E-Books

The e-books have evolved, and lots of innovations have taken place in the twenty-first century. The changes are due to the increasing number of audiences who are passionate about reading but have no time going through the print books or long essays. During the 2016 New York City Digital Book World exhibitions, over thirty-five exhibitors participated outlined some innovators have achieved in the e-books development (Joseph & Jha, 2015). Examples of such innovations include the book soundtracks, Narrated Books and the Sky’s the Snippet applications.

A Book Soundtrack is a service providing soundtracks for e-books although they are not audio books. The soundtrack magnifies the reading experience through sounds. For example, when one reads a book that involves construction, one can hear the sound of a hammer that hits the nails against the wall. When one is reading a novel that narrates a person walking down the staircase, the reader can hear the sound of footsteps (Joseph, 2015).

The Audible and Amazon offer the readers a chance to listen to the audiobook while reading the same on an e-book. The Overdrive Company currently provides the publishers with ability synchronize and embed audio in their e-books (Joseph & Jha, 2015). Other e-books have the capability to highlight each word the narrator reads. The Snippet Company has provided Sky’s the Snippet application that provides a media-rich, short form and clean reading experience to the readers (Joseph, 2015). The Sky’s Snippet allows writers to embed social media conversations, photos, videos and videos into the reading experience.

The electronic book is currently taking dynamic trend which will be different shortly from the common tradition already known. The frontline of e-books revolution has revealed trends worth considering. Some of the trends include enhancing and improving e-books, ease, and increase in accessibility and valuing publishers (Joseph, 2015). Consumers and readers have indicated their love and interest for e-books due to accessibility and convenience. Although most people can access the e-books, there is nothing different since most of the e-books are just the digital forms of print media.

In future, however, the trend will change. The e-books will integrate an interactive face between the e-book and the readers. Such examples include videos that guide a user to solve complex statistical problems in Math. Audio pronunciations of words of different languages and memory assessments are also helping readers to assess how much they can remember from their readings (Joseph & Jha, 2015).

Electronic Books are growing rapidly and reaching a broad range of audiences. Although the e-books are readily available and enjoyable to read, they exhibit some shortcomings. Some of the great disadvantages of e-books include the difficulty in understanding them due to straining of eyes on the screen of a device. Moreover, the e-book reader software has enabled reading of e-books across different devices, although it is quite an expensive costing over four hundred dollars which most people cannot afford.

Although the e-books have some shortcomings, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Electronic books have some advantages such as the ability to download, save and read a lot of books in a single gadget such as a handset, unlike print books which are heavy to carry and occupy lots of space (Joseph, 2015).

The Kindle application software enables wireless downloads of all types of electronic books from the Amazon.com. The software also allows a reader to read books across different devices such as personal computers, iPhones or even Android enabled devices. The e-books are never out of stock, unlike the print books which may run out of stock in libraries or bookshops and stores. The electronic books also do not overflow a personal reading shelf or cabinet as they occupy a small storage in a device and can easily be detected when one is no longer in need of a particular e-book.

In conclusion, the electronic books will eventually replace the print media and books due to its benefits to the business model, readers, and civilization. The electronic books have made it possible for everyone who can access the internet to search for, download, save and read any book of their choice. The future generations are more of digital, shopping online virtually everything with no time to run down the street to buy a book.

4 Steps That Need to Be Done to Improve Kenya’s Education System

The young, growing population in Kenya has the potential to transform the economic fortunes of the country. For this transformation to be achieved, the quality and relevance of the skills the young people possess when entering the labor market have to be improved. This requires sustained improvements in the education sector at all levels from primary to tertiary.

A lot has been done regarding access to education. However, more needs to be done regarding the quality and range of educational opportunities. The next few years will be instrumental in determining how Kenya fares as the population of the working-age grow.

Kenya’s primary indicators have been moving the right direction incomparably. According to UNICEF data, the net enrolment has gone up to 89 %.

Let’s look at the steps that need to be taken to improve the education sector in Kenya:

 

  • Reinventing education using powerful distance learning tools adapted to the economic, technological- intensive e-learning that is guided by actual pedagogues

The development of digital content is progressing very well at the Kenya Institute of Education. An ICT curriculum has also been introduced at teacher training level. A proposed 10-year master plan for ICT will make sure that ICT development will become holistic and integrated with all the levels of education. Citizens that will be produced will be more knowledgeable and skilled with ICT and will have the capacity to compete with the outside world as envisioned in Kenya’s Vision 2030.

A national center for ICT in education (NACICTIE ) will be established. The center will have a complete national help desk and support section.

There will be the enhancement of public-private partnership for ICT investment in education and training. The provision of school computers will be based on the ratio of one desktop per 15 learners and a laptop per teacher.

Educational broadcasting services will be launched throughout the country.

  • Investing early in education

Great emphasis has been placed on early childhood education by the Kenyan Government.

More financial and physical resources are to be provided to the Early Childhood Education and Development Program. Free 2 year pre-schooling is provided for all children before they proceed to primary school. The Kenya Institute of Education has provided a comprehensive curriculum for Early Childhood Education. A modern library and resource center for ECED has been established. More resources are provided for systematic training of teachers of ECED institutions. The budgetary allocation for pre-schooling programs has been increased in a bid to make early education a sound investment. Free primary school education has been introduced to make primary education accessible to all Kenyans.

 

Gross enrollment has improved by over 120%. With this increase, the education sector is mired by myriads of challenges that are related to access, quality and equity in the country. All pupils are offered an opportunity for accelerated learning in their early years of schooling.

 

 

  • Evidence-based studies to aid in the restructuring of education

The decision making process by policymakers at the Ministry of Education, The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, The Kenya National Examinations Council, The Teachers Service Commission, The Commission for Higher Education among others isn’t without challenges. A task force on the realignment of education to the new constitution and Vision 2030 present a report that needs to be discussed by all stakeholders before the recommendations are rolled out. Among those recommendations are the new education curriculum reforms that aim at aligning the learners’ knowledge and skills with the dynamic technology and global labor demands

 

  • Curriculum Reforms as part of system change

A new curriculum is being developed. The national education policy on curriculum reforms is guided by the vision of nurturing the potential of all learners. The ultimate aim of the new curriculum is to equip the learners with skills that for the 21st Century. It is anchored on a global shift towards educational programs that encourage optimal human capital development.

There is particular emphasis on the learner’s ability to coexist as a responsible citizen without sectarian inclinations, patriotism, citizenship, and character. The system-wide reforms focus on school-based quality assurance, instructional leadership, improvement of the learning environment, cost-effective and quality teaching material, learning infrastructure that is standard, continuous professional development for education stakeholders and a general drive towards inclusive education.

The reforms also introduce technical and vocational training much earlier in junior secondary school to encourage attainment of academic and industry qualifications. The central focus of the changes is the approach to teaching and learning around the child. The reform process has been producing a flexible curriculum to permit parallel alternative pathways that provide learners with choices of specialization and interests.

 

Conclusively, quality education will be provided by injecting these steps into the system. The integration of policies aimed at disruption and transformation for the acquisition of tangible results is essential.

Education and Media Influence on Formation of New Taiwanese Identity after Democratization of 1990s

Identity formation is a process of development of an individual’s distinct sense of being or personality, where then the process brings about the variance of individuals from others. National identity is, therefore, a person’s self-identity by which he/she believes to be of a specific country. For one to understand Taiwan’s new identity formation, its previous identity should be recognized. Taiwan was ruled under martial law by KMT from 1945 until the democratic reforms of 1980. Upon their democracy, Taiwan people had varying views, on which their fellow citizens are, where their country borders should be and even much so, which state they belong to (Shen, 2013),A new unique identity arose when the nation became a democratic state where the influence of education and mass media came in the sense that, the modern found democracy ushered a new era of freedom of expression and end to media restrictions hence there was ease of access to information leading to rising of Taiwanese identity. Education influence was through new curricula on native Taiwanese cultural heritage were introduced in schools among other factors. This paper analyzes in depth the importance of education and media in the formation of new Taiwanese identity (Shen, 2013).

Taiwan’s national identity is better understood by knowing its ethnic composition. Taiwan’s population consists of the mainlanders and native Taiwanese, where the natives are the original inhabitants of Taiwan before KMT reign, while the mainlanders are the immigrants who came into the country during regime above (Shen, 2013). During KMT rule, the natives were oppressed as the mainlanders controlled all aspects of political, economic and social resources, including all learning institutions and media. Upon the democratic upheaval, the political arena was then in the natives hands owing to their majority, but mainlanders control a majority of learning institutions and mass media. During the period of democratization, Chinese national identity by mainlanders and Taiwanese national identity by natives became more distinct. Evidently, ownership of the tools of acquiring information and dissemination of information by the minority group significantly shaped the outlook of the new Taiwanese identity. KMT’s ruling council owned all media houses and so controlled the content of the media houses and often to portray their regime in favorable circumstances at the same time condemning the natives by highlighting them on derogatory narratives (Shen, 2013) . Furthermore, by owning a majority of the learning institutions, KMT controlled the curricula where learning was streamlined to teaching that Chinese culture was evolved and better than native Taiwanese culture. The learning institutions were the primary levels of indoctrination of the young minds to adopt the Chinese culture. This state of affairs served as one of the significant sources of contention leading to rapid growth of the new Taiwanese identity[1] (Teon, 2017).

According to (Shen, 2013), “the frequent and large-scale ethnic mobilization by the native elites to gain political support during the early stage of democratization contributed to the surge of Taiwanese national identity in the 1990s”. From the excerpt, by the onset of mass media advancement greatly aided the large-scale and frequency of mobilization, leading to deterioration of Chinese identity and ascension of Taiwanese national identity, as posited by (Shen, 2013). With the freedoms of association and assembly existing after democratization, the natives were able to meet and discuss their issues without fear of victimization or harassment by the previous regime. The sense of security provided by the democracy and togetherness experienced through the mobilization significantly influenced the formation of Taiwanese identity (Bachofer, 2014).

New mass media was established upon the withdrawal of martial law in 1987, and this meant that the pro-Taiwanese hardliners had legal avenues to sensitize the previously oppressed fellow countrymen. With the many bans such as freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly also lifted, the newly minted mass media worked in tandem with these new avenues to create social awareness among the majority of the population and eventually saw the rapid formation of Taiwanese national identity. Perhaps the most significant media tool that thrived during this era of media freedom was newspaper industry. Before bans lift, there were two dominant newspapers, China Times and United Daily News (UDN) both under KMT’s inner ruling circle as mentioned by (Tsai, 2016). However, upon bans withdrawal, rapid establishment of print houses was quite evident. Among the new newspapers, Liberty Times was the most prominent. It arose quite rapidly taking up considerable market portion by identifying with the more significant audience using its pro-independence stand (Tsai, 2016). With Liberty Times pro-independence stand, the more substantial market share meant that the majority of the population being the natives was educated through the newspaper and this forged a greater sense Taiwanese identity. This development led to the rapid formation of new Taiwanese identity.

At the onset of democracy, Taiwanese heritage became much more discussed in history books (Korostelina, 2013), by a more significant understanding of Taiwanese cultural origins, Chinese state identification decreased, and Taiwanese identity strengthened. Curriculum reforms were made during this period. Immense changes were made in the history syllabuses, where books on Taiwanese culture and heritage were introduced to different grades of primary schools. “The new curriculum included such topics as the customs, traditions, history, culture, economics, politics, religion and social issues of the country”. These developments cemented the sense of Taiwanese national identity at such impressionable ages, where these young nationalists would later influence further stronger Taiwanese identity once they grew into adult members of the society.

Though many books published around that period avoided direct reference to Taiwanese people and in so doing it circumvented emphasis on the view of nationalism, however, the mere fact of multiple identities at least replaced the purely Chinese individualism, hence the ethnic aspect of Taiwanese identity was empowered (Korostelina, 2013)Writers were a cautious at those early stages of democracy due to the uncertainty of their newly acquired freedoms because mainlanders still owned most economical and social structures (Dave’).

The book presented a fresh wave of a nationwide historical learning in three key facets, China, Taiwan and the world (Korostelina, 2013)after that Taiwan was explained as entirely distinct from its previous reference as a Chinese faction. The book explained the difference between Taiwanese and Chinese and even furthermore describing the geographical and political dissimilarities. Such publications consequently brought a sense of equality between inland China and island Taiwan where Taiwanese people started identifying the unique aspects of their culture. Worth mentioning is the fact that, Chinese culture was not wholly expunged, curricula did encourage one’s identification equally with Taiwan and China (Korostelina, 2013). The pro-alliance nationalists were not very fond of the curricula which led to several demonstrations among these nationalists. Chinese cultural influence and natives’ oppression were hence reduced in the long run but also let to some form societal tension among the people. Finally, Taiwanese stance as a dynamic multicultural society was therefore born from these strides in political and social development which in this later years has seen Taiwan’s accelerated economic advancement as a nation that came together after years of political strive now finally ready to mainly focus on realizing a national economic prosperity (Zhong, 2015).

In conclusion, it is evident that media and education had a significant influence on the formation of new Taiwanese identity after independence. Media influences were first through the fact that the KMT regime owned a majority of the schools and media up to even after democratization and so it influenced the media content in their favor and this escalated tension. Secondly, with the new freedom of speech and association, media changed a large scale and rapid ethnic mobilization among the natives lead to stronger Taiwanese national identity. Finally, martial law lifting of 1987 also saw bans on media freedom lifted which lead to a rapid emergence of the print press; this saw prominent pro-independence newspapers influencing Taiwanese identity formation. Education first changed identity formation by the curricula reforms in schools teaching Taiwanese ethnic heritage. Secondly, publications of numerous historical books help educate people on Taiwanese cultural background (Jacobs, 2014). Finally, national education through essential books that defined Taiwan’s cultural, political and geographical distinction from China.

Education in Guatemala: The Most Significant Problems to Change

In recent years, the education system in Guatemala has significantly improved. More people have access to education now than ever before. Still, the country faces literacy challenges where statistics point out that in every ten Guatemalans, one is illiterate. In the urban areas, education systems continue to impact positively to the students to almost required levels while in the rural areas, the opposite is prevalent. This can be explained by the large gap between the rich and the poor and also the resources disparity between urban and rural areas.

How Is the Education System in Guatemala?

The education system in Guatemala consists of primary, middle, secondary, vocational and tertiary education. It is mandatory and free for every child to go through the first six years of primary school. This situation does not guarantee education, however, because of the scarcity of schools in the rural areas. The resources in the available schools are also inadequate due to lack of funding.

The number of students in the education system gets lower with each stage. The tertiary level has the lowest number of students.

What Are These Problems?

  • Poor Funding

Poor education is a result of corruption and bureaucracy. Aims to improve the system with the provision of necessities such as textbooks have failed terribly because of those put in charge. It is required that each child is fed at school with balanced meals to prevent malnutrition. The program was not successful because the funds are always late and barely enough.

Besides, despite the requirement that education is free for all students, parents have to contribute to several projects such as water projects. It is for these reasons that parents might choose not to send their children to school.

  • Overworked Teachers

Reports from UNICEF point out that in the rural areas of Guatemala, a teacher is responsible for more than 40 students each. In other schools, a teacher is responsible for more than three sets of separate age groups of students and is also the head of the school. Low wages and low resource provision also makes it even more difficult to teach these students. This makes more people unwilling to take the career.

  • Crime

There have been cases where criminal gangs have threatened to both teachers and students demanding protection money. In the case where they have not paid, the schools have been closed indefinitely. Crime is prevalent in the Guatemala Society with occasions of injury or death happening in schools.

  • Natural Disasters

Guatemala is a region prone to floods, landslides, and earthquakes. Many school buildings stay in poor condition because the repair was never done after these natural calamities. In the case that any of the disasters occur, students remain out of school for an indefinite amount of time.

 

  •  an Education System That Is Failing

In 2017, protests and strikes by teachers all over the country shortened the learning period to only 146 days. This can be directly blamed by the fact that more and more students lack simple educational understanding skills. The report also pointed out that in every five students, only one had a basic comprehension of mathematics. It is for this reason that fewer and fewer students join the next level of education because only a few can pass the required test criteria.

 

What Can Be Done to Improve Education in Guatemala?

  • Ensuring that education is result oriented and centered on the child regardless of their gender or origin. It would go a long way in creating a conducive environment for studying to those who are discriminated against.
  • Ensuring that the teachers posted the classrooms are appropriately trained with required skills and that they are attentive to the rights of the children and gender sensitive. Besides, these teachers must have an appropriate wage and a reasonable responsibility regarding the ratio between students to a teacher.
  • Promotion of health systems in schools. The only way to impact the poverty-stricken communities in Guatemala is providing information to students on various health issues. Issues such as HIV/AIDS, hygiene and nutrition will not only be relevant to them but also the society.
  • Creating an enabling environment in schools through sports. Sports has for long been great motivators towards self-esteem, leadership, and teamwork. If the opportunity to engage in games promoted in the schools, then education will be wholesome not only building on academic skills but also personal and social skills among the students.
  • More commitment by the Government towards education. 50% of the challenges facing the education system in the country would have a solution if the government became more committed. This commitment would include assigning more budgets for resources, training of teachers and campaigns to ensure that each child receives an education.

 

There is an excellent chance for the education system to be better and even more, for the education system to present the country with better leadership, health, and gender sensitivity. It is only through education that atrocities such as crime, discrimination and poor management will get permanent solutions.