Author: Meghan Harrison
Management at any organization can be classified into three levels and they are Top level, middle level and low level management. Each level of management has it’s roles and responsibilities to be executed for the better functioning of the organization. Middle level mangers play a key role in any organization. They are point of contact for many of the resources across the top level and low level management. There were many cases where high level management contacts the middle level mangers for several operational issues with low level management and even low level management has made the middle level managers as the single point of contact in order to resolve their issues. Usually the job profiles in middle level management differ based on the organization structure and number of employees operating in a particular division.
There were many research and theoretical aspects, that has proved middle level management has nothing to do with turnover of an organization. This particular turnover is not and no where related to revenue terms and this entire discussion is based on the turnover of employees and their work done. Here, we can review an article “Effect of Middle level managers on Employee Turnover” published by Mr. Morgen S. Johansen. In this particular article author mainly concentrates on High level and middle level manager and their impact on the overall employee satisfaction that results in the turnover of the organization. This review is published in “Department of Political Science, Texas A&M University”. The results and their impact are discussed in the public management literature.
Public management is a vast subject and if any one is interested in studying this particular subject, the most important area to be concentrated is the relationship and level of interactions between mangers and workers, and the result of work done which is affected by their levels of interactions.(Frederickson and Smith 2003, p98 ). After much research, the most important aspect came in to light is that, maximum study of public management is concentrated on the relationship between management activities and output of work and has neglected the relationship between management and workers (Meier and O’Toole 2002, 2001; Goerdel 2006; Brewer and Selden 2000; Walker and Boyne 2006; Moynihan and Pandey 2005; see also Lynn, Heinrich, and Hill 2001; although see Ingraham, Joyce, and Donahue 2003).
This particular negligence of management on employees has become the main drawback and is affecting the organization performance a lot. The management should understand this effect of performance on organization turnover and proper steps are required to get rid of these activities. Lack of attention on workers may definitely affect the employee performance. A deep focus on relationship between management and workers is required to understand the few aspects like whether management is effecting the employee performance or employee performance is effecting the management. To concentrate more on this, the basic management activity like Human Resource can be considered, as it is the core functionality’s of any management (Daley 2005). Typical management activities include providing better workplace needs, recruiting right resources, training them to develop their skills and finally motivating and encouraging them in many aspects (Ingraham, Joyce, and Donahue 2003). In simple words Human Capital can be considered as biggest asset of any organization.
Short Literature Review
As per the previous discussion, Human Resource can be considered as the biggest asset of any organization and maintaining it effectively will always result a positive impact on both employee and organization performance (Ingraham, Joyce, and Donahue 2003;Daley 2005). According to Author, for better understanding of relationship between management and work outcomes, one should concentrate on the missing term i.e. Workers. Thus, in determining how management matters, the question becomes, what effect does management have on workers? In order answer these questions, author mainly concentrated on the effect of management on the turnover of street level. Turnover has a major role in building the organization performance. As per author, turnover is directly related to work satisfaction and this particular work satisfaction from workers side is essential for any organization for it’s effective operations and performance. Workers may not perform well and in some cases, they may leave the organization, if the work or job satisfaction is not up to the level. All these factors make turnover as a bad thing for any organization and should be managed properly (Mobley 1982).
Consequences and causes of Turnover
As per author reviews, high turnover always poses a negative impact on organization performance (Meier and Hicklin 2008; Brill and McCartney 2008). Turnover has much importance, as it could be considered as the main factor that affects the costs in many aspects like lost recruiting, interviewing, training, and socialization investments (Mobley 1982). Apart from all these factors, turnover can also affect the morality of any company (Rainey 2003) and can cause a huge of scope of disturbance is in the smooth flow of the organization like social and communication platforms (Mobley 1982). Economy, inflation and labor force composition can be considered as external cause, that can’t be controlled with in management. Several organization factors also effects the turnover and few of them are size of organization and each department, work pressures and salary (Mobley 1982). The compensation workers receive is a strong predictor of turnover (Mobley 1982; Moynihan and Pandey 2008; Selden and Moynihan 2000; Theobald 1990). Workers should be at a satisfaction level of their pay. This particular satisfaction can be measured with respective to their cost of living and the work place conditions. Even the fiscal resources of the organization affect the turnover. The fiscal resources of an organization matter because an organization with more resources is more likely to provide supplies, training, and other resources that better enable workers to do their jobs. Apart from these, there were many individual factors that effect the turnover and one among them is the work satisfaction (Nigro, Nigro, and Kellough 2007 ), for all these managers are responsible for building up the confidence levels and turnover too.
Methodologies and drawbacks
The basic methodology implemented by author is to study the relationship between management and workers and their total effect on the turnover. He has collected data from many aspects and concluded that middle level management poses a negative impact on the turnover.
Turnover and Management
Turnover is something that must be managed (Mobley 1982). The impact study of Human resource management can be considered as the best among the methodologies used by author to explain the turnover. HR management is directly related to job satisfaction and it strongly influences the organization performance (Mobley 1982; Riccucci 2005). In simple words, management can impact the job satisfaction, as mangers are the key persons who can make the workers not to dissatisfy (Riccucci 2005). Job satisfaction can be considered as a typical measurement factor, that how an organization body behaves and treats the employees (Mobley 1982; Morrell, Loan-Clarke, and Wilkinson 2001). Hiring the right persons, who can adjust to the organization environment and worker, is the primary task of any manager. Moreover, the support workers have from management (Parker 2002; Moynihan and Pandey 2008) also matters.
Apart from HR management, budgeting also effects the job satisfaction of employees (Donahue et al. 2004). As per author methodology, there is a very tight relation between pay of the organization and turnover (Mobley 1982; Moynihan and Pandey 2008; Selden and Moynihan 2000; Theobald 1990). Managers are responsible here because, they were the key persons t decide the word on budgeting and many other aspects like distributing the available budget to several departments, employee salaries and reserves etc (Gulick 1937; Mintzberg 1979; Donahue et al. 2004).
Drawbacks and un-answered questions on this methodology
Author has given an excellent discussion, on the relationship between mangers and covered all important aspects of management activities. Apart from the positive aspects, there were many aspects author could not cover and few questions that were un-answered, and few of them are discussed below
• Author has missed to clearly explain the exact level of management that was affecting the turnover and job satisfaction. He always refers that it the responsibility of management, but no where he mentioned that middle level mangers are responsible and this does not fit as per the article title.
• Human resource management is directly focused in this article. Even there were many cases, where HR is not morally responsible for job satisfaction. The best example could be, even there exists a separate policy to motivation and job satisfaction, the attitude of any single employee can effect the entire division.
• There were no special case studies included, where the author can support that budgeting can effect the job satisfaction. Even a good budget can meet the requirements of workers.
The second methodology considered by author is the important aspect and is Multi-level management. In a multinational organization, there could be always a scope for multi levels of management. At each level there are different managers with their own roles and responsibilities (Riccucci 2005; Lynn, Heinrich, and Hill 2001). Thus, to really determine if management affects workers, we need to look at managers at more than one level and their effect on street level bureaucrats. So, they can directly effect the salaries and the respective job satisfaction with respective to the pay outs. Organization goals are also set by top level management and as per first hypothesis of author “Hypothesis 1: Upper level managers will have an impact on turnover”.
Apart from Upper level manger, middle level mangers are also responsible for many factors that directly affect the turnover. This is because; middle level mangers are the key persons, with whom the low level managers and workers are in contact (Mintzberg 1979; Barnard 1938). As middle level managers are close to workers, all the issues related to worker job satisfaction are directly influenced by middle level managers and thus author concludes his second hypothesis as “Hypothesis 2: Middle level managers will have an impact on turnover ”.
The “Core Business skills” is a module that explores a number of quality tools that will help us to look at our core skills in the business field and identify areas where we could improve.
At the beginning of this module, I used to leave my life as normal with few skills that I have learned from my parents, for example the “Communication skills” and “Team working skills”, but even it was not enough to communicate or to work with whomever. Communication skills and team working skills are the closest skills; team working can not occur if there is no communication. Since our childhood, our parents push us to get in touch with people of our ages. At beginning, it is never easy seeing the quarrels that happen with our friends in the youngest ages while playing together, but these skills get developed in growing older. I also had an experience of team working during few years when I used to play football in a club, and as we know this sport is not played individually, but in a team, and I had learned a lot during this experience.
It is sure that we learn a lot from our parents and the activities in our childhood, but studying complements the path our parents put us on to build our future in order to get the objective of having a good life later on.
I have also learned during my past years some important skills that our module covers, such as “Numeracy skills” and “Information Skills”. However, they were not as important as we studied during this semester. Numeracy skills are taught in increasing levels since the youngest ages, starting from the primary school until we get our degree at the university, but before, it was just numbers and relations that I learned and that don’t stand for anything real. On what concerns the information skills, I have learned a few about it during the high school and I increased my level on it during the foundation year I have done last year at the university.
Other skills that are closer to the communication skills which are the effective learning skills, and they are also close to the personal and career development skills as well. The effective learning skills are the ones I learned trough some experiences, but for what concerns the personal and career development skills I did know nothing about them until I discovered them during this module.
What this module has changed on my life?
Regarding the six transferable skills that I have learned during this module, I notice that I have made a big improvement on these skills that help me now to be more efficient on getting my objectives either on my personal or professional life.
Since more than one year ago, I work and I study simultaneously, and things that I learned during this module brought me to a higher level that I was not expecting from myself. I will introduce my job in few words and describe how what I got from the “Core Business Skills” module changed the way I was doing it. So, I work as Electronic Dance Music producer with many professional record labels worldwide, and this started just by passion at the beginning until I have been discovered by one of the most famous deejays in South America, and then I had a proposal to sign my song on his own record label located in Buenos Aires in Argentina, here was my first professional experience and I was afraid of getting ripped off because I did not know how to deal with the contract and I did not even negotiate it. However, I kept balancing between what I study and my work and I acquired more experiences practicing what I study on my professional life.
Edwin H. Friedman said about communication that “The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change. Communication does not depend on syntax, or eloquence, or rhetoric, or articulation but on the emotional context in which the message is being heard. People can only hear you when they are moving toward you, and they are not likely to when your words are pursuing them. Even the choices words lose their power when they are used to overpower. Attitudes are the real figures of speech.” (1)
So, the communication skills are very important on my daily work, now due to what I learned, I started knowing how to negotiate my contracts with the other record labels for each song I make, and this fact contributes on making more profit and also to advertise my artwork and letting people buy what I make. This course also helped me to learn how to make formal letters to communicate with the record labels and producers worldwide as well as this will serve me later on my professional life as future manager. Now as I’m still a student I do use it only on my music affaire and my personal life with my family and friends.
Also I would mention that as a student and future manager, I highly improved my skills on making presentations in front of the audience.
On what concerns the effective learning skills on my personal and professional life, now I can know what I should improve on my life, on my studies or on my musical skills. Before, on my studies, I was kind of lost when the exams were approaching, it usually happened to me to be confused on what to prioritize and what to leave for the last, but now I got this level of knowing prioritizing the most important things after identifying them. Same thing on my life out of studies and on my professional life as well, now I can identify on what I could improve to make better songs in the future, I can manage myself to improve my personal and my student life to get best results, and eventually, now I know what I want to be, what I want to be later on, and how to get my goal.
On my professional life, I also use the skills I learned about the team working knowing that my job consists on composing and producing songs, sign them on record labels then advertising them as much as possible to get profit out of them, even if advertising is the main work of the record labels. Also, it plays a vital role on my personal life. As I said at the beginning, team working is taught by our parents and our society at the first before starting classes, but whatever is the level that we get from these lasts, the school teaches us more about them. We work in teams at home, we play sport in teams and also at the school and the university we work for some projects given for our studies in teams or either preparing for our exams we mostly work in teams. TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieves More. Working in teams is essential on the business life, either working for our own or others’ companies, these skills consist mainly on sharing tasks and ideas in a project work, and this technique is more efficient than working alone.
Numeracy skills stand for budgeting, numeracy functions and computations, dates and time, parenting and health related numeracy. These skills on budgeting or money management and banking serve to count money, make change, calculate services charges, save money and invest it too, and these are generally skills that our module covers adding to the numeracy functions and computations skills that we learned in the past from the primary school until the high school. Dates and time skills are used to some basic things in life as using a calendar, fill in time sheets or writing the date as well as the parenting and health related numeracy skills to read directions and dosage on medicines bottles, read thermometers or to understand a report card. All these numeracy skills are important and very useful on whomever’s daily life for either managers, farmers or whatever we can be. During this module I leaned the most of the important numeracy skills for business management field, and this regarding the decision threes to analyze and get the best solution to do not make loss on business and take the best decision.
The information skills are vital for all the successful professionals. These skills help us to become more efficient. Here are some techniques that help us to develop our information skills. The first one is how to take notes effectively, and this is a good tool to record and organize the information, the second one is to fully absorb the written information to assimilate and understand the written information quickly and effectively. Reading strategies is also a technique to read faster by thinking what to read, while the technique of keeping the information fresh in our minds helps to keep what we learned alive in our minds. There is also a technique which is learning in a way that suits us and this will not only help us on developing the ways we can learn, but we will be able to make what we do so the others can learn efficiently from us. Making learning an enjoyable experience is for me the best way to learn efficiently because if we love what we do we get good results, and this is what is helping me a lot on my music producer career, even all the results that I got from my productions I still don’t consider this as a job but just as my main passion and I keep learning day after day. Same thing on my studies, there are some topics that I enjoy and I can be successful on them, but once I don’t love one topic, I know that I will have problems within it.
The personal and career development skills are the ones I really enjoyed during this module. These skills are mainly keys for everyone’s life. To know our own strengths that we already have and we might build on, our weaknesses that we could reduce or otherwise work around, our opportunities that are related to our chances and that we can exploit better than the others, or even our threads that we need to be aware of them and to avoid them is a simple analysis that allows us to know who really we are and to avoid stress. I also learned how to manage my time and the basic ideas of control in this module, and all these skills have changed my personal and professional life and help me to gain more confidence on myself and to keep improving on my life in general.
What should I develop again on my transferable skills?
All the skills that I got from the “Core Business Skills” module are not skills related only to the business field, but to our life in general and help to improve the way we are living it. Bill Clinton, the forty second U.S President (1993-2001) said:
“Today, many companies are reporting that their number one constraint on growth is the inability to hire workers with the necessary skills.” (2)
From what Bill Clinton said, companies have a lack of workers with the necessary skills, and they do their best to overcome this problem, but people with the necessary skills are not enough to satisfy every company’s need. To participate on the growth of our society, we should all have some basic skills which when we develop them, we get a higher level of confidence and abilities.
Personally, even the improvement that I have done during this module, I still have to improve all the skills to get my personal objective. We know that the sky is the limit for what concerns learning the skills, and we can improve them more and more day after day. My skills on communication are not enough, because if I start communicating with professional people I could not be at the same level as them, but with the practice and time I can develop my skills and reach the level required by the professional world. Also, I still have many problems when it comes to the numeracy skills on business; the decision tree for example seems to me easy, I can get the tree, but not the calculation, I usually get lost on applying the relations and calculating numbers. The information skills, and the personal and career development skills, I think we can develop them more within the next modules and experiences.
I got a lot of benefits from this module, it has changed my life, now I see things in a professional way and this is the best way to reach out the objectives that we set on our life. Now that I learned also these skills I set new goals to my life and I will try to achieve them all, or at least the majority. People with goals mostly succeed because they already know where they are going. I also believe in Willis Reed’s quote that says:
“Go for the moon. If you don’t get it, you will still be heading for a star.”
The purpose of using multimedia learning in schools is that it offers exciting possibilities for meeting the needs of 21stcentury learners. Multimedia learning can be defined in a number of ways. For the purposes of this research multimedia learning would be defined as the delivery of instructional content using multiple modes that include visual and auditory information and student use of this information to construct knowledge. To- day our students live in a world in which digital technology is part of the texture of their daily lives. They have never known a world without technology. Technology is their native language and it is expected to use technology in school.
While some students have greater access to technology than others, computers with Internet access are now nearly universally available in every schools in Mauritius. Internet-enabled computers and cell phones are pervasive outside of school. The use of technology by teenagers is at its highest level and is projected to increase. This increased reliance on technology combined with what we know about brain processing, offers enormous potential for instruction. According to Betrancourt, M. (2005), research has shown that the brain processes information using two channels: visual and auditory. When information is presented using both channels, the brain can accommodate more new information. By taking advantage of this multimodal processing capability and technology-based tools, we can dramatically enhance student learning through multimedia instruction.
Researchers now believe that there are multiple channels in working memory; Baddeley (1992) proposes an auditory and a visual channel. The auditory channel handles information that is heard, while the visual channel processes information that is seen. Text seems to have unique processing requirements, with words initially captured by the visual channel and then converted to sounds in the auditory channel (Mayer, 2005).
Home Economics education is described as a life-long education and helps students to interpret and understand the world of family and work, to identify and solve challenges that occur in their daily lives. It significantly contributes to building students’ personalities and characters and prepares them for the requisites of the labour market. In fact, Home Economics is a multi- disciplinary subject where the main objectives is to develop skills, knowledge and values in student so that they can improve their quality of life. During the late 1980’s Home Economics education embarked on enhancing the student’s personal skills in logical thinking, creative and critical approach, management skills, and problem – solving skills, expression, self-directed learning and responsible action among others.
This states that students should be encouraged to take a more active part in their learning, they have to manage their own learning and analyse problems encountered by providing plausible solutions based on managing resources effectively. In this connection, various learning strategies have been put forward such as inquiry learning, problem-based learning, cooperative and collaborative learning and discovery learning. With the growing diversity of students in every classroom, I believe it is becoming essential to offer alternate choices in how to learn and more ways that can engage learners in ways they learn best. This can be achieved only if the teaching strategies chosen foster curiosity, joy of learning and motivate the student for further discovery learning. Hence learning approaches should be varied to simulate learning by considering the multiple intelligence and learning styles of different learners in a class.
I am conducting this study bearing in mind my students’ differences in learning style and ability. The research focuses on promoting more effective manipulative skills and creativity for food studies practical tests at Form VI level, in which students have to meet certain standard and requirements as per the examination criterion. Food studies is a component of the Home Economics curriculum, in which students are expected to learn about nutrition food preparation both in theory and practical. According to the Home economics curriculum, one of the objectives of teaching Food studies practical is that students should be able to handle food safely and hygienically, demonstrating a variety of manipulative skills to a high standard of execution, and the use of a range of utensils and appliances.
(Source: Cambridge International A Level Food Studies Syllabus, Obj 5-Appendix 2)
Manipulative skills as cited by Evans (2001, 13), may be classified as how to use the hands, how to carry, hold and use tools with emphasis on the safety and hygienic aspect. For the practical test, manipulative skills can also imply the use of using labour saving devices to achieve economy of time and energy, and the purpose of it with precision. Secondly manipulative skills also include culinary skills (chopping, dicing, and grating among others), cake making (rub-in, creaming, whisking, kneading, fold- in), methods of cooking (frying, boiling, steaming) and measurements and terminologies. Thus students are expected to learn and realise the above mentioned skills with precision and accurately. To attain this objective, students need to master the correct technique must demonstrate versatility and originality in food preparation. In order to bring a change in my current practice, I opted for the use of multimedia to simulate students’ interest and better understanding of the skills stated above.
Miler (2005), suggests that the visual channel handles less information than the auditory channel. However, when information is presented using both the visual and auditory channels, working memory can handle more information overall. Using multiple channels can increase the amount of information that the brain can process (Sweller, 2005). But, there is still the risk of cognitive overload. Too much information delivered in an ineffective manner can interfere with the brain’s ability to successfully integrate information into long term memory.
During the past four years I have been teaching Food and Nutrition as well as Food studies. I had the opportunity of working with both low and high ability students. I have noticed that the students fail to recall the advanced skills related to food preparation when preparing and serving dishes. Also, concerning measurement and terminologies, manipulative skills and the use of labour saving equipment, students fail to demonstrate the correct use with accuracy and precision. Consequently, students are unable to prepare the dish with the right texture and consistency which results in disappointment after the practical class or contribute to low marks for practical assessment. This has a negative impact on students’ attitude and low learning interest is shown towards the subject. A loss in students’ learning interest affects the learning environment since the students have low self – esteem and do not concentrate on their practical classes.
The HSC results in Food studies are going down drastically. The poor performance can be accounted by a lack of enthusiasm and interest from the part of the students. They find the subject too theoretical and boring. Moreover concerning the practical classes, they fail to prepare and serve dishes correctly. Thus a lack of interest and motivation prevent the students to perform all the manipulative skills correctly. Many students think that cooking is simply following a recipe, but there is much more to it than that. The ability to properly prepare a dish, modify or season a dish and keep the kitchen safe in the process is a series of basic culinary skills that students have to practice and master. This is the aim of every practical class. There is a lack of accuracy, wrong use of equipment/process and serving skills among students. Although the A- level Practical syllabus lays much emphasis on no repetition of skills and garnishes, students fail to respect these particular criteria each year. Also probably due to time constraints and stress of working under examination condition, the students prepare and serve the five dishes in a rush failing to include their final touch of creativity while serving. Consequently, the required standards is not produced which results in poor performance of students. This can be a very discouraging factor for students as they lose their self- confidence and interest in the subject. Eventually not more than ten students opt for Food and Nutrition at O- level and the number of students taking the subject at A-level is decreasing year by year.
When teaching Food Studies, prior to the practical classes I use direct instructions so that the students can have an overview and on the day of the practical, the explanation is supported with a step by step demonstration by peers or the teacher herself. The students then embark the hands on activity. It can be an individual work or pair work, depending on the nature of the class work. I believe that the chalk and talk method should be left behind and more interactive method to promote efficient learning and development of manipulative skills should be used to arose interest for the subject and to promote meaningful learning among students. Creating meaningful learning has been a desired goal for many educational institutions in the last decade, as education focus has shifted towards knowledgeable and critical students. Hence, providing learning opportunities for students is crucial.
Generally, the students work well during continuous assessments and exams carried out at school. But, according to me and the other colleagues in the Home Economics department, at the school level students’ performance in Food Studies practical is not satisfactory and this is leading to a decrease in students learning interest. The following factors have been seen to be probably the cause:
Regular forgetting of ingredients
Not completing the practical work on time
Poor notion of manipulative/culinary skills
Too much of relying on recipe for step by step
Lack of practice- lack of confidence
Students rely solely on the demonstration of the teacher – no creativity.
and also students are not motivated towards the subject. A lack of motivation prevents the students to give the best of them.
In addition, a brief and informal enquiry among Home Economics teachers from other schools made me aware that even they face the same problems with the students. But in spite of the teacher doing her best to prepare the student after two years of hard work using different teaching strategies namely group work, guided discovery learning, presentation among others the results for the practical test does not change much. A- Level practical results in most of the schools across Mauritius range from fair to poor. In spite of a close monitoring of my students progress, appropriate teaching strategies were adapted to encourage the students to work and improve their performance, the recent A level Cambridge results was still disappointing,(Appendix 3). Hence the main issues of concern may be the disparity of the examiners expectation in each center in Mauritius. If the student fails to meet the expectation of the examiner assessing the practical test, the latter might receive low marks. There is no transparency on how the practical test is being corrected as no feedback is given to the teachers on the students work. Thus we teachers do not know how our students have been assessed and what went wrong for the practical test. As a matter of fact, many students (both low and high abilities) obtain the grade 13 in their practical paper which implies a failure. This is a discouraging factor for both the teacher and the student. From the student point of view, it is a waste of time/ money/ resources and as a teacher even to-day I do not understand what the examiners expect from our students and somewhere may be we teachers are failing to prepare our students for the practical exam due to a lack of feedback.
1.2 JUSTIFICATION OF THE RESEARCH
Throughout this study, I wish to effectively impart the various skills of food preparation, i.e starting from the very first process of weighing to the final process of serving and sensory analysis in Food studies practical to my Form VI students while making them enjoy each lesson. For the past four years, I have reconciled to the fact that many of my students do not show interest to Food studies practical lessons since they find it difficult to follow the step by step procedures with accuracy bearing in mind they have to complete five dishes in three hours for the exams. Thus, it can be time- consuming and requires a lot of extra resources.
The poor performance of the students in Food Studies and the decrease in the number of students taking up the subject cannot be dissociated with the way it is being taught actually. Today still, despite trying to implement some new teaching strategies, the teacher-centered approach is much “en vogue”. Due to time constraints, finishing the syllabus becomes a priority with teachers. Group work, activity based methods, inquiry learning and role play appear too time consuming for students and teachers. The more traditional “teacher talks and students listen” seems more apt to fulfill the syllabus aims and objectives.
Since form III level, in the practical classes students are encouraged to serve dishes attractively. However for O-level, the presentation need to be neat and clean, though its simple However for A- level, the approach itself is different. Students need to have mastery of the different techniques and skill involved in the practical classes and above all, the presentation of the dish should be highly appealing and attractive. However, through year’s observation, I have noticed that students lack accuracy in performing the manipulative skills correctly and creativity, thus failing to bring along innovative serving skills. For the practical, students often have some confusion about certain ideas, for example, using a bed of lettuce and shredded lettuce, using coating whipped cream on a cake and using piped cream on cheesecake, doing stuffed pancakes and doing lasagna, using tomato rose and using tomato slices. It should be noted that each dish need to have at least three different garnishes/decoration items without any repetition. Also neatness and quality are very important. Failing to accomplish these criteria can prove to be deterrent and has a negative impact on the performance of students. Thus, teachers should come up with a rich variety of learning opportunities which would enable to build on existing experiences and personal strengths based on their learning styles.
Kalyuga, S(2005) found out that when teachers and students participate actively towards goal oriented processes, better learning is achieved. Not only the students would benefit from it but also the teacher would be able to foster a stronger teacher- student relationship. Involving students actively in various processes by making use of audio visual aids and auditory support creates a new channel for the learning process. The attention of the students is retained for long and this helps to decreases boredom among learners. Through this study I want to find out whether I would be able to improve the teaching and learning of Food Studies manipulative skills using multimedia.
The use of multimedia holds much potential for the effective teaching and learning process. Sooner or later; teachers would be compelled to follow the trend, lest they want to become obsolete. As the students love the internet and the various tools, it might be expected that they will be more motivated to learn Food Studies with the help of technology. There is little literature about the use of multimedia to develop students’ performance in Food Studies Practical, thus it will be interesting to probe deeper to provide a better quality of education to my students and generate the desired and expected outcomes in my school.
1.3 RESEARCH AIM
The aim of my research is to investigate the use of Multimedia to foster students’ performance and ability in learning of manipulative skills in Food Studies Practical at Form VI level.
MAIN RESEARCH QUESTIONS
How can the use of multimedia help to create effective learning?
How far does multimedia learning succeed in offering the user an engaging learning experience?
Can the use of multimedia i.e. – visual and auditory medium help to motivate students (intrinsic and extrinsic) and contribute to better performance in the practical paper?
Can the use of multimedia help the students to work with precision, brings versatility in dishes chosen and serve dishes attractively?
How far the use of multimedia would be efficient to produce better results in Food studies practical exams?
These questions will help me to conduct the case study and to investigate the effectiveness of using multimedia in the teaching and learning of manipulative skills in Food studies Practical at Form VI level. I have two classes with 10 pupils. They will be exposed to multimedia learning that is various sources of tape recordings on food preparation including basic culinary skills, cake decoration, pastry making, sauces, preparation of garnishes and decorations where by the proper manipulative skills will be demonstrated. Four research tools will be used to collect data namely, observation check list, informal interview, student questionnaire and achievement test.
1.4 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The overall purpose of this study is to determine whether the use of multimedia can foster students’ performance and ability besides promoting effective and interest based learning of Food Studies practical tasks at Form VI level.
1.5 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objectives of this study are to:
To change from the traditional method of teaching to a more modern and dynamic approach using multimedia.
Promote interest driven learning and engage student in the learning process.
To develop students’ visual memory and intrinsic motivation
To enable students to prepare the dishes with precision and uniformity
Develop students’ creativity and improve mastery of the basic concepts required for the practical paper.
Evaluate the effectiveness of multimedia in the teaching and learning of manipulative skills
Reflect upon my teaching and improve upon my teaching skills.
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Table of Contents
1.0 Executive summary
2.0 Global financial crisis- Background
3.0 Steps taken by the Malaysian government
4.0 Impact of the global financial crisis
1.0 Executive Summary
2.0 Introduction to financial and capital markets
3.0 Development of the financial and capital market in Malaysia
4.0 Take-up rates
5.0 Summary of findings
Write a report on how the current Global Financial Crisis impacted the financial strategies of Malaysian a Malaysian company. The report should include the background of the Global Financial Crisis, steps taken by governments to mitigate it and how it may have impacted the financial strategies of a chosen Malaysian company.
1.0 Executive summary
The global financial crisis has been one of the worst to ever hit the developed and developing nations since the Great Depression, and has quickly burgeoned into a global economic crisis. This report gives an overview of the crisis, and how it has impacted our nation.
Steps have been taken by the government to mitigate this crisis. This has been done through two economic stimulus packages meant to inject funds into the Malaysian economy to produce a multiplier effect for boosting the economy.
We then take a look at the effects of the sector on Gamuda Berhad, a company in the construction and property development sector. We see how the economic stimulus package has benefitted it through the granting of the Electrified Double Tracking Project from Ipoh to Padang Besar worth RM12.5 billion, and its effect on the company’s financial strategies.
As steel is a major raw material in the construction of buildings and infrastructure, we also analyze the impact on the financial strategies of a steel company in Malaysia, Choo Bee Metal Industries Berhad. The report ends with a future outlook of the following two companies in the near future.
2.0 Global financial crisis- Background
Plummeting stock markets have wiped out 33% of the value of companies, $14.5 trillion.
The effects of the global financial crisis have been such that a massive $14.5 trillion in the value of companies has vanished into the thin air in a matter of months. It has been the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression of 1929, causing business failures, increased unemployment, and significant decline in economic activity. What happened?
August 2007 had seen the world economy plunged into intensive financial disorder and turmoil. Fannie Mac and Freddie Mac, the two largest mortgage companies in the US fell into conservatorship. A week later, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt when the US government refused to rescue the investment bank, triggering the financial crisis.
Banks became reluctant to lend to one another, allowing only overnight borrowing to institutions. With banks refusing to provide credit, and the imposition of more stringent regulations on borrowings, businesses found it more and more difficult to borrow money for their operations and long-term expansionary plans.
In Iceland, the banking system crippled and the government had to borrow from the IMF and other neighbors for funds to save their economy. The country could not pay back its external debts, and the Icelandic currency- the Krona has become valueless. Virtually bankrupt, the three largest banks in Iceland: Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki and Glitner Bank has been nationalized.
Insurance giant, AIG had to be rescued by the US government by the approval of an $85 billion bailout to prevent it from going under because it was “too big to fail”. All the above events accumulated to signal the lack of confidence in the US economy, plunging stock prices downwards, weakening the economy which quickly affected the economies of other countries due in part to globalization through increased connectivity.
The reason for the financial crisis cannot be pinpointed to any one specific cause, but is a result of a combination of factors which converge to tip the scale to cause a major change. However, the main cause for the crisis can be said to be attributed to sub-prime mortgage lending in the US. Simply, the appreciation of property prices coupled with easy credit offered by banks on the acquisition of property attracted people to purchase property, not only for personal but for investment purposes. Banks creatively pooled these loans into mortgage-backed securities and sold them off as derivatives to other investors. This is also known as the securitization of debt.
In order to encourage more customers to obtain loans from banks, the banks approved loans even to sub-prime buyers. These buyers have shaky financial background, but were also approved by the banks. With the burst of the US housing bubble, declines in real housing prices and higher mortgage rates eventually resulted in defaults in payments, leading to foreclosures and the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage industry. This then lead to the fall of several prominent financial institutions, sending shock waves around the world. The financial system became dysfunctional and this marks the commencement of a financial crisis.
To date, the UK and other European countries have spent some $2 trillion on rescues and bailout packages to prevent various major financial institutions from failing. Among other effects of the crisis are lesser financing and foreign aid for development in poorer countries. The economy is said by analysts to enter into global rebound and recovery in year 2010.
3.0 Steps taken by the Malaysian government to mitigate the financial crisis:
It is a well-known saying that, “If the United States sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold.” This is true to a certain extent. Developed countries such as the United Kingdom and Europe were among the first to be hit by the effects of US “flu”. Developing countries such as Malaysia caught on slower, not having entirely opened up its economy to the rest of the world. However, effects were being felt. Deterioration in US market, being a major trading partner of Malaysia (3rd largest trading partner) eventually affected our country’s economy.
Among the impact of the global economic recession are:
- Sharp decline in exports (e.g. Jan ‘09 down by 27.8%)
- Sharp decline in export commodity prices (crude oil and palm oil)
- FDI inflows expected to halve (’09: RM26bln, ’08: RM51bln)
- Unemployment rate to rise to 4.5% (’08: 3.7%)
- Global meltdown continues to weaken Bursa Malaysia’s performance
This eventually prompted a response from the Malaysian government.
On the 4th of November 2008, the first economic stimulus package of RM7 billion was approved in order to boost the Malaysian economy. This was mainly financed through savings from fuel subsidies, which has decreased due to lower oil prices. This package was primarily directed at certain major projects mainly in the construction industry and was hoped to start off a positive ripple through the multiplier effect.
It was found to be ineffective when economic conditions worsened, and a second stimulus package was proposed. A further RM60 billion was pumped into the economy. Of this amount, RM15 billion is fiscal injection, RM25 billion Guarantee Funds, RM10 billion equity investments, RM7 billion private finance initiative (PFI) and off-budget projects, as well as RM3 billion worth of tax incentives. This RM60 billion accounts for almost 9% of the Malaysian GDP.
The implementation of such a large stimulus package is unprecedented in the nation’s economic history. Training and job placement opportunities were initiated in both the public and private sectors to ensure acceptable unemployment rates. In addition, it is aimed at facilitating private sector activities and easing the burden of vulnerable groups.
The 2nd stimulus package is to be implemented in four thrusts:
- Thrust 1: Training, education, employment creation, retrenched 2 billion
workers welfare & reduction of foreign workers
- Thrust 2: Home ownership, public infrastructure, savings bonds, 10 billion
school facilities, rural areas amenities, Sabah & Sarawak
infrastructure, microcredit schemes, retrenched workers welfare
- Thrust 3: Guarantee scheme (working capital & loan restructuring), 29 billion
promote automotive, aviation & tourism sectors, higher windfall
profit levy threshold on palm oil, tax incentives (accelerated capital
allowance, carry back losses) and reducing time-to-market to access
of the capital market
telecommunication infrastructure, PFI (Tanjung Agas industrial park
in ECER, biotechnology cluster in IDR, traffic infrastructure system
around KL Sentral), enhancing GLCs’ CSR activities in human
capital, new FIC role & enhancing Government procurement
Aware that most SMEs have been affected by the worsening global economic environment, particularly from the contraction in export markets, the Government has established a Working Capital Guarantee Scheme totalling RM5billion to provide working capital to companies with shareholder equity below RM20 million.
In the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR), which determines banks’ base lending rate, has been reduced by 75 and 50 basis points to 2% in Jan and Feb respectively, and resulted in the lowered base lending rate of 5.53%. This is to encourage lending between banks. The statutory reserve requirement has also been cut by 3%-1% to help reduce the cost of funds and sustain the flow of lending.
Among other initiatives taken by the government are: the guarantee of bank deposits until the end of 2010 by the BNM. What is more, to encourage foreign direct investments, Bumiputera ownership in the acquisition of equity stakes, mergers, and takeovers has also been lifted. Guidelines on property transactions has also been relaxed, and Danajamin had also been set up by the government in May 2009 to facilitate capital-raising by local companies who face problems in doing so.
4.0 Impact of the global financial crisis:
I have chosen the company, Gamuda Bhd as the subject of analysis for this purpose. First, a brief introduction on the business of Gamuda, the company situation before and after the crisis, and its potential effects on the company’s financial strategies.
4.1 Gamuda Berhad
Gamuda is among the largest builders in Malaysia, second only to IJM Corporation. Among Gamuda’s other competitors are WCT Berhad and Malaysian Resource Corporation Berhad, all of which have been affected by the crisis.
Gamuda is a leader in Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) civil engineering infrastructure and township development. The core business segments in Gamuda are three: Engineering & Construction, Infrastructure Concessions, and Township Developments
Percentage-wise, the Engineering & Construction is the most important sector as it takes up 75.9% of total revenue. Among projects included in this sector are the constructions of railway tracks, hydroelectric dams, airports, waterways and tunnels, etc. Infrastructure Concessions- 19.6% include: highway toll concessions, water supply, and hydropower. Township Developments- 4.4% include: various townships in Malaysia- Valencia, Jade Hills, Kota Kemuning, Bandar Botanic, the Yen So Park in Vietnam,
4.1.1 Industry Overview
The property and construction industry are capital-intensive sectors requiring sophisticated technologies, high levels of labour and manpower, and large amounts of raw materials such as iron, steel, and cement. These three inputs make up most of the costs in any given project, and an increase in the following costs would decrease profit margins and therefore returns from the projects.
Due to the large amounts of money invested in a project (larger projects involves billions of dollars exchanging hands), cashflow management and cash conservation is crucial. Risks involved are also high, and investors expect higher returns and consistent dividends compared to a more stable sector such as food and beverages. A project has to ensure stringent safety and health policies, to minimize hazards and prevent accidents from occurring.
At the strategic level, a company dealing in these industries would also have to be proactive in scouting for projects where opportunities exist. Detailed cost-benefit analysis will have to be undertaken not only to determine quantitative costs and benefits in calculating how much to bid for, but also qualitative factors such as the necessity and urgency of the project to the company, whether as a strategic move into new markets, reputation/brand building, or to increase confidence in the company and ease shareholder concerns.
To sum it up, these sectors are susceptible to:
– Rise in inflation
– Increase in prices of iron, steel, and cement
– Cancellation of orders due to economic downturn
– A country’s political influence
– Cashflow management
However the two real key risks faced by the construction industry remains to be delays in implementation and sub-par margins due to stiff competition.
4.1.2 Property and Construction
The property and construction sectors are sensitive to economic conditions. Thus it is no surprise that companies dealing in the two sectors were the most badly hit when the market plunged, following the onset of the global economic crisis. As Gamuda’s operations in these 2 sectors consist of 95.5% in 2008, this makes it extremely susceptible to economic risk.
We can evaluate the impact of the crisis by the construction sector’s key performance indicators:
àNumber of sales permit: Falling since July 2008, but the figures have reflected the pessimism of the industry distinctly since August 2008. Earlier in the year, it has reached 87 per month, fell to 58 in August and 41 in December 2008.
àNumber of housing approvals: On the downtrend.
àProduction of construction-related products: In September 2008, there was a 6.8% increase (year-on-year) in this index. It fell by 1.9% in October 2008, but most alarmingly there was a contraction of 5.1% in November 2008. This change shows the bleak outlook of the industry.
4.1.3 Government steps
The Government of Malaysia has benefited Gamuda after it won the bid for the Ipoh-Padang Besar electrified double-tracking railway project (EDTP) worth RM12.5 billion as part of the stimulus package to boost the economy. Among other projects by the government are the Pahang-Selangor Interstate water transfer project, the new Sepang low-cost carrier terminal, and the extension of the Klang Valley Light Rail Transit, all three contracts of which have been bid for by Gamuda. As a major construction company with an excellent track record, there is a high chance of winning the bid, hence increasing its construction order book by several billion dollars.
In addition to that, the Government has also implemented a new `Deferred Payment’
mechanism, where Bank Pembangunan has been mandated to pay on behalf of the government up to a total of RM6.75bn representing 54% of the total value of the EDTP project.
As for the property sector, the Government is allowing individuals or foreign entities to buy commercial real estate worth RM500,000 and above without any Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) Approval. This move would encourage more buyers to buy properties here in the country and help encourage investment in real estate.
4.1.4 Ratio Analysis- Highlights:
The following can be seen from Gamuda’s financial ratios:
– Gamuda’s ROA has increased from 3.32% in 2007 to 5.58% in 2008, signifying increased efficiency in the use of its assets in generating profits.
– Gearing ratio remains at high levels, increasing slightly from 41.9%-43.5%.
– Net dividends per share decreased from 40sen/share in 2007 to 18sen/share in 2008. Profits were retained to fund operations and projects obtained by the company.
Other than the high gearing ratio, other financial aspects in 2008 are favourable overall.
4.1.5 Capital structure
Gamuda’s capital structure consists of a combination of debt instruments and RM2,005,016 worth of shares.
Long-term borrowings consist mostly of Murabahah Medium-term Notes (MTN) of RM850 million, and a smaller portion of secured and unsecured term loans.
Short-term borrowings include commercial papers of RM35million, unsecured term loans of 25million, and revolving credits of RM722,253 million.
There is a debt-equity ratio of 60% compared to 42% in the previous year.
Thanks to the RM12.5 billion Ipoh-Padang Besar rail project won by Gamuda through the stimulus package, this has benefited Gamuda and boosted its order book. Hence the impact of the crisis on Gamuda is largely cushioned compared to its competitors. Revolving credits of RM 288.5 million is used in relation to design, construction, testing, commissioning and maintenance of the electrified double track.
There is an existing proposal that Lingkaran Trans Kota Holdings Bhd (LITRAK), of which Gamuda is a substantial shareholder- owning 44.8% of LITRAK undergo a capital repayment exercise of 93 sen, of which Gamuda will receive an amount of RM462 million. The Selangor government also offered to take over Splash for RM2.975billion, both of which will improve Gamuda’s net gearing.
Steel is a major raw material in the construction industry. Therefore we will now take a look at the impact of the financial crisis on the steel industry.
Steel is a major raw material in the construction sector for the building of its properties and infrastructure. We shall now study Choo Bee Metal Industries Berhad to gauge the effects of government economic stimulation in this industry.
The global economic crisis has had a major negative impact, on the international and domestic demand for Hot Rolled Coil (“HRC”) steel sheets, which is the main export of Choo Bee.
The strong demand for steel, and high steel prices, in the early part of 2008 were reversed by the global financial crisis from September 2008. Prices of steel and steel products dropped rapidly on falling demand. Prices increased from US$700 per tonne in June 2007, to US$1,100 per tonne by June 2008, and collapsing even lower in 2009. This has affected the sales of Choo Bee, as the price at which its HRC can be sold has dropped sharply.
Government efforts to improve the economy through its economic stimulus packages has benefited the construction industry, and has indirectly created opportunities for local steel manufacturers like Choo Bee to supply their steel to the market. However, Choo Bee being a relatively smaller steel company could not match the giant steel companies like Malaysian Steel Works, Ann Joo Resources, and Southern Steel Bhd. Raw materials for projects received by construction companies would most likely be given to larger steel companies which could provide lower prices due to economies of scale.
The government is also implementing a proposal where a reduction of import duties of raw materials of 10% in 2009 and another 5% every subsequent year, which is expected to reduce Choo Bee’s costs of production. This however, would also not be of much help, due to the dropping steel prices.
Choo Bee currently has a very low gearing ratio of only 2.75%, signifying that it is operating on a very conservative level. It also has very high levels of reserves and retained earnings which are not being in use effectively for generating profits to maximize shareholder wealth.
Performance is likely to be weaker than 2008 amidst economic uncertainties in the construction and properties sector. Borrowings and gearing ratio is expected to be high. However, if Splash is successfully sold to the government at a reasonable price, the substantial amount of cash received can be used to fund operations, reducing its gearing ratio and allowing further loans to be obtained if necessary. As cashflow management becomes a primary focus, and financial prudence necessary, this would most likely result in a lower dividend of 25sen received by shareholders in 2008. The “Deferred payment” mechanism is also expected to help manage working capital more effectively.
A more conservative strategy would be used of where the focus would be on surviving the economic meltdown. This entailed taking drastic measures to curb expenses, consolidate operations, streamline capex programs and defer expansion plans.
With Gamuda’s strong reputation and experience in the construction industry, coupled with a strong order book caused by the Government’s economic stimulus package will probably last it for the next 2-3 years. It is expected to regain its performance once the global recession lifts in year 2010.
Choo Bee Metal Industries
Outlook in year 2009 is likely to be negative for Choo Bee and the steel industry in general. As the demand for steel is highly dependent on the performance of construction sector, it will determine the demand for steel. Since the overall outlook on the construction sector has weakened due to the financial crisis, this would mean demand for steel, hence lower profits.
Although the projects mooted out by the government through the stimulus package will indirectly benefit the steel industry, the overall demand for steel will still be low, but is expected to pick up when the recession enters into recovery.
Write a report on the development of the capital/financial market in Malaysia and how with this development more financial products could be used by Malaysian companies to finance operation, expansion locally and in the international markets. The report should include the development of the conventional capital and Islamic capital market, the take-up rate of financial products such as sukuk zero-coupon bond by Malaysian companies and how it changes their choice of financing and capital structure.
1.0 Executive Summary
The financial and capital markets in Malaysia have been experiencing exponential growth during the past few decades, especially where the advancement of Islamic financial products is concerned.
This report is meant to give an overview of the development of these markets in Malaysia, with a focus on financial products, such as the sukuk by Malaysian companies. Malaysia has been at the advent of Islamic financing, and much effort has been taken by the government to establish Malaysia as an Islamic financial hub. Steps taken, and an examination of the popularity and advantages of these Islamic products are explored.
In order to discover the take-up rate of financial products, eight major companies from different sectors in Malaysia have been chosen for this analysis. They comprise companies ranging from the industrial sector to the food & beverage industry.
Finally, a conclusion as to the popularity of Islamic products and the potential changes as to the way businesses choose to fund their operations.
2.0 Introduction to financial and capital markets
2.1 Financial markets
A financial market is a mechanism that allows the trading of financial assets or securities. This includes mortgages on a house or lease on a car to securities that are traded on financial markets, termed marketable securities. The trading of commodities such as precious metals and agricultural goods are also a part of the financial markets.
Financial markets primarily facilitate:
- The raising of capital
- The transfer of risk
- International trade
They can be said to consist of the following six categories:
Money market, Capital market, Derivatives market, Foreign exchange market, Fixed income stock, Equity.
2.2 Capital market
The capital market, as mentioned above- is a type of financial market, which includes the stock and bond market.
They function in two important ways:
In the primary market- to provide new capital for businesses in the form of share issues and loans
In the secondary market- to enable the exchange and trading of securities and bonds to other players
3.0 Development of the financial and capital market in Malaysia
In Malaysia, Government securities through issues of Malaysian Government Securities (MGS) account for the bulk of funds raised in the private sector. Private Debt Securities (PDS) are the main source of capital market funding for the private sector, with the equity market also providing a sizeable portion through rights issues and Initial Public Offerings (IPOs).
Singapore, once being part of Malaysia, companies in these two countries was listed on both KLSE and the Stock Exchange of Singapore (SES) until the end of 1989. Since then, KLSE has taken various measures, including the introduction of computerized trading, a central depository, and efficient clearing and settlement systems, to develop market infrastructure. In addition, the regulatory framework has been reviewed to promote IPOs and equity investments by domestic and foreign investors.
As a result, some big privatized companies (e.g., Telekom Malaysia Berhad and Tenaga Nasioni Berhad [TNB]) were listed on KLSE, making it one of the fastest-growing markets in the region in the mid-1990s. By the end of the 1980s, the primary market for Government bonds was relatively developed. The Government introduced the principal dealer system to develop the secondary market as well, and at the same time, an auction system for Government securities to promote fair pricing. Although the private debt securities (PDS) market had deepened when the first Cagamas bonds were issued in October 1987, it did not develop until the mid-1990s.
The Government has introduced various measures to enhance market infrastructure and put in place an appropriate regulatory framework. These included the establishment of a credit rating agency (1990), guidelines on PDS issues (1992), tax exemption on interest income from PDS (1993), scripless trading for unlisted PDS (1996), an auction system for the PDS primary market (1996), and a bond information and dissemination system (1997). Despite Government efforts, a lack of benchmark yield curve hinders the development of the bond market.
3.1 Developments of Islamic Finance
Malaysia is one of the unique countries which operate a dual banking system where the Islamic banking system operates in parallel with the conventional system. Similar to conventional banks, all banking facilities such as deposit account, financing and other products and services are available at Islamic banks. An important milestone taken by the government in positioning Malaysia as an international Islamic financial hub was to bring forward the liberalization of its Islamic banking sector to 2004, three years ahead of the World Trade Organization’s deadline.
The development of the Islamic financial system in Malaysia started with the establishment of pilgrimage fund (Tabung Haji) in 1963 as the first Islamic savings institution. The idea was mooted out of the necessity to develop a mechanism to encourage the Muslims to save for their pilgrimage as the Malaysian Muslims in the past had resorted to various traditional means of saving and keeping their money for the sacred journey. After a few years of break, the first full-fledged Islamic bank was estab
Schools are complex social systems which perform various organizational functions involving administration, teachers, students, parents, communities, and government bodies. The charge for the education system to reinvent itself was generated by a push for reform from commentators, researchers, policymakers, public bodies, and Ministry of Education, Youths, and Sports (MoEYS). The process for implementing new educational reform and bringing organizational changes affects the core functions of school’s social system (WB, 2007).
The global initiatives of Education for All (EFA) of the 1990s, as well as other policy initiatives have stressed the importance of improving the quality of education. In developed and developing countries alike, educational reformers have faced with intensive attention to the perennial question of what is meant by improving educational quality. The message is clear that recently since Cambodian government has experienced peace and political stability, it introduced the institutional reforms based on the good governance. A vital element of governance is decentralization (Daun, 2007). Different forms of decentralization have been suggested, but educational decentralization always plays as the first priority in the ground that providing more classrooms, more teachers, and more textbooks to schools is not enough to make schools work better. As a result, it is not surprising that the transfer of some decision-making power to schools becomes a popular reform over the past decade (WB, 2007)
Like the rest of the world, Cambodia government regards educational decentralization as one of the most important sectors in improving quality education for all. Accordingly, government as well as MoEYS has drafted several policies to meet the targets and respond to the international conventions from Jomtien to DaKar. Furthermore, Education Strategic Plan 2009-2013 listed a series of strategies to achieve EFA goal with regard to decentralization. National Strategic Development Plan 2009-2013 also mentioned about the educational reforms, and vitally Education Sector Support Program and EFA National Plan 2003-2015 have stated the plan to strengthen the capacity of school directors, particularly at basic education, and decentralized the management and responsibilities into local schools in that any educational change has to be linked to the roles of school principals and school principal also has effects on staff motivation, student learning outcomes, and school climate and culture(MoEYS, n.d& WB, 2002).
1.2 Problem Statement
In reference with the guidelines of training the school principals at primary schools (MoEYS, 2004), the roles and responsibilities of the principals are to manage the administration, to perform pedagogical techniques, to communicate insiders and outsiders, and to develop the school plans such as school-budget operation and so on. Although MoEYS has gradually decentralized the responsibilities and decision-making to the grassroots, there are still challenges for the primary school principals (PSP). One of the challenges is that when MoEYS increases the tasks as stated in MoEYS’s guideline book in 2004 there is less support from senior management such as Provincial Office of Education ( POE) and District Office of Education(DOE) and they even get less pay as well. According to NEP and VSO (2008), PSP receive a basic salary only $30 and $40 and thus it makes them under financial pressures. Additionally, POE and DOE staffs are not trained enough to give advice and support needed by school directors.
In other words , in EFA National Plan 2003-2015, as an educational officer PSP play a very important role in attaining EFA targets and in order to ensure that they can execute the tasks effectively,Royal Government of Cambodia has a strong desire to decentralize planning, and management, and to build the capacity to implement basic education services (MoEYS, n.d). Though these things have been stipulated and planned at national level, the actual practices of training PSP’s capacity in managing the school are not fully implemented. According to schools for children of Cambodia(SCC) (2009), 7 school directors and deputy directors in Siem Reap were trained with leadership skills such as administration, management, and motivation for teachers and staffs because SCC believed they were not fully equipped with enough capacity to carry out the responsibilities. As a SvayDungKum Primary School director, he was happy to have joined this training and he really needed this knowledge to implement his roles and responsibilities. Another research conducted by NEP and VSO (2008) was that school directors focused much on the Ministry guidelines rather than teacher’s problems. This reflected the responsibility of PSP articulated in the guideline book of MoEYS in 2004. PSP had to facilitate, guide, and resolve the problems of teachers in terms of enhancing quality of teaching and learning. Therefore, the idea of decentralization on the role and responsibilities of PSP as stated in EFA National Plan 2003-2015 has not been completely practiced and absorbed fully by PSP.
This research thesis attempts to understand the roles, responsibilities of Cambodian primary school principals. The paper continues to hear emerging challenges they face in carrying out those roles and responsibilities in dealing with various changes in education service reforms.
The study will look at the levels of roles and responsibilities of PSP. The specific questions will be included.
What are the roles and responsibilities of PSP- as prescribed in the MoEYS administrative guideline?
How relevant are the guidelines to the current school management environment?
What are the challenges perceived by PSP in managing and improving the school?
Rational/Significance of the study
Decentralization of education system is one of the educational phenomenon to accomplish EFA and quality education (UNESCO, 2004). In centralized education system, central governments have been facing increasingly difficulty in administering the expanding mass education. The situation in sub-Sahara Africa seems to be carefully considered because many governments have faced the expansion of school systems to achieve the universal primary education. Thus, it required the governments to adapt the alternative approaches which mean moving from central education system to a modern approach which enable the flexibility to shape education to local schools, (Pellin, 2007).However, one of the most important aspects of the educational changes is the increased roles and responsibilities of the school principals as commented by Shoraku (2006). As a consequence, this study is dispensable to find out how PSP bears his responsibility and roles in providing education services.
The research findings will first benefit the researcher with regard to education since the researcher wants to see the differences between what he has read in the books and the real practices of primary school principals.
This research will also provide plenty of primary indications of how PSP plays a significant role in improving schooling and quality education.
The findings from the study will be also given as feedbacks to all stakeholders such as community, MoEYS, Development Partners, and policymakers to reform their education policy and build up a concrete structure to strengthen PSP’s capacity in regard to implementing their roles in the future.
The findings will exactly inform the policymakers how important PSP is in implementing the education policy and also suggest the top decision-makers if there are any specific points of current frameworks needed to be changed or revised in order to improve the implementation and participation.
Definitions of key terms
Decentralization is the transfer of responsibility for planning, financing andmanaging certain public function from the central government and its agencies to field units or government agencies ( e.g. provincial or district line agencies) (Pellin, 2007).
The study uses the term school principal or school director with the same meaning in Cambodia context.
School principal is a delegation of MoEYS in charge of managing the school. As a representative of MoEYS, school principal is the head of an institution, and has administration authority which he/she has a high responsibility for dividing the affairs, and managing the school such as administration, technical issues, and communications. (MoEYS, 2002)
Decentralized school management can be viewed conceptually as a formal alteration of governance structure as a form of decentralization that identifies individual schools as a primary unit of improvement and relies on the redistribution of decision-making authority as primary means through which the improvement might be stimulated and sustained. (WB, 2007, p.2)
Proposal chapter organization of the research paper
This proposal will be arranged as follows: chapter I covers the Introduction of the study that include the background of the study, the problem statement, the objectives of the study, the research questions, the rational of the study, the definitions of key terms, and the proposal chapter organization; Chapter II will be the Literature Review; Chapter III will also prescribe the Methodology of the research (research design); Chapter IV will analyze data and the findings of the study; and at the end Chapter V will discuss, conclude, recommend and provide the further study.
The new political dispensation in Cambodia has brought its own unique set of changes in other spheres. Cambodian education has been the focal point in terms of management changes since the new era. Decentralized school management under the responsibilities of the school principals is the new management type which has been mostly advocated by not only government education policy, but also various researchers and literatures. The purpose of this chapter is to present the notions of global perspectives on school principal’s roles under educational decentralization, challenges of Cambodian school principals, and school principal leadership and management in a culture of change.
2.1 School Principals’ Roles under Decentralized Education from International Perspectives.
Within this section, the study will examine various literatures about the school principal’s roles from different countries and specific discussions of research findings are also picked up.
Nowadays, decentralization policies are not altogether new, given that some modern nations such as U.S or Canada have these policies. The demand for political self-government on the part of certain communities also goes back a long way. Since the 1980s, nevertheless, there has been a paradigm shift in public management which has transformed our perception of the processes of decentralization and the functions that it serves. As the states become more liberalized, the needs to decentralize education systems are the most important phenomena in educational planning over the past 20 years (UNESCO, 2004). Furthermore, Daun (2007) reported that the reasons for educational decentralization of some countries were (i) the inabilities of governments to finance the education system, or increasing educational costs; (ii) cultural factors; (iii) weakening public sectors;(iv) state overload; (v) declining the performance of education system; (vi) global and international pressures (p.28).
Moreover, policies toward decentralization of the education sector exist in almost every country in Asia. However, there is considerable difference in the form it takes within each country context. Decentralization is generally defined as the devolution of authority and responsibility for schools from the central-level administration to intermediate-level organization and ultimately to schools (Sindhvad, 2009). Much of the literature explaining decentralization discusses the challenges specific to the central administration and district authorities in decision-making processes and the changes necessary to the functions within those of levels of management (Sindhvad as cited in ADB, 2002). A section of literature discusses the challenges the school management must confront and take on new responsibilities inherited by central-level administration and the changes demanded to operate effectively in their new roles to improve school management, specifically emphasizing on the school principals (Sindhvad, 2009).
Within this segment,Sindhvad (2009) recognized the fact that decentralization is placing new pressures on the school principal that few are prepared to meet while emphasizing the emerging tasks of enhancing and supporting school-level management across Asia. Sindhvad (2009) also provided the insight on how these significant changes of improving education quality and increasing competition for resources impact on the school leadership in Asia.
Sindhvad (2009) further explained in theory that school principals have responsibility in four areas. First, school management, which includes ordering supplies, ensuring teachers are hired and assigned, information gathering, and basic record keeping, is viewed in many countries as the school principal’s main set of responsibilities. Second, school-ministry communications, which consist largely of reporting to central ministry, is a chief task of school principals in some countries. Third, school-community relationship entails community councils, community development associations, parent-teacher associations, parent groups, and other local organizations that have interests in the schools. Finally, instructional supervision is the responsibility most directly linked to the teaching quality. Nonetheless, the extent of which school principals regard instructional supervision as a part of their responsibility varied across countries and in some countries, it is a responsibility of district inspectors or teacher supervisors. As a result of decentralization, school principals are required to take full responsibility for instructional supervision, in spite of the fact that this function is the least engaged by school principals. It is the crucial point for SP to spearhead any school improvement efforts toward student achievements.
The level of responsibility of SP is further compounded by the pressures for education quality improvement and efficiency within education systems in most Asian countries. According to Sindhvad (2009), the urgency of strengthening and supporting school-level management is not only due to the new waves of decentralization, but also as a result of demographic and economic trends seen in many Asian countries. Chapman (2009) continued to argue that many countries were experiencing near universal access and leveling of enrolment growth at the primary school level which increasingly focused on improving the quality of education. One consequence of this shift is that administrators at all levels of education sector, particularly SP, will need a better understanding of the teaching and learning processes and which actions are likely to improve the quality of education. Even when resources are available, the problems SP face in improving school quality are which inputs and actions will lead to positive outcomes in student learning. Sindhvad (2009) also commented that the competition for scarce resources was huge in many Asian countries due to issues of poverty, epidemic, and pollution that forced the governments to allocate resources for causes of catastrophes. Thus, spending on education is often cut and long-term gains offered by education are minimized. For this matter, SP as well as administrators at all levels need to be knowledgeable about strategies that are effective in producing the outcomes and skilled at using fewer resources.
In Philippine, based on Sindhvad (2009), traditional roles of principals were limited to school building management and maintenance and responsible for repairing and receiving orders from central offices. In addition, SP had no flexibility on the national curriculum and had little influence on decision-making processes regarding to management of school funds and procurement of school supplies and learning materials. However, under decentralization of education sector, the Government of Philippines passed the Governance of Basic Education Act in 2001 which redefined the roles of SP in an effort to dismantle a centralized system and promote shared decision making. It is also a framework for school principal empowerment aiming to strengthen leadership roles and school management within the context of transparency and local accountability.
The model of decentralization and school-based management applied in this program is based on the assumption that school principal will be supported and empowered through training and a network of support from central offices and also promotes the leadership needed to work with the concerned parties such as Parent-Teacher Associations(PTA), School Management Committee(SMC), and local government to develop the schools (Sindhvad, 2009). The network of support will develop lateral coordination between and among the principals, SMC, PTA, and others. Sindhvad (2009) wrote that lateral coordination is being viewed as less formalized and more flexible than authority-bound system and rules. In addition to this, lateral techniques such as formal and informal meetings, coordinating roles, and network organizations are crucial factors to open communication between principals and stakeholders and facilitate the ways toward school improvement efforts.
The roles of principals in Philippines are undergoing a huge change after the passing of Republic Act 9155. Through the development program of the School Improvement Plan, principals are given more authority in terms of implementing school improvement initiatives on a monthly and annual basis. Rather, principals can provide necessary training and workshop to teachers and guide them to reshape the national curriculum to meet students’ needs. Beside this, school principals directly receive funds from the central offices to maintain school buildings and to spend on school operations and these funds are to be allocated by principals’ discretion, (Sindhvad, 2009).
In Indonesia, under USAID fund, the Government of Indonesia launched a project called Decentralized Basic Education Project (DBEP), aiming specifically to improve basic education delivery as well as management and governance at elementary school level in Indonesia. Within this project, all stakeholders such as Ministry of Education, schools, and community have been required to work in partnership with each other in order to implement a comprehensive program to support a school-based management in the targeted schools and it also includes the leadership training for school principals, school committee strengthening, and school development planning (USAID, 2010). Further, 526 elementary school principals were trained with the new roles of managing the schools such as implementing government policy relating to this project, the roles as educators, managers, leaders, innovators, motivators, and supervisors, and school leaderships. In effects, this project found that 99% of principals said the project had a positive impact on their schools regarding to management, governance, administration, community participation as well as student learning outcomes.
In Thailand, the influences of educational reform from international environment have brought the country into a new stage of decentralization of education. Basically focused, school management and decentralization of decision-making authority to school level are essential steps to play (Nenyod, 2002).
Again, in the case of Thailand, the 1999 National Education Act requires the Ministry of Education to decentralize powers in educational administration and management regarding to academic matters, budget, personnel, and general affairs of administration directly to committee and offices for Education, Religion, Culture of educational service areas and educational institutions in the areas (Nenyod, 2002). As stated by Shoraku (2006), any educational decentralization needs to be linked to the roles of SP. Principals play a significant role in managing and facilitating the general aspects of schools, teachers, staffs, student learning process, and community relations. Thus, decentralization of education in Thailand put SP in facing the new roles of managing the schools. A report by Nenyod (2002) about school-based management focused primarily on the essential competencies of SP for meeting the requirements of educational reforms, characteristics of management methods and relationship between SP’s characteristics of management methods and competencies to meet the educational changes.Nenyod (2002) listed competency requirements of SP as follows:
Faith of colleagues;
Ability for teamwork;
Good human relationship;
Knowledge and ability in management;
Resolve in decision making and taking responsibilities;
Integrity and transparency;
Attributes of good-coordinator;
Supportive attitudes; and
Serving as desirable model. (p.iii)
The study results showed that rules and regulations still governed administration in spite
of decentralizing authority for decision-making to local schools. Principals still held central powers despite the new changes in management methods and structures. Regarding to principal’s competencies, it has been found that, prior to the project implementation, some competencies of most principals were not at the level desired (Nenyod, 2002).
Also, a research conducted by Sakulsumpaopol (2010) wrote that the New Education Reform policy in Thailand played a framework to implement the national leadership strategy which the central government delegates powers to local schools. In this context, SP is seen a key factor in leading school restructuring and building collective ideas among school community. He/she is supposed to assume the responsibility for the progress of the school. Beside this, SP highlighted by another research is also required to spend more time organizing and completing administrative work ( Sakulsumpaopol, 2010). He continued that most principals had engaged in the routine work such as planning infrastructure development, organizing necessary human, financial and physical resources, controlling staff performance through evaluation and feedback.
In his study, Sakulsumpaopol (2010) recognized three broad areas which the principals can influence the school change: Management and Control, Leadership and Innovative and Human Development. Within these areas, Sakulsumpaopol identified eleven role types of SP which were responded by participating principals in Thai elementary and secondary schools. They were:
Establishing community partnership
Creating school vision
Maintaining effective communication
Evaluation (Sakulsumpaopol, 2010, p.157)
According to the eleven roles above, he studied deeply and pointed out that they were involved in a broad range of related tasks emphasized on the principal roles and SP was a key figure in supporting school improvement. Last of all, this research result indicated there was a need for principal professional development, since in order to lead the change in schools, SP are required to be highly skilled, knowledgeable, and capable, (Sakulsumpaopol, 2010).
In Turkey, Gumuseli (2009) also conducted a research about professional capacity of primary school principals in performing the changes in school and investigated the responsibilities and authority in decision-making.The questionnaire was distributed to 1475 respondents and 1428 valid questionnaires were evaluated. The research results showed that the authority of average school principals in Turkey is limited and their responsibilities are imbalanced. Even though the increased responsibilities of primary school principals in implementation of educational reform have been proclaimed, the actual practice of decision-making authority is transferred to the provincial offices and this is due to the central management in Turkey (Gumuseli, 2009). He further found that many primary school principals realized their new roles such as program development and coordination, school improvement and effectiveness, and professional development and they desired to execute these responsibilities more effectively, but one of the main reasons was that school principals did not know the effective school and leadership. Another reason was that the upper management teams expected a managerial role but not leadership from them.
In Sri Lanka, the role of school principal has been changing as a result of the greater devolution of responsibilities to schools through different policies. School principal will increasingly be held accountable for the quality of learning outcomes of schools, resource mobilization and associated staff development programs. So as to fulfill those responsibilities, they may be required to develop new management skills to work collaboratively and effectively with students, school management committee, teachers and school communities(Lekamge, 2010). In Lekamge’ s (2010) research paper, he mainly investigated the current practices of schools in Sri Lanka with regard to leadership and management roles of principals and the capacity of principals to perform the roles expected by the school community. Rather, the study explored how school leadership brought about the changes in student learning achievement and variation in management tasks of school principals in relation to school size and different locations. The study found that the principals performed different management and leadership roles such traditional management and administration roles, transactional leadership roles, transformational roles, and transitional roles. Within these management and leadership roles, the researcher concluded that the strong personality characteristics of principals such as commitment, dedication, confidence, and motivation have overriding effects on the success of the schools. Additionally, there was a striking balance and a strong linkage between different aspects of leadership and management roles among the principals who have performed better than the others (Lekamge, 2010).
In Australia, Sahid (2004) discussed the changing nature of the role of principals in primary and junior secondary schools following the introduction of local school management in South Australia. This study reported the series of interviews with primary and junior secondary principals with regard to their roles in several areas namely; instructional leadership, teacher’s professional development, teacher selection, staff supervision, supervision of students, decision-making, budgeting, and school finances, curriculum, school council and the parents of the students and major challenges of principal’s roles. Further, the findings suggested there were not great changes in the role of primary and secondary school principals as a result of local school management in South Australia had increased. Moreover, the role of school principal was also in association with the emerging role in working with the governing council and the parents of the students in relation to decision-making and school budgeting and finances (Sahid, 2004).
In addition to above findings, in a study of Hansraj (2007) about financial management roles of principal in South Africa, he commented that:
all kinds of information in the school system, none is more important than financial
information since all the activities of the school and its ultimate performance rely on
soundly managed finances. (p.23)
In regard to this, Hansraj (2007) implied that even though other roles of principal were associated with school management, financial management of principals might be more essential with the reason that if the principals did not manage the budget efficiently, it may result in the lack of attaining the academic goals.
2.2 Challenges of Cambodian School Principals
This section examines how school principals in Cambodia meet the challenges School Principals in Cambodia
After the result of implementation of decentralized education management, school principals in Cambodia have played a significant role on matters relevant to school management such as school development plan and school-operating budgets. Concerning the school development plan, the ministry said that the process of developing the plan should involve teachers not only in implementation but also in the planning process. In this context, MoEYS (2000) wrote.
The old way is one-person plans and the other group or departments implement the plan. This takes a lot of time, create misunderstanding, generate poor relationship, and the result in sub-standard quality. The modern way is the responsible group plans and implements their work together. More ideas are combined into a common objective. The same people or group plan the work, and implement their plan. Result is then acceptable as expected and of a good quality. (p.6)
A reason to encourage principals to cooperate with other teachers is that the government wants the schools to change the structures in management so that the schools could produce the better performance result. In order to prepare the school development plan which should be produced annually, the principals have to list all activities planned within a year and submit these plans to school support committees to gain their consensus, (MoEYS, 2000).
However, in reality, in spite of these rapid changes and increases in principals’ workloads, principals in Cambodia have no training to become principals. Before coming the principals, they were in many cases assistant principals and appointed as principals by the ministry, (Morfield, 2003). Morfield (2003) argued that Khmer principals rarely practiced building strong relationship with parents, teachers, or especially children. They made communication based on the hierarchy, i.e. the top people order the people below, who order others below. However, this circumstance is somehow changed after the central ministry told them to work to build the relationship. But, no one shows them how to do it.
Involving other teachers in both implementation stages and preparations processes of school development plan is the new roles of the school principals in Cambodia. This style of school management is the literature on school management reviewed earlier as recommended as effective and ideal in the context of educational decentralization. MoEYS (2000) attempted that this style of school management could motivate other teachers to work better with principals to accomplish the shared and common objectives. Yet, the documents specifying the principals’ new roles only emphasizes on the collaborative style with the teachers. They did not explain how the principals can make a change of teachers’ will to achieve the targeted goals of the school. In other words, the documents did not discern how the teachers would react to this style of principals and what kind of interpersonal relationship the principals possessed with other teachers.
Moreover, the underrepresentation of female teachers in school management is another concern when principals intend to stimulate other teacher’s decision-making in participation. Shoraku (2006) w
This study investigates English language teachers’ beliefs and beliefs about teaching grammar and explores differences in teacher’s beliefs about grammar and teaching grammar. I will investigate their beliefs based on their knowledge, experience as learners and teachers. The study thus examines the relationship between teacher’s knowledge and beliefs and ways of teaching. The review of the literature will discuss previously published work that is relevant to the present work.
1.1.1. The Nature of the Teachers’ Beliefs.
“How teachers make sense of their professional world, the knowledge and the beliefs they bring with them to the task, and how teachers’ understanding of teaching, learning, children and, the subject matter informs they everyday practice are important question that necessitate an investigation of the cognitive and affective aspects of teachers’ professional lives.” (Calderhead 1996:709) At present, there is more understanding of teachers’ beliefs as very influential and pervasive factor on teachers decisions made in the classroom (Bandura 1986). Jakubowski and Tobin (1991) advocate that teachers’ beliefs may change the whole lesson content.
Beliefs are considered as the most influential contribution to teachers’ work and the way of teaching but extremely difficult to define. According to Pajeras (1992:2) beliefs are a “messy construct [that] travels in disguise and often under alias.” These aliases are also known as “images” (Golombek 1988), “untested assumptions” (Kagan 1992, Calderhead 1996), “maxims” (Richards 1996), “perceptions” (Kagan 1992) “personal theories” (Borg 1998), or “personal pedagogical system” (Borg 1998). Pajeras (1992) and Richardson (1996) looked at them as a way of understanding teachers’ decisions and their practices.
The way how the beliefs are held intentionally or unintentionally is due to individuals and “imbedded with emotive commitment” (Borg 2001:186) and they are the foundations of all thoughts and behaviours. Everyone forms their beliefs from the very beginning of their lives, they are the outcome of the education gained at school or based on personal experiences (Johnson 1994), they are fully formed by the end of education, earlier experiences either as a learner or as a teacher have main influence in forming beliefs. LeLup (1995:137) states that teachers’ beliefs are based on “how they [teachers] were taught and their perceptions of how they learned.” What is more, they may be developed on the basis of students needs (Eisenstein-Ebsworth and Shweers 1997). Richards, Gallo and Renandya (2001) argue that teacher’s main beliefs derive from educational principles, school practices and teachers personalities. Calderhead (1996) states that, teachers held their beliefs about learner, learning, nature of teaching, curriculum, and the way of learning how to teach. Richards (1996) maintains that teachers’ beliefs have influence on the way of preparing and planning the lesson, maintaining the discipline in the classroom, encouraging and motivating the learner. Richards (1996) claims that beliefs are the product of teachers’ development. Richards (1996:293) maintains that beliefs “reflect teachers’ individual philosophies of teaching, developed from their experience of teaching and learning, their teacher education experiences, and from their own personal beliefs and value systems.”
The definition of teachers beliefs cannot be simplified or standardized, they are amalgamated and have many features, as Pajeras (1992:324) asserts that beliefs “redefines, distorts, or reshapes subsequent thinking and information processing.” Clark Peterson (1986) coincide that beliefs are compound and they also state that beliefs vary among all the teachers who follow alike if not the same practices. Abelson (1979, cited in Woods 1996) states that beliefs vary from weak to strong. Some of them are very strong and resistant to changes, although alternative belief regarding alike issue may be acknowledged, even after taking part in teaching-training programmes. Their boundaries are fuzzy, they overlapping with each other, although they can exist as individual units.
1.1.2. The Sources of Teachers’ Beliefs
System of teachers’ beliefs is based on attitudes, information, theories, assumptions about teaching and learning, experience. Some of the beliefs are very precise, others are blurred and vague. As said by Johnson (1994) beliefs influence teachers’ judgment and point of view, but what are the main sources of particular beliefs?
Richards and Lockhart (2007) divided the sources of teachers’ beliefs in the main areas of: teachers experience as a language learner. All of the teachers were learners and had to learn the language. The majority of learners obtain the knowledge in different way; all of them have their own effective (sometimes less effective) methods of acquiring vocabulary or grammar (repetition, drills, visualization). Other source of beliefs mentioned by Richards and Lockhart (2007) is based on the experience of teaching foreign language which may be preeminent one. Teacher through years of work is able to discover which teaching strategies are the most efficient. Teachers can witness what work best for particular types of the students. Richards and Lockhart (2007) enumerate practice as one of the sources. They maintain that “within a school, an institution, or a school district, certain teaching style may be preferred (Richards and Lockhart 2007:31).” In some schools teacher are obliged to teach in small groups, in others they have to work with individuals learners or immense groups of students. Furthermore, type of personality was also suggested as one of the sources of teachers’ beliefs. Everyone is dissimilar, we all have different preferences. Language teachers have different teaching patterns, use different activities or arrange classroom in various ways. Another source of teachers’ beliefs is educationally based or research-based principles. As Richards and Lockhart (2007:31) say “Teachers may draw on their understanding of learning principle in psychology, second language acquisition, or education and try to apply it in the classroom.” This may also refer to teachers’ knowledge which is often used synonymously to word belief (Kagan 1990, Alexander, Schallert & Hare 1991). Another source of teachers’ beliefs proposed by Richards and Lockhart (2007) are the principles based on approach or method applied by the teacher in the classroom. Each teacher beliefs that some of the techniques are better than others, methodology they use while conveying the knowledge differs, they implement different teaching strategies. It may be based on their experience or knowledge.
Eisentein-Ebsworth and Schweers (1997) state that teachers beliefs are formed not only by the teaching environment but also by students, their needs, expectations, experience gained through years of teaching foreign language, and curriculum established by Ministry of Education. Richards and Lockhart (2007) expanded this list by adding English language, general teaching and teaching English language. Williams and Burden (1997) add up the learner to this list.
1.1.3. Teachers’ Beliefs about English.
The term English has different meaning for everyone. Some would say that this is the language spoken all over the world, for others it is the language of business, literature or key to knowledge due to the fact that most of the scientific articles are written in English. The way English is perceived varies among the teachers and learners and reasons of learning it and the nature of the language (as English language is known as one of the most evolving languages) (Richards and Lockhart 2007).
. In the context of education, teacher is the one who presents the language and the way it is done varies among the tutors. All of the English language educators should ask themselves important questions: what English means to them? Why is it so valuable? What difficulties teachers and learners can come across while teaching and learning English language? What are the possible solutions to those difficulties? How to motivate language learners? Etc. Answers to all these questions will be influenced according to teachers’ beliefs (Richards and Lockhart 2007).
1.1.4. Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching and Learning.
Teaching is based on teachers’ beliefs and assumptions about effective teaching. As Pajeras (1992) states teachers’ beliefs are established by teachers’ attitude, value and experience not only as a teacher but also as a learner. Teachers may pertain to the time when they were learners and ask themselves questions what they understand by the term learning, how learners acquire knowledge, what are the most effective ways of achieving it, what learning styles teacher would like to promote and why? Teacher should consider its role in the classroom, what are the most appropriate methods and how the teacher can turn from a teacher to a good teacher (Richards and Lockhart 2007)? Johnson (1992:101) states that “teachers teach in accordance with their theoretical beliefs and that differences in theoretical beliefs may result in differences in the nature of… instructions’.” Johnson (1992) maintains that there are three main approaches shared among English language teachers: a skills-based approach (teachers pay attention to developing main skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking), rule-based approach (teachers pay a lot of attention to grammatical rules and accurate use of the language), and a function-based approach (teachers believe that interaction is the key to successful learning). Moreover, Kennedy and Kennedy (1998) suggest that sharing the same or different values and beliefs of the same culture may affect the process of teaching and learning. In some countries teacher plays main role in the classroom and fully control the classroom whereas in others learner is in the centre of interests.
1.1.5. Teachers’ Beliefs about Learners.
Teachers assert variety of beliefs about language learners and the variety of them; their beliefs often derive from the environment and the society they reside. Meighan and Meighan (1990, cited in Williams and Burden 1997) made a distinction among the learners and distinguish them into five main categories: resisters (they treat teacher as a punisher and learn because they are forced to), receptacles (learner is treated as an object, teacher do not pay attention to learners feelings or needs, teacher is only conveying knowledge), raw materials (learners is believed to be easily controlled by the teacher), partner (teachers treat learners on equal rights, they believe that not only learner acquire knowledge but they learn at the same time), clients ( teachers pay attention to learners educational needs).
1.1.6 Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching Program and the Curriculum.
“Any language teaching program reflects both culture of the institution (i.e., particular ways of thinking and of doing things that are valued in the institution) as well as collective decisions and beliefs of individual teachers” (Richards and Lockhart 2007:38). Each country has different curriculum and teachers are expected to teach in a distinct way. Teachers may also have different beliefs about the institution or school they are teaching at. Dissimilar type of assessment, various materials, and textbooks are used in different schools what may lead teacher to different classroom practices and develop varied beliefs about teaching foreign language. Each teacher has individual beliefs of how to implement curriculum postulations. Additionally, teachers have their own beliefs about problems with the program they may encounter while working (e.g., is the program well designed to meet learners needs, what elements of the teaching program are crucial and should be followed, what is teachers position towards the assessment or what changes should be made in the program etc.)
1.1.7. Teachers’ Beliefs about being a Professional (English) Language Teacher.
Being a professional language teacher is not only about having the specialization in this field but also having specific skills required to perform this occupation. “Professional work seems to involve a range of kinds of expertise, including formal, organized knowledge and identifiable procedures and skills” (Squires 1999:5).The way the language teachers see their profession depends on the country and culture they are teaching at. Additionally it depends on the conditions of their work, their attitude towards teaching itself and what they want to achieve in their lives (Richards and Lockhart 2007). Squires (1999:6) sees teaching as an art, “Teacher-as-artist does what he or she is”. Although, in some countries, teaching is not seen as a profession but as a life style and/or opportunity to travel. For example, in England to become an English language teacher candidate has to finish short course (TEFL, CELTA) which is enough and takes only couple of months, on the contrary to become a professional language teacher in Poland the candidate has to gain at least Bachelor of Arts degree which takes three years. The standards of the teaching as a profession are often established by the society, its need and pursuit of the specific knowledge like in this case knowledge of the English language. Teachers have to examine themselves and ascertain what it means for them being professional, what the main characteristics of a professional teacher are, what training should be provided and what they would like to gain in the future. All the language teachers ought to answer one main question: what is the main reason to become an English language teacher?
1.1.8. Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching Grammar.
Teachers’ beliefs about grammar and grammar teaching are more precise and detailed part of their beliefs about general language teaching. Borg (2003) in his review about teachers’ beliefs about grammar teaching came to conclusion that: teachers refer to their own experience with grammar as learners and the teacher’s expectations are different to language learners what may influence the understanding of teachers’ instructions. Therefore there should not be any generalization made as the teachers’ beliefs may differ due to teachers’ age, years of experience as language teachers, their own experience as language learners, teachers’ linguistic ability, teachers’ interests (literature, cultural studies), whether they planned to teach grammar or literature (English literature), schools they are teaching at, their students (level of language and learners’ needs) (Katz and Watzinger-Tharp 2008). Teachers, when it comes to teaching grammar should consider what they understand by grammar, what points of the grammar are important, what part of the lesson should be devoted to grammar, how to arrange grammar lesson, what types of the activities are more suitable? Teaching grammar always increases uncertainty in English language teachers not only from the curricular view but also from pedagogical and linguistic matter.
Teaching foreign language like any other professional field is based on proper background, practical knowledge and proper professional education. To be a sufficient language teacher, one has to gain exceptional understanding of the subject. To be capable of presenting the knowledge in a comprehensible way, language teachers have posses not only knowledge about the subject itself but also have to know how to present it, what materials use, when and why (Borg 2006). Griffin (1983) states that definition of knowledge is a matter of judgment not a matter of science. According to Cornbleth (1986), knowledge is also all what teachers represent, from political and moral to personal aspects. Briscoe (1991:186) suggests in her findings that knowledge “is uniquely constructed by individuals” and “all knew knowledge is filtered through the framework of beliefs which the teacher already possesses and is adapted to fit (…) existing frameworks, simply giving the teacher new curriculum or suggesting changes in practice may not result in the desire outcomes.” She advocates that, if the teacher is expected to change his/her practice he/she should take an active part in “creating the knowledge” to adapt to changes. As maintained by Woods (1996:195) term knowledge is used for “conventionally accepted facts”, he also made a distinction between ‘content’ and instructional’ knowledge. Elbaz (1983:5) believes that ‘practical knowledge’ is one of the most important elements in teachers’ work because it is based on teacher’s experience, knowledge about the learner, teaching and learning strategies, learners’ “needs, strengths and difficulties, and a repertoire of instructional techniques and classroom managements skills.” Wilson, Shulman and Richert (1987) identify several ‘domains of knowledge’ which are major element in effective teaching:
Knowledge about the subject: theoretical knowledge, teachers’ proficiency, knowledge about the culture, and the language properties, understanding of the curriculum development.
General Pedagogical Knowledge: knowledge about teaching strategies and teaching methods, classroom management and maintaining discipline.
Pedagogical Content Knowledge: is a knowledge required to teach specific area of the language like vocabulary or grammar.
Knowledge of Learners: teachers should be aware of the learners’ weaknesses and strengths, their individual differences and ought to be familiar with learners’ problems and needs in learning.
Knowledge of Learning: teachers should posses the knowledge about learning strategies and learners’ aptitude (cognitive development), types of their personalities and should be aware of their social background what may affect their attitude towards learning foreign languages.
Knowledge of Educational Goals: teachers should know what motivates learners, what expectations they have and what they want to achieve.
Knowledge of Self: teachers should know how to motivate themselves, what was the reason of becoming an ‘English language teacher’, they should know their own strengths and weaknesses and work on their own effectiveness.
Teachers’ knowledge of grammar.
Borg (2003:99) in his article: “Teacher cognition in language teaching: a review of research on what language teachers think, believe, know and do” illustrates several studies on teachers knowledge of grammar. He reveals that “studies (â€¦) in the UK have highlighted inadequacies in the knowledge of grammar and general understanding of language of prospective and practicing language teachers.” He exposes that in the survey made in 1994 over 50% of trainees have insufficient knowledge of grammar rules. Another survey made in 1999 shows that non-native speaker of English posses’ better knowledge of grammar and grammatical rules than native speaker students studying English. Hinkel (2005) states that within last decade teaching of grammar at schools has been rejected by many teachers. History of teaching grammar at schools shows how the emphasis on grammar structures has changed within years. From audio-lingual approach (vast pressure on grammar structures) thorough cognitive code theory, non-contrastive Approach, interlanguage, to communicative and finally lexical approach (emphasizes fluency not accuracy, grammar is no longer important). Is the rejection of teaching grammar at schools a product and consequence of new approaches or maybe it is a lack of adequate knowledge in this field? Hinkel (2005) states that teaching grammar may be a real challenge for English language teachers not only because of number aspects of teachers beliefs, lack of job stability, oversized classes but also because of not having sufficient knowledge. Hinkel (2005:555) maintains that many teachers “have never taken a course in English grammar or because they were minimally interested in that course when they were in their degree programs.” She also affirms that many teachers still consider grammar as a set of rules but do not associate them with communication arrangements. Teachers with limited knowledge of grammar rules find grammar lessons boring or too demanding and eliminate them or reduce those lessons to minimum.
The Importance of Grammar in English Language Teaching.
Dykes (2007:3) maintains that both language teachers and language learners carry pejorative connotations towards grammar teaching or learning. Many teachers during the years of their work faced different approaches concerning the importance of grammar in the classroom. At first lack of knowledge about grammar and grammatical structures was believed to influence learners’ literacy abilities what was unacceptable. This system was known as a ‘functional grammar’. Grammar was seen as a set of rules, with exclusion of speech (communicative) aspects. As Crystal (Crystal, D., cited in Dykes 2007:4) said “In the popular mind grammar has become difficult and distant, removed from real life and practiced chiefly by a race of shadowy people (grammarians) whose technical apparatus and terminology require a lengthy novitiate before it can be mastered… It is a shame because the fundamental point about grammar is so very important and so very simple.” This stage was followed by the “period of uncertainty” (Dykes 2007:3) no one knew whether grammar should be taught or not.
1.4. Research into Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching Grammar.
It has been relatively not long time ago when researchers realized the impact of teachers’ beliefs, their attitude and importance of teachers’ knowledge of grammar on their way of teaching. There have been a number of researchers made teachers’ beliefs about grammar and grammar teaching.
Richards, Gallo and Renandya (2001)
Can the educational system in Mauritius be a Marxist one? In this paper, the educational system in Mauritius is analysed according to the Marxist perspective. The first part of the paper is concentrated on the historical side of the education system where it was observed that since the system was set up, there was favouritism, with the whites only gaining access to formal education. The Marxist perspective is then reviewed to gain an insight about this school of thought. After a thorough analysis of the educational system, it was found that there are many inequalities in the Mauritian school environment.
Chapter One – Brief History of Formal Education in Mauritius
The first setting up of an educational institute in Mauritius is dated back to the end of the 18th Century when Mauritius was under the French occupation. After the French Revolution in 1790, the colonial Assembly proclaimed that “that the state had to provide moral and political education to its citizens. It was understood that a uniform type of education would be made available to all, irrespective of their social class” (Koodooruth, 2004). However, the first educational national institution set up was the “L’Ecole Centrale” which provided secondary education for the elite and under the rule of General Isidore Decaen, “L’Ecole Centrale” was converted to a Lycée, providing both primary and secondary education. In his time, some primary schools were made accessible to non-whites but secondary educational institutes were reserved for whites only. Hence, education was the “province of the whites” (Koodooruth, 2004).
Few years after the capture of the island by the British in 1810, the needy and coloured children were provided with free primary education during the day. This initiative was taken by Reverend Lebrun in the year 1815. In the process, the latter was accused of “conspiracy to set the slaves free” (Ramdoyal, 1977, p.38). Regarding the education of the slaves, Charles Telfair, in 1829, was the first to provide education in his estate at Bel Ombre.
Following the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which was passed in Mauritius in 1835 (Wikipedia, 2012) and the start of the Indian immigration in the 1830’s, no provision was made for the children of those Indian immigrants. It was only in the 1850’s, after Governor Higginson drew the attention of the local government as well as the British government of the Indians’ situation, that “grants-in-aid were offered to denominational schools” (Koodooruth, 2004). By the year 1882, there were 47 government schools with 6,571 children enrolled and 57 grant-in-aid schools with 5,316 children enrolled (Ramdoyal, 1977, p.72). In 1908, out of the 60000 children of school age, only about 7000 attended school as the Indians had difficulties to communicate and due to the lack of competent teachers.
In 1968, Mauritius obtained its independence from its British rulers and the primary concern of the Mauritian government was education. Since then, considerate efforts and investment of resources have been made in the education system and primary education was offered freely since its inception while secondary education became free as from 1976 and tertiary education followed as from 1988. Pre-primary schools however are not free but
According to statistics of the Government of Mauritius (2011), in March 2011, there were 1018 pre-primary schools, 305 primary schools, 121 secondary schools offering both academic and prevocational education, 59 schools were offering academic education only, 5 pre-vocational educations only and 49 Special Education Needs schools. As at December 2010, the number of students enrolled for tertiary education was 44,334. The total government expenditure for the year 2011 for education was Rs 11,709 million.
Chapter Two – Marxist Perspectives of Education
Unlike Functionalism, which assumes that education is fair, that is, it rewards the best candidates and disregards social inequalities that may restrict attainment, Marxism believes that education “teaches the values and norms of the bourgeoisie” (Bryant, n.d.), that is, the elite group or the ruling group. The Marxist view on educational attainment is greatly influenced by social class background. It is said that education transmits ruling class ideology.
Althusser (1971) argued that the main role of education in a capitalist society was the reproduction of an efficient and obedient work force. This is achieved through schools:
1. transmitting the ideology that capitalism is just and reasonable (school teaches you to compete with your fellow pupils by trying to do better than them)
2. train future workers to become submissive to authority (school teaches you to accept as normal to do as you’re told, this way when your boss orders you what to do, it seems perfectly normal) (Anon., 2008)
In a study on interaction in classroom, Sharp and Green (1975) backs Althusser’s Marxist view by maintaining that within the classroom a principle of hierarchisation is taught, which socialises pupils into accepting the principle of stratification. Pupils are taught this because they are categorised into three types namely
ideal pupils (they are those who are easily controlled and are self-motivated),
Wrong (1961) proclaims that “sociologists often have portrayed people as mere puppets manipulated by the invisible strings of society”. As such, Wrong views students as puppets, in that they “passively accept and never reject their school’s values” (Bryant, n.d.).
Marxists view hidden curriculum as propagating inequalities and preparing individual to become “docile, obedient and complying workers” (UOM). The hidden curriculum is thus perceived as a mechanism of the ruling class to perpetuate the system. Furthermore, Illich (1971), in his famous book entitled “Deschooling Society”, claimed that the hidden curriculum imparts to the pupil to become passive and massive consumer. In other words, the pupil has no control over what he or she is learning. Moreover, it is argued that the power of authority makes pupils think that only conformity will bring rewards and is a door to the job market.
Chapter Three – Marxist Perspectives in the Mauritian Context
The materialistic model of society can be found in the Mauritian education system. According to Karl Marx’s sociological concept, the work that people do determines their material wealth which in turn influences their social order. In Mauritius, people who have high paid jobs and rich businessmen can afford to live in specific posh regions. The schools belonging to such catchments areas are therefore prestigious institutions to which access is quite restricted. Consequently, the prevailing school culture in these areas is that of the ruling class of the society. Often such schools receive the best educational resources, such as the best subject teachers, rectors or head teachers and the best laboratory facilities among others, and they obtain more public attention. Furthermore, the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) funds collected and donations receive make it easier for these schools to improve further the educational facilities for the students. According to Koodooruth (2004), National Colleges (previously known as Star Schools) “are found in urban regions and their school population comes mainly from middle class and upper class families. They have good infrastructure, parent-teacher’s associations are very dynamic and students normally perform well in examinations”. The resulting values and beliefs imparted by schools confirm and reinforce what the students have already learnt and experienced at home. For instance, in a “Star” school, students get the message that due to their high intellectual ability, they are the best suitors as the future leaders of the country. The school culture being a reproduction at a micro level of the large society, socialization in the school is a smooth procedure for “Star” school students. Hence, this is why, each year, the greatest number of laureates for the ‘A’-level is from National Colleges like the Royal College of Curepipe and the Queen Elizabeth College. Research shows that students from upper and middle class families show higher level average levels of achievement on test scores and stay longer in school than low class students (Alwin & Thornton 1984, Goleman 1988). There are many reasons to explain this result. The social class of the student will determine many family atmosphere variables such as income, resources, health care, attitudes and behaviours at home, family intellectual activities, and so on. This can further illustrated by taking a look at the pass rate of the Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) for different primary schools in different regions. From the statistics given by the Government of Mauritius regarding the CPE pass rate for the year 2012, the following is worth noted:
Emmanuel Anquetil Govt School
Aime Cesaire Govt School
Albion Govt School
Bambous ‘A’ Govt School
James Toolsy Govt School
J.T Ramsoondar Govt School
Hugh Otter Barry Govt School
The above table is just an example of how the pass rate of some public primary schools at CPE level is at the different regions in Mauritius. It is observed that those schools in poor areas have low pass rates whereas those schools in posh areas have higher pass rates. When analysing thoroughly the pass rate of all public schools the tendency is the same in most cases. Even Dr The Honourable Vasant Bunwaree, Minister of Education and Human Resources of Mauritius, conceded, in an interview by Leelachand (2011) after the announcement of the 2011 CPE results, that there is a great demarcation between the ‘elite’ group and the working class children. He said: “In general, the tendency is that the education system favours the elites but we have to look at the other students as well. If we want to improve the system, we have to make an effort. I am not satisfied with the CPE results. We have to do much better.”
Moreover, teaching is seen as a middle-class job and many teachers come from this social class. Sometimes, they tend to have low expectations of working class children; they may see the students as being only capable of reaching a certain level of academic achievement and would not see any importance in trying to develop the students’ performance any further. This is known as ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’, a term coined by the late Jamaican sociologist Robert King Merton, and this attitude does not encourage these children to go ahead with new challenges. This is the extreme contrary when we observe how the teachers in the National Colleges will strive to produce the laureates. At schools, some teachers tend to assess the children in terms of their language, dress code and other related behaviours. In Rosenthal and Jacobsen’s study called “Pygmalion in the classroom”, some students were selected at random in a classroom and the teacher was made to believe that they had developed a test to determine the future of the students; which students would “bloom academically” the next year. This led to the teacher making more considerations to those students who would “bloom” and eventually it happened to become true. It is therefore proven that labelling have an influence over the success or failure of students. Unfortunately, in some schools in Mauritius, teachers label those students, who cause trouble in class or are reluctant to work, as “couyon” (which means not intelligent or have no skills in Creole) while those in the National Colleges are always encouraged to performed better and have the support of their teachers as well as the school.
Many students from poor socio-background suffer from “learned helplessness”. After failing continually, these students feel that they will never do well at school; they are often labelled negatively by their schoolmates or teachers, so they prefer to quit. Zhao (2011) found that in 2009, “the dropout rate for low-income students was five times greater than their high-income counterparts”. Fortunately in Mauritius since the 1970’s, secondary education has become free. The system of ranking was then established for the CPE examinations which allowed many families from the working class to quickly climb the social ladder. However, this system has been replaced by the grading system and the introduction of National Colleges. It is observed that, even though, education is free, there is a “high rate of dropout at the ‘A’-level” (Study Advisor, n.d.).
Some schools still work under the system of streaming with an ideal objective to meet the educational needs of individual students. However, streaming is often linked to social class, with a disproportionately higher number of lower-streams students being drawn from the working class. This encourages a form of stigmatization on the students whereby the pupils often feel rejected.
Another reason that explains poor performance of lower class students is that their home environments do not give the head start in school provided by middle class and upper class homes (Epstein, 1995). They then have problems to adjust in schools because they had very little support from their parents since their birth. The parenting style and expectations of middle class families are different from lower class. Basil Bernstein (1961) stated that working-class children often communicate ineffectively because of different “language codes”. Moreover, many of the working class students have single parents and as such, they lack the parental affection and are often neglected. In some cases, one of the parents is undergoing specific sentences in jail. In some parts of the country, it is observed that some students, upon returning home from schools, do not actually stay in their houses. They are seen on the streets till late. This leads to juvenile delinquency. The rate of juvenile delinquency has gone on the rise these past years in Mauritius (Fulena, 2009).
In addition, children coming from high-class families have the chance of being acquainted with certain ‘refined’ knowledge about the norms of culture and cultural heritage. This is referred to as the ‘Cultural Capital’, by the famous sociologist Bourdieu. Cultural Capital is formed from the fact that parents, especially those from the higher classes of society, get well acquainted to art, music, art galleries, museums and reference libraries and will therefore inculcate this cultural knowledge to their children. Children therefore learn to appreciate art and other cultural items, from a very tender age. Some also get the chance to go abroad and to visit many foreign countries and thus, will be exposed to foreign languages, different art of living, cultures from multiple ethnic groups and communities and will also learn to appreciate the culinary art of these countries. These children will no doubt have an advantage over their peers who come from the working class, since the former will be exposed to multiple facets of culture since childhood and will be provided with educational toys and computers and even internet access. Thus, these children will be one step ahead, as compared to students from the working class families, who will suffer from cultural deprivation, and who are unable to distinguish ‘cultural cues’, when their teachers refer to films, famous artists, wonders of the world, cultural heritages and historical places and events.
Also, the official curriculum which is taught at school and examinable is prepared by people belonging to the ruling class. Knowledge which is considered important by this category of people is set as the study program. This idea has been interpreted by Paulo Freire in the Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970) in which issues of the curriculum content were raised. For instance, working class children do not in the majority of cases possess prior exposure to the elements of the Official curriculum. Thus, the subject matter taught remains an abstract concept which accounts much for their failure at school. On the other hand, middle and upper class pupils who possess the material advantage are able to make meaning out of the taught content and they succeed at school. In Mauritius, most “Zones D’éducation Prioritaires” (ZEP) schools where CPE pass rate is very low are found in regions where parents are from poor economic backgrounds. According to Koodooruth (2004), the ZEP or low performing schools are “characterised by a very small school population, poor infrastructure and are normally found in rural regions and the peripheries of towns.”
Although education and transport are claimed to be free for students in Mauritius, parents still have to incur certain costs to educate their children. It is easier for middle class families to provide educational materials, compared to low income families. This does affect performance of the students at school since it helps them to better adapt to their school environment and be accepted among their friends. The lower class children cannot participate in some extracurricular activities such as some sports and outings, just because their parents cannot afford to pay for it. These students do feel rejected and develops a negative attitude towards schooling.
Technology has really become an indispensable tool for our students nowadays, but not all parents can afford to give their children these facilities. This causes the poor students to be at a disadvantage and to have lower self-esteem. Many students from poor families do part time jobs to help their parents in fulfilling their needs, and these students cannot give their maximum time to education. This implies that either they under-achieve or they are forced to leave the school at an earlier age, compared to their upper or middle class peers. According to Koodooruth (2004), individuals of the lower class “have many difficulties to meet ends financially and do not have the resources to meet their child’s educational expenses adequately, though they might be interested in their child’s education”. In a study by Chinapah (1983), he found that the performance of a student at school does not depend directly on his/her ethnicity but rather on the type of school he/she attends.
Further studies have shown that low class families cannot always provide a balanced diet and proper health care to their children. The latter have higher risks of infection, are sick more often, and this gives rise to high rate of absenteeism for these students. This may explain the poor performance of students from lower class students. Dr James Griffin, of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said: “High quality child care appears to provide a small boost to academic performance, perhaps by fostering the early acquisition of school readiness skills” (Fox, 2010).
Inequality in education is linked to the major problems in the society. The need for studies to be done to find ways of overcoming these inequalities is very inevitable. The means of mitigating these inequalities are important for the entire world. This is something of great interest due to the fact that children need quality education which is a pillar for a guaranteed future. Equality in education will to a large extent, guarantee every human being a better position in the society (Pardeck, 2008). Causes of inequality in education range from poor government policies, capitalistic nature of society to poor management of education systems. This paper is very important as it brings out major causes of inequality and how they can be addressed. (In the introduction you could have defined what inequality in education is all about.)
Discussions on Inequality in Education
The past studies show that inequality in education is something which is virtually everywhere around the world. Inequality in education can be linked to the low rate of development in the society. Social problems faced in different parts of the world also point to a certain degree, the inequality in education. Education inequality brings with it problems which governments and nations have tried to solve but in vain. (Dewey, 2009). Solutions have been put forth to address the inequality in education.
There are a number of issues which play a major role towards the promotion of inequality in education. For instance, tribal and racial lines used in the provision of education have been a major cause of inequality. This has brought about disparity between individuals who get quality education and those are sidelined in the process. In some countries with different races, education is provided in a manner which is unequal. This is manifested when one gender is favored in terms of the education at the expense of the other (Pardeck, 2008). When education is provided along sex lines, some groups will receive better education than others causing inequality in society in terms of economy.
Another important thing is with the provision of education to the disabled children and individuals the less fortunate within in the society. In the provision of such education, individuals with disabilities are often sidelined. This has become one of the outstanding causes of inequality with the kind of in education that is being provided. When the disabled are not given the education they do require, it becomes very hard for them to have equality in education compete on equal basis with the normal people. Inequality in education has been noted in very many parts of the world and hence it is necessary to come up with appropriate solutions (this sentence is just a repetition) It is only when education has been is provided equally on equal basis to all when, can societal goals and other developments tends get to be easily realized (Joseph & Russo, 2009).
A number of issues have been cited which appear to escalate this kind of inequality in education patterns within the society. To begin with. One of the issues is prejudice becomes one of the – which is a major tools which promote inequality within a society, and more so when it has been is bred within the society itself. This is something which breeds hatred, and so soon most often all top management shall be have engaged in procedures and mechanisms which have been aimed at compromising the achievements of others (Dewey, 2009). This means that the kind of education being passed taught into to different groups shall will definitely be unequal. and some Some racial groups and families shall be are favored by the system more than others. Another thing is that the materials for educational purpose shall be are passed across in a manner which is misguided and which favors one group of individuals than at the expense the other.
The current statistics (which statistics? Show them?) show that there is a lot of inequality in education within the country (which country is this?), and such has remains something which is highly irrefutable. Over the years, some indexes (what are these indexes, you are talking about? You will be better understood if you write as “over the years, inequality in education in society is best shown by the living index of the people. The higher the living index, the better their education was”. Try to link sentences,) had been founded found which would effectively determine the kind of inequality within the education. To begin with, the first approach had been through the observation of living standards within the society (Banks, 2009). Mark you, the people who had been receiving the best of education over the past years have been able to have better living conditions. For instance, eighty six percent of the individuals who received quality education have prestigious lifestyles and the remaining having better living standards and lifestyles (This is a statistic, where did you get the percentages from? You need to cite this sentence).
Women who had not been given appropriate education due to the existing inequality leave in sheer poverty. This has been the case with the majority of the minority racial groups. Inequality in education is something which has continued manifest even in the present days. More and more women continue to face such hardships especially when trying to give their children better education which does them right (Joseph & Russo, 2009). The fact that remains is that very many people have been greatly impacted by the inequality in education. It becomes a very significant and important issue of discussion in trying to come up with basic foundations and engagements through which equality can be achieved. This will ensure that all women get the right education which in the long run improves their living conditions.
Impacts of the Inequality
In real sense, there has been the presentation of journal materials which have been able to provide a lot of data describing the inequality in education. There are many journals that provide far enough data that talks about inequality in education. Such materials have shown how the education system in this country (which country? Don’t show you are cooking, talk about the world if you are not sure) has been very unfair and how it has been torn apart through racial lines and thus leading to failed status with the education delivery (Just write about the journals citing them. Just write “Author so and so says blab bla blaâ€¦”). Because of this kind of inequality in education delivery, and which has been in place for quite a long time, majority of the unfortunate members of the society have been greatly impacted. This has led to failed living conditions in different parts of the world You are just repeating this point.(Banks, 2009). As well, it has become very hard to have some issues addressed such as with provision of medical services and care due to the fact that the providers of such services have been on the decline (How is this sentence related to inequality in education?). One outstanding fact is that the failed provision of education and accompanying inequality had been a major contributor to the problems in the country such as lack of medical personnel, nurses and other professionals (how??).
In that case, there have also been increased cases of insecurity due to increased poverty, and this has led to the proliferation of the number of criminals and robberies as well (always relate your sentences to inequality in education, like this one). Another thing is that there has been the increase if drug cartels in trying to search for ways and tactics of survival (sentence has poor grammer)(David, 2002). Basically, when there has been inequality oin education, chances are very high negative societal impacts will develop. It therefore becomes very hard to reverse such developments and as well making life very hard. This is something worth studying and coming up with solutions of addressing the inequality in education.
When we talk of inequality of education, we shall see that the minority groups and ‘wrong’ racial groups had always fell victims, and also the disabled had suffered in this mix of inequality (David, 2002). Basically, very many historical developments in the country (which country) have been able to define the groups and individuals who have become victims of inequality in education. It is the high time when we should change everything and come up with new foundations towards a long lasting equality in education. This will make sure that the best of living conditions have been realized for all members of the society.
Basically, this issue of inequality is very important within the society as it defines the economic developments which shall be realized in the society. In that case, there should be measures and adoptions which make it possible to realize equality in the society’s education system (Scovronick & Hochschild, 2006). When this issue has been studied, the major causes of continued inequality shall be established, and from there it shall be possible to come up with foundations through which such weaknesses and loopholes shall be addressed, and from there realize long lasting impressions within an equal education system.
What has to be agreed upon, and which proves the importance of this issue, is that any kind of education system should be viewed as something which has the power of determining the quality of life through which a given society shall live. The trick thus shall be in making sure that all the forms and functions of education systems have been appropriately monitored. This is important in ensuring that the best of education has been provided and as well make sure that all the societal issues have been addressed and as well deliver the quality of education onto the learner. The provision of appropriate education is necessary as this will make life much better for all the people within the society. This is the major reason why this issue is very important, and the reason all people within the society should be provided with the necessary tutors and learning materials which fosters quality education.
Solutions to the Problem
From the major studies which have been done on this issue, there have been a number of provisions and proposals which appear to adequately present solutions to this inequality in education which has been faced in the country. To begin with, the first thing which should be done is to have all schools and institutions to have tutors who are gender sensitive and who have no prejudice or favor towards one gender. Further there should be equal provision of learning materials and resources for all students regardless of the gender. This is necessary as it makes delivery of education equal and in the long run making it possible to disintegrate this kind of inequality in education which has been faced.
The governments should put in place which protect girl child and make it mandatory for parents to educate all their children on equal measure. The importance of gender of gender education and equality in education should be promoted and encouraged in society.Another solution is in making sure that the government provides all the necessary financial support and material support so that there shall be any kind of inequality in the education system (Scovronick & Hochschild, 2006). A proper education system can also be established which favors everyone so that the best of education is delivered. This is done by having all personnel being put in place so that the service delivery can be done in the best manner possible. It is hence the role of the government and states to fund education in a manner which promotes education provision, and by so doing making it possible to realize the best of goals in the education system.
Inequality in education is something which has been witnessed not only in this country but elsewhere. In real sense, this brings very many failed statuses in the society and the reason there should be the derivation of procedures which addresses such forms of inequality. Education is one of the major foundations of the society which promotes realization of economic goals and at the same time making sure that different individuals end up living better lives. This should be the dream of every nation towards the development of the economy.
Issues surrounding the integration of students with disabilities into the general education classrooms are explored in this research paper. The history of inclusion if first examined by tracing the movement from mainstreaming to the least restrictive environment and finally to full inclusion of students in age-appropriate general education classrooms. Next, the current position of inclusion and its place in education in Canada is discussed. Also, issues facing students, their families and teachers are addressed and suggestions to overcome them are provided. Finally, the pros and cons of inclusive education are presented and it is concluded that the benefits of inclusion overshadow the costs of including special needs students into regular classrooms. Also, inclusion tends to improve the overall educational experience for both special needs students as well as regular students in the classroom.
Keywords: integration, disabilities, inclusion, inclusive education
Inclusion in the Classroom: A Critical Review
Education and inclusion
Education is the cornerstone of responsible citizenship in most well-established democracies. Post Confederation of Canada, the government and ordinary citizens have recognized the significance of education and have made public provisions for its universal availability to children and youth at the elementary and high school levels.
School is the place that provides a community setting for children and youth by helping them develop their knowledge, by promoting citizenship and building social relationships. Hence, when a school is inclusive, communities become inclusive too. Educating children is not only a basic human right, but a vehicle for social inclusion and change.
The recent drive toward inclusive education is more than just about ‘special educational needs’. It reflects changes in the social and political climate wherein a new approach characterizes thinking about differences. The main aim of inclusive education is to ensure that all students participate in the classrooms with their same-age peers and develop emotionally, socially, intellectually and physically to their fullest ability.
Inclusive education is a developing concept. Usually it is understood as education of children with disabilities in regular schools, but it is a much broader idea. It refers to an education system which continually works at increasing participation and removing exclusion from all the aspects of schooling in a way which makes a student feel no different from any other student and which ensures academic achievement (Booth, 2002).
Inclusive education makes the school a place of education for all students, and manages to meet the individual needs of each pupil better. It should be able to lead the school to seek ways to educate all children in the most ordinary ways possible Inclusive schools put into place measures to support all students to fully participate in the life of the school with their age peers. Where barriers to full participation exist, inclusive schools are able to change their organization, and adapt the physical premises and elements within classrooms to the needs of each student.
The primary principle of inclusive education is that ordinary schools should provide education as commonplace as possible for all young people while adapting it to the needs of each. It consists of placing learning-impaired students in general classrooms and integrating their learning experience with students in the general education classes (Turnbull et al., 2004).
Furthermore, there is a distinction between inclusion, where students spend most of their time in the general education classroom; and mainstreaming where students with special needs are educated in the general classroom during specific time periods based on their skills.
The inclusive education model challenges the special education model, mainly the belief that differences in academic or social achievement between students with and without disabilities are too difficult to be accommodated in regular educational settings; that special settings are more effective than regular classroom environments for students with disabilities; and that labelling is necessary for appropriate service.
Advocates of inclusion argue that the rights of and benefits to learners with disabilities who are included in regular classroom environments outweigh the challenges faced by teachers in such a situation. With the support of properly trained resource teachers, regular classroom teachers should be able to work effectively with all students.
History of inclusive education
The history of accommodating the needs of diverse learners in the contemporary educational settings parallels the evolution of social and psychological systems (Kaufman, 1999). Smith et al. (1998) summarize this history as having moved through three phases: segregation, integration and inclusion. However, recently a global shift in thinking on methods schools use in responding to the needs of diverse learners has taken place.
Special education found its origin in society’s concern with human rights following World War II, and by the 1950’s educational placement based upon minority or disability status was a debated issue (Smith et al., 1998). Thus, special education owes much of its origin to the Civil Rights Movement, when the desegregation of American schools validated a parallel human rights argument against segregation based on physical/mental abilities (Friends et al., 1998).
While both Canada and the United States presented responsibility to the provinces and states for implementing educational legislation, The Education for All Children Act (1975) steered in a more inclusive model of special education which supported free and appropriate education for all children in the least restrictive and non- discriminatory environment. Written individual educational plans (IEPs) to target individual needs were designed and implemented (Salend, 2001). In Canada, indirect support for greater inclusion of diverse learners came from the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which challenged discrimination based on mental or physical disability. By the 1980’s most provinces and territories were providing some type of special education through a combination of regular and individualized environments (Dworet & Bennet, 2002).
Inclusive education is today’s educational “hot” topics, and there are a variety of positions on inclusive education. One goal is to help staff and students gain an understanding of all groups present in the local and national communities. Also, inclusive education is sometimes equated with mainstreaming where special needs students are placed in regular classroom situations.
In recent years advocates for inclusive education have argued that as many as 40% of students with intellectual disabilities are still being educated in segregated settings while they have a right to inclusive education (Porter, 2004). A review of current educational policies in most Canadian provinces shows that inclusion of students with disabilities in regular classrooms is the dominant policy (Hutchinson, 2007), although most jurisdiction maintain segregated classrooms for those students who might benefit from such placements or whose parents prefer such placements (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2000). Researchers and educators advocate that all children, including those with disabilities, be educated in regular classrooms that reflect the diversity of Canadian society and its inclusive values (Lupart & Webber, 2002). While such advocates agree that students with disabilities may not be able to accomplish the same curricular goals as the other students, they believe that inclusive education enables them to be treated with dignity and allows others to recognize their hidden abilities.
In recent years, there does seem to have been progress in the extent to which children and youth are educated in regular versus special class placements. However, while inclusion is increasingly being accepted as the preferred approach for educating all learners, other approaches to education continue in many areas of the country. Implementations of inclusive practices are inconsistent from province to province, community to community, and between school systems (e.g., English, French, Public, and Catholic). The inconsistency of approach has resulted in confusion and uncertainty among parents and teachers. Also, many educators believe that inclusive means bringing special needs students into ‘regular’ classrooms with ‘normal’ children. The problem with this perspective lies in the fact that there are no ‘regular’ classrooms with ‘normal’ children. All children are unique, and so are their needs and abilities. Thus, it is absolutely necessary for teachers to provide students with individualized attention that will help them develop in particular areas and it’s important to build success into each student’s individual learning experiences.
The special education policy that prevails in most jurisdictions fails to assure the commitment of teachers and their schools to inclusion. In many parts of the country, inclusive education is considered an ‘add on’ to the existing special education system, and it thus may not be a priority at all.
Also, effective strategies are not widely in place to foster transitions from early childhood programming to school and from high school to employment or to other post-secondary options. Many special needs students who do graduate from high school, have no clear recognition of the skills gained or academics learned in order to gain access to post-secondary programs.
Issues for students and families
Young people with continue to be denied access to regular education in many cases. ‘Zero tolerance’ and other behavioural policies result in the segregation of students, especially for those with challenging behaviour issues.
Procedures for student assessment and labelling create administrative burdens for teachers while creating a stigma for students. Being identified as a special needs student carries with it the threat of embarrassment and being bullied.
Procedures for gaining access to disability-specific supports (e.g., attendants, speech specialists, assistive technologies) and other resources needed for success in regular classrooms are typically restrictive and not available on an equitable basis. There are serious concerns in many parts of the country about the inadequacy and inflexibility of the supports that are available and about the long delays in securing the supports that may eventually come on stream. Similarly, alternative student testing and other accommodations for students are not assured.
Parents have a pivotal role to play as collaborators with the teachers, especially for students with special needs. However, in some cases, lack of substantial parental involvement is observed and results in poorer educational quality for the child.
Issues for teachers
Indeed inclusion presents an enormous challenge to teachers as it brings with it increased anxiety and extra workload. Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are taxing for many teachers and many only have a limited background in this area. Also, the practical usefulness of IEPs is questionable as to whether they do not inform and guide instructional practices.
Usually, there is confusion among teachers and educational assistants about their respective roles and responsibilities. Teachers often leave the prime responsibility for educating students with significant disabilities to teacher assistants. However, assistants should be playing a supplementary and not a lead role.
Additionally, instructional supports for teachers on inclusion (e.g., learning resources, sample lesson plans, etc.) are also needed. However, a lack of availability and even inappropriateness of such supports has been a concern.
Addressing the issues
In order to address the above mentioned issues; teachers, parents and children need various kinds of supports.
Support for teachers
Model schools need to be created highlight community-learning and value diversity. There needs to be a commitment to meeting all the values and pedagogical challenges. Flexibility in the curriculum as well as periodic testing is needed so that teachers can adapt to the varying needs and abilities of diverse learners in their classrooms. Also, individual educational plans (IEPs) need to grow with the child and any individualized planning should drive instructional practice and serve as a real guide for the teacher.
Governing structures need to be more ‘teacher friendly’ and sensitive to issues of student-teacher ratio. Also, tangible resources such as teacher assistants, supportive professionals, classroom equipment etc. are needed in order to keep class sizes manageable without a sense of competition among schools.
In addition to that, school boards should be able to provide teachers with the practical assistance and training required in order to balance the expectations of the current curriculum as well as individual student needs.
Furthermore, teachers and parents need to be more mutually supportive of one another. Parents should continue to advocate for quality education and inclusive programs for their children, and should also include support for teachers and the school within that.
Lastly, development of a model framework for successful inclusion is essential, which will involving administrators, teachers, resource teachers, teacher assistant as well as parents. Moreover, there is a need for teacher-to-teacher mentoring support as well as sharing of ideas and experiences that will benefit the teachers and the students in the long run. Professional development integrated into the regular teacher-training curriculum, as well as ongoing training is required. Also, Jordan and Stanovick (2004) identify three core constructs to help make inclusion work at a classroom level: teachers’ beliefs about their roles and responsibilities, teachers’ sense of efficacy, and the collective belief of the school staff toward inclusive practices.
Support for parents and students
Parents often lack information regarding policies and program offered by the school boards and the government. Thus, teachers and school administrators need to encourage open communication and support services in order to provide accurate information to parents. Also, parents will definitely benefit from regular contact with other parents and support agencies outside the school system.
To support students with disabilities, school leaders need to create a community of acceptance and belonging that helps foster positive attitudes towards all students. Along with a healthy school environment, adequate resources are needed to ensure that student needs are met in a professional and timely manner. Teachers can help by providing supportive and flexible learning environments in the classroom. Also, engaging students in active and meaningful tasks would encourage participation and make education enjoyable. Effective strategies that work best for students with special needs will work well for all students, because every child in the classroom has unique learning needs and a multi-level approach to teaching will best achieve the highest potential for all students.
Finally, to foster a general climate of teamwork, teachers should encourage and facilitate peer support where students should be able to help each other and learn from each others’ experiences. This will help them learn to show respect for and make efforts to accommodate students’ needs and strengths.
Pros of inclusion
Inclusion has resulted in greater communication skills, greater social competence, and greater developmental skills for all special education students who have been a part of the inclusive setting (Bennett, DeLuca, & Bruns, 1997). A second benefit of inclusion is that disabled students make more friends in the general education setting and interact with their student peers at a much higher level not isolated in the special education classes; inclusion allows disabled students to be an active part of the larger student body. Another advantage is that the costs of inclusion are less over time than teaching the special education students in special education classes alone. Increasingly, this discourse emphasizes learners’ rights as well as their needs, and stresses the importance of an education free from discrimination and segregation. Academic and social achievement has actually been found to be higher in regular education with mixed groupings of students from diverse backgrounds and abilities settings (Will, M.C. 2002).
Cons of inclusion
Educators who are critical of inclusion argue that placing special education students in the general education classroom may not be beneficial and full-time placements in general education classrooms would prevent some disabled students from obtaining intensive and individualized attention and teaching. Instruction in the general education class would dilute the specialized attention they would normally receive in a special education class. Also, the financial resources are not available for inclusion to be effective (Fox & Ysseldyke, 1997). Critics of inclusion have asserted that special education funds have not be appropriated to general education in a sufficient amount to make inclusion viable in all cases. In other words, in order for inclusion to work, funds need to be available to make inclusion effective and viable in the general education setting. Another criticism of inclusion was that general education teachers do not possess the requisite training or qualifications to teach disabled students effectively (Schumm & Vaughn, 1995). Moreover, general education teachers do not have opportunities to work with or collaborate with special education teachers and to plan and coordinate lessons and teaching strategies between general and special education teachers.
Inclusion appears to have created an ideological divide in special education, indicating a split on how best to serve students with disabilities under the umbrella of special and general education. The division has caused much debate in the educational community, prompting studies on the viability of integration. In the recent debate about inclusion, a premium is placed upon full participation by all and respect for the rights of others. As to every approach, inclusion too has its share of positives and negatives. As schools implement inclusive practices, research must continue to determine how integration will affect all students’ academic and social progress. Whether inclusion becomes a part of the special education continuum for placement of students with disabilities or initiates a utilitarian school system, educators must rethink, restructure, and reorganize their present delivery system to benefit all students.
The benefits of inclusion surely outweigh the costs. A major benefit of inclusion is that it allows for societal integration of disabled students. Disabled students are much less segregated and isolated from the general student population. This is consistent with the goals and objectives of the IDEA and No Child Left Behind Act which specified that all students should be treated equally; there should be equal protection and equal services. While not always possible, this is a worthwhile goal. Inclusion furthers this goal of achieving full integration for all students. Inclusion, thus, results in greater social cohesion, a greater sense of empathy, and a greater sense of diversity. Inclusion is a worthy goal that should not be abandoned.
Inclusion is crucial because it ensures equality and non-discrimination on the basis of disability and allows students to receive a “free, appropriate public education.” There are pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages, to inclusion.
Moreover, students and teachers learn tolerance by developing and fostering a sense of community where diversity and differences are valued. The segregation that results from separate special education classrooms is avoided and the more interaction there is with individuals with differences, the more tolerance, empathy, and understanding is fostered and developed.
As discussed earlier also, the Al Ain Diary is planning to expand its business overseas market of Germany by launching its new camel product within the foreign country. Thus, the launching of new products in the new market gave rise to development of the new international strategy which requires the external environmental analysis of the Germany market in comparison to the UAE market. The business environmental analysis of the Germany is done as under:
Socio cultural forces have great impact over the international business as it is directly related with the external and the internal customers of the country. Germany is considered as the most popular nation of Europe and contributes a lot to the national culture of Europe, such as the German culture. In order to establish the international business within Germany, it is very essential for Al Ain to induce the cultural and social factor of the country within the international strategy. The key cultural and social features of the country are as follows:
German living and the working style is regulated by the structures such as with the help of laws, rules, procedures linked with the economic, political and social factors. Thus, the German business is regulated by the strict and prescribed rules and regulations of having low degree of flexibility and spontaneity.
The decision making and the problem solving process are based on the objective facts within the country. So, such processes are governed by logical analysis of information rather than perception.
Germans believe that they have to achieve the task that is in their hands rather than future tasks. They have well defined structure of their tasks and the interpersonal relationship plays a secondary role in the business.
Germans follow direct and confrontational communication style. Therefore, the business discussions are followed by the open criticism and the project problems are not taken as the personal issues.
Punctuality is the essential and vital part of doing business in Germany.
German Business culture is well defined and strictly followed on the structures and hierarchy. There is a clear description of roles and responsibilities for each and every person.
Personal life is never mixed in the professional life by the Germans.
Business relationships are often made for mutual advantage.
The level of formality is even maintained within the business and the colleagues. The first name is only taken by the closed ones, however within the professional environment, the last names and appropriate titles are used.
Business meetings are totally formal procedures and greeting is initiated with the firm and brief handshake.
Body language and eye contact plays a very vital role in business communications.
The official language of the country is German and most of the Germans follow Christianity (Gorrill, 2007).
Hofstedeâ€™s Cultural dimensions of Germany in comparison to UAE:
The power distance in Germany is highly decentralised and supported by the strong middle class. The score for the power distance is 35, which shows that the co-determination rights of the country is comparatively extensive and requires management. While in the UAE, power distance is highly centralised and governed by the upper middle class.
German society is truly individualistic and controlled by the short families with parent child relationship. While the UAE society is mostly grabbed by the expatriates and the migrants from the different countries.
Germany has a very high score in this factor and performance is highly valued in the country with transparency. The people in Germany have high standard of living and managers are decisive and assertive. While in the UAE, the society strongly follows the male dominance and women are restricted to work outside. The high level of standards is also maintained in the UAE society.
Germany is among the uncertainty avoidant country and the UAE also falls in the same category. To avoid uncertainty, they plan everything wisely and try to set rules, laws and regulations to rely on.
The above analysis depicts that there is a great cultural differences between the culture of UAE and Germany and thus for the expansion of Al Ain within Germany all the cultural factors must be kept in mind as it directly related the internal and external customers of the company. Operation in Germany comprises of local employees following the German culture so the whole HRM should be designed within the cultural paradigms of Germany. The Major area of focus is the customers of Germany as they also believe in German culture and thus much concentration should be given on the cultural areas as these factors directly affects the loyalty of the customers.
Economic and Socio-Economic Forces:
The economy of UAE have witnessed a significant rise in the past decade, wherein they have been considered with an adequate economic stability and viable growth rates which are inclusive by their increased GDP and Fiscal Balance. On the other hand, the economic growth statistics of the UAE which was reported to be 2.9% owing to the impact of depreciated oil prices evident on a global scale will subject to vulnerability.
Germanyâ€™s economic freedom score is 71.0 which make the German economy as the 26th freest economy in the index of 2012. German economy has ranked as the 12th among the 43 countries of the European Region. The foundation behind such long term competitiveness and dynamic growth is based on the high quality legal regime of the country and strongest rule of the law.
Regulatory efficiency of the market and the open market polices benefits Germany to contribute within the global economic business and market. The economy has been emerged from the effects of the global economic downturn which has negatively affected the financial and economic management. The budget deficit of the country has been pushed over the 3 % of the GDP (Germany).
The population of Germany 81.726 million which makes it 16th most populated country. 13.7 % of the total population accounts for the people of age group 0-14 while 66.1 % of the total population accounts for the age group of 15-64 and 65 and above age group accounts for 20.3 % of the total population. The sex ratio within the economy is 0.97 Male/Female. The local German citizens within the total population accounts for 73.63 %, while German citizens with immigrant background accounts for 10 % of the total population and 8 % of the total population are foreigners without German citizenship. The literacy level within the country is 90 % and over 10 % of the German youngsters are functionally illiterate. The government of the country is democratic, parliamentary republic and federal republic and the GDP accounts for 3.571 trillion USD.
The economic analysis depicts that there is a great scope for the business in the German economy as the economic structure of country strongly supports the business environment. The expansion of Al Ain in the German market i therefore beneficial for both the countries in economic respect.
The Federal government of the Germany is recognized as the constitutional state that ensures the stability within the laws and the protection of liberty and equality within the country. Basic law acts as the standard for the democratic constitutional state. The federal constitutional court monitors the management and maintenance of the rights and the preservation of the justice within the country. The administration of the country is being divided into five branches namely:
Generally there are three tiers that re-analyse the decision of the court. 20000 independent judges pass the justice who are bounded by law and passes the judgement. There are 5000 public prosecutors and 15000 lawyers in the country. The internationally stabilised and recognized legal environment is able to attract the foreign countries to trade and operate the entrepreneurial activities within the country (The Legal System).
The above analysis depicts that the strong and structural legal system is being followed in the German constitution and thus the expansion of Al Ain Group within German market should be done with all the standard legal norms and regulations.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi has been developed as an industrially fertile hub which has attracted various multinational corporations, diplomatic relations and investments made by the government in the various initiatives. The impact of Emiratisation policy may be seen in the Labor law which requires private sector organizations to employ 20% of their work force from the domestic population compulsorily. This means that any private sector organization which fails to obey to the recruitment regulations would be banned from undertaking any further recruitment of additional foreign employees in their organization.
The Germany is the unified country which does not represents and depends for the decisions on two different type of government i.e. state and central government and thus the political stability of the government is very high. The Basic Law initiates the Supremacy of political parties in the government system which results to the development of all the government policies through the organizational structure of political parties that ultimately adds stability to the political environment. The trade restrictions within the country of Germany are restricted by the norms of WTO and EU Community. WTO trying to ensure that minimal technical or the non-tariff barriers are faced by the traders to smoothen the trade and economy.
The above analysis depicts that the political environment of Germany is quite stable which supports the expansion of Al Ain through fulfilling all the political norms.
As per the data revealed by the labour ministry of UAE in the year 2010, the number of expatriate workers in the UAE symbolizing the stamina of the oil-rich economy is 3.8 million. A hasty financial and economic boom in the region of Gulf led to more than replication of the number of expatriate workers from 1.8 million in the year 2001 to four million in the climax year of 2007 prior to it slumped to 3.8 million by 2010 due to economic tightening in the stir of the global economic meltdown of 2009. (3.8 million foreign workers in the UAE, labor minister says, 2011). There are lot many issues due to the expatriate workers in the UAE. The first and foremost issue is that the immigrant or expatriate workforce may act as barrier and challenge the country by endorsing their own government’s welfare or that of a planned crime within the alliance or federation. Secondly the expatriate employees frequently require a higher rate of payment for rendering their services and practically they transfer all the revenues and income to their countries rather than expanding or investing that amount in UAE. This affects the economy of UAE very badly in terms of revenue deficit, fiscal deficit, balance of payment, gross domestic product and gross national product etc. Last but not the least, immigrants or expatriate workforce exaggerate pre existing segments of society within the country since they learn to be the chief workers in non-oil industrial sector of the UAE, while the local Emiratis of UAE usually prefer to get employed for the government sector. (United Arab Emirates – Overview of economy). The domination of expatriates over the UAE nationals is projected to have developed in around 8.2 million with UAE local citizens making only 11.47%. The UAE attracts personnel from across the globe, primarily from the Asian subcontinent and the Arab region. The key issues pertaining to the expatriate workers in the UAE are the Remittance of local revenue to the other countries. The dominance of expatriates in the employment sector affects the career and growth opportunities of the local Emiratis people a lot. (Suter, 2005)
The employee employer relationship within the country of Germany is strongly being regulated by strong and tightly controlled legal processes. Various amendments in the law have resulted to the Germany as the system focussing on the industrial democracy and harmony. But still there are some problems in the system which results to economic difficulties.
The above analysis depicts that strong labour laws and regulations must be followed by Al Ain to expand its operations in the country of Germany.