Sunday, June 19, 2011

A nation's culture

A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.

Mohandas Gandhi

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A man who was completely innocent

A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.

Mohandas Gandhi

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thinking of Man

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Mohandas Gandhi

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Coward

A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.

Mohandas Gandhi

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No and Yes

A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.

Mohandas Gandhi

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Health Care and Education 1

Important QOL Factors, But Who's Accurately Measuring Them?

Corporate real estate executives readily agree that health care and education are important quality-of-life factors in location decisions. But few say their firms can accurately measure their impact.
Consider this conundrum in looking at how health-care costs are impacting corporate location decisions. On the one hand, Ford Motor Co. executives have reported that they are spending the equivalent of $311 a vehicle for health care for the company’s American employees. In its Canadian facilities, though, Ford has found that it is spending some !six! times less. On the other hand, here’s a comment from a recent Site Selection survey of corporate real estate executives on quality- of-life (QOL) issues: "We rarely -- in fact, never -- have considered health-care costs as a factor in site selection."

That comment was typical of the SS corporate-side survey response: Only 13 percent of corporate real estate executives said their companies are "able to accurately measure health- care costs when considering various locations for a facility."
That low percentage of companies saying they can gauge health-care costs for potential locations is somewhat surprising in light of the fact that larger and larger amounts of corporate funds are being sucked into the black hole that health care has become in the corporate world. In the U.S., for example, health- care costs are expected to break the $2 billion-a-day barrier before year’s end.

Moreover, several of the corporate real estate executives who say their companies can accurately measure and compare health-care costs among potential locations say that the information necessary to fashion those cost comparisons is readily available. Other findings from this year’s Geo-Life corporate-side survey include:

-- Despite the survey’s finding of a general lack of accurate measurement of health-care costs in location decisions, the issue is playing a role in some siteselection decisions. Some 17 percent of survey respondents say their companies are using health care "as a tiebreaking factor between comparable sites."

-- Likewise, health care is also playing a role in the areas and countries some corporations are avoiding. Thirteen percent of responding corporate real estate executives say their firms avoid particular areas in the U.S. "because of what [the firm] considers excessive health-care costs." And in considering locations outside the U.S., 20 percent of respondents from firms with international operations are avoiding certain areas and countries "because of excessive health-care costs or the lack of available quality health care."

-- Corporations are apparently much more readily able to take a hard-cost look at health-care expenditures once the location leap has been made. Seventy- two percent of responding corporate real estate executives say their firms "can estimate health-care costs as a percentage of annual operating costs at...present locations."

-- Corporate real estate executives are apparently enjoying more success in measuring another important qualityof- life variable, education. Thirty-two percent of respondents say their companies "can quantify the educational quality of potential locations as a cost of recruiting." Another 19 percent say their firms can quantify educational quality as a cost of turnover. Here’s a more in-depth look at the issues examined in this year’s Geo-Life corporate-side survey.

Author: Jack Lyne

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Issues and Challenges

3.3 The current secondary education structure has raised several issues including the different number of schooling years as compared to most other countries, a curriculum that is too broad in scope, the choice of exiting from formal schooling after the Malaysia Certificate of Education (SPM), and the unstandardised entrance qualifications into institutions of higher learning. To overcome these issues, it is pertinent for the MOE to restructure the current secondary education structure from a 3+2+2 system to a 4+2 system.

3.4 With regards to increasing access to secondary education, the MOE faces the issue of significant attrition rate of students from Form 1 to Form 5 (20% for the 1996-2000 cohort). The MOE also faces the issues of low participation rate in the science stream (27.7% for the year 2000) which is far from the targeted ratio of 60 percent in science and technology compared to 40 percent in arts; the issue of decreasing enrolment rate for the Form 6 programme; and the challenge of increasing opportunities for secondary education for students who are poor and with long-term health problems.

3.5 To increase equity in secondary education, the MOE faces the challenge of fulfilling the increasing demands for residential, religious, and technical/vocational schools. The MOE needs to focus on rural secondary schools that are facing more infrastructure development problems and are more dependant on government allocation as compared to urban secondary schools; and problems of teacher deployment according to option and location; and the need to ensure all secondary school teachers are university graduates by 2010.

3.6 To improve the quality of secondary education, the MOE faces the challenge of improving and strengthening the present secondary education programmes as well as introducing new ones. The improvement of quality in secondary education covers aspects such as curricular and co-curricular activities, science and technology education, English language, infrastructure, teaching aids, student assessment, student welfare, quantity and quality of teachers, and pecial education.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Issues and Challenges

8.2 One of the challenges faced by the MOE is to provide sufficient and the latest ICT facilities with internet to all levels of the education organization in order to expand the usage of ICT in teaching and learning as well as in education management. To meet this challenge, the MOE has to provide sufficient and the latest facilities
to all levels of management in order to strengthen the ICT infrastructure in education. The MOE has to continuously provide more effective training programmes to the teaching staff and personnel concerned.

8.3 The need to integrate ICT in teaching and learning at all levels has become greater. In this regard, computer literacy elements need to be included in the National Preschool Curriculum, which will be implemented in the year 2002. At the primary level, ICT has increasingly become a necessity in order to gain students interest in learning subjects such as Malay and English languages, mathematics, and Science. At the secondary level, the integration of ICT in teaching and learning is aimed at developing students with knowledge and skills in ICT and the ability to use information critically and creatively to improve their academic understanding and performance. At the tertiary level, ICT must be expanded to all fields of knowledge. For special education, the integration of ICT in teaching and learning should bring about greater interest towards learning among students with hearing, sight, and learning disabilities.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Dakar Framework for Action and Millennium Development Goals

1. Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
2. Ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities have access to complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality.
3. Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes.
4. Achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing
education for all adults.
5. Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005 and achieving gender
equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to (and achievement in) basic education of good quality.
6. Improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.

Millennium Development Goals

Goal 2. Achieve universal primary education Target 3. Ensure that by 2015 children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.
Goal 3. Promote gender equality and empower Women Target 4. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and at all
levels of education no later than 2015.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Health Care and Education 2

Health Care's Upward Spiral

Concerns over health-care costs have mounted rapidly in recent years inside the corporate world, and that concern is based on numbers, big ones. For example, $660 billion will be spent in the U.S. this year on health care, with corporations picking up a sizable chunk of that tab for their employees.That comes out to $2,600 for every man, woman and child in the country. And, despite the promise of a number of cost-containment mechanisms put in place in recent years, the upward spiral in health-care costs is gettingworse. After single-digit increases from 1985 to 1987, health-care inflation has again rocketed into the stratosphere.Benefits consultant Foster Higgins predicts that health-care costs will increase an average of 16.5 percent this year.

All the while, published comparisons of health-care costs reveal wide geographicvariations (see developmentside health- care feature elsewhere in this issue). Yet only a scant 13 percent of survey respondents say their corporations are able to accurately measure health-care costs when considering various locations for a facility. "I’m absolutely amazed that people aren’t looking at health- care costs [when considering various locations]," says Wayne Mills, vice president, corporate facilities and service division for The Travelers Cos. "If you asked 50 CEOs what their top five concerns are, I think at least 90 percent would put health care in there.""Maybe my response has something to do with my working for a health-care provider," Mills adds. "[But] healthcare costs impact directly on both the employee cost of living and the cost of doing business."

The Travelers is one firm able to accurately measure health- care costs among different locations, says Mills.
"It (health care) is a tie-breaker for us in some location decisions." Mills says information on what insurance
companies call "usual and customary" reimbursed charges "are readily accessible. You can easily get information on the customary charges for things like a day in the hospital, a bone graft, etc."John Dues, director, corporate real estate for Mead Corp., says his firm can also accurately measure health-care costs as part of the site-selection process.

And he, too, says much data needed to fashion those cost comparisons are readily accessible: "If you look at Dayton or New York, for example," says Dues, "you can ascertain what the acceptable reimbursement level for an insurance provider in that area is. We can then accurately measure our costs, because our medical insurance is set up to reimburse at that level. We delegate that to our HR (human resources) department, and
they do the benefits analysis."

Those companies which say they are able to accurately gauge health-care costs in their location decisions are also successfully constructing geographically specific cost comparisons. For example, 75 percent of the companies which say they can accurately measure health-care costs are able to focus those comparisons down to the percentage of operating costs for each metro area under consideration. The other 25 percent of those companies are able to construct cost comparisons down to the individual county level. "If you get [health-care cost] comparisons that are as [geographically] broad as the state or regional level," responded one executive, "they really don’t help you that much."

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Implementation Strategies

7.6 To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of education management, the strategies include strengthening the management system of the MOE by increasing autonomy and decentralising the process of decision making and problem solving, providing greater utilisation of ICT facilities at all levels of management, restructuring the state education departments and district education offices to complement the roles of departments and division at the ministry level, creating a pool of professional education officers at top management level, creating more administrative posts, and strengthening the administrative mechanisms to overcome the shortage of teachers.

7.7 The Blueprint plans to strengthen the management of human resources and development by developing an efficient Human Resource Information system, strengthening ICT training programmes for all personnel towards transforming MOE into a learning organization, and upgrading the education service scheme by providing better incentives and welfare, opportunities for promotion, competitive salaries, and due recognition of additional qualifications.

7.8 The strategies for strengthening the monitoring, inspection, and evaluation system include extending the role of school heads/principals as curriculum leaders and main supervisors on teaching and learning in schools, increasing the number of qualified personnel in the field of inspection, strengthening the implementation of Education High Quality Standard in all educational institutions and a wider dissemination of inspectorate reports.

7.9 The information management and communication system will be strengthened by reorganizing the system of information flow towards a more efficient and effective understanding of policies and information acqusition, creating an integrated and comprehensive information management policy, integrating the various information systems and databases at the MOE, strengthening the dissemination of education information, and expanding the ICT systems and applications for managing information at all levels of the MOE.

7.10 The R&D activities will be strengthened through the identification of areas of education requiring research, revitalizing the mechanism which coordinates R&D activities and disseminates R&D products, providing sufficient allocation for R&D, providing greater access to R&D findings carried out at all public educational institutions, and providing continuous support for R&D activities.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Implementation Strategies

8.8 The Blueprint plans to intensify efforts in the coordination of ICT development in education to ensure greater integration and holistic development. The MOE will expand access to and increase equity in ICT facilities through the provision of sufficient ICT infrastructure and facilities to all levels of education  institutions. ICT integration in teaching and learning will be intensified through the expansion of ICT related subjects in all education institutions, expansion in usage of ICT in teaching and learning for all subjects, and expansion of computerized examination system (On-line Assessment System) at the Malaysia Certificate of Education (SPM) and Malaysia Higher School Certificate (STPM) levels.

8.9 The Blueprint also plans to strengthen ICT knowledge and skill among students by improving ICT based learning methods, enhancing the knowledge and skill of ICT integration in teaching and learning among teachers, increasing the number of courseware development and usage that contains indigenous and international content, and upgrading the basic skill of computer installation and maintenance.

8.10 Management effectiveness and efficiency will be continuously improved by expanding e-management at all levels of education management and increasing knowledge and skills among officers and staff through continuous training. The MOE will also intensify efforts to improve the management and maintenance of ICT tools at all levels of education institutions, and increase bilateral cooperation between educational institutions under MOE with the local community and the private sector in the development of ICT in education.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Place-Based Curriculum and Instruction: Outdoor and Environmental Education Approaches. ERIC Digest.

Place-based education is a relatively new term, appearing only recently in the education literature. However, progressive educators have promoted the concept for more than 100 years. For example, in "The School and Society," John Dewey advocated an experiential approach to student learning in the local environment: "Experience [outside the school] has its geographical aspect, its artistic and its literary, its scientific and its historical sides. All studies arise from aspects of the one earth and the one life lived upon it" (1915, p. 91). Place-based education usually includes conventional outdoor education methodologies as advocated by John Dewey to help students connect with their particular corners of the world. Proponents of place-based education often envision a role for it in achieving local ecological and cultural sustainability (1). This Digest reviews placebased curriculum and instruction, especially as it relates to outdoor and environmental education, and provides examples of K-12 resources and programs.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


The main purpose of "outdoor education" is to provide meaningful contextual experiences--in both natural and constructed environments--that complement and expand classroom instruction, which tends to be dominated by print and electronic media (Knapp, 1996, p. ix). It is a broader term than "environmental education," which can be described as instruction directed toward developing a citizenry prepared to live well in a place without destroying it (Orr, 1994, p. 14). Environmental education can occur both inside and outside the classroom.

Understanding the relationships among place-based education, outdoor education, and environmental education is worthwhile because each concept has been developed somewhat separately by educators who have produced curriculum materials and instructional practices that could be useful within the other concept areas. Further complicating this potential exchange is the variety of labels that have been applied to each of these approaches. For example, as the field of outdoor education matured, it was labeled school camping, camping education, and eventually, outdoor education. Likewise, place-based education has been referred to as "community-oriented schooling," "ecological education," and "bioregional education."

Paul Theobald refers to "place-conscious" elementary and secondary classrooms in his book, "Teaching The Commons" (1997, pp. 132-159). He advocates using the immediate locale as "the lens for disciplinary engagement in all schools across the country" (p. 137). In a later article, Theobald and Curtiss (2000) describe the field as "community-oriented schooling."

Smith and Williams (1999) describe this approach as "ecological education." They write, "The practice of ecological education requires viewing human beings as one part of the natural world and human cultures as an outgrowth of interactions between species and particular places" (p. 3). The authors outline seven principles, two of which directly reflect outdoor education: (1) practical experiences outdoors through the application of an ethic of care, and (2) grounding learning in a sense of place through investigation of surrounding natural and human communities.

Traina and Darley-Hill (1995) extend "locale" to include "bioregional education," encouraging students and teachers to know their place and to consider the impact of lifestyles on the resources of that bioregion. Similarly, Orr's (1994) call for "ecoliteracy" presents principles for rethinking education that clearly relate place-based education to outdoor education: (1) students should understand the effects of this knowledge on real people and their communities; and (2) learning though direct experiences outside the classroom is as important as the content of particular courses.

Thomashow (1995) writes about the goal of achieving "ecological identity" through the examination of four basic questions: What do I know about the place where I live? Where do things come from? How do I connect to the earth? What is my purpose as a human being? He integrates these questions into activities by incorporating reflective learning in the school, home, community, and the workplace (p. xvii). These questions focus curriculum and instruction on understanding and appreciating students' immediate surroundings.

Haymes (1995) speaks directly to a "pedagogy of place" and addresses issues of race and class as they are made manifest in the construction of urban environments and in the power and politics that emerge from those constructs. His work takes a cultural studies perspective and contributes a much-needed complement to more conventional outdoor/environmental curriculum and instruction.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Seven Principles For Good Practice in Undergraduate


by Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson

Arthur Chickering is Distinguished Professor of Higher Education at Memphis State University. On leave from the Directorship of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Memphis State, he is Visiting Professor at George Mason University. Zelda Gamson is a sociologist who holds appointments at the John W. McCormack Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. Apathetic students, illiterate graduates, incompetent teaching, impersonal campuses-so rolls the drum-fire of criticism of higher education. More than two years of reports have spelled out the problems. States have been quick to respond by holding out carrots and beating with sticks.

There are neither enough carrots nor enough sticks to improve undergraduate education without the commitment and action of students and faculty members. They are the precious resources on whom the improvement of undergraduate education depends. But how can students and faculty members improve undergraduate education? Many campuses around the country are asking this question. To provide a focus for their work, we offer seven principles based on research on good teaching and learning in colleges and universities.

Good practice in undergraduate education:

1. Encourages contact between students and faculty

2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students.

3. Encourages active learning.

4. Gives prompt feedback.

5. Emphasizes time on task.

6. Communicates high expectations.

7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

7. Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning

There are many roads to learning. People bring different talents and styles of learning to college. Brilliant students in the seminar room may be all thumbs in the lab or art studio. Students rich in hands-on experience may not do so well with theory. Students need the opportunity to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Then they can be pushed to learning in new ways that do not come so easily.

Some examples: Individualized degree programs recognize different interests Personalized systems of instruction and mastery learning let students work at their own pace. Contract learning helps students define their own objectives, determine their learning activities, and define the criteria and methods of evaluation. At the College of Public and Community Service, a college for older working adults at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, incoming students have taken an orientation course that encourages them to reflect on their learning styles Rockland Community College has offered a life-career-educational plan-ning course. At the University of California, Irvine, introductory physics students may choose between a lecture-and-textbook course, a computer-based version of the lecture-and-textbook course, or a computer-based course based on notes developed by the faculty that allow students to program the computer. In both computer-based courses, students work on their own and must pass mastery exams.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

6. Communicates High Expectations

Expect more and you will get more. High expectations are important for everyone-for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and institutions hold high expectations of themselves and make extra efforts.

Some examples: In many colleges and universities, students with poor past records or test scores do extraordinary work. Sometimes they outperform students with good preparation. The University of Wisconsin-Parkside has communicated high expectations for underprepared high school students by bringing them to the university for workshops in academic subjects, study skills, test taking, and time management. In order to reinforce high expectations, the program involves parents and high school counselors.

The University of California, Berkeley introduced an honors program in the sciences for under-prepared minority students; a growing number of community colleges are establishing general honors programs for minorities. Special programs like these help. But most important are the day-to-day, week-in and week-out expectations students and faculty hold for themselves and for each other in all their classes.

5 . Emphasizes Time on Task

Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task. Learning to use one’s time well is critical for students and professionals alike. Students need help in learning effective time management. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty. How an institution defines time expectations for students, faculty, administrators, and other professional staff can establish the basis for high performance for all.

Some examples: Mastery learning, contract learning, and computer-assisted instruction require that students spend adequate amounts of time on learning. Extended periods of preparation for college also give students more time on task. Matteo Ricci College is known for its efforts to guide high school students from the ninth grade to a B.A. through a curriculum taught jointly by faculty at Seattle Preparatory school and Seattle University. Providing students with opportunities to integrate their studies into the rest of their lives helps them use time well.

Workshops, intensive residential programs, combinations of televised instruction, correspondence study, and learning centers are all being used in a variety of institutions, especially those with many part-time students. Weekend colleges and summer residential programs, courses offered at work sites and community centers, clusters of courses on related topics taught in the same time block, and double-credit courses make more time for learning. At Empire State College, for example, students design degree programs organized in manageable time blocks; students may take courses at nearby institutions, pursue independent study, or work with faculty and other students at Empire State learning centers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

4. Gives Prompt Feedback

Knowing what you know and don’t know focuses learning. Students need appropriate feedback on performance to benefit from courses. When getting started, students need help in assessing existing knowledge and competence. In classes, students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. At various points during college, and at the end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themselves.

Some examples: No feedback can occur without assessment. But assessment without timely feedback contributes little to learning. Colleges assess entering students as they enter to guide them in planning their studies. In addition to the feedback they receive from course instructors, students in many colleges and universities receive counseling periodically on their progress and future plans. At Bronx Community College, students with poor academic preparation have been carefully tested and given special tutorials to prepare them to take introductory courses. They are then advised about the introductory courses to take, given the level of their academic skills.

Adults can receive assessment of their work and other life experiences at many colleges and universities through portfolios of their work or through standardized tests; these provide the basis for sessions with advisors. Alverno College requires that students develop high levels of performance in eight general abilities such as analytic and communication skills. Performance is assessed and then discussed with students at each level for each ability in a variety of ways and by a variety of assessors. In writing courses across the country, students are learning, through detailed feedback from instructors and fellow students, to revise and rewrite drafts. They learn, in the process, that feedback is central to learning and improving performance.

Monday, March 7, 2011

3. Encourages Active Learning

Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just by sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.

Some examples: Active learning is encouraged in classes that use structured exercises, challenging discussions, team projects, and peer critiques. Active learning can also occur outside the classroom. There are thousands of internships, independent study, and cooperative job programs across the country in all kinds of colleges and universities, in all kinds of fields, for all kinds of students. Students also can help design and teach courses or parts of courses. At Brown University, faculty members and students have designed new courses on contemporary issues and universal themes; the students then help the professors as teaching assistants. At the State University of New York at Cortland, beginning students in a general chemistry lab have worked in small groups to design lab procedures rather than repeat prestructured exercises. At the University of Michigan’s Residential College, teams of students periodically work with faculty members on a long-term original research project in the social sciences.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

2.Develops Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students

Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one’s own ideas and responding to others’ reactions sharpens thinking and deepens understanding. Some examples: Even in large lecture classes, students can learn from one another.

Learning groups are a common practice, in which five to seven students meet regularly during class throughout the term to solve problems set by the instructor. Many colleges use peer tutors for students who need special help. Learning communities are another popular way of getting students to work together. Students involved in SUNY at Stony Brook’s Federated Learning Communities can take several courses together. The courses, on topics related to a common theme like science, technology, and human values, are from different disciplines. Faculty teaching the courses coordinate their activities while another faculty member, called a "master learner:’ takes the courses with the students. Under the direction of the master learner, students run a seminar which helps them integrate ideas from the separate courses.

Friday, March 4, 2011

1 . Encourages Contact Between Students and Faculty

Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students’ intellectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and future plans. Some examples: Freshman seminars on important topics, taught by senior faculty members, establish an early connection between students and faculty in many colleges and universities.

In the Saint Joseph’s College core curriculum, faculty members who lead discussion groups in courses outside their fields of specialization model for students what it means to be a learner. In the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, three out of four undergraduates have joined three-quarters of the faculty as junior research colleagues in recent years. At Sinclair Community College, students in the “College Without Walls” program have pursued studies through learning contracts. Each student has created a “resource group,’ which includes a faculty member, a student peer, and two “community resource” faculty members. This group then provides support and assures quality.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Health Care and Education 4

2Health-Care Location Factors

In looking at the health-care systems among potential locations, survey respondents gave highest priority to data delineating the availability of health care in an area: numbers of publicly and privately run hospitals, the number of doctors per 1,000 people, etc. (see accompanying chart of toprated health-care location factors).
But in addition to the matter of healthcare quantity, there’s also the issue of health-care quality, says Wayne Mills: "We ask about the quality of the healthcare facilities [among potential locations].

We do have a lot of doctors who work for The Travelers, but almost every corporation has a chief medical director they can ask." In something of a surprise, the incidence of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) in an area under consideration for a facility location has not emerged as a top-level health-care concern. (See News Highlights elsewhere in this issue for study results predicting future AIDS-related healthcare costs.) Responding corporate real estate executives only rated the incidence of AIDS as the 10th most important health-care location factor.

Health Care More a Concern with ‘Brainpower’ Locations Paralleling previous Site Selection quality-of-life surveys, nterviewed corporate real estate professionals say the health-care QOL factor is a higher consideration in those facilities fueled by a key core of"brainpower" -- highly skilled, highly mobile professionals. At the same time, the age of the work force in a particular facility is also a factor to be reckoned with in looking at health care, since older workers tend to record a higher percentage of health-care claims.

"How important health care is in the location decision depends on the type of operation," says Wayne Mills. "For example, if you’re looking at a shortterm location using a young work force, it’s not as important. But if
you’ve got a facility that’s going to be staffed by older professionals, it’s more of a big deal." Shervin Freed, vice president for siteselection consultant A.T. Kearney, Inc., handled a corporate relocation which graphically points out the different weight given to QOL issues like health care in siting different types of facilities.

"The company was relocating from Michigan to North Carolina," says Freed, "and it had a dual purpose. We
ended up locating the technical and professional people in Raleigh-Durham, where they had more ready access to amenities like health care. We ended up putting the company’s manufacturing operation in Goldsboro, about an hour’s drive from Raleigh-Durham." As for health care’s role in future location decisions, there’s another development unfolding in Pennsylvania which may make health care both a bigger and much more measurable QOL location factor.

Many states have health-care cost-containment boards, which regularly publish reports on hospital death rates or costs. But the Pennsylvania Health- Care Cost-Containment Council has gone much further. In an unprecedented move, it has compiled statewide comprehensive data on costs, death rates and complication rates by region and by hospital. Moreover, it specifically identifies hospitals by name.

The resulting data is both revelatory and controversial. For example, one hospital in Pittsburgh is reportedly charging almost twice as much to repair or replace a heart valve ($95,185) as another hospital across town. If such specific data become available on a widespread basis around the U.S. and the globe, corporate real estate executives would have access to a very valuable tool to use in fashioning health-care costs comparisons. "People are really waiting to see what happens in Pennsylvania," says Lisa Iezzoni, a Harvard Medical School physician and health-care researcher.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Health Care and Education 3

Avoiding High-Cost Health-Care

Locations Despite the fact that few companies say they are utilizing accurate measurements of health-care costs in comparing locations, 13 percent of responding corporate real estate executives do say their firms are avoiding certain areas in the U.S. because of what they perceive as "excessive health-care costs."

New York City and Chicago were two cities mentioned by respondents as areas their companies tend to avoid because of high health-care costs. States similarly singled out included California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

"If you’re looking at a high-cost area," says Wayne Mills, "generally you’re going to find high-cost medical health care." The areas corporate real estate professionals say their companies are "favoring as corporate locations because of...reasonable health-care costs" are heavily weighted toward the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest U.S. States frequently named by respondents as low-cost areas included Alabama, Arizona, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas, South Dakota and Utah. Companies with international operations are also avoiding some countries in their non-U.S. locations. "We generally avoid underdeveloped countries without sufficient health-care facilities to provide a good level of care for our employees," says Wayne Mills. "[Those places] "end up being high-cost healthcare areas because the care is just not available."

On the other hand, some countries outside the U.S. do offer a health-care system that takes less of a bite out of the corporate coffer. "America’s healthcare system is the world’s most expensive to administer," says former Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Joseph Califano. "We spend $100 per person in administrative costs, compared to $21 in Canada." Figures reveal that the $2,600 spent in the U.S. this year for every person in the U.S. is 50 percent more than that spent in Canada. Likewise, U.S. spending on health care is twice that spent per person in Japan and almost triple that in Great Britain.

And those lower health-care costs apparently don’t translate into lower health-care quality: Canada, Japan and Great Britain all have lower infant mortality rates than in the U.S. and enjoy similar longevity.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Aims for Development

3.1 The development plan for secondary education aims to restructure secondary education from the present structure of 3+2+2 (7 years) to 4+2 (6 years) and revise the integrated Secondary School Curriculum (KBSM) to fit the new structure. The plan also aims to enhance students critical and creative thinking skills; improve acquisition and application of ICT skills; emphasise science and technology; improve mastery of Malays and English language; strengthen the infusion positive values and attitudes in teaching and learning; provide adequate numbers of trained, knowledgeable,and skilled teachers; equip secondary schools with appropriate infrastructure; and provide adequate and quality teaching and learning facilities in line with current developments in ICT.

3.2 The purpose of these aims is to produce students who are knowledgeable and skilful in various fields especially in science, technology and ICT; are proficient in Malay and English languages; have positive attitudes; practise good moral values; are critical and creative possess employability skills; and are prepared for higher learning.