One of the most explosive industries over the last five years has been in sustainable economic development. Automobile companies are offering smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles along with fleets of hybrid fuel vehicles for environmentally conscious consumers. Furniture retailers are beginning to offer chairs, couches, and tables made of wood grown in responsible forestry preserves. Grocers, restaurants, and major retailers are offering organic food and clothing for customers who want to spend their money more responsibly. However, the most lucrative aspect of the green movement is in green construction. From energy efficient homes to buildings that run on a minimal amount of electricity, billions of pounds are invested annually into green construction.Graduates with backgrounds in architecture, design, and management should consider breaking into this promising field. The green construction movement is only in its infancy, ensuring long careers for young professionals with the foresight to apply for these jobs. Construction companies of all sizes are beginning to expand their green construction operations, requiring graduates and young professionals interested in learning about this socially responsible field. As well, the possibilities are endless for professionals in the UK who invest their time in this industry. After all, most new commercial and residential buildings and additions will be done with environmental concerns at the forefront.The skills needed by graduates in the green construction industry are varied and a successful skill set is still developing in this young industry. However, green construction firms are looking for creative, hard working, and committed graduates for design and management jobs. Graduates who can think outside of the box and provide innovative building designs will be successful in the green construction field. Managers, designers, and architects alike need to demonstrate a strong work ethic and an ability to sacrifice some of their time in order to ensure the most environmentally friendly buildings possible. Finally, everyone involved in green construction needs to be committed to the underlying idea of building homes and offices that meet their client’s specific needs.Graduates who enter the green construction field will find a lot of competition but great financial incentives for successful work. The field of applicants is still small for these positions, giving committed graduates the opportunity to showcase their abilities to hiring managers. Once these professionals get their foot in the door, they will receive between 28,000 and 40,000 pounds per year depending on position. As well, many green construction employees receive stock options through their company which provide a nice bonus on an annual basis.
President-elect Obama has a background in community service that frequently put him in touch with individuals whose K12 education was lacking. His compassion to implement strategies that bring about access to the best education for all students is critical to our nation’s future. With all of the talk about the financial crisis the president-elect needs to make education a major priority. We are fast approaching a significant period where large numbers of professionals will retire. There is potential for a largely underutilized workforce that needs more education to help the country will remain unemployable in corporate level jobs. As the states continue to struggle due to a loss of tax revenue more must be done to keep education funding afloat. Losses in financial resources to educate the youth who are the rising workforce will put many companies in jeopardy.More needs to be done to highlight the education issues that students and parents face today. Education is not affordable at all levels. There needs to be a road map that leads to creative solutions. Many of the larger cities and rural school districts are underfunding the education investment that should be received for each student. One idea is to have corporations to receive some type of tax credit for investing their finances in local schools. This type of innovative idea would provide two benefits. First it could raise corporate involvement in making school better. Secondly it would help more students to prepare for the world of work. More mentors are also needed in all of the schools because students are unaware of how companies work.President-elect Obama must not back away from the education crisis. If the country backs down from addressing the education crisis we will suffer severely. Students already come to school unprepared to learn. Their parents are unaware of the role that they play in their child’s future. Obama and his wife Michelle have an opportunity to participate as supporters of parents who need guidance to effectively educate their children. There needs to be encouragement so that parents talk to their children about where they will go to college rather than if they will go to college. Their must be a definite response that reaffirms that college is possible. This tone should be set at the beginning of Obama’s presidency.It would be great to say that after the presidents first 100 days in office education gained ground in the war against economic instability. There should be a plan in place that outlines how education in this country must change. Just like we have witnessed what a weak infrastructure can do to a country we are witnessing a national school system that needs repair. The president must diligently hear messages that demonstrate that the education of every citizen is important. The country needs more adult learners to pursue additional education. Obama must emphasize that it is never too late to renew your desire for education.President-elect Obama has an opportunity to create a lot of good will within the education community. There are K12 schools and colleges that need to know that there contributions to society are valued. Obama could work with the congress to require banks who are receiving money to invest 5 percent of their stimulus dollars to improve resources for local schools. Our country needs an education revolution that raises the inspiration of students, parents and teachers to expect the best from the American education system.
Napoleon is known for his creation of the lycée, but Jules Ferry wins all the honors for being reputed as the father of the French modern school. The school he established was free, secular and compulsory, even to this day, until the age of 13 (now increased to 16). This has been the profile of French education since 1882.An overview of education in FranceIt was widely believed in the past that France’s education system was the best in the world. Now, the claim needs to be clearly proven in the face of better education systems elsewhere. France’s education system has been rated as the 25th best in the world by the OEDC coordinated Programme for International Student Assessment. The system’s achievements are neither very much higher nor lower than the average results of the OECD.
The education system is divided mainly into primary, secondary and tertiary with the first two predominantly public as they are run by the Ministry of National Education.
Elementary educationEducation in France begins with daycare centers known locally as crèches. The centers care for babies from 2 months to 3 years until they are able to attend Ecole Maternelle, the next level up the ladder. Several types of these care centers offer different services, sizes and management assistance to as many as 10 to 60 children but they all require parents to help them. More than 11,000 Crèches operate in France today but even with the numbers.
It is advised to apply for slots in the centers as soon as couples become pregnant.
Primary and secondary educationPrimary education in France is no different from other countries where literacy and numeracy are given, supplemented with French, arithmetic, geography, history, the arts and now, a foreign language, usually English. Classes here take place Monday to Saturday morning but from September 2008, the class on Saturday morning was discontinued. Classes average 28 hours in duration each week and are divided into five different sections – the CP, CE1, CE1, CM1 and CM2. In French, CP means “Cours préparatoire” or preparatory class; CE refers to “Cours élémentaire” or elementary class while CM signifies Cours moven, or middle school. The two CM sections prepare students for the middle school.College or middle school educationThe college level is divided into 4 divisions and caters for students aged 11-15. It is the core foundation of the French education system. All students enter the college at the age of 11 but sometimes attend at an older age if a student repeated a year at primary level. The goal of the college is to provide a foundation of secondary education to students and thereafter, some degree of specialization in specific areas of interest. From college, students then progress to the lycée level upon passing an examination called the “brevet” after which they either stop their education or continue to the “lycée professionnel” level or vocational high school. Subjects offered at this level includes French, mathematics, history, geography, technical education, art/music, physical education, civic education, some science and one foreign language.The lycée or vocational educationThis is the equivalent of High School and embodies the last 3 years of secondary education. There are two main types – the lycée general and the lycée technique – and both are found in the larger towns and cities. In the smaller towns the latter school may be absent. The goal of the lycée level is to prepare students to sit the bacclaurét examination which is equivalent to the British A levels. The subjects offered are similar to those in the college or middle schools but with the addition of philosophy in the final year.Higher education The academic institutions of higher learning in France are divided into two main camps of the public universities and the renowned but selective and prestigious Grandes écoles the most notable being the Science Po Paris established for political studies; the HEC Paris with its corridors of economic learning; the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris for high quality engineers or the Ecole nationale d’administration for government positions. Elitism has filtered into the halls of the Gandes ecoles for which it has been criticized but it has proven its value in creating many of France’s high profile civil servants, CEOs and politicians.—