Falling Standard Of Education In Nigeria: Who Is To Be Blame?

INTRODUCTION

The concept ” falling standard of Education” is a relative term because there is no well defined instruments to measure it with utmost reliability and validity. That is why scholars’ views on the concept varies. These scholars view it at different perspectives, depending on the angle each of them is looking at it.

Babalola, A (2006) sees the concept from admission of Nigerian University products in developed countries universities. That the first six Nigerian Universities (University of Ibadan, Ile Ife, Lagos, Benin, Nsukka and Zaria) had their products competing favourably with any other University in the world as their products were sought for by University of Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and London for admission into their post-graduate courses. That these students record breaking performances and when they graduate are employed by the best multi-national companies and corporate bodies globally unlike today where no Nigerian University is among the top 6,000 Universities of the world (Adeniyi, Bello (2008) in Why no worry about rankings). He sees standard from how universities contribute to knowledge and solving problems besetting mankind.

According to Gateway to the Nation (2010), University of Ibadan is ranked 6,340th University in the world. In Africa, University of Ibadan is ranked 57th, OAU 69th and South African Universities are leading the way in Africa.

He also use written and spoken English as a yardstick for measuring standard of education which University of London conducted a research in West Africa and the result showed that teachers trained by colonial masters were better of than those trained by indigenous teachers.

He also used staffing, funding, foundation, origin and students as standard of education.

Standard of education to Dike, V. (2003) is how education contribute to the public health (or sociopolitical and economic development of a Nation).

Standard of education to either passing or failing of external examinations like WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, JAMB,(NOW UTME) among others.

Teachers without Boarders (2006) looks at educational standard from how the products of schools can be measured in terms of outcome. That is how school leavers contribute to the society in terms of cognitive affective and psychomotor. I will be using students to refer to both students and pupils, I will use head teacher to refer to both principal and headmaster.

Which ever way you may view standard of education, for you to conclude whether the standard is falling or not, you must take into consideration all the aforementioned variables including achieving educational goals.

Equally, for justice to be done while measuring these standards one has to look at reliability where all the schools to be measured must have the same infrastructure, teaching materials, quality of teachers, level and degree of learners, condition within which learning takes place, some methods of assessment and some types of contribution to the society among others.

CAUSES OF FALLING STANDARDS

Haven discussed what makes up standard in education, may I crave your indulgence to some of the established facts that constitute falling standard of education in Nigeria.

(1) Discipline: This is one of the outstanding attributes of education when it is rightly observed.

a. Repeating: school no longer observe repeating as every student is promoted to the next class whether they understand or not gives room for falling standard.

b. Attendance: The 75% of attendance universally accepted as the bases for someone to sit for examination is no longer observed.

c. Late coming: Student that come late are no longer punished, which leads to their losing morning classes.

d. Misbehaviour: Students are no longer punished for misbehavior because of their parental influences (lost of jobs or unnecessary transfer).

e. Cultism: This could refer to rituals, usually under oath binding the members to a common course. They operate covertly in fulfillment of their objectives to the detriment of other people. Thus, planning secondary needs above primary needs.

These cults exist because of over population of students in schools, wrong admissions not based on merits, hence fear of examination failures and selfish worldly gains.

(2) Quest for paper qualification: Nigerians respect paper qualification above performance in the fields. Hence, cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains are supposed to be measured on the field.

(3) Politicizing education: Merit is no longer regarded as it is now ” who you know” and not “what you can deliver” Technocrats (educationists are not appointed Commissioner of education and education board).

(4) Policy problem: Sometimes the type of policies government make on education adversely affects output. For instance, in College of Education, we have National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), competing with JAMB for admission as the two guidelines vary.

Equally, WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, JAMB ( now UTME) compete with qualifying pre-requisites and regulation of entries into tertiary institutions.

(5) Teachers not being part of the examination bodies. One wonders whether the continuous Assessment submitted by these teachers are used or not.

(6) Accessibility of Schools: The Nigerian population boom has outnumbered the existing schools as the existing schools have to over admit.

This point can be practically seen in the following areas:

(i) Teacher / Student ratio of 1:25 is no longer there as in my class, it is 1:3900.

(ii) Students / books / Journals ratio of 1:10 is no longer feasible.

(iii) Politics of admission: Schools can no longer set targets for admission to conform with their facilities as powerful notes from above will force the school authorities to either over admit or find themselves in the labour market again. Yet it is those that are giving these notes are suppose to build more schools or provide needed infrastructure etc. to accommodate those collecting these notes.

(7) Over-dependent on cognitive domain: Schools do not give regards to affective domain that will mould characters of our young ones. Little attention is given to psychomotor while no attention is given to affective domain.

(8) Shortage of qualified teachers: Some schools in the rural areas only have the headmaster as government employee while the rest that may be secondary school drop outs are PTA staff. What miracle can these staff perform? Dike, V. (2006) observed that only 23% out of the then 400,000 primary schools in Nigeria have grade II even when NCE is now the minimum qualification for teachers at primary and Junior Secondary schools.

(9) Teachers welfare: It is no longer news that

(a) Politicians do not have negotiation council to negotiate their salary increase.

(b) There is no disparity among political office holders from the federal, state and local governments.

(c) Their salaries are increased at astronomical manner.

(d) Their salaries are increased any time without recourse to whether the nation’s economy can bear it or not.

(e) But for teachers, they must negotiate the 10 to 20% of an attempt to increase their salary with consideration of the economy of the nation. How can these teachers contribute and perform miracle when their family members are in the hospitals and the O.S. syndrome is written on their cards by pharmacists while they do not have money to treat.

(10) Constant Strikes: This is an impediment to smooth covering of syllabus. Oefule (2009) explained that one Nigerian guest asked a question on strike at Oxford University community but the vice chancellor could not even remember about strike, only the registrar remembered it for 17 years back. This is what governance means to the people.

(11) Long rule of the military; Education was not properly funded by the military regimes as according to Babalola, A(2006) Obasanjos administration inherited many left over problems of the military such as non- payment of pensions and gratuities of retired University staff, poor remuneration of university staff, dilapidating buildings of schools, libraries with outdated books, obsolete laboratory equipments, bad campus roads, inadequate water and power supply among others.

(12) In the secondary and primary schools levels, schools do not even have buildings talk less` of furniture’s, equipments and reading materials. This is the level where the foundation of education should be laid. Any faulty foundation will lead to faulty structures. What do you expect from the tertiary level?

(13) Lack of training of teachers: Teachers are not trained to update their knowledge with latest discoveries based on research, then how can they give what they don’t have?

(14) Poor state of Educational teaching facilities: Dike V. (2006) reported that research result shows that over 2015 primary schools in Nigeria do not have building but study under trees, talk less of teaching materials.

(15) Corruption: leaders of the schools and some Government officials either connive to buy equipments with loan money that cannot be of any use to the school or take such loans and do not even do anything with it.

(16) Poor budgetary allocation to education: A research work of 2001 shows that Nigeria only, allocate less than 20% to education it further reveals that Nigeria spends 0.76% to education as against Uganda 2.6%, Tanzania3.4%, Mozambique 4.1%, Angola 4.9%, Coted Ivore 5% Kenya 6.5% and South Africa 7.9% among others.

WHO IS TO BE BLAMED?

We have seen the causes of falling standards and from these causes we can deduce that the following are to be blamed:

1. Government suppose to carry the lion share of the blame because all the other variables are dependent variables to it.

2. Teachers also have their shares of the blame with regards to their diligent duties.

3. Parents: feeding has to be provided by parents. This is because parents do not leave schools to operate without interference.

4. Students: students who do not abide by school rules and regulations nor pay attention to their studies also contribute to falling standards. Students also seek for paper qualification and disregards to performance they also participate in cult activities that derail the progress of the academy.

5. The society is not left out as it is the way it sees and respects the products of these schools that recycles back again.

SOLUTION

Based on the problems or causes identified above, the following solutions are proffered: Schools should respect and restore back discipline to bring back the lost glory of our educational standards.

Performance should be regarded and respected more than just paper qualification. Equally, education should not be politicized for whatever reason.

Policy makers should be mindful of policies that affect education .eg JAMB(UTME) regulation in admissions.

Teachers should be involved in examination activities and examination bodies should always publish examination reports and distribute it to various schools for them to hold school workshop for training of subject teachers on their areas of weaknesses observed in the students’ scripts with regards to following the marking scheme.

More schools should be built to increase accessibility by all. Cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain should be used for assessment of students.

Teachers’ welfare should be given priority by government to avoid unnecessary strikes in our educational sector while more qualified teachers should be employed to curb the present shortage of teachers in our schools.

Our civilian government should prove to the people that they are better than military government.

Teachers should be trained so that they can meet up with any new challenges Educational facilities should be upgraded to modern standards while teaching facilities should be adequately provided.

Corruption should be eliminated to the barest minimum by all stakeholders while government should increase its budgetary allocations to education to improve the standard of education in Nigeria.

How to Mess Up Your Personal Statement for Graduate Or Professional School Applications

When you applied as an undergraduate, your personal statement probably didn’t make much of a difference, because undergraduate admissions are heavily based on numbers (GPAs, test scores, etc). Graduate and professional school admissions are different! Your competitors will have grades and test scores similar to yours, because most people who have the motivation to pursue an advanced degree did well as undergraduate students. As the number of applicants rises and academic budgets are cut, every year there’s more competition for fewer admissions openings.

How does the committee determine that you have what it takes to succeed in advanced studies? You guessed it. Your personal statement will play a determining role in whether or not your application is successful.

So you know you need to write the strongest, most persuasive personal statement you can. But here are two facts you may not know. First, most reviewers will spend only a couple minutes skimming your personal statement. Second, because their job is to weed out the majority of applications, reviewers are looking for reasons not to recommend you for admission.

Avoid common mistakes that will get your application put in the reject pile. Read on for 10 simple ways you can mess up your personal statement:

1. Say thank you

Your parents and elementary school teachers taught you to be polite in writing, and you know it’s a good rule to follow. But don’t waste words thanking the committee for reading your application. It’s not the same situation as applying for a job, because you’re paying the school to review your application so that, hopefully, you can pay them to educate and train you. Starting or ending your statement with phrases like ‘Thank you for reviewing this application’ or ‘I appreciate your consideration’ can make you come across as immature, obsequious, or ignorant of academic culture.

2. Make excuses

Lots of applicants have weaknesses in their application files, especially in their transcripts. Maybe you got low grades your freshman year. Maybe you had to leave school and work for a while. Maybe you got an F in that statistics class and had to retake it. Or maybe you got a degree in one field and are applying to grad school in a different field; or you didn’t pass your medical residency exams the first time.

Whatever your weakness is, do not offer excuses and do not bad-mouth anyone. So it wasn’t your fault that the professor lost your final exam and flunked you, or jobs dried up in your original field of study, or you had the flu when you took the GRE. Don’t say anything that sounds like an excuse or sounds like you are blaming someone else for you failing to achieve a goal. Even when it is true, it may make you seem whiny and unable to accept responsibility for your actions. Instead, address the weakness at the end of your statement, and explain how you have overcome it, learned from it, and are a better candidate now because of it.

3. Summarize your resume and transcripts

Many applicants try to summarize their professional resume and academic transcripts in the personal statement. All of this information is requested in the application itself and the reviewers will see it. Personal statements are too short to waste space explaining that you got straight A’s your senior year. Instead, describe the experiences and achievements that are relevant to your development as a potential professional in your chosen field

4. Be cute or funny

Maturity is one of the most common adjectives admissions committees use to describe the ideal graduate or professional school student. You are applying to eventually become their colleague, a fellow professional. Show them you take their time, their program, your future, and yourself seriously by maintaining a positive and professional tone. Unless the application directs you to submit a creative writing sample, leave the stand-up routine for the comedy club.

5. Suggest that the program can right a wrong by admitting you

Remember that the committee members are busy professionals who are taking only a couple minutes to skim your statement. On the one hand, asserting that you will make a unique contribution to your program and bring a new perspective by adding to the diversity of their student body is a smart move and shows you as a positive, professional team player. On the other hand, asking for admission on the grounds that it will correct a previous injustice runs the risk of making you appear unqualified and/or confrontational.

6. Be sarcastic

This one doesn’t need much explanation. Your ironic commentaries and sarcastic quips make your Facebook friends laugh, because they know you. The admissions committee does not. They can easily misinterpret sarcastic comments, or decide you’re flippant, cynical, pessimistic, or a know-it-all.

7. Say something potentially offensive

Again, not much explanation needed on this one. You do not know anything about the people who are reading your personal statement. Assume they are very sensitive on all issues and write accordingly. Do not assume they agree with any of your political, social, or religious views.

8. Show your inferiority complex or your superiority complex

Many applicants have trouble striking the balance between promoting themselves and not coming off as arrogant in their personal statement. A personal statement is a marketing document and has to showcase your strengths. Yet many applicants err on the side of humility, such as using self-deprecating language; or describing weaknesses and previous failings without explaining how they’ve worked to turn those weaknesses into strengths. Admissions committees do not admit candidates out of pity!

Other applicants err on the side of conceit, giving the impression that they don’t really need any advanced training because they know so much about the field and have so much experience. They fail to describe what they expect to gain from a specialized course of education. You want to walk the line between these extremes. Assert that you are very well-qualified to begin this course of study, and that you have the preparation, motivation, maturity and focus they seek. Then stress your planned specialization, what you will gain from attending their program, and how you need the training they offer to succeed as a professional.

9. Plagiarize your statement, or submit content you paid someone to write

Most grad and professional school applicants have not read hundreds of personal statements and are unaware of how unique each person’s writing style is. It really doesn’t take much for admissions committees to note that the language and style of a candidate’s personal statement is different from the writing found in other parts of the applications. There are also a few dozen so-called sample personal statements on the internet that are frequently copied and submitted as the applicant’s own essay. Committees are well aware of this! You can also hire someone to write a personal statement for you. It may sound great to you, but you should realize that such essays are based on a template that they just customize for you, using the same paragraph organization and phrases. It’s a smart move to get an expert to help you revise and polish your words into a persuasive statement. It’s risky to plagiarize a statement from the internet, or hire someone to write the whole statement for you.

10. Use poor spelling or poor grammar

This one should be pretty obvious. Academics on admissions committees are generally high achievers with high standards who won’t disregard even simple typos. If your personal statement is not technically perfect, it can make you seem sloppy, lazy, or inattentive, which are not qualities anyone wants in a future colleague. Remember that the people skimming your essay are seeking a reason to reject your application and make the pile of possible admits smaller. Always get someone with strong writing skills to review your essay.

Special Post-Grad Scholarships and Fellowships – Fulbright, Watson, and Rhodes Programs

After graduating from college, many young people take the chance to explore the world. Imagine if you could explore the world on a travel grant while adding a prestigious line to your resume!

International exchange and travel programs like the Fulbright Program, Watson Fellowships, and Rhodes Scholarships make this possible for a small number of outstanding college graduates. A variety of smaller programs also provide grant money for travel, education, and service projects abroad.

Fulbright Program – Every year, more than 1,400 B.A. graduates, students, young professionals, and artists receive a Fulbright grant to study, teach, or conduct research abroad in more than 140 countries. The Fulbright Program offers grants for international educational exchange for students to undertake graduate study, traditionally in European countries. Options now extend to the rest of the world.

Fulbright grants for recent college graduates and graduate students are administered by the Institute of International Education. Fulbright-Hays grants, including grants for doctoral and post-doctoral research, are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The Fulbright Program offers regular grants; supplemental travel grants to Germany, Hungary, and Italy; business grants; ESL student teaching assistantships abroad; and special programs. More information: Fulbrightonline.org

Thomas J. Watson Fellowship – The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship provides a $25,000 stipend ($35,000 for Fellows traveling with a spouse) for graduating seniors to pursue a year of independent study outside the U.S. Projects are not academically orientated, as the program is intended to encourage exploration rather than formal research. Watson fellows are prohibited from reentering the U.S. and their home countries, taking paid work, or becoming involved in organized volunteer projects for any length of time during their Watson year.

Only graduates of 50 highly selective small colleges are eligible. An applicant must be nominated by his or her college during the senior year before applying. 50 applicants are chosen each year. More information: Watsonfellowship.org

Jeanette K. Watson Fellowship – The Jeanette K. Watson Fellowship is awarded to 15 undergraduates a year from six divisions of the City University of New York and four independent colleges. The program allows students to intern at not-for-profit organizations, governmental agencies, and for-profit organization in New York during their first two summers. In their third summer, Watson Fellows usually intern in overseas offices of international nonprofits or community-based organizations in countries such as South Africa and India.

Applicants must be a second semester freshman or sophomore with at least four semesters remaining, and like the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, applicants must be nominated by the college. More information: JKwatson.org

Rhodes Scholarship – The Rhodes Scholarship is a very prestigious award for study at the University of Oxford, England. Rhodes Scholars may study a taught Master’s program, a research degree, or a second undergraduate degree (as a senior) – any postgraduate program offered except the MBA. The scholarship is initially awarded for two years, but may be extended to three.

Applicants are judged by academic achievement, involvement and success in sports, leadership qualities, and honesty of character and unselfish service. Approximately 90 Rhodes Scholars are selected each year from around the world, 32 from the U.S.

Applicants are nominated by selection committees. All costs of Oxford tuition and living expenses are paid for successful applicants, with additional opportunities for travel and research grants. Many recent Rhodes Scholars have chosen to pursue a graduate degree rather than a second undergraduate degree. More information: Rhodesscholar.org

Applying for College Grants – The grant application project is typically involved, as these grants are competitive and prestigious. In addition to application forms, you will need to submit a detailed proposal and acquire strong letters of recommendation. For the two Watson Fellowships, you must attend a participating university and be nominated by the university; others, like the Fulbright, are open to a wider range of applicants. Your academic advisor can tell you more about applying for college grants and student fellowships.

Chiropractor Vs. Osteopath Vs. Orthopedic Doctor – Who Should I See?

There are many medical fields that deal with body pain, and many patients often ask if they should visit a chiropractor, an osteopath or an orthopedist. While these professions seem related to each other, they are actually different health practices, each with their own specific specialties.

Chiropractors, osteopaths and orthopedic doctors specialize in different things, thus the best health provider for you will depend greatly on your condition or injury. Before making a decision, it is important to understand what chiropractors, osteopaths and orthopedists do and what makes them different from each other so you can easily choose the right health care professional.

Chiropractors

Chiropractors are individuals who treat conditions related to the musculoskeletal system. They are also called D.C.s or Doctors of Chiropractic. D.C.s deal with pains and discomfort relating to the bones, muscles, ligaments, joints and nerves. Most of them treat pain conditions in close proximity to the spine. However, they also specialize in musculoskeletal pain on the various extremities of the body.

The profession is well established in the United States and is the third largest health profession field after medicine and dentistry.

What Do Chiropractors Do? The chiropractic approach is non-pharmacological in nature. Professionals make use of their hands or various instruments to manipulate joints, muscles, ligaments and other affected area. Most treatment plans involve several sessions of manipulation.

Aside from manual adjustment and manipulation, they may also provide counseling to their patients. Chiropractors do not prescribe medication, but may usually recommend nutritional supplements or give suggestions on exercise and positive eating habits.

Chiropractor Training. To practice the profession, an individual needs a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. Achieving this requires 4 years of post-graduate education after obtaining an associate’s degree. They will also need at least 500 hours of hands on experience and training for manipulations and adjustments.

Osteopaths

An osteopath or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) is a medical professional who puts emphasis on the body’s self-healing ability. Osteopaths advocate a care approach that focuses on the “whole person.” They believe that physical problems and abnormalities affect the whole body. To help facilitate the healing process of the body, they make use of manipulative and manual therapy.

What Do Osteopaths Do? Like chiropractors, osteopaths also follow a natural approach to healing. They use a technique called osteopathic manipulative treatment or OMT. This technique allow them to use their hands to diagnose and treat injuries and painful conditions on the joins, ligaments and muscles.

D.O.s usually employ gentle forms of manipulation such as stretching and application of mild pressure on the affected areas. What makes the practice different from chiropractic is the fact that osteopaths can write prescriptions and do surgical procedures.

Osteopath Training. Obtaining a D.O. degree also requires 4 years of post graduate study after finishing a 4-year undergraduate degree.The degree requires students to go through at least a year of internship and rotations in hospitals. They can practice, prescribe medication and perform surgeries anywhere in the United States.

Orthopedics

Orthopedists are surgeons that specialize in the musculoskeletal system. While they are surgeons in nature, they do not necessarily use surgery every time. They also employ nonsurgical means to treat muscle and trauma and injuries, degenerative diseases, tumors, infections and congenital disorders of the musculoskeletal system. The labels orthopedists and orthopedic surgeons are often used interchangeably and mean the same thing.

What Do Orthopedists Do?Orthopedic surgeons diagnose and treat various musculoskeletal problems. They diagnose conditions through physical exams, X-rays and other laboratory tests. Majority of the conditions are usually treated with non-surgical procedures like physical therapy, exercises or even pain management methods. In severe cases of pain disorders, orthopedists perform surgical treatments like joint replacement, soft tissue repair and arthroscopy.

In cases that do not require surgical procedure, orthopedists may recommend patients to see physical therapists or osteopaths for therapy or manipulation. Because orthopedic surgeons are Medical Doctors (M.D.s) by profession, they can write prescriptions for their patients.

Orthopedic Training. Orthopedic surgeons are required to complete a four year undergraduate degree and four years of medical school. Medical school graduates then have to undergo a five-year residency training to specialize in surgery. The five-year training consists of one year for general surgery and four years for orthopedic surgery.

Who Should I See?

Finding the right health care provider can be confusing for first time patients. Who you choose to see will greatly depend on your condition and the kind of approach you prefer. An osteopath is a good choice if you want holistic treatment. If you have acute back pain or pain caused by injury or trauma, a visit to a chiropractor may be a good idea. An orthopedic surgeon, on the other hand, may be recommended for extreme cases of pain or those caused by other underlying physical conditions.

Graduate Early – Consider a High School Proficiency Exam

Graduating from High School seems a simple thing for some students and incredibly difficult for others. I’ve noticed kids who can’t quite grasp/thrive in high school often have one thing in common; they are the creatives. Certainly, there are cases when a student has family, work, or personal problems. Many times, however, what starts out as common stress, builds to frustration, and transitions to weak grades, missed classes, and negative feelings about classes, homework, and/or teachers. Once this burden gets too heavy, stomach issues, self-medication, and depression can ensue. The students I know who decide high school is not for them often have incredible talent working with their hands, whether it be artistic, music, or working on cars. Most don’t have “issues” other than hating high school.

Not all cases of, “will I graduate?” escalate to failure. Let’s take a look at a few options.

1) the obvious, graduate; 2) take the GED; 3) take a High School Proficiency Exam (where available).

Keep an eye on what you really need to graduate. For example, you don’t need 4 years of math. You don’t need 4 years of a foreign language. You can take community college classes that the high school will accept for credit (see the concurrent enrollment article, one semester of a community college class equates to one year of the same topic in high school).

The GED is not easy. It is doable. In another article I’ll outline a good GED approach. If you live in California, Nevada, or any state that offers a High School Proficiency Exam, I recommend you give it a try.

The High School Proficiency Exam is a test students typically take when they are still enrolled in high school. In California the CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Exam) is taken by students 16 years or older. Students who take the exam include those struggling to graduate as well as others with good grades anxious to get to college. Taking and passing the text demonstrates proficiency in high school curriculum, students receive the equivalent of a diploma from the state. If the student fails, no one’s notified.

I have counseled students on the test, including my oldest son. To pass, students need a high school understanding of Math and English. The key here is to assess why you are failing or why you have mediocre grades in school. If it’s an issue of whether you can or can’t do it, that’s much different than you simply don’t or won’t do it. You may have a great reason to refuse, this isn’t about judging; it’s about determining if the test is a fit for you. I know one young woman who did not pass it, in my opinion she blew it off like she did school. Your focus needs to be 30 days of reading and studying to graduate from high school. Then you can move on. Usually, 30 days sounds so much better than another year or two of high school, students are motivated and find it doable.

The first section of CHSPE is the English section. This section has 84 multiple choice questions designed to test reading and comprehension, sentence structure, punctuation and other grammar rules. The English section requires you to write a brief essay to demonstrate knowledge and skills in accurate and clear communication. This written portion is where I see students snag up. The question is unexpectedly easy, test takers feel relieved to know the answer and lose track of the question’s purpose. The correct approach to the essay is to write a topic statement, introduction, transition between paragraphs, summarize, and write a conclusion. The purpose of the essay is to see how students can critically write an essay, to present an idea, to offer who, what, when, where, and why; not to ramble on the topic.

The second section of CHSPE is the math test. These are 50 questions in multiple-choice format covering all areas of high school math such as dividing, fractions, decimals, multiplying, probability, patterns, statistics, basic geometry and algebra. Let’s say you did fine in middle school Math, okay in Math in high school, but don’t turn in homework on time and barely pass the tests as a result. As long as you “get it” you’ll be fine. If you would describe your math ability as very low, then you’ll need to prepare for the test. The level of expertise you’ll need is Algebra. I have one son that flew through the math, and another that struggles in Math regardless of the book, teacher, or class.

Both sections must be passed to qualify for a certificate. If you fail one section and pass the other, you retake what you failed, you don’t need to retake what you pass. Scores are between 250-450 and a score of 350 is needed to pass either section. Scores are mailed out a few weeks after taking the test.

Here’s the the official CHSPE test website.

Here’s the Nevada High School Proficiency Exam information.

Have faith, your career and future aren’t based on following the traditional path of high school graduation.

Grad School Burnout – Mild Or Severe Depression, Anxiety and Stress Symptoms in Graduate Students

Education that is "a way of life " may create vulnerability

Grad school is a long haul educational enterprise. Many Doctoral programs last 5 to 7 years, on top of the five to six years typically required to get the BA and a Masters degrees which precede it. Students who aspire to graduate degrees usually have a history of dedicated scholarship which extends back into high school or even elementary school. For many Grad students education has literally been "a way of life" … sometimes the only way of life that is well known or familiar.

Linda Curci of the Caltech Counseling Center suggests that:

"Burnout is a process that happens gradually over time. It creeps up on a person through an accumulation of random minor negative thoughts, sporadic lost hopes, and a series of small disappointments in oneself. Burnout is a painful process that includes emotional exhaustion, a loss of pleasure in interpersonal relationships, and a diminished sense of self worth. Burnout is the result of trying too hard for too long in a situation where the odds are against meeting one's expectations. people who burn out are intelligent, dedicated people who have high expectations for themselves. "

Grad school can be an emotional and psychological "trial by fire" and burnout tends to happen when you've been pushing too hard for too long and

The warning signs of burnout are:

  • Loss of interest in or questioning the meaning of your studies and research.
  • Chronic fatigue – exhaustion, a sense of being physically run down and emotionally flat
  • Anger at those making demands
  • Cynicism, negativity, and irritability
  • A sense of being besieged
  • Feelings of helplessness

From the point of view of a psychologist however, there is a bit more to be seen in some of the typical symptoms.

Perfectionism – As Curci suggests, one common area of difficulty lies in the impossibility of meeting expectations and all too often these exaggerated expectations are inner demands rather than outer ones.

Perfectionism, can create an inability to start or finish major tasks. Perfectionists are their own worst critics. Nothing is ever good enough and this constant self-criticism leads to paralysis or avoidance which sabotages progress.

Perfectionism is always a defense. Individuals with perfectionistic expectations hope, (wish), need, to protect themselves from all failure or criticism. This criticism which is imagined to be emanating from others is usually coming from within. This can create a vicious circle of fear-driven effort which no amount of external evidence of success ever seems to correct … if only because the possibility of failure can not ever be reduced to zero.

Suffering in silence – Grad students are individuals who have accepted to put themselves under the yoke of a program of training. They have often given up or put aside valid needs and desires in the name of their studies. They have left countries, communities, families, and personal relationships to follow their studies and often set aside personal interests and pleasures to fulfill program requirements.

The pain and anger caused by these losses is real but because the demands have been undertaken "voluntarily," individuals often feel they have no right to complain … or to grieve. These strong and relevant feelings, when unacknowledged can eventually insist on being experienced psychologically and emerge as depression, or as anger and cynicism towards a program which has been responsible for so much pain.

Fear of graduation? Grad students, as noted above, are often individuals who have dedicated themselves for most of their young adult life to a particular academic world. As the end of a program of study comes into sight questions may arise about how to live in the real world. A whole different set of competencies may be felt, frighteningly, to be lacking.

Supervisory strain – While Grad school programs are often well organized to support academic development, supervisors vary in their ability to be helpful with the more personal challenges of their students. In fact if the interpersonal relationship is not optimum the supervisory relationship may even be an additional stressor.

Ill-Health and Computer crashes … The psyche's hardware and software solutions to stress – Even when the strain of grad school is not extreme enough to create a full-scale burnout, it may manifest itself in chronic or minor health problems, particularly those which are significantly related to stress such as headaches, migraines, stomach problems, asthma, sleep difficulties … and if it's not you getting sick, maybe it will be your computer …

Strategically timed computer crashes can be caused by inattention and neglect as the over-stressed psyche looks for ways to create time out.

Cumulative strains – Even if you have been sailing through Grad school for the most part without excessive perfectionism or personal sacrifices, the long term stress of grad school may interact cumulatively with other stressful events such as unavoidable major losses or personal setbacks and funding crises to throw even the most balanced student over the edge into depression or burn-out

Leading a whole human life – The world needs the passion and enthusiasm of those individuals who are willing to push forward into the highest levels of knowledge in their domains, to broaden and deepen what we think and know. It is a loss to us all if students burn out or drop out in despair after such significant investments in their studies.

But the excessive and exclusive focus on their values ​​as scholars may lead Grad students to neglect other aspects of their humanity. Often what is most needed is compassionate and encouraging human contact and reassurance that they are valuable and valued in the world as individuals outside of their studies.

Some general notes on depression

Common signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • a persistent sad or "empty" mood
  • loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
  • loss of appetite or weight loss
  • sleep problems
  • fatigue, despite adequate sleep
  • feelings of pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • indecisiveness, difficulty concentrating
  • psychomotor slowing or agitation
  • thoughts of wanting to escape, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts

At its extreme end depression can become so severe that it can create suicidal feelings or thoughts. If you experience suicidal thoughts or feelings, it is very important to:

  • Make taking care of yourself your top priority.
  • Talk about these thoughts with someone. Do not suffer in silence.
  • Contact your institution's counseling center for an assessment or referral to community or other mental health services.

If these symptoms seem all too familiar, you might like to take an on-line depression screening test or contact your counseling center or a mental health professional for an assessment.

References:

Curci linda, (Caltech Counseling Center) Http://www.counseling.caltech.edu/InfoandResources/StressBurnout

Re-Applying to Graduate School: If At First You Don’t Succeed – Try, Try Again

If at first you don’t succeed, Should You Reapply to Graduate School Next Year?

This is a very nervous time of year. Around America -and, indeed, around the world- anxious eyes glance at their email accounts every few seconds, waiting to see if the school of their dreams has sent them a golden ticket to spend the upcoming years at their school or if, rather more cruelly, they send you that dreaded “we regret to inform you…” email.

Some people will have the wonderful problem of choosing between two or more stellar schools, others will happily settle for a good school, and others will glumly lament the schools that accepted them were not of the quality that they had hoped. Others, those unlucky few, will receive not a single acceptance letter. This blog post is for you.

Once you have taken the appropriate time to complain, curse, drink and cast voodoo hexes on the folks at the Harvard Admissions Office, you will be faced with a difficult decision: do I apply again next year?

Before I offer some advice, let me offer this bit of personal perspective. I am currently a Ph.D. student at Yale University’s History Department. If you will forgive my pridefulness, I will say that this is the best History program in the country, and is at one of the best and most competitive universities in the world. This might lead you to believe that I was a perfect candidate. Perhaps. After all, I received admission and full funding from Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Berkeley, UCLA and Stanford. But, four years before I applied to these same schools, and did not get a single admission. Had I become smarter in the intervening years? No, probably not. Had my grades and test scores improved? In fact, they had not. I did not even take the GRE again; I relied on my old test results. Here are some lessons that I learned from this experience that may help you as you think about this difficult choice of whether to apply again.

The first and most important lesson that I learned is that admissions is a fickle thing. Consider once again my own application to graduate schools. If you place any stock in rankings, you will see that I got into the #1, #2, #3, #4, #6 and #7 ranked programs in my discipline. BUT, I also got rejected by NYU, Michigan, University of Washington and Vanderbilt. Of these, only Michigan was ranked (#5). On its face, this may not make much sense, but for reasons that are perhaps impossible to decipher, schools have their own things that they look for, and for some of them I did not fit.

There is an enormous industry geared towards getting people into schools, but the fact is that you can really only do so much. There is always an element of chance and randomness to admissions. In fact, you might apply to the same programs two years in a row with the exact same application, and get admitted one year and rejected another year. In other words, if someone tells you that they know exactly how admissions works and that they can get you into School X, they are lying to you. Of course, there are things that you can do to improve your chances, but in the end, there is still an element of randomness to it.

Second, in the years after my applications got summarily rejected by every top school I applied to, I learned more about the process. For example, in my first round of applications, I did not bother to try to create a relationship with professors at the schools to which I was applying. I did not take as much care and time with my essays as I should have, and I did not talk explicitly with my recommenders about the theme and approach that I wanted my application package to have. I also did not spend enough time really making my writing sample perfect. These were all enormous mistakes. In a highly competitive program like Yale’s, the admissions committee is looking for reasons to eliminate a candidate. A few mistakes on a writing sample will do that. Also, not having a professor with whom you have already spoken who will speak up for your application will also hurt you. On my second go-around, I did all of these things correctly, and I more or less knew which schools I was getting into before I received the good news emails.

Third, in the intervening years, I made myself a stronger candidate. To be honest, after I got rejected from all of the graduate schools, I did not put much thought into reapplying. I falsely assumed that their rejection was a personal one, as though the school had said, “Brian we don’t want YOU.” Remember, a school really only rejects an application. If you bring it better and harder next time, you will perhaps fare better in the process. So, I went off to law school, had a series of interesting jobs, and became a better writer. So, next time around, when admissions looked at my resume, it was much more robust and compelling.

So, let us return to your own dilemma. You have an Inbox full of rejections, and, let’s be honest, it hurts to get rejected. Do you want to put yourself through that again? Here are the four things that you should consider.

One, what can you do between now and when you apply again to improve your resume? Are there jobs that you can get that will make your application more compelling? For example, if you are applying to science Ph.D. programs or medical schools, it would make sense to buttress your scientific bona fides by working in a research lab for a while. If you are applying for Political Science programs, volunteer for a campaign, work at a think tank, or take some other position that will show your commitment to a cause or subject and, incidentally, provide you with stories, successes and insight that you can put into your personal statement.

If test scores were an issue, do you think that you can improve them? If grades are an issue, can you enroll in a local college, take germane classes and raise your GPA? This process takes some honest assessment on your part. Talk to people in admissions if necessary and ask them what they want or are looking for. To be honest, some of things you’ll need to do may take longer than the 9-10 months you have before the next admissions cycle.

Two, what can you do to improve your application? Note, this is very different than your resume. Too many applicants make the mistake that having good grades, good test scores and a nice resume will get them into whatever school they choose. For many schools, it will be; for many, it will not. You neglect your personal statement, letters of recommendation and, if applicable, writing sample at your own peril. I will go into this further in future posts, but for now suffice it to say that an application needs to present a consistent and clear set of themes about who you are, what you will bring to the program and why they should admit you. So, if you did not spend hours and hours sweating over every word, semicolon and footnote in your writing sample, you can probably make it better. If you did not work hard to make sure that your writing sample and personal statement work in conjunction to tell the admissions committee who you are personally and intellectually, then you can probably do better.

If you have not done so already, take your personal statement and writing sample (and all other relevant documents) and show them to a few trusted advisors, mentors and friends and as them to tell you what they see is the problem. Putting pride of authorship aside, ask yourself, “how can I make these better?” If you feel that you can do better, this is something to consider.

Three, you should take into account the personal costs of continuing to pursue this dream. While studying for the Bar Exam, I met a man who was taking the test for the 11th time. I felt profoundly sad for this man, but I thought to myself, “friend, I don’t think you were meant to be a lawyer.” He had a family at home, and while he tried and tried to become a lawyer he did not pursue other options that might have put his family into a better position. There is a fine line between persistent and the quixotic pursuit of a dream that just won’t happen. If the costs of doing this over are just too high in terms of job, money, romantic life, family life or personal life, then perhaps it is time to set this dream aside, at least for now.

Four, and very much related to the above point, is that you need to really think about how badly you want it. If you just know, skin to marrow, that you are meant to pursue a graduate education, then you probably owe yourself at least one more real attempt. An excellent application might take 5-6 months to put together, it could require hundreds of hours perfecting your testing techniques, and it might even cost you a lot of money using services like EssayEdge.com or Gurufi.com to make your personal statement and writing sample perfect.

All these years later, I am glad that I applied again. I waited a few years to do it, but in the interim I became a better candidate and got better results. I know what it feels like to have your dreams shattered by a rejection letter… or six. But I also know how wonderful it feels to get into the program of your dreams. So, my final piece of advice is that if you don’t think it is worth it to apply again, then best of luck to you. Find your passion, and live it. On the other hand, if you want to get into the school of your dreams, you’ll have to fight for, and you’ll have to earn it.

Differences in Personality, Intelligence and Education in Relationships

Mismatched couples come in many forms that produce varying levels of incompatibility. They include differences in personalities, levels of intelligence and education. Commonly, people fall in love and ignore these common signs of incompatibility even though they may be visible early in the relationship. Many years may go by before the extent of the mismatch is recognized.

PERSONALITY

Compatible personalities are generally essential for an intimate relationship to develop. Aggressive people have difficulty living with passive mates without conflicts occurring. Once the bloom of love has diminished, aggressive spouses may become aggravated by the quieter, passive and often shy or dependent partner. More likely, boredom develops. Often the passive or dependent person wants more tenderness and warmth, especially during sex, than is offered by a more aggressive partner.

Marked differences in personality types are apt to create relationship problems. An introverted and inhibited person clashes with a suspicious and angry spouse. A fearful and phobic partner has trouble with an outgoing and fearless mate. One who is afraid of getting close to people may be in conflict with a person who reaches out and befriends everyone.

INTELLIGENCE

The levels of intelligence can negatively impact a relationship when the woman is decidedly more intelligent than her mate. Some couples can survive this, but eventually the woman outshines her partner in work, play and in their interaction. The various positive elements in the relationship often compensate for this difference and thus relegate intelligence to a low level of influence.

Many couples can handle a relationship when the woman is less intelligent, though it often backfires when the difference is too great and the woman lacks the capacity to adequately interact. The way a person uses intelligence is often more consequential than the actual intelligence quotients.

The freedom to express warmth, love and deep caring influences a couple far more than knowledge of current events. Reaching deeply into a person's feelings and sharing intimate and meaningful discussions markedly affects the viability of a loving relationship. Sensitivity, empathy and intuition are powerful forces for true compatibility.

EDUCATIONAL LEVELS

With the large number of women (half of all college students) seeking graduate and post-graduate education, the marked differences in this area have diminished. How this influences marriage is difficult to assess.

Advanced education usually determines knowledge and expertise in certain limited categories. A PhD in chemistry, physics, anthropology and other subjects does not fully indicate the educational breadth a person attains. Being self-educated and a dedicated reader can help many people become highly educated, often more than those with advanced degrees.

At times problems arise when a highly educated person marries a relatively poorly educated person. Their ease of communication may suffer. Thus the intimacy and shared pleasure of conversation may falter and cause rifts in the relationship. By making the pursuit of education and learning life-long, problems in this area will tend to be minimal.

Incompatibility in relationships occurs in many guises and needs to be recognized early before there is an erosion of the intimacy and love that partners share. Ways to diminish and even overcome deficiencies that may arise are available. Learning more about various techniques to modify personality, in addition to psychotherapy, if needed, can remove barriers that may influence compatibility.

Improving education can reduce feelings of inferiority and enhance communication skills. Intelligence is not irrevocably fixed and can be modified through increasing creativity and developing areas that strongly interest you or where you believe a talent exists. As self-esteem rises a greater desire to improve oneself develops and this can become a winning combination for self-development.

Intelligence comes in many forms and is not necessarily linked to an IQ test. Not hiding from the differences and seeking change and sharing the methods to improve the relationship despite incompatibility can overcome most difficulties that couples face. Do not compare yourself to anyone else, You are a unique person and so is your partner. Find ways to support and assist each other as you work toward change and personal growth.

Managing Small Business Technology

Technology Levels the Playing Field

One advantage small business has gained over the years is the ready availability of sophisticated technology that was once the exclusive asset of the largest corporations. But with this benefit comes the additional responsibility of proficient management of that technology.

Customers Demand Better Service

Today’s customer has come to expect the greater convenience and efficiency the Internet Age, with online connectivity to company accounts, or at least computerized records, information databases, and customer management systems.

A Technology Breakdown Can Be a Public Relations Nightmare

Managing your technology may not be at the top of your list of important business activities, but perhaps it should be, because how your computers, database, network, phones, etc. are running can make the difference between being seen by your customers as competent and caring about their needs, or inefficient and unconcerned.

Asset Management Can Be a Daunting Task

Your technology must be chosen and sized to the required tasks and your staff must be proficient in its operation, but there is much more to keep track of. Your technology must be periodically upgraded. It is vital that software be updated for security and fixes. Hardware and software depreciate and must be either upgraded or replaced. When facing budget constraints, decisions must be made whether to continue using current equipment and software, or to replace it. For example, perhaps a three-year depreciation cycle could be extended to five years, but circumstances might dictate replacement, such as the inability of older equipment to support the software needed to remain competitive.

Threats Cannot Be Ignored

Damage from computer viruses, unreliable power sources, improper usage of software, etc. is a problem small business managers didn’t have to deal with in the past. Proper rules need to be set up, taught to your employees, and enforced. Commercial grade surge protectors, UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies), or even backup electrical generation may be necessary for the protection of your equipment, and proper technology training of your employees is always important.

Technology Glitches Must Be Handled Properly

No matter how good your hardware, software, and employee training, technology breakdowns do occur. Properly handling them is a matter of communication. For example, if a customer experiences difficulty accessing their account, they may keep trying over and over. This uses valuable bandwidth and CPU time. Multiply this by many customers trying to access your system, and your network, as well as your technicians, could be tied up with customer requests instead of working to solve the problem. The solution is to tell your customers you are aware of the problem, apologize for the inconvenience, and let them know you are working on it.

Outsourcing As a Solution

Many businesses solve their technology management problems by contracting with an outside technology management service. It is important that you chose one which is competent, flexible in its prices and levels of service, and has a reputation for effective communication with its clients.

Managing your business technology is as important for your business as sales, employment, and other aspects of your business. Properly managed, technology can give you an edge over your competitors and bring you up to the level of the large corporations.

Contracting with the right managed support IT service company is a valuable part of a successful business strategy. InHouse Techies offer several levels of managed IT support services, including custom tailored monthly plans.

 

Business Technology Career Training Schools

In business, the use of technology is becoming prominent. Working through a training program can teach students how to understand business technology. Several colleges offer career training to students by preparing them for the work needed within a business. Two main options are available to students and these include completing a certificate or associate’s degree program. Students can learn a number of things prior to enrollment.

1. The goal of education is to learn how to become an administrative assistant or office manager. The skills learned integrate business knowledge with computer technology and training in these areas fosters the correct level of understanding to work in any clerical or supervisory role. The technology of a business includes all computer programs used to keep track of business transactions and communications. Working with Word and desktop publishing programs are all programs covered in the technology side of this degree. Many colleges offer basic business courses as well.

2. When training inside a certificate program students should expect to be immersed in studying how to effectively work with business technology. Colleges create this environment by providing courses in business math, database management, and staff management. Essentially, students are learning how to work as a business technology manager. The skills acquired include being proficient in keyboarding, accounting, and managing. Students can expect to learn how to use computer systems to accomplish everyday tasks needed to help keep a business running smoothly. Continuing education at the associate’s degree level is where most students begin their education.

3. A two-year associate’s degree trains students to enter the competitive field and be successful. With the knowledge gained through specific courses students are able to work inside a business setting and contribute to a businesses operation. Business information systems, business principles, spreadsheets, data management systems, and business communications are all courses that provide the needed career training and experience to enter a career. Students learn what it takes to provide these services to a business. The work done contributes to business information that needs to be typed, saved, and distributed accordingly.

4. The workplace provides a place for trained students to observe and learn more about how a business works. The field is estimated to grow considerably. This is due to the continued need that businesses have for qualified individuals. Trained students are able help a business reach its highest level of potential and workflow making their education in demand. Depending on the level of education students can obtain careers working for a business as an office manager or assistant. The average yearly salary is approximately $35,000. Student’s that find the work of a business intriguing and desire to move up in the industry can find training in management technology. This closely related field prepares students to become managers of an office by operating business technology like computers, spreadsheets, and bookkeeping programs. The added responsibility is gained through the management side of career training.

Accredited training schools give students all of the skills needed to enter the field ready for work. Accreditation is provided by agencies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (www.aacsb.edu) to schools and colleges that offer a quality education. Beginning training is the first step to earning a college education. Complete the first step by finding a program in business technology.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by PETAP.org.

Renata McGee is a staff writer for PETAP.org. Locate Business Technology Schools and Colleges as well as Online Business Technology Schools at PETAP.org, your Partners in Education and Tuition Assistance Programs.