Shaaz Nasir

Posts Tagged ‘world bank’

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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Our Generation

In Business, Canada, Economics, Globalization, World on March 4, 2011 at 9:03 am

Dear Readers,

We have the momentum.

We have the audacity.

We have the skills.

We all have what is needed to reach level of personal and professional development never thought possible before but our generation needs to understand its true potential. From fashion, to economics, to lifestyle, we must mind the gap from being just okay. We must achieve greatness. In the coming weeks everything is going to change for MTG.

Just wait and see.

Shaaz and Will

Doubt Me.

In Advice, Blog, Business, Canada, China, City Council, Culture, Economics, Economics Association, ESA, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Film, Football, Glasses, Globalization, google, GQ Magazine, Greeting, Life, Metrosexual, Orientation, Packing, Tennis, Traveling, Uncategorized, University of Ottawa, World on October 27, 2010 at 12:07 am

Doubt if you must, it’s something I have grown accustom to. If people don’t doubt you it means you’re not pushing the boundaries, not daring to do something that can’t be done. The moment people stop doubting you it’s not because you won them over but rather because you lost yourself.”

– life experiences

From the start people will doubt you and your aspirations. In an attempt to clip your wings all types of methods will be used; no matter what you must resist the barraged of attacks. At the end of high-school after 4 years of planning to become a psychologist I discovered the world of economics. My plan for the next 10 years was scratched in 10 minutes as I frantically scrambled through my research to determine the prerequisites of my new dream.

The Chinese could not have built a greater wall than what stood between me and economics.

The hurdles added up to around 2 years of more schooling. I scurried over to my high school academic advisor to devise a master plan in which my dream would become a reality way sooner. Little did I know, she would doubt me.

“Shaaz, why are you trying? Just give up on this goal of yours. You can’t do this it’s just too much for you. Stop and settle for what you have; you would probably need 3 years of schooling to get the perquisites. There is no way this can be done.”

Some great Academic Advice eh?

So I picked up the pieces of my shattered goal from the floor and made a quick exit. After some consulting with my family and other sources (you can smell my sheer determination at this point, never give up), the solution was found!

Take that Risk

I had a meeting with the department of economics at Carleton which produced a a risky choice. I could take a harder version of  grade 12 calculus at Carleton (some hybrid version which means more in-depth/challenging) and VOILA  I would be majoring in economics at uOttawa. However, the chance to waste money, time, rejecting job offers and failing was high as I had ZERO experience with math at that level.

Of course I took the class.

LONG days LONG nights and NO Summer with LOTS of stress. On average 5-6 hours of studying a day everyday period.

Raw brute force.

Result?

Determination worked as I finished in the top 10% percent of the class with a 79%.  Proved a good amount of people wrong but more importantly proved to myself I could live out my dream, no matter how tall those walls were.

Now I am only 7 months away from my degree in International Economics and Development with a minor in Business Administration. I have 3 years of government work experience. I have the privilege to be the VP Finance of uOttawa’s Tennis League and  the VP Academic uOttawa’s Economic Student Association. Furthermore, I been lucky enough to embark on a 20 day economic delegation to China and Malaysia as a Trade Ambassador.

This message  is not about me or my life but rather about the powers of doubt itself.

Keep pushing the boundaries and doing what’s not possible time and time again.

So for those people please continue to doubt me and MTG.

It only means good things are coming our way…

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

Mind the Economy: Jobless Recovery…Give me a break IMF

In Advice, Business, Canada, Culture, Economics, Experience, Faith, Future, Globalization, Life, Shaaz Nasir, Success, Technology, Trade, Traveling, World Bank on October 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

Four challenges: IMF

Strauss-Kahn highlighted four challenges to be addressed by the officials gathering in Washington…..

• Sovereign debt. Fiscal sustainability remains a problem for some countries, particularly those that entered the crisis with very high levels of debt. “So we are strongly in favor of medium-term consolidation, but it doesn’t mean that in the short term every country will have to tighten as much as possible. It depends a lot on their own situation and it is very country specific.” Where the recovery remains fragile and private sector demand is weak, support for demand is still needed.

• Jobless recovery. Just reviving growth is not enough. “We need growth with jobs. Growth without jobs doesn’t mean much for the man in the street. So obviously, for us, the crisis will not be over until the unemployment rate decreases significantly.”

• Financial sector reform. While a lot has been done to address improved regulation, particularly through the new Basle III accord, a lot more needs to be done on supervision and regulation of the financial sector, which was at the heart of the global crisis. In addition, Strauss-Kahn said the IMF supported moves to introduce taxation of the sector.

Global cooperation. The world got through the economic crisis through very close cooperation, but now the momentum was decreasing. One example of this is emerging competition between countries to adjust their currencies to gain an advantage. “What we all want is the rebalancing of the global economy, and this rebalancing cannot happen without a natural consequence of it, which is a change in the relative value of currencies.”

Politics +  Economics = headache

I have been noticing over the past two years that policy makers in the lime light or politicians using the phrase “growth without jobs is horrible” or ” we cannot face a jobless recovery ARHHH”….

Are these guys missing the point or adhering to misconceptions of growth and recovery formed by the pubic?

Depending on what sector, companies around the world  must experience substantive growth for around 12 to 20 months before they can consider hiring once again. Furthermore, during (and as a result of ) recessionary periods, companies examine  their internal workforce and re-prioritize organizational objectives. The restructuring period may lead  to massive overhauls (bigger than Wario’s) for the company’s structure and size. For example, GM…they cut their company in half by killing about 6 brands….people cannot expect them to hire the same amount of workers….

Furthermore, demographics  also play a vital role in unemployment rates. In Canada the time it takes for unemployment rates to return to pre recession levels takes twice as long for young professionals (defined as youth 16-25)…why..that’s another post for another day.

For now,

let us focus on these four challenges and the realization that time is the best public policy tool in the fight against unemployment rates, not fuelling economic misconceptions.

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.

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

Where is Shaaz…where are the posts?!

In Business on August 5, 2010 at 8:15 pm

I have been very busy.

But I ..

alright, it appears I have a meeting with Yijun Song, the Counsellor for the Embassy of Canada in 5  mins.

I will begin updating the blog asap

Yijun Song’s Summary

Dr. Song was the first Representative of the Government of Ontario in China to head Ontario International Marketing Centre in Shanghai. He also served as a Consul in the Canadian Consulate General in Shanghai. In addition, he founded the Ontario China Business Association (OCBA) in Shanghai and an active member of Canada China Business Council’s Shanghai Chapter.

Prior to his posting in Shanghai, he was an Area Director in the Government of Ontario responsible for the trade development between Ontario and the three Chinese economic areas: Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Before joining the government, he managed a trade-training program at Ryerson University in Toronto and provided business/education-consulting services to Canadian companies and education institutions.

He understands business practices in the East and is also in tune with the economic and trade development in Canada. Yijun is experienced with government procedures and knows the needs of the private sector. He has traveled extensively in both Canada and China and is in the position to serve the economic development and trade between Ontario and regions in China.

During his second year posting in Shanghai, at request of publisher, he wrote and published a book on communications between parents and teenagers, and he was interviewed on both Shanghai TV and CCTV. In his third year, he initiated and helped Shanghai Oriental TV Station completed a 10 episode TV program Driving across Canada, which was aired from Oct 1st – 10th 2004 and repeated in 2005.

Dr. Song graduated from Shandong Teachers’ University in 1978, received his BA from the University of Ottawa in 1983, and his master and doctoral degrees from the University of Toronto in 1987 and 1994 respectively.

Think the World Bank is useless…think again my friends

In Canada, Economics, Globalization, Ottawa, Technology, Women, World Bank on July 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm

World Bank

“beware of the scary and evil place…no”

Although the responsibility of ensuring high living standards for citizens lie with the state, financial institutions can play a positive role in her assistance.  Many people have insisted that the World Bank is evil or can do absolutely nothing in terms of development. Some even argue that the World Bank is a direct threat to sovereignty of all nations and should be shutdown.

I disagree.

Indeed the World Bank has many opportunities to improve itself, but to label the institution as evil, redundant, and useless is simply not accurate.  Regarding the threat to sovereignty, if the World Bank seeks to increase the living standards of a nation’s citizen, through improvements in productivity and efficiency, it’s only strengthening the nation.

People bring up the dependant argument, which can be summed up as “the country will be dependant on the World Bank to succeed”. Far too many flaws render this argument useless; if someone is lending money, you would hope the borrower would work with the lender. Teamwork is not a bad thing. Oh God forbid, actual communication between the two parties involve in a financial transaction.

No one can legitimately argue that it’s better to remain a poor but “autonomous” state, than a robust and active country. International trade, open economies, working with international organizations is not being dependant, it’s reality.

Again I stress that the World Bank is not perfect and as they need to work on their own efficiency in terms of people management and  financial resources.

Let’s take a look at an actual project the World Bank has been working on with Bangladesh.

Female Secondary School Assistance Project

The project will support a major increase in secondary school enrollment of girls in about a quarter of the country by providing stipends for 1.5 million girl-years of secondary education, financing the cost of additional teachers required by the growth in female enrollment, supporting an occupational skills development program for school-leaving girls, assisting with a female education awareness program, providing a school-based water supply and sanitation program, and financing an institutional development program for implementation and capacity-building support to the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) in the Ministry of Education.

That was the longest run-on sentence I have ever read.

I will showcase this project in the next post.

Check the blog tomorrow!