Coordination, Innovation, Celebration

Urban Environmental Education - 8-week online course (April 10–June 4, 2017)

Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab has announced another round of  8 weeks online course - Urban Environment Education.

The course has three payment options - you sponsor yourself and another who cannot afford. you sponsor yourself, and you cannot sponsor yourself owing to fact that you are from very low income country.

During the times of detachment of urban young ones and the nature, we have the highest of the need and here the opportunity to make ourselves prepared to connect them and join in the movement of sustainability.

More Details: https://civicecology.org/course-uee/
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The negative impact of poverty on a child’s education

Poverty is a global issue, so it can be a development issue in the least developed countries and developing countries. Poverty, in general is scarcity, dearth or the condition of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. It is a multi-faceted concept, which entails social, economic, and political elements. According to the latest study conducted by Asian Development Bank, in Nepal 25.2% of the population lives below the national poverty line. Over the past decades, unfortunately, the economic gap has widened between Nepalese families. Educational outcomes are always influenced by family incomes. Despite the existence of the organizations working for poverty alleviation in Nepal, poverty has remained a stubborn fact of life. The Ministry of Co-operatives and Poverty Alleviation was established on 18 May 2012 by Nepal Government with a vision to prioritize co-operative sector and poverty alleviation, foreseeing the growth of cooperative sector in the nation, citizens’ curiosity and the world co-operative movement.

It is evident that socioeconomic disadvantage has a negative impact on the life outcomes of many Nepalese children. There are countless areas influenced by poverty. This write-up just lays emphasis on the impact of poverty on a child’s educational outcomes. Children from low-income family backgrounds often start school already behind their age-mates who come from more affluent families. School readiness reflects an individual child’s ability to excel at both academics and social life in a school environment. For holistic development of a child, physical well-being and appropriate motor development, emotional health and a positive approach to new experiences, age, appropriate social knowledge and cognitive skills are a must. It is proved that poverty decreases a child’s readiness for school through aspects of health, family life, schooling and neighborhoods.

 A child’s home has a particularly strong impact on school readiness. Children from low income families often don’t get motivated and show willingness to learn the social skills required to prepare them for school. The children who are raised in poverty-stricken family usually lack parental care, inspiration, and supervision. A report by Thomas concluded that children from lower income score significantly lower on measures of vocabulary and communication skills, knowledge of numbers, copying and symbol use, ability to concentrate and cooperatively play with other children than those who come from higher income families. Moreover, study by the Institute of Research and Public Policy (Montreal, Quebec) showed that differences between students from low and high economic neighbourhoods were evident by grade 3; children from low socioeconomic neighbourhoods were less likely to pass a grade 3 standard test.

 In Nepal, poor schoolchildren are forced to go to work do the worst jobs or risky jobs to support their family financially. They don’t go to school regularly; as a result, their academic performance is obviously declined. On the one hand, they miss lessons at school, and on the other hand, they aren’t able to afford to pay tuition fees of extra classes. When they are present at school, they are unlikely to be attentive due to their tired body as well as hopeless mindset. They are to rather think that their future is bleak. They are filled with pessimism. They feel inferior complexity.

 Another thing that adds to their woes is feud. A feud between a husband and a wife in poor family set-ups is common. When a child’s parents get into arguments frequently at night, the child tends to leave home forever. Leaving home means leaving school too. Not only this much, when a father and a mother quarrel over trivial matters, the father is likely to exert his anger on their children by tearing away their textbooks, notebooks and throwing away bags and stationery. When children are mature enough to understand their family condition, they will shift their attention from studies to employment. Another example, some parents agree to send their children to relatives’ or acquaintances’ homes to work as a domestic worker on condition that they take responsibility for the child’s education and accommodation. But only a handful of them turn out to be committed.
Even if children attend classes regularly, they fall behind their classmates in terms of presentation, English speaking skills, and mathematics because their parents cannot provide them with materials to carry out school projects, and hone all four skills of English; and self-practice materials for Math. Apart from these, such children are deprived of everyday access to newspapers and the Internet. They fail to keep abreast of current affairs or global news. A lack of these sources prevents poor children from outdoing other competitors in the academic field. According to this year’s SLC results, most of the students who failed SLC examination were from government schools; and the cause of such a poor result, doubtlessly, can be associated with low economic status.

Even if the children are very talented, he or she cannot perform up to the mark at school due to parents’ demotivation and unawareness. Instead of boosting up their morale by at least keeping promises, parents demoralize and discourage them assigning their economic circumstances. Parents aren’t aware of the real stories of those great personages who overcame economic, social and physical hurdles and difficulties to rise. Poverty also leads to discrimination and failure of grasping opportunities. Many poor parents are not conscious of benefits they are entitled to reap for their wards at school. The very sorry thing is that poor parents don’t show up at the PTMs (Parent-Teacher Meetings) to question teachers or schools about their offspring’s education, attendance and participation in extra-curricular activities.

Poor parents, unlike well-to-do cum educated parents, offer counseling, inquire into their necessities and sit with them to help them with their difficult homework and prepare for their exams. Furthermore, poor parents fail to inculcate good culture in their children. Consequently, they tend to be disruptive, rowdy and impulsive. In the end, they get expelled from their school. Parents, to an extent, are responsible for misconduct and mischief of a child.

The children raised in poor families cannot benefit from higher level of cognitively stimulating materials available in their homes compared to those children raised in the wealthy families. Owing to poverty, children ought to go to a low quality school where their talents are neither searched out nor nurtured. Besides, financial strain limits the housing and neighbourhood choices available to low-income families, forcing them to live in neighbourhoods characterized by high levels of crime and unemployment, low levels of resources, and a lack of collective efficacy among the residents. Children get brainwashed into having engaged in anti-social activities at the prospect of earning money rather than getting an education. Neighborhood residence, in turn, is associated with child and adolescent school outcomes above and beyond the effect of family poverty.

In a nutshell, government has to launch awareness programs, educate all citizens and create as many fair employment opportunities as possible to raise each family’s living standards at a fast pace.
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Tallinn—An Unheard City on Earth

If I am not mistaken, there’s no human being who dislikes travelling. Not only does travelling expand our horizon but also relieves us of our boredom. So, the culture of travelling in the form of vacation is on the rise. Moreover, the question relating to travelling during a job interview or a speaking test of IELTS, TOEFL et cetera has been common.

 I’ve recently visited Tallinn, capital of Estonia to present my research paper at an international conference on the theme ‘Empowering Tomorrow’s Teachers’. Since it’s my second travel on the European soil after the UK, I was not that anxious and excited.

Tallinn sits on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, just 83 km south of Helsinki. The city shares a geographical latitude nearly identical with Stockholm (Sweden). This’s a green city, proudly boasting 40km2 of parks and forests with a 2km stretch of sandy beach bordering its bay. If you’re not prone to seasickness, Tallinn is the best holiday destination for you; for it’s a popular cruise destination bringing nearly 500 000 passengers to the town each—more than there are citizens in the city. Thanks to its small size and compact layout, Tallinn is extremely easy to get around.

I spent my first day at the new, modern Nordic Hotel Forum four-star business and conference hotel, which is situated in the heart of Tallinn on Viru Square, just a short stroll from business, shopping and entertainment venues. I was treated to breathtaking views of the sea, old Town and city centre from the terraces of the hotel, which is one of the country’s skyscrapers. My travel started from Town Hall Square, which has been the undisputed hub of Old Town since Medieval times. Historically, it served as a market and meeting place, and was the site of at least one execution resulting from a dispute over a bad omelette. This old town is a must-visit place. The second place I visit is St. Olav’s Church, which, in Medieval times, with its 159m spire was thought to be the tallest building in the world. Nowadays, it just remains as an important symbol of the town.

The third place I visited is Toompea Castle, a wooden fortress built on Toompea Hill sometime in the 10th or 11th century, was probably the first structure in what later became Tallinn. Foreign invaders replaced it with a stone building in 1227-29. Since its early days, the castle has served as the local seat of power for any empire ruling Estonia. In addition to these places, I visited Great Guild Hall, Tallinn City Museaum, Cathedral of St. Mary the Virgin et cetera. Due to time constraints and hectic schedule with international delegates, I couldn’t explore Tallinn to the fullest. Anyway, on the night before my flight back; I along with some high-profile delegates went for dining out and chilling out. We had traditional Estonian cuisine that includes Germanic, Scandinavian and Slavic and some most known dishes include sauerkraut, jellied pork, marinated eel, herring etc. The local signature drink is Vana Tallinn, a sweet liqueur. It’s weekend. Most bustling restaurants were packed. The more noticeable thing was that we had difficulty in finding a table to sit at and watching live football matches in a friendly pub, sipping cognac.

I explored pubs and restaurants on the last night of my stay. I had to do shopping in a hasty way on the day of my flight. I tried my hand at a shopping mall for souvenirs to take back home. Euros and local currencies are used there.

 Tallinn, a hidden paradise, is a fantastic place to experience each of the four seasons in all its glory. It’s a short stay, however, it; on the whole, was satisfactory. It really enriched my understanding of western lifestyle, and inspired me to appreciate the monuments, city’s structure, architectural remnant, a fairytale neighbourhood of gabled houses, Gothic spires, cobblestone streets, artwork, history, craft, and so on. While at home, I thoroughly felt rejuvenated.
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