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Category Archives: education
My today’s Article is a result of my unquenched thirst of being an Actuarial Professional at my very young age. Soon after my graduation in 1966, I was in search of some extra-ordinary course that can be done externally, giving intellectual status and financially paying more. By referring some Booklets on Educational and Vocational Guidance, I had come to know about the Institute of Actuaries, London (U.K.).
Though the doors for this Actuarial Examination were open even for a Matriculate candidate, I dared not proceed further due to my graduation in Arts with Literature and Sociology. No doubt, I was brilliant in Mathematics and Higher Arithmetic in the times of my Old S.S.C. (1959), the Board Examination followed after Std. XI; but, it was not enough to cope with this rather tough examination.
My going through the pattern and syllabus of the examination shook me from my inner confidence with hesitation that Science graduates with Mathematics and Statistics only can succeed fairly in this examination. Gone is gone, but still I can satisfy myself if my post on the subject inspires any of my Readers to make career in field of Actuary or add one more qualification to any Professional degree already occupied.
Above referred Institute was established in London (GB) in 1848. Though India was being ruled by the British then, we had been fortunate late in 1944 to establish our own such institute named as “Actuarial Society of India (ASI) which got its membership of International Actuarial Society Association in 1979. ASI was got registered in 1982 under Registration of Licensing Scientific & Charitable Act.
To be qualified as an Actuarial Scientist through ASI or any such recognized Institution of the world is considered as the greatest achievement and no any other credentials are asked for when you apply for a job or start your own Consultancy Service.
Initially Actuarial Profession was limited to Insurance Industry and the task of its experts was to deal with studying life risk factors, framing tariffs of premiums and counseling financial managements. They used logical abilities and mathematical probabilities to make near to accurate predictions. They helped the Insurance Companies to design Pension Plans, Gratuity, Insurance policies and other financial strategies by estimating the probability and likely cost of the occurrence of an event such as death, injury, sickness or loss of property and other types of risk. But in present days, the services of Actuaries are in hot demand in other sectors also as Project Management, Banking, Health care, Product designing and Corporate planning. There are various Designations of Actuaries as Analyst, Consultant, Manager, Director, Associate Actuary, Pricing Actuary etcetera.
Before summing up this brief informative Article, I would like to suggest that any candidate should get some competent University graduation before, meanwhile or after this Actuarial Examination as the specialized qualification only may limit your scopes of making a career. Specific information regarding eligibility, examination pattern etc. can be gathered by going to web sites of respective Institutes.
Hopefully, you have got good primary knowledge on the topic.
– Valibhai Musa
Click here to read in Gujarati
Today my heart, paining with the burning issue of violence now-a-days spread over one or the other country of the world, stimulates me to write something still more over and above some of my previous articles in this regard. Wars and conflicts, both military and civilian, can never bring permanent solutions of the issues. The world has experienced the failure of experiments of violence and still we are not prepared to give a serious thought over the philosophy of non-violence successfully experimented by Mahatma Gandhi. The world is now weary of hate and violence. Far past and recent massacres made through Atomic Bombs and Bomb Blasts have destroyed the lives of such a number of people with whom, if they were alive, we could have started a new world on any planet of the universe.
Let me very frankly put a new equation as “World = Rulers + Ruled”. The Rulers are at top, the Ruled are at bottom. The Rulers are few and the Ruled are countless. Out of both the divisions, the oppressors are few, the oppressed are many. From top to bottom, those some very few are engaged in how to destroy the earth, its innocent population, its balanced environment, its natural resources, its social law and order, its peace and comforts, its primary needs for survival of all creatures, its ideology and spirituality and its many more physical and abstract concerns. A great number of the oppressed have to judge who use Atomic Bombs and alike destroying weapons as the Rulers and who use Bomb Blasts and similar practices damaging and disturbing civilian lives as the Ruled. A neutral observer will not generalize them in particular group of East or West and Caste or Religion. They will classify them as a single group of known as the enemies of humanity and rebellious against the God and His Divinity.
The Birthday (2nd October) of Mahatma Gandhi has been declared as International Non-violence Day by the UNO. But, what of that if the purpose of the day is not served! All the member nations of the UNO should at least introduce the study of Non-violence minimum at Primary Education level and see we can create a new generation throughout the world that can change the face of the world with a new concept of Non-violence. Revolutionary education to present growing up generation may bring good results flourished fully after 100 years if we start today. I recall an ancient system of erecting walls with bricks and stones around the capital cities of a particular kingdom to protect it from the attacks of the enemies. In that context, I remember a quote somewhere read as “Just to prevent the wars, walls should be built in the minds of the people.” The lessons of Non-violence will surely build the castles in the minds of the new generation and thus the future of the world will be very bright and the earth will be worth living for all.
I am not an expert of National and/or International Politics as well as not a scholar of World History. But, with my simple logic and understanding, I have come to a conclusion that due to some political mistakes, the powerful nations opted wars instead of some alternative solutions of the issues and as a result millions of human lives have been destroyed. Some political critics have openly blamed those powerful nations that they have imposed wars upon the world under the pretext of saving all from destructive weapons and that also with a good name of war for peace. But, the outcomes of those so called wars for peace are before our eyes and we have no any option but to believe in that all these misfortunes are the side products of those wars.
It is the irony of the fate of the world that the scientists try to know whether life is possible on other planets like Mars; but here on this Earth, we see that life is possible but not safe. Human is not safe in transportations, on roads, in hospitals, in their business premises, in religious places, in schools or colleges, in their farms or even at its home.
Just for some moments meanwhile, I’ll go to a personal matter of mine just to co-relate it with my following point of the Article. My Friend Dr. K. M. Patel’s daughter, Urmila is preparing for her Ph.D. in the subject of “Saul Bellow – an American Novelist”. I chatted on internet to feed some contents if useful to her. I chanced to collect a dialogue from Saul Bellow’s novel “Ravelsterin” (Frankly speaking, I have not read the full novel) which is very important for me to advocate humanity. The dialogue is as “There are times when I need to ride in the subway at rush hour or sit in a crowded movie house-that’s what I mean by a humanity bath. As cattle must have salt to lick, I sometimes crave physical contact.”
I pick up only two words ‘humanity bath’ from above text and join my Readers with me to imagine a ‘blood bath’ resulted from a bomb blast and victims would have been travelers of any transport or spectators of any movie in a theatre. Those enemies of humanity take away the lives of many in a second and on the other hand some Surgeons try to save a single life with some major operations for hours. A mother sacrifices her whole life to bring up her child and make him a young man and in no moments he becomes the victim of such man-made disasters. A doctor who studies up to the age of about 25 years and has been capable to save the lives of many patients and he loses his valuable life in a very cheap manner. Many blood donors worldwide donate their blood willingly to save the lives of unknown people and here the sacred blood of many innocents is spilt and wasted.
Mahatma Gandhi has rightly said, “We see that this song of hate has not benefited humanity.” I repeat my words placed in my previous Article “International Non-violence Day” and say that to walk on the way of Non-violence is rather difficult and perhaps the result may be disappointing. Gandhiji has explained this issue of doubt in his words as “My faith is as strong as ever. There is no hope for the aching world except through the narrow and straight path of Non-violence. Millions like me may fail to prove the truth in their lives; that would be their failure, never of the eternal law.”
While summing up, I would suggest to my Gujarati Readers to read a poem of Zaverchand Meghani titled as “Ghan re bole!” (ઘણ રે બોલે!). A sledge (big hammer) and an anvil (એરણ)are the instruments of a blacksmith. In personification flower of speech (સજીવારોપણ અલંકાર), the hammer and the anvil have been imagined as brother and sister respectively. Here, the brother speaks and the sister hears. The sledge declares its (his) wish before the anvil to make some creative equipments useful to mankind rather than destructive weapons used in wars. It is a wonderful poem that can be sung in tune of a singing prayer (ભજન).
Let us pray to God for prosperity and happiness of the world.
– Valibhai Musa
Dtd.: Aug 15, 2008
Abraham Lincoln’s definition for Democratic Government is well known to all that it is of the people, for the people and by the people. In my today’s blog post, I am going to discuss ‘Government for the people’ only in the light of the topic titled above. In the interest of a wide mass of parents worldwide, I represent here my ‘thought exercise’ that the inequalities of opportunities in education based on money should no longer be continued anywhere. Not only for the healthy democracy but also for improving economical conditions of all citizens, all nations should provide full facility and equal opportunity for all types of education to their citizens. As the part of disclaimer, let me be frank that the discussion of the topic in general reflects my own personal views and ideas and not necessarily binding to all.
In most of democratic countries of the world, the fundamental right of Education has been emphasized in their Constitutions or Parliamentary Bills passed for all their citizens without any favor or discrimination of community, caste, religion, section, creed, domicile or any other status. Some undeveloped and underdeveloped countries, due to their shortcomings of funds, can provide education free or with reasonable fees up to primary or maximum secondary level to their citizens. But, as far as university education is concerned, many developed and developing countries also cannot afford high costs in this regard. Just to meet with the problem of funds, many countries have adopted the concept of privatization and allowing self financed institutions.
This system makes the poor deprived of college education and thus poverty breeds poverty. Let me stress, here, that this is not the justice. Some rich students can get quality education with power of money and the poor poor-fellows, in spite of being meritorious, cannot have college education. “A government for the many, not the few” may be a good political slogan to some extent; but when we come to ‘education’ and specially to this so called new concept of ‘self-finance’, the slogan turns about with the changed words as “A Government for the few, not the many!”.
Muhammad Yunus of Bangla Desh, a Noble Prize (2006) winner for Peace said, “Poverty is a threat to peace. I believe that putting resources into improving the lives of the poor is a better strategy to end the most of the problems in the society.”If we go further to above belief, we will have to approve the established truth that the education to the citizens is the only important resource to bring peace in the society. Keeping away the poor from having education means that we encourage such a great mass of youths to choose the destructive paths such as forming gangs, committing violence, creating war zones in streets, drug selling and making them its addicts.
Approval of necessity of education for all is idealism and failure in implementation of the strategy of education by the Governments and/or societies is realism. Between these two ‘isms’ there is the wide gap which must be tried to be filled in. Governments consider the expenses made on education as non-productive, but it is far from truth. Today’s non-productive expense may bring a multiple revenue for the nation tomorrow. Ignoring essentiality of education to the citizens of every class has to pay a heavy price with creation of destructive youths as shown above who go astray and try to show their identity in negative ways. As a result, the integrity and peace of the nation is adversely affected.
Most of the Governments with the pretext of insufficient income from tax resources, tryto escape from this vital responsibility of providing all level education free of costs or at reasonable fees to their citizens. They have adopted a new, but to say the worst, concept of privatization with the hidden meaning of commercialization and have started to allow self financed educational institutions in a large number. Here, we can see that there is the great indirect exploitation of the poor and only the rich can reach the quality education with the power of money. This type of discrimination based on economical standings is the greatest social injustice in democratic nations. There may come a day when these suppressed people may unite and rebel against such unjust system and pro-rich policy shapers in the Governments. Some political parties, for the lowest reason of electoral profit and collection of election funds from the rich, overlook the national interest to maintain socio-economical balance in the society. Any nation can become the great only when even the last member can share the opportunities rendered by the Governments for uplifting of own life. In brief to say, no any norm but merit only should be there particularly in system of Education when entrance in a college is being given.
Let us have an in-depth look at how to find out some moderate and practical solutions of the problem in question. According to the suggestions of the World Bank – scholarships, lower fees and subsidies should be implemented in the interest of the poor getting admissions in the self financed colleges. Between the lines, let us examine in brief one more issue of various Reservations. I am not against Reservations personally. Of course, there must be Reservations for certain class of students who are socially backward. But, these Reservations should be limited to primary and secondary education. At college level, the merit of the student should only be taken into consideration for quality graduates, post graduates and doctorates. To facilitate the citizens to have equal opportunity for fair college education, the Governments should run an adequate number of colleges or universities with provision of reasonable and affordable fees. If the Governments are not able to cope with such huge expenses, they may make a choice of private alternatives with certain conditions; for example, the private sectors must start a parallel college or institution with same infrastructure with equal numbers of seats of students with no any capitation fees but the tuition fees only and that also at Government approved rates. Any way may be adopted, but there must be the clear concept that the meritorious students who come from poor families must have the equal opportunity of getting education which the prosperous students can avail.
Summing up, any nation’s true wealth lies in its vast human resources and particularly the youths. To build a nation strong, youths must be utilized as the stones. The rough stones cannot be used, they need to be shaped. Education is such a process through which only the aims of a nation can be fulfilled. I’ll quote a saying as “A stone that is fit for the wall can never be found in the way.” If the poor are ignored by the newly adopted self financing system of education, it will prove that the Governments and societies have left such precious and useful stones scattered in the streets.
I would like to end this post with repetition of my disclaimer that these are entirely my own thoughts and my way of thinking and they are not intended to offend anybody’s belief.
– Valibhai Musa
Dtd.: 26th March, 2008
Determination has a very vital importance in making a career or achieving the goals in any field of our life. Determination today leads to success tomorrow. “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.” said Tommy Lasorda. These are the positive forecasts of results coming out from determination. It is very easy for anybody to say still more in this regard. Simply to say is one thing and put in practice is another. Determination is the driving force or energy which makes you active to proceed further and further. Sometimes, the person has to face some difficulties during the course of struggle which may make him nervous or disappointed; but your power of determination comes forward to help you to overcome the obstacles.
Here, I am not going to talk about the great persons like Mahatma Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln or many others who with their strong will-power could achieve the goals they dreamt as the mission of their lives for the good of the human kind. The Readers can get the knowledge of their struggles from the hundreds and thousands of the volumes written worldwide about them.
My today’s blog is about a student who, of course, did show his high performance just to make his own career and the benefits of his achievements may be limited to himself or his family; but the lesson which is to be learnt from him is very important for numerous students worldwide. It is said in an English poem, “Sweet are the uses of adversity.” Our Hero of this Article, here, proved how an impossible thing can be converted to possible with power of determination.
Before I introduce the Hero, I would like to remind of my previous Article “A Demise of a Gentleman” to my Readers. Here is the story of that Gentleman’s son – Ashraf. His story is not at all intended for his praise only. There is the inspiration to a great mass of students who get very poor results in their secondary examinations and postpone going further for college education.
Firstly, I’ll quote Henderson for his funny quote quite appropriate here. It is as this: “Fathers send their sons to college either because they went to college or because they didn’t.” In this case, Mr. Ahmadbhai Palasara didn’t go to college as he was needed to join his family business as soon as his Secondary education was over. But he was of the opinion that the next generation must get University education.
Now, we come to Mr. Ashraf. He was admitted to English Medium School near his native place at a time when studying in English Medium was very rare among the villagers. It was very difficult for a kid to study in English Medium then due to lack of conducive environment at home and in the society (as everyone had then studied in Gujarati Medium due to which there was very limited guidance, if at all, as far as studies were concerned). He struggled at school a lot right from the beginning because of lack of understanding of the basics of mathematics, science, etc due to language barrier. As the time passed by, his difficulties only increased and rather than performing well in his studies, he just passed that too with great difficulties. Due to business circumstances, his family had to shift to Ahmedabad when he was in class 4. He then wanted to change the medium to Gujarati so that he can perform better. But his late father inspired him a lot to continue with English Medium. Ashraf says, “Initially, after I decided to continue class 4 in English medium hesitantly in Ahmedabad I felt it tough and repented for my foolish decision of continuing with the medium of instruction as English; but my Pappa encouraged me by saying that the only thing for which they have sent me to English medium school is to have good command over English language which could later help serve the business purpose and I need not worry about good scoring. Later, I came to know that the very simple tip given by him was only for the reason that I should stick to my decision.”
Mr. Ashraf passed his S.S.C.(1994) with very poor result with the scoring of only 55% marks and he feels that it was only a miracle which helped him pass SSC considering his preparations and performance in the exams. It was at this juncture that he felt that he should give a serious thought to what he wants to do in life going forward. There were two options – quit studies and join family business or study further with full heart and soul and perform better. He chose to continue with studies, preferred commerce stream and significantly improved his performance in H.S.C. (1996) by securing 75% marks. Now again decision had to be made – whether he should join the family business or go for further studies in the form of University education and this was the turning point of his life. He was encouraged by the family and friends to join college. He finally decided to study further, but not just simple graduation in commerce. He thought that only graduation or post graduation was just like to add oneself into a great mass of those unlucky people who are wandering here and there to have a job or do something else with no much rewards. My Readers will be surprised to know that he decided to join the advanced course of Chartered Accountancy. This decision was just like to put a large morsel into the narrow and small mouth; but he was determined.
Here, he had the only plus point in favor of his decision that he had good command over English now and he was sure that he could compete with other students with his only weapon of struggle. And lo! He passed his C.A. with merit (33rd rank) in India at the age of 22 (Nov-2000). This was the specialized professional degree and there was no need of any graduation, but he passed his B.Com.(1999) with 70% marks (May-1999) by the time he passed out C.A. exams. This was not enough for him and he further passed LL.B.- General in 2001. Now he had the degrees of double Graduation and also a specialized degree of C.A...
Our Hero was not satisfied with his C.A. (India) as he was desirous to make his career abroad and for that very purpose he took Uniform C.P.A.(U.S.A.) exams in 2003 and at the very first trial he succeeded in that too. Now, he was double Chartered Accountant and double Graduate. Now, the third degree of the same field was in his mind and that was A.C.C.A. (U.K.). That was also achieved in 2004. At present, he is in Australia and is planning to clear his 4th degree of the same profession (CA Australia) and he is sure he will. A very simple logic behind this collection of the degrees of Accountancy was that he can make his career anywhere through out the world. He is also planning to pass perhaps his last exam of M.Com. in India at his convenient time – sometime in future.
Now, we will glance through his professional career to see which global firms he has worked with over years.
— Worked in India from August 1997 to April 2002 with various Chartered Accountancy firms (Trushit Chokshi & Associates, Yusuf C Mansuri & Co., Manubhai & Co.)
— Worked with KPMG Muscat (Oman) office (one of the Big4 firms for Audit, Advisory and Tax services globally) from June 2002 until July 2005
— Worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Dubai (UAE) office (one of the Big4 firms for Audit, Advisory and Tax services globally) from August 2005 to April 2006)
— Currently working with Deloitte Sydney (Australia) office since May 2006
Ashraf is currently a member of the following professional bodies/chapters:
— The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) – India
— Sydney Chapter of ICAI – Sydney, Australia
—Colorado State Board of Accountancy (licensed CPA) – CO, USA
— Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) – United Kingdom
This is not enough. He also concentrated towards the career of his wife – Rubina. She is M.Com. and also on her way to A.C.C.A. (U.K.). She has recently appeared for the last four papers of total 14 papers and all these four papers are mandatory to be passed all at a time to achieve ACCA qualification.
We will leave the real story of Mr. Ashraf here… The students put in such situation may get inspiration from his struggle with strong determination. Power of determination is like magnet which makes the person to remain sticky to whatever he undertakes for his advancement to the goal. Thomas Alva Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” My favorite personality Winston Churchill also says, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
Above article does not concern only to students. It is equally applicable to all kinds of people for whatever their fields may be. Theodore Roosevelt quotes a common theory in this regard as “Do what you can, with what you have and where you are.”
That’s all, my good Readers.
– Valibhai Musa
Dtd. 17th July, 2007
P.S. : It will be a matter of surprise to my Readers that after the publication of above Article, Mr. Ashraf has already secured his fourth degree i.e. C.A. (Australia). His Qualifications can be read as ” B.Com., LL.B., C.A.(India), C.P.A.(U.S.A.), A.C.C.A.(U.K.), C.A.(Australia). Congratulations (Author)
Dtd. : 8th August, 2007
Power of Determination