My Experience With Curtin Department of Education

My name is Albino D’souza and I was a student of Edith Cowan University

I secured admission at ECU for the above course after my termination in the same course from Curtin University of Technology in January 2006.This article is to bring to readers attention some very serious concerns about my teaching practicum Unit ED 543 and particularly the conduct of my supervisors from Curtin namely Mr Robert Dixon and his wife Mrs Kathryn Dixon working at the Education department at Curtin. They have demonstrated gross misconduct, lack of professionalism and concern for me as a full fee paying International student studying at Curtin for acquiring a teaching qualification.

In order to acquire a teaching qualification from Curtin it is necessary to complete 175 credits of theory units and 25 credits in two teaching practicum in your major and minor learning area. I had finished all my theory units with considerable success but have had a tough time complete my practicum units despite having ten years of successful teaching experience in my home country.

In November 2004 I did my first field experience practicum at Wanneroo Senior High School as a part of my Grad Dip in Secondary Education. At that time my supervisor was Mr Robert Dixon. During my prac I did make some serious mistakes in my work. I must state that though my major was in SOSE (Society and Environment) my supervisor Mr Robert Dixon came to evaluate two of my Music lessons in that school. Towards the end of the prac i.e. on the last day he did come to see one of my SOSE lessons and failed me on grounds of incompetence and my lack of practice in my major learning area.

The first flaw was I feel in the supervisor Mr Robert Dixon himself coming to evaluate my Music lessons knowing fully well that I have to accomplish a major in SOSE. I did ask him prior to the prac whether he would want to see me teaching Music and he agreed to the preposition. After observing the first Music lesson he expressed a desire to see another Music lesson after incorporating some suggestions he kindly consented to offer. He should have put his foot down in the first place and should have said that he was not interested in watching me teach Music when he knew very well I had a major in SOSE (Society and Environment) and Music was not even my minor. This lapse on the supervisor’s part should be noted. When I had a debriefing session after the first prac with my supervisor in his office Mr Robert Dixon told me very sarcastically that it was very uncommon for International students from Asian countries to Australia and aspire for teaching positions. It was something not encouraged. He also mockingly said that I could complain about him if I was upset with his conduct.At that time however since even the school was not too happy with my performance in SOSE I did not see any chances of an appeal being successful. Hence I made no appeal at that time hoping that I could do better in future.

I had to repeat the prac and pay the full fees for the same $975. My next practicum was at Kent Street senior High School. The supervisor send by Curtin this time was none other than Mrs Kathryn Dixon the wife of Mr Robert Dixon my first supervisor.

The reports prepared by the School and the Supervisor this time where interestingly dichotomous. The school adjudicated me as competent and suggested that I would be an asset to the teaching fraternity while the Supervisor thought other wise. This time however I not only excelled in teaching in my major and minor teaching areas namely SOSE and English but also did exceptionally well in Music (which I have been teaching for the last ten years and English literature). However the supervisor Mrs Dixon (legally married partner of the earlier supervisor Robert Dixon) was nevertheless not impressed with my performance despite receiving several emails from school staff members about my performance.

I decided this time I was not going to take things lying down and would have to act to see that justice was done. I did appeal my results, went to grievance officers and the student guild at Curtin and wrote endless letters trying desperately to expose the commented bias of Mrs Dixon. However the department refused to consider my alligations of collusion between the two supervisors and said it was incorrect and unwarranted which I think is highly unusual .

There are several aspects over looked by the Education department at Curtin in not upholding my appeal. I shall elaborate on each of them.

The first point of concern is the breach of confidentiality by Mrs Dixon who informed Kent street schoolteachers that I was undertaking a repeat prac, which is something very unethical, and rather disturbing. The Education department and the Dean Mr Graham Dellar have not made any attempt to uncover the truth in this respect despite my countless pleas.
It is given that Ms Dixon came to observe my SOSE lesson on the 15th of September 2005.After that, she had a discussion with the school staff. Later that very morning my Co operating Teacher Mr. Garry Shepherd came up to me and asked me a question which scared the living day lights out of me. He inquired “Albino how many pracs have you done before?”

I didn’t know how to answer that question. When I was first assigned Kent street school My course Co-ordinater Mr. Richard Courtney advised me that on no grounds was I to tell Kent street school that I was repeating my first practicum .He said that any kind of adverse prior knowledge negatively conditions the school and makes them biased towards the student especially if the school knows that the student has failed an earlier practicum. He also reiterated that no one in the department had told the school about my eventful past and that I was to undertake this practicum as if I was undertaking it for the very first time. In accordance to instructions I told the school that I had finished all theory components and had only practicum to complete and was undertaking the same as I had missed practicum due to personal reasons.

All said and done I was really shocked when my co-operating teacher asked me that question. It was then that I gathered that the supervisor Mrs. Dixon had disclosed the fact that I was undertaking a repeat practicum to the Staff at Kent Street. The timing was just right. The supervisor had made her visit to the school that morning. The staff at Kent Street is certainly not psychic to gather that I was not undertaking a repeat practicum, nor would they just get a dream about it. The Dean of education still insists that Mrs. Dixon did not tell Kent Street School that I was undertaking a repeat practicum. How then did they come to know? I strongly feel however that Mrs. Dixon who came with her own self fulfilling prophesy tried to influence the school that I was just a failure and I ought to stay that way. Her comments in her report hint the same in very subtle overtures.

In spite of the above occurrence the dean of Education still rules out the possibility of there being a collusion between the husband /wife team of examiners who operate from the same Building at Curtin which I feel is like trying to lead everyone up the garden path.
In the first place by sending a husband wife combination of supervisors to access an international student who not only stands out because of his colour and accent but also qualifications in various diverse fields the university is not giving any one an impression of fairness. What greater collusion can you expect more than a conjugal union? It is really wishful thinking not to expect any kind of collusion between two adults who literally share the same bed. Given the fact that I am just one of the very few International students studying at the dept of Education it would be just incredible?

Another interesting fact about my unceremonious Kent Street Practicum cannot be over looked. My Kent Street Prac was over on the 23rd of September 2005.On that day the 23rd of September I signed the school Practicum report in the presence of my co operating teachers and was very happy that the practicum had come to a conclusion and the school had given me a pass grade. I had no contact with Mrs. Dixon at that time since she had given me no oral feedback or debriefing after observing my second lesson which is very strange as every supervisor does tend to debrief a practicum student after observing a lesson according to my experiences of earlier supervisors and subsequent supervisors at Edith Cowan university. In case the student is busy on that day supervisors usually make an appointment to personally talk to the student on the next day or sometime during the practicum in order to give the student verbal feedback and seek clarifications on certain things observed in the classroom which might have been misunderstood.

At Edith Cowan university I have supervisors not only calling me on my cell phone but also sending me email messages on week day evenings during the practicum. By doing so supervisors display their concern for their students especially during the stressful periods of school practicum’s and endeavor to work collaboratively with the student to achieve success. I have enclosed emails from my subsequent supervisors to demonstrate the same. However Mrs. Dixon made no such contact and it is evident from the conflicting reports that she did not make any reasonable attempts to contact the School or me in the last week to check on my progress. In fact, to make matters worse any positive reports from staff members of the school send to the supervisor Mrs. Dixon by email were coldly disregarded as frivolous.

Although Mrs. Dixon coldly told me that she was happier with the second lesson she said she would speak to the co-operating teachers after handing out to me her voluminous written comments with no indication of whether I had passed or failed. I assumed that the teachers would give her a piece of their mind and she would create no problems for me in this practicum as her husband had done in the earlier practicum given that this time I had completed my practicum in Society and environment and had a positive experience with many teachers at Kent street school .

While Kent street Senior High School Prepared its report on the day which was the last day of my practicum 23rd of September 2005 and got my initials, signature and approval Mrs. Dixon’s report is dated 21st of October 2005. I did not see the report until the 22nd of October 2005 and did not even know that I had failed the practicum according to the supervisor since the report was not signed or seen by me which it had to be an the 23rd of September 2005.

Doesn’t it not come as a surprise as to why would or rather why should a supervisor prepare a report 28days after a prac is over when university guidelines say that results ought to be declared within a maximum of 2 weeks since the conclusion of an event or submission of an assignment?

In fact I received the supervisor Mrs. Dixon’s reports only a month after the conclusion of the prac while the school report which indicated a pass was signed by me on the very last day of the prac 23rd of September. Thought the school report was not received by the university due to postal delays and school holidays Mrs. Dixon’s report should have been disclosed to me first since she worked at the Department of Education at Curtin and did not have to use postal services or the excuse of school holidays to make know her intentions of failing an international student a second time.

Also if you read the supervisor’s written feedback a lot of it is largely negative highlighting only my negative points in teaching, which is a classic example of selective perception. She displays symptoms of excessive fault finding syndrome counting the no of negatives (Don’t, never, do not, cant) in the report which is in sharp contract to the positives you will see in other supervisors reports from Curtin and Edith Cowan University. The final report prepared by Kent Street and Mrs. Dixon is surprisingly and strikingly dichotomous which is really absurd given the fact that the supervisor only observed two classes while the teachers in the school observe nearly 35 lessons over a period of four weeks. They however gave me written feedback for just a few lessons seen in the first week and gave me no written feedback for lessons in the third and fourth week when I had improved considerably in teaching.

All said and done given that I had been passed by Kent Street School and failed by Curtin Supervisor Mrs. Dixon in the absence of the at risk procedure the next best safe alternative to ensure a success would be to allot me a supplementary practicum at the same school with a different supervisor as written in the Edu 543 Hand book. Please see attached photocopies of the same. Giving me a supplementary at the same school (Kent Street) would have made matters a lot easier since I had to only acquire the approval of a new supervisor as the school was already convinced of my teaching abilities. Sending me on a supplementary to a totally new teaching environment (St Stephens) is totally destroying and demolishing all my hard work and effort put into my earlier teaching practicum at Kent Street and amounts to starting all over again from scratch. It is back to square one since I now have a totally new school and new supervisor to deal with. By mindlessly sending me to a totally new school to complete a supplementary Prac Curtin has not considered the physical; and psychological strain this would cause me as a student.

Interestingly the new supervisor Dr John Happs who was evidently not related to the Dixon’s in any way seemed quite happy with my performance as seen in his report. Quite contrary to Mrs. Dixon’s pessimistic five page report after observing my first lesson Dr Happs one page brief report concluded with the sentence “Well Done”. Probably Dr. Happs was listening and observing what I was doing in class instead of mindlessly writing page after page, which seemed to be quite an obsession with Mrs. Dixon.

Fate however had different plans for me. This time paradoxically the school was not happy with my performance and asked that my practicum be terminated. The reasons stated were quite different to the reasons given by the supervisor Mrs. Dixon in the earlier prac. For example St Stephens School expressed a concern that I was reluctant to listen to advice while Kent Street School had stated that listening and acting upon advice had been one of my major strengths. The main reasons sited by Mrs. Dixon were talking over the top of students

And incompetence in planning while St Stephens mentions no such reasons in its report. St Stephens School was concerned over the excessive kind of musical repertoire used by me in teaching while Kent Street or Mrs. Dixon make no such kind of allegations. It would be good in this case to illustrate the analogy of a doctor who being skilled to tackle a certain variety of common illnesses and ailments in a certain country having problems in settling down in a foreign country where he is faced with a complete new assortment of illnesses and cultures. In other words having done two earlier pracs in a public/state school system I now had to deal with a totally new set of problems and difficulties in adjusting to teaching in a private school system where problems would arise more on account of interference by parents and other staff members not involved directly in my practicum rather than in actual classroom teaching which is in striking contrast to my earlier situation of teaching in public schools.

Since the school terminated my practicum I was terminated from the course. This time however I was not given an opportunity by the university to express my concerns and was not given a hearing despite having written feedback from staff members in St Stephen’s school with regard to teaching in that school.

It was with great great difficulty that I managed to convince the staff at Edith Cowan University to enroll me into their education course after having such a disastrous run at Curtin in regard to school practicum.

After reading the feedback reports of Edith Cowan University supervisors and the report by Dr John Happs the Curtin Supervisor it can be easily gathered that the allegations made by Mrs. Dixon are rather unfounded and baseless given the fact that no teacher in Kent Street school was upset by my practicum performance. Even on grounds of rationality the report prepared by Mrs. Dixon cannot be regarded at face value giving her close relationship with the first supervisor Mr. Robert Dixon.

I am not so sure about Curtin, but Edith Cowan university has a strict policy of not sending any of its students on pracs to schools where the student have studied before or where their friends and close or distant relative work in order to ensure impartiality and to avoid favoritisms. Very scrupulous checks are carried out to ensure this. They also do not send supervisors who are closely related to observe the same student as this creates suspicions of having collusion.

By sending supervisors who are closely related to observe two of my consecutive pracs Curtin has actually made a mockery of the entire practicum exercise since the possibility of collusion between the supervisors cannot be ruled out.

Hence my complaint centres on the following main areas.

1. Sending supervisors who were related to each other (Husband and wife) and consequently not giving the general public or me as a student an impression of fairness and impartiality. That supervisors and schools have a conflict with regard to student evaluation is an exception rather than a rule. This is an example of THE LADY MACBETH MODEL OF SUPERVISION.

2. The supervisors’ vicious and audacious attempt at influencing and Informing the school that I was undergoing a repeat prac, which is unjustifiable and unethical since the schoolteachers had no knowledge of my first prac. It symbolizes gross manipulation of authority.

3. The supervisor Mrs. Dixon writing her final prac report a month after the completion of the prac, which does not allow the application of at risk procedure.

4. The university not applying the AT risk procedure, which is clearly stated In the Field experience booklet under which the university has to send a new supervisor in case the earlier supervisor is unhappy and the school is happy with the student.

5.Alloting a supplementary at a totally different school when the Field Experience handbook EDU 543 clearly states that a supplementary at a different school is awarded when both the school and the supervisor administer failing grades to the student. In my situation I received a falling mark from the school and the supervisor in my first prac at Wanneroo Senior High School. However during my Kent street school experience I received a failing report from only the supervisor and a pass report from the school. Thus technically I am allowed to complete a supplementary at the same school, which was not done. Instead I was sent to a new private school which actually only complicated and made matters worse.

6.Not giving me an opportunity to clarify and discuss certain issues raised by my third prac school St Stephen’s and my subsequent termination, which could have been avoided.

I have completed my teaching qualification and now completing a Masters of Edcutaion at Notre dame university.Mu advise would be that international students ought t think twice before enrolling in Curtin which would be the kiss of Death if you do.

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Types Of Financial Assistance From The Department Of Education

What’s the hardest part about obtaining a college degree? Is it passing your subjects? Well, some would possibly think so. Most college students could attest that the most challenging part about getting a college education is, as you may have guessed, paying for your college tuition fees.

Every school year, American college students pay at least $20,000 to cover college tuition fees alone. And as you well know, the costs doesn’t really stop there. You still need to pay for books, allowance, food, transportation, and the list just continues to infinity and beyond.

Perhaps you’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights thinking about it. And perhaps you’d be glad to learn that the United States government, your government, has thought about it as well. In fact, the government has been thinking about it well before 1980.

The United States Government mandated the establishment of United States Department of Education under the Department of Education Organization Act of 1979.

The US Department of Education was basically created to encourage the promotion of student achievement and their preparation for global competitiveness by way of fostering academic excellence and ensuring equal access to quality education.

The department participates in four fundamental activities, including:

a) The development of policies that are associated with federal education funding, the administration of funds and the monitoring of its usage

b) The gathering of data and overseeing of scientific studies in American schools

c) The detection of major issues in education and the development of solutions that would address them

d) The enactment of federal laws that prohibit discrimination in certain programs that receive federal funds.

The Department of Education provides a lot of programs and several other forms of financial assistance which have been proven to be largely helpful for students who are academically deserving but financially challenged.

Some of the services offered by the Department of Education are Grants, in the form of Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, and Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grants; Federal Work-Study Programs, and Federal Loans such as Perkins Loans, Direct Stafford Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Direct Loan Consolidation Programs.

Every aspiring university student must always keep in mind that with regards to education, there is always a form of assistance that’s available for everyone. All a student needs to do is understand what she needs and determine where and how she can get it.

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Dump the Department of Education

Does anyone know what the Department of Education does? When & why it was created? Good questions, all. The peanut farmer, President Carter in 1979, created its current configuration. Just like every other government program, it would solve all of our societal woes. Let’s see how they’ve done. In the seventies our high school graduation rate was about 73%. After spending hundreds of billions of our dollars that percentage has surged to…73%. So if it hasn’t had an effect on graduation rate why was it created in the first place? Another great question. Boy, I ask a lot of great questions.

Let’s jump in the Wayback Machine. Buckle up Sherman. Hit the switch Mr. Peabody.

The Department of Education had begun in 1867 as the Bureau of Education. It was born of a disingenuous bill offered by James Garfield (before he was President). It was extolled & elaborated upon by a Minnesota congressman named Ignatius Donnelly during a floor debate in 1866. Their argument for a centralized department was basically that the post civil war southern states were incapable of educating their own children. They were, he claimed, too ignorant & illiterate. He went on to explain that this problem would threaten the whole republic. In stepped a voice of reason by the name of Andrew J. Rogers. He was a democrat from New Jersey. Never thought I’d say that. Combine the term, voice of reason, with democrat from New Jersey. Funny how things change. Anywho, he observed that it was unheard of to establish a centralized bureau by which children of the various states should be educated. He correctly stated there was no Constitutional authority (like virtually everything the government does) to enable the Congress to interfere with the education of children of the different states in any manner, directly or indirectly. Unfortunately, the department was created anyway and it was the beginning of the end of proper education in America.

It’s taken a long time, but like every government department or program, it just kept getting larger, more expensive, more onerous & intrusive.

Now the Department of Education has at least 5,000 employees (small by Federal standards). The average salary is over $100,000 per year. The national average pay of a teacher is roughly half that. It has a minimum of 15 departments or offices under its control. The annual budget is 56 billion dollars plus an additional 51 billion in porkulus money. A shining example of one of the departments is the Office of Bilingual & Minority Language Affairs. Huh?! What the blank is a minority language? Ebonics maybe? This is still America, right? Aren’t we still supposed to at least pretend to promote the speaking of English? Oh, here’s a good one. There’s an office in charge of talking to other offices. How could we educate our children without the Dept. of Ed.?

Now for the what do they do. I’m sure they do plenty. I’m also sure it’s plenty useless. Bottom line is they confiscate our money, siphon some of it off & send it back to us as long as we do & act exactly as they demand. Just as are most things at the Federal level, they are the drug dealers & the states are the crack addicts. Most states are so desperate for cash, they’ll do anything for a fix. They play right into the hands of the despots. We at the state level should be dialing back our spending so we may tell the feds to take their crack & peddle it somewhere else.

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The Unintended Consequences of Globalism

Globalism might be good for the world economy as a whole, but does not necessarily mean it has been good for the American worker. Whether intentional or unintended, the American worker has suffered through the philosophy of free trade. Do not miss quote me, Globalism has a lot of positives. Now more than ever the people of earth are connected through the internet and can communicate information faster than any other time in history. People are exposed to different cultures and ideas, and the free flow of information is exponentially evolving our society. “Free trade” plays a big part in globalism, which is why there has been a “backlash” from non-college educated workers in wealthy countries in direct response to the effects of free trade policies. When wealthy counties openly trade with developing countries it can overvalue the wealthy countries currency, which in turn makes imports cheaper while exports become more expensive. However, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the real culprit is not the valuation of the dollar and the increasing trade deficit. (Bivens, Economic Policy Institute)

The USA has increasingly shifted its economy from manufacturing to services like banking and investing. It is cheaper to import products of manufacturing from a country that has extremely cheap labor than it is to employ American workers in the United States. This in turn means there now is a premium on college educated Americans who are filling job openings within the service industry. On the other side of the coin, manufacturing jobs are leaving the country and lowering wages of workers without a college degree. This fact coupled with increasing technology that replaces workers and a trade policy that out prices “expensive” American workers is leading to decreased wages. As the US trades more with developing countries as a percentage of GDP, the wages of unskilled workers continue to decrease. (Slaughter and Swagle, International Monetary Fund)

Though Globalism has a net increase in GDP and employment for countries involved, most of the gains from free trade is disproportionately received by the top 1% of Americans. Policies that protect corporations and their interest at the expense of the American worker exacerbate the problem. Trade policies like NAFTA and others have little protections for workers and heavily favor the multinational corporations that seek to benefit from free trade. This only adds fuel to income inequality, which for poor countries can increase economic growth while having a negative effect on rich countries. Rich countries are also at higher risk of financial crisis when they have high levels of income inequality. (Malinen, Huffington Post)

Globalism and free trade are linked very close together, which is why there is a stigma attributed to the word. There has been growing resentment within the US and other wealthy nations of globalism as a whole. They do not just condemn free trade, but openly blame minorities and marginalized groups for their decrease in wages and “eroding” their cultural dominance that they claim dominion over. This is a deadly cycle, as income inequality only feeds this type of behavior. In a country that is not adequately educating its people, more of the workers within its country will become more ignorant. With free trade putting a premium on college educated workers and decreasing wages of unskilled labor, we are now almost at a tipping point, socially and economically.

Globalism has many unintended consequences that inadvertently caused huge social and economic problems within the US. The problems that globalism is causing is not a hard fix. Reducing the income inequality will eradicate more of the negative effects of globalism. Universal Education, Universal healthcare, and a rewrite of our tax code are just a few ways to reduce income inequality. All of these possibilities are well within our means. We have to take care of these problems swiftly, before globalism becomes an integral part of our own decline. (Mason, Post-Gazette)

Bivens, Josh. “Using Standard Models to Benchmark the Costs of Globalization for American Workers without a College Degree.” Economic Policy Institute. N.p., 22 Mar. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Malinen, Tuomas. “The Economic Consequences of Income Inequality.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 17 Dec. 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Mason, Bob. “Single-payer Health Care Would Help to Treat Three Separate Threats.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. N.p., 26 Oct. 2014. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Slaughter, Matthew, and Phillip Swagel. “Economic Issues 11–Does Globalization Lower Wages and Export Jobs?” International Monetary Fund. Imf.org, Sept. 1997. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

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Global Trends in the Cosmetic Industry

Cosmetic dyes and colours: Explained

Cosmetic colours are also known as cosmetic lakes. These colours are produced by taking the help of absorption of dyes that are water-soluble onto a substrate. It makes the colour insoluble in water. Cosmetic lake colours are made by making use of unique technology. The technology helps in attaining extremely fine particles. These particles help in achieving shade consistency. In comparison water soluble colours, cosmetic lakes are much more stable & safe. They also generate vivacious and brighter colours. It has been seen that cosmetic pigments and lakes are more suitable for food products that contain fats and oils. They are also suitable for those products that do not contain enough moisture for dissolving colours.

Cosmetic dyes, on the other hand are used for making cosmetic colours & products. These dyes are widely used by the cosmetic manufacturing industries and businesses all over the world. They are primarily used for manufacturing hair dyes, lipsticks, nail polishes, shampoo as well as other personal care products. It has been seen that generally water soluble & food dyes are very easy and safe to use. These dyes are mostly used for a wide variety of applications. They include cleaning chemicals, soaps, medicine, cosmetic products etc.

Know which ones are safe for use

Be it the use of any type of cosmetic dyes or cosmetic colorants safety of use is a primary consideration. Cosmetic colours and cosmetic dyes often make use of a wide range of synthetic colours. These are often referred to as FD&C colours. They are mainly extracted through coal tar and are basically a by-product of petroleum. Research shows that some particular coal tar based dyes lead to different types of cancer. This is why the FDA regulates them. They also determine the arsenic or lead amount they contain. Thus there are many restrictions in the use of such colours.

Some global trends in Cosmetic dyes and cosmetic colours

Worldwide it is seen that North America, followed by Europe, has the largest market for colour cosmetics. This is due to innovations in colour cosmetics. Other factors also include high consumer disposable income and frequent new product launches in colour cosmetic market in the region. However Asia too is expected to show high growth rate in the colour cosmetics market in next few years. This is on account of the increasing consumer incomes and rising in awareness about personal care products in the region.

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Economic Turmoil and the Future of Brazil

For many years, Brazil has been an emerging economic hub, attracting investors from all over the world. The Brazilian economy saw an 368% increase in Gross Domestic Product growth from 2003 to 2011. In addition, Brazil took in almost half of Foreign Direct Investment flowing into South America during 2015. This doesn’t come as a surprise since it reigns as one of the major emerging national economies. However, Brazil has seen a recent economic downturn with increasing unemployment and a contracting GDP. In fact, the Brazilian government cut 2017 GDP expectations from 1.6% to 1% growth. Having been one the most lucrative foreign investments for governments to individual investors, what happened to the so-called “Country of the Future” and can Brazil regain its momentum?

Back in 2015, recession hit Brazil hard and the country is still struggling to get back on track. According to the CIA World Factbook, the economy contracted 32% from its peak in 2011 and unemployment reached a new high at 12.6% in 2016. Being based mostly on services, agriculture and oil, Brazil’s economy has a direct correlation with global demand. With global recession looming, Brazil is feeling the effects of a slow world economy.

Brazil is a top tourist destination offering beautiful beaches, a diverse culture and exciting festivals. However, with the world economy slowing down, people are less likely to travel abroad. Since the majority of the country’s GDP derives from the service industry, Brazil will not be able to rebound any time soon unless there is a major boost in consumer confidence.

The demand for Brazilian exports was slashed when its largest trading partner, China, entered into an economic slowdown of their own. The decrease in exports caused massive layoffs throughout the nation. The notorious economic downward spiral began by wary consumer spending as unemployment rose. Companies that tried to gain capital by borrowing in U.S. dollars found it difficult to pay back those loans as the Brazilian Real crashed 25% in the span of a year in 2015.

One of the major hits came from low oil prices and the corruption of Petrobras, a large oil company and Brazil’s largest source of investment. Brazil is major producer of oil, exporting $11.8 billion worth in 2015, according to the Observatory for Economic Complexity. OPEC delivered a major blow when the cartel decided not to cut oil production, causing oil futures prices to plunge. In order to cope with heavy losses, Petrobras was forced to sell off assets and halt future research and expansion plans.

As if things weren’t going poorly, Petrobras was also caught in a scandal with former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and other high office executives. From 2004 to 2012, the company had spent over $2 billion on bribes to politicians whom would allow the company to charge inflated prices for construction contracts. Now that the scandal has unfolded, Petrobras executives face jail time and the company as a whole is forced to pay billions in fines.

So what does the future hold for Brazil?

Although at the moment the future looks dim, there are still signs of hope Brazil can turn itself around. The Real has seemed to stabilize in 2016 and heads into 2017 with an upward trend. Moreover, experts’ GDP projections for 2018 through 2020 show promising figures that Brazil can restore pre-recession level growth.

Even more promising, U.S. companies are still showing faith in Brazil’s future. American Airlines plans to invest $100 million in an aircraft maintenance center in Sao Paulo. Brazilian Investment Partnership Minister Wellington Moreira Franco and many countries like the United States, United Kingdom, France and Japan agree there are still reasons to invest in Brazil. This should be seen as a sign of confidence that the Brazilian market will grow soundly with the support of both national and international investment.

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The Effects Of The Global Trade Agreement

We live in a world that is increasingly getting connected. In such a world, trade agreements are bound to expand internationally, and to think and act otherwise would be downright stupid.

These global trade agreements, as such, are either bilateral or multilateral understanding between two or multiple countries and govern the trade policies between them. These agreements have a massive impact on worldwide trade and investments and are one of the major causes responsible for shaping business relationships across the globe. And while such agreements might not affect directly affect the place where you live or operate, being aware of the current trade agreements can definitely uncover numerous opportunities.

Forming up opinions is up to you; we do not intend to initiate an argument over how good or how bad these global trade agreements are. This article aims to get you familiarized with such agreements and tell if your supply chain could be affected or not.

While a few countries have settled upon free trade agreements and are in the process of widening them, a number of other nations have formed common markets and unions; this form of development can a have a thorough effect on small-scale businesses.

Two of the most common agreements are the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Brunei, Peru, Mexico, Chile, Malaysia and Japan, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, United States and Mexico.

Now, how such agreements impact your local business’s supply chain depends on a simple fact; whether your business is an importer, exporter or neither.

Scenario 1: You neither import nor export

It’s fairly easy to decide whether you are an importer or not, right? I understand that you do not directly source products from a foreign supplier, and technically speaking, that doesn’t make you an importer. However, trade agreements can still impact you. Your suppliers are directly affected by such regulations, and this vulnerability can affect your supply chain.

Keep the distinction in mind.

Scenario 2: You identify yourself as an importer

Owing to the low cost manufacturing in some countries, many small scale suppliers are able to compete with global giants.

With a trade agreement between two countries, most of the times, the country with lower labour costs benefits when the trade tariffs are lowered or eliminated. With trade agreements, importers usually get to source low-cost goods and it allows for the unrestricted movement of such low-cost goods through higher cost partner nation.

In case, such an agreement is dissolved, an importer would inevitably face a higher cost of goods and thus look for cheaper sourcing options, decrease their operational costs, and ultimately increase the prices, which would be borne by the customers, of course.

Scenario 3: You are an exporter

This even counts if you sell products that another firm exports because at some point or other, taxes would be levied on your sold goods. So how does it affect you? Your customers end up paying higher amounts for your products.

With a trade agreement in place between the country where the product originates and the receiving country, the very same products would move through the receiving nation freely. In such cases, you’d definitely want to keep such an agreement intact and leverage this competitive advantage you have in this particular country bound by trade regulations.

As a small or a medium sized business, it is therefore important for you to identify where your business lies with respect to global trade agreements.

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The Paramounted Importance of Critical Analysis in International Trade Policies

International trade is largely based on the constant fluctuations in the world-wide economy, this resulting in constant changes with regards to tariffs, trade subsidies and unending amendments of regulations with regards to international trade. “Trade policy and economic Growth”, a paper by Keith Maskus, PhD, focuses on the relationship between trade policies and the growth of the economy or lack thereof, the main point of interest of the paper was to establish whether the variance of trade policies will affect the economic growth of any country. The conclusion reached was that open economies tend to grow faster than closed economies, ceteris paribus. therefore concluding that open competition is good in the sense that it improves resource distribution and the country gains in Investment and innovation.

An organisation that is involved in international trade has to pay special attention to such information. There might not be any countries with closed economies however there are countries that have low imports to the point that they are regarded as closed economies for instance Brazil. In 2011 Brazil recorded 13% as its import percentage which was quite low for a country of its stature. Is it not then imperative to constantly be up to date with changes in the trade policies of countries one is interested in pursuing trade relations with? since there is a proven positive relationship between the openness of an economy to competition (thus meaning the country is greatly involved in trade) and the growth of that country`s economy, this serves as an indication of how lucrative and profitable a business venture would be under such circumstances. The Critical analysis aspect then comes into play by determining how much gain or loss would result from substantial changes to the policies, which are measures and instruments that can influence export and imports, the objective being the policies influence the trade sector to the result of profit for the business venture. one might feel a degree in commercial management is then needed in order to fully understand all the kinks and edges of the international business, and they would be right, but the eventuality is that it will always boil down to intelligence and efficiency in the analysis of trends, calculation of potential profit/loss, predictions of future stability or fluctuations in the world economy prompting changes to prices in the trade sector.

There is one other important factor that can alter potential business plans, and that is the politics of the country in question, policies are easily influenced by the politics of the nation, and it is thus advisable that critical analysis be also engaged, this results in better understanding of the country and its stability thus reducing the chances of incurring a bad business eventuality. Nations are not governed by robots, unfortunately, but are governed by people with interests and human nature desires to differ from individual to individual making it difficult to maintain a constant effective system. if politicians are elected they tend to focus on altering policies for their own benefit, and the benefit of those they promised (if there are still honest politician available) from that point it is important that international business consider such factors before pursuing business. Prime examples being, whenever there are strikes in South Africa investors tend to shy away, and most of the strikes are birthed from political influence, thus deeming South Africa an Unstable nation to invest in, or Zimbabwe a nation sanctioned, due to political infringements, making the country undesirable for investment irregardless of the profitability of the business idea. It is thus an excellent idea to firstly research in-depth to the politics of the country before hand and invest with,much-needed information, guiding the innovative decision made.

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The Truth About Shipping Technology and Supply Chain Visibility

In the shipping business, it was once an extra to have shipping technology which supplied supply chain visibility, but it’s become a must in a now competitive and shipping software run industry. Not everyone knows exactly what it means to have complete supply chain visibility, however, so what is supply chain visibility and just how does shipping software help it? You may have learned this stuff about supply chain visibility, so let’s figure out the truth:

Supply chain visibility in a glance

It’s pretty much exactly what it looks like. Utilizing quality shipping software or auditing systems, you’re given awareness over all your shipments through openness of shipping data, organizing, and auditing, and all involved parties gain access to this information: you can plainly view the entirety of your shipments from end to end.

For comprehensive visibility you have to be in a position to trade data around different systems, like shipping data and freight deals to implement the best logistics management strategies you can. How your business and systems connect to your shipping partners along with their system is the number one factor in achieving real visibility so that you can discover how you can save money shipping.

Can a business continue to be competitive without having supply chain visibility?

The quick and candid response would be no. Well, it isn’t really impossible for a shipping business to function without supply chain visibility, but they are more prone to be eliminated or surpassed in the freight or parcel shipping industry by more efficient companies. Merely staying in business differs from being competitive, and supply chain visibility is essential as of late to be able to keep a competitive edge.

Shouldn’t shipping software and visibility be a much more popular strategy?

Unfortunately, a lot of companies aren’t loaded with the proper shipping software and auditing services. Though proper supply chain management and supply chain visibility has been an acknowledged issue for decades, EDIs, manual spreadsheets, etc. aren’t good enough for visibility reliable enough to continue to be competitive. The best supply chain management and visibility option is to use a transportation management system (TMS) and auditing solution.

What does not having visibility mean for a business?

One of the things that can take place is serious damage to a company’s name. About 33% of consumers in the United States put the blame for stock-outs on the store. This gives an adverse influence on long-term consumer retention and brand loyalty. In addition, it will directly injure a company’s bottom line, creating both urgent and extended issues which are hard to remedy.

Where does responsibility for those effects fall?

The real issue ought to be about solving the problem by updating your shipping technology and auditing methods, not setting blame. You can’t position the blame on retailers when 75% of shippers report that their visibility tool doesn’t integrate with their shipping technology, and only 39% of shippers gather data with visibility systems in the first place. There’s just no way to prevent stock-outs without the ability to make radical decisions according to real-time data exchanges.

Approaches to fix the problem

Businesses must find solutions that would provide them with end-to-end supply chain visibility. While legacy systems remain, businesses must invest into transportation management systems and auditing solutions that can operate on both old tech like EDI, and newer technology like API.

API is a wonderful technology for shipping software as a way to join suppliers, shippers, carriers, etc. with real-time transportation data so that they can make better decisions for their logistics management.

You can save money shipping with thorough visibility and improved logistics management, just by embracing more progressive shipping software like a TMS capable of working with both EDI and API.

Shipping TMS delivers transportation software and logistics management services. Transportation industry leading parcel and freight shipping management software helps save money shipping and get cheap shipping rates to improve supply chains.

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Expand Business With Portugal

Globalization and easily accessible channels of communication have stimulated international business. With increased trade and investments between countries, the need for translation services is escalating. Proper translation helps companies reach their full potential. An effective translation service results in pointed communication towards the target audience and helps stakeholders to work together efficiently on a project.

India and Portugal Ties: Today, India and Portugal share a warm and close relationship. The visit of the Portuguese President, Anibal Cavaco Silva to India in 2007 gave a huge boost to the bilateral relationship. The two countries are now looking to enhance trade and investments with each other. New partnerships between the two countries are being established for mutual benefits. In such a scenario, there is an increased need for a Portuguese translator.

Portuguese Language: The Portuguese language is currently spoken in several countries. After English and Spanish, it is one of the most common languages. With the build-up of international trade agreements, the demand for Portuguese translators is growing.

A good Portuguese translation service will help customers convey their thoughts and ideas and will encourage successful business understanding. As several European countries look at reaching their full marketing potential, Portuguese translators are using their bilingual skills to setup trade agreements.

Growing Bilateral Trade: The market mood between India and Portugal is now upbeat. Several Indian companies have made strong acquisitions in the Portuguese market. The presence of Portuguese business in several sectors across India is also a reality. Major industries are looking to diversify their export markets and are investing heavily in India.

This is time for not only major investments, but also time for small start-ups which are looking to internationalize their market. Portuguese groups are investing in several fields in India like medicine, integrated telecommunications, renewable energy, infrastructure, agro processing etc. Such a scenario requires efficient and quick translation services.

What is Efficient translation: The requirement for Portuguese translators is increasing steadily. A good translation service will present an accurate communication of the customer’s ideas and documents. An efficient translation will result in a boost to the business.

Here are a few pointers:
- Translation should be accurate.
- Translators should be bilingual subject experts.
- Translators should be well versed in business speak.
- Technical knowledge is a must.
- Trade terminology should be translated correctly.
- Cultural understanding of the two countries is essential.

Translation of specialized documents in various fields is done by technically competent experts. These dependable and experienced translators will help your business expand globally.

If you have a business proposal with Portugal, then, Many Translation Services will take care of all your Portuguese Translation requirements, giving you quality translations.

I am an Expert in the medium of translation and language services. I have working knowledge in documents translation, Translate from English to German, Portuguese Translator and provide Multilingual E-mail Support.I am passionate in Localizing global brands to reach the target audience in the most efficient way.

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