Archive for June, 2012

Non profit organizations

June 27, 2012

Question 2

How NPOs can develop distinctiveness and value

Non profit organization owes a lot to its stakeholders in terms of continuity of what it is respected for. Most of the NPOs have been established on very specific and socially accepted values that make them unique from other organizations and even from other NPOs. For instance, NPO working on health issues like cancer or based on religious beliefs have gained acceptance but only if it continues to distinguish itself from other organization as focused and committed to its cause.

To achieve and maintain the uniqueness and value to the stakeholders, NPOs need to focus on what they were established for. The value under which an NPO was established gives it the credibility if it continues to uphold such values throughout their activities. Values in society are highly regarded and the more an NPO makes such values their basis for all decision making, respect and appreciation will be accorded (Vijay & Manjulika 2005). This is also the same way it happens to being distinctive.

The NPO sector also needs to commit itself to specific stakeholders depending on their nature. The problem with most NPO is aligning themselves to multiple stakeholders and deviating from core partners thus making it a political organization which has to satisfy all stakeholders. The avoidance of multiple stakeholders gives the sector the distinction from other organizations that are more inclined to financial benefits. This form of distinctiveness help to add value to the community the NPO sector serves and even beyond.

Collaboration is one way for the sector to cooperate positively without losing its identity as a vision driven sector. Being distinctive in this case requires that you associate with other organizations that are mission driven. The NPO sector needs to seek collaborations and partnerships with other institutions which are built on values and driven by their missions and objectives and in this way the sector will have greater impact on the community and further establishing an identity that is respected and appreciated by the community.

Creating the value and distinctiveness also needs proper communication with the stakeholders in order to bring the people closer to the NPOs. This helps in reducing unwanted perception about NPO sector, for instance the notion that most NPOs are making money in the name of charity or through constant fundraising activities and doing less of what they are supposed to. The Triangle Community Foundation further offers a good case of distinctiveness. The foundation strongly pursues donor centred strategies and provides good case for developing distinctiveness by carefully selecting stakeholders.

Communicating unique value to government and communities

An NPO with the desired uniqueness can use several strategies to send the message to the stakeholders, especially to the government and the immediate community it is serving. Marketing is one way top get message home and before even marketing is done compliance has to be met. There are several laws that require disclosures to government institutions, like audits firms and government institutions governing NPO. The NPOs should always comply and in doing so, they are communicating their position with governments.

Similarly, communication of unique values can be done through marketing channels which are effective in sending the right message and information to the community. As part of marketing, branding can be undertaken to ensure that the community knows what the NPO stands for and why it is operating in the community. Branding can also involve printing materials which are distributed to people around or can be accessed from some strategic places. Branding also can be done by printing consumables like t-shirts, capes and other items which are commonly used.

Most importantly nowadays in marketing is the use of technology to pass information and consequently marketing messages. The use of internet further provides a lot of opportunities to reach more people with little ease than conventional means. Communicating the NPO’s unique values needs convincing strategies that integrates real activities and mobilizing the community to take part (Lanying, Jundong & Yupeng 2008). Internet thus provides the best avenue to bring as many people as possible to take part in activities, attend events, participate in discussions and many more. All this can be improved using the internet.

Marketing using websites and social marketing techniques to communicate unique values yield results to the NPOs by also allowing feedbacks to be sent by the community members. This is further very important in ensuring that stakeholders understand the core values of the NPO and from their responses NPO’s weaknesses can be dealt with on time. Communication can also be done through events and forums designed to suite various situations. Sporting activities, arts contests and community service can be carried out and effectively tag the NPO’s messages in the process. This further helps to communicate to the government and community about the NPO.

Sources of revenues that can stabilize NPO sector

Sources of funding have always been identified as one to the biggest challenge to NPOs. Dealing with the problem will therefore require a well informed approach that will help minimize the problem and also ensure long term stability regarding the sources of funds. Traditionally, sources of funds for NPOs have been governments, philanthropists and other smaller sources which may not be sustainable in the long run. Therefore, there is need for a sustainable strategy that ensures funds are available throughout the year for the NPOs.

 

Diversification of funding source is important in achieving a longer term sustaining sources and this also depends on the type of NPO. In the NPO sector, the mission and the nature of the NPO itself determine how revenues are generated. For instance, if an NPO is concerned about health issues, it can easily and sustainably get support from government because the government has greater interest on certain health matters. The sources therefore should be designed and well thought out depending on the products/service provided by the NPO (Light 2000).

This brings out the idea of revenue mix which is the combination of revenue sources that tend to ensure that all year round, the organization has enough money to run their activities smoothly. The common types of revenues including, membership fees, government support and contracts, individual/institutional philanthropists, investing and various types of volunteering are normally used but over-reliance on one or some of the sources may be a problem in waiting.

NPOs therefore need to develop a different approach of self sustainability especially since they are also competing for funds with other organizations like businesses. Thus the need for proper marketing and investment skills among the management of NPO arises. Commercial ventures and investments will certainly ensure the NPO has revenue streams over a longer period of time than just relying on one stop contributors like governments or business entities who at any point may not provide the funding.

The best revenue solution is through self sufficiency and innovative financing that does not primarily depend on other parties. For instance, sale of merchandise and organizing major events that will attract sponsorships from all quarters and adequately provide revenues than just relying on conventional sources will ensure that NPO industry becomes well funded through diverse ways without overreliance on one or few sources.

Question 4

How to generate revenues for NPOs

There exist a number of options that NPOs have that can help them raise the needed financial resources. However, it is important to decide where such revenues come from sand how they are generated. This is because traditional methods being unsustainable in the recent times as commercial activities of NPOs are considered to conflict with its core missions further affecting service delivery. Commercial activities by NPO ahs also bee criticized a lot by the public and sometimes even the government and thus making commercial avenues hard to use to raise money. It is however possible to get the revenues through other channels without directly participating in business that can attract criticism.

With a clear strategy to ensure the NPO is able to generate revenues through its own activities, the challenge of low financial support with unreliable consistency will be reduced significantly. This approach also helps to generate revenues withy greater ease since the NPO will not be borrowing directly but rather seeking partnership that yields extra revenues in the process. The strategy to use NPO activities to attract funding and also philanthropic activities from the community and corporate institutions also takes into account the needs of such entities (Light 2000). The activities also provide opportunities for the sponsors to enhance their value by using such activities to market themselves, meet the community members and also build a relationship withy other stakeholder.

The viable strategy here therefore is the use of social enterprises to generate revenues for the NPO by being part of the owners. Social enterprises provide goods and services while at the same time doing social good. For instance, a firm making toys using recycled plastics or enterprises that promotes the use of solar and wind energy products can be used by NPO to generate revenues by investing in them. Similarly, collaborating with such enterprises enables the firm to merge its activities like events and social activities aimed at creating awareness and raising money for a particular cause.

Social enterprises are often an accepted organization which allows business activities to solve community problems. This provides a good chance for NPO to commercialize some of their activities and surplus funds in order to get support from consumers. Most consumers nowadays prefer social companies from others like manufacturing who are responsible for global problems like pollution and employee rights among others. Setting up or investing in social enterprises will therefore help raise revenues through the business in an acceptable manner. Social enterprises like Divine Chocolate in UK can be collaborated with NPO activities through financing arrangements that enables the NPO gain access to other benefits and help from the social business that enables the NPO carry out its activities smoothly.

A combination of social enterprise and other institutions also help to diversify the sources of revenues. Corporate philanthropy should not only be sought but also be given a chance to take part in NPOs revenue generating activities. Involving corporate organizations in NPO activities is different from just seeking philanthropy from them. This involves further giving them a chance to be part of the NPO (Frank 2012). This can be done by aligning the NPO activities in line with corporate institutions’ corporate governance strategies. Corporate social responsibility is one of the major undertakings of business organizations today and this can be tapped to help generate more revenues for NPO.

Corporate governance within corporation has been an issue of focus and as companies try to show how they care about human health, environment or education, NPO can attract them to their activities that require money and the companies through their funding of the NPO also undertake their corporate citizenship activities effectively. This is one good way to generate revenues through a process that does not put the NPO entirely in a situation where it only relies on grants and donations from other parties.

Another way to generate revenues is looking for government contracts like providing services in line with the core activities of the NPO. If the NPO provides educational related services to specific group, they can seek government contracts to undertake certain edcuat5ional programme which are temporary. This enables the NPO to get more funding for their activities this strategy also works well since governments and other public/private institutions are no longer sufficiently philanthropic to pledge support for more than one year. Such arrangements with the government may serve to increase revenues to NPO without completely deviating from the core objectives and mission (Frank 2012).

Combining the three forms ways of funding reduces the inefficiencies that are associated with direct fundraising which is more obvious and may lack adequate support. Strategic alliances that lead to mutual benefits for NPO and government, business institutions and even the social business are much is the way to go. This is also because the rates of failure of such arrangements are low compared to just fundraising or depending on government grants.

As a leader in an NPO, combining available options strategically also reduces risk by spreading it to social enterprise, government partnerships and contracts and corporate philanthropy. It is however quite a risk to take up many financiers especially due to the problem of stakeholders’ competing interests. It is nevertheless important to balance the three options inn a way that all stakeholders understand the core mission of the NPO before closing any deal. Raising finances needs to be carefully crafted such that all parties are satisfied and the combined approach can work very well and increase revenues for NPO quickly than depending on one strategy.

Question 7

Relationship between NPOs and the community

There exists a unique relationship between the community and the non profit organization. First, there exists a relationship in the sense that the NPO is part of the community like any other person living in the place. Being situated within the community makes the NPO one of the community members as an entity. Secondly, as an entity, the relationship is based on what the entity does to the community. If an entity deals with things that the community dislikes, the relationship will be unfriendly such that the NPO would not be treated well.

However in most cases, the NPO organizations are founded on very important issues to the community and are normally positive thus provides a good reason for healthy relationship between the community and the organization. However, community may represent many stakeholders like local government, the business community, and the residents themselves. These stakeholders within the community may have varying attachments with NPOs depending on whether they are the target client of the NPO or not.

If certain stakeholders are the target group of NPO, then NPO will build a strong relationship with the stakeholders who will be taken as clients and treated so. Relationships are therefore built based on the importance such that potential sponsors have a business like relationship with the NPO and the community being assisted by NPO have a more informal close relationship with the NPO that enables the NPO to carry out its activities smoothly. The relationships also help to improve the efficiency of NPO in service delivery in the community who in turn help the NPO during fundraising activities and even support in cash and in kind. To NPO and community, their relationship is more of symbiotic and of mutual benefit.

NPO accountability

Accountability of NPO is one of the important things that stakeholders always wish to ascertain when engaging with any NPO. This is because the stakeholders, especially those who assist the NPOs with financial and non financial resources would not wish to direct their resources to an NPO which does not value their help. Similarly, the community being served would wish to see that the NPO actually does what they are supported to do. In this context therefore, accountability is holding NPO accountable for their actions. This leads to trust being earned or lost depending on how the NPO act on what they say or imply in their actions.

NPOs are accountable to the communities they serve in that they are answerable to they people they seek to help, their environment they claim to protect and so on. Accountability on the part of NPO can be viewed to be the obligation to explain their actions, report on their activities, communicate their mission and objectives to their stakeholders and be responsible for their actions at any time (Frank 2012). It is therefore the responsibility of the NPOs to respond to the needs of the people they serve. This indeed is the community which the NPO undertakes its activities.

NPOs are also accountable to the government and other regulatory authorities. This is very important since NPOs cannot be deemed untouchable and not under an authority. NPOs are also accountable to those who provide them with financial support or any other form of support through proper use of those funds and also telling the public how they acquire and use their resources. The need for accountability within the sector has been growing due to the level of wealth and influence these NPOs have on socio-political environment. This therefore calls for accountability of NPOs especially to the public who form the basis upon which they seek financial support from other entities and even the public.

Principles for accountability

The principles for accountability in NPO should also apply such that they are answerable to the people they serve. Among the important principles for accountability is the public accountability principle. The principles guide accountability in NPOs by ensuring they report to the public about their progress, actions and decisions that affect the community. Another principle for accountability is the principle for disclosure of performance. NPOs need to inform the public the extent of their achievements or failure to achieve. This is to show whether their actions have achieved their goals or not.

Similarly, the principles governing accountability in financial like ensuring decisive financial governance and ensuring financial data are transparent should apply mostly to NPO. This is important especially for donors and other supporters who would wish to know how efficient the NPO is in using money to meet human needs and in line with their objectives. The principle of answering by those in power or those directly responsible should also hold for NPO. Senior management should answer to accountability issues and not leave them to junior staff.

Nature Conservancy strived hard to be accountable to the community it is serving by putting in place mechanisms that ensured all activities and actions by the management team and junior staff adhere to standards and principle of sound governance. Nature Conservancy has also demonstrated their responsibility to those who support their cause. The competence of managers is also not taken lightly thus ensuring ethical practices are upheld. Harlem Children’s Zone on the other hand showed some failure in the accountability test as seen in the way financiers was concerned with how they spent their funds. Harlem also is seen not to agree on the way to measure performance and thus making it hard to also measure accountability.

Bibliography

Frank J. C. (2012) Performance management challenges in hybrid NPO/public sector settings: an Irish case: International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 61(3)

Lanying D., Jundong H. & Yupeng H. (2008) Mechanisms of power and action for cause- related marketing: Perspectives of enterprise and non-profit organizations; Baltic Journal of Management 3 (1)

Light, P. (2000) Making Nonprofits Work: A Report on the Tides of Nonprofit Management Reform. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press

Vijay P. & Manjulika V. (2005) Management Development in Non-profit Organizations:  A Programme for Governing Boards; SAGE

 

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Marketing and brand promotion

June 27, 2012

 

 

Marketing and brand promotion

Institution

 

Marketing and brand promotion

In brand promotion strategies that will cause an increase in potential customers awareness of the brand and loyalty is set. This strategy of brand promotion remains to be very effective and most companies depends on repeating of advertisements to make the consumers be familiar with the brand. Brands that the consumers are aware of, are often given a trial and in this case most of them seem to perform better than those that are unknown. Brand promotion in the market depends on the commitments and devotion to ensure that the product under promotion is wells established to compete exemplary well with the already existing products in the market. As a fact this task will consume some money and time convincing the consumers on the advantages and the reasons why their brand is to be preferred other than the other brands. Investigation shows that brand promotion leads to increased sales and as a result an increase in profitability which is the major measure of success. In most cases brand promotion is done by employing multimedia approach like advertisement on radio and TV.

In our case Jackie should spend time looking for opportunities for growth by identifying the most relevant insights on the kind of customers she is targeting. She should be aware of the existing competition and come up with strategies to make her brand the best. As stated earlier promotion operations consume a lot of money but since this is done for the well-being of the company this kitty should be budgeted for since it will later bring profit realization. There are various sources of funds for brand promotion either private or public and depends on the kind of relationship the company have with various stakeholders.

The main reason for making promotions despite high cost criticism is on TV. Television offers creative opportunities and gives greater meaning to a brand making it admirable to the consumers. Advantage of using TV in brand promotion is that it provides an opportunity for displaying the promotion message and the consumers can also combine interactions of both the sound and sight. Consumers while watching their favorite programs are exposed to this kind of advertisements and due to their repeatability they are able to give a trial to the brand. Lastly most of consumers’ watch TV which makes it possible to reach many of the audience. Use of TV for Brand promotion is cost effective relative to the number of consumers getting this information.

First way of raising money is through the customers. This is enhanced by the kind of relationship between the company and the consumers. For instance, even the most profit making companies do not only depend on their profits. Getting funds from customers enhance faster growth allowing the business to capture new markets to greater number of customers. Most businesses that obtain their funds from consumers are more efficient since this source of finance ensures that the company grow at a faster rate and achieve the economies of scale to compete with other companies with the same brand. Customers are much willing to finance a company that produces brands that are competitive as compared to the government. This funds from the customers can be well budgeted for brand promotion.

Second funding can be from clients of the company, third from donors and lastly from voters. Donors are also advantageous since they do monitor the usage of the funds and can also contribute on the disbursement of the funds towards various brand promotion strategies.

Promotion messages should be based on facts and also depends on the target group of the customers; also the message should be persuasive and convincing. All the stakeholders should be involved in the promotion like donors, customers, clients and also the voters since this will make the uniqueness of the brand be known by most of the consumers.

Hierarchical Relationships in the market differentiates HMS from competitors due to their pricing distribution and marketing ethics effectiveness. HMS are characterized by the following differences from other competitors; ethical, transparency, accountability and efficiency. Transparency in this case will enable the type of brand to be marketed gain trust from the consumers that it is to be preferred to other already existing brand and maybe from other companies.

Integration of technology in production and promotion of new brands makes the HMS to exceed the competitors’ expectation in that they are able to produce a brand that is more efficient and economical while still making huge profits due to high demand and producing more products for their customers.

Success in this case can be defined to as the use of appropriate technology to market a brand that eventually overcomes the existing ones. This can be achieved through change of culture, integration of new technology bench marking and evaluation techniques.

Conflict resolution is a method and process involved to end marketing conflicts in a peaceful manner. The members like clients, consumers, donors and all other stakeholders are committed to bring over the differences and ideologies by engaging in collective to solve their problem through diplomacy, mediation or negotiation.

In conclusion brand promotional strategies can be based on objectives such as increase o sales with subsequent increase in profit; consumers new brand acceptance and competitive retaliations. There are many different ways of promoting brands. There are; use on internet blogs, social networks and offering discounts. In many cases the producer promotes his or her product to the wholesaler, the wholesaler promotes to the subsequent retailer and the retailer to the customer who is the last consumers. Basing the promotion activity on various sources of funds it’s clear that all the stakeholders leading to the raising of this funds should be involved in helping implementing the various brand promotion strategies.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

O’Guinn, T. C., Allen, C. T., & Semenik, R. J. (2012). Advertising and integrated brand promotion. Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning.

 


 

 

Irish Tort Law

June 27, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issues of economic loss in negligence have been the main subject of much legal activity for many years. The law has swung forwards and backwards over this issue. The result is that claims for economic loss are now allowed in certain situations, but the law surrounding them is complex, fragmented and still has an unsettled air.

 

In practice, the rules of the tort may differ according to which type of harm has been suffered, but all of them are protected by negligence. Tort of negligence has three main elements: the defendant must owe the claimant a duty of care, the defendant must breach that duty of care,that failure must cause damage to the claimant.

 

It is fascinating to note that majority of normal tort cases which pass through the court system; the defendant does owe the claimant a duty of care. The main duty of the courts is to check whether the claimant can prove that the defendant breached the stated duty or note. For instance, in most of the traffic accident cases that courts hear every time, it is already conventional that road users owe a duty to other road users, and the issues for the court will generally revolve around what the defendant actually did and what damage was caused.

 

Negligence is an essential tort in modern law. It concerns infringement of a legal duty to take care, with the consequence that damage is caused to the claimant. Torts other than negligence are in many occasions identified by particular interest of the claimant that they defend. For instance, nuisance guards against obstruction with the claimant’s use. In contrast, negligence guard against three different kinds of harm:

  1. Personal injury
  2. Damage to property
  3. Economic loss

Negligence is fundamentally concerned with compensating people who suffer damages as a result of the carelessness of others. The law does not offer a remedy for everyone who suffer in this manner. One of the main ways in which access to compensation is restricted is through the principle of the duty of care. Essentially, this is a legal concept which dictates the circumstances in which one party will be liable to another in negligence: if the law says you do not have a duty of care towards the person (or organization) you have caused damage to, you will not be liable to that party in negligence, no matter how serious the damage.

 

Some examples of cases which are brought about by negligence include people injured in a car accident who sue the driver, businesses which lose money because an accountant fails to advise them properly, or patients who sue doctors when medical treatment goes wrong.

Many losses resulting from tort could be described as economic; if the claimant’s house is burnt

down because of the defendant’s negligence, the loss is economic in the sense that the claimant

no longer has an asset they used to have. Similarly, a claimant who suffers serious injury which

makes them unable to work suffers a financial loss. The law of tort has always been willing to

compensate for these losses with damages.

 

However, economic loss also has a more precise meaning in tort. The term is usually used to

cover losses which are ‘purely’ economic, meaning those where a claimant has suffered financial

damage that does not directly result from personal injury or damage to property – for example,

where a product bought turns out to be defective, but does not actually cause injury or damage to

other property. In cases of pure economic loss, the law of tort has been reluctant to allow a claim.

 

Michael v Stephen(1991) is a case that illustrates clearly the difference between the types of loss. Here the defendant had negligently cut an electric cable, causing a power cut that lasted for 14 hours. Without electricity to heat the claimants’ furnace, the metal in the furnace solidified, and the claimants were forced to shut their factory temporarily. Damages were claimed under three heads:

  1. Damage to the metal that was in the furnace at the time of the power cut (physical damage to property
  2. Loss of the profit that would have been made on the sale of that metal (economic loss arising from damage to property
  3. Loss of profit on metal which would have been processed during the time the factory was closed due to the power cut (pure economic loss).

A majority of the Court of Appeal held that the first two claims were recoverable but the third was not. The defendants owed the claimants a duty not to damage their property, and therefore to pay for any loss directly arising from such damage, as well as for the damage itself, but they did not owe them any duty with regard to loss of profit.

 

Where a case raises an issue of law, as opposed to purely issues of fact, the defendant can make what is called a striking out application. This effectively argues that even if the facts of what the claimant says happened are true, this does not give them a legal claim against the defendant. Cases where it is not clear whether there is a duty of care are often the subject of striking out applications, where essentially the defendant is saying that even if they had caused the harm alleged to the claimant, there was no duty of care between them and so there can be no successful claim for negligence.

 


When a case on damages for pure economic loss are brought to court. The court first conducts a preliminary assessment of the case. The court assumes that the facts alleged by the claimant are true. Is sufficient evidence is collected then the tort can try the defendant but if the tort does not find enough evidence then the case is thrown out. Relationship between contract and torts causes problems whereby the claimant who has a contractual remedy as well as a possible action in negligence should be able to choose between them.

 

It is vital to acknowledge that rendering the limitiation period for contractual actions essentially meaningless in these situations. Claimants are allowed to pick and choose in other ways. For instance, an economic loss will only be compensated if there is a high degree of profitability that can result from the defendant.

 

Traditionally the role of tort law has been to compensate those who have suffered losses. It can be argued that pure economic loss can be recovered only when cases are bought be a negligent statement rather than a negligent action. There is also a category of cases where compensation has been given for economic loss caused by negligent provision of services. Economic loss is still not, however, recoverable where it is caused by defective products nor is it recoverable when caused by negligent acts other than the provision of services.

 

 

 

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MAYOR OF LONDON, and the GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY (GLA)

June 26, 2012

 

Introduction

The successful staging of the 2012 London Olympic Games lie in the hands of the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority (GLA). Together, they have put measures that will ensure the success of the games and better legacies for the city in terms of improved infrastructure, living conditions and the contribution to the global well being of the environment. Stallone (2005) noted that environmental sustainability is one of the greatest agendas that GLA and London Mayor explore (Poynter, 2009).

Powers and Responsibilities of the GLA and THE MAYOR

The Greater London Authority (GLA) will have a number of powers in relations to the Olympics 2012. These powers are mostly derived from the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006. The Mayor heads the GLA and is responsible for the budgets and policies of the GLA. The Mayor carries out such functions as the appointment of the executives to the various functional bodies that are involved in the delivery of the London Olympics 2012. Therefore, it can be said that the Mayor of London is involved in the managing and running of the City (Borris, 2010). The mayor harnesses resources, designs policies, strategies and visions and also provides the funding for various activities (Borris, 2010). The main Power under the Act section 34 (102) include the undertaking of the works, acquisition of land and other property that will be used in the games, acting cooperatively or jointly with other people or bodies, entry into agreements, making arrangements for the provision off services and the arrangement for the improvement, construction and adaptation of the various buildings and facilities (Douglas, 2011). Moreover, it was meant to take action in relation to the respect of the places which lie outside London and finally give support and or financial aid to other people or firms in the undertaking of activities that are related to the delivery of the 2012 Olympic Games.

All the afore mentioned function that is being undertaken by the GLA is geared towards the delivery of the Mayor’s objectives for the 2012 Games. The objectives of the Mayor of London were in the form of commitments to the legacy that the games should leave. The first was to increase the opportunities for the Londoners so that they could be increasingly engaged in sports. The other was to transform the heart of East London in terms of increases in parks, better transport and housing (Mayor of London, 2012). Similarly, there were to b created benefits to the Londoners for instance volunteering opportunities, new jobs and businesses. Moreover, there was to be delivered games that were sustainable and those that would lead to the building of sustainable communities. This entailed the issues of land remediation, waste reduction, carbon emission reduction and the education of the young people. The final commitment of the Mayor of London that GLA was working towards achieving was the showcasing of London as a welcoming, diverse and creative city. This led to the division of the powers into three broad groups; economic development, social development and the improvement of the environment (Greater London Authority, 2011).

Literature Review

Analysis of the policies

Boris who is the current Mayor of London has powers that allow him to be able to define the work programs for the employees at GLA and also to define the policies regarding the environment. He also has the power over the budget programs. Therefore, it can be said that the Mayor’s vision is the driving force behind the work of the GLA. The visions of the Mayor when achieved will propel London to be the world’s biggest city (Schulz, 2010). The include focus on increasing the biodiversity, dealing with climate change, air quality improvement, and improvement of the waste disposal mechanisms that are found in the city (Borris, 2010).

The Mayor had climate change and energy policies that were all aimed at reducing the gross contribution of London to the global warming menace. This was to be achieved through the use of technologies that had low carbon emissions; this also included the use of energy sources that were renewable for instance wind power and solar. The Mayor also set out to deal once and for all with the problems of fuel shortages that were being experienced (Edwards, and Miller, 2008). According to GLA (2011), there were proposals that were contained in the London draft Replacement that were geared towards reducing the contribution of London in the global warming menace. They included the realization of Zero carbon emissions and also that of zero residential buildings. All the proposals that were contained in the draft were to be addressed in a certain hierarchical order. The order was lean energy use, efficiency in the supply of energy in terms of the types of energy that was used and finally, the use of green sources of energy.

The other policy that was being explored by the Mayor of London was the issue of green transport. The Mayor seeks to transform the diverse network of transport that is fund in London to be able to be characterized by zero rates of pollution from vehicles. The Mayor constituted varied measures and policies which when implemented would contribute towards minimizing the emissions as the choices of transport that are low carbon emitting will be increased. These choices included hybrid cars and electric cars, motorcycle hiring schemes and hydrogen buses (Douglas, 2010). As a result, energy efficiency was also promoted in the London underground systems and on the buses and metros. The mayor also promoted the use of public transport, cycling and walking in ways that had not been experienced in London before.

The proper management of wastes was also on the agenda of the Mayor of London. The initiatives that were undertaken were geared towards improving the quality of life of the people of London. There are a majority of programs that are geared towards making London a green city that is free from litter. The Mayor also embarked on programmes that would ensure that the pollution levels were reduced (Travis, 2011). This was to be undertaken through the use of the careful use of the waste materials, reducing the rubbish levels and energy efficiency. When the initiatives are undertaken, the city of London will have lower levels of carbon (IV) oxide and also ensuring that there was efficiency in the use of London’s resources (Vidal and Gibon, 2011). The latter would greatly contribute towards saving money that could be used in the future endeavors of the city.

The active regeneration of the decayed inner London especially the East London and the provision of sustainable living and working environment was also a policy that was being explored by the Mayor (Fussey, et al 2011). The ambition was to allow the Londoners to be able to experience living in sustainable and clean environments. The policies of the Mayor gave resources and finances to be used in the transformation of the Boroughs to the Local Implementation Plan Programme. Finally, the Mayor focused on the ways through which the public spaces could be improved and others created. This was to be undertaken through the Great Spaces Initiatives (Borris, 2010).

There were also policies that were geared towards achieving low carbon economy initiatives and help in the creation of job opportunities for the Londoners. According Edwards, and Miller (2008), the above initiative could be achieved through the Low Carbon Employment and Skills Programme that was proposed by the Mayor. The people of London were to benefit through the environmental and economic benefits that were associated with low carbon economies (Jackson and Bonard, 2011). The policy of the mayor towards low carbon economy saw the implementation of the program which entailed the Green Enterprise District (GED) creation. GED is an area where the people who are investing in low carbon enterprises are given a higher preference.

Analysis of the gap between policy, public policy initiatives and general practice among the public

The Mayor of London has been able to achieve some of the policy programs that were embarked on. While in other areas, a lot still remains to be achieved especially given that the conditions may have worsened. The environmental policies in which there has been a great success in London include the installation of energy efficient equipment, the green initiatives such as a greener London, public spaces that are safe, transport systems that are energy efficient, waste disposal initiatives and the creation of low carbon zones (Miles, 2010). All the above successes will be explained in the section that follows.

In regards to the management of wastes, the goal of saving 90 million pound sterling has been achieved since there has been an increased use of recycling. Also, there has been a better use of the resources. Also, there has been an achievement of an improved air quality in London especially due to the fact that the recycling initiatives and the use of hybrid cars have led to lower carbon dioxide emissions (Qing Wen, and Brimblecombe, 2008).

Secondly, the greener London goal has been achieved through a number of ways. 50 public spaces have been earmarked to be created at a total cost of £225 million. An example is the square that uses efficient energy resources thus reducing the costs that would have been incurred in the provision of lighting in the park. There was also the planting of 10,000 trees on the streets of London. As at 2010, 4,000 trees had already been planted. 4000 trees represent 25 per cent thus there is a positive outlook towards achieving the goal of 25 per cent forest cover by 2025 in London. There has also been works that were recently completed and involved the improvement of 11 parks in different parts of London (Supple, 2010). These parks were upgraded at a total cost of £6 million. Finally, there has been an initiative that is targeted at schools and community groups where over 2,000 pieces of land will be transformed towards food growing so that the food producing capacities of the people would be increased.

There have also been massive achievements in the transport sector. The use of energy bursting LED in the transport sector has ensured that there are greener traffic lights. The LEDs have been used in more that half of all the traffic light that are found in London (Fussey et al, 2011). The mayor has contributed towards the building of the momentum for the electric vehicle revolution thus there will be zero emission rates. The Mayor has been working towards increasing the number of electric vehicles win London.

There has also been a focus on increasing the energy and water efficiency in 100,000 homes in London (GLA, 2011). Low carbon zones have also been identified and are used as showcases for the Londoners on how they can be able to reduce the levels of emissions particularly from older buildings. The GLA under the directions of the Mayor has been able to retrofit 42 of the building where they operate from with gadgets that will ensure that they greatly focus on saving energy.

There are areas in which the Mayor’s initiatives have not fared too greatly. The first area is the focus on making London the greenest city on earth by 2025. There have not been any signs towards the achievement of this as there is still a high dependence on fossil and other carbon energy sources. The fossil and carbon fuels will continue to spew pollution gases onto the environment thus the goals are far from being achieved. Therefore the city is not on track towards achieving the goal of low carbon emissions. There have been areas that the Mayor’s initiatives have worked but, they will not lead to the realization of the benefits that were promised by the policies of the Mayor (Fussey et al, 2011). The transport system has promoted the use of electric cars and other hybrid cars. These are still out of reach of a majority of Londoners and thus they cannot be able to achieve the goals by 2025 if the pace of the changes is not increased (Supple, 2010). Finally, the realization of a diversified, strong and resilient economy which is characterized by the delivery of jobs and efficiency in the transport system not be realized in the time frame of up to 2025. It may be realized in the years after 2025; thus this represents a missed target for the Mayor of London.

A survey of Opinions regarding Mayoral Policies

There has been a mixed opinion regarding the Mayor’s ambitions, strategies and visions which were targeted at the realization of a greener London. There has been a general belief that the strategies that were put forward by the Mayor would lead to the reduction of the carbon emissions from London and thus there carbon footprint in the globe would be reduced. There has also been the realization that the visions of the Mayor are barked by plan which will ensure that they are not just wild dreams but can be converted into realities whose outcomes and levels of efficiency can be measured for instance through the use of The Greater London Authority Strategic Plan 2010-2012 (Konstantaki and Wickens, 2010; Mayor of London, 2012). The Mayor can thus be able to achieve the visions given the fact that he has control over the climate change issues, planning and development, transport and economic development. The dreams of the Mayor will also be realized due to the fact that there are timelines that guide the various activities and adequate funding.

However, there are people who feel that the programs being undertaken by the Mayor may be too ambitious in certain cases. For instance the fact that the Mayor had a dream of making London the greenest city in the world by 2025 which is 13 years away seems to paint a gloomy picture on the vision. This vision was created even with the full realization that London was still very highly dependent on the use of fossil and carbon related fuels (Hayes and Horne, 2011). Enough has not been done by the Mayor and the GLA to make the various green energy sources acceptable and usable by the Londoners especially in the automotive sector.

Conclusion

The Mayor and GLA have been responsible in a number of ways for the creation of the visions and strategies that were geared towards transforming London into the world’s greenest city. The consideration of the various environmental issues that were affecting London would be the greatest legacy that the Olympic Games will leave. Therefore, the environmental sustainability has been at the forefront of all the agendas and programmes that are being undertaken. The considerations include the reduction of air pollution, better management of wastes, dealing with climate change issues and also considering the issues of biodiversity. All this were targeted towards contributing towards reducing the footprint of London city in the global warming phenomenon. There are other benefits for instance living in safe and green environment, efficient usage of resources thus cutting on costs and many other benefits will undeniably make London a very conducive city for people to live in.

Bibliography

Borris, J. 2010, The Greater London Authority Strategic Plan 2010-2012, Retrieved on May 1 2012 from http://www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/greater-london- authority/strategic-plan

Douglas, L 2010, ‘Olympics watch: The velodrome’, Engineering & Technology (17509637), 5, 2, 20-22

Edwards, P. and Miller, C., 2008, Changing the atmosphere: expert knowledge and environmental governance, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press

Fussey, P. et al 2011, Securing and sustaining the Olympic city: reconfiguring London for 2012 and beyond, Burlington, VT: Ashgate Pub. Co

Greater London Authority (GLA) 2011, About the GLA: A Unique organization, with Strategic citywide role, retrieved on May 1 2012 from http://www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/greater-londonauthority/about-gla

Hayes, G, and Horne, J 2011, ‘Sustainable Development, Shock and Awe? London 2012 and Civil Society’, Sociology, 45, 5, 749-764

Jackson, R, and Bonard, C 2011, ‘Delivering London 2012: environmental management’, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Civil Engineering, 164, 5, 20-26

Konstantaki, M, and Wickens, E 2010, ‘Residents’ Perceptions of Environmental and Security Issues at the 2012 London Olympic Games’, Journal Of Sport & Tourism, 15, 4, 337-357

London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 2011, http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/12/notes/division/11/3

Mayor of London, 2012, Your 2012, Retrieved on 1 May 2012 from http://www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/mayor/role

Miles, B. 2010, London Calling, Atlantic Books.

Poynter, G. 2009 “The 2012 Olympic Games and the reshaping of East London”, In Imre, R., Less, L. and Raco, M., Regenerating London: Governance, sustainability and community in a global city, Chapter 8, New York: Routledge

Qing Wen, T, and Brimblecombe, P 2008, ‘Managing Air in Olympic Cities’, American Journal of Environmental Sciences, 4, 5, 439-444

Schulz, N 2010, ‘Lessons from the London Climate Change Strategy: Focusing on Combined Heat and Power and Distributed Generation’, Journal of Urban Technology, 17, 3, 3-23

Stallone, J. E., 2005, Fair Games For All: How Sports Can Promote Development, Oxford University Press

Supple, B 2010, ‘Going for Gold: How the London Olympics Will Set the Record for Sustainability’, Kennedy School Review, 10, 60-63

Travis, A. 2011, Planning for tourism, leisure and sustainability: international case studies, Wallingford: Cabi

Vidal, J and Gibon, O. 2011, London Olympics pollution on course to land Britain hefty fine from IOC, The Guardian, Retrieved on May 1 2012 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/24/london-olympics-pollution-fine-ioc

Will Schools survive internet

June 23, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

In the recent past, schools have been spending huge amounts of money on technology. Heavy investments have been made in acquiring the latest technology tools such as networks, printers, computers, scanners, CD-ROM drives, and file servers. This is a clear indication that the impact of this investment has already been assessed. With the advancement in technology, the school’s atmosphere in different parts of the world has changed. Nevertheless, technology has come with both the positive and negative impacts. The overall use of technology has increased across the globe with high school students being issued with laptops. Teachers today teach students using computers, computerized white boards, internet pages, and other learning materials where they post assignment and home works. Technology has revolutionized education sectors in various countries in a big way. Its significance in schools cannot be ignored. Teachers have found it easier to impart knowledge in schools especially with use of computers in classrooms. In addition, the learning process has become more enjoyable for both the students and educators. This paper will discuss the impact of technology in schools and how it has affected classroom learning.

Marshall McLuhan (1964), prophesized that written materials such as books would soon become obsolete. They will be killed of by electronic information technology such as computers and television. McLuhan’s theory, states that technologies can alter the way information is processed by inclining people towards new learning styles that are depended on technology. According to McLuhan, print technology will encourage students to develop linear thinking. However, he is concerned that too much reliance on technology will make children passive observers. According to Homer-Dixon, there has been a rising speed in global connectivity on how technologies and activities interact in societies (Homer-Dixon, 13)

Proper planning and sound pedagogical techniques should be employed in technology use for classroom learning. Schacter, & Fagnano (1999) supports this view by asserting that, teachers, parents, policymakers, and administrators need a clear understanding of the learning principles and theories that surround technology use. Student achievement will be attained only if appropriate technologies have been selected and implemented. This will also call for the training of the teachers and stakeholders involved in its implementation. Successful implementation of technology in learning institutions as indicated by (Williams, Atkinson, Cate, & OHair, 2008) depends on how technology will be allowed to operate in a given learning community environment. Top-down leadership has been found to hinder the professional learning and collaboration. Schools should therefore, create a learning environment that is enriched with technology and where technology is regarded as a tool that can improve learning standards. In such an environment, community members can work collaboratively, identify a technology policy, and seek ways of implementing it (Williams etal. 2008).

Technology has rapidly changed our schools and how we educate out children. Computers provide infinite possibilities in a classroom setting since they were invented. However, this comes with risks as children are now exposed to learning activities that are beyond the confines of the classroom (Birch 2009). The trend towards embracing use of technology in classroom setting has escalated in the recent past as more and more young people are becoming tech-savvy. Almost all classrooms around the world have become wired with publishers of learning materials offering schools with computerized teaching supplements. According toShaver (1999), technology has transformed the learning environment in a big way making it more active. However, Roblyer (2003), notes that as much as technology has enabled students to be involved in their own learning, it does not replace the demand for content driving learning process that are based on theory. A national study survey conducted in 2001, in the United States indicates that 87% of faculty members believe that the use of computer technology in classrooms enhances studentLearning processes (Symonds 2000).

Technology is a teaching aid

Available teaching aid applications such as animation software and power point presentations in computers act as interactive audio-visual medium. They relay information in a more interactive way inviting learning interests from the students. This teaching method is equally beneficial and interesting for the educators since screens and projectors facilitate a simultaneous learning process, especially where there are a large number of students involved (Sherson 1999). These methods have been found to improve the attentiveness and attendance of students, as well as, their concentration levels. With this technology, student expression has been enhanced as most of them have been gather and retain the learnt information more easily (Shaver 1999).

Technology has done away with lose of information. For instance, the value of books, chalks, notebooks, and boards cannot be compared with technology. Papert (1980) argues that, digital libraries do not need huge physical spaces. Students and educator from various parts of the world can access the digital library at the same time without being interrupted. Storage of information is being made possible through use of memory devices, which require a very small amount of space but can hold enormous amounts of data. Despite being a huge information storage base, accessibility is easier. All students needs to do is to key a query into respective search engines and within no time, one is presented with thousands of results from which to choose. Both the educators and learners can benefit from this (Symonds 2000).

Distant learning/online education has given higher learning a new dimension. Students can attend lectures irrespective of their geographical distances from the learning institution. Various learning institutions have now opted to offer distant learning programs, and this is beneficial in that it helps in eliminating congestion in the learning facilities. Schacter & Fagnano (1999) carried out a Meta analysis study on how information technology can be incorporated in the learning process. The duo discovered that student learning can be improved using computer based instruction. The use of computers supports collaborative learning and results in a higher comprehension. Students are able to interact with the educators via internet and earn degrees online. With technology, the learning process has become more collaborative than ever. Students from all over the world can easily access experts from other regions of the world and share the available information online (Sherson 1999).
According to the 1997, New Zealand Education Review reports, change driven IT has had significant impacts in the day-to-day learning activities, and is an essential aspect in the education sector. Papert (1980) noted that computers are not just powerful education tools; they are unique in providing people with ways of addressing what individuals like Piaget saw as obstacles that overcome the passage from childhood to adulthood. Papert was optimistic about the impact of computers in the learning process in society. Based on this belief and effect, enormous amounts of technology have now been installed in schools from primary schools to the highest institutions of learning. However, a few individuals disagree with this notion. According to McCormick, (1999) there has been little change in education even though, huge amount of money have been invested in technology.

The ever-expanding web information has enabled students to connect with one another and gain access to data for their research papers. They are able to form study groups and take tutorials online as well. The proliferation of smart phones has come in handy and completely changed the schooling environment (Lesgold 2000). It has provided students with a constant access to the internet, besides using them for texting, calling, and e-mail purposes. Teachers who since time immemorial have been at the center of the learning process in classrooms are now witnessing a distracted generation of students who are struggling to remain focused in their studies. To some extent, the advent of technology and social media has created problems, which outweighs the benefits (Lea, Maria, Draude & Barlow 2000).

Computers and other related information technologies have become essential aspects in everyday activities in this 21st century. The advent of the internet has altered the sense of time and space in a massive way. Teachers have also been provided with similar technology for them to connect with their students and other teachers. Students of today are able to do things that seemed impossible in the absence of technology. As such, the work of the teacher has been reduced to just guiding the students on what to do and evaluating the outcomes (Lea, Maria, Draude & Barlow 2000). Technology has led to the creation of a constructivist learning environment. The focus has now shifted from teachers to students. Classrooms are no longer places where teachers pour massive knowledge to students. Students are urged to participate fully in the process of acquiring knowledge. Problem-solving skills of the students has been enhanced, as well as, their intellectual autonomy. Textbooks have a limited amount of information, which have now been made available through the use of internet in schools. Parents, teachers, and stakeholders in learning institutions have unanimously supported the use of computers and information technology in schools because of these benefits (Sherson 1999).

Challenges of Technology Use in Learning

McLuhan’s technological determinism perspective is based on an opinionated statement media and technology is mere extensions of man. They cause long-lasting changes in human beings and can transform the environment either positively or negatively (McLuhan 1964 p.54). Technology is a necessary tool in the 21st century, but has disrupted the learning process in a big way. Teachers no longer guide their students on what to do as there is so much information available online. Many students have turned into using cell phones in classrooms for the unintended purposes such as texting. Lesgold (2000) asserts that the use of technology in learning may fail because the infrastructure of some schools may not allow technology to facilitate student learning. Therefore, an attempt by schools to use technology is not a guarantee that it can improve the student learning process.

According to Jaber (1997), Technology helps in the facilitation of a knowledge-based classroom. Computers have an influential impact on the learning process because they help in making the process of learning student-centered. This kind of learning environment helps students use their critical thinking and are able to collaborate and find solutions to problems. However, the change from a teacher-centered learning process to student-centered one has been met with numerous challenges. This is because educators have been forced to review their teaching methods. Dwyer, Ringstaff & Sandholtz (1991), notes that computers are essential tools for use in collaborative learning. Nonetheless, they require teachers to take into account different teaching styles and capabilities of the students involved.

The problem of equitable access to technology also known as the digital divide has become a major concern in the push for even computerized learning environment. Access to use of computers across cultural, regional, and socioeconomic lines has been witnessed in most parts of the country. Other issues in addition to this include internet access, software availability, availability of computers in the homes, and computer adequacy. The pace at which technology is changing is alarming. As such, most computers and software face the risk of becoming obsolete. Integration of technology to classroom curriculum requires a huge magnitude of classroom management, educational philosophy, and curricular goals (Jaber 1997).

Individuals arguing against technological determinism state that technology are neutral. It is value free because it has both good and negative impacts in society. What matters however, is the way I is being used. This view of technology as a neutral tool is an instrumental outlook of technology.Despite being a useful information site, the internet has very many sites that have incorrect information. Therefore, the use of technology will not be as useful as it is thought. In addition, teachers and parents must also be aware of the many unrestricted student access sites in the internet. The impact that computers may have on the health of these children is also put into question. For instance, the American pediatric association has expressed health concerns by taking into account the amount of time school children spend in front of computer screens. Experts have warned that continuous use of computers affects visual systems of the children (McCormick 1999).

Other challenges that have been associated with the use of technology in the learning process include high cost of equipment, lack of teacher time, lack of rationale for the technology, lack of teacher training, and limited access. The time taken by teachers to become competent is long since teachers need to develop specialized skills through intensive training (Rozalind, Muir-Herzig 2003). Teachers are required to have a full-time access to technology in order to integrate instructions into computers. Planning and leadership is needed in the integration of technology into the curriculum. Above all teachers are required to remain abreast of all the changes in technology, which at times is a challenge to most of them (Rozalind, Muir-Herzig 2003).

Recommendations

With each passing year, technology becomes a prevalent aspect in the culture of education. The impact of technology in schools cannot be overlooked considering how much computers have changed the face of the learning curriculum. Symonds (2000) argues that come the year 2020, the face of the high school curriculum will be completely different because it will have reached the” High Tech level computers will be used in delivering and remediating lessons and the role of the educators will be reduced to being mentors and facilitators. However, schools must first address issues dealing with securing access to technology and teacher training before the proposed changes take place. In addition, teachers must be well-equipped with the necessary tools for engaging students in using the technology (Rozalind, Muir-Herzig 2003).

As much as information technology and internet are viable tools for learning, they should not be overused. The learning process need to engage students both physically and mentally (Jaber 1997). If computers are used in every aspect of the learning process, students may lose creativity and much of their needs may not be met. The use of technology and computers should only act as a supplement in the classroom curriculum and not the sole source of learning. Teachers should limit access to undesirable materials in the internet to avoid problems of aimless access by students. Students should also be prohibited from accessing prohibited sites.

Before jumping into the bandwagon of computer technology, educators are required to consider the ‘why’ aspect of educational practices. Implementing technology in schools should not be done for the sake of it. It should allow students execute tasks that are otherwise impossible in a normal classroom setting. For instance, it should include aspects such as run simulations, design system models, information management, and research topics from the internet. As much as technology has been touted as being paramount in today’s learning environment, concerns for productive use should accompany its implementation (Rozalind, Muir-Herzig 2003).

Conclusion

With the advancement in technology, the school’s atmosphere in different parts of the world has changed. Technology has come with both the positive and negative impacts. The overall use of technology has increased across the globe with high school students being issued with laptops. Schools that have embraced the use of technology have already generated impressive student results including high test scores, improved achievement, richer classroom content, and improved student attitude. The role of teachers has been reduced to mere mentors and guides, as most of the learning responsibilities have been undertaken by students. However, a number of challenges have been associated with the use of technology in the learning process. This includes high cost of equipment, lack of teacher training, and equitable access to technology. As such, the use of computer technology, is supposed to be leveraged and educators are required to consider its rationale in educational practices.

References

Birch, C. (2009). Technology And Society. American education journal. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.1086/659215?uid=3738336&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21100856473701

Dwyer, D. C., Ringstaff, C., & Sandholtz, J. (1990). The evolution of teachers’ instructional beliefs and practices in high access-to technology classrooms. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Educational Research Association, Boston.

Jaber, W. (1997). A Survey Of Factors Which Influence Teachers’ Use of Computer-Based Technology. Dissertation Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Homer-Dixon, T. (2006). The Upside of Down: Catastrophe: Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization. Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf.

Lea, L. Maria C, Draude, B. & Barlow, S. (2000).The Impact of Technology on

Teaching and Learning. Retrieved form: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/EQM0127.pdf

Lesgold, A. (2000). Determining the effects of technology in complex school environments, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA, 34–39.

McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: McGraw-Hill.

McCormick, R., (1999). Curriculum development and new information technology.

Centre for Technology Education. Retrieved from: http://rice.edn.deakin.edu.au/Archives/JITTE/j113.htm

Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers and powerful ideas. Brighton Harvester

Rozalind G. Muir-Herzig, R. (2003). Technology and its impact in the classroom. Retrieved from: http://te886.pbworks.com/f/Tech+in+the+Classroom.pdf

Shacter, J. & Fagnano, C. (1999), EBSCOhost: Does Computer Technology Improve Student Learning and Achievement? How, When and under What Conditions? Journal of Educational Computing Research 20(4), 329–343.

Shaver, J.P. (1999). Electronic technology and the future of social studies in elementary and secondary schools. Journal of Education, 181(3), 13-41. Retrieved November 8, 2002,from Academic Elite database.

Sherson, G. (1999). The Impact of Technology on Primary Schools. Retrieved from:” http://www.shersonmedia.com/grant/cv/items/papers/Technology_and_Primary_Schools. pdf

Symonds, C. (2000). High school will never be the same. Business Week, 3696, 190-193.
Retrieved from Academic Search Elite database.

Williams, L. A.; Atkinson, L. C.; Cate, J. M. & OHair, M. J. (2008), Mutual Support between Learning Community Development and Technology Integration: Impact on School     Practices and Student Achievement, Theory into Practice 47(4), 294–302.

 

 

 

 

COUNSELING

June 20, 2012

 

 

 

Behavior Therapy for Children Who Live in Single Parent Homes

Marked changes are occurring in the structure of the modern family unit. The number of children living in single-parent homes is increasing all over the world. This change in family patterns is alarming with many viewing it as the key factor in the erosion of societal values. Sociological and psychological research shows that children from single-parent families are more susceptible to difficulties in psychological and emotional adjustment. Many of these children end up with behavior that is not desirable. This is a critical issue at present and behavioral therapy becomes indispensable in such families.

Every person is defined through the behavioral predisposition as postulated by (Spiegler, & Guevremont, 2003, p.30). This is the basic assumption in behaviorism. Behavior therapy is defined as a psychotherapy that seeks to change undesirable behaviors and reinforce the desired ones. It involves the identification of maladaptive, objectionable behaviors and replacing them with better types of behavior. Behavior therapy is also known as behavior modification therapy. Behavior therapy can treat a diversity of conditions such as depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and some addictions. Also, it can treat phobic behavior, chronic fatigue, and insomnia.

Behavior therapy has a foundation in the behaviorism theory advanced by J.B.Watson in the early 19th century (Corsini & Wedding, 2000, p.242). In his perspective, human behavior can only be understood in terms of overt learning. The theoretical objective of Watson’s school of thought is the prediction and control of natural behavior (Watson, 1913, p. 158). This differs from modern behavioral theory. He supported the argument that it is not possible to carry out introspection of behavior in people.

This was adopted by other theorists like B.F Skinner who sought to improve the version of behaviorism developed by Watson (Corsini & Wedding, 2000, p.242). Like his predecessor, Skinner was of the opinion that only overt behavior could be scientifically investigated. Behaviorism emphasizes a versatile notion that that human behavior is driven by a stimulus (Watson, 1913, p. 160). This means that when an individual behaves in a certain way, it is usually in response to stimuli in the environment. Today, behavioral therapy has undergone a transformation.

Behavioral therapy predicates from behaviorism. Behavioral therapy implies applying the theory of modern learning to treat emotional and behavioral disorders (Weinraub, Horvath & Gringlas, 2002, p109). At present, behavioral therapy incorporates innovative strategies accommodating the analysis of the complex interaction of the various areas of cognition. Behavioral therapy has a profound impact in psychotherapy. Also, cognitive-behavioral concepts are now widely used in clinical practice.

As the number of single-parent families takes an upward trend, every parent is trying to raise healthy and happy children as is the cultural norm in many societies (Weinraub, Horvath & Gringlas, 2002, p.109). This situation arises due to a number of reasons. They include separation, widowhood, divorce and having children out of wed-lock (Weinraub, Horvath & Gringlas, 2002, p.111). More often than not children who grow up in such families suffer from behavioral problems. Child upbringing requires the support of the two parents. However, in the changing global environment this is the opposite. Children are growing up in single-parent homes. There are social economic pressures facing such families. Consequently, the children develop undesired behaviors as discussed above. It follows that the single-parent is always trying to lure back those children from the brink of aggression, addiction and crime (Owusu-Bempah, 1995, p. 253). The efforts of the single parent may not help much in helping the child overcome the undesired behaviors. Thus, the parent will seek the help of behavioral counselors. The counselor uses behavioral therapy to assist the child in getting rid of the deviant behavior.

The disruptive behavior is not healthy for children living in single-parent homes. In addition to the long-term effects of disruptive behaviors, there are other facets of the child’s life that are affected for the short term. They include disturbances in the functioning of the family like the creation of negative child-parent relations (Corsini & Wedding, 2000, p.418). Again, it influences child functioning in education. For instance, a hyperactive child can repeat more grades and have low self-esteem. Further, there is a relationship between disruptive behaviors in such children and negative peer relations.

Behavior therapy through counseling is used in helping children acquire new skills to cope with the behavior deficits, improve on communication or assist them in learning how to break maladaptive habits and therefore overcome the behavioral conflicts (Hurding, 1985, p.47). The focus of the behavioral counselor is to interpret the behavior of the child with an emphasis on a positive and collaborative relationship with the child. The counselor values using objectivity in the assessment and understanding the child with behavior problems.

In order to be effective in behavior therapy, the single parent should get training in child management (Taylor, & Biglan, 1998, p.43). When the single-parent has child management strategies, it is easier to mange the behavioral problems facing their children at home and school. Such strategies work well in correcting maladaptive parent-child interactions more so in instilling discipline (Hurding, 1985, p.47). Techniques of social learning which are based on operant conditioning and behavior analysis can alter the behavior of the parent as well as that of children. This decreases the antisocial or oppositional behavioral patterns in the child (Corsini & Wedding, 2000, p244).

At the same time, the single-parent should be aware of their behavioral principles (Taylor, & Biglan, 1998, p46). Whereas getting the child management strategies in behavior therapy of the children, being a role model cannot be over-emphasized. Modeling helps the child acquire better behavior through imitation. The therapist will not accomplish much if the single-parent cannot be of help to the child. This happens where the single parent is involved in substance abuse. As stated above behavior is acquired and parents have influence over their children. For example, a single-parent who abuses drugs or alcohol is likely to pass on the behavior to the children.

Behavioral therapy is an effective intervention that improves child-rearing in single-parent homes where there are children with disruptive behavior (Taylor, & Biglan, 1998, p.41). The parent always has influence on the child’s behavior. The positive reinforcement of consequences like praise, attention and rewarding them with privileges, treats and spending time with the child is paramount. Taylor and Biglan (1998, p.42) contend that a parent can change an undesirable behavior in children by placating them. In this case, the parent can withdraw attention when the child exhibits undesired behavior.

While emphasizing on the need for the single-parent to get training in child management strategies, is it essential to consider the needs of the parent (Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1990, p.335). Many of the single-parents especial those with social problems may not be able to handle behavior therapy of their children. The single-parent may be undergoing stressful life moments that make their children’s behavior get out of hand (Weinraub, Horvath & Gringlas, 2002, p.131). In this case, the single-parent should sort out the issues facing them so that parenting matters are independent of personal stresses. This helps eliminate feelings of helplessness in the wake of the children’s undesired behavior (Weinraub, Horvath & Gringlas, 2002, p.131). In order to make lasting solutions in behavior therapy; the single parent should be strong enough to deal with moments of the children’s hyperactivity, unpredictability and developmental problems.

Effective behavioral therapy demands that the therapist closely observes the child so as to assess behavior. Observation is possible through a number of means which include direct natural observation of the child; assessment of the child’s physical functioning during different situations (Weinraub, Horvath & Gringlas, 2002, p.132). The behavioral therapist can measure the blood pressure; establish the heart rate and electrical conductivity in the skin. The characteristics of deviant behavior in children are not hidden. Therefore, it is possible to observe changes in the normal functionalities of the child.

In behavioral therapy, designing the target behavior for change is necessary. The parent and the therapist ought to be aware of the behavior in the child that needs to change. According to (Spiegler & Guevremont, 2003, p.52), target behavior refers to the narrow and discrete aspects of a problem that are measurable and easy to define. Establishing the target behavior simplifies the behavior therapy because all efforts aim at the target behavior. In addition, it helps in cost reduction in cases where the target behavior is not easily observable.

A number of techniques are used in behavior therapy for children who live in single-parent homes (Gelfand, & Hartman, 1968, p.204). The apparent changes in the family setup patterns make to be popular clients for behavioral therapy consultants. The learning theory based therapy is common in changing the behavior of children who come from single-parent homes. This is in cases where children have difficulties in adjusting to school education. One of the reasons for the use of this technique is that the behavioral therapy for children is quite brief (Gelfand, & Hartman, 1968, p.204).

Again, the social environment of children and the kinds of the maladaptive behaviors are controllable. A key element of the behaviorist therapy interventions is the manipulation of the environment of the client to eliminate unwanted antisocial behavior and reinforce pro-social responses (Weiten, 2007, 495). Environmental control is easy to achieve for children who spend a lot of time with their parent or at school. Behavioral therapy for children in singe-parent homes is achievable where the parent has control over the child. This involves identifying and developing strategies that will assist in the change process (Weiten, 2007, p.172). The result is that such a technique changes the maladaptive behavior.

Another technique that is frequently used in behavioral therapy for children in is systematic desensitization. This mainly works to eliminate irrational fears such as phobias. It is meant to decelerate the maladaptive behavior (Weiten, 2007, p.172). The therapist will pair incompatible human experiences for example, relaxation and enjoyment and thereafter the introduction of stimuli that evokes anxiety. In treating children’s phobias in the single-parent family, a feeling of relaxation is induced in the child. This is done through hypnosis or suggestion. The therapist then constructs a hierarchy of anxiety with items that range from the least to the utmost fear-provoking case (Gelfand, & Hartman, 1968, p.207).

The child under this intervention progressively imagines items of greater fear without interruption of relaxation. Weiten (2007, 173) agrees with the above and postulates that there is counter-conditioning in this treatment. It means that there is a weakening of the association between the stimulus and anxiety in the child through techniques of relaxation, anxiety hierarchies and ultimately desensitization (Gelfand, & Hartman, 1968, p.205). This systematic desensitization is helpful to the child.

While many techniques focus on the minimization of the undesired behavior, behavior therapy can use the technique of increasing the child’s behavior that is inadequate (Gelfand & Hartman, 1968, p.206). By combining manipulations, behavior therapy develops behaviors that reduce the occurrence of unwanted behavior. The behavioral therapy helps children by teaching them alternative behaviors which can be maintained through positive reinforcement (Weiten, 2007, p.495).

Many children who live in single-parent homes at times become delinquents. A delinquent is a group that exhibits some undesirable behavior patterns (Gelfand & Hartman, 1968, p.206). Such behaviors include activities such as stealing and fighting. They are deficient in pro-social behavior such as cooperating with the authorities, self control and regular work habits (Weinraub, Horvath & Gringlas, 2002, p.109). Behavior therapy interventions for delinquents are a combination of acceleration and deceleration techniques. These are used because a child who has a certain maladaptive behavior may have learned some means of getting the reinforcement that the undesirable responses were meant to secure. It follows that another symptom can substitute the deviate behavior that is treated.

Behavior therapy helps children living in single-parent homes overcome aggression, immature and antisocial behaviors (Gelfand & Hartman, 1968, p.206). When the child-parent relations strain, the child may feel that the family environment is not favorable for them. As a result, the child can develop antisocial behavior. Also, attempts by the sing-parent to control the child may not be successful (Corsini & Wedding, 2000, p.244). More often than not, children want to have freedom. When this is not provided by the parent, the child may feel that it is because the other parent is not in the family unit. Thus, the child develops aggression to resist control from the parent.

Psychotic children who live in single-parent homes can benefit from behavioral therapy. The simultaneous acceleration and deceleration of modification is a proven approach in the treatment of resistant maladaptive behaviors. They include the autistic behavior in children. (Gelfand & Hartman, 1968, p.206). The most popular form of behavioral therapy is known as applied behavioral analysis (ABA). It is a simple reward and consequence way of approaching the education aspect. When the children do what they asked to do, they receive a reward.

On the other hand, when they do not do what they are asked to do, the parent or therapist withholds the reward. Over time, the child will associate rewards with the good deeds or behavior (Weiten, 2007, p.495). Ultimately, the proper behavior endures even when there is no reward. ABA has an approach known as discrete trials. It features a therapist sitting across a table from a child who has autism and asks for particular behavior for example “give me the cup.” A reward is given to the child if the child complies.

In conclusion, behavior therapy is a fundamental counseling approach to deal with behavioral problems that face children who live in single-parent families. There are changes that have affected the pattern of the family unit. Consequently, single-parent families are on the rise around the world. The effects of the rising single-parent families are apparent in the development of unwanted behavior in children. The children need help which is available through behavior therapy.

Behavior therapy is a psychotherapy that predicates on behaviorism theory. The theory behind behavior therapy is that behavior is acquired and can be changed. Exposure to positive behaviors will eliminate the undesired behaviors. Behavior therapy is indispensable in dealing with children who live in single-parent homes. The effectiveness of behavioral therapy depends on the correct observation of target behavior. By refocusing on the desired behavior, the child eventually overcomes the unwanted behavior.

Applying the techniques of behavior theory follows the identification of target behavior. The therapist uses such techniques as controlling the environment in which the maladaptive behavior occurs, minimization of the undesired behavior, behavior systematic desensitization to eliminate irrational fears such as phobias and combination of acceleration and deceleration to condition delinquent tendencies. In addition, repeated desired behavior can help children with autism. Behavior therapy is a great approach to apply to children who live in single-parent homes.

 

References

Corsini, R., & Wedding, D. (2000). Current psychotherapies. 6th Ed. Itasca, IL: E. Peacock.

Gelfand, D.M. & Hartman, D.P., (1968). Behavior therapy with children. A review and

evaluation of research methodology. Psychological Bulletin, 69, 3, 204-215.

Hurding, R. F. (1985). Roots and shoots: a guide to counseling and psychotherapy. London:

Hodder & Stoughton.

Owusu-Bempah, J. (1995). Information about the absent parent as a factor in the well-being of

children of single-parent families. International Social Work, 38, 253-275.

Spiegler, M. D., & Guevremont, D. C. (2003). Contemporary behavior therapy. 4th Ed. Belmont,

CA: Wadsworth.

Taylor, T.K. & Biglan, A. (1998). Behavioral family interventions fro improving child-rearing: a

review of the literature for clinicians and policy makers. Clinical Child and Family Psychology, 1, 41-60.

Watson, J. B. (1913). Psychology as the behaviorist views it. Psychological Review, 20,

158-177.

Webster-Stratton, C. and Hammond, M. (1990). Predicators of treatment outcome in parent

training for families with conduct problem children. Behavior Therapy, 21, 319-337.

 

Weinraub, M., Horvath, D. L., & Gringlas, M. B. (2002). Single parenthood. In M. H. Bornstein

(Ed.), Handbook of parenting (3, 109-140).

Weiten, W. (2007). Psychology: themes and variations. 7th Ed. New York: Wadsworth.

 

 

 

 

Is Religion Natural

June 13, 2012

 

The lecture by Nathaniel Bowditch titled Is Religion Natural? David Hume on Human Nature and Religious Belief takes a broad view at David Hume’s answer to whether religion is natural or not. Bowditch gives a short history of 18th century philosopher then goes on to refer to his treatise The Natural History of Religion where Hume comes out as presenting the two extremes; how religion is natural and how it is man-made. A relationship is drawn between morality and religion is drawn. Morality is discussed as more natural than religion.

In the first place, religion is natural because it is a result of natural human impulses that are evident when they are faced by certain conditions. Hume claims “Convulsions in nature, disorders, prodigies, miracles…impress mankind with the strongest sentiments of religion” (499). Emotions like anger, sadness, fear and uncertainty lead humans to search for a higher supernatural being to which power and responsibility can be ascribed for all the misery and pain in the world. In essence that is true when one thinks about human beings today. Regardless of religion professed, most people are at their religious best when a calamity or bad fortune hits them. One will pray and follow all the rules and conditions set out by the particular religion in an attempt to appease the god they believe in.

All the same, religion may be as a result of natural impulses, just like morality but the choice of which religious outfit to subscribe to is wholly up to the individual. This then makes religion an invention according to Hume. Morality has some sort of uniformity across the globe where everyone seems to know what is right and wrong. On the other hand, religions are numerous and varied. In addition, they keep on getting modified over the years. Something that was completely taboo in, Christianity in the medieval times could be religiously correct in the 21st century. (Hume, 500). It is almost as if religion is bent to suit contingencies of the day and keep believers in it.

This introduces the other point where religion is not natural because it is irrational. All the same, this does not necessarily mean that irrationality cannot go along with naturalness. After all, faith has been deemed to overcome reason in matters of philosophy and morality. The belief that the earth is round is quite natural because it can be explained and proved by reason. However religion cannot benefit from reason as such. When it does, it ends up raising many questions such as why God could exist as the cause of everything without having a cause himself. Religion is also unnatural as it is not absolutely necessary to all human beings. There are many people who do not subscribe to any religion all together. Why would something natural be optional?

While Hume’s theories remain in line with other contemporary ones, his psychological approach seems a bit farfetched. It is seems believable that man came up with religion to make sense of the natural complexities that he observed around him but it not right to assume that religion is all a figment of human imagination. . It is possible, through the theories that seek to prove the existence of God, to explain the naturalness of religion from the perspective of an existing God.

The fact that evolution of religion has occurred over the years does not necessarily mean that religion is an invention. In any case, human beings are said to have evolved as natural as they are. Religion is “usual enough” according to Bowditch but not as uniform as morality. Human beings have the natural capacity to feel such emotions as sympathy which gives rise to morality and character. Human character is composed of the natural inclination to superstition and blame. Hume argues that as human beings, we all have a tendency to oscillate between idolatry and theism as it suits our current needs (499). The fact that it could be an invention does not cover the high possibility that religion is necessary in a human being’s life. Surely something that is necessary must be natural?

However, religion revolves around deity, supernatural beings. One could say that it is thus unnatural but the pint here is, religion is not of God’s making. Man came up with religion. This then makes it manmade, but the factors leading to the desire to have a set of beliefs is natural. Hume points to the absurdity of religion where such elements as insanity and anger “…sink men nearest to the level of beasts, are…often supposed to be the only dispositions, in which we can have any immediate communication with the Deity” (Hume, 501). When reasoned out, religion seems undoubtedly absurd with what reason would have happen not happening.

Hume himself considers the riddle quite inexplicable due to the “frailty of human reason” (499). It is quite a good effort to explain religious beliefs on purely sociological and psychological theories but it would be better if another approach was added to complement the theory. For instance, divine intervention has been said to be the origin of religion where books like the Bible come in. Christians believe that the authors of the book were inspired by God. It is therefore important to review this approach to come up with a more conclusive theory. According to Hume, natural propensities are the reason for religion and nothing else. Using this perspective, one can all into question many elements that are present in modern religions. The adoption of elements such as rituals and doctrines without the necessary philosophical and logical study means that it is possible that the form of worship or elements of the religion are entirely synthetic. Hume approaches the topic by offering little gray area such that if religion is natural then it is an inherent state of man but if it is man-made then it can be interpreted as manufactured or made to suit certain needs and emergencies.

In conclusion, religious beliefs could be natural in a certain sense but also manmade in another. The fact that they are not common to everyone is proof. It is not uncommon for someone to wake up one morning with a whole new different religion that will not lack followers. The believers themselves also make a conscious decision to believe in a certain religion. Reflection is necessary because they are no original principles guiding one to believe in a certain way, only what the religion has to offer. Religions across the globe may have begun with a certain view of deity as the God of a particular tribe which has evolved into the creator of everything; a God who is omnipotent and many other things. However, it is clear, Hume believed that religion was natural drawing from the natural propensities that drew man to believe in invisible power.

Works Cited

Boyer, Pascal. “CSI | Why Is Religion Natural?.” CSI.N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2012. <http://www.csicop.org/si/show/why_is_religion_natural/&gt;.

Hume, David. The Natural History of Religion. Raleigh, N.C.: Alex Catalogue, 1889. Web. http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=340&%20chapter=44344&layout=html&Itemid=27%3E. 14th May, 2012.

“Nathaniel Bowditch on Psychology of Religious Belief in Provost’s Lecture – YouTube.” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. . N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHkcpORLII0&gt;.

Hume, David [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy].” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2012. <http://www.iep.utm.edu/hume/#SH10a&gt;.

Yandell, Keith. “Hume’s explanation of religious belief.”Hume Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2012. <www.humesociety.org/hs/issues/v5n2/yandell/yandell-v5n2.pdf>.

 

 

Frederico Fellini’s 8 1/2

June 13, 2012

Frederico Fellini’s 8 ½

Name.

 

Frederico Fellini’s 8 ½ is considered to be a master piece, and has won the Oscar, which is one of the most widely acclaimed recognitions possible for excellence in cinema. This movie is peculiar in that its narrative role is restricted to a form of telling that fills in the gaps of how a film is made. When a usual film is produced, it undergoes a whole battery of processes which are not to be seen by the audience: the sets, the anxiety of the actors and directors etc. all play a part in the overall narrative scheme of a film but remain unnoticed. Fellini’s process in this movie turns this assumption on its head. He uses a meta-cinematic approach (Bondanella, P., 161). He exploits cross-referential commentary by placing it in an unexpected part of narrative: the entire plot of 8 ½ revolves around a filmmaker who is anxious about the process of making his film. Thus, 8 ½ is a visually driven film about film making and is not concerned with complex plotlines or narrative devices, but uses irony to make self-commentary.

The introductory scene uses eerie imagery that is interesting, yet opaque. At this stage one does not know what the plot can potentially develop into. The character on screen is suffocated by fumes in a car, till suddenly he is flying across the sky and eventually, when he least expects it, has a free fall. The scene pans out and we realise that it is the director of the film who has had a nightmare. As the movie develops further, the director is shown to be under great stress and anxiety over the shape his film is taking, or rather not taking. The initial shot in hindsight becomes a predictive omen which opens to the audience a “…pervading anxiety in it that foreshadows the collapse of the director’s plans for his film” (Singer, 201).

Halfway into the narrative scheme, which Fellini constructs with images, the understanding of the director’s problems is made more concrete as a squabble between his mistress and his wife, the petulant actresses and the quibbling director (Singer, 202). He is clad in black through out the movie, which is monochrome, and is shadowed by all the problems that beset his production. When the film is nearing its conclusive moments, and the audience is going to learn what happens of the director’s film, the remains of the sets used for the film are shown as the summary result of his abortive efforts (Singer, 203). The sets were intended for the film, which was based on a post apocalyptic rocket launch, and thus the empty set is a symbolic visual of his plans for the film, which did not take off. The movie at this point is almost tragic, but being the sole engagement of a director with no other plot elements creating a real dilemma or ethical quandary capable of generating pathos, Fellini uses a further device to twist the understanding of the movie.

While the entire movie is replete with the conflicts of the director’s ambition and the resulting anxiety, the last segment in the movie ratifies the angle of interpretation as a visual exercise in ironic self-commentary. From the dream scene at the start we are introduced to the directors later fall from purpose; his failure in making the film he intended. At the end, the actors on screen are two laughing clowns and a comical tune by Nina Rota plays in the background, indicating that the project has ended in a laughable outcome. It is also symbolic of the relief of the director in knowing that at least the harrowing part of making the film is over (Singer, 204). There is also the irony of the director who failed, and that his failed film is a film on its own. In effect the director in being the focal character indeed deserves the last laugh. Thus, while the film is largely visually driven it is also a retelling of the prosaic efforts that go into making one.

Works Cited

Bondanella, Peter. The Cinema of Federico Fellini. UK: Cambridge University Press,

2002. Print.

Singer, Irving. Cinematic Mythmaking; Philosophy in Film. USA: The MIT Press, 2008.

Print.

 

ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

June 5, 2012

Since the early 1970s, the number of refugees worldwide has gone high by a factor of four, from about four to twelve million people. Additionally, the number of people seeking asylum in developed countries has also increased by a factor of about 10 over the same period, from a figure of about 50,000 per annum in the 1970s, to over half a million in 2001. It has been widely viewed as a serious crisis that requires quick intervention. It has been seen by many as a humanitarian issue (McDonald, 2007). This is because most of the refugees who are displaced from developing countries undergo numerous forms of human suffering such as torture, poverty and disease. Secondly, the increasing migration of asylum seekers in developed countries continues to trigger political controversy about asylum policies that have contributed to a rising political temperature, mostly from the far right. This paper is divided into a number of sections (Giovanni and Gerald, 2006). The first section will analyze various background issues facing refugees and asylum seekers in the United Kingdom. It will also analyze why people move from their home countries to another country, demographic information, and sociological perspective on the issue. The second section will examine the social construction of refuges and asylum seekers as well as the legislative and policy responses facing the problem of refugee and asylum seekers.

Refugees and asylum groups represent a diverse group with one thing in common: they are individuals who have been subjected to forced migration, fleeing from persecution in their home countries. The term ‘asylum seeker’ is used in this paper to refer to individuals who have applied for asylum and are waiting for a decision on their applications. It also refers to the group of people whose applications have been denied based on their inability to fulfill certain requirements. On the other hand, the term refugee is usually used to refer a person who have applied for asylum and who have been given recognition based on their refugee status (Burnett and Peel, 2000). It is also adopted for those who have been given an exceptional or indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. Markedly, the occurrence of war, conflict, minority persecution and factional fighting are deemed to be some of the major reasons that have contributed to this worrying trend. It can be noted that in 2002, there are a high number of people seeking for asylum in the United Kingdom from countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Zimbabwe and Iraq. As noted earlier, conflicts and war have been the major cause of refugee flights in many countries. Giovanni and Gerald (2006) contend that the high displacement of people in countries such as Rwanda, Afghanistan, El Salvador, and Somalia has been due to numerous incidences of conflicts that have heightened the movement of refugees to become a humanitarian issue. It is also noted that the movement of refugees are also highly determined by economic and demographic forces as well as violence and political situation in the given country or region. From this perspective, refugee flights and asylum seeking has been attributed to several factors such as repressive political regimes, lack of democracy and weak institutional framework along with other issues that cause human rights abuse (Burnett and Peel, 2000).

It can be noted that refugees and asylum seekers represent a hugely varied group that is different from other migrants. Burke and Shani (2009) mentioned that there are several reasons that differentiate asylum seekers and refugees from other migrants in the United Kingdom. Some of these issues include lack of proper documents, multiple and transition issues, reasons for being in the United Kingdom, unfamiliarity with the country’s culture or system, to mention a few. While the number of refugees and asylum seekers in the United Kingdom has been on the rise, the British government is continuously coming up with new restrictive policies on asylum. It was noted that in the 1980s, the number of asylum seekers and refuges entering Britain rose significantly due to the environmental devastation, military conflict, and breakdown of state structures in the Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, following the introduction of new policy measures, the percentage of successful asylum applications dropped from 58 percent in 1982 to less than 10 percent during the 1990s. McDonald (2007) contends that while political debates in ‘fortress Europe’ has been on the rise, there are no clear or formal policies or programs that have been established to oversee the resettlement of refugees. This implies that the needs of these vulnerable groups are inadequately met. Nevertheless, apart from the refuge community organizations who have assumed an important role in the provision of practical and emotional support, the local authorities also contribute to the livelihood of refugees. On the other hand, under the current support system, asylum seekers have inadequate choices about where they are accommodated. There also cases where asylum seekers have been detained or forced to live in accommodation centers. Burnett and Peel (2000) assert that these forms of treatment have resulted into social exclusion that continues to separate such vulnerable groups from the mainstream society. The situation of asylum seekers and refugees has been characterized by an increasingly hostile environment that has made settlement and development of new goals to be a very difficult endeavor.

The existing information about the population of refugees and asylum seekers in the United Kingdom can be said to provide only partial of the actual numbers and flow of this segment of the population. According to Home Office data, there were a total of 25,930 applications for asylum in 2008, 10 percent more than the previous year. In 2009, the figure was about 24, 485, a decline from what was recorded in 2008. Generally, the numbers have fallen since 2002 where over 30,000 applications of asylum were made (Lorna and Sweeney, 2010). Additionally, in 2008, the UK had the second number of asylum applications from various countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Sri Lanka, China, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Iran, India, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Information regarding asylum decisions indicates that a total of 19,400 initial asylum decisions were reached in 2008, 10 percent fewer than the previous year. This also represented a lesser number of the total applications (25,930). Out of this number, a total of 3,725 principal applicants were granted asylum in the United Kingdom, which was 19 percent of the initial decision (Lorna and Sweeney, 2010). In addition, a total of 2,165 people were granted discretionary leave to remain or humanitarian protection, which amounted to 11 percent of the initial asylum decisions. It is also indicated that in 2008, many of the individuals granted asylum in the United Kingdom came from Eritrea (30 percent), Zimbabwe (14 percent and Somalia (13 percent). From this statistics, it can be mentioned that majority of the asylum applicants in the same year were denied asylum in the United Kingdom. Home office data (2009) indicate that 13,505 asylum applicants who make up 70 percent were refused (as cited in Lorna and Sweeney, 2010).

Additionally, there is also information available for children as asylum seekers in the United Kingdom. It is shown that 4,286 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASCs) aged 17 and below applied for asylum in 2008. This figure represents 15 percent more as compared to that of 2005 where 3,645 applicants have been received. It is indicated that in most of these applications, over 91 percent are made in the country of origin while less than 5 percent are made at port. Out of the 2,675 initial decisions made on UASCs, 285 children were granted asylum, 1,790 were granted discretionary leave and humanitarian protection while 585 of the initial decisions were refused (Lorna and Sweeney, 2010).

While the United Kingdom is widely known for providing sanctuary to large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers, the social construction of these people by the media, social and political institutions reveals otherwise. With the increasing reaffirmation of national identity and the concept of common heritage, there is a revived media and political interest into the number of people moving into the United Kingdom (Priya, 2010). Across Britain, conservative electioneering has taken ‘asylum seeking’ to be a major issue during elections, particularly during the 2001 general election campaign. There have also been sensationalist media reports that continue to dominate this issue. Additionally, negative portrayal of asylum seekers has painted them a big challenge to the cultural distinctiveness and a potential threat to the stability of society (Burke and Shani, 2009). It is evident that by all means, the issue of asylum seekers remains to be a social problem in the United Kingdom. The ethnic origin of people seeking asylum in the United Kingdom remains to be one of the primary aspects leading to such social construction. It is revealed that, ‘the non-whiteness’ nature of asylum seekers is central to the ensuing prejudice and racism in the United Kingdom. Priya (2010) contends that this ideology is largely rooted in social mechanisms and practices hence forms the basis of public opinions on the issue. The ideology of national identity and the rise of Englishness can be said to play a critical role in the knowledge and understanding of asylum seeking as a social problem. McDonald (2007) noted that the state and media selectivity has contributed to the promotion of the idea of preferred immigrants. Therefore, the imposition of order based on the concept of common knowledge is critical in the discourses and interpretive constructions of asylum seekers in United Kingdom.

The media remains to be a powerful tool for the construction of knowledge and understanding on this issue. Nick and Susan (2003) portends that the media provides an inherently rhetorical picture that is based on promoting values and ideas that are meant to promote the status quo. The repositioning of asylum seekers based on dissenting voices and counter discourses in the media as well as social and political fronts has led to the construction of what may be referred to as the ‘new apartheid.’ It emerges that in the United Kingdom, the media seem to have reinforced the dominance of certain groups. Therefore, media discourses have assumed a critical role in the facilitation and maintenance of discrimination against asylum seekers and refugees. This is because the language used in defining and categorizing asylum seekers as the ‘other’ contributes to the production and construction of certain types of knowledge about asylum seekers. The rise of xenophobia and racist construction has been fostered by media discourses. Political institutions have also contributed to the social construction of asylum seekers. Burke and Shani (2009) contend that the immigration policy can never be static hence the legislators and politicians have the authority to alter or create many any changes to such policy. It is shown that after the 9/11 event, there has been numerous changes on the criteria for entry in the United Kingdom.

The social construction of asylum seekers and refugees has contributed to the emergence of terms such as ‘bogus asylum seeker’ and economic refugee. These terms have considerably been used to justify the enactment of strict, draconian immigration controls. Consequently, such concepts may not be only confined to policy-makers, immigration officials or politicians but also widely used by ordinary people (Giovanni and Gerald, 2006). On the other hand, there has been numerous inhuman tragedy facing asylum seekers and refugees. It is noted that many of these people has fallen victims to violence, trafficking, and other forms of human rights abuse.

Furthermore, in many cases the type of support given to such individuals does not include cash benefits or employment in the case of asylum seekers (Nick and Susan, 2003). There have also been cases where refugees have been categorized as a threat to the very foundation of the British society based on issues of terrorism, diseases, begging and crime. While the social, political and media institutions continue to paint asylum seekers and refugees in a bad light, change of policy, procedure and social norms are required to enhance inclusion, promotion of social care needs and improve the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees in the United Kingdom (Burke and Shani, 2009).

The asylum and immigration policy appears to be one of the most publicly and politically divisive issues in the United Kingdom. Over the years, asylum policy has been a central issue in elections and a source of conflict between the judiciary and politicians. In light of this, policy and legislative approaches toward asylum seekers has been highly mixed up over the years. Nevertheless, since mid-1990s, successive governments undertook numerous changes on the social welfare policies as a way of securing the integrity of the asylum process as well as setting into place immigration controls (Nick and Susan, 2003). For the last two decades, policy and legislative responses has highly targeted ways of reducing the flow of asylum seekers into the United Kingdom. The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 established the national asylum support service (NASS). It also set up the framework to be employed in the dispersal of destitute asylum seekers to various parts of the country. Additionally, this act removed all the benefits that asylum seekers were entitled to, particularly employment benefits. It also stopped asylum seekers from working and introduced in a new voucher system that only allowed weekly payment of not more than £10. Under the act, the NASS was given the responsibility to allocate housing to dispersed individuals. There are also numerous changes for children under the act. For instance, it removed the obligation of local authorizes to ensure proper living standards for children as outlined under the Children Act 1989 (Priya, 2010). The voucher scheme made many children and their families to live on lower rates than income support and hence highly exposed to racism and exploitation. Children also have inadequate access to education. Therefore, there are involuntary dispersal of people that contributed to the poor living standards, exploitation, and racism toward asylum seekers and refugees in the United Kingdom. The removal of right to work can be viewed as a counterproductive and in fact continue to contribute to long term exclusion of refugees from the United Kingdom’s labor market (Nick and Susan, 2003).

The National Immigration and Asylum Act of 2002 is another major policy response. This act has high emphasis on the removal and control of unsuccessful asylum applicants. This act emphasizes the deportation of unsuccessful and undocumented immigrants. The act also requires all individuals who are seeking for asylum in the United Kingdom to have adequate knowledge of life and society in the United Kingdom based on language mastery. The act also led to the introduction of new policies that touched on education, employment and training of asylum seekers. The act also requires all successful applicants to show allegiance to the queen by attending the citizenship ceremonies and making a pledge of loyalty to the United Kingdom. Moreover, the law placed measures that abolished the conventional distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate children seeking asylum (Priya, 2010).

In conclusion, the reaction of the European government to the rising numbers of asylum seekers have led to introduction of new policies that are highly restrictive. The number of those seeking asylum in the United Kingdom continue to drop and there is no clear argument of whether restrictionalism is based on treating the issue as an economic or security issue. However, it is also equally a new apartheid or new racism depending on the circumstance. In brief, there is a need for legislative and policy reforms along with public education that will enable social and behavior change toward asylum seekers, ensuring that only legitimate ones are helped.

References

Burke, S.G. and Shani, B. (2009) Discursive deracialization in talk about asylum seeking. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 21 (2), 111-123.

Burnett, A. and Peel, M. (2000) What brings asylum seekers to the United Kingdom? BMJ,322, 485-8.

Gil, L. (2008) Protracted refugee situations: political, human rights and security implications.

London: United Nations University.

Giovanni, F., Oliver, L. and Gerald, W. (2006) Asylum seekers in Europe: the warm glow of a hot potato. Journal of Population Economics, 19 (2), 411-430.

Lorna,O. and Sweeney, F. (2010). The exclusion of (failed) asylum seekers from housing and

home: towards an oppositional discourse. Journal of Law & Society, 37 (2), 285-314.

McDonald, I. (2007) Current developments: the treatment of asylum seekers in the UK.

Journal of Social Welfare & Family Law29, (1), 49–65.

Nick, L. and Susan, L. (2003) A phantom menace and the new Apartheid: the social construction

of asylum-seekers in the United Kingdom.Discourse & Society14 (4), 425-452.

Priya, K. (2010) From persecution to destitution: a snapshot of asylum seekers’ housing and

settlement experiences in Canada and the United Kingdom. Journal of Immigrant &

Refugee Studies8 (1), 4-31.

The Role of the UN in Fighting HIV/Aids

June 5, 2012

 

Introduction

HIV/AIDS poses a severe danger to global health, security and also development. Over 33 million people currently across the globe are living with the dangerous disease. 2.5 million, Infections were recorded in 2007 and more than 2 million died because of the disease. Sub-Saharan Africa host majority of those infected but high spreading of the disease has also been recorded in other parts of the world. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a major development crisis killing millions, destroying and impoverishing communities and separating families. Regions highly affected by the disease experience high poverty index and discouraging erosion of human capital.

Health care is under pressure in most of these countries as the government struggle to address the growing demand of infections. Sustaining development in these countries is also a challenge as most of the funds are channeled to HIV/AIDS. In sub-Saharan Africa severe economic consequences have been detected investment levels, per capita income and production as human capital is getting decimated. As a global disaster; governments, United Nations, other nongovernmental organizations and the private sector combined their efforts and started to fight the spread of the disease.

Discussion

The United Nations system has played a central part in developing and shaping the global AIDS agenda over many years of the pandemic. In 2000 world leaders in the United Nations millennium summit structured the eight millennium development goals MDGS. One of the goals was to stop spread of the disease and try to create an HIV/AIDS free environment. A strategy to fight was outlined by the summit and Kofi Annan the then secretary general of the United Nations called for the governments And international community to partner so as to provide resources to make the plan achievable by 2015.

Through UNAIDS and core sponsors much progress was realized in treatment, care and prevention. The United Nations development program (UNDP) has advocated for fight against HIV/AIDS from 1980s. The disease agenda was made the top organizational strategy since June 2001. Within the framework of United Nations system strategic plan for HIV/AIDS from 2001 to 2005 devoted lot efforts to revising its action plan against the disease.

Because of the vital consideration given to the disease there was direct contribution in the second MYFF period (2004-2005). This campaign has seen an increase in external financial support over the years. This has led to a sharp increased in public expenditure on health in most sub-Saharan Africa countries. Through UNDP united nations has been able to help in management of the funds to ensure that they are used for the intended purpose in the corrupt nations. The organization has therefore realized immense accomplishments in the size of its funding with partners becoming the key players in the funding.

Community empowerment, leadership development programs in pilot nations has also been funded to increase the community awareness on HIV/AIDS related programs and initiatives at the community level. A lot of policy support by the UNDP is also being experienced in the sub-Saharan Africa countries to the national HIV/AIDS boards and commissions. Decentralized support to national government, local government and provincial administration has also been done to have the necessary elaboration on the disease related policies. Civil society support, gender related actions, national human development activities have also been done to facilitate integration of the disaster issues into activities ahead of the traditional HIV/AIDS sector.

The United Nations also substantial contributions were also realized in the shift from biomedical to the developmental aspects on the disease. Its participation also encouraged greater governments’ commitment and other partners’ actions towards policies, structures, strategies and plans that shape the national response on HIV/AIDS. Three major significant out comes have stood out as the United Nations continuous to play a central role in addressing the global issue. Change of national policies and central frameworks for HIV/AIDS management, the decentralization and strengthening HIV/AIDS institutions and increment in the civil society engagements and vulnerable groups in participation and advocacy.

The acceptance of multisectoral nature of the disaster and the urgency for mainstreaming-integration of the AIDS issues, in government policies and plans, enhancement of the non-governmental roles has also been the role of the United Nations. Substantial efforts, by the United Nations to include HIV/AIDS policies into poverty reduction plans as a mainstreaming issue has also been a key role in fight against the disease. This has been successful working closely with the developing economies national partners. Poverty and inequalities in the society deepens with the spread of HIV/AIDS and it is therefore, necessary to have a supporting plan cutting across all the sectors in the economy.

Capacity development is also a major priority for the United Nations in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS (Pretoria, 2008, p. 66). Capacity enhancement has been strengthened both at institutional and personal capacity at all levels, from government or the national and spread to the community level. Specific capacity development programs have been done to respond to HIV/AIDS at different areas: institutional and individual capacity in HIV/AIDS national commissions and government ministerial departments; decentralized planning capacity; management of HIV/AIDS polices and their implementation; capacity of the community based organizations with AIDS related objectives; empowerment of the infected and affected in the community; and knowledge related to the epidemic to guide responses. In countries where the financial ability is a major challenge in national response, notable successful involvements by the United Nations have been realized at the community level and even at the decentralized levels of the national government (Ruxin, 2005, p. 147).

United Nations has actively participated in ensuring there is partnership and coordination for the achievement of the strategies by the partner governments on the epidemic. Without coordination of activities and plans then the positive country results would not be achievable. This strategy has helped the organization achieve its targets in resource mobilization and more allocations by governments on HIV/AIDS programs. The United Nations has been urged by the international community to continue providing and coordinating leadership for countries HIV/AIDS response. Further, strategies to strengthen the coordination in partnership development have been laid down in the millennium development goals.

Monitoring and evaluation policies to ensure sustainable HIV/AIDS response have also been done by the UNDP. Initially inadequate data on monitoring and evaluation imposed serious challenges and questions on the sustainability of the United Nations and the international community response to the disease. There were a lot of weaknesses due to lack of outcome –oriented evaluation and documentation of evidence until the intervention of the UNDP.

Success

Prioritization of the HIV/AIDS issue as a global agenda has seen the reduction of the transmission risk by 96% over the last two decades. There is a constant increase in funding for early treatment of victims and also for spreading awareness on the disease. The past decade has shown very positive result to the United Nations fight against HIV. Over the last one decade a more that 25% decline in infections and reduction in related effects has been reported (Hinds, 2007, p. 65).

The AIDS society has also congratulated the United Nations intervention to fight the disease at the right financial and scientific point of view. The spread of awareness and community empowerment has succeeded to prevent over 11 million people sub-Saharan Africa and other poverty stricken areas of the world from getting infections. The trend in the number of deaths and HIV infections has been falling globally according to statistics from the United Nations HIV/AIDS program. However, evidence indicates that the epidemic is currently declining but stigma and discrimination still causing challenges for the estimated 33 million victims living with the disease (Boesak, 2010, P. 91).

UN officials against the disease reiterated that discrimination and bad laws with respect to homosexuals and drug users will continue to drag the fight against the deadly disease. The millennium development goal strategy has also enabled the UN to chive great heights in the fight against the disease in developing economies over a short duration of time.

With a combination of focused approach and attention to the community wide context which risk occurs, evidence of successful fight against the disease has been seen in many countries. Building of synergies between care and prevention has underpinned progress in Brazil and also indicates great potential the highly poverty stricken regions in the sub-Saharan Africa. Efforts against discrimination and stigma which is an obstacle to the society access to service have been successfully carried out in occupational settings and the health sector.

Achievements have also been realized in the care and support. The United Nations intervention has seen the development of national care and support policies in over 30 countries across the world. HIV care and support technical notes developed and UNICEF helped pilot countries in training, policy and needs assessment across the continents. UNICEF has also provided extensive global advocacy and leadership on education a strategy which enlightened the young reducing their risk to potential infections. Life skills based education for HIV prevention with more emphasis on the girl child has been focused in the sub-Saharan countries (Unicef, 2003, p. 95). The program which supported by UNICEF in the high prevalence countries has helped the young between 20-35 years survive in the vulnerable environment.

Failures

Despite the immense efforts by the United Nations to fight the deadly disease all its plans have not been successful and require further recommendations and reforms in the observed procedures. The United Nations and the international community could do more at the international level but at the national level some countries have failed to honor their commitments. A lot of gaps in financing sound leadership have slowed the fight in most of the developing countries. The UN reactions have been substantial at the country level weakening the success of the global agenda. Technical and management gap to fight the disease have been evidenced in developing countries has the UN has not yet focused on giving the appropriate assistance to these nations. United Nations should also intensify the search for co funding it its programs. While financial support has increased in the recent past its availability is still not commensurate with the needs in the UN and amongst partners.

Support by the UNAIDS operating at the country level to the global done should be in a number of practical ways: trend monitoring in the national response and giving advice on how the use or application of the fund to conform with a expanded and flexible response intertwined with the national strategy; offering advice on how expenditure under the program can support scaling up; using the experience of the expanded theme groups to promote learning through joint membership in the theme groups; ensuring strict monitoring of funds from the global fund to determine whether other national and international funding have been included and providing technical support and financial advice to monitor and evaluate global fund programs to transparency and accountability (United Nations, 2009, p. 1410). The UN should increase its participation in the following areas.

  • Advising on the optimal approach to treatment and prevention
  • Provide more technical support and guidance in strategic plans in development and writing of sound funding proposals
  • Assisting ministries and other government departments to prepare harmonized budgets which accurately entail the country needs.
  • Facilitating mobilization of extra resource not only, financial but also technical and human capital from the international and national sources to cater the growing costs of the addressing HIV/AIDS

The UN has already accepted and executed many of these roles, but the performance to full fill them has been mixed. The major challenge has been the lack of enough personnel on the group with the relevant skills. The heavy presence of civil war and political unrests in most of the countries in th1e world has also posed a great to the United Nations. Deployment of personnel to the sub-Saharan countries have not been possible with the constant mass actions to overthrow dictatorial leaderships and fight against terror groups. However, the United Nations is in a position to offer technical support but its presence is very minimal to make countries to take even the initial steps.

On a daily basis thousand of new HIV infections across the world, thousand also die of the disease and others and families are affected by both. The evolution of HIV/AIDS at this point requires integrative approaches, intensive linkages among national and international partners to realize outcomes that matter to those affected and infected. A strengthened commitment to the national, institutional and individual capacity should be maintained. That United Nations is doing much which through a stronger partnership with other stakeholders the targets of the millennium development goals may be achievable by the year 2015.

 

 

 

Reference List

Boesak, A 2010 Globalisation II – Global Crisis, Global Challenge, Global Faith. AFRICAN SUN MeDIA: Stellenbosch University.

Hinds, M. J 2007 Fighting the AIDS and HIV Epidemic: A Global Battle. Enslow Publishers, Inc: New Jersey.

Nations, U 2009 Yearbook of the United Nations 2006, Volume 60. United Nations Publications: New York.

Pretoria, U., 2008 Compendium of Key Documents Relating to Human Rights and HIV in Eastern and Southern Africa. PULP: Pretoria.

Ruxin, J 2005 Combating AIDS in the Developing World. Earthscan: United Kingdom.

Unicef, 2003 The State of the World’s Children 2004: Girls, Education and Development. UNICEF: New York.