Shaaz Nasir

Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Boys are just Not Good Enough

In Business, Canada, Economics, Experience, Globalization, Uncategorized on March 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm

A unfortunate gap between females and males continues to grow. It’s great that females are improving their skills in general, but the males are falling behind which means half the world is struggling.

I was reading the PISA 2009 assessments and below are some major points to be noted (the entire document is over 20 pages)

Introduction

Throughout much of the 20th century, concern about gender differences in education focused on girls’ underachievement. More recently, however, the scrutiny has shifted to boys’ underachievement in reading. In the PISA 2009 reading assessment, girls outperform boys in every participating country by an average, among OECD countries, of 39 PISA score points – equivalent to more than half a proficiency level or one year of schooling.

  • On average across OECD countries, boys outperform girls in mathematics by 12 score points while gender differences in science performance tend to be small, both in absolute terms and when compared with the large gender gap in reading performance and the more moderate gender gap in mathematics.

The ranks of top-performing students are filled nearly equally with girls and boys. On average across OECD countries, 4.4% of girls and 3.8% of boys are top performers in all three subjects, and 15.6% of girls and 17.0% of boys are top performers in at least one subject area. While the gender gap among top-performing students is small in science (1% of girls and 1.5% of boys), it is significant in reading (2.8% of girls and 0.5% of boys) and in mathematics (3.4% of girls and 6.6% of boys).

Similar prosperity…different educational results

  • Countries of similar prosperity can produce very different educational results. The balance of proficiency in some of the richer countries in PISA looks very different from that of some of the poorer countries. In reading, for example, the ten countries in which the majority of students are at Level 1 or below, all in poorer parts of the world, contrast starkly in profile with the 34 OECD countries, where on average a majority attains at least Level 3. However, the fact that the best-performing country or economy in the 2009 assessment is Shanghai-China, with a GDP per capita well below the OECD average, underlines that low national income is not incompatible with strong educational performance. Korea, which is the best-performing OECD country, also has a GDP per capita below the OECD average.
  • Indeed, while there is a correlation between GDP per capita and educational performance, this predicts only 6% of the differences in average student performance across countries. The other 94% of differences reflect the fact that two countries of similar prosperity can produce very different educational results. Results also vary when substituting spending per student, relative poverty or the share of students with an immigrant background for GDP per capita.

Enjoying the Learning: NO

In all countries, boys are not only less likely than girls to say that they read for enjoyment, they also have different readinghabits when they do read for pleasure. Most boys and girls in the countries that took part in PISA 2009 sit side by side in the same classrooms and work with similar teachers. Yet, PISA reveals that in OECD countries, boys are on average 39 points behind girls in reading, the equivalent of one year of schooling.

Why?

PISA suggests that differences in how boys and girls approach learning and how engaged they are in reading account for most of the gap in reading performance between boys and girls, so much so that this gap could be predicted to shrink by 14 points if boys approached learning as positively as girls, and by over 20 points if they were as engaged in reading as girls. This does not mean that if boys’ engagement and awareness of learning strategies rose by this amount the increase would automatically translate into respective performance gains, since PISA does not measure causation.

But since most of the gender gap can be explained by boys being less engaged, and less engaged students show lower performance, then policy makers should look for more effective ways of increasing boys’ interest in reading at school or at home.

PISA reveals that, although girls have higher mean reading performance, enjoy reading more and are more aware of effective strategies to summarise information than boys, the differences within genders are far greater than those between the genders. Moreover, the size of the gender gap varies considerably across countries, suggesting that boys and girls do not have inherently different interests and academic strengths, but that these are mostly acquired and socially induced. The large gender gap in reading is not a mystery: it can be attributed to differences that have been identified in the attitudes and behaviours of boys and girls. Girls are more likely than boys to be frequent readers of fiction, and are also more likely than boys to read magazines.

However, over 65% of boys regularly read newspapers for enjoyment and only 59% of girls do so. Although relatively few students say that they read comic books regularly, on average across OECD countries, 27% of boys read comic books several times a month or several times a week, while only 18% of girls do so.

Many issues will arise as females become more capable in contrast to their male counter parts. Although International Women’s day has just past…let us not forget the other half.

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Ohhhh Those Eyes

In Advice, Canada, Experience, Globalization on January 12, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Your eyes are one of the most important ways to  communicate. When words fail your eyes will pick up the slack and transmit messages beyond comprehension. Eye contact in any scenario from work to friends, heightens the connection at least  two fold. One can determine lies, nervousness, confidence, and truth through the eyes. There have been many times when people would be saying one thing but their eyes another.  Eyes also have tendency to break down barriers of language and culture as through my travels I have been able to understand people simply by the eyes. Physical distance can be destroyed when engaged in eye contact, while people could literally be standing in front of each other, but without eye contact they feel a cold distance.

So I end this post with a quote

“Those eyes will be your saviour as her voice whispers closer but her eyes scream run.”

Where does a uOttawa Muslim go eat?

In Advice, Attire, Business, Culture on November 15, 2010 at 7:48 am

The quest for Halal at uOttawa

I have been wandering around Campus for around 4 years now, and I thought to myself what has changed in these past years? Knowing me the first thing that came to mind is food (do not judge…  I AM HUNGRY!!); halal food to be specific. I hear that our Student Federation is working on adding options around campus which is definitely a step in the right direction. Carleton has a well-developed cafeteria with options that include halal. However, Carleton is also located in a luxurious oasis that is the middle of nowhere; it is expected of them to have decent internal options. On the other hand uOttawa may be a tad gray but at least it is centrally located with hundreds of restaurants at our finger tips. So there is no beef with uOttawa because it’s adapting to demographic shifts and embracing reality.

Until the day comes when real halal options (not just the ones at SITE) are provided through the appropriate venue, what are people to do?

Here is a list of the best alternatives on our campus!

Yum Yum List

  1. Upper Crust in UCU – They have one amazing double cheese, tomato basil, cheese induced baguette. Yes they only have one veggie option but WOW this sandwich is amazing (Ignore the upper crust in FTX… YUCK) cost : $7
  2. Crazy Garden Something – Name does not matter, location does. It is located right past the Royal Oak. This is a veggie heaven with all vegetarian and organic options… wow choice? What do I do! Watch out as some foods are strange to say the least, as for advice, try the tofu tammari something with wild rice, too good. (desert: the oh so decadent brownies which make brownies anywhere else seem like a bad joke) cost $7-14
  3. Chip Wagon in near 90U – Veggie dogs and a decent burger as well! Order the combo with fries and a drink for around $8 (Veggie POUTINE… yum). Sometimes the lines are long and with it being -40, a 10 min wait is not too fun.

Hot Dog Man near Arts – Shout out to my bro who makes the best veggie dogs out there.  If only he listened and ordered some halal sausages from Toronto with the rest of his inventory. He sells one thing and unlike the Upper Crust UCU, it’s not filling.

Despite everything being overpriced and limited in options I am happy we have some options!

Now for the list that will cause beef, not halal beef, just beef.

Worst Places on Campus

  1. Cafe Alt – Hold on now; take a breath now; take another one. I respect the intent of this place and the people committed to this cause but the implementation and actual reality forces me to admit how terrible Cafe Alt is. Back to basics: overall food is not well put together; choices are limited; and menu is poorly made. Prices are through the roof for what is student made food that you could have made at home for 95% less. I encourage everyone to visit it the place and make up your own mind but for me, Cafe FAIL. (The atmosphere is relaxing sometimes though).
  2. Subway near DMS – Veggie delight, there is nothing delightful about fake bread and rabbit food. Harsh and true, the veggies are rarely fresh and the pricing makes little sense to the consumer but to Subway oh baby it has to be their biggest “marked up” item. Tuna does not taste like tuna and must have high levels of mercury; so I pay to slowly damage myself?  Do not even talk about those veggie patties nor the lobster; do not even think about it! (I eat subway a lot but  never did I say I enjoy it. When you have to study it is the fastest way to recharge).

So my fellow people please state your case in the comments box below!

Mind the Economy: “Currency War” made simple

In Advice, Beijing, Blog, Business, Canada, China, Economics, Global Vision, Globalization, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, India, Kuala Lampur, Life, Lunch, Malaysia, Ottawa, Packing, Shenzhen, SME, Song, Success, Technology, Television, Traveling, Uncategorized, University of Ottawa, World on October 17, 2010 at 12:36 pm

How do Currencies and Interest rates play off each other?

More recently, many developing countries have had to contend with their own currencies rising and undermining their competitiveness.

The problem is that those low interest rates in the developed world have led investors to seek higher returns elsewhere, in emerging markets.

To invest in those markets, they need to buy the currency and that pushes its value up. That in turn makes those countries’ goods more expensive for foreign buyers and the overseas investment money creates a danger of unsustainable bubbles in their property and financial markets.

China has stopped its currency rising much by buying foreign currency. If it were to refrain from that and allow the yuan to rise, it would probably help other developing countries that compete with China, as well as the US which is protesting the most.

But there is another force behind the rising developing world currencies. Their economies are growing robustly, while the rich countries are not.

The tension over between the US and China over currency policy surfaced once again at the International Monetary Fund Talks

USA renewed the pressure on China to allow its currency to rise. The US has a long-standing grievance over China’s currency policy, which limits the movement of the yuan against the dollar. The American complaint is that it gives Chinese exporters an unfair competitive advantage.

There was a vigorous response from Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China’s central bank (The People’s Bank of China), who blamed the rich countries for problems in the currency markets. Mr Zhou said extremely low interest rates in rich countries had created “stark challenges for emerging market countries”.

My Thoughts on the Gap.

Tensions are rising among the developing world and developed as priorities on currency (non)manipulation begin to clash. However, should a country stop manipulating its currency in the name of “fairness”?

Destabilizing the economy in the short run, running the risk of damaging the private sector as businesses go bankrupt; jeopardizing an economy’s growth and ability to reduce poverty  does not sound “fair”. The notion of “fair” implies morals which begs the question: who is making these moral rules?

WTO….IMF….WB……USA…..CHINA…..WALDO?????

International Economics is a game where rules are subjective but actual substantive growth is tangibly objective. I am not for currency manipulation but neither am I for irrational and sudden policies  that would jeopardize  an entire economy….especially not the economy that’s the driving force of world growth in terms of consumer consumption ….

-Articles combined from BBC & CBC

How I lost 52 pounds

In Exercise, Fat, Globalization, GQ Magazine, Hair, Weight Loss on October 5, 2010 at 12:46 am

252 Pounds

My journey to live a healthier life started in 2006 while watching the World Cup with my dad. I was a very hefty fellow weighing around 252 pounds at age 17 in grade 12. That’s not even funny but down right dangerous. After seeing such fine athletes running around with such great freedom and movement, I said to myself, man you’re 252.

After consulting my family doctor and being warned about diabetes, heart attacks, and quite frankly death, it was time for a change. I was not over eating due to sadness or some type of mental issue; rather it was my positive attitude that did me in.

Positive Attitude to Blame…WHAT?!

I was just a really happy person and confident in who I was, however , my positivity became some type of denial or false sense of everything will be fine mentality. My family played a huge part in my quest to live a healthier life; buying me a cool treadmill was a strong step forward on the road to weight loss.

I still remember my first attempt ..oh boy…

speed 2.5

incline 3

time: 22 minutes

burned around 150 calories

ahahhahah I was dead afterwards!

Slowly worked my way up to

speed 3.0-3.5

incline 12

time 60 minutes

burns around 1000 calories (keep in mind as I drop fat..it takes more to drop the same amount of calories)

Eating

I stopped eating the junk and started eating the fine home made Indian food I previously ignored (yes, very dumb I know who the heck ignores homemade Indian food). The journey had rough points however, when I reached 218 lbs. school work and other work related issues drained my time and I went up to 225 lbs. I told myself that walking backwards was not an option and began my treadmill once again with even more determination.

Today

At 200 pounds on the dot I feel much more alive than before. Although I have a solid 20 pounds to lose with about 10 pounds of muscle to gain, I am sure with the same determination this new goal will be achieved. This was a hard post for me as I prefer not to go into too much details of my former larger than life body. If even just one person reads this and becomes inspired to take action and see their doctor about how to live a healthier life, well worth the uneasiness. I am now working on breaking my Personal Record of 31.024 for my 5 km and will aim towards running a 10 km shortly. The second phase of my self improvement is hitting the gym and cardio as together they will produce a sexy Shaaz!  Jokes aside cardio combined with the gym is key to making a sustainable difference, expect to see an update this post shortly. Good ol’ World Cup 2006… thank you!

BEFORE AND AFTER (I  prefer before and half way point)

Don’t Die Go Jog

In Advice, Experience, Failure, Faith, Globalization, Success, Traveling, Uncategorized, World on October 4, 2010 at 7:06 am

THE NEXT  FEW WORDS  are probably the most important on MTG…so please read the whole post

Life = Jog

A while ago I was on my usual  5 KM route around my neighbourhood when an unusual thought crossed my mind : Life is just a Jog. Give it a minute or two …let the thought marinate in your mind…..no?

Yes, Pace it out (picture of subway door while in China)

In order to achieve your desired goal while jogging one should keep pace in mind. Fantastic, Congratulations, Well done…you ran your fastest 1 km…but can you even finish the other 4..or did you burn yourself out? Just like life, you may be trying to accomplish far too much in your twenties that you simply loose sight of where you are going..the point of life ..I  mean the jog.

Over planning the route of a Jog

Having a general sense of direction is essential for a jog; after all you should not run around with no route. However, if you over plan and  micro manage each step you take your chances of failing increase. This is simply because you over think it. Oh no I am not taking the corner at 3.12 seconds..ACHHH!!! I passed the tree too soon!!!omg!!!! your mental fatigue takes over and slowly drains and distracts you. Don’t over plan your route this just strips the joy out of life..I mean your jog.

I have had the pleasure of interacting with a great deal of young professionals these past few years; all from different walks of life and all with the same flaw: over planning (including me). What happens if you’re stuck behind some smokers while you jog or the road is closed due to construction? you will FLIP out because you did not plan for these externalities. Yes, build a general idea of what you want to accomplish in life/jog and how to best equip yourself for the journey. But please do not try to know what you will be doing on March 30th 2016……or January 12 2012…

With or Without you

When going on a jog the company you bring along is vital. They can help you to reach speeds never thought possible, or act as an anchor and weigh you down.  At first one should jog by yourself to better understand your own limits. Understanding where you are is crucial when trying to become better. However, jogging with people is not only more fun but also furthers your development. When I was training for the official 5 km my personal record (PR) was around 33 minutes. Surprisingly on the actual race is when I established a new PR: 31.054. My best came out that day, not despite being surrounded by thousands of people or enduring a new route but rather because of them.

In life you may save time by not having that many true friends; you may think people are just distractions or something to use for your own benefit but at the end of the day when you are on top of whatever dream you wanted…you will be alone. People around you can support your cause, clear your vision, and above all you can share your attributes/advice with them.

What happens when two good people genuinely help each other?

They become great.

Being misarable and happy takes the same amount of effort….why not be happy?

So with every step you take mind that gap

Don’t Die

Go Live …I mean jog

ASIA IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD!

In Advice, Blog, Business, Canada, China, City Council, Culture, Economics, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Fashion, Fasting, Fat, Friends, Globalization, google, Greeting, Traveling, University of Ottawa, World on September 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

WHHAAAATT?!

Calm down

Asia is taking over the WORLD wide web.

Coming back from the economic trade delegation in China and Malaysia I thought to myself about Asia’s role in the Internet market. After traveling to India many times it was clear that the Internet was increasingly becoming an integral part of society but not through the use of PCs. In China and Malaysia the market was booming as we met with countless companies that pointed to the use of the Internet. Many people think developing countries are not “advance enough” for Internet usage…oh they lack the required infrastructure…well lots of people are wrong.

Looking at a McKinsey Report here are some fast facts to grab your attention

  • Over the next 5 years nearly 700 million more Asians will start using the internet
  • Internet opportunities in emerging Asia could reach $80 billion by 2015

Now we move on to what McKinsey has to say

Malaysia

While the country has only around 15 million–plus Internet users, that’s close to 55 percent of the total population, and mobile Internet penetration is close to 30 percent of it. Given the Malaysian government’s push to expand high-speed broadband, we forecast that the country will have up to 25 million Internet users by 2015, or close to 80 percent of the population. As both fixed and wireless broadband grow, we project that more than 50 percent of all users will choose to have both personal-computer and mobile-device options for getting online.

Malaysians consume 35 percent more digital media than Internet users in China and 150 percent more than users in India, particularly on social-networking sites and instant messaging. That may, for example, give handset manufacturers opportunities to build social-network access into their devices. We also found that Malaysians like to multitask across both digital and traditional media. For advertisers, that’s problematic, since viewers are paying less attention to traditional media content—and thus advertising.

China

China leads the world in sheer numbers of Internet users—more than 420 million people, or close to 30 percent of the population. Over 80 percent surf the Web from home, while 230 million use mobile devices. We forecast that the number of Internet users will almost double over the next five years, hitting 770 million people, or 55 percent of the population. More than 70 percent will use both PCs and handheld devices.

China’s digital usage, which is similar to that of the United States, skews toward instant messaging, social networks, gaming, and streaming video. Increasingly, Internet users in China are substituting digital media for traditional ones, with the potential for further cannibalization as digital consumption grows. This development has stark implications for advertisers and how they allocate future marketing budgets. Consumers, meanwhile, also use the Internet in their purchasing decisions. They are more influenced by recommendations from social-network contacts and friends than by traditional marketing messages or visits to company Web sites.

India

With only 7 percent of the population connected (81 million users), India is Asia’s digital sleeper. Yet we believe that it’s poised to become a truly mobile-Internet society as new users leapfrog PCs altogether. We project that by 2015, the number of Internet users will increase almost fivefold, to more than 350 million—28 percent of the population—with more than half of those accessing the Web via mobile phones. To capture this opportunity, companies will need to roll out wired and wireless broadband networks aggressively, to make smartphones and network access more affordable, and to develop new content types.

Consumer demand clearly is robust. On average, Indians spend more than four hours a day consuming online and offline content. On PCs, often used in cyber cafés, Indians spend much time e-mailing and are heavy consumers of downloaded videos and music, as well as DVD movies. While Indian consumers use mobile phones predominantly for voice services, they also treat them as offline personal-entertainment devices, listening to radio stations or to downloaded music. There is significant pent-up demand for more convenient and personalized Internet access—a void the mobile Web could fill.

Embracing the opportunity

High hardware costs, inconsistent network quality, and limited access could check these optimistic growth prospects. But the extent of such barriers varies by nation, and there’s notable progress overcoming them. Construction of network infrastructure is proceeding apace—companies in India, for example, just spent nearly $25 billion on telecommunications spectrum. Meanwhile, hardware and access costs are declining in most markets. The biggest challenge is to make money while creating a variety of low-cost content.

Three issues are especially important:

  • Innovators and entrepreneurs must develop content creation and delivery models priced low enough to compete against the pirated options currently available.
  • Content and Web services providers need to foster the growth of local and regional advertising markets to help defray the cost of content creation.
  • E-commerce platforms, including transaction systems that make purchases more convenient and trusted, must be developed.

At the same time, companies in consumer-facing sectors (for instance, automotive, packaged consumer goods, and retailing) will need to reconsider their marketing and advertising strategies in light of the shift away from traditional media. At stake is a significant competitive advantage in a region that already boasts more than half the world’s Internet users—and will only continue to grow.

Terry Fox Day in Turkey?

In Advice, Canada, Culture, Exercise, Experience, Globalization, Meeting, Ottawa, Success, World on September 19, 2010 at 9:54 am

Each year representatives from the Canadian Embassy work closely with the Istanbul Technical University to organize the “Terry Fox Run” in October. Every year, the Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research, a ten kilometer fun-run and walk, is held in over 5,000 locations throughout the world to raise money for innovative cancer research.

Terry Fox knew first hand the need for cancer research. At age 18, bone cancer resulted in the amputation of his right leg. During the treatment that followed, Terry witnessed the pain and despair caused by cancer and he became determined to do something about it. Terry’s dream was to run across Canada and raise money to help find a cure.

On April 12th, 1980 Terry dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean and set off Westward to begin his “Marathon of Hope”. For the next 143 days he ran an average of 42 kilometres per day. Sadly, on September 1st the cancer had spread to his lungs and he was forced to stop.

Terry died on June 28, 1981. In memory of Terry’s efforts, the run has taken place all over the world, including Turkey. Ankara hosted the 12th Terry Fox Run while Istanbul organized the first of many to come. This important event marked the beginning of a long lasting relationship between the Canadian Embassy, Istanbul Technical University, the Turkish Cancer Society, and in fact, the people of Turkey and those worldwide who will benefit from innovative cancer research.

The will of a Canadian hero has transcended cultures and nationalities across the world. Whenever one needs inspiration look no further than to Terry Fox’s timeless legacy.

http://www.international.itu.edu.tr/

Video: Shaaz in Chinese Microsoft Meeting

In Advice, Business, Canada, China, Economics, Experience, Global Vision, Globalization, Traveling, University of Ottawa, World on September 16, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Junior Team Canada had a discussion with one the experts at Microsoft Asia-Pacific region in Beijing R&D Headquarters.

We went over were Microsoft sees the world in the next ten years as the expert provided us with extensive market analysis on various sectors within the industry. The Asia-Pacific region is playing an increasingly significant role in Microsoft’s global innovation strategy. They create cutting-edge of technology, innovating solutions that impact millions of people around the world.

They have a focus on their four core pillars of research, incubation, development and ecosystem partnership, their engineers and researchers are passionate about creating the world’s best solutions and experiences.

Emerging Markets
Countries in the Asia-Pacific form some of the top emerging markets. China has the world’s largest number of mobile device and consumer electronics users and the world’s second largest number of PC and Internet users. Its vast market and specific user needs such as SMS and online games inspire new forms of technology integration, while offering new business opportunities. Actively engaging theses emerging markets like China in the development of competitive technologies, products and services is the best way to bring the benefits of innovation to these markets and the rest of the world. Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D discussed how they are  exploring areas such as healthcare, education and mobile technology.

We were the first ever group of Young Canadian Professionals to engage with Microsoft Asia-Pacific R & D!

Here is a brief video….it’s very random and after the presentation lol

Shaaz’s Hair Styling Tips: Part 1

In Fashion, Hair on September 11, 2010 at 11:55 pm

So I thought it would be neat to share some advice on hair styling….very basic stuff for part 1.

Hair styling is not for every guy nor for everyday, but it can add the extra pow for that special event.  Various products are made for a whole host of different hair types and styles…

Do’s

-less is more
-Towel dry your hair (leave your hair somewhat damp)
-hands are clean
– spread over your whole palm

Don’t

-hair dry your head
-use the product on dry hair
-use the product on wet hair AND DOO NOOOT USE A COMB ..fingers please

Products

I use Aveda Men Grooming Clay…it’s for medium to long hair. Has a nice smell and does not leave your hair looking like a GEl-met.

Gel Met (some type of weapon) vs ..

Natural Looking hair …


My Hair Product

I can post a video going into more detail, just leave a comment to let me know if anyone wants it!