It is common knowledge that smoking kills, well it also steals your health and affects your fitness. Most of us are affected by smoke in one way or another, either we inhale it purposefully or we are passive smokers because a loved one insists on puffing away around us. This article takes a look at how health and fitness are affected by smoking and the seriousness of the impact it has on our lives.When you smoke the carbon monoxide from smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that gets absorbed into the blood. Carbon monoxide also lessens the level of oxygen that is released to the muscles from the blood. It also causes the mucous membranes in the lungs to swell, leading in turn to increased resistance in the airways.Cigarettes contain tar and the tar coats the lungs and causes the elasticity in the air sacs to reduce, which in turn reduces the absorption of oxygen. When you smoke the cleaning function of the lungs is greatly reduced, which allows pollutants to remain in the lungs and tubes, giving rise to various illnesses.Your heart has to work harder to make up for the lack of oxygen in the body due to the effects of carbon monoxide and the airways resistance. Nicotine increases the heart rate and blood pressure and causes a decrease in the flow of blood to the body.Smoking has a negative impact on physical endurance and increases fatigue especially during and after exercising because it reduces the intake of oxygen.The ill effects of smoking on health are numerous and quite scary. There is a definite association between smoking and cancers of the mouth, throat, bladder, pancreas, kidneys and lungs. Breathing difficulties and heart ailments caused by smoking tend to affect longevity negatively. When you smoke you can look forward to a thickening of the arteries, blood clots and heart trouble. Emphysema can kill and the reduction in stamina sets you up for a whole lot of other illnesses to invade the body.Passive smoking is also a killer and the sad part is we are killing the very people we love, every time we light up a cigarette and pollute the air.Smoking damages the environment and causes everything around us to stink. The burning question is why would we want to smoke when we know just how dangerously it can affect health and fitness?
Issues in Pakistan’s Education System: A Focus on Higher EducationScientia Potentia Est, or “For also knowledge itself is power”, is a very popular Latin maxim that all of us will have heard or read quite a few times throughout our school days. In the fast-paced, rapidly growing information age, it could not be any truer.The concept of knowledge economy hovers around the utilization of knowledge and information as a productive asset. All the sectors, be it services related or manufacturing related all rely on knowledge and information for productivity; be it a groundbreaking piece of code for a software, or the schematics of a new prototype car.Knowledge is gained through two methods; one is experience, the other is formal education and training. Experience can only come with time; however, we still need to understand our experiences. That is where education comes in.Education is a building block of life as we know it, without which, we would not have the world we see now. It is widely understood that a country with a good education infrastructure has everything it needs to become a successful, highly developed nation. Over the next few paragraphs, we’ll try to see where Pakistan’s education system stands, what challenges it faces, and what possible solutions we might have.The Current System:Pakistan’s education system is split up into five levels. The first level starting from grade one and going up to grade five, is Primary Schooling. This education varies from school to school with some private schools offering exceptional schooling but at a very high price, and public schools often being termed mediocre; we’ll talk about the issues later on through this article.The second level, Middle Schooling, starts at grade six and continues up to the eighth grade. Again, the curriculum and schooling criteria varies from school to school, but the same conception applies here as well. Public schools are generally considered lackluster as compared to some private schools and the elitist schools offer the best schooling, at exorbitant fee structures.The third level consists of grades nine and ten, and is called Highschooling. This level is followed by Matriculation or Secondary School Certification (SSC) Exams. These exams are conducted on a provincial or district level. Once again, the quality of schooling varies from school to school with some schools following the Cambridge system of education.The fourth level consists of the eleventh and twelfth grades, and is called Intermediate Level Schooling. These two years of schooling are offered at several schools and also at several colleges, and are followed by Higher Secondary School Certification (HSSC) or Intermediate Exams. Like the SSC Exams, these are also conducted at the provincial level, as well as the federal level.Though these two years are the foundation for students as they determine a direction that they take for their career, students often change their career paths after their intermediate education and certification. There seems to be a growing need for student career-path counseling.The fifth level is composed of Undergraduate and Post-Graduate degree programs. The Undergraduate or Bachelors degree programs range from a Bachelors’ in Arts to Bachelors’ in Law, covering several different programs. The duration of these programs varies according to the nature of the specialization or course, from two to four years. There are several private and public universities spread out across the country that offer such bachelors degree programs.The Undergraduate or Bachelors’ programs are of two types; Pass and Honors. The Pass system comprises of twelve subjects, ranging from compulsory Language, History, and Religion based courses, to optional courses that cover specific areas with a duration of two years. The Honors system constitutes specialization courses in addition to select compulsory courses over three to four years.The Post-Graduate degree programs consist of Masters and PhDs in various subjects, ranging from philosophy and education to business administration and engineering subjects. The Masters programs are of around 2 years, and consist of specialization courses in a chosen subject. The PhD programs are a further extension of specialization and are of around three to five years.With several public and private universities and degree awarding institutes offering these programs, the quality of education varies profoundly, with select institutes given preference over others. The reason for such a vast difference in the quality of education is primarily the curriculum used, and the faculty of that institute. Once again, we’ll talk about the issues in more detail a little later on through the story.The Issues:Though Pakistan has a very high number of private and public sector schools, the quality of education leaves a lot to be desired. Some private sector schools do offer excellent quality, but have such a high fee that the lower middle income group can hardly afford them. Additionally, most public sector schools lack enough competent teachers to cater to the high demands of this age group.The most critical aspect of the earlier stages of formal education is the development of an inquisitive and active mind. If a child is encouraged to think out of the box from such an early age, not only would his learning experience be a lot more productive, he would grow into a prodigious professional.Additionally, another common complaint of parents of public-sector school students is poor English vocational skill. This once again, falls under the umbrella of ineffective and unskilled teachers.A very critical issue our intermediate level students face is a feeling of general mayhem and incertitude of their direction in life. Though some students have a fairly good idea of where they want to go, most do not, and this is why they end up changing their career paths during their higher education.Analysts and critiques argue that the reason for this irresolution lies in the fact that our current education system does not seed curiosity nor does it encourage further research. The reason behind this, they point out, is an ill-planned examination system that is graded according to a student’s ability to memorize selective topics in their curriculum, and to rewrite them onto paper. Our education system is in dire need of rejuvenation, and though it has already started, there is still indeed a long way to go.Also, another reason for this uncertainty is a lack of guidance and counseling. Due to our social setup, most students need constant feedback and guidance to steer themselves into the right career. This can only be done if all schools set up student counselors who would help students decide a particular field they wish to enter.At the university level, a major challenge is the lack of skilled and competent teachers. According to Pervez Hoodbhoy, “There are far too few qualified Pakistanis who can teach modern engineering subjects at an international professional level. There may be no more than two to three dozen suitable engineering professors in all of Pakistan’s engineering universities.” He further points out that the current number of engineering professors is minuscule if you look at the number of professors needed by the several international engineering universities being set up throughout the country.Another very major concern is the development of a suitable curriculum and examination system. Though the Higher Education Commission is currently developing a standardized curriculum for all public and private sector universities and institutes, the development of existing and new faculty will take quite some time.Possible Solutions:One possible solution to these problems is already under way. The restructuring of the entire system has already started and it is gradually being reworked into a more coherent and encouraging system for all. The system needs to be transformed so that it cultivates curiosity and research, instead of just going through a selection of notoriously irksome books.Moreover, we need to train our teachers to be more receptive of their students, instead of just being receptive of the books of their curriculum. With formal training, teachers can improve their language skills, as well as their direction and teaching skills. In simple words, we need to train them to be more open-minded and curious, so they in turn pass on that trait to their students.As for the lack of qualified Pakistani teachers and professors, one possible solution is to set up mandatory training courses for all teachers, as well as suitable experience and educational qualifications before allowing them to become teachers at higher education institutions. As for the immediate need, we need to hire foreign faculty for all our educational institutes while the currently employed teachers undergo mandatory training.As said in the beginning of this story, education is a building block of life as we know it and it is the primary thing that makes us human. As a child grows, he learns, and what he learns, he must be given the freedom to practice, and to grow. Without this freedom, he will confine himself to a cocoon, yet he will not transcended beyond that stage, and he will not turn into a butterfly.A child’s mind is like a blank canvas; use the right combination of colors, and it turns into a Van Gogh or a Michelangelo, use the wrong combination and it turns into muck. The development of a child determines his outlook and standing in life.I came across a very famous dialogue from a blockbuster Hollywood movie, “Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is”, and it truly is!
Dynamic markets create opportunity Markets create energy because they are dynamic. They are constantly evolving in response to changes in the economic, political and technological environments. Understanding what causes a market to evolve helps you predict where opportunities will emerge; how fast they will develop, and when and whether mass adoption will occur. If you can capture this energy, you can use it to drive the sales process.Dynamic systems create energy. If left unchecked, any systemic change tends to grow. A snowball rolling downhill gets bigger. Growth creates momentum. As the snowball grows bigger, it goes faster. Momentum creates energy. The faster the snowball rolls; the bigger it gets; the harder it hits the tree. Energy drives change. (Source The Fifth Discipline)You can use the energy sources created by an evolving market to motivate prospects to buy your solution. Persuading people to try out a new technology is an uphill battle. You have to invest a lot of your precious energy – sales resources, capital, technical expertise, etc. – into convincing prospects they can benefit from using your technology to support their business. However, if you understand what is driving market change- an increasingly mobile workforce, higher need for personal security, faster access to global markets – then you use the energy created by the market to motivate prospects to buy. Thus, you need to invest less of your own resources and you can sell more productively and efficiently.Technology markets create abundance.There are two laws that explain why technology-enabled markets generate extraordinary amounts of energy.
1. Moore’s Law predicts that technology is going to improve in the future and cost less.
2 Metcalf’s Law states that technologies become more useful as more people use them.The combination of these two laws creates an economy of abundance that is unique to technology markets. As Moore’s Law predicts an endless supply of ever-increasing resources and Metcalf’s Law promises that innovations will be quickly adopted, the nature of the economy changes.Gordon Moore, the founder of Intel, said, “Every 18 months processing power doubles while the cost holds constant.” The implications of Moore’s Law are that every 18 months technology is going to cost half as much and be twice as powerful. Moore’s Law has held true for over 30 years. Previous economies were based on the laws of scarcity, where you have a limited amount of resources and value is based on how scarce they are – gold, oil, land, etc. The more you use up the resources the less energy you have.A technology-based economy is based on the laws of abundance. According to Moore’s law, there will always be cheaper resources tomorrow. This ever-increasing pool of resources enables customers to implement new business strategies. If it isn’t possible today, it will be possible tomorrow. Improved technology is constantly fueling the market, creating energy.Furthermore, thanks to this simple formula technological obsolescence is only a few months away. Customers can never afford to sit still for fear that a competitor will be able to leapfrog ahead of them if they adopt the next generation of technology faster. This anxiety is another powerful source of energy that you can use to drive your sales.Metcalf’s Law also has a powerful effect on developing markets. Robert Metcalf, the founder of 3Com, said “New technologies are valuable only if many people use them… the utility of a network equates the square of the number of users. ” This means that the more people use a technology, the more useful it becomes. If there was only one fax machine in the world, it wouldn’t be useful. With two fax machines you can send mail back and forth faster and cheaper than if you send it through the post office. With 2,000,000 fax machines, you never have to wait in line at the post office again. According to Metcalf a technology’s usefulness equals the number of users squared. If two people use a fax it is four times easier than using the postal system. If 20 people use the fax machine, it is 400 times easier. This creates a geometric increase in the technology’s utility, which is just another way of saying why customers would want to buy it. So if 2 people want to buy a fax machine today; 4 people will want to buy it tomorrow; 16 people will want to buy it the day after tomorrow; 256 people will want to buy it next week, and 2,147,483,648 will want to buy it by the end of the month. That is a lot of potential customers lining up to buy your product, which is what market energy is all about.Abundance creates demand for your technology. Since technology markets create abundance they are not subject to the constraints of scarcity. They have unlimited growth potential and consequently unlimited potential to create wealth.