Saturday, August 30, 2008

Employment issues

Most countries around the world have labor laws mandating employers give a certain number of paid days of time off per year to be given to a worker. In nearly all Canadian provinces, the legal minimum is three weeks, while in most of Europe the limit is significantly higher. The U.S.[1] does not require employers to give a set mandatory vacation time. However, in the free-market labor system in the United States, many employers offer paid vacation, typically 10 to 20 days work days, as an incentive to attract employees, and under U.S. federal law, an employee whose employment terminates generally must receive compensation for any accrued but unused vacation time. Additionally, the vast majority of American employers provide for paid national holidays, such as Christmas, New Years, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving Day.
While U.S. federal law and most state's laws provide for leave, such as medical leave, there are movements attempting to remove vacation time as a factor in the free-market labor pool and, instead, require mandatory vacation time for American workers, such as
In some cases "vacation holiday" is used in North America, which signifies that a vacation trip is taken during a traditional national holiday period, extended on either end of the period by taking additional time off from work. This is common in the United States where employers give far fewer annual vacation days than European employers—so stretching the related national holidays tends to conserve one's accumulated total of eligible days available for longer quality vacation excursions. This is often termed a "long weekend", if a national holiday falls next to a weekend. When national holidays fall on a normal non-working day, such as a weekend, they will sometimes be carried over to the next working day.
In the United Kingdom, there is an annual issue for parents, who only have the mandated summer holidays in order to plan vacations. Accordingly, holiday companies charge higher prices, giving an incentive for parents to use their work vacation time in term time.

[edit] Types of holiday (observance)
Main article: Lists of holidays

[edit] Consecutive holidays
Consecutive holidays are a string of holidays taken together without working days in between. They tend to be considered a good chance to take short trips. In late 1990s, the Japanese government passed a law that increased the likelihood of consecutive holidays by moving holidays from fixed days to a relative position in a month, such as the second Monday. Well-known consecutive holidays include:

[edit] Religious holidays
Further information: Category:Religious holidays
Several holidays are linked to faiths and religions. Christian holidays are defined as part of the liturgical year. The Catholic patronal feast day or 'name day' are celebrated in each place's patron saint's day, according to the Calendar of saints. In Islam, the largest holidays are Eid and Ramadan. Hindus, Jains and Sikhs observe several holidays, one of the largest being Diwali (Festival of Light). Japanese holidays contain references to several different faiths and beliefs. Celtic, Norse, and Neopagan holidays follow the order of the Wheel of the Year. Some are closely linked to Swedish festivities. The Bahá'í Faith observes holidays as defined by the Bahá'í calendar.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Should group projects be done in all subjects in S.4 and S.5? Should the marks be counted in the Certificate of Education Examination? All these are controversial questions argued by scholars in Hong Kong nowadays. In my opinion, I do not think that it is necessary for the S.4 and S.5 students to do group projects in all the subjects, and even to count the marks in the public examination. In this essay, I will examine the problems of implementing this new system in education in Hong Kong.
If S.4 and S.5 students are required to do group projects in all the subjects, this will put unnecessary pressure on students. Most of them have to study eight or more subjects. This means, if the new system is to be carried out, the students will need to do an extra of eight or even more subjects. As a matter of fact, the students are already very busy at all times. They have to hand in a lot of assignments. They have numerous tests, i.e. they can have three tests a day. I always read from the newspaper that many students at S.4 and S.5 levels commit suicide because of the great pressure. If group projects are to be done in all subjects in S.4 and S.5, this will greatly increase the workload of the students. Many students will not be able to handle such a big task. Eventually, more and more students will have mental problems or commit suicide.

Education in the United States

Education in the United States is provided mainly by government, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. School attendance is mandatory and nearly universal at the elementary and high school levels (often known outside the United States as the primary and secondary levels). At these levels, school curricula, funding, teaching, and other policies are set through locally elected school boards with jurisdiction over school districts. School districts are usually separate from other local jurisdictions, with independent officials and budgets. Educational standards and standardized testing decisions are usually made by state governments.
The ages for compulsory education vary by state, beginning at ages five to eight and ending at the ages of fourteen to eighteen.[2] A growing number of states are now requiring school attendance until the age of 18.
Students have the options of having their education held in public schools, private schools, or home school. In most public and private schools, education is divided into three levels: elementary school, junior high school (also often called middle school), and senior high school. In almost all schools at these levels, children are divided by age groups into grades, ranging from Kindergarten (followed by first grade) for the youngest children in elementary school, up to twelfth grade, which is the final year of high school. The exact age range of students in these grade levels varies slightly from area to area.
Post-secondary education, better known as "college" in the United States, is generally governed separately from the elementary and high school system, and is described in a separate section below.
In the year 2000, there were 76.6 million students enrolled in schools from kindergarten through graduate schools. Of these, 72 percent aged 12 to 17 were judged academically "on track" for their age (enrolled in school at or above grade level). Of those enrolled in compulsory education, 5.2 million (10.4 percent) were attending private schools. Among the country's adult population, over 85 percent have completed high school and 27 percent have received a bachelor's degree or higher. The average salary for college or university graduates is greater than $51,000, exceeding the national average of those without a high school diploma by more than $23,000, according to a 2005 study by the U.S. Census Bureau.[3] While the United States presently leads the world with over 5,000 Montessori schools, China has expressed ambitions to replace much of their school system with the Montessori method's pedagogy. As part of a trial run towards achieving this objective, China's Minister of Education called for 1,000 teachers to receive certification from the Association Montessori Internationale in 2007. The U.S. Department of Education has no formal plans to compete against China on similar initiatives at this time.
The country has a reading literacy rate at 98% of the population over age 15,[4] while ranking below average in science and mathematics understanding compared to other developed countries.[5] The poor performance has pushed public and private efforts such as the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, the ratio of college-educated adults entering the workforce to general population (33%) is slightly below the mean of other developed countries (35%)[6] and rate of participation of the labor force in continuing education is high.[7] A 2000s study by Jon Miller of Michigan State University concluded that "A slightly higher proportion of American adults qualify as scientifically literate than European or Japanese adults".[

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Education encompasses both the teaching and learning of knowledge, proper conduct, and technical competency. It thus focuses on the cultivation of skills, trades or professions, as well as mental, moral & aesthetic development.[1]
Formal education consists of systematic instruction, teaching and training by professional teachers. This consists of the application of pedagogy and the development of curricula. In a liberal education tradition, teachers draw on many different disciplines for their lessons, including psychology, philosophy, information technology, linguistics, biology, and sociology. Teachers in specialized professions such as astrophysics, law, or zoology may teach only in a narrow area, usually as professors at institutions of higher learning. There is much specialist instruction in fields of trade for those who want specific skills, such as required to be a pilot, for example. Finally, there is an array of educational opportunity in the informal sphere- for this reason, society subsidizes institutions such as museums and libraries. Informal education also includes knowledge and skills learned and refined during the course of life, including education that comes from experience in practicing a profession.
The right to education is a fundamental human right. Since 1952, Article 2 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights obliges all signatory parties to guarantee the right to education. At world level, the United Nations' International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 guarantees this right under its Article 13.