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Sunday, 25 October 2009

Essay 019 (Children over 15 years)

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:

Children over 15 years should be allowed to make decisions about their lives without the interference of their parents or teachers. Society should accept that children mature at a younger age these days and should adjust the law accordingly.

Discuss this statement in relation to your own society or a society that you know well.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

Because of the easy access to information, and better education system today, children above the age of 15 in my country, have greater knowledge and confidence, but this has not given them the emotional maturity or experience to take important decisions without the active participation of parents or teachers. Hence, there is no need to change the present law to accommodate the rights of children of this age group.

In the first place, if the law is amended to protect the rights these children, both parents and teacher would completely lose their control over them both at home and in school.Since this is psychologically a vulnerable age, they can easily be lured by misleading elements in the society, who can exploit them physically and emotionally. Furthermore, they could be deviated to bad habits like drug addiction, alcoholism and uncontrolled sexual indulgence. Elders would require a lawful control over them at this age to safeguard them from such potential dangers.

Secondly, the important decisions that children take, can easily go wrong, because of the lack of experience and the temperamental nature of their decision making process. Since children would be able to make decisions about their personal, professional or education life, like career choices or life partners, wrong decisions can prove to be detrimental to their success in future life. For example, as the age of 15 is crucial period for them to lay a foundation in their educational career, if not properly guided, there could be a danger of greater school dropouts and career choices that would not match their intellectual aptitudes.

Parents and teachers who have greater experience and emotional maturity should guide them at this age, but at the same time should not impose their ideas on them.

Essay 018 (Is education more important than health for development))

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:

The wealth of a nation is said to depend on the health of its citizens. Yet, in the modern knowledge-based economies of the world, education is more and more being seen as the main force in the development of all countries.

Do you share this view?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

A nation with a healthy population that could actively participate in the development the state was traditionally considered wealthy. However, today there are several other factors and among them education is the major force that can lead to the comprehensive development of a country.

In most developed countries we find that most people lead a healthy life in terms of availability of essential nutrients and healthcare facilities whereas in many developing and underdeveloped countries often the situation is the opposite. Yet, countries like China and India are trying to equip their citizens with higher levels of education, which they think is the easiest way to achieve the status of a developed country. In the modern knowledge based world economy, rich countries like the United States are now giving greater importance to churning out educated graduates in all areas, which is crucial for research and development and effective implementation of developmental projects. This definitely would mean that educated professionals do play a significant role in today’s concept of progress.

In addition, although health can be considered as one of the benchmarks of development, for further development in modern economic scenario, a sound education system is a mandatory requirement. Or else, countries would lag behind in the modern race for supremacy in the information technology driven world. This could even lead to a situation where the so called developed countries would not be able to match the fast pace of development in this area. This could easily be seen in the superior figures of economic growth in countries like India and China, whereas the growth rate in developed countries, where policy planners have not given proper consideration to have highly educated professional force, is comparatively less.

Overall, in the modern technologically driven economies of the world, an educated and highly skilled workforce is key to progress and prosperity.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Essay 017 (alternative energy sources)

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

One-day the world’s oil and gas reserves will run out. The search for alternative energy sources like wind power, solar power, burning waste, and water power are causing as much environmental damage as the oil and nuclear power sources they are intended to replace.

•How far do agree with this latter statement?
•What possible benefits do the alternative energy sources bring? Or what damage do they cause?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
You should write at least 250 words.

The depleting petroleum resources with its huge environmental hazards have forced scientists to search for a perfect alternative energy that can replace this conventional power source. Although alternative fuels like wind power, solar energy have certain disadvantages, they will emerge as a force to reckon with in meeting the world’s energy shortage and replacing oil and gas.

In the first place, alternative energy sources, like solar power, is clean and environment friendly. This should be seen against the fact that traditional sources of energy like gas and petrol cause enormous damage to the environment. However, the problem with this is that the cost of power generation is much higher as compared to mining and processing petroleum. This problem will soon be overcome as a great deal of research is now going on in order to reduce the cost of photovoltaic technology. If this is achieved in the near future, which definitely is a possibility, the energy needs of the world will easily be met. Energy from wind and water is also equally environment friendly, although it is sometimes said to be unreliable. Burning waste may have the disadvantage of polluting the environment by emitting smoke, but we need to take into consideration the amount of waste that is removed through this process.

Secondly, alternative energy is never ending and renewable because sources like sun and water will never be exhausted and do not use up natural resources. A perfect example of this would be solar energy, which is generated from the heat of the sun. In contrast, traditional way to sourcing energy eat up precious natural resources and are not renewable.

Overall, one can clearly come to a conclusion that alternative sources of energy are environment friendly and a perfect replacement for oil, gas and even nuclear energy. With the right research and use of modern technology, we can foresee a pollution free world of energy.

Essay 016 (threat of nuclear weapons)

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:

The threat of nuclear weapons maintains world peace. Nuclear power provides cheap and clean energy. The benefits of nuclear technology far outweigh the disadvantages. 

Do you agree or disagree?

You should use your own ideas, knowledge and experience and support your arguments with examples and relevant evidence.
You should write at least 250 words.

In spite of the fact that nuclear energy has the image of a villain in human history in the last 100 years, the inevitable fact remains that it is one of the major sources of cheap energy and a great contributing fear factor among major nations, that prevents them from attacking each other. Although it may have the destructive power of eliminating human race itself from the face of the earth in the worst case, there are very convincing evidences to prove nuclear energy has greatly contributed to maintaining world peace and providing inexpensive power which is important for the progress of the world.

If one would argue that nuclear bombs caused great holocausts in the twin Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I would raise a counter argument stating that there was not a major war in the world subsequent to the Second World War. Furthermore, one should not forget that, during the cold war period, world was divided into two opposing blocks both possessing destructive nuclear war heads pointed towards each other. None dared to attack each other for fear that it would trigger a major war and the ultimate use of nuclear power, which would cause major destruction to countries on both sides. On the other hand, if one would scan the history prior to Second World War, it was a procession of battles and strife among the major nations of the world. What we derive from these historical facts is that the presence of nuclear power has maintained world peace and is still performing its role perfectly.

All the traditional sources of energy like oil, gas and coal are fast drying up and are expensive and cause a lot of pollution, whereas, nuclear energy is a very important source of alternative energy, which is both clean and inexpensive. This should be weighed against the stark reality that other alternative power sources like windmill or solar energy are more expensive, unreliable and limited in quantity and hydro-electric projects result in environmental hazards as huge dams cause destruction to forests and displacement of inhabitants. Although we need to admit that there have been a couple of instances of nuclear leakages and subsequent disasters in the past, today the safety measures are fool proof and one should not a raise false alarm about safely and ignore the great advantages of nuclear power.

However, one should not ignore the safety aspects of nuclear energy and the danger, if it goes into the hands of criminal elements and terrorists. There should be stronger international nuclear monitoring agencies that should enforce and ensure the safety and non-proliferation of nuclear energy. If so, we can reap the rich benefits of nuclear energy without being disadvantaged by its drawbacks.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Essay 015 (technology for the care of the old)

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:

High technology is now being harnessed to help the elderly by providing monitoring, tracking and, perhaps one day robots as companions. Whilst there are obvious benefits for the elderly in these developments, some people are uneasy about the social consequences.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

The social consequences of using high technology in the care of the elderly, if any, are inconsequential, compared to the enormous benefits it has brought about in the lives of the aged as well as those who take care of them.

The devices that provide monitoring, tracking and many other facilities have enabled old people to have greater self-reliance. Today, they need not depend on other individuals to perform many functions, like moving about or checking their vital signs. This would give them greater independence and self confidence and definitely lead to their better emotional and physical wellbeing. For example, there are tracking devices that can help the elderly to move around without the help of a caregiver or other individuals. All these benefits that the elderly receive with the help of technology, can reduce many social issues associated with old age.

Again, many elderly people would need the help of a nurse of a caregiver, if they are bed-ridden or immobile. Although, taking care them is a very demanding job both physically and psychologically, modern equipments have reduced the workload of carers. For example, helping old people to take a bath or to move around is a physically demanding task, but devices like automated beds and modern wheelchairs have eased the tediousness of these activities. As a result, people who care for them can spend more time to interact with them and give psychological support. This can definitely have a great impact on the emotional health of old people and bring down their loneliness to a great extent. Hence, instead of leading to any social problems, the use of modern equipments can help the elderly to lead a more meaningful life.

However, there could be instances of the aged being left to the company of machines in the evening of their life, which means that they lose the proximity of their close relatives and other human beings. As human interaction is an important ingredient of the emotional health of the elderly, such a situation could make them more irritated and temperamental. Therefore, although the increasing use of the high technology is greatly beneficial for our senior citizens, the society should make sure that they are not denied of the closeness of other human beings.

When we consider the many aspects of the above discussed issue, one can certainly come to a conclusion that the use of modern devices in elderly care is unlikely to lead to any social consequences.

Essay 014 (formal examinations or course work)

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:

Only formal examinations, written or practical, can give a clear picture of students’ true knowledge and ability at university level. Continuous assessment like course work and projects are poor measures of student ability.  How far do agree with this latter statement?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience
You should write at least 250 words.

The assessment methods of students’ ability at the university level are now undergoing many conceptual changes in the recent times. Traditionalist would argue that formal examination is the best approach in analysing the academic performance of a student, but researches, of late, have continuously proved the superiority of course work and projects in judging the comprehensive ability of a student.

In the first place, formal examinations can, sometimes, generate exam phobia among students, as they are usually conducted at the end of the term, which certainly means that students are forced to study an extensive syllabus. This would generate a great amount of stress and fear among many students. In such circumstances, students may not be able to perform to the best of their potential, which is a drawback of this type of assessment. On the other hand, continuous assessment and course work help students to approach examinations in a relaxed manner. Such examinations take place throughout the year, which means students do not have to study the whole syllabus at the end of the term.

Secondly, formal examinations mainly test the rote memory of students, whereas continuous assessments and project work help students do a great deal of research and discover information by themselves. The second method, certainly tests the creative ability of students in a more efficient way as compared to formal examinations.

In conclusion, course work and project works have proved to be much more effective in assessing the comprehensive ability of students. Such methods have benefited students in approaching examinations in a very relaxed manner.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Essay 013 (Euthanasia or mercy killing)

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Euthanasia, or mercy killing, has been a controversial issue for many years. Although many people are strongly against such a practice, there is a growing demand to have it legalised. How far do you agree with euthanasia being made legal?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

Although certain human right groups and religious organisations may raise objections to the legalisation of mercy killing, from a practical point of view it has enormous benefits for the critically ill patients who have no hope of coming back to normal life.

In the first place, legalisation of euthanasia can save the expenditure involved in sustaining lives of many terminally ill patients, who just live with the help of sophisticated medical equipments like ventilators. It is unreasonable to spend huge amounts of money on medicines, medical personnel and equipments, since such people are unlikely to recover. Governments in many orthodox Muslim countries spend millions of dinars for sustaining the lives of patients in vegetative state, because their religious law prohibits euthanasia. In fact, the money wasted for this purpose can be used for treating other patients who can be brought back to a healthy life.

Again, in certain extreme cases, it can also be end the hardships and excruciating physical and mental agony of patients who are in the last stages of certain critical illnesses like cancer. Since the law does not allow mercy killing, the last few days are often a trying time for both the patients and their close relatives and friends. Legalisation of this practice can definitely give these patients a peaceful end through a clinically assisted death.

On the other hand, there are arguments that there could be incidents of illegal elements misusing this law for their personal advantage. Strict laws and proper surveillance can definitely prevent the occurrence of crimes related to this issue. Religious people who object to the legalisation of mercy killing or moral grounds should consider the practical difficulties involved in preserving a life in vegetative state.

If proper guidelines are put forward by the authorities, to determine the validity of a legal euthanasia, it will prove to be a great blessing for many patients who survive just because of a life-sustaining equipment attached to their body.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Essay 012 (Drop physical education from Schools.)

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:

Because of the pressure of new subjects such as business studies, many schools have dropped sport or physical education (PE) from the curriculum. How important is sport or PE in a young person’s education.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
You should write at least 250 words.

Excluding sport or physical education from school curriculum, I would consider, is an unwise step, even if it is to accommodate professionally relevant subjects like business studies.

The active participation of students in physical education can help them to develop a healthy body which is immune to many common diseases. Child obesity, which is a common phenomenon, especially in western countries is often associated with lack of physical exercise. This can eventually lead to many lifestyle diseases, like diabetes and blood pressure even at an early age. School is the best place where a young person can be motivated and initiated into sports. Although there may be other facilities like clubs and gymnasium where children can participate in sports, there are many practical difficulties for children to go there. If schools avoid sports from its curriculum, many students would not participate in any kind of physical activity, leading to an unhealthy future generation.

Participating in sports can help students to develop sports man spirit, skills of socialisation and a spirit of competition. It is also an opportunity for them to ease their stress created by spending long hours in classrooms. It is often seen that children who actively participate in group sports have greater ability to handle anxiety and tension-filled situations. Moreover, the concept of developing the comprehensive personality of a student will definitely receive a setback, if physical education is removed from school curriculum. Again, extraordinary sports talents are usually spotted and nurtured in schools that give importance to physical education along with academic studies.

In the final analysis, although it may sometimes seem that physical education is unnecessary in today’s education system because of the importance given to career oriented subjects, it will definitely hamper the physical and emotional development of children.

You are welcome to post your comments and suggestions...

ESSAY 011 (The pay of professional sports people)

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people believe that professional sportspeople are paid too much money nowadays in relation to their usefulness to society.
Do you agree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

Acknowledging the great contributions made by sports people to the society, the remuneration that they receive, cannot be considered excessive.

The usefulness of sports people can hardly be matched by any other professionals including scientists, doctors or teachers. Successful players possess extraordinary talent which is nurtured through hard work, determination and perseverance. Only a handful sports people reach great heights and earn huge remuneration, as a reward for their economic and entertainment value. For example, multinationals cash on the popularity of sports icons, like the footballer Christiano Ronaldo, and they endorse major brands. This obviously would result in the bulk sale of these products and these companies reward their brand ambassadors with huge remuneration.

Successful sports professionals are role models of the society, especially to the young generation, as they motivate them through their hard work and dedication. Furthermore, they enhance the prestige of the nation by winning international competitions and entertain millions of sports viewers even beyond their national boundaries. Hence they deserve a huge remuneration for the contribution they make to the society, which is unequalled by any other professionals. Countries like Brazil and Argentina take great pride in their teams winning the Football World Cup and reward their players with fitting financial assistance. Moreover, many sports people contribute a major share of their finances to charitable and philanthropic activities. Even after retirement, some sports stars work as goodwill ambassadors or sports trainers.

On the other hand, there are certain professionals who make great contributions to society like, teachers, nurses and soldiers but are not paid in accordance with their role in the welfare of the society. Government has the responsibility of increasing their remuneration in order to reward their services to the community.

While considering the usefulness of sports professionals to the society, I would favour the huge amount of money that they receive

 You are welcome to post your comments and suggestions...

Notes 2 (Assessment Criteria for Essay)

How are answers assessed?

Examiners assess the answers according to these criteria:

Task Response (i.e. how fully and appropriately the candidate has answered all parts of the task; the extent to which the candidate's ideas are relevant, developed and supported; the extent to which the candidate's position is clear and effective)

Coherence and Cohesion (i.e. how well the information and ideas are organised and presented, including paragraphing; how well the information is linked)

Lexical Resource (i.e. the range of vocabulary used, how accurately it is used and how appropriate it is for the task)

Grammatical Range and Accuracy (i.e. the range of structures used, how accurately they are used and how appropriate they are for the task)

Are there any other regulations the candidate needs to know?

They must write their answers on the Answer Sheet provided.

If candidates write less than the minimum word limit, they will be penalised.

They will be penalised for irrelevance if the response is off-topic.

Any writing which is plagiarised (i.e. copied from another source) will be severely penalised.

They will be penalised if their answer is not written as full connected text (e.g. using bullet points in any part of the response, or note form etc.

Essay 010 (traditional values have been lost)

People nowadays work hard to buy more things. This has generally made our lives more comfortable, but many traditional values and customs have been lost and this s a pity.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

In pursuit of material comforts, modern man strives to achieve better financial status. This may be, sometimes at the cost of ignoring traditional value systems and customs. However, I believe, although a minority falls into this category, the major portion of the society still upholds traditional values in the midst of material prosperity.

It is sometimes said that respect for elderly parents, which was a traditional value does not find any place in today’s families. This is purely a based on the wrong assumption that old parents should be allowed to interfere into the affairs of their children and make decisions for them. In fact, today’s parents respect the freedom of their children and in turn, children are more independent and stand on their feet earlier than before. Today’s children maintain a friendly relationship with their parents but that does not mean that they do not respect them. Today, respect for parents is borne out of children’s freedom and not a result of fear, which in many instances used to be the case in the past. Such attitude of today’s generation is sometimes misinterpreted as lack of respect for their parents. What one can derive from this example is that traditional values remain unchanged, although their expressions may take different forms in the passage of time.

Visiting neighbourhood houses used to be a favourite custom for people in the past, which helped them in fostering friendly relationship with one’s neighbours. However, this is not possible today, since people are too busy as they work for long hours outside their homes to meet the ever-increasing demands of modern life. But this has been effectively compensated by the formation of neighbourhood clubs and similar groups where people meet during weekends and engage in many entertainment and social activities. This provides them greater opportunities to develop a friendly relationship with their neighbours.

Man’s quest for material prosperity does not always lead to the loss of traditional values, which can be clearly proved by our own experiences to that effect. Although the circumstances change, man remains the same old ethical being.

You are welcome to post your comments and suggestions...