7 Effective Ways to Read and Understand African Political News

Whether you are an African expatriate hoping to stay in touch with what is going on in your home country, a potential tourist hoping to do research on the best place to visit, a political student striving to understand the development in Africa, or simply well-wisher dedicated to unload of few bucks to chip in the aid for Africa, translating the information you read into valuable knowledge is an important task

Like any other continent, Africa offers a set of complex realities that can offer conflicting outcome for the party interested; moreover, accessing the information you need is not always evident between the information you look for, and the information you find.

Below is a short description of criteria to consider when reading or researching news on Africa. While the list is not exclusive, and can certainly be extended, I believe this initial guidepost may help. Feel free to add or consider additional helpful points.

1. Consider the source of the information

Africa is a very complex place, that combines many world and realities, the gap between the rich and the poor creates in many places two different societies whose world rarely collide. For that reason, news sources are often tailored to one group or the other.

Understanding the source of the information will help you assess the legitimacy of the information you have. For example, is it a local or foreign news source? Foreign sources often have greater access to political circles because the government is more concerned about the way it is portrayed to the outside world; however, foreign sources rarely give you the real pulse of the nation. If the source is local, consider the accreditation that is reflected by interviews or first hand accounts. In Africa, Official news is often given unofficially, while official news is a front. That means that those sources that have close access to the government are more likely to give credible news, compare to unaccredited sources to whom is given generic news. (More on it further down)

2. Try to capture the perspective of the information

In Africa, the freedom of the press is not a sacred duty, and as mentioned above, free and transparent news are not evident. As a result, news often reflects the perspective of the source. The information you will get is based on the perception of the source. In the West, Africa is widely primarily viewed as a continent ravaged by war and diseases, where impoverished people and government are struggling very hard to survive, and thus their lives and activities are geared toward Help and how the global community can help them. As a result, most African news coming from the West will treat topics such as aid, sanction, peace and war, and oil discovery. Human rights, rigged election and corruption are other subjects often treated; in other words, Western media tend to chronicle Africa’s efforts to “join” or emulate them.

When it comes to local media and news sources, the dilemma is different. Elite and well positioned news sources depicts the political life of the country, meaning that their news are mostly geared toward accounts of big political activities, such as Presidential travels and visits, opposition complaints, foreign investment, dignitaries visits, Diaspora news and international events in which the government participate. In short, those news sources attempts to present information from the perception of Africa to the rest of the world.

Finally, local media perception is often directed at the local population, therefore offers information on issue that matters to locals; energy and gas issues, employment, government promises kept or not, education, political freedom, cultural and social safeguard, etc…

3. Acknowledge the Biases

In the U.S, it is often assumed that CNN is Pro-democrats, and Fox News is a Republican arm, regardless if true or not, that perception is very present in Africa as well; not in form of Republican or democrats of course, but they still play a short role.

From the day of colonization, Western Nations had strategic interests in Africa, and Political propaganda has insured that many Westerners view some African countries internal policies as beneficial or threatening to their way of life.

If your African news information is from a Western source, always consider the position of your country with the African country you are researching. Popular opinion is critical and very few Western media will say nice things about the Zimbabwe government for example. Western media will offer news based on the national interest of their home country. You will rarely read negative report about the Egyptian Government that has good relations with Washington, although it is not a beacon of Democracy, yet Zimbabwe, which has been a torn in their side, is demonized. This is not an attempt to justify the evil of some people, but it is worth considering that Western media will report information according to the way they wish a certain country to be viewed.

If you wish to avoid the biases of Western news outlet, you are better off searching for African news by African news outlets. There again, there is an often bias between Pro and anti government. Some news sources are government sponsored, while other are dedicated to discredit the government regardless of good deeds or not. In Africa the contrast is usually very strong, as you can read full articles of “official” news feed that praises the government unashamedly, while others are almost littered with insults. Very rarely will you find news source that are impartial, and it is usually very evident to distinguish the sources political leanings.

Given the polarity of African societies, and the actuality of International Relations, one must not look at news Biases with pure disgust, but as a component and vital actor of global politics; filling between diverse biases can actually help uncover valuable information. But in case it doesn’t help, always consider independent news and…

4. Identify the agendas

If for some reasons you are unable to filter official and supposedly professional news sources, do make use of independent news sources such as NGO’s and Think Tank. Because they are usually unaffiliated with any government, and their work is mainly based on empirical data and research, NGO and Think Tank do paint an educated and comprehensive picture of what is going on in Africa. Most of their works are expanded toward a wide range of subjects that reflects a non-partial view of government activities, social realities and international implications.

If you obtain your news via NGOs or Think Tanks, you are most likely to have access to strong data, depending on the Think Tank, and hard core evidence of what is going on in the country you research.

The only problem presented by NGOs and Think Tanks is that they do have an agenda. The nature of their strong work is usually motivated by the mission to influence or advice a government to act toward an issue they view as important. Because of that agenda, those organizations often accentuate an issue to the point where it overshadows others, making it look like an exaggeration.

For example if an NGO has for agenda to reduce arm trafficking in Africa, their information may offer solid leads on the pulse of a country, with credible evidence; however, their extensive research on the impact of arm trafficking may minimize other positive information, to the point of giving the impression that you can buy Ak47 at a candy store. This of course is not with the intent to deceive or dramatize, but with the objective of using the data to convince world powers to act on arms trafficking.

If you know how to extract your information from those sources, they are an excellent balance to local and international news.

5. Check the blogs

Africa sends millions of its bright Sons and Daughters abroad to study in higher education, and loses other millions professionals in search of a better living. While the damages of this brain drain are considerable, the attachment all those Africans retain for their homeland represents a glimpse of hope.

Since they cannot directly be involve in official affairs in their home countries because of the distance or political threats, many member of the African Diaspora voice their opinions in blogs or personal websites.

The advantage of reading those opinionated blogs is that it offers a personal touch and reaction to all the other news you may have read.

Many are very knowledgeable in what they are writing, and approach it in a very professional way. They are not constrained by editorial control, so are free to give their honest, educated opinion on what they read, heard or experienced in and out of Africa.

If they are not that knowledgeable on African affairs anymore, many still have families abroad who can give them first account to report on what is happening.

Because they are so many blogs related to Africa, you can not only compare information and news, but also engage the writers and have a better feel on how and where they get to say what they are saying.

For most people, this is a valuable source, because on top of general political views, they can offer a personal one, as well as giving an insight on how and where people live their everyday, not to mention, where the hotspots are.

The disadvantage of Blogs is that it is after all just personal opinions, and personal opinions can be motivated or inspired by perception, Bias, and /or agenda. It is not uncommon for exile politicians to mount an opposition from abroad, something blogs tend to make easier, so caution is advised for that reason.

6. Search for supportive news

Every news agency is in search of a scoop, and none wants to be left out of considerable information.

Whenever you stumble on interesting information for your research, after identifying the source, always make sure to search if that information is reprised by other news outlets.

When it comes to Africa, it is very common for news to be generalizing, but if you feel you came across useful information, always double check if you can locate it in other Western sources (if those where your primary sources), and then in local African sources. Check in Blogs and social sites if it is being discussed, or better create a new discussion.

The fact of the matter is that if you are looking for information on Africa, the complexity of its state does not favor taking any information at face value, but insuring that it is shared, discussed and not hostage to any perception and bias will help you have good grip on what is going on.

7. Use common sense

In Politics like in everything, things happen for a reason, from a coup d’Etat, to a social uprising, and political instability to international sanction.

Africa is not another planet we know nothing about, and it did not appear without a past or history.

In everything you read or learn about Africa, consider the context and remember history. Famine and poverty did not come suddenly; wars all have a spark plug, poor countries should not be able to buy weapons they do not manufacture.

The context and the historical reality that today links nearly all countries on Earth presents the fertile ground on how you will receive the news you receive, they way you receive it.

Knowledge is a light to which is drawn a bug called interest, and common sense should help you navigate the waves of misinformation toward the land of comprehension of the subject you research.

As mentioned, this is a list that can be extended and perfected, but for all who have at one point or another, read African news or wanted to understand what is going in Africa, I hope that little list will be helpful the next time it happens.

Over-reliance on popular media is like over relying in anything, it cripples one’s ability, and dilutes the quality of the need sought.

Stay thirsty for knowledge; you might very well quench your thirst yourself.

Forex Education

What is forex?

Forex is simply an online currency exchange trade that involves a simultaneous buying and selling of currencies. It is presently the largest financial market worldwide with an average daily turnover of about $2trillion. Forex is traded globally for 24-hours daily and five days in a week with a break on Saturdays and Sundays. Individuals, cooperatives and banks trade forex from various parts of the world.

Nigeria in focus is growing fast in this trade ever since it was reduced to a start up capital of a minimum $100 due to the rise in internet access and usage. This took effect from late 1990’s against the minimum $10m it previously used to be. In forex trade, traders with small trading capital like $100 are called retail traders and most traders from Nigeria fall into this category.

What Is Needed To Start Trading Forex?
All one needs to start trading forex are;

(1) A good forex education from this site
[http://www.demonicforex.blogspot.com]
(2) A good and fast computer
(3) A good, fast and reliable internet connection
(4) A mininum trading capital of $100 dollars

Who Is A Broker?
A broker is an individual or a company that buys and sells orders according to trader’s decision. Brokers earn money by charging a fee called the Bid-Ask spread for their services. The main function of brokers are to connect buyers or sellers directly to the forex market for exchange of currencies.

What Are The Risks Involved?
Forex trading is highly profitable if only you can learn and practice well before investing in it. You can also loose when you lack sufficient knowledge and skills in this trade.

8 Benefits of Education To Reduce Global Poverty

If you are educated, you can get all the skills required to be productive and achieve success. Nowadays, one of the biggest problems is poverty on the global level. So, educating people in areas with high level of poverty is a great way of eradicating poverty. Given below are a few benefits of education for fighting global poverty. Read on.

1. Literacy Levels

Illiteracy tends to reinforce poverty levels in the long run. Oftentimes, poor people are not allowed to send their kids to expensive educational institutes. According to UNESCO, if send all the kids in the low-income countries to school so that they could get basic reading and writing skills, we can cut the global poverty by 12%.

2. Income and Wealth Creation

With good quality education, individuals can use their skills in order to earn a good deal of money. According to UNESCO, each year spent at a school can help a student earn 10% higher income.

With proper education, farmers can produce more food in the same piece of land. So, they can add to the cultivation levels.

3. Instability and Corruption

According to a statement from the Global Partnership For Education, around 36% of kids who don’t get education belong to the areas of conflict. Actually, the lack of opportunities negatively effects their ability to look for jobs even after the conflict is gone. So, education promotes peaceful societies where people can do their best to make developments.

4. Healthier Lives

With education and awareness, individuals are better equipped to make better health choices. As a matter of fact, education is important to prevent communicable diseases as well. Disease prevention programs can help people in preventing the transmission of diseases in communities around them. This reduces the mortality rates in infants.

5. Empowered Females

Here it is important to keep in mind that the benefits of giving education to females are not limited to a few things. As a matter of fact, when women get proper education, they can generate higher income and can feed their families properly.

6. Nutrition

Deficiency of nutrients can hamper brain development of kids. As a result, kids are not able to take part in the developmental projects. According to UNESCO, if women get at least primary education, fewer kids will suffer from stunted mental growth due to malnutrition.

7. Technical Skills

With proper education, people can hone their technical skills. As a result, they can create a lot of employment opportunities in a lot of areas, such as construction, agriculture, transportation and technologies.

8. Economic Growth

With education comes the economic growth. Actually, education promotes productivity and boosts economic growth in a country.

So, if you have been trying to understand the role of education in reducing the global poverty, this article may have helped you a lot. As a matter of fact, we all should play our roles in order to spread awareness for the importance of education for the purpose of eradicating poverty. This will be a great service.

Currency Trading Education – The Best Free Sources to Help You Win

If you want to win at currency trading, you can buy advice but most currency trading education you need you can get for free and here we will look at how to find the best and enjoy currency trading success…

Let’s first look at currency education that needs to be avoided.

Forex Expert Advisors

Most who claim they are not – anyone who claims they can make you money with no effort should be avoided.

If you want to see if an expert is a not qualified, look for the words “simulated” or “in hindsight”, on the track record presented – this is not real trading and the track record is made up, to sell currency trading courses and systems.

Forex Forums

Want to find losers? Then currency trading forums are great. What trader who makes money uses them?

I don’t know any. It’s mostly losers who are trying to make themselves feel better, by dispensing their wisdom, or vendors trying to peddle their products – most of which are junk. Avoid Currency forums!

News Sources

We have better news than ever but traders need to learn 30 years ago before we had lots of currency news sources 95% of traders lost and 95% lose today, so improved news hasn’t helped.

Prices don’t move to the news, they move to trader’s perception of. Try and trade breaking currency news and you will lose.

Brokers

Most broker education won’t help you – if brokers were good at trading, they wouldn’t be brokers! Also, as brokers mostly trade against you when you take a position, it’s a conflict of interest.

Good Sources

So what about the good sources? Well the good news is:

There is plenty of it and you can get a good solid currency education for free.

The best way to trade is to use currency charts and base your market timing on technical analysis. There is plenty of free information on the basics, all the different indicators and charts for free, so you can look at the indicators, try them and come up with a simple, robust currency trading strategy.
Any currency trader, who wants to win, should also learn breakout trading and you will find a lot of information on this as well.

The fast is anyone can learn currency trading, there are no secrets and the reason most traders lose is – lack of discipline and poor money management and there is plenty of information on this too.

Traders simply lack discipline and CANNOT keep their losses small or trade through losing periods.

Worth the Money.

You can get some great information on discipline for free but I Would recommend spending $100 or so, on some books, from the really great traders, to get more insight into the mindset to succeed.

These are traders who have walked the walk and don’t simply talk the talk. We reviewed our top ten in other articles so look them up – this is money well spent.

So in conclusion, you can get all the currency trading basics for success for free and can build a currency trading strategy – your major challenge though is money management and discipline.

Its here I would recommend spending a few dollars, if you don’t think you have discipline ( and most traders don’t) and then, the combination of a simple, robust, currency trading system and the right mindset to apply it, can help you win at currency trading.

Getting the right currency education is easy; getting the right mindset is what separates the small number of winners from the losing majority.

FREE FOREX TRADING SYSTEM!

No News, Good News

Since everyone is supposed to be entitled to their opinion, I might as well give mine. I try as much as possible not to use the word ‘hate’ in my vocabulary but I almost feel like this topic deserves it. There was a time when the word ‘news’ related to a person’s interests and habits attached a sense of intelligence to the person’s personality. It was immediately assumed that one could hold a good conversation or debate about news reports and leave with a feeling of having educated or been educated with the individual in question. News was informative, enlightening, educating, updating and necessary. I remember one common command when I was growing up was ‘quiet, let hear what’s in the news today’ and it was all my parents needed to say. A day without reading a newspaper or sitting in front of the TV for a few minutes left one almost with a bereft feeling.

Well not anymore! If we are ever honest with ourselves these days, only about 5% of what is shown or read today is news and by that I mean informative, enlightening, educating, updating and necessary. The rest can only be described in my opinion as insulting to our intelligence, slandering, scary, insinuating, and unnecessarily repetitive. I refrain from giving examples because my intention is not to pick on any individual but just to acknowledge what society- and that embraces all of us from the giver to the recipient- has done to the media. As if that is not bad enough, we now have news stations that show 24/7 with breaking news and news flash and news update without much of an update on the report. It is enough hard work maintaining a balanced attitude towards life and being positive in spite of what life throws at one. The additional pressure of trying to put the so-called news reports in its proper place and dealing with it in its proper context; being able to sieve what is actually important and what is fiction or drama or someone’s biased opinion and even vents of emotion can be exhausting and over whelming.

If you want to be depressed these days, go sit down, put your TV on, tune into a news channel and sit there for 30 minutes. Do that for a week and see if your attitude towards life does not change for the worse. I say this with great sadness because the articulation and presentation of ones thoughts and opinion used to be a greatly admired art. Now it has been reduced to what can change a news report into something it could have been or should have been or what if someone’s imaginative ideas had been the case or what someone’s opinion is.

That is okay as a documentary even though I still wouldn’t watch it I am sure. And please don’t get me wrong, I love documentaries that give you food for thought and I am in fact an Anthony Bourdain fan any day as creepy as some of his journeys can be which just makes them even more fascinating for me. But let news be news and let documentaries and debates be what they are. The fantasies and movies have their place in the media too. Just let news be news, please.

The effect that the media has by its presentation of happenings in the society on the everyday life of individuals.

Why Online Education is Over-Promoted?

The glorious era of old print media dominance is over, and the era of cyberspace has taken over. The proliferation of Information Technology has given rise to the newest bloodless revolution in mankind in the field of knowledge and information dissemination, the Internet. The Internet is a network that provides quick and effortless access to the largest global information database available, the World Wide Web. When tapped correctly, the internet has the potential to become one of the most valuable and stimulating educational tools available to the multitudes, and its recognized merits as such are one too few. I therefore do not agree with the statement that the Internet is overrated or its merits, chief of which are the unparalled efficacy of its research and news capabilities, are celebrated without reason.

Information of practically everything in existence can be found and retrieved on the internet at the touch of a button, providing for knowledge to literally be at our fingertips. There is a wealth of valuable research information available online which most internet users have free access to, allowing the net to act as a cheap and easy to use information source for the masses. While the library once opened the doors to knowledge and information, its necessity now has been eliminated almost in its entirety by the advent of fast speed Internet transmission of information, paving the way for academic institutions such as universities, governmental bodies and established organizations like Time Magazine and the Gates Foundation to create web portals and store and share information online. High-powered search engines like Google now have the capacity to search millions of pages of text in such websites in a fraction of a second, thereby speeding up the often grueling research process students and researchers edure greatly. The recent introduction of online print and other visual media libraries is in fact a testament to the pulling power and attractiveness of using the internet, and it has further reduced the need for physical travel to traditional libraries, all the while needlessly worrying about the availability of crucial books or the opening hours, especially when racing to finish up research work.

Net conferencing or web video conferencing is one way the Internet can be used for two or more-way dialogues between university professors and students who reside on the other side of the world for information exchange through question and answer sessions, effectively disregarding the constraint of physical location that would otherwise inpede education. The Internet thus imparts knowledge indirectly by acting as a portal where intellectual minds can convene and debate on issues pertaining to their respective fields. Such information transfer has undergone technological advances to the extent that virtual schools have been set up on the web offering students online degree courses, and an increasing number of well-established universities are jumping on the bandwagon, replacing distance learning by mail with internet education. The University of London is a prime example of a university that offers the option of pursuing online Bachelors and Masters Degree courses to international students from the comfort of their own homes.

Online education is also a concept that is currently used by many schools in Singapore, where a week or two of formal classroom education is replaced by online education, called e-learning, and the importance of students utilizing the internet for online education purposes and becoming net-savvy is stressed by the schools as well as the Education Ministry. Due to the successive mass implementation of this project, Singapore is the first country in the South-East Asian region to have plugged all its junior colleges and tertiary institutions to the internet. Online education is also used by non-governmental, private, tuition centers where a student communicates with his tutors and takes lessons online, a convenient way for busy students to reduce transport time to centers, yet still enroll for tuition lessons.

The internet also doubles as a source of news articles and websites that gives minute by minute updates on current affairs in the local/global arena. This causes people wired to the internet to receive immediate updates about the latest happenings hot off the press and hence, always be ‘in the know’ instead of waiting for the next days newspaper or the television/radio news updates that are only aired at fixed timings. It is thus no wonder that online news sites such as CNN and BBC are slowly siphoning off subscribers from the old news medium of print journalism. According to the United States Audit Bureau of Circulation, there was a 2.6% drop in the circulation of nearly 800 newspapers over a six-month period last year. 1.2 million Subscribers at that time abandoned their papers. The decline in this circulation has prompted old news media empires to turn to the Internet to set up news websites with paid subscriptions for fear of losing their existing readers. The Straits Times in Singapore is an example of a newspaper that has created a website that can only be accessed through paid online subscriptions, but promises to provide live updates real-time, an effort that can be seen as moving on together with the advance in technology as well as cashing in on the Internet phenomenon. The availability of up-to-date news articles on global issues also encourages the education on political affairs among the populace by providing them an insight into governmental actions and events.

Though the virtues of the Internet as mentioned above are aplenty, every great invention has its drawbacks, and hence, some of its merits have an unfortunate probability of turning against themselves when not properly utilized. Top on the list of drawbacks is the dissemination of poor and inaccurate information, a terrible danger to the foolhardy. When books were the norm, information that was researched on was found by looking at bibliographies and indexes and cross-referencing these to the matter in hand. Although we might never have been certain if the information presented in the books was correct, we would be able to rely on author’s reputations, book reviews or recommendations from teachers and friends. Now however, the problem that has surfaced with the Internet is that almost everyone capable of typing is able to publish something somewhere on the web, and as such we are facing the growing predicament of information overload – How can we be certain what we are reading is correct?

Wikipedia.com is a microcosm of this phenomenon of unverified information overload that has penetrated the internet community. Wikipedia.com contains the largest collection of “encyclopedia” articles in the world, which are also, however, written completely by volunteers. Anyone can edit the articles and any individual who has even a remote interest in a topic can write a new one. It now boasts more than a staggering 810 000 articles in English, as well as hundreds of thousands more in dozens of other languages. Readers are subjected to millions of times more information than any of them have the capacity to read in their lifetimes, a large proportion of which may not be fully factual or unbiased since the moderators themselves are not regulated and might not be certified experts on the various issues.

Books, on the other hand, are trusted far better to be accurate but at the time of printing only, offer a more concise information base to look up queries, and are needed for in-depth analysis of the subject which the Internet might not give. Even though online books are sold and available online, they may not be reliable as a technological malfunction could corrupt or delete it and the information may be lost. Material available on the Internet is also nowhere near as thorough and as well-organized as a good reference library. There are also further limits of technology as a teaching tool in education. Students often face difficulties in looking at information from the Internet with a critical eye. We tend not to be skeptical and instead take every piece of information at face value. Though there is a wealth of valuable research information available, it is often difficult and time-consuming to find information on lesser known or lesser publicized topics since research engines are by protocol programmed to sieve out information on topics which have a high representation in the web.

Such drawbacks, however, do not outweigh the merits of the Internet as an online educational tool. The Internet, being the medium of the future, is constantly evolving, and the countless benefits it brings will ensure that the Internet is given due recognition for its worth and is here to stay.

Spread the Light of Education Through Appropriate Education Web Templates

There is no doubt that proper education is one of the essential requirements of the human beings to remain human! Generally the task of spreading education rests partly on the government and partly on the private organizations. It is evident that websites can spread the light of education faster than anything else. But to take the things properly to the viewers or the students the websites need to be built with best of education web templates! It is because otherwise the educational news and updates would not be properly highlighted, the interactive learning processes will not be placed well and other features may not be that much attractive to the students or the visitors.

So if you are related with spreading education in any way and have a website or want to build one, you should know the how should be the designs of the education web templates. Let’s have a look at some of the major features of the layouts that you should choose for building an education website:

The first section that a visitor looks at is the header. So the header of the education web templates have to contain the most relevant educational information the sites want to provide. There may be some small animations to pull more attention of the student cum visitors. But never put there any heavy flash or 3D animation that takes time to load and leaves blank page to the busy visitors (they will not wait).
Never pick out education web templates that come with some color combinations that hurt the eyes of the visitors and you! Remember you want to spread the information (may be texts, videos etc) but if the users feel irritated then they may not stay on the site. So you have to pick out layouts that are sober (certainly not gloomy).
All the education web templates have to be well-managed with the text information. There should not be heap of information from where the visitors will feel lack of enthusiasm in learning! And the placements of the news or the special announcement panels have to be perfect, so that viewers find it easily without difficulty.
The education web templates have to be with scopes to add the interactive learning tools. Remember online learning is very much popular and students look for those. So the layouts need to have place for adding videos, chat, audio-player and etc. Even there needs to be social share buttons, RSS feeds for spreading the education virally.
Do not forget to check if you can customize the education web templates you are trying to select for your websites. There may be several other features or may be the advertisements that are related with student activities or the education that have to be implemented in those templates. So cent percent customization facility has to be there with every layout.

News in Touch

News is essential to be in touch with the latest happenings in the world. Unfortunately news has become something unreliable as a result of biased information presented by broadcasting co-operations and news service providers but it is important to be aware about updates in the world we live in. It may seem overwhelming at times but being informed with the current events around the world would help you to be on top of things wherever you are.

News provide the latest information about current affairs that occur politically; technologically as well as in business and we must consider ourselves as privileged to be educated about them at present unlike the ancient days where global information was the least available. In general, people in all walks of life read news and everyone have their own desired category to read. Whatever your interest maybe, it is important to be educated about the current activities that happen around the globe and maybe beyond. As a younger reader, news feeds in Twitter, Facebook or Perez Hilton would find very interesting, but these do not provide the general knowledge which is part of education. Therefore you need to be informed about all extents; no matter you are young or old.

Think about the world leaders. How many of the names of the world’s presidents or prime ministers are you aware of? If you know it all, you are well updated but if you are not, it is time to read. Understanding about the society that you live in and the societies around the world are significant as we are living in a globalized village.

Haven’t you felt clueless about your surroundings when you return home after a long holiday? Similarly you would feel ill-informed about the affairs around the world without making yourself educated about the news. Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds and would be the most uninteresting toil to sit at one place and read news but today the option of reading news online on desktop, laptop or even on mobile phone is available.

Newspaper companies have enabled their news to be read online but they are updated instantly. However, the latest news can be attained through news aggregators who are available online on the internet. A news aggregator is a web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts and video blogs that arise globally within one site for easy and quick viewing. Online aggregators provide up to date information on various categories such as business, technology, entertainment, politics, travel, health, world news and many more where interesting and useful information on every topic is available. This helps to be in touch with all latest affairs at one place at one time as and when it happens.

Quality Education

With the way the economy has been, there have been a lot of cutbacks in almost every aspect of life. From jobs to spending, people have been forced to make sacrifices in order to get by. Several organizations and businesses have made reductions to stay afloat. With all of these cutbacks, educational institutions have been a topic of debate. On one hand, some colleges have made reductions in course offerings and faculty employed to cover the lack of money. While on the other hand, some have simply increased their tuition in order to preserve the quality of their education.

According to a study written in the New York Time’s article, “Study Finds Public Discontent With Colleges,” many Americans are losing faith in college education. In fact, 60% of citizens surveyed are saying, “colleges today operate like businesses, concerned more with their bottom line than with the educational experience of students.” A vast amount of the United State population feel that colleges and universities are more focused with their financial reward rather than the education they are providing.

In his speech, Martin Luther King Jr. talks about the true function of education, saying it is “to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.” He goes on to say, “But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society.”

So with the recent cutbacks in higher education, are schools becoming a menace to society, or are they continuing to teach students to think intensively and critically?

In order for schools to run with “efficiency” they need the necessary resources: highly educated professors, up-to-date technology, clean campuses and an inviting place to learn. However, these things cannot be achieved without money. So how can Americans continue to get the standard of education they are expecting if schools lowered tuition?

In the same study, more than two-thirds felt that colleges should “use federal stimulus money to hold down tuition, even if it means less money for operations and programs.” But it’s important to point out that these two-thirds are also some of the same 60% saying, “colleges operate like businesses.” So by saying that they would rather have lower tuition by giving less money to “operations and programs” these two-thirds are turning colleges into the “businesses” they are frowning upon.

The senior vice president of government and public affairs for the American Council on Education, Terry Hartle, said, in reference to lowering tuition, “The public is not always right.” She goes on to explain that running a first-class college costs money and if schools cut tuition, then they “would require cuts in areas that most people see as fundamental to quality.”

Education is one of the most important aspects of life and those like, Terry Hartle, are wise to protect and preserve the quality of education. Yes the costs may seem steep, but the price students’ pay is incomparable to the knowledge they obtain.

Inexpensive Ways to Further Your Education

Never before has been easier for people to improve their educational prospects that it is today. The number of resources, many of them free, are being offered online at a remarkable rate. You can literally get a quality university education, seeing the same lectures as those attending the university, while you sit comfortably in front of your computer screen in your pajamas.

Among the early leaders in this field is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who has been offering free courses for some years now, recently decided to allow free access many of their courses. This is a bit of a good news/bad news scenario. The good news is that you can take all the courses for free, the bad news is you won’t earn a degree for all your hard work. However, if you are more interested in learning the material than in earning the degree, this may be just the tool for you.

Scott Young had already earned a degree in business when he decided he really wanted an education in computer engineering to go with it. He looked at the free courses at MIT, courses notorious for their difficulty, and assembled the right mix for the equivalent of a degree in computer science. While the courses were free, the books were not as he ended up spending about $2,000 on study material. However, he learned that the online format worked well for him and he is now on track to earn a four year degree in computer science in about twelve months.

Speaking of books, Josh Kaufman has developed a learning system that relies heavily on books. After spending nearly $200,000 on a quality MBA, he realized that everything he learned at business school was readily available in books you can pick up at your local Barnes and Noble. He took his concept a step further and assemble a list of books for people who wanted the equivalent of an MBA education and called it the “Personal MBA.” His original list of 60 books has expanded to a list of 99 books, but if Josh is right, and a lot of big names in the business world say he is, then it’s a bargain at about 1/100th the cost of the same education at an Ivy League School. (Note: I have personally read many of the books on the Personal MBA list and can attest to their remarkable quality and depth. Even if you don’t want to pursue the whole virtual degree, the list is a great place to look for your next business book read.)

So what if your aims are a bit more modest; you don’t want the equivalent of a degree, you just want to learn a new skill or two? Again, the options are numerous and among the best is Udemy. They offer thousands of courses in everything from arts and hobbies, education, foreign languages and business. Many, though not all, are free. Still, even the paid courses compare very favorably against the cost of the same course at a university, and they can be studied from the comfort of your home.

Not to be outdone, Harvard recently teamed up with MIT to create edX, a joint agreement that would allow students to take courses at both schools free of charge. As news of the partnership has grown, so has the list of schools eager to join the endeavor. The two founding schools have now been joined by Berkley, University of Texas, Georgetown, University of Toronto, Australian National University and Ecole Ploytechnique Federale de Lausanne. Stanford is also offering similar course as are many other major universities. At a time when the price of a college degree is going up at an alarming rate, the price of a college education has dropped to the cost of books alone.

Is pursuing this kid of education right for you? That depends a great deal on what your aims are. Some careers require time in a classroom with a degree to show for it, but many do not. If your interest is primarily in acquiring the information, then choosing one of these routes may be just the ticket. Most experts agree that while a good teacher can make a significant difference, all real learning is essentially self-learning. Even if you do pay for the brick and mortar education, you can’t expect a lot of hand-holding; you are going to have to learn this stuff yourself. Borrow a page from Scott Young’s career and plot out your own course list for your own virtual degree. You may not have the sheepskin to show for it, but you will have the same quality education.

Can you use this kind of training on your resume? Some of the students who have followed the Personal MBA path have said they have listed it on their resume and it has been effective. They quickly explain that it is not an official university degree and then explain what the program entails. They say the response has been overwhelmingly positive. As a potential employer, you have to respect someone who takes the initiative to read nearly a hundred books on their own to further their education. The same could be said of those who take four year’s worth of courses from MIT in twelve months.