. According to this theory, the curriculum design should include the full range of global perspectives and knowledge to totally globalize education in order to maximize the benefit from global knowledge and become more adaptive to changing environment. Therefore, to achieve broad international outlook and apply global knowledge locally and globally is crucial in education. And, cultural burdens and local values can be minimized in the design of curriculum and instruction in order to let students be totally open for global learning. The expected educational outcome is to develop a flexible and open person without any local identity, who can act and think globally and fluidly. The strengths of this theory are also its limitations particularly in some culturally fruit countries. There will be potential loss of local values and cultural identity in the country and the local community will potentially lose its direction and social solidarity during overwhelming globalization.

Each country or local community may have its unique social, economic and cultural contexts and therefore, its tendency to using one theory or a combination of theories from the typology in globalized education may be different from the other. To a great extent, it is difficult to say one is better than other even though the theories of tree, birdcage and crystal may be more preferred in some culturally rich countries. For those countries with less cultural assets or local values, the theories of amoeba and fungus may be an appropriate choice for development. However, this typology can provide a wide spectrum of alternatives for policy-makers and educators to conceptualize and formulate their strategies and practices in fostering local knowledge for the local developments. See more about the theories in Cheng (2002; 11-18)

7. Education Progress since Independence in Tanzania
During the first phase of Tanzania political governance (1961-1985) the Arusha Declaration, focusing on "Ujamaa" (African socialism) and self-reliance was the major philosophy. The nationalization of the production and provision of goods and services by the state and the dominance of ruling party in community mobilization and participation highlighted the "Ujamaa" ideology, which dominated most of the 1967-1985 eras. In early 1970s, the first phase government embarked on an enormous national campaign for universal access to primary education, of all children of school going age. It was resolved that the nation should have attained universal primary education by 1977. The ruling party by that time Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), under the leadership of the former and first president of Tanzania Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, directed the government to put in place mechanisms for ensuring that the directive, commonly known as the Musoma Resolution, was implemented. The argument behind that move was essentially that, as much as education was a right to each and every citizen, a government that is committed to the development of an egalitarian socialist society cannot segregate and discriminate her people in the provision of education, especially at the basic level.

7.1. The Presidential Commission on Education
In 1981, a Presidential Commission on education was appointed to review the existing system of education and propose necessary changes to be realized by the country towards the year 2000. The Commission submitted its report in March 1982 and the government has implemented most of its recommendation. The most significant ones related to this paper were the establishment of the Teachers' Service Commission (TSC), the Tanzania Professional Teachers Association, the introduction of new curriculum packages at primary, secondary and teacher education levels, the establishment of the Faculty of Education (FoE) at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, the introduction of pre-primary teacher education programme; and the expansion of secondary education.

7.2. Education during the Second Phase Government of Tanzania
The second phase government of Tanzania spanning from 1985 to 1995, was characterized by new liberal ideas such as free choice, market-oriented schooling and cost efficiency, reduced the government control of the UPE and other social services. The education sector lacked quality teachers as well as teaching/learning materials and infrastructure to address the expansion of the UPE. A vacuum was created while fragmented donor driven projects dominated primary education support. The introduced cost sharing in the provision of social services like education and health hit most the poorest of the poor. This decrease in government support in the provision of social services including education as well as cost-sharing policies were not taken well, given that most of the incomes were below the poverty line. In 1990, the government constituted a National Task Force on education to review the existing education system and recommend a suitable education system for the 21st century.

The report of this task force, the Tanzania Education System for the 21st Century, was submitted to the government in November 1992. Recommendations of the report have been taken into consideration in the formulation of the Tanzania Education and Training Policy (TETP). In spite of the very impressive expansionary education policies and reforms in the 1970s, the goal to achieve UPE, which was once targeted for achievement in 1980, is way out of reach. Similarly, the Jomtien objective to achieve Basic Education for all in 2000 is on the part of Tanzania unrealistic. The participation and access level have declined to the point that attainment of UPE is once again an issue in itself. Other developments and trends indicate a decline in the quantitative goals set rather than being closer to them (Cooksey and Reidmiller, 1997; Mbilinyi, 2000). At the same time serious doubt is being raised about school quality and relevance of education provided (Galabawa, Senkoro and Lwaitama, (eds), 2000).

7.3. Outcomes of UPE
According to Galabawa (2001), the UPE describing, analysis and discussing explored three measures in Tanzania: (1) the measure of access to first year of primary education namely, the apparent intake rate. This is based on the total number of new entrants in the first grade regardless of age. This number is in turn expressed as a percentage of the population at the official primary school entrance age and the net intake rate based on the number of new entrants in the first grade who are of the official primary school entrance age expressed as percentage of the population of corresponding age. (2) The measure of participation, namely, gross enrolment ratio representing the number of children enrolled in primary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the official primary school age population; while the net enrolment ratio corresponds to the number of children of the official primary school age enrolled in primary school expressed as a percentage of corresponding population. (3) The measure of internal efficiency of education system, which reflect the dynamics of different operational decision making events over the school cycle like dropouts, promotions and repetitions.

7.3.1. Access to Primary Education
The absolute numbers of new entrants to grade one of primary school cycles have grown steadily since 1970s. The number of new entrants increased from around 400,000 in 1975 to 617,000 in 1990 and to 851,743 in 2000, a rise of 212.9 percent in relative terms. The apparent (gross) intake rate was high at around 80% in the 1970s dropping to 70% in 1975 and rise up to 77% in 2000. This level reflects the shortcomings in primary education provision. Tanzania is marked by wide variations in both apparent and net intake rates-between urban and rural districts with former performing higher. Low intake rates in rural areas reflect the fact that many children do not enter schools at the official age of seven years.

7.3.2. Participation in Primary Education
The regression in the gross and net primary school enrolment ratios; the exceptionally low intake at secondary and vocational levels; and, the general low internal efficiency of the education sector have combined to create a UPE crisis in Tanzania's education system (Education Status Report, 2001). There were 3,161,079 primary pupils in Tanzania in 1985 and, in the subsequent decade primary enrolment rose dramatically by 30% to 4,112,167 in 1999. These absolute increases were not translated into gross/net enrolment rates, which actually experienced a decline threatening the sustainability of quantitative gains. The gross enrolment rate, which was 35.1% in late 1960's and early 1970s', grew appreciably to 98.0% in 1980 when the net enrolment rate was 68%. (ibid)

7.3.3. Internal Efficiency in Primary Education
The input/output ratio shows that it takes an average of 9.4 years (instead of planned 7 years) for a pupil to complete primary education. The extra years are due to starting late, drop-outs, repetition and high failure rate which is pronounced at standard four where a competency/mastery examination is administered (ESDP, 1999, p.84). The drive towards UPE has been hampered by high wastage rates.

7.4. Education during the Third Phase Government of Tanzania
The third phase government spanning the period from 1995 to date, intends to address both income and non-income poverty so as to generate capacity for provision and consumption of better social services. In order to address these income and non-income poverty the government formed the Tanzania Vision 2025. Vision 2025 targets at high quality livelihood for all Tanzanians through the realization of UPE, the eradication of illiteracy and the attainment of a level of tertiary education and training commensurate with a critical mass of high quality human resources required to effectively respond to the developmental challenges at all level. In order to revitalize the whole education system the government established the Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP) in this period. Within the ESDP, there two education development plans already in implementation, namely: (a) The Primary Education Development Plan (PEDP); and (b) The Secondary Education Development Plan (SEDP).

8. Prospects and Challenges of Primary of Education Sector
Since independence, The government has recognised the central role of education in achieving the overall development goal of improving the quality of life of Tanzanians through economic growth and poverty reduction. Several policies and structural reforms have been initiated by the Government to improve the quality of education at all levels. These include: Education for Self-Reliance, 1967; Musoma Resolution, 1974; Universal Primary Education (UPE), 1977; Education and Training Policy (ETP), 1995; National Science and Technology Policy, 1995; Technical Education and Training Policy, 1996; Education Sector Development Programme, 1996 and National Higher Education Policy, 1999. The ESDP of 1996 represented for the first time a Sector-Wide Approach to education development to redress the problem of fragmented interventions. It called for pooling together of resources (human, financial and materials) through the involvement of all key stakeholders in education planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation (URT, 1998 quoted in MoEC 2005b). The Local Government Reform Programme (LGRP) provided the institutional framework.

Challenges include the considerable shortage of classrooms, a shortage of well qualified and expert teachers competent to lead their learners through the new competency based curriculum and learning styles, and the absence of an assessment and examination regime able to reinforce the new approaches and reward students for their ability to demonstrate what they know understand and can do. At secondary level there is a need to expand facilities necessary as a result of increased transition rates. A major challenge is the funding gap, but the government is calling on its development partners to honour the commitments made at Dakar, Abuja, etc, to respond positively to its draft Ten Year Plan. A number of systemic changes are at a critical stage, including decentralisation, public service reform, strengthening of financial management and mainstreaming of ongoing project and programmes. The various measures and interventions introduced over the last few years have been uncoordinated and unsynchronised. Commitment to a sector wide approach needs to be accompanied by careful attention to secure coherence and synergy across sub-sectoral elements. (Woods, 2007).

9. Education and School Leadership in Tanzania and the Impacts
Education and leadership in primary education sector in Tanzania has passed through various periods as explained in the stages above. The school leadership major reformation was maintained and more decentralized in the implementation of the PEDP from the year 2000 to date. This paper is also more concerned with the implementation of globalization driven policies that influence the subjectivity of education changes. It is changing to receive what Tjeldvoll et al. (2004:1; quoted in Makule, 2008) considers as "the new managerial responsibilities". These responsibilities are focused to increase accountability, equity and quality in education which are global agenda, because it is through these, the global demands in education will be achieved. In that case school leadership in Tanzania has changed. The change observed is due to the implementation of decentralization of both power and fund to the low levels such as schools. School leadership now has more autonomy over the resources allocated to school than it was before decentralization. It also involves community in all the issues concerning the school improvement.

10. Prospects and Challenges of School Leadership

10.1. Prospects
The decentralization of both power and funds from the central level to the low level of education such as school and community brought about various opportunities. Openness, community participation and improved efficiency mentioned as among the opportunities obtained with the current changes on school leadership. There is improved accountability, capacity building and educational access to the current changes on school leadership. This is viewed in strong communication network established in most of the schools in the country. Makule (2008) in her study found out that the network was effective where every head teacher has to send to the district various school reports such as monthly report, three month report, half a year report, nine month report and one year report. In each report there is a special form in which a head teacher has to feel information about school. The form therefore, give account of activities that takes place at school such as information about the uses of the funds and the information about attendance both teacher and students, school buildings, school assets, meetings, academic report, and school achievement and problems encountered. The effect of globalization forces on school leadership in Tanzania has in turn forced the government to provide training and workshop for school leadership (MoEC, 2005b). The availability of school leadership training, whether through workshop or training course, considered to be among the opportunities available for school leadership in Tanzania

10.2. Challenges
Like all countries, Tanzania is bracing itself for a new century in every respect. The dawn of the new millennium brings in new changes and challenges of all sectors. The Education and Training sector has not been spared for these challenges. This is, particularly important in recognition of adverse/implications of globalisation for developing states including Tanzania. For example, in the case of Tanzania, globalisation entails the risks of increased dependence and marginalisation and thus human resource development needs to play a central role to redress the situation. Specifically, the challenges include the globalisation challenges, access and equity, inclusive or special needs education, institutional capacity building and the HIV/aids challenge.

11. Conclusion
There are five types of local knowledge and wisdom to be pursued in globalized education, including the economic and technical knowledge, human and social knowledge, political knowledge, cultural knowledge, and educational knowledge for the developments of individuals, school institutions, communities, and the society. Although globalisation is linked to a number of technological and other changes which have helped to link the world more closely, there are also ideological elements which have strongly influenced its development. A "free market" dogma has emerged which exaggerates both the wisdom and role of markets, and of the actors in those markets, in the organisation of human society. Fashioning a strategy for responsible globalisation requires an analysis which separates that which is dogma from that which is inevitable. Otherwise, globalisation is an all too convenient excuse and explanation for anti-social policies and actions including education which undermine progress and break down community. Globalisation as we know it has profound social and political implications. It can bring the threat of exclusion for a large portion of the world's population, severe problems of unemployment, and growing wage and income disparities. It makes it more and more difficult to deal with economic policy or corporate behaviour on a purely national basis. It also has brought a certain loss of control by democratic institutions of development and economic policy.

Globalisation And Primary Education Development In Tanzania: Prospects And Challenges

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Teenage Pregnancy - 7 Traumatic Effects Of Teenage Pregnancy!

It is stress that drives a young adolescent into a relationship. Confirmation that she has conceived a child brings on added stress. She is too young to face this emotional challenge and unable to decide what to do regarding the pregnancy. Furthermore, a large number of negative effects follow a teenage pregnancy, a major one being social stigma. This has been proved by research studies galore.

To go into details about the traumatic effects of teenage pregnancy-

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(1) What is an adolescent's age? It is somewhere between 10 and 19 years. Getting pregnant at this age can be life-threatening. Mortality rates are four times higher for a pregnant teenager in the age bracket of 15 to 19, than for women aged between 25 and 29 years. The unborn child is at increased risk too. For girls falling into the age bracket of 10 to 14, it is even worse. Should they have live births, the infant is likely to die soon or face serious health challenges.

(2) Teenage pregnancy makes it difficult for the girl to continue with her education. The drop-out rate is therefore pretty high. Even if they come from similar backgrounds, 61% of adolescents wait till the age of 20 to 21 to have babies and therefore complete high school. In contrast are those girls who give birth to children before they have completed 18 years of age; only 41% become high school graduates.

(3) Even after giving birth, the young mother finds it difficult to keep up with her peers where academic performance is concerned. She is forced to repeat classes and exhibits poor scoring in standardized tests. Ultimately, she may never graduate at all.

(4) Finding a regular source of income becomes difficult as every job position demands certain skills which are markedly lacking because of not having a proper education.

(5) The only alternative left after a teenage pregnancy is to take public assistance, that is, go on welfare. Most of these teens are unmarried and over 75% of them ask for support within five years of becoming mothers. Some researchers feel that poverty-ridden teenagers welcome pregnancy so that they can get financial support from the child's father; this is supposed to be a survival mechanism to escape hopeless poverty.

(6) Children born to such young parents often display retarded psycho-social development and malnutritional effects. This is because a teenage mother lacks parenting skills. She fails to understand what her child needs and does not realize the importance of smiling, touching or verbally communicating with her child. Anger against society is taken out on the child and physical abuse is possible.

(7) When grown up, the young ones of these 'teen mothers' exhibit behavioral tendencies which are deemed socially unacceptable. This is in fact the worst effect of a teenage pregnancy. The son can become a criminal offender and land up in prison - the rate is three times more for these boys than normal criminals. The daughter may follow in the footsteps of her mother and become a victim of teenage pregnancy herself.

Teenage Pregnancy - 7 Traumatic Effects Of Teenage Pregnancy!

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Preschool Creative Activities - Fostering the Creative Spirit

Preschool is the time when children are allowed to explore their creative sides through arts, crafts, games, and creative play. As an instructor, it's crucial to incorporate a wide variety of preschool creative activities to every theme so that there's an activity for each child. Some children may choose to explore their creative side through drawing or coloring, while others prefer more hands-on activities like building, while others might express themselves best through games of pretend or other types of creative play.

Try some of these preschool creative activities that focus on the letter "T". However, they are not just limited to the alphabet theme. Many can be used when learning about animals or teddy bears, transportation, or dental hygiene.

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Teddy Bear Rank and File

Children love teddy bears, which can often lead to a week-long or month-long celebration of all things teddy, such as Octobear or Novembear. Have each child bring their favorite teddy bear to live in the classroom for a month and meet other teddy bears. This is when the preschool creative activities can begin!

First, assemble all the teddy bears together. Then, have one of the children rank the bears according to a criteria such as size, weight, cutest, funniest, etc. This teaches children to look at pieces of a whole and learn the concept of ranking things. Plus it allows allow them to apply creative criteria to a set of objects.

Taking a Train Ride

When learning about the letter "T", one of the most important categories to explore is transportation. Here's a fun little game called Taking a Train Ride. For this game, assemble all the chairs in the classroom two by two in a line. For each chair, write a number on a piece of paper and tape it to the back of the chair.

Give each child a ticket that corresponds with one of the seats on the train. At the sound of the whistle, each child is to take their place on the train. Then, appoint one of the children to be the engineer, and they go to each child and punch a hole in their ticket with a hole punch.

After each child has taken their place on the train, have each person describe what kind of trip they are taking, where they are going, what they will see, and who they are going with. This exercise allows the children to use their imaginations for planning the fictitious vacations, and shows them what travel on a train might be like.

Tooth Time!

Finally, here are some creative activities for exploring another aspect of the letter "T"- teeth. For the first activity, children make large teeth from plastic bottles and white tempra paint. Give each child a two-liter soft drink bottle that has the top part cut off. Paint the bottles with white tempra paint, and once the paint has dried, each child has a giant tooth that they can practice brushing on.

Next, have each child make their own toothbrush to use for brushing the giant tooth. First, cut a toothbrush shape from a piece of construction paper. Punch a few holes in the head side, and string short pieces of pipecleaners through the holes. Tape or glue the pipecleaners to the other side of the toothbrush. Have each child write their name on the toothbrush and decorate it to their liking. Now they have a toothbrush to brush the large models of the teeth!

Try these preschool creative activities and then let your own imagination take over. Your preschoolers can also provide their own fresh ideas to use!

Preschool Creative Activities - Fostering the Creative Spirit

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Depletion of Forest Resources

INTRODUCTION

Echo systems around the world help sustain life for millions of species. Echo systems that are mainly forests provide a home for a large majority of the species alive. Therefore the trees in these forests are considered to be the most important species. Although it is true, that most species are not able to sustain without each other.

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There are many benefits that we get from our forests. Some of these include cleaner drinking water, a home for plants and animals, economic growth, clean air, recreational opportunities, reassuring future. Another benefit we get from trees is called oxygen. If there were no trees to give us oxygen to breath, we would not be able to live. So if you need one good reason why a forest should exist, staying alive is a pretty good reason.

CAUSES OF THE PROBLEM

Forests have many resources that people can use to raise their living standards. One example is the wood for building houses. Certain wood materials last a long time, they keep the house warm and make it easy to manufacture homes. Unfortunately the world is overpopulating and the demand for a higher standard of living is constantly on the rise. Therefore the demand for more resources is growing to levels that cannot be sustained. Since forests provide a large portion of the world's resources, many forests are cut down or burned.

The cause for cutting down forests is directly associated with the high demand for wood to manufacture paper products and lumber for other manufacturing. We practically use wood for everything. It is used in home building, marine products, furniture and the list seems like it's endless. Just look around yourself right now and chances are you will find a product within your reach that is made of wood. Not only is wood a good building material, but it also has great aesthetic qualities. Most people appreciate a nice wooden dining table set or classic wooden rails on a staircase. Unfortunately we don't always take in to account how many trees need to be cut down so we can have these luxuries in our lives.

Another major direct cause for forest depletion is simply burning forests for farmland. This is more common with countries that are undeveloped and have tropical rainforests. Many poor farmers in these countries burn or cut small portions of tropical forests so they can have room for farming and cattle. But the big scale problem is created when huge corporate farms burn thousands of square acres a year. They need this much room so they can provide farming on a much larger scale to compete in the world market for food. The reason forests are burned for the farmland is due to the rich minerals fertility of the soil.

Unfortunately even the large scale farmers in undeveloped countries are not educated on how they can maximize their results when reusing the soil. Therefore the soil is used up and left as a desert while the farmers burn more forest to make another farm. The Amazon rainforest which is the largest in the world has fallen victim to such deforestations. This forest is located in South America where countries are having tough financial times. Brazil's market is a third of all the Latin countries included. Yet "Brazil's foreign debt, except in the most implausible of positive economic circumstances, is simply unsustainable in the years ahead" (CRF.org 2002). Economical pressure on a country is another big cause that will force a country to deforestation such as the case in Brazil. Basic Science and Remote Sensing Initiative (BSRSI) show data that between 1978 to 1988 230,000 square miles, nearly the size of Texas was affected by deforestation (bsrsi.msu.edu). That is 16.5% of the whole rainforest in the Amazon.

The next example shows the cause of deforestation for farming. According to The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), "Between 1990 and 2001 the percentage of Europe's processed meat imports that came from Brazil rose from 40 to 74 percent" and by 2003 "For the first time ever, the growth in Brazilian cattle production-80 percent of which was in the Amazon-was largely export driven." As more roads are built to provide access to forests in undeveloped countries more deforestation is evident.

EXTENT OF THE PROBLEM

As mentioned earlier, we get a large portion of our oxygen from vegetation such as trees. Since most trees live in forests it is important to realize the negative impact deforestation may have on our air quality. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a gas that has an impact on the greenhouse effect. There is a cycle between CO2 producers such as cars and CO2 consumers such as plants. Together they create the "Global Carbon Cycle". The plants and soil of tropical forests hold 460-575 billion metric tons of carbon worldwide (McKane et al. 1995). From 1850 to 1990, deforestation worldwide released 122 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere, with the current rate being between 1.6 billion metric tons per year (Skole et al. 1998). In comparison, all of the fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) burned during a year release about 6 billion tons per year. Therefore deforestation even when compared to all the other pollution plays a significant role in Global Warming and clean air.

Another extent of the problem with deforestation is a decrease in biodiversity. Biodiversity is important for Ecosystem sustainability, agriculture, medicine, recreation, aesthetic and commercial value. There are about 5 to 80 million species that live on this earth (Lawton and May 1995). Tropical rainforests cover about 7% of the world, but are home to more than half of the species living in the world. After a forest is cut down, many species cannot live without it and possibly go extinct. Since we depend on these species for many resources, their extension will rob us of their benefits. Perhaps we might destroy the next cure for AIDS by deforestation and not know it.

FUTURE

The negative impacts of deforestation are getting noticed internationally. Many countries are taking steps to reduce the problem for a more sustainable earth. Unfortunately financial gain and high competition still exists with deforestation, and for some it's the only way of survival. Many people are not educated about the long term results their actions may cause. Because of these reasons deforestation is still a reality around the world in many countries.

With more international involvement, countries will take effective steps to bring deforestation to sustainable levels. But there is still a great deal of work to be done. For some forests it is still not too late to bring them back quicker. Other forests that have been clear-cut might take centuries to grow to the original state. Areas where pesticides were used it is possible that the echo system was damaged and may take a long time to grow again. Many forests were replaced by large banana plantations. These plantations use pesticides that kill many species that are vital for an echo system to sustain. Erosion caused by deforestation may bring more water pollution in the future and may affect agriculture in the area. Other reasons for deforestation are simply to provide room for paved roads, residential and commercial development that are caused by urban sprawl. These types of developments permanently destroy forests. Deforestation is a serious threat to life's future on our planet. It has major effects on our global climate. It leads to the loss of millions of species that are important in sustaining a living earth.

SOLUTIONS

As we discussed the causes for deforestation, we realize how these causes are very different. Because the causes are often controlled by a countries economy, overpopulation and many other social reasons, it is impossible to find one solution to deforestation. Although there are many solutions, it will take time and cooperation of many different groups of people and organizations to make the solutions work.

One popular solution that has been in effect for a few decades is forest conservation. We can work internationally, regionally, and locally with organizations to develop policy and influence industries to help ensure a sustainable future for forests. Conservation helps protect, manage, and restore the world's most important forests by identifying threats and developing solutions to them.

Decrease the amount of products that are made as a result of deforestation. For example, using materials other than wood to build homes, furniture and other common products made of wood. Encourage recyclable materials so people don't go back to wood again. Switching from wood to other materials will decrease the demand/supply for wood.

Implement more efficient farming methods to encourage the reuse of land.

Educate people around the world about the negative impacts of deforestation, and what can be done to prevent it. Help finance more educational programs. Help countries make the right economic decisions.

Sign international treaties and make laws/regulations to control annual deforestation.

Import meat and dairy products from markets that do not cause deforestation.

The solution that I believe will be very effective is the second one. As far as cutting down trees, this is a very workable solution. We have too many products that are made of wood today. As economies grow around the world, the middle class will also grow. This middle class will demand more and more products that are made of wood. The American middle class is obsessed with wood products and we don't even realize it. A large portion of our homes are built from wood, and so is our furniture. Most cabinets alone require so much wood. If we like wood products so will the rest of the world.

The solution is to take the majority of the wood products and find alternative materials to them. This of course is not as easy as it sounds, but it is very doable. Once it is done, it will extremely decrease the demand for wood, therefore reducing deforestation. With such high advances in technology we can travel in space and replace hearts. Therefore it is possible to make materials that are safe for the environment and replace wood. Maybe even make materials that share most of the properties that wood has. We can even invent materials that imitate wood like the "burled wood" in our cars today. This "burled wood" in most cars isn't even wood anymore, it is some kind of a plastic and a pattern to imitate the look of the wood. Speaking of the auto industry, I can't believe how advanced our cars have become. These are cars that we drive everyday. Yet we live in new houses that were built with an ancient method of wood and nails. I think that is ridiculous. Perhaps the solution to replace wood with alternative materials will also lead to more efficient assembly methods and a safer environment. And most importantly the first solution is changing our attitude to help prevent deforestation.

The Depletion of Forest Resources is a huge problem with challenging solutions, let us work as a team around the world to help solve these issues.

Depletion of Forest Resources

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Candy Shop War - A Book Review

The old saying "too much candy can be bad for your health" rings true in this fast paced, action packed story. Nate and his family are new in town which means a new school and new friends. Nate is not too happy about this but the three young friends he makes will soon become the type that last forever. One warm afternoon on the way home from school, the four young kids decide to try out the new candy shop. However, they are short on money and are in hopes the owner will give them a sample. Belinda White, owner of the Sweet Tooth Ice Cream Candy Shoppe, offers free candy if they will perform odd jobs around town. Not only is the candy free it's magical too!

What kid can resist magical rock candy to fly through the air and jaw breakers to become unbreakable? Throw in a little shift changing and talking animals and you have all the ingredients for a wild adventure. Soon Nate and his friends; Summer, Trevor and Pigeon discover the real cost of this addictive candy. Belinda White's true identity as an evil magician unfolds and Nate and his friends try to turn her own power against her. It takes all the wit and imagination the quartet can conjure up with a little help from Mr. Stott the ice cream truck driver who has some magical tricks of his own. The mystery deepens and doesn't stop until the last piece of candy has been eaten.

Health Literacy

This magical fantasy story will make any 8 - 12 year old turn their imagination up a notch or two. New York Times bestselling Author Brandon Mull travels the country visiting schools, promoting literacy and sharing his message that "Imagination can take you places." Mull teaches lessons with all his stories by adding a reading guide at the end of each book. Questions like "Between Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon, who would you most want as a friend? Why?" and "What is the best approach for handling bullies?" are designed to stimulate the readers' deductive reasoning skills.

The Candy Shop War is published by Shadow Mountain.

The Candy Shop War - A Book Review

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Presentation Titles That Fill the Room

You have the perfect topic. You know exactly what you want to say. Now, you need a title that commands attention. What drives people to sign up for a workshop? Think about workshops or teleclasses that you've taken. What did you find compelling? Maybe you liked the topic - or realized it was something you needed to know. Maybe the title was so catchy you couldn't resist finding out what else this presenter might have to say.

Be catchy, but be clear. Your title should make it clear what the audience will learn and why it is important to know this. At the same time, you won't want to make your potential audience feel like they've gone back to school - remind them that learning can be fun.

Health Literacy

Which of these would you sign up for?

Learn Money Management from A to Z

- or -

Financial Freedom in 10 Easy Steps

Planning and Designing a Workshop

- or -

60 Minutes Special - Using a One-hour Workshop to Build Visibility

In all four titles, the potential audience knows what they will learn, but in the second example in each pair, it sounds like they might have fun.

Keep your title short. If you need more than 10 words to explain what you will be doing, use a subtitle. One formula often used in creating book titles works well for workshops as well. The first part of the title is an attention-grabber; the second part - after the dash or colon - tells what the workshop is about. For example:

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity
The Breaking Point: How Female Midlife Crisis is Transforming Today's Women
The One Thing You Need to Know ... About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success

Here are some teleclass titles that make you want to sign up:

Reclaim Your Health and Look and Feel Your Absolute Best!

Building a Thriving Network Through Masterful Connecting

Create an e-Product Today (Yes, Today!)

Each of these could be a great one-hour workshop. And each is something that draws 'em in.

Presentation Titles That Fill the Room

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Brief History of Online Education

The internet has given us many gifts throughout the years - from music and video game codes to not so G-rated material. Therefore, it is no surprise that e-learning has made such a big splash in the web world. Within the past ten years, online education and internet training has provided many people with a new incentive to learn.

During the early 80's, e-training was just starting to become a potential creation. Companies and educational institutes were strictly hiring instructors to train their students. This was because computers were only beginning to grow, therefore making it difficult to come up with any other plan. These instructors were great at the time because it allowed training to be very hands on, especially since students were able to interact with their classmates and visually see the lessons. However, the problem with having just instructors was that there was a lot of blank time in between. Students were not being able to learn the material on their own time, thus difficulty set in when training with hoards of other people.

Health Literacy

Luckily, as the computer industry started to expand, e-training was becoming a reality. For the next ten years, multimedia was at everyone's fingertips. Companies were just starting to use PowerPoint; a program that allowed people to create visually enhanced presentations. Video games and other multimedia programs were also popping up, thus resulting in a technology overhaul. As these advances continued, online education was only a step away.

The first type of online education was in the mid 1990's. This was when the internet was a great success, and multimedia was being taken to another level. The first few e-training companies dedicated their services to mainly businesses who did not want to hire trainers. Although the online education courses were great for new employees who needed training, it was only the beginning of an uphill process. Education online was very slow, as pictures were small and the entire course was text based. Nevertheless, it was beginning to catch the eye of many.

As the 1990's quickly ended, the millennium marked an entirely new period for technology. E-learning was finally on the map as online education courses were now very popular at colleges and businesses. Great streaming media, online video access, and fast web site servers made it possible for online education to make quite a splash. Students were also now able to learn from their homes during their own time, since working a job and going to school was quite a difficult task.

Today, online education has come a long way. Instructors are now being hired to solely teach online, which usually consists of being filmed for lesson videos. Companies are also hiring these online education programs, since a training session can not only be quick, but also be accessed at any time of the day or night. For many, it is a great opportunity because it gives us all more knowledge. We not only are able to get college degrees through this type of e-learning, but we also can have a life, without having to stay at the office overnight just to learn some material.

A Brief History of Online Education

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Prejaculation Sucks - My Story

What a nightmare - like many of my friends, I've been sexually active since about 15 years old. Believe it or not I "suffered" from premature ejaculation for about 5 years (I'm currently 21) thinking that practice was the solution. While all of that sex was fun, it was the furthest thing from a solution. 5 years of sex and still no progress - fun! It's not only embarrassing the night we "did the deed" but then your lady friend will tell her friends - don't kid yourself, chicks talk about this stuff man.

Naturally I got a little fed up with the embarrassment and being totally lame - at this point I was averaging like 5 minutes after penetration. I tried the "think of baseball... think of grandma... think of grandma playing baseball" deal, I tried the pills, I tried the lotions, creams and sprays, I tried pretty much every trick in the book.

Health Literacy

First let's start with the pills - these things are totally useless and I later found out that not ONE is approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA)... lame.

Now the lotions, creams and sprays, they must work right? They do, but at the expense of you not feeling ANYTHING and it's a pain no man should experience. Seriously, they're designed to numb your penis so there's no sensation - it's like shoving your penis in a snow bank or freezer, painful and pointless. Not to mention that's not exactly a big turn on, right? "Hey honey, don't forget my numbin' cream!" - or "One second, I need to numb the sucker!" - ah yes, I'm sure that's what every lady strives to hear.

When I first tried the numbing creams I actually tried to hide the fact - I went into the bathroom, applied it, put the condom on and was ready for business... I was in the clear. There was one problem... when I finished and took the condom off she could smell cream and asked what it was - let's just say that made for an awkward breakfast.

The next step was putting my mad literacy skills to work and reading a book - imagine that! What's even more shocking is that this is where I found the "cure" to prejaculation - although each individual is different this worked for me. Sound of the stuff sounded totally ridiculous in the beginning - like it was mainly based on things you can do in your head (not thinking of unattractive things, that doesn't work) and penis exercises.

Yeah, you read the right, penis exercises - if you don't already own some yarn and free weights you may want to get saving your pennies! Kidding... you'll need about ... okay I'll stop. The exercises actually require no "outside assistance" or anything other than what God gave you - craziness.

To make a very long story short, once I found the right book with the right information I started lasting upwards of 20 minutes after penetration - high five! Remember earlier when I mentioned that women would talk to their girlfriends about how long men last? Now I have women telling ME about their ex-partners and how quick it took them to finish - each and every time they laugh... little do they know I used to be that guy.

Prejaculation Sucks - My Story

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