12 YEARS OF BASIC EDUCATION

The importance given to education has risen parallel / in tandem with development. Whereas schooling was not considered such a priority in the 19th century now it is compulsory for children up to a certain age. This is 16 in the UK and 14 currently in Turkey. Ideally, the period of compulsory education should include college as well; obviously the better educated the youth are, the better prepared for life they are and the more useful they are for society. Yet is Turkey ready for such an undertaking / venture? The answer is most certainly not. Therefore, the idea of extending compulsory education to include high school as well should be postponed to a later date.

Politicians who are concerned with votes and winning elections are trying to push through legislation with complete disregard for the fact that the infrastructure is not in place. 12 years compulsory education looks good on paper but what about school buildings? Let us imagine for the sake of argument that some businessman built the school; things don’t stop there: what about white boards, computers, modern facilities, furniture? In a poor country with a soaring budget deficit, can the ministry of education really claim to be able to provide all this by September in every village? It doesn’t seem likely.

Secondly, assuming that all the practical requirements have been met, there is the small problem of teaching staff. Teachers don’t grow on trees; what is more Turkey refuses to employ existing graduates of teacher training colleges. How does the government propose to man schools under these circumstances? Obviously, no one wants a mediocre teacher or teachers fresh out of college; they want the good ones. Under these conditions how can equality be provided? Some people will get a good education while others may not even be able to read properly.

Thirdly, in a developing country where the pressure to enter the job market is high do we need to keep everyone in school until they are 18? Most people would prefer to learn job skills or go to a vocational school; they may think trigonometry and modern physics are unnecessary for them and they can’t really be blamed. 14 is a much more realistic stopping place; besides, we haven’ managed to apply this rule properly yet.

Some may claim that keeping children in school until they are 18 might enable the government to instill good moral values and sound general principles. However, not everyone agrees with the state’s definition of good moral values: some people may desire a more secular education to one heavily laden with religion. Everyone should have a right to provide their children with the education they believe is right.

In conclusion, Turkey is not ready to extend schooling to include high school and they will not be ready for a long time. What is more, even if they were, such a move could be undemocratic. The solution is business as usual for the foreseeable future.

BALANCING RESPONSIBILITIES

The break-neck speed at which modern life is lived and the amount of living that needs to be fitted into each day is a source of frustration and stress for all. You would be forgiven for thinking that students don’t fit the bill; in fact the demands on their time are as numerous as adults’. They have responsibilities but they also have hobbies and interests; they need to succeed at school to get ahead in the rat race but they also want a life. Maintaining a healthy balance is an art which needs to be fine-tuned. There is one major way in which this can be achieved: persuading parents to stop molly-coddling their children.

Taking responsibility and time management should be learnt in childhood. A lot parents will go out of their way to pick up after kids, ferry them to school and friends, do part of their homework, and the like. Tidying up is considered hard work, the bus is considered far too dangerous and homework is considered to be team work. This attitude, though well- meant, has devastating effects later in life when the young person has to balance work and life and finds that mummy isn’t there to help. The result is frustration and misery, which can be avoided very easily if parenting methods are changed.

There are various modifications parents can make to the way they bring up their kids one of which is to encourage them to take summer jobs or part time jobs. In the west, children will do the paper round, walk dogs or baby sit for pocket money. If the parents then allow the kids to budget and not give them extra money one box is ticked. Another measure could be making sure the kid has a regular homework, play-time and bed-time routine which is adhered to at all times. A routine will only be followed if parents also set a good example; this then becomes the rule of the house and a way of life. To sum up it is much easier to acquire these skills in childhood than to be thrown in the deep end later in life.

In conclusion, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and this is true for our hectic lives as well. Modern parents who are all too aware of the dangers lurking round every corner should learn to stand back and let their little princes and princesses actually take charge of their lives. Such an attitude will bring them happiness in later life for which they will always thank their parents.

CAUSES OF DIVORCE
Marriage, the union of a man and a woman for the purpose of forming a family, is one of the most respected social institutions. In the past, divorce was very much looked down upon with divorcees shunned by society. This attitude has changed but divorce rates have also increased. Nobody plans or expects to get divorced when they take their vows but it does sometimes happen. A more permissive atmosphere is certainly a factor but is it the only factor? There are two main reasons for the increasing divorce rate: the increasing self centeredness in modern society and jumping into marriage too quickly.
Selfishness and self centeredness are unfortunate consequences of the move towards individualism in the modern world. The feelings, rights, wishes and desires of the individual are upheld to the detriment of institutions like marriage where these attitudes won’t work. Such a person would find compassion, tolerance, consideration, sharing and empathy very tough. There is only so far a person such as this will tolerate the give and take a marriage necessitates. The inevitable consequence is divorce. The fact that divorce proceedings are so easy in the modern world helps speed up the process.
There is an old English adage: look before you leap; this is true for marriage as well. Marriage means two individuals from completely different backgrounds, sometimes even different cultures, decide to spend the rest of their lives together in a small apartment. From this perspective marriage sounds insane. What makes it work is love, friendship, and sympathy all of which come from familiarity. People who don’t know each other well enough don’t have the familiarity and friendship to fall back on; the blind love that brought them together won’t last and with nothing to fall back on, divorce is inevitable.
In conclusion, although a happy marriage is to be desired for all kinds of reasons, divorce is also a fact of life. It is a traumatic experience yet it can be avoided with the right attitude to relationships with people the most fundamental of which is marriage.
COMPARISON / CONTRAST ESSAY: PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Receiving a good education is paramount in modern society with the ever increasing competition. The race to receive the best possible education starts early when parents try and select the best possible school. They have two general choices: private teaching establishments and public ones. Their choice depends on their personal circumstances and desires. They make their final decision by comparing the two establishments. Private schools and public schools may be compared in terms of various practical considerations, opportunities they provide and the kind of socialization they provide.
There are vast differences between these two types of establishment in terms of location, building and price. Most of the best private schools are in prime locations in the city with good views. Some are on the outskirts surrounded by forests or nature. Public schools, on the other hand, are located within each catchment area, on busy streets often with no garden or decent playing field. The buildings of the private schools are attractive and well designed; some are listed: St Joseph for example. Many of the public schools are ugly and remind one of communist Russia or East Germany. Naturally you pay for what you get and private schools cost a fortune whereas public schools are free. Practical considerations such as location and price are not the only differences however.
There are differences between private and public schools in terms of opportunities as well. Money brings smaller classes, which means more opportunities for individual students. The classes are bright, modern and airy in private schools and the desks are very comfortable. The same cannot be said for public schools where classes are crowded, desks are uncomfortable and one to one contact with the teacher is limited. As for the quality of teaching, the best teachers often, though not always, go where the money is. The same is true for labs, clubs, playing fields and contact with foreign schools since socialization is considered part of education in private schools. All this is a luxury in a state school in a developing country. To sum up, funding provides private schools with vast opportunities.
Public schools and private schools differ greatly in terms of the kind of social learning they provide. Private schools are home to the privileged and as such, promote a certain kind of life style. Skiing trips abroad, designer labels, all the latest gadgets, cars as soon as they can get a license; in short, consumerism characterizes these establishments. Public schools are attended by middle class and working class students for whom the above life style is only possible in American movies. The glaring differences that characterize the kind of social experience promoted by these two types of teaching establishment also mean social learning and the adoption of personal preferences which will continue into adulthood.
To sum up, public schools are often starved of funds, which impacts the service they provide. The generously funded private schools provide a much better learning experience but at a cost: familiarization with and a liking for a more privileged life style. The selection depends on parents’ means and preferences.
CORNER SHOPS VERSUS SUPERMARKETS
In the modern world, especially in urban settings, people purchase many of the products they need. In the past, stores were smaller family businesses where either groceries or fruit and veg were sold. However, lately big supermarket chains like Migros, Macro and Carrefour have started to replace them. The familiar corner shops are still present but they are fighting a losing battle against the big corporations. Comparing and contrasting these two options would shed light on the reasons for the competition. These two types of establishment may be compared in terms of practicality and atmosphere.
There are various practical considerations that distinguish supermarkets from corner shops the first of which is working hours. In the modern world where many people have full time jobs, shopping has to be done outside hours; after 18:00 for instance or at weekends. This is a definite plus for supermarkets which employ a lot of workers for the minimum wage and can afford to do this. In contrast, the corner shop, which is often run by a family, cannot; people have to eat and sleep. The second practical advantage is variety: people living on the fast lane have no time to go from one shop to another; they want to find everything they need together in one place. This is where supermarkets come in. The third practical advantage is prices: supermarkets can afford to charge less for products than corner shops; a definite plus. However, nothing in life is this simple; corner shops are still around and there is a reason for this.
There are various differences in terms of atmosphere that distinguish corner shops from supermarkets. The main factor is the feel of the location: a supermarket is large and impersonal and a corner shop is warm and cozy. In the supermarket, no one gives you the time of day; for instance, I always thank the cashier at Shock but she has never responded or even looked at me. A corner shop is often run by a local family who are also neighbours; locals get to know them very well and their kids play together. People end up caring about them and vice versa. This means that the local shop owner will chat to customers and show concern; he will go out of his way to be helpful. All this brings loyalty. It is this familiarity that gives corner shops their staying power.
To sum up, shopping at a corner shop and at a supermarket are very different experiences. Both venues have their places in society but the familiar corner shops will probably be elbowed out of the market in the future as internet shopping takes over leading to the loss of a valuable shopping experience.
MILITARY SERVICE
Unfortunately, war has been a fact of life since ancient times in human societies, which are the only species along with ants that fight their own species and destroy them. War means weapons and the trained manpower to use them. This brings us to armies; the institution that trains, usually the men, to fight for their country in times of need. The need for an army cannot be denied but should conscription actually exist? The draft in times of war is understandable but does this have to be done on a regular basis in peacetime also? The answer is no; conscription should leave its place to professional armies.
Human history is entirely composed of wars; a fact that continues today though missions mostly serve peaceful purposes. This means the manpower to fight these wars or serve on these missions is necessary. There are very few countries that have small symbolic armies such as Switzerland and Japan; most countries have armies and recruit regularly. The period spent in the army is referred to as military service and is considered to be beneficial in numerous ways. Yet there are some undeniable drawbacks too.
The army can transform the lives of people by encouraging a healthy lifestyle and regular habits. Going to bed and rising at regular hours after a decent night’s sleep gives people the energy they need to start the day. The first thing recruits do next is physical training, followed by showers and a healthy breakfast. Calories and food value is carefully calibrated in the mess. A life style such as this will help the recruit shed pounds and develop physical strength, which will impact mental health. Any ailments are treated very seriously and dealt with by the medical corps. Such a regular lifestyle has untold benefits and impacts later life as well making it possible for people to both enjoy work and have fun while preserving their physical health. Yet nothing in this world is black and white and military service is no exception.
The major disadvantages of military service are either practical or psychological or both. Since a career is impossible without doing one’s military service a lot people feel they are being held back by being obliged to do military service. They want to get started on the career ladder and rise fast; they don’t want to take time out doing something they feel is pointless. Plus the very macho atmosphere of the barracks doesn’t suit everyone: some are sensitive, lack confidence, cannot stand up for themselves and buckle under the pressure. People with issues do suffer in the army and this is true but in most countries the period is limited and help is available.
In conclusion, armies will exist so long as conflict or peace keeping missions exist. Although some benefit from their experience in the army others do suffer yet overall the institution works to the benefit of society. The changing role of the army with deployment in peace keeping or humanitarian missions should help deal with ethical concerns some people have.

OBESITY: CAUSES
Obesity is on the rise in developing and developed countries and has become a reason for concern. The concern is due to the fatal illnesses linked to the problem which have caused death rates to soar. The biggest killers linked to obesity today are heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases; the treatment of such diseases is a huge burden to the state. This growing expense, as well as humanitarian concerns, is leading more and more professionals to try and curb this new trend. The solutions lie in coming to grips with the reasons the most important of which is changing life styles.
One aspect of our changing lifestyle is down to technological development. Every modern convenience saves time and energy thus leading to inactivity. Everything from modern washing machines and vacuum cleaners to cars and motorcycles save time and make life easier but also prevent people from expending all the calories they ingest. Washing day could be best compared to a military operation in the past leaving the housewife dead on her feet; no household chore in the modern world compares to the way it was done in the past. As for life outdoors, shopping is now an activity that takes place at weekends and involves the family car; there is no walking and no heavy lifting. The same goes for work: people are glued to their seats in the workplace or on transport. The drop in the amount of energy expended is phenomenal so obesity should come as no surprise. Things don’t stop here however; the modern mantra of wanting everything to be done yesterday affects eating habits too.
Our obsession with speed has altered one of the most pleasurable examples of socialization and bonding: meal times. Since nobody has time for anything and convenience is paramount, microwaves have replaced cooking and TV dinners and fast food have replaced all that lovely stuff your grandmother used to cook. Couple that with the addictive chemicals in a lot of fast food, and the modern consumer is hooked. The modern fast food industry knows how to keep people hooked: plenty of fat, carbs and sugar. The inevitable result is obesity. The solution is obvious: we need to travel back in time.
To address this problem, we have to make sure that home cooking replaces fast food over all. This means workplaces, school canteens as well. When beans, salad and broccoli replace hamburgers and pizzas, we will have won the battle. The next obvious solution is to actually give people time to eat. The drastic drop in calories thus achieved, coupled with thirty minutes of walking a day, will help most people shed those pounds easily.

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