Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Deaf and Dumb Patient raped in Kolkata Hospital

A deaf and dumb patient was allegedly raped by a junior doctor at hospital in Kolkata. She was taken by police for forensic tests. The incident occurred on Monday night.

The victim's family complained that she was raped by a junior doctor at Bankura Sammilani Medical College Hospital. The 19-year old girl was found naked in an unconscious state in the medicine department of the hospital where she was admitted following chest pain.

The girl was deaf and dumb. The police had sought the permission from the hospital authorities to take the teenager to the government hospital for the forensic test.

The Hospital Superintendent Panchanan Kundu said that a three-member committee has been set up to probe the allegation. The investigation has been taken up after receiving complaint from the hospital authorities. However, no FIR has been lodged by the victim's family.

Monday, February 27, 2012


We all need a break. However, in the current environment, taking time off for a vacation may not  be best for your company (or your bank account). Find ways to carve out smaller chunks of time to rest and recuperate. 

Here are three things you can do in one hour or less.

- Exercise: Make the time by trying an early morning class or exercising during your lunch break.

- Turn off your Blackberry: Even for just an hour while you take a walk or have dinner with a friend, this 'quiet' time will help you feel more focused when you power back on.

- Do a crossword puzzle: Research shows crossword puzzles sharpen the mind. Work on the puzzle while you eat lunch and give yourself a mental break.


India is bracing for a complete shutdown today on February 28, as 11 major trade unions across the country have called for a dawn-to-dusk 'Bharat Bandh'. They are being supported by 8 lakh public sector employees.

While 11 trade unions are supporting the 'Bharat Bandh' call, 7 out of nine bank unions have joined the shutdown. Some Railways employees may too join the agitation.

The strike call was given in protest against rising prices, corruption, disinvestment of profit-making PSUs, violation of labour laws, discrepancies in salaries, pensions etc.

The trade unions that are participating in the strike include Congress-affiliated INTUC, Left-backed AITUC and CITU, Shiv Sena-backed Bharatiya Kamgar Sena and Indian Union Muslim League's trade-wing STU. Around 5,000 small unions, including Taxi, Auto and Vendors have also joined the strike.

Major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore have geared up to deal with the situation following the complete shutdown. Heavy security arrangements have been made in West Bengal, which is likely to be worst-hit, as Left parties are sponsoring the bandh there.

Public transport is likely to be affected, as many auto and taxi unions are supporting the strike call. Buses may remain off the roads in many parts of the country. Banking services will be worst-affected.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Prof Roddam Narasimha quits Space Commission

Protesting the government's decision to blacklist four scientists including former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair, top space scientist Professor Roddam Narasimha quit as the member of the Space Commission.

Narasimha said that the committee probing the controversial Antrix-Devas deal has submitted the report finding no evidence of fraud committed by Nair and other scientists.

He expressed his distress over the humiliation of former scientists saying the action taken against them, who have spent their whole professional lives working for the nation, was unjustified.

Narasimha's resignation came after Nair and three others were blacklisted on the basis of two official reports on the based on two official reports on the Antrix-Devas deal.

A panel comprising of Narasimha and BK Chaturvedi had submitted a report stating there was no financial loss due to cheap selling of spectrum in the deal.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Congress on defensive over 'President Rule' Remark

Congress defended over its president rule remark in Uttar Pradesh that had created a political storm and drawn a sharp response from the main opposition BJP.

Congress was highly criticised hours after senior Congress leader Sriprakash Jaiswal said that if party fails to get majority in Uttar Pradesh assembly polls it will seek imposition of President's rule in the state.
"Those who lack confidence are looking for alliance ....Congress will not forge any alliance. If Congress gets majority then it will form the government...if some seats are short then there is no option other than President's rule", Jaiswal said.

He said that the results of the polls would be shocking and Congress would get majority. However, his statement drew a sharp response from the BJP, which termed it as an indicator of the feudal mindset of the Congress.

Senior BJP leader Uma Bharati, who is contesting the polls from Charkhari constituency, appealed the voters not to exercise their votes in favour of the Congress as the party did not understand the importance of the polling. She said that the statement was undemocratic and a threat to the state.

However, Jaiswal clarified soon after his statement saying that he was misquoted. He denied that he gave any threat as he is confident upon the results that the Congress is going to win the polls in the state. "My statement was twisted", the Union Coal Minister said.

"I was only explaining the constitutional reality, in case the Congress fails to get a majority as we are surely going to be the single largest party", he added.

Etisalat to quit India Operations

Etisalat DB, an Abu Dhabi based Telecom Company will shut down the operation of its joint venture in India following the Supreme Court’s verdict of cancelling its telecom licenses.

On Wednesday, the company announced that, "As unanimously resolved by the Board this evening, Etisalat DB will be taking steps to reduce operating costs, including the suspension of its network and services, pursuant to the terms of its UAS licenses."

It added that "The decision has been taken in order to protect the interests of all stakeholders and to avoid incurring further costs at this time of rapid change and continued uncertainty in the Indian telecommunications sector."

Etisalat came to India subsequent to the 2008 licensing process, through the gaining of a 45 per cent stake as part of a joint venture with DB Realty, an Indian real estate company.

About DB it is reported that, DB Group was a green horn telecom company that offer for mobile licenses and then sold stakes in their cellular ventures to foreign investors, like Etisalat and Norway’s Telenor, for bulky sums.

Top executives of DB and other companies along with Raja and others are the people facing charges over the scandal now.

Reportedly, Etisalat had paid $900 million for its stake in the Indian mobile operation and had invested an estimated $1bn in its network by the end of 2011.

Supreme Court had cancelled licenses of 10 mobile operators following an investigation into corruption in the allocation of second-generation mobile licenses. Recently Supreme Court had also cancelled all 122 UAS licenses regarding irregularities in allotting 2G spectrums. However, Etisalat DB, expects India’s government “to fairly compensate investors” for the license losses.

Etisalat DB is also known in the name ‘Cheers Mobile’. It had Unified Services Access (USA) License in 15 circles including Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar and has approximately 16 lakh subscribers. Now the company will allow 30 days time to its customers to PORT OUT from its service and PORT IN to another operator using Mobile Number Portability (MNP).

Earlier S TEL, another company allied with Batelco of Bahrain had also left India following the Supreme Court’s order.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Average Pay Hike to be 11.9% in 2012

In some relief for the professionals in various industries across the country, their salary would be hiked to 11.9 per cent this year. However, the average is lower than last year's 12.6%.

According to the 2012 salary survey conducted by human resource consulting firm Aon Hewitt, the average salary hikes across sectors would be about 11.9%, which is lower than last year's average and much lower than the average 15.2% during the global economic slowdown in 2008.

Despite the fluctuations in global economy, the firm said that hikes in India would be much higher than the 8.2% average seen in 2009. Sandeep Chaudhary, practice leader, compensation consulting, Aon Hewitt said that the high inflation, high interest rates and global economic slowdown would not stand as the threat to India.

The employees at the junior and mid-management level would be paid with 12.3% and 12% hikes respectively. Moreover, India would provide maximum job opportunities across all the industries and locations, which is a positive sign for the development.

The survey was conducted among 550 organisations belonging to 19 sectors between November 2011 and January 2012 by Global Management, a strategic management consulting firm. It says that India will emerge as the fast developing country in Asia Pacific region with highest hikes as compared to China and Philippines whose average hikes are expected at 9.5% and 6.9% respectively.

Experts say that the hikes of 10-13% across various sectors can be termed as ‘cautious optimism’ wherein the companies are paying handsome salaries to their employees just for the appeasement.

The salary hike could be considered as important during the financial turmoil in western and European markets. Experts said that the It sector would witness hikes not more than 7-8%. The established sectors like pharmacy and FMCG will see 8-12% hike.

Deepak Bhatt, Management Consultant of Global Management assumed that there won’t be any double-digit hikes in the sectors except for exceptional performers as the companies are cautious of the situation outside the country.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Get Through your To-Do List

Self-discipline is hard. Try these three tips to make your work more efficient every day:

- Get three things done before noon: Statistics show that the team ahead at halftime is more likely to win the game. Enjoy your lunch knowing that you accomplished at least three tasks in the morning.

- Sequence for Speed: Break projects into parts. Take on the longer pieces at the beginning and make sure each subsequent part is shorter. If you leave the longest parts for last, you are more likely to run out of steam before the end of the day.

- Tackle similar tasks at the same time: The mind thrives on repetition. You can build momentum by taking on similar projects at the same time. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Indo-Pak to ease Visa restrictions on Trade

In a major development on 15th February 2012, India and Pakistan agreed to ease visa restrictions for businessmen to boost bilateral trade. Islamabad also assured New Delhi to move to a small negative list of imports from India by the end of this month.

On trade front, Pakistan is expected to grant the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India by this year-end as it is likely to phase out the negative list by then.

Once the negative list is phased out, the transition to MFN status will be automatically completed. At present, Pakistan follows 'a positive list' and permits imports of only about 1,900 items from India, which gives almost full access to Pakistani goods.

Visiting Commerce and Industry Minister Mr. Anand Sharma, who is leading an over 120 people-strong business delegation, told reporters in Islamabad that he has discussed the issue of visa liberalisation with Home Minister.

He also said that the two countries will completely revise the existing bilateral visa agreement that was signed in 1974 to facilitate travel by businessmen from both the countries.

It is to be noted that, the Joint Working Group (JWG) was set up by the two countries to revise a Bilateral Visa Agreement in 1974.

Meanwhile, the two countries agreed to allow opening of two branches of their banks on reciprocal basis for which an understanding has been reached between Reserve bank of India (RBI) and State Bank of Pakistan.

New Delhi and Islamabad also signed three important pacts to improve their economic ties. The two countries signed agreements on cooperation in customs, mutual recognition of standards and for redressing trade grievances in the presence of Indian Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister Mr. Anand Sharma and Pakistani Commerce and Trade Minister Mr. Makhdoom Amin Faheem in Islamabad last evening.

In fine, such agreements and talks will make India-Pakistan relations free from tensions and strains and consequently develop their economy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rape Victim tracks down Suspects on Facebook

A woman in Kolkata, who was allegedly raped at gunpoint inside a moving car, tracked down the rapists on Social networking site Facebook and filed a complaint against them.

The woman is a mother of two. She alleged that she was raped at gunpoint in a moving car. The victim searched the suspects on Facebook and luckily she found them on the site and collected their photographs and profiles to file a complaint against them.

However, the victim alleged that the police mocked her when she went to the police station for filing an FIR. Describing the callousness of the police, she said that they behaved very badly with her.

The Kolkata police picked up one of the suspects matching with profile and his friend for interrogation on Wednesday evening. The victim was called to identify the suspect. When she could not identify them, she was questioned throughout night till 5 AM on Thursday.

Later, it was confirmed that the one of the suspects was in Canada.

The incident took place when she was offered a lift by four men near a nightclub on February 5. She searched the names of the people on Facebook and found their profiles. When she approached police for the complaint, she was mocked.

An inquiry has been ordered to probe the allegation against the policemen.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Three Theories are Better than One

The late Harvard professor of education William Perry Jr. (1913-1998), once remarked, “To have any idea of what is going on in a situation, you need at least three good theories.”  Perry was trying to promote learning and understanding.
The idea here is that one theory traps you in your own thinking, your own dogma. Overconfidence in one’s own opinions can be an obstacle to learning. With two theories you can be begin to see more—another side to a situation. Yet, two theories are limiting as they can lead you to simple reductions and conclusions brought about by black and white, binary thinking. With three or more theories in play you begin to see the nuances. Your mind becomes open to the fact that there are more explanations to what is going on, giving you a more complete picture. By taking more into account you can create deeper understanding and make decisions more in line with what is really going on.

You can of course take this too far and get caught up in all sorts of mind games and become mired in overanalyzing. This generally isn’t our problem however. We tend to jump to generalizations and oversimplifications without a clear understanding of reality thus repeating the same old thinking. We need to cast a wider net, asking more and different questions. Concerning theories, Perry thought it was worth noting: "The wisdom doesn't come from the theories; the theories come from the wisdom. And the wisdom comes from the defeat of all the more attractive alternatives." And in a cautionary tone, "With all these theories, it would be a good thing, of course, to keep an open mind. But the problem with an open mind is that it's so drafty." Keep a balance and avoid the mind games.

First Class Noticer

W arren Bennis suggests that we learn to observe closely and accurately. To become what writer Saul Bellow calls a "First-Class Noticer." This part of what he considers to be the single most important attribute of successful leaders.

Essentially being a “first-class noticer” means to get out and learn as much as you can.

Primarily we must learn how to learn. This involves some introspection to discover just how you learn and then to get out and do it. Expose yourself to that which is not "common" to you. Be open to experience. Bennis states that “when those who lack adaptive capacity hit a rough patch, they tend to shut down and scar over. The fortunate remain hungry for experience no matter how severely they are tested.”

Look for experiences that are new and different and seize opportunities. Develop relationships with people who are different from the people you ordinarily have relationships with, especially those that come from different backgrounds and age groups. See movies and plays, read books and visit museums. These will broaden your outlook and develop a deeper well from which to draw from.

Above all, Bennis reminds us to stay comfortable with "not knowing ... but finding out." In this world, do we need a better reminder than what happened on September 11, 2001? We have to be at ease with uncertainty, chaos, complexity and not settle for the easy answer and the silver bullet. They don't exist in today's world. Never did, actually.

મંદીથી બેહાલ લોકો રસ્તા પર, ગ્રીસમાં ફાટી નીકળ્યા રમખાણો

- ગ્રીસની સંસદમાં ખર્ચના ઘટાડાનો પ્રસ્તાવ મંજૂર કરી દેવાયો છે.

- ખર્ચમાં ઘટાડાની અંતર્ગત 2012ની સાલમાં ગ્રીસ સરકાર પગાર, નોકરીઓ, પેન્શનમાં ઘટાડાથી 350 કરોડ યુરો બચાવશે 

- સરકારના આ નિર્ણયથી ગ્રીસની પ્રજાનો ગુસ્સો ભડકી ઉઠ્યો છે 

- અંદાજે 80,000 લોકો એથેન્સના રસ્તા પર ઉતરી આવ્યા

- પ્રદર્શનકારીઓ સંસદના બહાર પત્થરમારો અને પેટ્રોલ બોંબ પણ ફેંકી રહ્યા છે

ગ્રીસની સંસદમાં ખર્ચના ઘટાડાનો પ્રસ્તાવ મંજૂર ગ્રીસની સંસદમાં ખર્ચના ઘટાડાનો પ્રસ્તાવ મંજૂર કરી દેવાયો છે. આથી ગ્રીસનું દિવાળિયું નીકળવાનું સંકટ ટળી ગયું છે. ખર્ચમાં ઘટાડાની અંતર્ગત 2012ની સાલમાં ગ્રીસ સરકાર પગાર, નોકરીઓ, પેન્શનમાં ઘટાડાથી 350 કરોડ યુરો બચાવશે. ગ્રીસ સરકારે ખાનગી બેંકોની પાસે હાલના 100 અબજ યુરોના બોન્ડ માફ કરી દીધા છે. ત્યારે ગ્રીસ ને હવે યુરોપિયન યુનિયન અને આઇએમએફ પાસેથી રાહત પેકેજ મળવાનો રસ્તો સાફ થઇ ગયો. યુરોપિયન યુનિયન અને આઇએમએફ પાસેથી અંદાજે ગ્રીસને 170 અબજ ડોલરનું રાહત પેકેજ મળશે.

જો કે સરકારના આ નિર્ણયથી ગ્રીસની પ્રજાનો ગુસ્સો ભડકી ઉઠ્યો છે. અંદાજે 80,000 લોકો એથેન્સના રસ્તા પર ઉતરી આવ્યા. આ સિવાય ગ્રીસના અન્ય શહેરોમાં જોરદાર પ્રદર્શનો થયા. પ્રદર્શનકારીઓ સંસદના બહાર પત્થરમારો અને પેટ્રોલ બોંબ પણ ફેંકી રહ્યા છે.

એટલું જ નહીં કેટલીય જૂની અને ઐતિહાસિક ઇમારતોને પણ પ્રદર્શનકારીઓએ આગના હવાલે કરી દીધી છે. પોલીસ અને ગુસ્સામાં ઉતરી આવેલી પ્રજા વચ્ચે ઝપાઝપીમાં ડઝનો પોલીસ અધિકારીઓ અને 37 જેટલા પ્રદર્શનકારીઓ ઘાયલ થયાના સમાચાર છે.

ગઇકાલ રાતથી રમખાણો ફાટી નીકળ્યા છે ખર્ચમાં ઘટાડો કરવાના ઉપાયોને મંજૂરી આપવા માટે સંસદમાં થનારા ઐતિહાસિક વોટિંગની પહેલાં ગ્રીસની રાજધાની એથેન્સમાં રમખાણો ફાટી નીકળ્યા હતા. તેના લીધે ત્યાંની કેટલીય બિલ્ડિંગોમાં આગ લગાવી દેવામાં આવી હતી. એક મલ્ટિપ્લેક્સ, એક બેન્ક, એક સ્ટોર અને એક કેફિટીરિયા સહિત ઓછામાં ઓછી 10 બિલ્ડિંગોને રવિવારે રાત્રે આગની ઝપટમાં ઉઠતી દેખાઇ હતી. આ બિલ્ડિંગોમાં ફસાયા હોવાની અત્યાર સુધી કોઇ સમાચાર મળ્યા ન હતા.

ડઝનોબંધ દુકાનોમાં લૂટફાંટ થયાના સમાચાર પણ હતા. 2008 ડિસેમ્બરમાં પોલીસના ગોળીબારમાં એખ યુવકના મોત બાદ અહીં સતત અશાંતિનો દોર ચાલુ છે. રવિવારે કેટલાંય સ્થળોએ હિંસામાં ડઝનો પોલીસ અધિકારી અને ઓછામાં ઓછા 37 પ્રદર્શનકારીઓ ઘાયલ થઇ ગયા અને 20માંથી વધુને સંદિગ્ત દંગામાં ધરપકડ કરી લીધી છે.

સૂત્રોનું કહેવું છે કે સંસદમાં રજૂ કરવામાં આવેલા પ્રસ્તાવના લીધે પાંચ મુખ્ય સિવિલ સર્વિસોની નોકરીઓ સમાપ્ત થઇ જશે અને ન્યૂનતમ મજૂરી દર પણ ઘટી જશે. પોતાની ચશ્માની દુકાનમાં તોડફોડ અને લૂંટ થવાથી દુખી વ્યક્તિ એ કહ્યું કે હું હવે વધુ સહન કરી શકીશ નહીં. આ દેશમાં રહેવાનો કોઇ મતલબ નથી.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Suspended for Poor Performance or Race Bias?

A Maryland hospital worker got a job working the night shift in a medical laboratory. There, she was unsupervised, but she later sought a day-shift job. It was granted, but supervisors became involved with her work. Her first problem was an abrasive relationship with a co-worker, and her behavior drew her bosses’ criticism. But her lab errors were the second problem, and that was worse.

What happened. “Larson,” a black woman born in Haiti, joined St. Agnes Hospital in 2004 and was moved to a day shift in 2006. She has an associate’s degree in medical laboratory technology and certificates in three related fields. Soon after her shift change, supervisors began chastising her for fighting with a co-worker, saying the disputes were disturbing the entire lab. The relationship continued to be troublesome. 

But when Larson’s work was reviewed, supervisors documented eight errors between January 2 and January 23. They suspended her for 3 days and required that she be retrained for 2 weeks. The trainer’s report said Larson had trouble concentrating but noted she could work adequately if she paid careful attention. But then the co-worker complained again about her and a large meeting was convened with Larson. Perhaps because all the attendees except her were white and U.S.-born, Larson wouldn’t participate. She left the meeting in tears and resigned the next day. 

She then sued for race and national-origin discrimination. A federal district court judge reviewed St. Agnes’s documentation of her performance problems and ruled in the hospital’s favor. Larson appealed to the 4th Circuit, which covers Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

What the court said. Judges noted that in court, Larson either didn’t remember or denied her lab mistakes. And supervisors testified that her main problem was failure to take responsibility for her work. Before she resigned, Larson complained to the hospital’s diversity officer, also a black woman. But the officer could find no evidence of race bias, only that Larson was being disciplined for work mistakes. 

Larson argued that she was disciplined more harshly than white, U.S.-born workers who made lab mistakes. But appellate judges found that two white, U.S.-born employees had been fired for similar mistakes. Further, they noted, employers cannot be forced to discipline all employees the same way: There are too many variables.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How to Redefining Education in the Developing World

A new approach that builds relevant marketplace, entrepreneurship, and health care skills is needed.

In most developing countries, few children graduate from secondary school and many don’t even finish primary school. In Ghana, for example, only 50 percent of children complete grade 5, and of those, less than half can comprehend a simple paragraph. The UNESCO program Education for All, which as part of the Millennium Development Goals aims to provide free, universal access to primary schooling, has been successful in dramatically increasing enrollment. But, according to annual Education for All reports, many kids drop out before finishing school. Why don’t they stay?

There are numerous reasons, including the difficulty of getting to school and the cost of schooling. Even when tuition is free, there are often expenses for lunch, uniforms, and examination fees. And because the quality of education is often poor, parents are forced to pay for additional tutoring to enable their children to pass tests. Opportunity costs may be even larger—while they are in school, children forgo opportunities to produce income working on the family farm or selling in the marketplace. It is not surprising that when education investments do not result in adequate learning, or even basic literacy and numeracy, parents do not keep their children in school.

Even when learning outcomes are adequate, very few students continue on to secondary school. Job prospects for most people in the developing world are poor, and staying in school past grade 5, or even through grade 10, does not improve them significantly. In impoverished regions, the vast majority will not secure formal employment and will be supported primarily through subsistence level agriculture and trading. Health outcomes in these regions are also dire. Millions of children die every year from controllable diseases such as diarrhea, respiratory infections, and malaria.

Educational programs typically adopt traditional Western models of education, with an emphasis on math, science, language, and social studies. These programs allocate scarce resources to topics like Greek mythology, prime numbers, or tectonic plate movement—topics that may provide intellectual stimulation, but have little relevance in the lives of impoverished children. High performing students in less developed regions face a much different future from their counterparts’ in wealthier areas. There are no higher levels of schooling or professional job opportunities awaiting most of these children; they will likely end up working on family or neighborhood farms or starting their own small enterprises.

Schooling provides neither the financial literacy students will need to manage the meager resources under their control, nor the guidance needed to create opportunities for securing a livelihood or building wealth. In addition, schooling provides little assistance to promote the physical health needed for economic stability and quality of life. Life expectancy is low in impoverished regions, and not just because of lack of quality medical care. The devastation preventable disease wreaks on well-being and financial stability in poor regions can be dramatically mitigated through instruction on basic health behaviors, such as hand washing.

We fervently believe that what students in impoverished regions need are not more academic skills, but rather life skills that enable them to improve their financial prospects and well-being. These include financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills; health maintenance and management skills; and administrative capabilities, such as teamwork, problem solving, and project management.

Over the last five years, we have done extensive work on the state of education in developing countries. We have visited many government, non government, and private schools and teacher training programs in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, and we have talked extensively with teachers, students, headmasters, school owners, and government officials. We have visited innovative educational programs that are among the world’s largest and most successful, including BRAC, an NGO in Bangladesh that owns and operates 32,000 primary schools; Pratham, which provides literacy and other educational support programs, teaching 33 million children in India; and Escuela Nueva, the Colombian program of mono- and multigrade teaching that has grown to 20,000 schools. We have implemented training for illiterate adults in developing countries and have tested that training effectively over the last few years, applying the best of our experience to improving organizations like Opportunity International, a large microfinance institution.

These experiences have convinced us that the time is right to redefine quality education in the developing world.


We have developed a robust educational model that combines traditional content with critically important financial, health, and administrative skills, which can be delivered via existing school systems and teachers.

Our model, which we call “school for life,” shifts the goal of schooling away from the achievement of standardized learning outcomes toward making a positive impact on the economic and social well-being of students and their communities. The model requires significant changes in both content and pedagogy. First, entrepreneurship and health modules are mandatory curriculum components for all primary grade students. Second, student-centered learning methods are used that require students to work in groups to solve complex problems and manage projects on their own.

This approach is inspired by models of adult education in developing countries that focus on self-efficacy as a critical foundation of positive livelihood and health-seeking behaviors, along with active-learning pedagogies used in progressive schools throughout the world. The health curriculum draws on the work of the World Health Organization and focuses on preventing disease, caring for sick children, and obtaining medical care. The entrepreneurship curriculum is informed by our work with adult entrepreneurs in developing countries, and it draws ideas from a broad range of financial and entrepreneurial programs developed by organizations like the International Labour Organization, Junior Achievement, and Aflatoun.

Conceptual knowledge is put into practice at school through activities that empower children to use what they have learned. For example, students practice routine health behaviors, such as hand washing and wearing shoes near latrines—and, to the extent feasible, gain exposure to other important behaviors, such as boiling drinking water and using malaria nets. They practice routine market-like transactions by earning points for schoolwork and budgeting those points to obtain valuable prizes, such as sitting in a favorite chair or being first in line.

Students also develop higher order skills as they work in committees to develop and execute complex projects. Health-related projects can range from planning and carrying out an athletic activity to be played during recess, to practicing diagnostic skills when classmates are ill—helping to decide, for example, when a cold has turned into a respiratory infection that requires antibiotics. Entrepreneurship projects include identifying and exploiting market opportunities through business ideas like school gardens or community recycling that create real value. Students learn and practice workplace skills and attitudes like delegation, negotiation, collaboration, and planning—opportunities that are rarely available to them outside their families.

Some school systems, especially at the secondary level, have begun to include entrepreneurship and health topics in their curricular requirements. But including information in basic lectures is not enough. Schools must simultaneously adopt action-oriented pedagogical approaches that hone critical thinking skills and enable children to identify problems, seek out and evaluate relevant information and resources, and design and carry out plans for solving these problems. This involves tackling real problems that require and empower students to take the initiative and responsibility for their own learning.

A full implementation of this new school for life approach has not yet been adopted by any major organization, but a pilot is currently being developed by Escuela Nueva in Colombia. Escuela Nueva was the pioneer in adapting student-centered approaches for use in impoverished rural environments, which often use multigrade classrooms. Escuela Nueva develops classroom materials and pedagogical approaches in which students work in self-directed teams to learn, discuss, and actively practice, using the basic content included in standard governmental curricula.

Through this unique combination of relevant content, practical implementation, and student empowerment, children develop a body of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will enable them to succeed and thrive when they leave school, whether they are headed toward college or remain in their communities.


The traditional definition of school quality in the developing world is based on content mastery. But using traditional schooling approaches during the few precious years most children will spend in school leads to wasted resources and forgone opportunities for individuals and communities. Governmental agencies and organizations that support and promote quality education for all children must move beyond traditional models to help children develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are relevant to their lives and that can lift them out of poverty.

For too long, governments and organizations investing in developing-world education have operated under the unquestioned assumption that improved test scores were clear evidence that their investments have paid off. But if, as we argue here, mastery of the basic primary school curriculum is not the best means for improving life chances and alleviating poverty in developing countries, that model is broken. Investing in interventions that produce the highest test scores is no longer a valid approach for allocating scarce educational dollars or the scarce time available for the development of young minds. It is time to seek out the interventions that lead to the greatest social and economic impact for the poor.

Nokia to cut 4,000 Jobs at Smartphone Factories

Finnish major Nokia announced that it would cut 4,000 jobs or 7 percent of its global work force at its three factories as the assembly of smartphones will be transferred to Asia.

The company in a statement on Wednesday said that the job cuts would be made at three factories in Komarom, Hungary; Reynosa, Mexico; and Salo; Finland. The device assembly will be transferred to Asia targeting better production and introduction of innovations into the market more quickly.

The mobile major said that 2,300 jobs will be cut at its Hungarian factory, 700 in Mexico and 1,000 in Salo. Nokia executive vice president Niklas Savander said that the company would be able to work more closely with the suppliers by the move.

The decision was taken after Nokia faced a huge financial crisis during the transition from its Symbian-based Smartphone lineup to Lumia Windows phones with Microsoft. The company had a loss of $1.5 billion last month and its sale declined 21 per cent after the operators complained of the Symbian models and demanded price cuts.

Last September, the Company had hinted that it would review the production of the smartphones and consider the cost reduction on the models.

Now Nokia's smartphone factories in Masan, South Korea and Beijing will take over the assembly of smartphones in Asia continent.

This is for the second time Nokia announced for the job cuts. Earlier, the firm had announced in April last year that it would cut 4,000 jobs in Britain, Denmark and Finland, and transfer 3,000 employees in Symbian software development to Accenture.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shed Your Excessive Need to Be You

One of the worst habits a leader can have is excusing his behavior with claims like, "That's just the way I am!". Stop clinging to bad behaviors because you believe they are essential to who you are. 

Instead of insisting that you can't change, think about how these behaviors may be impeding the success of those around you. 

Don't think of these behaviors as character traits, but as possibilities for improvement. 

You'll be surprised how easily you can change when it helps you succeed. 

Should we send our Children to Playschools?

The first step towards child independence is when our child joins a playschool. There is no authoritative age to discover this idea but parents are usually incredulous and unconvinced.

Playschools play an important role in the child’s all-round growth. They are an important part of schooling in a child’s life as Play schools help the child in learning social etiquette and also prepare them for the upcoming school years.

While there is no primary distinction on learning academic skills at play school, but there is a prominence on building the whole child. Learning basic social skills in a group setting and having the opportunity to have a structured morning of songs, stories, outdoor activities, art, making snacks every Friday, and listening to different kinds of music and using musical instruments help children to become self dependent.

Children learn by games too. The playschool must have lots of indoor games to help the child learn. Puzzles blocks are few important play items which parents can look to find in a playschool.

We should send our children to play school as from there they learned self-help skills, responsibility, and how to get their own snack and drink set out properly on the table. They each took turns with allocated jobs such as door holder, line leader, snack helper, calendar girl/boy, pet feeder and a few others that would change during the year.

It is important that the playschool should have a good standard and safe atmosphere too, so that we, the parents should send our children without worry and concern. The kids need to be treated very tenderly at this age and any bad influence or wrong revelation can acutely impinge on their growth.

Since a child’s future is a combined effort of both the parent and the school, it is important to choose the right play school for laying the base for the child’s upcoming.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Social Networking Use Soars in Workplaces Around the World

Employee use of social networking platforms soared at companies worldwide in 2011, with active use of games and applications tripling since 2010 as workers logged in for business and personal reasons, a recent report says. 

The research from network security firm Palo Alto Networks, which measured network traffic at 1,600 companies, suggests that employers should explore exactly how workers use social networking to determine which activities might hurt productivity or pose a security risk.

“Companies must determine how to safely enable these technologies on their networks so that users can maintain the levels of productivity that many of these applications can afford, while at the same time ensuring that their corporate networks and users are protected against all threats,” René Bonvanie, chief marketing officer at Palo Alto Networks, said in a statement.

The assessment of network traffic at companies in North America, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe found that active use of social networking platforms—such as playing games, posting to LinkedIn and other sites, using social plug-ins and Facebook applications—more than tripled in aggregate based on the percentage of social networking bandwidth consumed. An average of 16 social networking applications were found on each network.

The percentage of social networking bandwidth consumed by Facebook applications alone grew more than three times, the report said.

While Twitter posting (measured separately) was flat, employees flocked to the platform, which saw a seven-fold increase in percentage of social networking bandwidth consumed versus 2010 levels, according to Palo Alto’s Application Usage and Risk Report. 

The report speculated that businesses’ use of Twitter as a marketing and recruiting tool helped fuel the growth, alongside employees who followed tweets about protests and disasters around the globe. This raises the question of whether organizations should allow, block or manage employee tracking of news in near real time, the report says. 

The firm found that browser-based file sharing occurred in 92 percent of participating companies, with personal- and business-oriented applications in use. 

All this social networking carries potential benefits and risks for organizations, and managing it probably isn’t as simple as banning it, the report states, which suggests organizations set manageable social networking policies.

While critics may rightly complain that some employees waste time playing Facebook games at work, the report noted that many businesses use Facebook applications as part of their marketing and service offerings. For example, Caterpillar uses social media to engage with its business-to-business customers by talking about big projects and new equipment, appealing to customers’ “love of their jobs, and their successful use of Cat products.”

In contrast, entertainment-oriented Zynga games were found in 53 percent of participating organizations and consumed 5 percent of social networking bandwidth, which may warrant more scrutiny and control.

The Nike+ Challenge on Facebook aims to help runners achieve goals. An employee who uses the application at work to post fitness progress “is clearly not performing their daily tasks, but studies have shown that fit employees are more productive. Should the use of the Nike+ Challenge application be blocked?” the report asks.

Organizations can’t ignore the security risks, either. Social networking sites have trained users to be too trusting about sharing information, and that trust carries risks of cybercrimes and inadvertent data sharing, the report notes. 

Companies must balance between protecting their networks and enabling usage, and because applications use more than just the most obvious server port, security experts must look at all apps and ports, “not just the popular or commonly used ones,” the report states.

ICICI workforce down by 1,300 in three months

ICICI Bank, the largest private sector lender, saw its employee base shrink by 1,300 people in the past three months of calendar year 2011, the first such significant fall in two years.

It had 57,733 employees as of December-end, compared with 59,033 as on September 30. In the 12 months before September-end, the bank had added around 11,000 employees.

According to sources, while a part of this happened because of natural attrition, the slow growth of some businesses were also responsible for the reduction. They said the decrease in headcount happened across business segments and the highest bit was at the junior levels.

ICICI Bank confirmed the development, saying the move was to improve productivity.

“We are constantly on a productivity improvement drive and we will further tighten the numbers until we reach the desired level of productivity,” the spokesperson of the bank said.

“We believe that every organisation should simultaneously grow and keep improving productivity. So, from time to time we do not replace attrition rather (we) push the system to new productivity highs,” the official added.

The employee base was 33,700 in October 2009 and near-60,000 at the end of the first half of this financial year, driven by branch expansion and business growth.

The acquisition of Bank of Rajasthan’s operation in August 2010 also expanded the workforce, by 4,000 people.

The bank has no plans to hire aggressively for the next three to four quarters, though it will roll out more branches, sources said.

The bank had 2,552 branches at 2011-end. Sources said the rise in operating expenses was likely to be capped, as staff cost was not expected to increase significantly from the current levels.

In the past few quarters, operating expenses had been rising because of additional hiring and distribution network expansion. In 2010-11, these expenses rose nearly 13 per cent, while staff costs rose 46 per cent. In the first half of 2011-12, operating expenses were up 21.5 per cent, driven by a 31.4 per cent rise in employee costs.