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The dangers of ignoring opportunity costs - Ahead Education

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Can the market be truly predicted?

Editorial

The effects of education on gender equality - Ahead Education

Ahead Education, 3 Aug 2016

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Ahead Education, 27 Jul 2016


In the middle of a public debate concerning Apple’s overseas cash stockpile of $216 billion, there is a similar discussion whether Apple truly holds that amount in cash. Some claim that the money is stockpiling because Apple is not able to bring it back to the United States for fear of being subjected to corporate taxes. There are, however, other more fundamental reasons, why a company basing itself on innovation chooses to save as much money as possible.

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The dangers of ignoring opportunity costs

Why Apple sits on so much cash

Education

Ahead Education, 17 Aug 2016


Is it possible to predict a certain stock? Can past price movements predict the future? The debate over the efficiency of the financial markets is as old as the markets themselves. The battle between bulls and bears takes another dimension between those who claim that the markets are as efficient as a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), and those who assume them to be arenas of overly sentimental mobs, mildly chaotic, but sometimes dangerously in unison.

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Ahead Education, 10 Aug 2016


You will not find it in financial statements nor in accounting ledgers. Yet, it’s a central idea in sound business decision-making, which should not be taken lightly. The opportunity cost is a virtual construct that could and should be applied in management as well as in finance, if not in daily life as well.


What is an opportunity cost?


In simple terms, when facing two choices, the opportunity cost is the ... READ MORE

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The effects of education on gender equality

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They say education is the great equalizer. Equal educational opportunities have repeatedly proven successful for socio-economic equity in countries with high wealth inequalities, racial equity in multi-ethnic countries, and gender equity in a vast part of the world. While the subject mostly refers to developing countries, there are still biases, with varying degrees of severity, present in some modernized countries. Not only do women acquire more knowledge and skills through education, thus bringing an economic impact, education would also improve their health, fight against human trafficking, and enhance their civic participation.

According to the
data provided by the United Nations Development Programme, we can easily find a strong correlation between primary school dropout rates, the gender inequality index (GII), female adult mortality rates, and infant mortality rates. While there are certainly other factors that come into play (e.g. war), the two global regions showing the strongest causality between education and gender inequality are Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Education improves the health of women: When implemented, education improves women and children’s welfare through reduction of maternal mortality, adolescent birth rate, and exposure to deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS. A
2013 study by the UN Chronicle reveals that every schooling year reduces the probability of infant mortality by 5% to 10%. Additionally, children born to literate mothers have 50 percent more likelihood to survive past 5 years.

Aside from learning about protection against sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, educated girls and women are more likely to know that HIV can be transmitted through breast feeding. They would equally be aware that there are available drugs to prevent transmission of HIV to the fetus during pregnancy. Moreover, from a general perspective, education provides a better understanding on sanitation, hygiene, vaccination, and on seeking adequate medical advice. All these elements contribute to a far improved health dimension for women, providing them further opportunities to engage in societal and economic contribution. A tangible example comes from Swaziland: while two-third of uneducated teenage girls are HIV positive, two-third of girls in school are HIV-free.

Education increases independence and reduces human trafficking: According to the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, women are most vulnerable to human trafficking when they are poor and uneducated. An educated woman is more likely to be self-dependent economically, and be less prone to exploitation. She would contribute more sustainably to her family with increased earning power, thus re-enforcing the educational rights of her children and completing a virtuous circle. Independent women are less likely to be subject to sexual slavery, forced labor, forced marriages, human organ extraction, and surrogacy.

Education enhances the civic participation: Women are often marginalized in several countries. This is most particularly true when there is an educational disparity with their male counterparts. The opposite is equally true, educated women are empowered to engage in the civic and political landscapes of their communities, from small villages to national politics. Not only does this provide a platform for expressing their opinions, it also allows them to shape their environment in a way that can furthermore improve societal justice. Such breakthroughs would not only help some women reach leadership roles, but would also pave the way to slowly dismantle long established cultural and social stigma vis-à-vis women in many of the developing countries (even in some developed ones).

A
study done by the UK’s Department for International Development shows five common challenges that threaten girls’ access for education: high cost of education, poor school environments, weak position of women in society, conflicts, and social exclusion based on ethnicity, religion, or disability. A strong cooperation between private and public is therefore required at tackling those challenges.

What can I do as an individual or business to support?

Considering the complexity of the situation in many locations, tackling the educational crisis would require collaboration on mainly three fronts: educational human resources, logistic, and political. Based on each of those three themes, a business or an individual can contribute, no matter how modestly:

Educational human resources: A broken educational cycle often includes the lack of skilled teachers. It is therefore a possibility to volunteer as an individual for temporary teaching programs in some countries, enriching your life experience and those of others.

Logistic: Particularly in many rural areas, school presence and access is the highest obstacle for providing education. This support would guarantee the construction of schools and educational-related facilities. It would also help provide scholarships to enhance the financial access to higher education.

Political: An adequate global political climate is required for improving the quality and accessibility of education in areas of high risk. Individuals and businesses can contribute by promoting adequate platforms, engaging in associations, funding and supporting appropriate programs, directly or indirectly.

Through raising awareness, funding, or directly participating in projects, it is a social and global duty for every person, individual or business, to show solidarity. Gender equality is not only about breaking the glass ceiling; sometimes it is about entering the door, through education for all. We end this article with the golden words of a great teacher, from whom we learned a lot about human rights and compassion, Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”