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A Mystic WORLD

June-July 2009 * Vol 1 Issue 6


Bringing you all the way from Delhi (India), our very own Chandni Chowk, recreating the experience of traditional Indian cuisine and sweets. You don’t have to wait for an occasion to enjoy the delightful taste of our food. You can experience these flavours as often as you like by visiting one of our Chandni Chowk Restaurant & Sweets branches.

ESSEX

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Feedbacks The issue on Marriage was one of the best that we have seen in any magazine. It covered all the possible dimensions of married life. Many thanks to the Mystic World team on their commendable effort. Bajrangi Panday, UK We are regular readers of your magazine. This is to thank you on giving us articles on Travel. It is making the magazine complete. Please give us such articles in all your future issues and also mention about foreign destinations. Anil Chaudhary, Canada My sister went through a bitter divorce, but more than her, it was her 9-yr old son who suffered. It is very important to bring these things to light so that couples think twice before taking such a serious step. Your magazine has done a great job in highlighting this problem. Keep up this kind of socially beneficial work! Sanjay Jain, UK Congratulations! As usual the Mystic World team has given a new insight to Stress. It is becoming a part of all our lives, especially the teenagers. I feel that one article on stress should be in all the issues of Mystic World, as any topic you choose; stress invariably would be a part of it! Anjali, UK

What a beautiful magazine! Such a pretty cover! Mystic World is getting better with every issue. It was good to read about Diwali, but we would appreciate if you could give us something about the festivals celebrated in other parts of the word too. After all it is A Mystic WORLD! Tiji Sunny, UK Marriages are Decided in Heaven and Performed on Earth. I agree fully with Satpal Kaur Bassan on this. It is a very insightful article and touches the pulse of all the generations. Such articles are welcome and such writers should be encouraged to write more about these sensitive social issues. Thank you. Roy Varghese, UAE I am an Indian and my daughter is married to an Australian. I am grateful to your magazine for providing its readers with such thoughtful articles like: Marriages Made Across the Borders. I have become a fan of Mystic World now! Jino K Thomas, UAE Thank you for discussing Marriage in your magazine. It is an important part of our lives and we all tend to overlook it and take things for granted. By discussing such issues, you are doing a big service to the society. Keep it up Mystic World team! SK Mehra, Germany


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Editorial :: Support and Team Editor-In-Chief Parminder S. Dhariwal Editioral Director Annu Dogra Creative Advisors Ravi Jain, Mrs. Upinder Singh, Mahendra Pattni Editorial Advisors Umesh Chander Sharma, Arun Thakur, Sardar Singh, Shashi Khanna, Ashwani Sharma Event Organisers Deepak Dogra, Baljit Komal, Sukhdev Komal Marketing Consultant Deepak Dogra (U.K), Sanjeev Mahta (Europe), Gurjot S. Grewal (Canada), Anil Chabra (Delhi) Surjit Singh (Dubai), Mohan Singh (U.S.A) Tejinder Aulakh

Art & Creative Service Design & Illustration Sujith V. M. Creative Coordinators Gurjot.S.Grewal (Editing), SPB Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. Support Anil Chabra, Angraj Singh (Prince) Shri Ram Mandir (Southall) Mahanta Sareshta (Nepali Community) Cris Gopaul (Mauritus Community) Sudarshan Bhatia (President VHT) Wallsal Baba Balak Nath Temple (Walsal) Pre-Press & Production Avtar Singh, Gulshan Kumar Shakti Communications Photo Editors Sanjay Sabarwal, Sanjay Rawat, Sunny Digital, Anita Dahiya Publishing Consultants Ravi Jain, H. S. Mann, D. S. Chaudhary Financial Advisor Dilip D. Mandalia Research Mukesh Khosla Media Editor Deepak Dogra Chartered Accountant Rehncy Shaheen Chartered Accountant Legal Consultant Vincent Lazar (Solicitor & Commissioner for Oaths) Printed By CTP Soultion,7B Sheene Rd, Gorse Hills Ins. Est, Beaumont Leys, Leicester L34 IBF (+44)0116 235 4455 Canada Contact Gurjot. S. Grewal,1797 Mt. Lehman Road, Abbotsford British Columbia V2T 6H6, Canada, Ph 604 807 8397 Dubai-U.A.E Contact Surjit Singh, P.O Box: 60410, Dubai -U.A.E

World Wide Publisher Mystic World Limited, U.K Website: www.amysticworld.com www.mysticworldmag.com Email: info@mysticworldmag.com A Mystic World ( ISSN 1756-6622) is published bimonthly by Mystic World Limited, P. O. Box 467, Hounslow TW3 9GT. Contact +00 44- 795 850 1349. © 2008 Mystic World Limited. All rights reserved. All support & advisory are free services provided by individuals. Reproduction of the contents of “A Mystic World” in part or whole without written consent of the publisher is strictly prohibited. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Publisher. The health and other contents in “A Mystic World” are intended only to inform, not prescribe, and are not meant to be a substitute for the advice of a qualified health expert.

Editorial Never in the history has children’s education undergone such seminal change as it has done in the past few years. The change undoubtedly has been heralded by the arrival of the computers and the Internet. The pace of change is making many academicians fear that with such prevalence, computers could soon replace the blackboard and keyboard and mouse skills will soon become more important than handwriting. Though that possibility may still be in the minds of science fiction writers, the fact is that learning for the young is undergoing a decisive change with tools and concepts changing rapidly. There is a new synergy in education with special emphasis on out-of-the-box thinking. Children from a very young age are being taught to exercise their minds and rote learning—so prevalent a generation ago—is being actively discouraged and disbanded. It is the age of ideas and that is what is being inculcated in the minds of children. Teachers are concentrating on the overall development of a child’s personality and there is a lesser dependence on the exam system. Teenagers too are seeing a dramatic change in the approach to education. Many courses are becoming career oriented and aimed at familiarising young people with the corporate world. Career counselling was an alien concept till some years back with hardly any school offering this vital facility that could make all the difference between success and failure in life. But now an increasing number of schools have started organising careerfests where trained professionals guide students in choosing the right career. Indeed there is a new integrated approach to education. Keep smiling. You are the world!

Parminder Dhariwal Editor-In-Chief


CONTENTS

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WHEN SHOULD THE LEARNING PROCESS START? Infants have an extraordinary capacity to learn and this can be translated into early developmental skills.

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NEW LEARNING TOOLS Slowly but surely the conventional methods of learning are giving way to an altogether new and integrated approach to education.

IS HOMEWORK NECESSARY Is homework a necessary evil or does it pave the way to better grades in class? Most academicians feel that homework in moderation is not just important but keeps the child ahead in studies…

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Playschools are being blamed for stress and anxiety among small kids. But are all of them the same or are there some that make it a fun experience for the child…?

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WHY CHOICE OF WHY CHOICE SUBJECTS IS SO OF SUBJECTS VITAL IN VITAL SCHOOL IS SO IN

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WHAT’S BETTER FOR YOUR CHILD? BOARDING OR DAY SCHOOLS Some parents are all in favour of boarding schools, while others prefer their children going to day schools. There are advantages & disadvantages of both…

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SPARE THE ROD & IMPROVE THE CHILD

Children have the right to education with dignity. Corporal punishment is a violation of their right to equality before the law…

GOOD COUNSEL MUST PREVAIL IN SCHOOLS

Career counselling at school level is still an alien concept. Most schools don’t offer this vital facility that could make all the difference between success and failure in life….

PLAYSCHOOLS ARE THEY ALL FUN & GAMES?

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SCHOOL What is the importance What is theselection importance of subject of selection in subject high school? in high school? Are Are students really students really mature mature enough to enough to choose their choose their careers careers and accordingly and accordingly their their subjects at such a subjects at such a young young age? age? COMPUTERS - END TO CONVENTIONAL EDUCATION? With the Internet and CDROM driven computers entering households, the entire approach to education is changing dramatically.


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PARENTS, BEWARE OF THE DOWNSIDE OF TECHNOLOGY Children’s over-dependence on computers and the Internet can sometimes prove to be counter-productive...

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SEX IN THE CLASSROOM

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood lies adolescence an unknown territory for parents, teachers, doctors and young people themselves.

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MINDING A CHILD’S MIND Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD, is a common mental disorder that develops in children.

PULSATING PARIS Paris means different things to different people. For the young, it is the worlds’s most romantic city.

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INSTITUTE OF ASIAN BUSINESSES AWARDS SUKHDEV KOMAL Hard work and concentration on the business are invaluable for success.

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CONTENTS DOES EDUCATION MAKE THE DIFFERENCE? For years the term ‘prodigy’ remained synonymous with a child who had a high IQ.

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HOW TO COMBAT EXAM STRESS

No movies, no TV, no eating out, no reading novels, no watching television. Exam time comes with stress.

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WHY CHOICE OF DYSLEXIA SUBJECTSMUDDLING IS SO A VITAL INCHILD’S SCHOOLMIND What is theDyslexic importance of subject selection people have in high school? difficulty with Are students really and reading mature enough to despite spelling choose theira careers normal and accordingly their intellect. subjects at such a young age?

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BI-MONTHLY PREDICTIONS Know what’s in store for you in the weeks ahead.

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EDUCATION

When should



Infants have an extraordinary capacity to learn and this can be translated into early developmental skills. Smiti Munwani

As it is parents are pretty much overwhelmed when there is a new baby in the house (it becomes easier the second time around). There is so much to deal with. The baby has to be fed, cleaned, bathed, put to sleep and then there is the constant crying. But that is only the physical aspect; parents—and especially, mothers– also have to keep the IR mental and oral skills in mind.

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EDUCATION  It is never too early to begin. Some people advocate talking to the baby when it is still in the womb, listening to classical music and reading good literature. After the baby is born, the mothers should start by talking to the baby constantly, not just baby talk but using proper language. Keep sentences short and verbalise everything. You will be surprised how quickly the baby begins to understand you. For instance, when you are putting on the baby’s shoes and socks, point to them and verbalise the word – babies can learn other words just as they can say mama and papa. It is easier to teach a baby to speak phonetically rather than via the alphabet, which in any case comes later. Babies absorb languages very fast and that is why in countries where English in not the mother tongue, babies usually pick up the mother tongue first. A baby has a great capacity to learn. If you want your child to learn to read faster, then there are plenty of books and articles on the Internet that you can read. How to Teach Your Baby to Read by physical therapist Glenn Doman, advocates early learning for the pre-schooler. She teaches brain damaged children to read at the Philadelphia’s Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential. Her book details step-by-step methods to teach a child to read.

Along with another author, Carl Delacto, she has also co-produced a reading kit. The Doman-Delacto kit is very popular among parents who want to start their children reading early. Siegfried Engelmann, a research associate at the University of Illinois’ Institute for Research on Exceptional Children, and his psychologist wife Therese, have written a book titled Give Your Child a Superior Mind. The book gives lessons on how to go about achieving it. The husband-wife author couple, however, advocates strict discipline and punishments which can actually be detrimental to a healthy personality development at such a young age.

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EDUCATION  It is highly debatable whether such early interventions are really worth the effort. Take the case of Shalini, a 24-year-old new parent. She wanted to do everything right for her first baby. She bought books for infants and started following all the instructions avidly. She was thrilled and proud when her kid reached his milestones earlier than normal. However, Shalini’s case maybe an exception as there are no studies which prove that too much early learning such as reading, writing and mathematical skills at a young age have positive effect on learning in later life. But there are rare anecdotal cases where an overload of information at a young age has resulted in higher than normal IQs in later life. On the other hand some children can develop an early aversion to study, especially if it is not made into an enjoyable activity but a regimented one. In fact many psychologists and teachers are of the opinion that too much early learning can have a negative effect on the child’s normal personality development. Kay Ness, a certified neurodevelopmentalist, writes that children should be offered all kind of stimulation---sensory, tactile, sight, hearing which will aid his or her development, because it is a God-given gift which should be exploited so that the child realises his or her full potential. But formal education should not start before a child is of school-going age. The early education should be limited to inculcating social skills and confidence-building when in the company of strangers. With an ever increasing population and greater competition, a child who has an

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In fact many psychologists and teachers are of the opinion that too much early learning can have a negative effect on the child’s normal personality development. edge should ideally do better than one who doesn’t. It will be easier for such a child to get admission to a good school, do well academically, and not have to struggle with studies. Once he or she does well in school, further studies will also fall into place and so will his or her career.


EDUCATION  Apart from helping children exploit their innate potential, early learning of social skills will also prove an added advantage during school admissions, which can sometimes be a traumatic experience for nursery-age children, especially if they are dragged from school to school for tests and interviews.

 Usually, oral tests comprising of knowledge of alphabets, nursery rhymes or songs, some elementary painting, block-building, and sometimes counting and numbers. In the better schools children are put together to play and interact so that teachers can evaluate them in a group setting. The child should also be able to answer a few simple questions if asked. Most child psychologists aver that early learning should not interfere with an infant’s childhood. There should be no attempt to make it formal but a child should be taught life skills that will help him become an good human being who has the capacity to face up to life’s challenges.

 Use readymade flash cards or make your own Teach from baby books and sing nursery rhymes to your kids. Do not concentrate too much activity into small periods of time.

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EDUCATION

Playschools Playschools are being blamed for stress and anxiety among small kids. But are all of them the same or are there some that make it a fun experience for the child‌? Gyan Marwah

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EDUCATION

It was a heartbreak experience for Rahul and Nandita as they dragged their young son Rana to his first day at the playschool. The three-year-old was being suddenly pulled out of his highly sheltered life into the big bad world. “He’ll get used to it,” said a distraught Nandita even as little Ritesh wailed and protested that he wanted to stay home with her. “Children have to go through this experience to prepare them for admission to a good school.” It’s a sign of times that in order to secure admission in a good school parents have to send their kids to playschools to prepare them for real life. Blame it on the faulty education system or the lack of good schools or even the flawed process of admission; many parents feel that playschools are becoming a necessary evil that a child has to endure. To be fair though many playschools do try and make this ‘necessary evil’ a pleasurable experience for kids. Fancy classrooms with the entire pantheon

Are They All Fun & Games? of Walt Disney characters on the walls and life-like toys are the features of such schools. Vinitha Ramachandran mother of a three- year-old girl says that she rejected two schools before selecting the current

“The class rooms looked brighter and more attractive, so I decided to send my daughter here.”

one as it had better facilities. “The class rooms looked brighter and more attractive, so I decided to send my daughter here.” A playschool should be a fun experience for kids, says educationist Vandana Bhasin. “It should be a place where a child can reach out to his or her maximum potential. It should not rob kids of their childhood.” A Mystic World

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EDUCATION

Stress & Anxiety driven into a world of competition. Childhood is no longer fun. Instead of learning, the opposite can happen.” The ground reality is that most parents don’t even bother about such complications. To them play school is a means of honing the social skills of their child which would come in handy at the time of getting admission in a good school when they reach that age.

Other academicians are of the firm opinion that a child should not go to school before the age of five. Dr. Usha Bhagat a child psychologist explains, “Sending kids to any form of school earlier than that could result in stress and anxiety as the child starts feeling the heat of competition.” This pressure to perform, says Dr. Bhagat, gets embedded in children’s mind for life. “Such kids lose their innocence extremely early. They are

“My son was very shy and reserved but ever since he has started going to the playschool he has made friends and has become very smart. He is now fully prepared to face any interview for school admission.”

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Says Aarushi, a mother of a four-year-old boy who has been going to a playschool for the last six months, “My son was very shy and reserved but ever since he has started going to the playschool he has made friends and has become very smart. He is now fully prepared to face any interview for school admission.”


For working parents, especially mothers, play school is a boon. The child remains occupied for the better half of the day, mugging up nursery rhymes and alphabets. It is a substitute for home with some of these schools even offering day boarding. It’s a kind of a modern-day crèche with education thrown in. But all playschools are not the same. It must be said that some do make an effort to guide kids gently into the world. Many organise fancy dress competitions, annual carnivals and stage plays to make it a fun place -a child’s private haven. They make an effort to understand the special needs of small children. They help them open up and interact with their peers and grow in their natural habitat. They do not believe in pressurising them into learning alphabets, nursery rhymes and computers. They follow personality development programmes.

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Indeed over the years the concept of play schools seems to be changing. While most are still money making businesses there are some that are making an effort to be different. A playschool should not push kids into an unknown territory in which competition is the supreme consideration. When that happens children develop an aversion to formal education. That’s the kind of a negative message many play schools inculcate in children. They may help kids get admission to good schools but at the cost of a lost childhood.

Child psychologists advise that parents should be very careful while selecting a playschool for their toddler. Their future personality could depend on that!

While Selecting A Playschool Keep In Mind…. Whether it has a good reputation among other parents Whether it has a good range of indoor and outdoor activities Whether it has qualified staff with training skills for small children Whether it has enough teachers to make a ratio of one per three kids Whether it has enough trained staff to cater to personal needs of small kids Whether it takes personal care of kids’ meal demands and hygiene Whether it actively encourages interaction among kids Whether it has a playing area preferably a green patch Whether it has enough security for safety of kids

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New Learning Tools Education has never been so much fun Slowly but surely the conventional methods of learning are giving way to an altogether new and integrated approach to education. Innovative software, educational toys When 11 year old Varun comes home from school he can hardly wait to sit in front of the computer, push in a CD and immerse himself in a world of additions, subtractions and multiplications. 14 year old Avantika turns on the television every afternoon not to see a film based countdown but to learn how to make an educational toy. Books are no longer a boring experience for 13 year old Sakshi. In fact she looks forward to reading them as they are beautifully illustrated and the words are large and easy on the eye.

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and imaginative books are making school studies an enjoyable experience for children.... Nutan Sehgal


EDUCATION

Gone are the days when the field of learning was confined only to boring text books and teacher’s notes. Urban kids today are cruising along on the information highway what with satellite television, Internet, CD ROMs and a host of other mediums which have become an integral part of modern day living. Slowly but surely the conventional methods of learning are giving way to an altogether new and

It’s been observed that difficult concepts in science and maths become easier to grasp in a fun filled way through these educational CDs which are usually created on the basis of research involving teachers from a cross section of society.

integrated approach to education. A handful of individuals and institutions seem to be making learning an enjoyable experience for children with new techniques and methodologies. In the forefront of these techniques are the computers which are revolutionising the learning process. In the guise of games, children are now provided with a range of educational aids. For example, there is educational software for multimedia application on CD ROMs which give a child the chance to actively take part in the learning process and have an hands on experience as well. Acording to software expert Ankit Dogra, “It’s been observed that difficult concepts in science and math become easier to grasp in a fun filled way through these educational CDs which are usually created on the basis of research involving teachers from a cross section of society.”

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EDUCATION

Fun Learning

Most of these CDs contain material which is almost like playing a game and the child can learn subjects like Science, Math, English, Physics and even General Knowledge while having a lot of fun. These multimedia-based study systems use games, thrilling sounds and fascinating animations to keep kids motivated and engrossed in their school studies. The packages are available for students ranging from preschool to class twelfth and come in four versions—Beginners, Junior, Middle and Senior.

Better Retention Infact a recent survey conducted on school children has shown that children who scored an average of 63 percent have increased their score to an average

of almost 82 percent after using the new software. Research has also shown that children retain 20 percent of what they hear, 40 percent of what they see and hear and 75 percent of what they see, hear and can do at the same time. It’s here that these software packages score over conventional education. Says Dogra, “The environment today is very stressful for the child because of keen competition and anyone who gains an extra edge will end up in the top slot.” According to him, educational software first catches the imagination of the child and only then makes him or her understand the concepts of a subject. In this way the kids retain what they learn more effectively. In one of the CDs called ‘The World of Plants’, a student can actually make a seed grow into a plant in front of his or her eyes on the computer monitor. As a result the concepts become very clear and translate into those extra marks in exams. “The emphasis is on better retention, more understanding and a higher percentage of recollection and clarity. We want to use the power of technology completely,” says Dogra. But what is the impact of educational toys on child’s ability to create mental images? According to academician Dr. Rohit Markande, “The key to the success of educational toys is in their development. Only if they are child-friendly will learning become fun.” Although children tend to learn better through the audio visual medium, books still play an important part. A good book expands a child’s horizon and instills a sense of the wonderful complexity of life. Now publishers and authors are no more treating the book merely as an educational tool but rather as something which would delight kids and help build their overall personality.

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Book Clubs There is a need to have specialized libraries for children that provide access to reading material. Schools should be encouraged to establish reading clubs where teachers and students can meet, read, discuss and share books. The idea behind such clubs should be to ensure that children at an early age inculcate the habit of reading books and also learn to love and cherish them. These clubs, however, should not be merely reading places but also hubs of book related games and activities, thereby making learning a fun experience. The Congress of International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) which periodically holds

EDUCATION

exhibitions in different countries showcases the fact that learning can be an enjoyment. The theme of the Congress “Peace through Children’s Books” provides an opportunity for the participants to have serious interaction and analysis of all aspects of promotion of children’s literature.

Whether it is books, computers, CDs or educational toys, there seems to be a growing movement to make learning an enjoyable experience. And a handful of people with an eye on the next century seem to be finally taking the drabness out of school education with the help of modern technology and futuristic educational concepts.

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Spare the rod

&

Improve the Child

Children have the right to education with dignity. Corporal punishment is a violation of their right to equality before the law‌ Kavita Marwah

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We often hear of school teachers whose barbarity makes people shudder. The growing incidence of teacher violence is a phenomenon that an increasing number of parents and children have been forced to live with.

Cruel treatment of children can never inculcate discipline in them and obedience exacted by striking fear of punishment can make them adopt the same tactics when they grow up for getting what they want. A recent report by a human rights group revealed that in the U.S. more than 200,000 children were spanked or paddled during the past school year. England has had to use a legislation to ban corporal punishment. China and Taiwan prohibit their schools from using corporal punishment against children. Psychologists say that cruel treatment of children can never inculcate discipline in them and obedience exacted by striking fear of punishment can make

EDUCATION

them adopt the same tactics when they grow up for getting what they want. However, over the years there has been a growing aggression in teachers and at times even parents have grouped together and come on a common platform to thwart this growing menace. But the fact is that corporal punishment has become rampant and teachers often subject children to physical harassment. Unfortunately parents have at times remained quiet as they fear their child would be victimised. Most schools on their part are quick to denounce physical reprimand and claim they have inculcated in teachers that corporal punishment shows lack of respect and love for the child, which goes against the very tenets of teaching.

Forms of Violence Despite the official rhetoric, the fact is that physical violence by teachers against children is a common

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EDUCATION affair. Ask the school-going kids and they are usually full of such stories. But why does the situation ever deteriorate to the extent that a teacher, who should be seen as the “second parent”, needs to strike a child? Psychologists say that sometimes the pressure of work and problems at home might make a teacher hit a child. Schools have increased the number of students to unmanageable extents. Hence whenever there is a bit of indiscipline, teachers feel free to crush it by violence. While it is a fact that incidents of indiscipline among students have increased over the years, teachers seem to be at a loss for methods to reform such rebels. By resorting to corporal punishment teachers give undue attention to the negative traits of a child. Counselling should be resorted to in extreme cases. In the absence of that, very stubborn kids should be dealt with a lot of patience. A lot more can be achieved with kindness than with force. Many parents agree. There should be proper counselling to find out reasons for indiscipline. It may be

a time consuming process initially, but in the long run it would do a world of a good to students as well as to teachers. The rapid increase in schools has not been corroborated with a corresponding increase in the standard of teacher training and counselling. The prescribed code of conduct allows suspension of teachers where they can be charged with cruelty towards any student.

Emotional Scars A child counselor who has worked with children subjected to physical punishment by teachers says, “Studies have shown that in the long run beating and bruising a child may leave emotional scars. It may result in a very submissive or a very defiant child. If one child is beaten in the class, 49 others are looking on. It’s a trauma for the child who is being subjected to this humiliation.”

Every country that is a signatory of the International Convention on Children is obliged to protect the child from physical or mental violence while the child is in care of an educational institution. Psychiatrists say that children who are ruled by the rod in school may acquire disdain and hatred for their teachers. The right to a life of dignity, freedom from arbitrary and despotic control, torture and terror and protection against cruelty, physical or mental violence, injury or abuse and exploitation, including sexual abuse—are all available to the child and he cannot be deprived of them just because he is young. Being young does not make him or her a lesser human being than a grown-up.

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EDUCATION Says a parent whose son was subjected to physical violence in class, “I know my son is mischievous but physical violence won’t correct him. When I went to complain about the teacher to the principal all he told me was that I was free to take the child out of school. Knowing the difficulty in getting admission in a good school my husband and me have kept quiet. But in future I will not hesitate to seek justice.” Can counseling help teachers? Only time will tell. As of now it appears that unless parents ensure that the law is enforced strictly, children will continue to be victims of teachers.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT…. Corporal punishment does not teach right from wrong, it teaches fear and hate. Corporal punishment will make children into scared adults and not aware ones. Corporal punishment denies a child the right of protection against cruelty & violence Corporal punishment hinders a child’s learning and education. Corporal punishment sanctions barbarianism on little children

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EDUCATION

Is

homework necessary

Homework is the bane of both children and parents. Children don’t really look forward to their daily homework quota and for parents it can be a nightmarish experience at times to get their kids to sit down to do the homework. With overcrowded classrooms, it is quite impossible for a teacher to give personal attention to each and every child while imparting learning in the classroom. As the teachers have to finish a set syllabus in a certain amount of time, it becomes necessary to assign homework which goes a long way in augmenting what is taught in school. Teachers have a challenging job to do. Not only do they have a large work load, have to teach well, set tests and examinations, do the corrections but they also have to try and be creative while giving assignments so that children don’t get bored and start considering school a chore.

Is homework a necessary evil or does it pave the way to better grades in class? Most academicians feel that homework in moderation is not just important but keeps the child ahead in studies‌ Gyan Marwah

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However, in order to reinforce what is taught at school a teacher has to give homework. Many students complete the home assignment on their own but there are some who have to take the help of their parents or peers. However, the problem is that in higher classes the studies become


EDUCATION

so tough that even parents cannot help. That’s when students have to resort to tuitions from teachers or from professional coaching schools. If you just Google tuitions, homework or home tutoring, the major hits are not so much the importance of homework, but tuitions as a lucrative business opportunity! And that is what homework has become – a business. Whether it is the teacher who comes home to teach, or teaches batches of students at his or her residence, or the proliferation

“I have to work the full day in a high pressure job, meet deadlines and I just don’t have time to take up my son’s studies or make sure he is doing his homework. In fact, I even get some of his projects done by professional tutors.”

of coaching classes or even online tutoring, tuitions are now big business. Often tuitions cost even more

Says a working mother, “I have to work the full day

than school fees.

in a high pressure job, meet deadlines and I just don’t have time to take up my son’s studies or make sure he is doing his homework. In fact, I even get

Why Tuitions? While at the beginner’s level, the teacher-student ratio may be very good, as the student goes into higher classes, the teachers have to handle more and more students. Even though most schools have a fixed number of students they can take into each

some of his projects done by professional tutors.” And her son is only in the seventh grade. When it is board exam year, parents virtually put their life on hold, giving all their attention to the child’s studies. This is especially true in Asian countries where a great deal of emphasis is laid on

class, still there is no way that a student can get the

education. Board examination grades determine

individual attention he may require, depending on

the courses a student can take at a later level (and

his learning abilities.

influence the choice of his or her career.

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EDUCATION

How Much Help Is Enough? A number of recent studies have shown that 90 percent children dislike home work. Parents are not happy with the pressures children are burdened with by way of homework. They feel studies should be done in school in educational institutions and not at home. An increasing number of parents complain that by giving homework teachers are just shirking their responsibility.

Importance Of Home Tutoring Home tutoring should ideally start from a very young age when parents begin teaching their children verbal and motor skills. Then they graduate to pictures, alphabets, nursery rhymes and more. In many countries there is a great deal of competition and even admission to nursery school may be a problem with tests and interviews for the preschoolers and their parents to get through. Even in a city like New York, getting into the right pre-school or nursery is considered extremely important…and difficult. As children start going into higher classes their quantum of homework also increases. Nowadays children are exposed to a variety of influences and distractions in the form of television, home entertainment, computers and mobile phones and so their concentration gets fragmented.

An increasing number of parents complain that by giving homework teachers are just shirking their responsibility.

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However, academicians are of the view that homework does not mean that the teacher is not doing his or her work. It just means that children should be encouraged to revise what they have done in the classroom so as to grasp things better and retain them in the memory. So how much homework should children be given? Most educational experts are of the view that a child should certainly not be burdened with excessive homework and should also be encouraged to take up other extra-curricular activities like sports, dramatics, music or fine arts in his or her spare time.


It is important that when children get homework, they should be encouraged to do it on their own. This will teach them to be more independent and also put less pressure on their parents. But if they need help with their homework, they should get it from their parents or from tutors.

Parents Must Play An Active Role Some children are slow learners, some have concentration difficulties and some just require that a parent should be around when they are studying. When parents play an active role in their child’s education, it also means they are spending quality time and bonding with them. If parents have no time or do not know the subjects well enough, they can consider private tutoring by professionals. Some schools actually offer help by their own teachers, but the child has to stay back after school or come early—which he or she may not like. These days one can get online tutoring help as well, usually on payment. Unfortunately at times, espe-

EDUCATION Homework… Reinforces school teaching Translates into better performance Keeps a child positively busy at home Lays the foundation of strong work ethics Teaches time management and self control Inculcates discipline and organizational skills Involves the family in the children’s education cially at university level, this help can be misused as important essays or project work can be outsourced to a professional and then submitted as the student’s own! Ideally homework should be done by the students themselves for it to be beneficial to them. If it is outsourced it will serve no purpose except to please the teacher. The ultimate person to suffer would be the student himself as at the time of examination he or she would not have any professional help to answer the questions whose answers had been outsourced. Students should remember that the examination hall is a very lonely place where no one can help, except your hard work that you put in doing your homework!

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EDUCATION

WHY CHOICE OF SUBJECTS IS SO VITAL IN SCHOOL What is the importance of subject selection in high school? Are students really mature enough to choose their careers and accordingly their subjects at such a young age? There is a wide-ranging choice of career options available today as compared to the past. Nitin Sawhney

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The choice of subjects at different levels of education can have a life-changing effect on the career options open to a student. In junior and middle schools, children have no choice but to study everything they are taught. Some schools have subject selection for children as young as 11 and 12, others at around 14 years of age. Usually, high school entails choosing subjects, dropping some and taking others. The subjects offered by various boards in different countries vary a great deal. The three main streams of studies are arts, science and business studies or commerce. However, if you have not been a science student or not been good at science you cannot go in for engineering, architecture, applied science and medical studies at the university level. This restricts the choice of careers for arts and commerce students, because if you have selected these subjects in high school, you may not be able to go in for science subjects at the university level.

EDUCATION

HOW TO SELECT SUBJECTS Considerable research in different countries has shown that a majority of young people are undecided about their career till they have matured somewhat. They may not even be aware of the sheer number of career choices that could be open to them depending on the subjects they take. Children who are good in science have a bright future as they have more options and can even select arts or commerce/business studies at university level. Take the case of 19-year-old Siddharth. He dropped science subjects in school but later decided he wanted to become a pilot. But that was not possible as he had done arts in school and college. In order to do aviation, he had to give exams in physics and mathematics and only then could he undergo pilot training. Unfortunately the classroom environment is such that teachers have to deal with large numbers of students and teach them various subjects regardless of their aptitude or desires. For children with learning disabilities or for gifted children, the classroom can be a stifling experience, because they are all expected to conform to a certain standard. Teachers rarely have the time or energy to deal with ‘different’ children with differing levels of intelligence. It sometimes happens that only those children who may have exceptional skills in some sport or the other may have to face less pressure in the classroom, but they, too, have to get a passing grade. Often individuality is given the go by. A Mystic World

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EDUCATION CAREER ADVISORS OR COUNSELORS

medicine and engineering, but many more science

Many schools have psychologists and counselors attached to them and they can be approached for personality and aptitude testing. Objective testing will show which careers are best suited for the student’s talents and abilities. Alternatively, parents can take the students to vocational guidance counselors or career advisors before choosing subjects at the ages of 14 or 16.

research, robotics, genetics, forensic science and

Students who are artistically inclined can go in for career choices in the fields of commercial art, architecture, fashion design, interior design, graphic design, animation, photography or even fine arts. Arts students also have a wide variety of careers to choose from – advertising, media related, law, political science, languages, history and more.

is coffee tasting or managing a winery.

Science students not only have the option of

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related fields like pharmaceuticals, applied science, more. Commerce or business studies students can opt for accounts, taxation, MBA, brand management, systems analyst, finance planner or adviser, banking, wealth management, market research and lots more. University teachers, academics and journalists also come from diverse backgrounds. And of course there are careers which are off the beaten track whether it

Depending on the individual’s interests, there is no dearth of career options available in the modern world. Technology has opened up a vast array of jobs unlike in the past when job options were really limited. The sports arena also pays very well and is a great option for youngsters with talent. Ditto the entertainment industry.


EDUCATION EDUCATION ENHANCERS In the modern world there are so many ways to enhance one’s job prospects with additional qualifications, which did not exist earlier. Young people can do parttime studies through evening or morning or weekend classes. There are distance learning programmes that give online degrees. There is also scope for part-time work and full-time studies.

BROADENING YOUR HORIZONS Parents and children have to make conscious decisions as to subject choices. It is always a good idea to involve teachers and get any academic or psychological help the student may require. A lot of decisions can be reversed, but many can’t. What is imperative is that students should not be forced into taking up subjects they dislike or towards which they have no inclination. Nor should parents push them into making career choices without realising somebody who is unhappy with his or her work, will have slim chance of success. As students mature and change, and even after they enter the work force, they can still change careers. They can do additional courses if required, start their own business or do whatever they want. Both parents and students need to have an open mind. For children following their passion is important, while keeping their aptitude in mind. There are some who are really fortunate to know what they want to do, for the rest, it may be a case of trial and error. And just as some people are born with certain gifts, others may have their career options thrust upon them – children of people who own and run business empires, usually find a niche somewhere in the business itself. Similarly children of entertainers usually find themselves following one or the other parent’s footsteps. Chip of the old block!

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EDUCATION

GOOD COUNSEL MUST PREVAIL IN

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EDUCATION

Career counselling at school level is still an alien concept. Most schools don’t offer this vital facility that could make all the difference between success and failure in life…. Rohit Sengupta Like most middle class parents, Sharad Sinha’s father too hoped his son would get into a high paying job and settle down in life. But the young man had other ideas. Much to his father’s horror his interest lay in cooking. He loved pottering around in the kitchen helping his mother cook delectable dishes. A decade later, today, Sharad is an executive chef at a leading 5-Star hotel and at age 29 draws a handsome salary with perks like a house and car thrown in. The fact that he has been able to find an appropriate niche for himself has a lot to do with his school, where he was given timely advise about the kind of career most suited to his personality. “Career counselling at school level is responsible for my success. It set me on the right track. I had no idea there were such excellent hotel management institutions where one could train as a chef,” says Sharad.

helps identify strengths and channelise talents so as to make maximum use of them.” Career counselling should be an integral part of the education system as it can address the unemployment problem amongst educated youth.

Lucrative Options Says Pathak, ”Many students blindly go through school, college and even university without an idea what they want to do in life. That’s because nobody has told them about the myriad lucrative careers on offer in sunrise fields like information technology, media, management and financial services. Career counselling can go a long way in making the school education system genuinely career relevant.”

Not many are as fortunate as Sharad. That’s because career counselling is still an alien concept and most schools do not offer this vital facility that could make all the difference between success and failure in life. But the good news is that an increasing number of progressive schools have now started hiring fulltime or part-time career counsellors. Some others are organising careerfests where trained people guide students in choosing the right career. According to career counsellor Arjun Pathak, ”All young people have a range of talents, some of which even they may not be aware of. Career counselling A Mystic World

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EDUCATION Today young people have a wider spectrum of career choices than what was available to students even ten years ago. “Whereas a decade back, a student could only dream of becoming a doctor, engineer, lawyer, chartered accountant, MBA or civil servant, today there are a plethora of opportunities. All that is required is to put the student on the right track. Career counselling in schools fulfils this enormous need Studies have been done to list the numerous job opportunities that have now been added to traditional careers. Almost 20,000 different options have been listed in varied sectors. Things like information technology, web, multimedia, medical transcription; management and its specialist domains such as rural management, hospital management and so on are all new fields.

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Though television and Internet are exposing young people to the new and upcoming professions but experts feel that so much exposure is creating confusion in the minds of adolescents. This is where the role of career counsellors becomes paramount. They can help and guide children to decide their options in life. Parents are critical to the success of any counselling programme as they play an important role in helping children identify a career. Take the case of Dhruv Pandey. Even as a child he was a talented flutist. His parents were however unconvinced that he could use his talent to make a livelihood for himself. It took several counselling sessions peppered with examples of artists who have made it to the top, to assure his parents that Dhruv could make a career of his hobby.


EDUCATION Flying High Kavita Vishal too has a counsellor to thank for her success. The flying bug bit her early. As a six year old, she seldom played with dolls. “It was toy aeroplanes. And I had dozens of them which I would pretend to fly.” A counsellor in school told her that she should take up flying lessons and become a pilot. After initial reluctance, her parents agreed. Now Kavita doesn’t have to play with toy planes. As a co-pilot she flies real planes.

“It was toy aeroplanes. And I had dozens of them which I would pretend to fly.”

The counsellors must double up as psychologists, visit classrooms and observe children at work, their interests and tastes. They must provide an exposure to new career fields through books, web and audiovisuals. Bringing them in contact with potential employers (as is being done in institutions of higher learning) adds value to the information. But despite the mind boggling benefits of career counselling, only very few schools have full time counsellors. “That’s because most schools still consider the concept of career counselling as a fad. And schools that do have counsellors usually address emotional problems rather than career issues,” says Pathak

Most experts agree and say that career counselling should be given its due importance. Once that is done there would be a dramatic change in the quality of professionals that the education system churns out. A Mystic World

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EDUCATION

What’s better for your child?

BOARDING OR DAY SCHOOLS Some parents are all in favour of boarding schools, while others prefer their children going to day schools. There are advantages & disadvantages of both… Preeti Sengupta

Most parents want what is best for their children and are willing to go the extra mile for them, even if it means juggling their own needs to be able to afford a good school for their child. Take the case Vipul and Miranda Both are working and their two sons go to an elite day school. Most of the time it is Miranda who has to take the brunt of the responsibility of the children’s education, whether it is seeing to

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their assignments, taking care of their extra curricular activities, driving them to sports and drama events, attending meetings with teachers or counselors when required, making fancy dresses for their shows and always being

there to encourage them. At times she’s so exhausted with her work and the school chores of her two sons that she wishes they were in a boarding school and came home only on holidays.


Advantages of Boarding Shools Ask her and Miranda would reel out the advantages of boarding schools over day schools. For one thing, she says, parents are spared the hassles of their school-related activities like running after them to do their homework, attending parentteacher meetings and fretting and fuming about what they’d take for lunch. “Children get a well-rounded education having the best of all the worlds, studies, culture, theatre, sports and there is free and friendly interaction between students and teachers. For the other, they learn to be independent and think for themselves. Another good point of boarding schools is that they inculcate a sense of discipline among children, whether it is paying attention to their studies, or taking care of

EDUCATION

themselves, their clothes, their food, their sports and their entertainment,” says Miranda. Many families have a tradition of sending their children to boarding schools – the British royals, for instance, have almost always gone to boarding schools as have the elite in the USA. Children of politicians in Asian and African countries have also invariably studied in boarding schools or colleges so that they could get the best education and develop independent thinking attributes which would contribute to their future political career. In fact, in the middle ages, it was often the case that boys were sent to monasteries or noble households to be educated because there would be somebody or the other there who would be literate and educated. In ancient India, too, kings would send their sons

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EDUCATION to gurukuls to get a well-rounded education. While in times gone by boarding schools were patronised mostly by boys, in the modern era, boarding schools have been opened exclusively for girls as well. Nowadays, there are many co-educational boarding schools where boys and girls study together, but have separate living quarters.

These days parents in transferable jobs also sometimes prefer to put their children in boarding schools as it gives a sense of stability to the kids instead of shifting from school to school along with the parents’ transfer of residence. havioural problems they may have like indiscipline, laziness or rebellious behaviour. However, the worst is when parents threaten to send their children to boarding schools. Psychiatrists have said that boarding school as a punishment is one of the really unhealthy ways to treat a recalcitrant child. Children themselves sense when they are ‘being sent away’ and the separation anxiety can harm the future of the child and make it difficult to erase psychological scars.

Why Parents Prefer Boarding Schools These days parents in transferable jobs also sometimes prefer to put their children in boarding schools as it gives a sense of stability to the kids instead of shifting from school to school along with the parents’ transfer of residence. And since schools are closed for vacations, children inevitably come home during the vacations to spend time with their parents. If boarding schools are not too far away parents can either visit their children or the children can come home for shorter visits. In some cases, where parents are divorced or have marital problems, children can actually fare better in a boarding school. Sometimes children are sent to boarding school in an attempt to correct any be-

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For many parents, despite the glorification of boarding schools in popular literature, sending their children away can be a heart-rending decision, because it is not only the child who suffers from separation anxiety, but the parents as well who keep worrying whether their children would be able to cope with the new environment where they have to virtually fend for themselves.

Are Day Schools Better? Parents who do not subscribe to the boarding school popularity say that day schools are much better as children need their parents around them for security and the home environment can be conducive to growth and individuality. Moreover, they say that it is very important to keep an eye on children in their crucial growing years. This can be done only if they attend a day school. When they are in a boarding there is hardly any parental control and children can easily slip into wrong habits.


EDUCATION BOARDING SCHOOL’S LITERARY SUPPORT Boarding schools play an integral part in fiction. Children’s books like the ‘Billy Bunter’ series, Enid Blyton’s ‘Naughtiest Girl’, ‘Malory Towers’ and ‘St. Clare’s’ are only few examples of popular children’s literature set against the background of boarding schools. Charles Dickens’ ‘Nicholas Nickleby’, Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ are the prime examples in classic literature. However, the mother of all boarding school books have got to be J. K.Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ series which are all set in a boarding school. In fact there has been a surge of popularity of boarding schools as children want to move into their own Hogswarts and find friends like Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.

Some psychologists also suggest that boarding schools give rise to social detachment in the children. There is also a certain amount of parental fear regarding physical, mental and even sexual abuse of children in boarding schools. To support these fears are many horror tales of children being abused by senior students in boarding schools. The day school, according to those who support the concept, bring the best in children as they spend a part of their time in school and the other half in the home environment. The time spent at home means better bonding of children with their parents and

siblings—something that doesn’t happen when children are in a boarding school. In fact many studies have found that if children have a good and supportive home environment they actually do better in the home and school environment as boarding schools can be too regimented and at times stifle the child’s creative thinking. So the choice is yours. There are advantages and disadvantages of both day and boarding schools. It is really the call of the parents which one they want to choose over the other.

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EDUCATION

COMPUTERS End to conventional education? With the internet and CDROM driven computers entering households, the entire approach to education is changing dramatically. Drab subjects like mathematics, physics and chemistry are now becoming fun thanks to interactive communication software... Gyan Marwah

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Arushi, a five-year-old nursery kid, has not fully developed her motor senses and doesn’t yet have a firm grip over pen or pencil. But she is already adept at handling the mouse and keenly looks forward to her once-a-week computer class in school. She is fascinated by the bright colours on the monitor and is learning concepts faster on-screen than the blackboard. Her parents are not complaining. “Children find computers fascinating. And in their zest to explore the new medium, they end up learning more on the computer than in the routine paper-pencil way,” says father Nitin. Or take the case of Sarthak. A second standard student, he thoroughly enjoys his computer class at school. Two students share a terminal and Sarthak dominates it all the time. “Young people have to

EDUCATION

live with computers. So they might as well start early,” says his mother, matter-of-factly. Are computers consuming generationext? It would appear so from the way they are proliferating in cities and towns. According to experts, this wondrous new tool of learning is going to change all the paradigms of knowledge and education in the years to come. The debate has already started in some Western countries whether kids should be first taught writing or keyboard skills after they have learnt language and spellings. Many parents feel the keyboard should come first. The time may not be far when neat handwriting in class will be substituted by keyboard punching and knowledge of spellings would become a thing of the past because of in-built spell-checks in computers.

Young people have to live with computers. So they might as well start early.

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EDUCATION Redundant Skills

author’s faithful fans can pay to download more if they like what they see on-screen.

Among the generation that was brought up on rote learning, old skills are becoming redundant. Says Penaz Sidhwa a social scientist, “I took great care to do well in class dictations which tested a student’s handwriting, punctuation and spellings. Little did I know I was wasting time. Now whenever I tell my 12-year-old daughter to learn spellings she says, ‘I’ll run the Spellcheck!’. Why can’t our education system keep up with the times?”

“The computer is killing traditions. With on-line fiction children will miss the charm of thumbing through dog-eared pages of books,” feels retired school teacher, S.N. Sharma. “There is no educational field which the computer is not invading---and annexing as its own domain. It’s making life far too simple and that’s not good for students.”

Penaz confesses she has forgotten a number of spellings. “Ask me to write anything on paper and I have to consult a dictionary for every difficult word. The automatic Spellcheck has made things so easy.” In fact, a number of authors have started posting their books on the Internet and done away with printing them in book format. Celebrated author Stephen King’s book, ‘The Plant’ has been posted only on the Web. Instead of thumbing through pages, the

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Ameeta Sinha, a journalist specializing in information technology has a different refrain. She says that the computer interferes with the writing process too much, by continuously suggesting grammar checks. “It is still in a nascent stage and cannot understand the finer nuances of the English language. Any poetic license that a writer takes is highlighted

“I cannot write one line straight. I have completely lost my writing practice.”


as a grammar error by the computer. This is definitely going to affect writing process in the years to come,” But despite what she says, Ameeta Sinha is a selfconfessed computer-addict. “I cannot write one line straight. I have completely lost my writing practice.” Thus even those who find faults with computers cannot seem to work without them in a modern set-up. To say nothing of the new generation that is finding myriad ways of suiting the computer to their specific needs.

Which means that in class rooms, it will be the students who will be telling their geography teacher which new website has superb satellite pictures of the earth, and the history teacher about a new site on archaeology. Hopefully, the teachers will not take this role reversal in a negative way. Educationist Dr. Hrishi Awasthy feels that the line will have to be drawn somewhere. And she cautions, “ Computers must be used as a means, not as an end. While certain cognitive skills can be learnt very fast on-line, parents have to ensure that children learn traditional skills as well, which no computer so far teaches.” There are other views on the sudden reliance on

Computer Education

computers. Priya Mishra, a mother of two schoolgoing children feels that the knowledge of English

Interactive education programmes on computers are already making inroads in schools. The emphasis of most of these programmes is to offer interactive methods to explain traditional subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry, geography, English and more. In fact say academicians, the education fraternity needs to re-orient teaching. Thanks to the IT revolution, students are now coming to school with a lot more information than they earlier did. And the teacher’s role will soon become that of a facilitator.

language significantly increases with the computer. “You might not pick up a dictionary every time you write, but it is easy to access the Thesaurus while you are typing.” But she too feels that the use of computer should be restricted to certain fields. “It should not be allowed to interfere with arts and creative fields.” Like Priya, most people say that the computer, even though a very useful tool of work and means of learning, should never wholly replace the traditional learning methods. A Mystic World

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EDUCATION Negative Effects According to Dr. Vinay Mangatrai, a Professor of Physics in Mumbai, “An overdose of visuals could have a negative effect. When everything is present before the student on the screen, he or she would not feel the need to exercise the mind, thus gradually slowing the student’s capabilities of conceptualising and visualising.” There is another factor that needs to be taken into consideration. Some experts feel that easy access to information considerably diminishes the joys of exploring. “You name any issue under the sun and the information is available — be it the latest advances in bio-technology, or the new map of the states of India, or the most futuristic careers or recipes for making pickles. All you have to do is to get the names of sites from a search engine.” Traditionalists feel that this would no doubt help students a great deal in completing their homework. They would get information on the pygmies, Nile and Amazon deltas and the inhabitants of igloo in

the Arctic region. But imagine what this will do to the ability to take the trouble of exploring things on one’s own? As an example Prof. Mangatrai says, “Why would a journalist struggle in the initial years, running around and sweating it out to get information from different sources? He might as well browse through 10 different sites, download them, change the language and present it as his own. So, what will happen to the originality and the creativity and to the zeal to explore?” Are computers ushering in an era of free information at the cost of time-honoured education traditions? Maybe yes. The old is giving way to the brave new world. Prof. Mangatrai puts it succinctly when he says, “ In the entire human history, the use of any machine or tool to achieve a desired objective has been left at the discretion of an individual. But the age of information technology gives no choices. Learn on the computer or perish. That’s the diktat of the cyber world! “

You name any issue under the sun and the information is available.

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EDUCATION

Parents, beware of the

Downside of Technology Childre’s overdependence on computers and the Internet can sometimes prove to be counterproductive... Smiti Munwani

Technology has helped in transforming almost everything in the world at a rapid pace. The advent of computers and mobile phones, for instance, has shrunk the world tremendously and made communication a whole lot faster and easier than ever before. Computer processing speeds and power are now so fast that what used to take hours now takes seconds. Mobile phones started off as simple communication devices but now come with cameras, video and sound recording facilities, radio, mp3 players and more.

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EDUCATION

Computers Can Help & Hinder While computers and mobile phones have proved a boon to industry and have many applications, the fact that very small children have access to and use these gadgets means that while they do learn to use them quickly, they also sometimes get too dependent upon them. Computers are a great tool for online learning experience, the internet is a fount of information for small

Many schools and colleges now accept assignments done on computers and children have been quick to use them to their advantage. But, since they submit printouts of their assignments and reports or send them via the EMail, their handwriting skills are going down considerably.

and big children and even higher level students whether it is homework assignments, project work or even simple learning for kindergarten kids. Children just have to click and find everything they need whether it is pictures, information, quotations, poems, research articles or mathematical and science answers.

Flip Side of Technology However, there is a downside to technology especially where children and education are concerned. Many schools and colleges now accept assignments done on computers and children have been quick to use them to their advantage. But, since they submit printouts of their assignments and reports or send them via the E-Mail, their handwriting skills are going down considerably. In ‘Word’ documents, it is easy to use spelling and grammar check, so children are no longer so bothered about learning the correct spellings and grammar and just use the tools available on the computer. There is

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EDUCATION also a Thesaurus, dictionary and other language tools available in ‘Word’ documents, so it not necessary for children to use their brain power. Similarly, thanks to E-mail, actual letter-writing abilities of children suffer a lot. It is easier to type out a short E-mail than write a letter, stamp it, post it and then wait for the receiver to get it! E-mail is instantaneous; though it is a great time-saver, it also means that no memories are created and kept as mementoes as in the case of hand-written letters

Drawbacks Of Text Messaging With online chatting via the computer and short message service (SMS) on mobile young people do a great deal of text messaging. The SMS means that you can send just a certain number of characters. This has resulted in young people shortening words to the bare minimum—barely enough for others to understand. For example ‘Great’ is written as ‘Gr8’ and ‘See You’ becomes ‘CU’. ‘Just for fun’ becomes ‘j4f’. There are even SMS dictionaries available – grammar is of no importance whatsoever, the idea is to write the text in the shortest possible manner. Thus both spellings and grammar go for a toss.

When children are exposed to such shortcuts at a young age, they forget their basic language and spellings and this is reflected in the problems they face when they go for higher studies. In fact the text messaging lobby in many countries is so powerful that there is even talk that schools and teachers should accept papers written in this kind of language! There have been suggestions in newspapers that teachers should no longer correct spellings in papers except for the English paper, even though all subjects are taught in English. And such suggestions are not being taken lightly. Academicians fear that this may probably become a reality in the near future and would negatively impact the education of the child. Another danger of computers and mobile phones is that personal and social interactions are limited and a child can spend hours in front of a computer monitor, instead of being out playing or hanging out with friends. This can result in lack of social skills and harm the psychological and physical growth of a child. Time spent in front of the computer also results in time not being spent on sports, social and cultural

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activities. Even other activities which stimulate the mind like reading or playing board games is being lost to computers and the Internet. In fact, children are reading far less books than before.

EDUCATION

will find it difficult to add the sums mentally. The dependence on technology is so great that if electricity is not on, for any given reason, cards cannot be swiped, bills cannot be generated and transactions cannot take place at hotels, petrol pumps and all other businesses dealing directly with people.

Calculating Math Skills Another gadget which is not exactly new to technology is the calculator. No doubt calculators have a lot of advantages in carrying out large and complex mathematical calculations especially by people in scientific fields. However, children have become so dependent on them that they find it difficult to do simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, forget about learning multiplication tables by rote! This problem has become so rampant that if you go to a store and a calculator can’t be found, the cashier

HS LAW& SOLICITORS

NOTARIES

But this is not to suggest that technology should be debunked. It offers great advantages, as long as a child does not become its slave. As long as technology is used as a tool, it can enhance the learning experience of children. But if children get addicted to it, it can actually be counter-productive.

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EDUCATION

DOES EDUCATION MAKE

THE DIFFERENCE?

For years the term ‘prodigy’ remained synonymous with a child who had a high IQ. But the focus has now shifted from the bright child in the classroom to the creatively gifted child who is both unconventional and original... Gyan Marwah

Shravan Kulkarni is a bright computer brain. In March 2008 he qualified as a Microsoft systems engineer after passing a series of tough exams. A whizkid? Yes, considering he is just 16! At 16, Shashank Nagar doesn’t have time for cricket, movies or friends. Most of his spare time is spent in playing music. And hold your breath, he has mastered 14 different instruments. Rishi Sardesai has just finished his graduation in physics honours. At 15 years and two months he appeared simultaneously in all the three parts of B.Sc.and secured 71 per cent marks. Kuchipudi dancer, Sakshi Nagaraja has enthralled audiences in India and abroad with her stunning performances. Whatever little time she gets to herself is spent playing with Barbie dolls. Payal is 12!

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Gifted children or child prodigies? Call them what you will, but the fact is these kids are light years ahead of their peers in terms of accomplishments. Grasping things with an amazing alacrity, they are a picture of commitment and concentration whether in academics or art or even sporting pursuits. For years the world ‘prodigy’ remained synonymous with a child who had a high IQ. But the focus has now shifted from the bright child in the classroom to the creatively gifted child who is both unconventional and original. According to Dr. Vinod Tripathy, an acclaimed authority on gifted children, “It’s human functioning at a very high level. But there is a difference between a gifted child and a prodigy.”

Difference Between A Prodigy & A Gifted Child Dr. Tripathy who has been researching the subject, adds, “A prodigy performs so well in the classroom or in his or her area of specialisation the talent is unmistakable. On the other hand a gifted child is talented but with a lesser degree of excellence. There are plenty of gifted children but a child prodigy is

EDUCATION

probably one in a million.”

But sometimes the dividing line is very thin. Take the case of Sashank Nagar. At 16 his accomplishment speaks of his prodigious abilities. He has mastered the chords of the keyboards, strings of the guitar, trumpets of the saxophone, percussion beats of the bongo and notes of the flute. Raghav is fluent in over 14 musical instruments. The teenager started his journey into the realms of music at four. Sashank chanced upon his father’s harmonica and melody flowed naturally. An ear for music and attuned to symphony he started his musical explorations. “I wanted to play every musical instrument and my father encouraged me immensely. All my friends and relatives were surprised at how effortlessly I caught on to a tune.” Since childhood his father has bought him a different instrument every year. Sitting among the clutter of musical instruments Sashank asks solemnly, “Can I play for you?” Before you can say yes, the strains of the flute spring into a slow and soulful start. Contrary to a schoolboy, one sees an earnest attempt of an artist to enthrall.

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EDUCATION

No Formal Training

“I have had no formal initiation; it was only few years back, that I formally learnt music. I prefer wind instruments. I want to do my Bachelors in Music in a good European country.” His mother realizes his aptitude and narrates an incident, “I used to pester him to study. One day I met his music teacher and complained that he wasn’t concentrating on studies. She turned to me and said, ‘A lot of boys are good students but tell me how many can play musical instruments like Sashank?’ From that day onwards I have always been encouraging to him.”

“I first learnt the namaskar, the mudras and later went on to learn items which I practiced to perfection. My favourites is Tarangam, performed on the rim of a brass plate. I also like Ramayana and Rasya Shabdam.”

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Most social scientists say that home environment is critical in nurturing exceptional talent. Such children flourish only with the constant encouragement of an adult at home or in school. Take the case of Kuchipudi exponent Sakshi Nagaraja who draws constant encouragement from great classical dancers of India. The 12 year old started dance at the age of four and has given outstanding performances in her so far brief yet accomplished career. Says Sakshi, “I first learnt the namaskar, the mudras and later went on to learn items which I practiced to perfection. My favourites is Tarangam, performed on the rim of a brass plate. I also like Ramayana and Rasya Shabdam.” Sakshi practices for three hours daily. She has complete control over her breathing which is so essential for a good dancer. Recently she was invited to perform at a classical dance festival in Chennai. After her hour long marathon she received a standing ovation. According to social scientists, gifted children need constant stimulation both at home and in school.


EDUCATION

Their interests have to be energised by constant pats on the back. While genetic factors do play a role, there are no short cuts. They have toiled for excellence and they expect applause for their hard work.

says “is to become the youngest recipient of a Nobel Prize. Maybe in 2011 A.D.when I am 18!”

Stupendous Feat

Once the child enters school, teachers become the most likely identifiers of gifted children. However, teacher judgement is subjective to his or her own attitude to what is acceptable and what is not.

Hard work is something which Shravan Kulkarni knows a lot about. At age 16 this Mumbai boy has already become a Microsoft Certified Engineer [MCE] which is a stupendous feat.

There are many children like Rishi, Sashank, Sakshi and Shravan but their creativity goes unnoticed because of lack of interest of teachers and parents.

One has to first qualify as a Microsoft Certified Professional before becoming a systems engineer. A number of computer professionals take years to become Microsoft certified systems engineers. The degree opens up a virtual Pandora’s Box of jobs all over the world. “I’d like to study more,” says Shravan. “Whenever someone tells me I’ve done a great job I don’t get flattered. This is just the beginning and I have a long way to go and a lot more to achieve.” Rishi Sardesai would readily agree. This year the boy passed B.Sc. at 15 years and two months, appearing for all three years simultaneously. “Yes, there’s a lot more to be achieved in life,” he says. His plan is to complete his M.Sc. in the shortest possible time and then do research in the field of science especially in physics. His next target, he

There are many children like Rishi, Sashank, Sakshi and Shravan but their creativity goes unnoticed because of lack of interest of teachers and parents.

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EDUCATION

Schools Of No Help

Unfortunately, studies have shown that in general school environment is of no help in motivating gifted children. In a class of 50 students the teacher’s aim is to control nonconformity and steer the gifted child back onto the routine track. After all, the teacher is aware that the gifted child normally has the uncanny habit of asking uncomfortable questions to which he or she may have no answers. Which explains why research has shown that society discovers and develops no more than a quarter of its potential talent. Most gifted children are unlikely to achieve their potential unless they receive extra help mainly in the way of motivation from teachers. All children need opportunities to develop their individual talent and the gifted are no exception. In schools where the curriculum is sterile and sometimes irrelevant, where resources are limited and where there are no means of diagnosing and nurturing the gifted individual the potential C.V. Ramans or Rabindranath Tagores or Amartya Sens may be lost to society. Remember what Einstein said `My education stopped when I entered school!’ In fact studies have shown that many of the under achievers in schools could be gifted in other fields. Their gifts have, however,

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not been harnessed with adequate stimulation and more likely that they have been discouraged as their creative attempts have failed or remained unrewarded.

“You are right,” St.

Heard the story of the man who sought the greatest general ever in the history of the world? His quest took him to the pearly gates of heaven where St. Peter led him to an old hobbling soul and said: “There he is.”

talents been properly

But stuttered the inquirer, “I knew that man when he was alive. He was cobbler.”

Peter smiled. had

this

“But

cobbler’s

exploited early in life, he would have made Napoleon Bonaparte, Rommell and Patton look like cobblers!”


Sex in the

EDUCATION

Classroom Somewhere between childhood and adulthood lies adolescence an unknown territory for parents, teachers, doctors and young people themselves. Between the ages of 12 and 21 there is rapid physical and emotional growth where parents cease to be the frame of reference and peer pressure takes over. So who do young people turn to for answers to questions relating to sex? Experts feel that there is a serious need to introduce sex education... Rajni Mahapatra A Mystic World

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EDUCATION

Nutan and Vinay remember the time when their four year old daughter, Sevanti popped a question which had them fumbling for an answer. She asked: “Where do babies come from?” They gave her the patent reply of how the fairy had brought her to them one night. Later, at age six, when she asked the same question, there was no putting her off. Nutan, a lecturer in a college says, “I tried to explain her the biological process, but she couldn’t comprehend. And I didn’t want to go beyond that.” Today Sevanti is 18 and Nutan still has trouble discussing any questions pertaining to sex. There is an

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embarrassing communication gap when the topic comes up. With little or at best negligible help from the education system, Sevanti’s information comes largely from friends, from the Internet and from the racy novels she reads hardly the most reliable sources of knowledge. For people like Sevanti and her mother Nutan, help is now at hand. There are many telephone based information services relating to questions on sex set up in all big cities. That they are a booming success is apparent by the amount of calls the counsellors get. But what is more apparent is the ignorance about sex related issues even among university level students. Some of the questions asked are a pointer in this direction. A male caller who identified himself as a post-graduate student of psychology asked whether he would go blind as he dreamt of pretty girls every night. A girl student who did not identify herself asked if she would get pregnant as she had worn her brother’s pair of jeans to a party. A Ph.D. student inquired if he ran the risk of getting AIDS as he had held the hand of a girl who he suspected was going around with other guys.


EDUCATION

Misplaced Modesty “What is worrying is the appalling levels of ignorance,” says psychiatrist Vinod Sharma. “The reason for this state of affairs is that in most Asian homes, sex is a topic kept under wraps, tackled with prudery and

misplaced

modesty.

Most

parents and teachers are the last source of information on sex.”

equally ignorant or ill informed about sex. The next information provider is television. The knowledge derived from television, according to sociologists, is the classic tale of a blind man feeling an elephant and trying to wonder what it is. Young people see different scenes with sexual connotations but they are unable to link this information and see it as complete knowledge. According to counsellors a frequent question from young girls is whether they can get pregnant from kissing their boyfriends. So, where should a teenager turn to for answers to these natural questions? How much information related to sex should the growing child be fed and who should impart this education?

In fact, somewhere between childhood and adulthood lies adolescence an unknown territory for parents, teachers, doctors, and young people themselves. Between the ages of 12 and 20 there is rapid physical and emotional growth where parents cease to be the frame of reference and peer pressure takes over. At the same time, with the uninhibited lifestyles on display on satellite television, adolescents indulge in youthful fantasies but when they attempt to change them into their own reality, they are presented with a conflicting set of values and restrictions imposed by the family. Usually parents hesitate to talk about sex and when children turn to teachers the issue is side stepped. Adolescents have many queries and fears but no one to discuss them with. They find it difficult to cope with a subject which is seemingly taboo. In such a situation they turn to their friends who are A Mystic World

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EDUCATION

Birds & Bees Take the case of Sidharath Mehta, a pilot and parent of two teenged children. Sex education, he says is all humbug. “There is a time and place for everything. It should come naturally. Nobody taught us or our parents and grand parents about the birds and bees, yet we’ve all had healthy children and there’ve been no problems. The more you try and teach the subject the more complications will arise.” That point of view seems to be shared by most orthodox Asian parents. But consider the other side. Manisha, a college student of commerce whose father is a chartered accountant and mother a banking officer, says, “My parents seldom answered any questions which come naturally to a growing teenager. I didn’t want to cloud my mind with unconfirmed and suspect sources of information. But I had nowhere to turn to. I just wish that sex education is introduced in schools and colleges.”

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A recent survey has revealed that there is immense public support for introduction of sex education in schools. However, opinion varies regarding the level at which the subject is to be introduced. Thirty eight percent of the 722 people covered by the survey felt sex should be introduced in the 15 to 17 age group while 24 per cent said the target group should be 14 to 15 years of age. Ten per cent voted for targeting the 6 to 11 years group while 28 per cent were in favour of introducing the topic for students between the ages of 11 to 14 years.


EDUCATION

The survey covered 116 teachers, 507 parents and 11 educational experts of which 43 were females and 679 males. There was an overwhelming response for the introduction of sex education with 60 per cent of the teachers, 49 per cent of the parents, 59 per cent experts favouring the idea.

Sex should not be associated with

But the moot question is: How much of this education is enough for a growing mind? Noted Indian sexologist, Dr. Prakash Kothari in an article opines that there is no definite time to begin sex education. “Informal sex education can be started at any time when the child’s curiosity makes him or her receptive to conceptual inputs.”

should no doubt be warned about

Dr. Kothari adds that the right attitude of parents should be to impart positive sex education to children and the subject should not be treated as a forbidden area.

and a wonderful thing.

sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, teenage pregnancy, rape, pornography and child molestation. Children the dangers of these problems but at the same time, parents should not forget to acknowledge and explain that sex, in its proper place, is a good

All-Pervasive Ignorance According to Dr. Bhavna Manchanda, a leading gynecologist of Delhi, “Teenage pregnancies and abortions would decline dramatically if sex education is introduced in schools. Students should be taught planned parenthood, anatomy and reproduction. The misconceptions in the young minds should be cleared. The aim should be to prepare them for adulthood so that they avoid sex related problems.” The growing publicity of the dangers of AIDS has reemphasised the need for sex education with

everyone suddenly talking about it. Whether it is just the fear factor or genuine concern, the fact is that the demand for sex as a subject has grown by leaps and bounds. Children are not very sure about the causative factors for sexually transmitted diseases, but they are now very curious to know about them because AIDS and STD are closely linked. Suman Jain, an economic lecturer says, “Given today’s circumstances, sex education is becoming very relevant. Parents are busy building up their careers and expanding their social circles. They have little time for their children who are left to fend for themselves. With the result, television and the Internet become their most trusted companions. So, no one should blame them if they tend to aspire for lifestyles like those portrayed in soap operas. In such a scenario young people can easily go adrift as there is no one to give their lives a direction. That’s when sex education becomes very important.” A Mystic World

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EDUCATION

Communication Explosion Perhaps the urgency with which the question of introducing sex education in the curriculum has a lot to do with the communication explosion. “It is imminent that a growing children must be given the right answers to sex related questions,” says psychiatrist, Rajiv Kumar Rai. “ That’s the only way to offset the smut they see on the Internet. With attainment of puberty the young mind becomes very curious and it is only the authentic books, supportive parents and trained teachers who can provide the right answers which young people grope for but seldom get.” For example in a conversation with 40 pre adolescent girls, it was discovered that only 30 per cent of them had been told about menstruation by their

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mothers. The rest had gathered information from their friends. Says 13 year old Shibani, an eighth class student, “When I ask my mother about menstruation she beats about the bush. When I ask my teacher, she tells me to stop wasting her time with stupid questions and concentrate on my studies. Who do I turn to?” Which in a way sums up the sorry state of affairs. There appears not just an urgent need to introduce sex education in the school and college curricula but more than that it is the parents and teachers who should be first educated to modify their attitudes. No sex education scheme can ever hope to succeed without that.


HEALTH

No movies, no TV, no eating out, no reading novels, no watching television. Fussing parents, nagging fears… ’What if I fail?’ Exams are arriving and so is stress. Are there any ways to combat it…? Dr. Vandana Vashisht

How to combat

Exam Stress A Mystic World

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HEALTH Venue: Examination Hall. Scene: Sitting on the desk with a blank sheet and even blanker mind. All the learning seems to have flown out of the window. As the clock strikes twelve, the examiner comes charging down to pull the paper from the grasp. Heart pounding with fear, beads of perspiration glistening on the forehead, sweaty palms…. Thank God, it was a bad dream! But exam-related stress is for real. What if this really happens? What if the mind goes blank? What if the questions are out of the syllabus? What if I fail? These thoughts have worried students from generations. They are becoming more real now, in an increasingly competitive world where all your life choices are dependent upon the marks you score. Students are at their study tables burning the midnight oil trying to cram in as much as they can till D-day. No movies, no TV, no eating out, no reading novels, no watching television. And the parents are fussing and wondering, will their child make it?

Examination stress Fear of failure adds to the stress. Every year more and more kids are contemplating suicide as a means of final escape with some actually succumbing to it. Young promising lives get snuffed out so cheaply. “As examination time closes in, more and more students are approaching me with uneasy symptoms like lack of sleep and hunger, anxiety, depression or a strange unknown fear,” says Dr. Vijay Rajan Goel, senior psychiatric consultant. Who is responsible for this trauma? Dr. Kashyap attributes exam tension to a combination of reasons. Family environment, parental attitudes and expectations, peer pressure and individual aspirations, all combine to cause extreme stress and worry during the examination time. “ Some people find this time so difficult, they actually become ill, depressed, forgetful, irritable and unsocial,” adds Dr. Kashyap. The entire future of the child is at stake, according to Dr. Gowri Ishwaran, former principal of one of Delhi’s newest and most progressive schools. She says it is not fair that in a period of three hours, children are expected to testify to all they have learnt over the past year and the marks they score will chart the course of their lives as adults. “It is very natural for stress to occur given the high stakes. The future of kids depends not on what they are capable of or have been doing for the entire year or for that matter all through their schooling years, but on the crucial three hours of examination.” Previous performances have no value. Would-be doctors may end up becoming computer graduates, architecture wannabes turn into social development specialists and promising engineers find themselves working in the field of communication.

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HEALTH

alternate courses. No longer are the conventional doctor-lawyer-engineer careers the only life choices for a child. Kids need to understand that there are many career options available outside the conventional ones. It is important that they realise that entry into a top-notch college that demands a minimum 90-plus percentage is not the only route to success. Adds Dr. Ishwaran, “To be a journalist one doesn’t need to be a topper. Instead, good grades in English and a more rounded education and development is what would make him or her a good journalist.” This she feels is only one example. Many more options are available today from which to select.

Add to this the unnatural parental expectations and student stress level increases manifold,” Adds Dr. Ishwaran. Experts say that the first solution must begin at home. Parents need to be counseled not to burden the child with their expectations. Half the child’s anxiety is alleviated when parents are relaxed about his or her performance. Parents must also add to the confidence levels of their children by assuring them that poor examination results do not mean the end of all opportunities.

Alternative Options They must be conscious of the range of alternative options that are available even when children perform below par. Such reassurances tend to relieve children of unnecessary strain enabling them to get on with the task of learning without fear. Career counselling helps. With better knowledge about career options, children are able to chart

Schools have a significant role to play in combating examination fever. They must groom children from the younger classes, giving them a more rounded view of education. Early strength-spotting in children can enable the school to build on these as also to understand their limitations and work around them.

Life Beyond Exams Experts feel that although one cannot kill competition altogether, it need not be made the ‘be all’. Schools must prepare students for life beyond exams which is much more important. In some schools children are prepared to sit for the exams from class IV onwards, through aggressive competition — Monday tests, weekly tests, quarterlies. Such tests, according to educationist Dr. Shyama Chona, serve as training grounds for the crucial school examinations. Most professional colleges in any case do not appear to trust the present evaluation system and have set up their own entrance examinations. Dr. Chona feels that since they have their own entrance exams it is A Mystic World

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HEALTH Tips to cope up with exam stress If you are stressed, talk to someone you trust. Chances are you’ll feel better. When making notes use red ink. The mind retains information in red easier. Give yourself enough time to revise the entire course---preferably twice Meditate, pray. Use anything that reduces stress and focusses the mind. Get help. Ask a teacher or tutor about how to revise and prepare for exams. Stay healthy. Get enough sleep, eat sensibly and do some exercises. Be careful using caffeine – generally it is best to avoid it in huge amounts. Do your best. No one can do more than this.

possible to reduce the competition at the school level which would automatically lead to less examination stress.

Multiple Capabilities “All kids are made differently so they cannot be judged by rigid patterns,” concurs Dr. Ishwaran. “Children have multiple kinds of capabilities so we need different kinds of evaluation systems. Some might like writing, others sports or singing. We need to provide a conducive environment for them to be able to realise their potential in fields that interest them, and not just academics,” she opines. But most academicians confess that even though they want to innovate, the system binds them – examinations, board rules, university admission guidelines, cut off percentages…they have little choice but to follow the set patterns in education. Many teenagers are losing heart because of the pressures of education. The system has become an instrument of giving undue weightage to exam results above all else. This is causing a lot of

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stress. Exams are necessary, but not the be-all and the end-all. What is important is a whole rounded experience of education.


HEALTH

Minding a child’s child s mind Vineeta couldn’t not understand the change in her 7-year-old son Aman’s behaviour. He started exhibiting sudden bursts of stamina, began flitting from one activity to another with what appeared to be an endless fount of energy. Instead of being happy at her son’s energy levels she became worried. When she went on the Internet to make sure if everything was

okay, she was in for a big shock. Aman was showing sure signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Studies show that the disorder is seemingly affecting a large number of children in the age group of three to ten years due to factors like sedentary lifestyles, junk food, parental pressure to perform well in all spheres of life and the influence of television

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD, is a common mental disorder that develops in children. Children with ADHD show signs of brain dysfunction at home, school and with friends. If untreated, the disorder can have long-term adverse effects into adolescence and adulthood… Preety Jain

and internet. But these are not the only things that trigger the problem. The other causes for ADHD are minimal and subtle brain damage during foetal development and early infancy caused by infection and premature delivery. If not diagnosed in childhood, in adults it could get more pronounced by food additives, colouring agents, preservatives and sugar, A Mystic World

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HEALTH all of which also contribute to the effect. Thirdly, prolonged emotional deprivation and stressful life may initiate or perpetuate the problem. “Unfortunately the disease does not manifest itself suddenly in adults. Those who find out that they have the problem at a later stage in life must have had it in childhood though it may not have been diagnosed,” says Dr. Vikas Dham a Mumbai-based psychiatrist The problem persists through life. Medical science estimates that nearly 50 to 65 percent of kids with ADHD will continue to have significant problems as adults. In adults the disorder follows the same diagnostic criteria as in children.

Biological Factors Medical research shows that ADHD is four to eight times more common in males than in females. It is caused by biological factors which influence balance of chemical activity and transmission in certain parts of the brain. If the disease goes undiagnosed and untreated, it

Control Loop Ascending Neural Radiations to cortex Cerebral Cortex Anterior Thalamic Nucleus Cerebral Hemisphere Olfactory Bulb Visual Impulses Hypothalamus Pituitary Gland Mamillary Body of Hypothalamus A mygdaloid Nucleus

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Feed-Back Differential Descending Neural Radiations to the hippocampus/ Thalamus/hypothalamus Corpus Callosum Thalamus

Pineal Gland Hippocampus Cerebellum Auditory Impulses Projection to Spinal Cord Ascending Sensory Tracts

wreaks havoc on a youngster’s sense of self esteem and interferes with his or her abilities to perform well at school, to make friends, and to get along with siblings and parents. Dr. Dham adds, “The disease is spreading very rapidly in metros where a kid is subjected to tremendous amount of stress both at home and at school because of high levels of competition.” In a large number of cases ADHD runs in families. If one person in a family is diagnosed with the problem there is a 25 percent to 35 percent probability that another family member could have it too. Parents must keep a close eye on their children for any such symptoms. Note any behavioural changes. And if they are of a serious nature it would be advisable to put the child through a psychological screening test for immediate detection and medication. If ADHD is detected early, psychiatrists usually recommend a comprehensive treatment plan involving teachers and parents as also counselling sessions.


HEALTH Confidence Erosion Doctors warn that the problem should never be taken lightly as it affects a child’s life at school, in the classroom, within the family and also his or her future. An erosion of confidence is usually the result and the child would have negative perceptions which could result in frustration and failure. Apart from conventional treatment, children stricken with ADHD must have a supportive environment. They should be taught organisational, memory and time management skills. Unfortunately, research has revealed that ADHD can be a lifelong disability and one does not outgrow it. Nevertheless the individual can learn to master strategies to function effectively. Medicines can be an important component of treating ADHD in moderate to severe cases. It may help increase the attention span and reduce the levels of hyperactivity. This certainly facilitates the behaviour modification programme and acceptance of the child in family and social setting. According to Dr. Dham, “Children who take medication to help control ADHD have to continue this therapy for different lengths of time. The medication is stopped only when the doctor is satisfied that the child is somewhat in control of his or her life.� Many parents who do not go for formal treatment are putting their children in grave danger. They may develop a variety of secondary problems as they move through life like emotional distress, drug abuse, academic failure, vocational problems, marital discord among others. However, the good news is that if properly treated, most children with ADHD live normal lives at home and in school.

SYMPTOMS OF

ADHD

The American Psychiatric Association lists 14 symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, of which at least eight symptoms must be present for a child to be classified as a victim of ADHD. Often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming while seated. Having difficulty remaining seated. Having difficulty awaiting turn in games or group activities. Often blurting out answers before questions are completed. Having difficulty in following instructions. Having difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities. Often shifting from one uncompleted task to another. Having difficulty playing quietly. Often talking excessively. Often interrupting or intruding on others. Often not listening to what is being said. Often forgetting things necessary for tasks or activities. Often engaging in dangerous activities without considering possible consequences. Being easily distracted by extraneous stimuli. A Mystic World

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HEALTH

Dyslexic people have difficulty with reading and spelling despite a normal intellect. It is hard for them to understand letters, numbers, symbols, and written words. Doctors recommend a

DYSLEXIA Muddling a child’s mind

combination of remedial methods to deal with the problem… Nutan Sehgal

One look at the school report card and Sunita was aghast. Though her bubbling and bright nine year old Mimi was going to one of the best schools of Delhi, she was down at the bottom of the class. The cryptic note from the teacher read, “Mimi needs to work harder. She does not concentrate in class and cannot read properly. She is a poor student.”

Some discarded pieces of cloth, some cotton, some

Sunita was bewildered. She had never found Mimi wanting in brains. If she didn’t have any, as her teacher had insinuated, how could she make those fascinating dolls, complete to the last detail?

Yet, this was the same little girl of whom the teacher

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cardboard, cellophane paper and crayons and within hours she had a new doll ready! In fact Mimi could play chess with her father, had become adept at knitting which she learnt from mom and remembered roads like the back of her hand. thought so poorly. Sunita was not ready to believe this. There was something which went beyond the simple explanation of the teacher.


What the teacher did not know—but should have known—was that Mimi was a dyslexic child. She had difficulty with reading and spelling despite a normal intellect. It was hard for her to understand letters, numbers, symbols, and written words. Sentences looked jumbled to her making it difficult for her to read and remember what she read.

HEALTH

Neurological Disorder Dyslexia is a common problem. In fact it affects such a wide range of people, and produces such different symptoms and varying degrees of severity, that predictions are hard to make. It is a classical reading disorder and neurological in origin but it is vastly different from mental retardation. In fact, dyslexia isn’t a sign of low intelligence; some very smart people have had dyslexia. How smart? Well Albert Einstein was dyslexic. So were John F. Kennedy, Walt Disney, Winston Churchill, George Washington, Pablo Picasso, Hans Christian Anderson, Thomas Edison, Michael Faraday, Alexander Graham Bell, Leonardo Da Vinci and many more. Though medical science does not have any decisive answers about what causes dyslexia, there has been a great increase in the information available through research, and a number of possibilities are beginning to emerge. The overall picture is that dyslexia can be caused in two ways--by inherited factors and or by hearing problems at an early age. It can also result from a combination of genetic and environmental causes. Some known symptoms of dyslexia are a confusion over letters (b/d, p/9, p/q); missing out words when reading; difficulties with spelling; difficulties with left and right and difficulties with directions

(e.g. east and west). The consequences in a child may include problems in reading and comprehension that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. The collateral damage for dyslexic children is that their confidence and self esteem takes a real bashing especially when they see other class students understanding things faster than they can. As a parent this is very painful to watch because it doesn’t stop at childhood and can go on for a lifetime, if not treated. Boosting a dyslexic child’s self-confidence is a very critical element to their academic growth and success. The way these children perceive themselves can positively or negatively impact every aspect of their academic career and beyond. The most vital key is to help them believe in themselves. A Mystic World

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HEALTH In fact research has found that many dyslexic people are visual, multi-dimensional thinkers. They are intuitive and highly creative, and excel at hands-on learning. They shine in the arts, creativity, design, computing and lateral thinking. It has been observed that dyslexics are creative thinkers who often solve problems through visual imagery. The good news for parents like Sunita is that dyslexia is treatable. However, there is no medicine to correct the brain malfunction. But the process requires both patience and endurance. Treatment is by remedial education. For parents an important part of the treatment is to educate themselves about the condition. The earlier dyslexia is recognized and addressed, the greater success the child will have at reading well.

Multiple Approaches Very few dyslexia treatments have had rigorous scientific testing to prove they work, so selecting the right treatment amongst all the different claims can be difficult. Even among the proven treatments, a particular treatment may work on one person but not on another. Most research suggests that multiple approaches will be required before a dyslexic child is set free of the disability. Parents and teachers have to use techniques involving hearing, vision and touch to improve reading skills of the child. A combination of the senses of the child have to be used---for example, making him or her listen to a taped lesson and tracing with a finger the shape of the spoken words—can be of great help. A combination of remedial reading, reduced pressure upon the child for academic success, sympathetic understanding of his problem, and measures to provide him or her with knowledge in

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spite of his reading handicap appears to be the most successful approach to management at present. A South African paediatrician Dr. Jan Strydom has come up with an innovative system of cognitive exercises called Audioblox that has been successful in curing dyslexics. His analysis has led him to a dynamically different view of the true nature of dyslexia. The system is aimed at the development of foundational learning skills. On a day-to-day basis most experts recommend a basic strategy for parents and teachers. Dyslexics must be provided a quiet area for activities like reading and writing. They should be given audio books. But if these are not available they should be given books with large print and big spaces between lines. They should be encouraged to use logic rather than rote memory. And finally they should be given study material in small units.

In the absence of any decisive medicines, the only cure at present is a supportive family and friends who can help dyslexic people build a strong selfimage. Such a strategy would go a long way in not just curing the problem but also in bringing out the best in dyslexic people.


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TRAVEL The world’s trendiest city, Paris is the showpiece of Europe. The tiny alleyways of the Montmartre, the monumental vistas from Louvre to La Défense; the street markets and old-fashioned pedestrian arcades against the giant underground commercial complexes of Montparnasse and Les Halles; the imperial grandeur that sweeps from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe and the ever-imposing Eiffel Tower, the city is a blend of stunning architecture and palpable history.

Paris means different things to different people. For the young, it is the worlds’s most romantic city. For those interested in history, it is a place that has been witness to some of the most important events of the twentieth centuries. And for many others, it is a city that symbolizes the essence of Europe

The old-world aura, the breezy boulevards, impressive monuments, great works of art, amazing lights and the romantic Sienne make Paris one of the most memorable cities of the world. You could walk past Belleville, where market stalls line the main boulevard. You could take in the world-famous touristy sites like the Louvre, the Notre Dame, Champs Elysees and of course, the Eiffel Tower.

Mukesh Khosla

PULSATING Eiffel Tower—Symbol and spirit of Paris

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PARIS


Fashion Capital

TRAVEL

But first things first. Paris is the world’s fashion capital and it would not be appropriate not to start with haute couture. French designers like Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent set the world trends every year Once properly decked, you would be ready to do the next best thing in Paris–visit the art galleries. The city loves its art and there are numerous galleries like Musée d’Orsay, Musée Picasso, Musée de l’Orangerie and Musée Marmottan. But the world famous one of course is Musée du Louvre—or simply Louvre—which is considered the world’s greatest art museum. The Louvre displays about 300,000 works of art. The most famous exhibits to be seen are the Venus de Milo and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The entrance to this museum is through a 21-metre (67feet) glass pyramid which was ordered by former President François Mitterrand and added during the 1980s. The pyramid was controversial at that

Champs Elysees—The symbolic promenade of Paris

Moulin Rouge—The world’s most famous nightclub

time but is now widely admired by Parisians and tourists. But be warned. Over 50,000 visitors come to Louvre daily and there could be a wait for an hour or more to enter the building, so be patient! Remember, it’s worth the wait in gold if you love the art. But no matter how much you are tempted don’t get completely lost in Louvre. There are plenty of other sites to see in Paris. Arc de Triomphe is one of them. Commissioned by Napoleon to celebrate his victories in 1805, it could not be completed in his reign. In fact, it was completed in 1836 during the reign of Louis-Philippe. The Arc de Triomphe is engraved with names of soldiers who commanded French troops during Napoleon’s regime. The design of the Arch is based on the Arch of Titus in Rome. The Arc de Triomphe is much higher (50m versus 15m), but it has exactly the same proportions. The statues at the first level represent soldiers wearing different uniforms of Napoleon’s armies. On the top stands a goddess. A Mystic World

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TRAVEL World’s Most Famous Street Arc de Triomphe is on Champs Elysees, one of the most famous streets in the world, with its cinemas, cafés, and luxury specialty shops. At the very heart of Paris, it is one of the most symbolic promenades and is used for all the major celebrations. This is where Parisians celebrate New Year’s Eve and where the military parades are held on the 14th of July. Historic national events, like the end of the World War-2, have been celebrated here. Close by is yet another not-to-be-missed site—the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the church in Paris dedicated to Virgin Mary. One of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, it was built in the first half of the 12th century. It stands 69 meters or 226 feet high, not counting the lancets that project from the rooflines. Its stained glasses and the huge interior are really stunning artistic experiences of mystical dimension. Notre-Dame is a flagship in the Parisian landscape and provides a magnificent view of the city from the top of its towers. If you are physically fit then you can walk up a spiral staircase to a gallery that offers

Arc de Triomphe—Arch to celebrate Napoleon’s victories

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A Mystic World

close-up encounters with the gargoyles that played supporting roles in Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Nôtre-Dame. While in Paris a visit to the Palace of Versailles is an absolute must. It is just outside of Paris and there are plenty of ways to get there. But the best is to hop into a tourist bus that will take you there and bring you back to the city. The Palace is extreme in opulence. It overwhelms you. Considering that the people were starving in those days, the size of the palace was 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of grounds that has 200,000 trees, 50 fountains, 11 hectares (26 acres) of roof, 51,210 square metres of floors, 700 rooms and 6,000 paintings We reserved the last day in Paris for four things— the Moulin Rouge, the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and the cuisine of the city. Montmartre is the heart of Paris. Here you will find a church built on top of a hill called Sacré Coeur (Sacred Heart) that first opened its doors in 1919. Follow the paths to the left of the Sacre Coeur, and you will soon reach a square called Place du Tertre. There are many cafes here. But the main attraction is the artists milling around this square. Tourists often pose for a quick portrait. There are many souvenir shops in the area. You can also enjoy a meal in one of the cafes (many of these offer live music / singing), or buy a crèpe (pancake) or glace (ice cream) from one of the food stalls. But if you are looking for real entertainment head for the Moulin Rouge—the world’s most famous nightclub in the red light district of Pigalle on Boulevard de Clichy. It can be seen from a distance because of its large red windmill. The place offers adult dances and cabarets and is a must-see tourist destination. Built in 1889 it is famous for introducing the world to Can-Can. Over the years people have come to see feathers and sequins fly as beautiful girls take to the stage every night.


TRAVEL

The Eiffel

If food is on you mind then you should not be eating

If Moulin Rouge takes you to dizzy heights of entertainment then you can actually scale the heights on the Eiffel Tower—the symbol of Paris.

Not only will you find the very best restaurants in

Built by Gustave Eiffel for the International Exhibition of Paris in 1889 commemorating the centenary of the French Revolution, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most mesmerizing free-standing structure in the world that is 300 metres (320.75m including antenna) tall and weighs 7000 tons. The tower has a bar, souvenir shop, and the (recently restored) office of Gustave Eiffel. It also has a restaurant (extremely expensive).

at the Eiffel. Eating in Paris is as good as shopping. the world. You will also find restaurants representing every corner of it. Eating in any kind of non-French fast-food chain is considered deeply touristic behaviour, as is sitting out on a bistro forecourt on the Champs-Elysées, or admiring the Eiffel Tower. And don’t try to be vegetarian in Paris either. The French just don’t get the concept. If you’re an omnivore, Paris poses no problem. But if you are a veggie, your only saviour might be fruits, cheese and bread!

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EVENTS INSTITUTE OF ASIAN BUSINESSES

AWARDS SUKHDEV KOMAL Reported by Deepak Dogra “Hard work and concentration in

business

are

invaluable

for success,” is the opinion of Sukhdev Komal, who has utilised both virtues in building up a superb catering enterprise. Mr Komal is chairman and managing director of Sukhdev’s Catering Services Ltd, based in Birmingham, but having a portfolio of clients throughout UK.

He has also developed a chain of restaurants under the title Chandni Chowk, with branches on Soho Road, Birmingham, Southall in Middlesex and East London. Another is soon to open at Merry Hill. Mr Komal says that being in business means having to work very long hours and he has toiled day and night to build up a thriving enterprise. “That is the only way to do it,” he said. The result has been long-standing contracts with hotels all over the country, besides conferencing venues. Specialising in Asian cuisine for weddings, birthday parties, business dinners and many other functions, the company’s clients come not only from the Asian community, but also from English. It is a complete catering service, including event management.

Mr. Sukhdev Komal

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“You can have some bad days in business, but you have to learn to overcome them,” said Mr Komal. “I have never given up, rather kept pushing forward.” Customers have grown over the years and today Sukhdev’s Catering Services is a very considerable operation with 25 full-time employees, besides casual staff hired as required. The journey began for Mr Sukhdev when he came to UK and joined his father-in-law Sucha Singh, one of the partners of Sagoo & Takkar Ltd, and started learning about catering. Since then, his enthusiasm for learning the process of food preparation and its presentation has not ebbed. With Asian Sweet Centre and Dilli Darbar, Mr Sukhdev matured in the industry and in 1980 he founded his own firm dedicated to lavishly and warmly handling catering services. Mr Komal’s son Charanjit and brother Baljit are directors in his firm.


STROLOGY A EDUCATION

Bimonthly Predictions for June- July 2009

Aries (20th March to 20th April) June: From your sign Sun and Mars are in the 5th – 6th and Saturn in the 1st house. Risky jobs should not be taken as they might result in losses. Married life will not be blissful. Love life will be stressful. Children will cause tension. Take care on the following dates: 3, 4, 5, 12, 13 and 31. July: From your sign Sun is in the 6th – 7th and Venus in the 9th house. Work responsibilities will increase with expansion in the work area. Enemies will weaken. Financial deals will be beneficial. In the second half of the month, the family environment will be disturbed and stressful. Take care on the following dates: 8, 9, 27 and 28. Taurus (21st April to 20th May) June: From your sign Sun, Mars and Mercury are in the 8th – 9th and Jupiter in the 9th house. Luck and money will favour you. Travel indicated. Career progress will be hampered. There is a possibility of getting injured. Take care on the following dates: 6, 7, 23, 24 and 25. July: From your sign Sun is in the 9th – 10th house and Rahu in 9th. Change in business expected. There is a possibility of transfer or job-leaving. Travel expenses likely. You will have success in exams. Take care on the following dates: 1, 2, 3, 20 and 21. Gemini (21st May to 21st June) June: From your sign Sun, Mercury and Mars are in the 8th house, as well as Rahu-Ketu. Tensions at home will increase. There could be an argument with your spouse. Work will be hampered. There will be financial ups and downs. There is a possibility of injury. Take care on the following dates: 8, 9, 26 and 27. July: In the first half of the month, family tensions are indicated. There could be arguments between married couples. Work would be hampered. There are chances of your falling sick or getting injured. A journey could be postponed. Take care on the following dates: 4, 5, 22, 23 and 24. Cancer (22nd June to 23rd July) June: In your sign the Sun and Mars are transacting in 6th and 7th house and Rahu-Ketu in 7th-1st. Family, work and business will have fluctuations and tensions. Family life will be disturbed. There is a possibility of arguments. Partnerships can break. Wife can fall sick. Take care on the following dates: 1, 2, 10, 11, 28, 29 and 30. July: Family problems will increase and there could be arguments based on suspicions. Journey will be stressful. Work will be hampered. People opposing you will try to hurt you. Take care on the following dates: 6, 7, 25 and 26. Leo (24th July to 23rd August) June: From your sign Sun and Mars are in the 5th – 6th and Saturn in the 1st house. Risky ventures will cause losses. Family life will be disturbed. Love life will cause stress. Children will cause tension. Take care on the following dates: 3, 4, 5, 12, 13 and 31. July: In your sign Sun is transacting in 6th and 7th house and Venus in 9th. Work responsibilities will increase and work place will expand. Enemies will be powerless. Financial dealings will be beneficial. There will be domestic discord in the second half of the month. Take care on the following dates: 8, 9, 27 and 28.

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Virgo (24th August to 23rd September) June: In your sign Sun is transacting in 4th and 5th house and Jupiter in 5th and Rahu-Ketu in 5th – 11th. Love life will be the cause of stress. Professional and financial ups and downs will be there. Children will cause tension. Take care on the following dates: 6, 7, 14 and 15. July: New contacts will be made that will help in the future. Digestive problems might cause some botheration. Sportspersons will perform well. Money will be wasted in lottery. Financial situation will be unstable. Take care on the following dates: 1, 2, 3, 10 and 11. A Mystic World


E

Libra (24th September to 23rd October) DUCATION June: The Sun is in the 3rd – 4th house and Rahu-Ketu in the 4th -10th house from your sign. Work will have roadblocks. Constant practice will result in success. Children will cause tension. Business and work will suffer fluctuations. Help will come in the form of a woman. Take care on the following dates: 8, 9, 16 and 17. July: The Sun is traversing in the 4th-5th house from your sign and Mars and Rahu in 4th. Financial benefits will not be up to the mark. There will be confusion in the family and mental tension. Efforts will bring results. Take care on the following dates: 4, 5, 12, 13 and 14. Scorpio (24th October to 22nd November) June: Sun - Mars are in the 2nd – 3rd and Rahu-Ketu in the 3rd and 9th house from your sign. Savings will be less, money will come and go. Excessive shopping may disrupt the household budget. Travel is expected. Take care on the following dates: 10, 11, 18, 19 and 20. July: Travel is strongly indicated, and will result in benefit. Family will help. Self-confidence will increase. Chances of transfer to a desired place are possible. Success in interview guaranteed. Take care on the following dates: 6, 7, 15 and 16. Sagittarius (23rd November to 21st December) June: Sun - Mars are in the 1st-2nd and Rahu-Ketu in the 2nd-8th house from your sign. Efforts will lead to success. Professional and financial situation will be unstable. There are chances of injury. Family life will be disturbed. Take care on the following dates: 12, 13, 21 and 22. July: Be careful in financial matters, as there could be problems. Shopping can lead to disruption of the budget. Vehicular expense indicated. There could be arguments in the family. Take care on the following dates: 8, 9, 17, 18 and 19. Capricorn (22nd December to 20th January) June: From your sign Sun-Mars will be in 12th-1st and Mercury in 1st-12th house. Arguments are indicated. Family life will be disrupted. Control over speech required. Expenditures will increase. Concentration on job will be less. Take care on the following dates: 14, 15, 23, 24 and 25. July: Sun and Rahu are entering your sign in the first half of the month. Work will be less. There will tensions in the job. Change or transfer is indicated. There will be financial problems. Take care on the following dates: 10, 14, 20 and 21. Aquarius (21st January to 19th February) June: From your sign Sun-Mars will be in 11th – 12th and Mercury in 12th-11th house. There will happiness and unhappiness. Hard work will bear results. Profits and losses will be balanced. Stay away from bad company. Take care on the following dates: 16, 17, 26 and 27. July: From your sign Sun-Saturn-Jupiter-Rahu will be in 12th - 12th - 7th -12th house. Be careful, wrong doings will be caught. Expenses and stress will increase. Take care on the following dates: 12, 13, 14, 22, 23 and 24. Pisces (20th February to 19th March) June: Sun, Mercury are in the 10th-11th house from your sign. There will relief from stress. Work will be successful. Financial gains indicated. Unemployed will get employment. Take care on the following dates: 1, 2, 18, 19, 20, 28, 29 and 30. July: There are indications of success and financial gains in the first half of the month. Stuck work will get unstuck. New contacts will help. The second half of the month will see more expenses than income and more stress. Take care on the following dates: 15, 16, 25 and 26. Note: For detailed week by week Sun Sign predictions please read 2008-2009 Horoscope by Future Front Astrology, UK. About Author Jyotish Prabhakar Anu Dogra is the author of best selling 2 year horoscope in four languages. She is the recipient of the Ambassador of Peace title. Fluent in many languages including German. And a leading astrologer and Numerology expert. Anu appeared on live TV and radio shows internationally, with articles published regularly in news papers. She is also running her Astrology office by the name of Future Front in London, UK. A Mystic World

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PO. BOX 467, Hounslow, TW3 9GT, U.K, london Call Centre No: 02088935689 Mob No: 07958501349 Website: www.futurefrontastrology.com E-mail: deepak_dogra45@yahoo.co.uk


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A Magazine on srituality.

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