Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 8

Fake certificate racket busted in Chennai

Central Crime Branch (CCB) officials inspecting the certificates and rubber stamps seized from the accused, at the police commissionerate on Thursday. (Photo: DC)

DC Correspondent

Chennai: An employee of education department and his son were arrested by the central crime branch (CCB) officials on Thursday for running a bogus certificate racket in the city for the past two years. The racket came to light after the police apprehended two brokers with certificates of premier colleges. The mastermind behind the fraud, M. Gowthaman, 57, employed with Lady Willingdon B.Ed College in Chennai, and his son, G. Lokesh, 32, were picked up from their hideout at Vyasarpadi, where marksheets from any university in the state could be faked, said a CCB official. The accused were remanded in judicial custody.

“All it cost the ‘buyer’ was Rs 20,000 for a class 12 marksheet to about Rs 50,000 for a graduation certificate from a premium government institution, like Anna University, all resembling the original,” a police official said. According to the official, the buyers were usually students who under performed in academics, and the onus lay on the institutions to have foolproof systems in place.

Around 250 rubber stamps, 20,000 hologram stickers of premier universities like Univeristy of Madras, Anna University, electronic items used for making the certificates and another 100 fake certificates were picked up from the house. The police said Gowthaman started his career as an office assistant with the directorate of school education office at Nungambakkam in 1990 and had joined Lady Willingon College in 1997.

Full story at Deccan Chronicle (September 2014)

High-flying CEO quits after daughter writes list of 22 milestones he missed

Mohamed El-Erian. (AAP)

The head of a $2 trillion investment fund has revealed he quit his job after his 10-year-old daughter wrote him a note listing 22 special moments in her life he had missed.

California-based Mohamed El-Erian shocked the financial world when he announced his resignation as chief executive of PIMCO in January 2014.

Mr El-Erian, who made $100 million 2011 alone, said in a recent essay for Worth that his wife and daughter were at the heart of his decision to quit.

The 56-year-old said the "wake-up call" happened when he was arguing with his daughter about brushing her teeth and she left to fetch a piece of paper from her room.

"It was a list that she had compiled of her important events and activities that I had missed due to work commitments," he wrote.

"The list contained 22 items, from her first day at school and first soccer match of the season to a parent-teacher meeting and a Halloween parade.

Full story at NineNews (September 2014)

Why I've got no sympathy for Britain's teachers

From Tube workers to teachers, why do unions insist on antagonising the wider public instead of trying to earn our sympathy, asks Alex Proud

Is locking the school gates the best way to get parents to support your cause? Photo: Alamy

By Alex Proud

As the Tube workers have just held their traditional annual carnival of chaos and disruption, it seems like a good time to talk about unions.

Unions are one of those great subjects. If you try and discuss them in a fair and balanced way, you give everyone a reason to hate you. Say that the RMT routinely holds the capital to ransom over unreasonable demands and the Left despise you. But then tack back to the centre and suggest that unions might be part of the solution and the right wingers who’d been nodding approvingly suddenly turn into a crazed, pitchfork-wielding mob. Probably much like they imagine a union to be.

As the Telegraph leans to the Right, I’ll kick off by currying the disfavour of the Left. Every time I hear that a Tube strike is in the offing, I weep inwardly. Modern Tube strikes are a perfect mix of pointlessness, stupidity and greed. Tube workers are already very well paid; drivers earn around £50,000 a year, putting them in the top 10% of all earners. The rest do pretty well too – if you divide TFL’s 2013 expenditure on staff and wages by the number of staff, you get over £45,000. And that’s before the generous holiday allowances, working hours, pensions and so on.

But, OK, this time it’s not about money. It’s about a principle – ticket offices are going to close and they don’t like that. This is where the pointlessness comes in. Ticket offices are going to close anyway. UK taxpayers have spent a fortune to bring in the widely praised Oyster system and, since then, ticket offices have been living on borrowed time. It’s sad but this strike is a bit like the people who used to muck out London’s horse stables striking against the motor car. You might as well try and hold back the sea with a tea strainer.

Now I’ve dealt with the pointlessness, I’ll move on to the stupidity. The chaos they cause hits their customers – and alienates the very people whose support they need. They may think that throwing a city of 10 million into disarray is a demonstration of their power. But what it really does is reawaken British folk memories of the 1970s. I’m a small “L” liberal, but whenever I see the RMT gearing up for its yearly jamboree, the little Norman Tebbit on my left shoulder starts whispering in my ear: “See, they still can’t be trusted. Give them a whiff of power and this is what they do...”

Full story at The Telegraph (May 2014)

School spending by affluent is widening wealth gap

Marisela Martinez-Cola, right, a lawyer and a parent living in an Atlanta suburb with her husband

By Josh Boak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Education is supposed to help bridge the gap between the wealthiest people and everyone else. Ask the experts, and they'll count the ways:

Preschool can lift children from poverty. Top high schools prepare students for college. A college degree boosts pay over a lifetime. And the U.S. economy would grow faster if more people stayed in school longer.

Plenty of data back them up. But the data also show something else:

Wealthier parents have been stepping up education spending so aggressively that they're widening the nation's wealth gap. When the Great Recession struck in late 2007 and squeezed most family budgets, the top 10 percent of earners — with incomes averaging $253,146 — went in a different direction: They doubled down on their kids' futures.

Their average education spending per child jumped 35 percent to $5,210 a year during the recession compared with the two preceding years — and they sustained that faster pace through the recovery. For the remaining 90 percent of households, such spending averaged around a flat $1,000, according to research by Emory University sociologist Sabino Kornrich.

"People at the top just have so much income now that they're easily able to spend more on their kids," Kornrich said.

Full story at The Associated Press News (September 2014)

Modern vocational education urged

A student from Bayi Vocational School in Yushu, Qinghai province, works on a painting. Experts and officials are encouraging the development of modern vocational education to ease the imbalance between labor supply and the huge demand for technical talent. Zhang Hongxiang / Xinhua

By Sun Xiaochen

How can China launch a manned spaceship but can't produce high-quality kitchen knives? The question was raised by members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference earlier this year and triggered a heated debate in China's education system, where experts and officials urged the development of modern vocational education to ease the imbalance between the labor supply and the huge market demand for technical talents.

"There is an urgent need to reform our current education system, which has been struggling to provide high-quality talents with skills and knowledge that meet the demand at the production frontline," Lu Xin, China's deputy minister of education, said at the recent China Development Forum 2014.

"The key for the reform is to push the development of modern vocational education, which will help ease the grim employment situation," Yin Jie, a CPPCC member and deputy director of the Shanghai Education Committee, said.

"Despite technical innovation, the lack of vocational skills for front-line workers has hampered the development of technologies and the upgrade of traditional manufacturing," said Yin.

Shen Qifang, a National People's Congress deputy and the vice-principal of Huzhou Vocational and Technical College, urged a more practical approach that adapts school courses to industrial requirements.

Full story at The China Daily (April 2014)