Knowledge Base

for Academic Writing

Index

in alphabetic order A – Z

Death Penalty
Distance Learning v.s. Classroom Learning
Globalization
Group Decisions
School Uniforms
Studying Abroad
Technology


Pros and Cons of Death Penalty


The pros and cons of death penalty have been a topic of debate for decades. Although several countries still use death penalty as the most severe kind of punishment, majority of the countries across the globe have abolished this method.

Death penalty is the act of killing a person via a judicial proceeding for the retribution of a heinous crime committed, such as aggravated murder, felony killing, or contract killing. Death penalty differs from one country to another, one legislation to another. In February, 2010, the top court in China called for death penalty to be confined only to ‘extremely serious crimes’. Death penalty in China was called for even non-violent crimes, like corruption, drunken-driving, etc. As of 2008, China recorded the largest number of executions recorded with more than half of the total 2,400 executions recorded around the world. Death penalty pros and cons is a topic that has been chewed on for ages. While some say death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights, which in the name of justice is actually only premeditated and cold-blooded killing of humans.

A certain section of the society earn this ultimate punishment by committing horrendous crimes. According to them, society has the right to act in self defense to protect the rights of those killed. Capital punishment in the United States differs from one state to another. Of the 50 states in the US, the 15 states with no death penalty are Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, Michigan, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, and the district of Columbia. The methods of executions have also varied over time, from lethal injections, lethal gas, electrocutions, to firing squads. In 2009, there were 52 executions, of which 51 were by lethal injections and one by electric chair in Virginia. Texas was the state to have the largest number of executions; 24.

Death Penalty Cons

Of the 192 countries of the world, more than two-thirds have abolished death penalty. In 2009, two countries Togo and Burundi abolished the death penalty, bringing the total number to 139. Amnesty International USA, an organization of more than 2.2 million supporters from across the globe, works with a mission to protect people denied of justice, freedom, truth, and dignity. Partnering with another organization, Witness to innocence, Amnesty International has come up with the Death Penalty Awareness Week (February 26-March 7), which is an awareness program unveiling the realities of the fatally flawed capital punishment system. Several others also oppose death penalty as a punishment.

The reasons why myriads of people across the globe are working towards the abolition of death penalty are as follows:

Wrong Convictions
Since 1973, more than 130 people have been released from death rows throughout the US, due to evidence of their wrongful convictions. We do not know how many people are charged for crimes and murders they have never committed. However, the legal system has found some cases wherein, they have wrongly accused the innocent. Factors such as inadequate legal representations, police and prosecutor misconduct, racial prejudice, jail house “snitch” testimony, political pressure to solve a case, misinterpretation of evidence, etc., can work against an innocent person and conduce to harsh death penalty.

Costs
Most of us fail to realize that executing a death sentence is 2.5 times more expensive than keeping the same criminal in prison for life. This is because, the cost incurred prior to and during the trial, involves an endless stream of appeals, legal wrangling, etc. For such trials, special motions and extra time for jury selection are required. Investigation charges also rise exorbitantly, especially by the prosecution. Thus, spending finances on death penalty is tantamount to reducing essential financial and time resources needed for crime prevention, mental health treatment, rehabilitation, valuable victim’s services, etc.

Deterrence
The other school of thought says that death penalty will help reduce the number of homicides. On the contrary, statistics have revealed that countries with death penalty as punishment, have higher homicide rates as compared to countries that have abolished capital punishment. This shows that the threat of execution in the future is unlikely to deter people from executing the horrendous crime under the influence of alcohol, drug, fear, rage, or mental illness. Most murders are done in the heat of passion, wherein a person fails to think rationally, so it’s baseless to think the fear of death penalty will reduce homicides.

Rehabilitation Failure
Putting somebody on death row does not accomplish anything. Death penalty closes all doors for the criminal to acknowledge his mistakes. Family members of the convicted may want to see the murderer punished, but death penalty will not ease the pain caused by the loss of the loved one. Retribution will not pacify the pain or fill the vacuum caused by the loss. This does not mean we are not to punish the guilty. A life imprisonment is a terrible punishment, amplifying the agony of the convicted over the decades spent in prison. Moreover, if we take away the murderer’s life, how are we different? Isn’t giving a second chance more humane? Although lethal injects and electric chairs are not as barbaric as medieval torture devices, it still is taking somebody’s life.

Death Penalty Pros

Precedent Server
It is believed that keeping harsh punishments like death penalty conduce to fear in the would-be murderer’s mind pertaining to their future on being caught. If people know they will only face life-imprisonment, they will take the legal system casually and commit all the crimes they want. This increases the rate of homicides. By instilling death penalty in the legal system, people will not dare to murder that easily. Thus, death penalty is considered as an essential tool to fight premeditated murder.

Just Punishment
Since life is so precious, the punishment for taking somebody’s life is paying the price with your own life. Thus, death penalty is nothing but just a punishment for those who have taken another individual or individuals lives.

Safety Concerns
A murderer who has mercilessly killed people once, may escape from prison and end up killing others. Life imprisonment means chances of parole, which gives the criminal a chance to get back at those who testified against him. He can also take revenge from the victim’s family. This leaves the victim’s family living a life of fear all the time. Death penalty ensures the murderer can commit no more crimes in the future.

Excess Sympathy
The law seems too sympathetic towards the criminal than towards the victim and his or her family. The reason the convicted is charged for death penalty is because he or she has murdered somebody. Thus, there is no room for sympathy. The criminal is only facing the consequences of his or her actions.

The United States is one of the few countries that still uses death penalty as a form of punishment. According to statistics, published by Amnesty International, ‘public support for death penalty is diminishing in the US’. Over half of the American citizens consider life imprisonment without parole, far more severe form of punishment as compared to a death penalty.


Distance Learning v.s. Classroom Learning


Out of the different methods of education, distance learning and classroom learning are the two methods that have been largely discussed and debated on. Here is an account of the advantages and disadvantages of the two methods in a nutshell.

Education is an important aspect in a person’s life. People acknowledge this fact, and hence spend a lot of time and thought about which school they want to put their children into, which college or university they would like to get their children admitted into, what kind of courses they think are going to prove beneficial to their children, etc. Along with the actual field or discipline one chooses to study, the method of learning is also important. Distance learning and classroom learning are two types of education systems that come with their own pros and cons. However, before we take a look at them, let us try to understand both these methods of learning.

Distance learning is defined as a form of education in which the source of information or knowledge and the students are separated by time and space. Hence online learning, e-learning, home learning, everything is included in distance learning.

As opposed to distance learning, classroom learning is the traditional method of teaching or education in which all the students of a course are united in a class, with a teacher. Classroom learning is something we are all familiar with, for we have all received a major chunk of our primary education by attending classes in a classroom.

Distance Learning v.s. Classroom Learning

Distance education, it is claimed, was first offered by the University of London as early as the 1850s. Distance learning is hence quite old. However, it is a concept that is gaining popularity now. As people are becoming more receptive to new ways and methods of learning, distance education is gaining more followers. However, some people still believe in the old school method of classroom learning. Here is an account of distance vs. classroom learning.

Distance Learning

Advantages

Pace of Learning: Different students will find different concepts difficult. When you enroll in a distance learning program, you can study it at your own pace, spending more time on concepts you find difficult and less on those you find easy. The structure of the course is hence less rigid.

Study Hours: You can choose your study hours when in a distance learning course. This leaves you enough time to pursue your other interests.

Independent Learning: The information or knowledge you acquire will have greater scope in case of a distance learning course. Your knowledge will not remain confined to your course material or the teacher or professor. You can explore the domain that interests you, and you can choose the depth to which you want to study a subject.

Time, Money and Comfort: This saves a lot of time and money with respect to traveling. Other expenses like stationary material, bags, books, etc. can also be saved on. Plus you can choose a study environment you are most comfortable with – your room, the terrace garden, or a local cafe.

Disadvantages

No Teacher: This is the most significant disadvantage of distance learning. With no teacher around, you have to learn completely on your own. You do not have somebody who will explain things to you that you don’t understand.

Personality Development: Distance learning cannot add all those facets to your personality that a classroom learning course would. You may not develop such traits as confidence, assertiveness, ability to mix up with people, make friends, etc.

Limits Social Interaction: One of the benefits of classroom learning is that it allows you to meet different kinds of people. It gives you the opportunity to learn about different cultures. This will not happen in a distance learning course.

Periodic Evaluation: A teacher in a classroom sees to it that students fare well in all the subjects. Apart from the regular exams that are conducted a teacher may hold quizzes, or surprise tests to evaluate students. This doesn’t happen in a distance learning program. You may not always be able to evaluate yourself properly.

Classroom Learning

Advantages

Presence of a Teacher: A teacher is an indispensable catalyst in education, in my opinion. A teacher can guide the students well. He/she can help them understand difficult concepts, and thereby develop efficient studying techniques. This is the biggest advantage of classroom learning.

Group Study: A classroom provides the perfect setting to fuel brainstorming and group study. Helping each other is one of the best ways to clear your concepts and strengthen them. You can learn how to prepare better for your exams by taking tips from each other.

Presentations: Oral presentations and seminars give you the opportunity to get over stage fright and gain confidence too. This goes a long way in making you more able when you step into the professional world.

Wider Exposure: In terms of subjects you study as well as people you meet, classroom education gives you a wider exposure. Through interaction with students from different disciplines, you can better evaluate your own interests and choose a career that is perfect for you. In the process, you may even make friends for life, who knows!

Disadvantages

Rigid Structure: Classroom learning has a rather rigid structure with respect to the studying pattern, evaluation methods, strategy to tackle different topics, etc. Much of this depends on the teacher and how he/she approaches different concepts. This can itself become a limiting factor.

Peer Pressure: Peer pressure is a significant and unavoidable aspect of classroom learning. An education should give you an opportunity to make a life you desire, irrespective of your family background. However, peer pressure can prove to be a negative influence to this. Pressure to have good friends, wear good clothes, use certain gadgets, do certain things can affect students rather deeply.

Innovation: At times the rigid structure of learning can limit the growth and scope of a student’s creativity and innovation. Classroom learning may not always provide an environment that is conducive to developing such traits as imagination, novelty, etc.

An Expensive Affair: Classroom learning can be a lot more expensive in terms of course material, tuition fees, accommodation fees, commutation expenses and myriad other expenses.

Conclusion: Many students and schools believe that an education system that incorporates the benefits of both and tries to minimize the disadvantages of both would be the best for students. Already a lot of schools and universities are opting for blended learning – a method that incorporates mobile learning, classroom learning as well as online learning. The day isn’t too far when everyone will adopt this method of learning.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Globalization


The world has become smaller and closer, all thanks to globalization. The modern blazing word, globalization is the amalgamation of the home country with the world economy.

Globalization pulls the countries out, from their detachment into the competitive world. A journey towards new collaborations and unity, it has changed the world into a global village. Both distance and isolation have been terrifically reduced.

Globalization integrates trade, technology, investments, and the mobile factors of production like labor and capital. All types of goods ranging from Coca-Cola, Sprite, Louis Philippe shirts, Marie Claire bags, Police sunglasses, to Adidas and Nike shoes are all available in every market globally, all credit to globalization.

Globalization has been quite a debatable subject. While some are of the opinion that it has a lot of ill-effects upon the society, there exists others who feel exactly the opposite. Some opine that it has made life extremely easier and comfortable. It has however affected the consumers and businesses differently. For a better picture, let us take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of globalization.

Advantages of Globalization

❖ Employment
Considered as one of the most crucial advantages, globalization has led to the generation of numerous employment opportunities. Companies are moving towards the developing countries to acquire labor force. This obviously caters to employment and income generation to the people in the host country. Also, the migration of people, which has become easier has led to better jobs opportunities.

❖ Education
A very critical advantage that has aided the population is the spread of education. With numerous educational institutions around the globe, one can move out from the home country for better opportunities elsewhere. Thus, integrating with different cultures, meeting and learning from various people through the medium of education is all due to globalization. Developing countries or labor-intensive countries have benefited the most.

❖ Product Quality
The onset of international trade has given rise to intense competition in the markets. No longer does one find limited number of commodities available. A particular commodity may fetch hundreds of options with different prices. The product quality has been enhanced so as to retain the customers. Today the customers may compromise with the price range but not with the quality of the product. Low or poor quality can adversely affect consumer satisfaction.

❖ Cheaper Prices
Globalization has brought in fierce competition in the markets. Since there are varied products to select from, the producer can sustain only when the product is competitively priced. There is every possibility that a customer may switch over to another producer if the product is priced exorbitantly. ‘Customer is the King’, and hence can dictate the terms to a very large extent. Therefore, affordable pricing has benefited the consumer in a great way.

❖ Free Movement of Capital
Capital, the backbone of every economy, is of prime importance for the proper functioning of the economy. Today, transferring money through banks is possible just by the click of a button, all due to the electronic transfer that has made life very comfortable. Many huge firms are investing in the developing countries by setting up industrial units outside their home country. This leads to Foreign Direct Investment, which helps in promoting economic growth in the host country.

❖ Communication
Information technology has played a vital role in bringing the countries closer in terms of communication. Every single information is easily accessible from almost every corner of the world. Circulation of information is no longer a tedious task, and can happen in seconds. The Internet has significantly affected the global economy, thereby providing direct access to information and products.

❖ Transportation
Considered as the wheel of every business organization, connectivity to various parts of the world is no more a serious problem. Today with various modes of transportation available, one can conveniently deliver the products to a customer located at any part of the world. Besides, other infrastructural facilities like, distribution, supply chain, and logistics have become extremely efficient and fast.

❖ International Trade
Purchase and sale of commodities are not the only two transactions involved in international trade. Today, international trade has broadened its horizon with the help of business process outsourcing. Sometimes in order to concentrate on a particular segment of business it is a practice to outsource certain services. Some countries practice free trade with minimal restrictions on EXIM (export-import) policies. This has proved beneficial to businesses.

❖ GDP Increase
Gross Domestic Product, commonly known as GDP, is the money value of the final goods and services produced within the domestic territory of the country during an accounting year. As the market has widened, the scope and demand for a product has increased. Producers familiarize their products and services according to the requirements of various economies thereby tapping the untapped markets. Thus, the final outcome in terms of financial gain enhances the GDP of the country. If statistics are of any indication, the GDP of the developing countries has increased twice as much as before.

Disadvantages of Globalization

❖ Health Issues
Globalization has given rise to more health risks and presents new threats and challenges for epidemics. A very customary example is the dawn of HIV/AIDS. Having its origin in the wilderness of Africa, the virus has spread like wildfire throughout the globe in no time. Food items are also transported to various countries, and this is a matter of concern, especially in case of perishable items. The safety regulations and the standards of food preparation are different in different countries, which may pose a great risk to potential health hazards.

❖ Loss of Culture
Conventionally, people of a particular country follow its culture and traditions from time immemorial. With large number of people moving into and out of a country, the culture takes a backseat. People may adapt to the culture of the resident country. They tend to follow the foreign culture more, forgetting their own roots. This can give rise to cultural conflicts.

❖ Uneven Wealth Distribution
It is said that the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. In the real sense, globalization has not been able to reduce poverty. Instead it has led to the accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of a few developed economies. Therefore the gap between the elite and the underprivileged seems to be a never ending road, eventually leading to inequality.

❖ Environment Degradation
The industrial revolution has changed the outlook of the economy. Industries are using natural resources by means of mining, drilling, etc. which puts a burden on the environment. Natural resources are depleting and are on the verge of becoming extinct. Deforestation is practiced owing to the non-availability of land, thereby drastically reducing the forest cover. This in turn creates an imbalance in the environment leading to climate change and occurrence of natural calamities.

❖ Disparity
Though globalization has opened new avenues like wider markets and employment, there still exists a disparity in the development of the economies. Structural unemployment owes to the disparity created. Developed countries are moving their factories to foreign countries where labor is cheaply available. The host country generates less revenues, and a major share of the profits fall into the hands of the foreign company. They make humongous profits thereby creating a huge income gap between the developed and the developing countries.

❖ Cut-throat Competition
Opening the doors of international trade has given birth to intense competition. This has affected the local markets dramatically. In recent times the standard of living has improved. People are therefore ready to shell out extra money for a product that may be available at a lower price. This is because of the modern marketing techniques like advertising and branding. The local players thereby suffer huge losses as they lack the potential to advertise or export their products on a large scale. Therefore the domestic markets shrink.

❖ Conflicts
Every economy wants to be at the top spot and be the leader. The fast-paced economies, that is the developed countries are vying to be the supreme power. It has given rise to terrorism and other forms of violence. Such acts not only cause loss of human life but also huge economic losses.

❖ Monopoly
Monopoly is a situation wherein only one seller has a say in a particular product or products. It is possible that when a product is the leader in its field, the company may begin to exploit the consumers. As there exists no close competitors, the leader takes full advantage of the sale of its product, which may later lead to illegal and unethical practices being followed. Monopoly is disastrous as it widens the gap between the developed and developing countries.

In the current scenario, the key to international success is global marketing. Global marketing is the competency of an economy to market its product in almost every country. It is of utmost importance if the product has to make a mark and sustain globally. A car manufacturer in one country will manufacture its product in a different way than a car manufacturer in another country. But if both the manufacturers want to sell their car in a third country then it must have a global appeal. Global marketing has made known to the customer the existence and benefits of a product in the market giving the product an identity. At the same time, it has failed to keep in mind the wants and needs of every consumer, which are unlimited and several.

Advantages of Global Marketing

∗ Lower Marketing Costs: If we are to consider the lump-sum cost, then it is obviously high, but the same cost sky rockets if the company has to market a product differently in every country. Global marketing has lowered the cost of marketing as there exists a uniformity in selling the products.
∗ Global Scope: The scope of global marketing is so large that it becomes a unique experience. Full credit to the modern-day technology, the scope and reach of a product has become extremely wide.
∗ Brand Image: Consumers today are more brand-conscious. Global marketing allows to have a consistent image in every region where the product exists. This aids the consumers who are extremely brand-loyal with respect to certain products.
∗ Quick and Efficient Use of Ideas: In this fast-paced world, only a global entity that is able to use a marketing idea and design it into a strategy, to implement on a global scale, can be successful.

Disadvantages of Global Marketing

∗ Inconsistency in Consumer Needs: Global marketing must be able to adapt to the needs of consumers located in different countries. The needs of an American consumer will be different from a South African consumer. A difficult call, failure to address it leads to bad marketing skills.
∗ Consumer Response Inconsistency: Consumer responses are different and vary from consumer to consumer and country to country. A consumer in one country may react differently compared to a consumer in another country.
∗ Country Specific: A Japanese might like a product to have a traditional touch, whereas an American might like to have a retro modern look to it. In this case, a global strategy for the same product is difficult to devise.
∗ The Laws of the Land: The company policies may be according to the laws of the host country. Thus the overseas laws may conflict with the company policies.
∗ Infrastructural Differences: Infrastructural facilities in one country is different from another country. This could hamper the process in one country and accelerate in another. Global strategy cannot be consistent in such a scenario.

Like a coin having two sides, globalization too has its pluses and minuses. Currently, globalization is at its peak. Industries tapping the new markets need to keep in mind the local culture and sentiments of the people. Monopoly by giant players must not be practiced and the local players must not be stifled. Fair trade dealings and ethical practices when followed, would always prove that globalization is a boon and not a bane to society.

Impact of Globalization

Globalization has made way for free trade and business. It has also helped improve communication around the globe. It has potential to make this world a better place to live in. It is changing the political scenario, thus deep-seated problems like unemployment; poverty and shift in power are coming into the picture. The marginal are getting a chance to exhibit themselves in the world market. The term “brand” is catching up in the Asian countries.

It is not only modernizing but also westernizing the native cultures. The power play is leading to the linguicide or linguistic, cultural and traditional genocide. That is probably where we need to keep a check and not let diffusion go wild. There has been significant de-localization that needs people to be more tolerant since face-to-face interaction is no more the order of the day. It so happens that an American is trying to sort out his billing issue of his mobile phone with an Indian call center employee who is not the direct employee of the service provider. Now that sounds complicated and has to be dealt with carefully. Globalization cannot be stopped. But, one can always keep a check on its scope and outcomes. Globalization does makes the world better, but are we willing to live with the consequences?


Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Decisions


Decision-making is a tricky process, especially when it comes to large groups. It has its own share of advantages and disadvantages, which one needs to know for better implementation.

There are several instances in one’s professional as well as personal life, when decision-making requires opinions and inputs from more than just one or two people. This is where group decisions come into the picture. It is a complex process, which can be achieved by several methods.

Group Decision-making Methods

No two groups will ever function in the same way while involved in the process of decision-making. Some are proactive groups while there are other groups, which need a driving force or a facilitator to facilitate the process. There are several methods of group decision-making. Here are some of the common methods employed in the process.

Authoritarian Style

This style is like a dictatorship, in which the decision ultimately rests in the hands of one person. It is applicable in the presence of a powerful person who dictates the entire process of decision-making and has the final authority on the outcome. Although in use at various places, it tends to have more disadvantages than advantages because the people whose opinions are disregarded might have negative feelings about the entire process.
A variation of the authoritarian method of decision-making is the minority control method wherein the group discusses the issues but the power of decision-making rests not in the hands of one but a small group of people within the group.

Brainstorming

This is an excellent method for group decisions, popular owing to the complete creative freedom it offers to all the participants to create and weigh all options. There can be a facilitator to facilitate the entire discussion. He/she can merely help to start off the conversation, provide subtle hints and nudges when the participants get stuck and thus help to make effective and creative decisions. It values the opinion of every individual member and the final decision is reached by a consensus.

Voting Based Method

This is a group decision-making process used when the group has a certain set of defined options, where it needs to pick out the optimum solution. It allows every participant to cast his/her vote for the option that he/she thinks is the best. The option that gathers the maximum number of votes is selected. This method does not value the individual opinion of each and every participant in the group.
A variation of the voting method is the majority method wherein a majority of people within the group has the power to pass the final decision.

Pros and Cons of Group Decisions

Like any other process, the process of taking group decisions has its own sets of advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages
➔ Group decisions help to combine individual strengths of the group members, hence has a set of varied skill sets applied in the decision-making process.
➔ Enhanced collective understanding of the course of action to be taken after the decision is taken.
➔It gains greater group commitment since everyone has their share in the decision-making process.
➔ It imbibes a strong sense of team spirit amongst the group members and helps the group to think together in terms of success as well as failure.

Disadvantages
➔ Individual opinions can be biased or affected with preconceived notions that can hinder the process.
➔ It is more time-consuming than the process of individual decision-making.
➔ It takes longer to be finalized since there are many opinions to be considered and valued.
➔ In case of authoritarian or minority group decision-making, the people whose opinions are not considered tend to be left out from the decision-making process and hence the team spirit ceases to grow.
➔ The responsibility and accountability of the decisions are not equally shared in some cases which leads to a split in the group and hence hampers the overall efficiency of the group.


Benefits of School Uniforms


It would not be an overstatement to say that various issues like indiscipline, peer pressure and poor study performance can be put to rest if children are made to follow a strict uniform code.

We’ve often heard of clothing being a medium of expression for young children; a means to promote individuality in them. Detractors of school uniforms often use this line of thought to bolster their argument against school uniforms.
It may seem valid on the surface, but its inherent flaws can be noticed only on closer inspection. A school may be termed as a second home, where children are thoroughly disciplined through their formative years, as they come out being bright and responsible individuals. Regardless of this fact, scientific studies tell us that schools requiring students to wear uniforms display low levels of indiscipline, negative influence by peers, violence among children, and instead shape them to be creditworthy and concentrate entirely on studies.

Positive Attributes of School Uniforms

A school uniform makes it easier for the school authorities to recognize students belonging to their school. Authorities find it easy to spot any outsiders present on the school campus. It also saves the school administrators from having to ‘police’ what the students wear. There are no daily battles to separate the appropriate from the otherwise.
It can be said that a school uniform also saves students from putting their fashion tastes before their learning obligations. When they don’t have to spend time wondering what to wear and how to make a fashion statement, they can devote more time to learning. By wearing a uniform dress code, students can find other means to showcase their creativity.
Wearing the same type of clothing reduces social snobbery and peer pressure in educational institutions. It is also supposed to reduce incidents of bullying and theft. How do you pick on someone for wearing the same dress as yourself? Why would you steal a pair of shoes you both have and can afford? Thus there are fewer arguments, and following a dress code plays more of a balancing act.
Wearing a uniform also cramps the style of gang members. They have to recognize each other by names and faces instead of flaunting aggressively painted jackets, T-shirts with obscene messages, clunky jewelry, and the likes.
A school uniform can instill a sense of discipline and community. This naturally reduces incidents of violence. Students can come to school without worrying about personal safety. Teachers don’t have to double as guards, and can concentrate on teaching. At a very young age, school uniforms instill the spirit of teamwork and one feels proud to be a part of a school, if he/she represents the school for any occasion.
Most importantly, uniforms are cost-efficient, as parents do not have to frequently spend on clothes for their children, thus benefiting them.
On the Flip Side, Parents have Expressed Concerns About:
School uniforms taking away students’ freedom of expression and encroaching on their personal rights.
Having religious dress codes foisted on children following a different religion.
Not having their religious dress codes followed or respected enough.
Trying to get their children to make a political or moral statement.
Expenses involved in purchasing the required uniform and accessories.
All said and done, the advantages of having students don uniforms clearly exceed the disadvantages. So, to sum it up, by wearing uniforms, students appear to belong to a single community, they require less time to spend on deciding what to wear and it prevents wrong conduct, thus inculcating a sense of discipline in them.

Should Students Wear School Uniforms?

Ideas and methods all around the world are changing at an amazing pace. The necessity of school uniform in today’s education system has become a much debated topic. One needs to take a look at both the sides of the coin to ascertain whether students should wear school uniforms. As far as the debate on the need of school uniforms is concerned, proponents and opponents have extreme views.

The Debate regarding School Uniforms

Like all polarizing subjects, both sides have equally valid arguments. There is lack of ‘uniformity’, as far as this issue is concerned, among educators worldwide. While in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, schools make it necessary for the students to wear uniforms, in the US, it has been restricted to private schools.
One side sees uniforms as bringing much-needed equality among students, while the others see it as a practice promoting conformity. Individualists abhor uniformity of all kinds, while conservationists believe them to be necessary. The dissidents on the both sides of the fence have certain reservations on whether uniforms be made compulsory in schools. One needs to look at the rationale of groups who advocate the inclusion of uniform in schools and of those who feel that students are better off without wearing one, to arrive at a decision.

Sense of Identity or Loss of Individuality?

Proponents: Uniform is must for an institution, as it helps in creating a sense of identity and a sense of belonging.

Opponents: Students shouldn’t be compelled to wear a uniform, as it takes away their individuality from them.

Proponents: As far as individuality is concerned, people may judge you by what you wear, but they will like or dislike you on the basis of your personality.

Opponents: Every pupil is different, and it is the responsibility of a teacher to look into the positives of every student; absence of uniforms is not going to help people like or dislike you.

Proponents: Uniforms help create a disciplined atmosphere and therefore, it should be introduced in schools where it is not prevalent.

Opponents: The idea of uniforms was based on the archaic education module, but in the present scenario, where the focus has shifted to modern education and individuality, uniforms are absolutely unnecessary.

Cost Factor and Divide – A Problem?

Proponents: Uniforms don’t cost a fortune. And also, no school persuades pupils to buy one of an expensive brand.

Opponents: Most parents want quality education for their children, they would prefer not to spend money on uniforms.

Proponents: School uniforms are available across a range of prices so that every pupil can afford it.

Opponents: Rather than spending money on buying a uniform which their ward will never get to wear outside the school premises, the same can be used in buying books or other stuff which will actually be of some good use for their children.

Proponents: If pupils are allowed to shun their uniforms and turn up in any costume they want, it will definitely create a divide between pupils who can afford stylish clothes and those who are from modest background.

Opponents: Every pupil need not wear stylish clothes, not wearing uniforms merely means wearing something comfortable, not expensive.

Class Divide or Rule Establishment?

Proponents: In schools where a uniform is not compulsory, pupils from richer families may show off their latest brands of outfits, footwear, and accessories.

Opponents: There are other factors that contribute to distinctions between pupils, like the car their parents have, which neighborhood they live in, the brand of bags and pens used.

Proponents: In an atmosphere where students show off, pupils from humble backgrounds will either find themselves ostracized, or they will push their parents in getting the same things as their mates.

Opponents: Pupils don’t spend their entire day in a school. They have a personal and social life after the school-hours during which the school can’t force them into wearing a uniform.

Proponents: A uniform acts a great leveler, and there is no distinction between the rich and the poor.

Opponents: In pursuit of a classless society, authorities will have to curb everything that promotes individuality. Instead of using uniforms to promote equality, students should be taught the values of mutual respect and discipline, which will stay with them for their lifetime.

Responsibility or Inter-school Bullying?

Proponents: Uniforms make students more responsible; they act as an identification when students are traveling, and also prevents them from indulging in anti-social behavior, as they can easily be identified.

Opponents: Uniforms create strong distinctions between pupils from different schools, leading to bullying and gang wars. Also, it makes them more susceptible to crimes, as they can be easily singled out in a crowd.

Equality or Discomfort?

Proponents: Uniformity in dress is the only way in which we can maintain equality in a multicultural society, otherwise parents may dress up their kids as per their customs, making it difficult for students to gel with each other.

Opponents: The world has already been polarized on the basis of religion, race and ethnicity; it is the duty of the teachers to prevent the sentiment of intolerance from simmering into students.

Proponents: Uniforms are comfortable in a school atmosphere, rather than regular clothes.

Opponents: Uniforms are not designed according to students’ convenience; they are produced in bulk, which may cause inconvenience to pupils, as they have to wear something they are not comfortable in.

Proponents: For example, if a girl wears a sequined dress, she will feel uncomfortable all day and wouldn’t be able to concentrate on her studies too; this may not happen if she has a comfortable uniform.

Opponents: For example, if a girl suffers from a skin disease and has rashes on her legs, she would avoid wearing skirts and will stick to trousers. But if uniforms are compulsory, she will feel embarrassed.

Each side has its own arguments on the issue of uniform in schools. Creating a universal rule that applies to students across the globe might not be a good idea at all, as each country is different. So, the best way forward on this issue can be an understanding between the school authorities and the parents. There should be a consensus on whether the uniform is required or not. Such a scenario would also help the school authorities, as they will be acting in the interest of pupils and their guardians.


Pros and Cons of Studying Abroad


Pursuing a course in a foreign land can be a rewarding and exciting experience. Nonetheless, it is always better to be aware of the pros and cons of studying abroad, so as to be able to make wise decisions for your future…

Many students harbor dreams of going abroad for pursuing their higher education. The fact is that you must really plan ahead and make a decision if the option is feasible for you or not. There will be many issue that you will need to put under consideration, while weighing your options. You will need to make sure that you are financially stable enough to look after your educational and living expenses in a new country. You will need to do ample research about the living expenses and lifestyle of the country, you have chosen for further studies. You will need to analyze if the college you have opted for, provides you with a subject of your choice and not parts of it. Ask yourself, if this course will benefit or hinder your further education and job prospects in your own country. Do you have plans to settle abroad on a permanent basis or is it only on temporary basis? These are but a few issues which will need to be dealt with. However, if you do finally choose to take the plunge, you must also be aware of the various pros and cons of studying abroad.

The Pros

  • Studying the Subject of Your Choice
    If the course you wish to pursue is best sought abroad, then you must consider yourself fortunate for having been accepted as a student. You will find it immensely exhilarating to be able to study in the field of your choice. This will help you build upon your career plans for the future and will definitely boost your qualification, when placed in a competitive arena.

  • Being Independent
    You will finally get to set out on your own, and live life on your own terms. You will be your own boss and there will be no one, telling you what to do. This is an excellent opportunity to grow as an individual as you will get to learn a lot about yourself. You will be responsible for the choices you make.

  • Cultural Experience
    Living in a new country will bring new and exciting experiences your way. One of the greatest benefits of studying abroad, is that staying there, you will be able to see the world in a different light and truly appreciate the beauty and diversity of a completely different society and its variant culture. You will understand more about the ideologies of the people of that country as well as learn about their socioeconomic and political traits and trends.

  • Opportunity to Travel
    You will get the opportunity to travel to all the fascinating places the host country has to offer. Unlike planned holiday trips, you will get to actually learn about the country and its people. You will get to interact and develop relationships with the people around you. You will be lucky to be able to study and travel, if you use your vacations wisely.

  • Impressive Resume
    With this specialized degree at hand, you will become more eligible for competitive jobs, back at home as well as in other parts of the world. If you are exceptionally talented and lucky, you just might get a job offer in the same country and this will give you the opportunity to gain some substantial work experience. Armed with this experience you will have many employment opportunities opening up for you, back in your home country.

The Cons

– Financially Burdensome
For those who have taken up the course on a loan, will forever feel the pressure during the entire period of the course. Which is why you must seriously decide if the risk is worth taking and whether the financial loan, is within your manageable limits or not. It takes years to repay educational loans, which may carry forward, into your employment years as well. However you may be able to repay this liability, once you have scooped a prestigious job.

– Language Barriers
You will find it hard to understand people, when they switch to their native language. It would however help to make efforts, at learning the lingo, as it will help you in times of trouble and need. Nonetheless, today almost every body knows how to speak in English and communicating would not be much of a problem.

– Clash of Ideologies
There may be times, when you might feel like an outsider and may find it difficult to accept the new lifestyle. You may not agree with the popular ideologies as practiced by some people. There may also be times, when you will feel left out or ignored. Others may perhaps not always be able to accept your customs and principles and will thus choose to stay in their own social groups.

There will be times when you will miss home and family terribly. Fortunately, there is enough technology at your disposal, which will ensure that you get to remain in touch with your loved ones. The above mentioned advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad are just a few of the many issues that you will have to deal with, during your course period. How you choose to deal with them, will depend completely on you.


Pros and Cons of Technology

Technology keeps on changing. The recent technological advances have come with several advantages and disadvantages to almost all aspects of the global economy. Today, each and every technological advancement has the potential of being a game changer in one way or another. But is technology always a good thing or is it a double edged sword? We set to find this out.

Pros:

  1. Easy access to information: Technology has led to easy access to information. Search engines such as Google and Bing are all what you need to access just about any form of information across the world.

  2. Encourages innovation and creativity: Technology has created an environment that encourages innovation and creativity by providing a platform on which all advances can be anchored.

  3. Improved communication: Technological advancement has led to improved communication through such things as the internet and mobile technology. People can get in touch with friends and family from just about any corner of the world.

  4. Convenience of travelling: Technology has made travelling from one place to another quite easy. Through the invention of airplanes and bullet trains, people can move to all corners of the world without any problems.

  5. Improved housing and lifestyle: Technological advancement has led to better and improved standard of living and lifestyle through such things as heated homes during winter and other things that make life bearable.

  6. Better entertainment: Through technology, people are now able to access better forms of entertainment such as live television and 3D movie screening that were previously unavailable.

  7. Efficiency and productivity: Technology has made processes more efficient which has led to the reduction of wastage and improvement of efficiency in business and government.

  8. Convenience in education: Technology has led to the improvement of technology and creation of better platforms to access technology. Right now, people do not have to go to class to access education as the same is provided online.

  9. Social networking: Technology has brought people even closer from all over the world. Through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, people can now reach and communicate with one another from across the globe.

  10. Improved healthcare: Technological advancement has led to improved healthcare through advancement such as organ transplant, a fete that was previously unavailable.

Cons:

  1. Social isolation: Technology has led to social isolation especially among the youth who spend most of their time in social networking sites.

  2. Loss of employment: Technological advancement has led to the creation of such things as robots that can literally perform most of the functions that were previously performed by man. This means these robots are slowly replacing humans in the workplace.

  3. Reduced competency: Technological advancement has led to reduced competency by humans who depend a lot on the technology. People no longer put in any effort because all the answers are on the internet.

  4. Weapons of mass destruction: Technology has led to the creation of weapons of mass destruction such as atomic and nuclear weapons that are lethal and can cause mass damage to humanity. Weapons such as those dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were created from technological advancement.

  5. Causes pollution: Technology has led to the development of vehicles and planes that cause air pollution and water pollution on various levels.

  6. Reduced privacy: Technology, through such things as the internet, have led to reduced privacy among the global population. Today, people can monitor you from the comfort of their living rooms even if you are a thousand miles away using technology.

  7. Intellectual property theft: Technology has also led to other crimes such as intellectual property theft where people can now steal your idea or your invention and present it as their own in a manner that puts you at a disadvantage.

  8. Exposure to attacks: Technology has also exposed a lot of people and left them vulnerable and prone to attacks. People are now being monitored using drones that are controlled by people who are thousands of miles away.

  9. Loss of human touch: As technology continues to advance, there is the threat of loss of human touch in nearly all facets of human life. Today, technology is being used in almost all industries such as driverless cars and artificial intelligence.

  10. Malfunctions may lead to loss of life: In as much as technology is a good thing, it may sometimes fail. Technological failure is fatal and may lead to loss of human life at a much greater scale.