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."