Importance of a Complementary Educational Agenda for DR-CAFTA

LAYING THE GROUNDWORKIn September 2000, the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the Millennium Declaration. That document served as the launching pad for the public declaration of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which include everything from goal one of halving extreme poverty to goal two of providing universal primary education; all to be accomplished before the year 2015. Progress towards the first seven goals are dependent upon the success of goal eight – which emphasizes the need for rich countries to commit to assisting with the development of “an open, rule-based trading and financial system, more generous aid to countries committed to poverty reduction, and relief for the debt problems of developing countries.”1At first glance, the recent actions of Central American countries and the United States to liberalize trade seem to support, at least partially, successful realization of MDG Eight. However, upon closer examination, the picture blurs and the outcome seems uncertain.Following only a year of negotiations, the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) or DR-CAFTA (as a result of its recent inclusion of the Dominican Republic), was signed by the governments of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the United States in 2004. The agreement, committing each country to reduce its trade barriers with the other DR-CAFTA countries, was ratified by the United States Congress on July 28, 2005.2Rather than attempting to analyze all of the specific economic and social intricacies associated with liberalizing trade in Central America, this brief aims solely to cast light upon the overlap between countries’ efforts to implement the Millennium Development Goal Two/Education for All and their need to implement a complementary CAFTA agenda.Specifically, this document highlights the importance of educational priorities if economic development efforts are to be successful. The premise of the argument elaborated here is that without sufficient prioritized emphasis by Central American countries, multilateral organizations and targeted donor countries on a complementary agenda that directs resources towards education infrastructure, CAFTA will never succeed in assisting these countries in reaching an ever elusive state of “economic prosperity.” In fact, it may deter them from fully accomplishing the MDGs as well.CURRENT STATE OF EDUCATIONWith the need for collaboration between economic and educational efforts in mind, let us examine the current status of MDG Two implementation and broader educational reform in Central America:Over the past fifteen years, most Central American countries have implemented at least basic forms of educational reform. As a result, more children are entering school and spending more days and years enrolled than ever before. On an aggregate level, the larger Latin American and Caribbean region has made considerable progress toward the goal of universal primary education enrollment and according to the most recent UN Millennium Development Goals report, “Net enrollment rates at the primary level rose from 86 percent in 1990 to 93 percent in 2001. The region’s pace of progress in this indicator has been faster than the developing world average (which rose from 80 percent to 83 percent between 1990 and 2001). Net enrollment rates in 23 countries of the region (12 in Latin America and 11 in the Caribbean) surpass 90 percent.” 3 The reality is that, large scale disaster or other unforeseen event aside, all six countries are on target to reach the MDG enrollment targets.Unfortunately, progress towards the target of completing five years of primary education has been slower and few countries in the region can boast success in this arena. The lack of progress towards completion of this target is most directly related to inefficiencies in the education system and the socioeconomic conditions of poor children – both situations that result in high repetition and desertion rates and both situations that must be ameliorated if CAFTA is to succeed. Furthermore, while the number of children initially enrolling in school has increased, the poor quality of education throughout Central America is also certainly a factor in children’s failure to complete their primary education. Quality must therefore also be taken into account when considering educational infrastructure needs.While not necessarily relevant to MDG Two but quite possibly relevant from the CAFTA perspective of needing a skilled workforce, Central America’s educational woes most definitely extend beyond the primary school environment. In response to the recent Millennium Development Goals Report 2005, an Inter-American Development Bank representative wrote “It is difficult to avoid the impression that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are falling behind with regard to secondary education. Although this is not included in the MDGs, it is the single most important educational indicator separating upper and lower income groups in the region.” 4
When less than one third of a country’s urban workforce has completed the twelve years of schooling that your or I take for granted, how can they hope to compete in today’s technology-dense free trade environment?HISTORY LESSON -HAPPENING AGAIN?Upon an examination of the Mexico of today as compared to pre-North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) times, a rise in the Mexican poverty rate over the last decade or so is apparent. Rather than being directly due to the implementation of NAFTA, it is more likely that this increase in the poverty rate is attributable to Mexico’s failure to simultaneously implement a complementary agenda; specifically, the inability of Mexico’s poorer southern States to improve their poorly trained workforce, infrastructural deficiencies and weak institutions in order to participate meaningfully in a liberalized trade environment. Rather than gain, the southern Mexican states lost even as the northern states benefited from the liberalized trade environment created by NAFTA.Dr. Daniel Lederman, co-author of the World Bank report entitled “NAFTA is Not Enough” (and issued ten years after NAFTA was originally enacted) explained in an National Public Radio (NPR) interview in 2003 that Mexico’s financial crisis in the 1990s was bound to deepen poverty there with or without NAFTA. Dr. Lederman said:Mexican income dropped in one year, 1995, by six percent. Wages across the board for all Mexican workers, on average, fell by 25 percent in less than a year…Still, NAFTA helped Mexico limit the damage, lifting per capita income at least 4 percentage points above where it would have been otherwise. The bottom line is, Mexico would be poorer without NAFTA today. Clearly trade alone won’t alleviate poverty. But if Mexico makes the right investments, especially in education, the next decade should be better. 5POTENTIAL FOR ECONOMIC SUCCESSAs was the case in Mexico, it is likely that the majority of households in Central American countries stand to ultimately gain from the price changes associated with removing trade barriers for sensitive agricultural commodities and other goods. However, in order for this to happen, as Dr. Lederman suggests above, each country must now make appropriate investments in development efforts (most especially in education) in order to guarantee an equitable distribution of the benefits of these efforts in the future.Simultaneously, it is of critical importance that each country provides for the needs of their most at-risk citizens. In order to guarantee that the children of these families are given the opportunity to be counted among those in school, countries must identify resources, both internally and externally, to provide incentives for families “to invest in the human capital of their children.” 6Examples of such incentives have been implemented through funding from the Inter-American Development Bank and several other organizations in Costa Rica (Superemonos), the Dominican Republic (Tarjeta de Asistencia Escolar), Honduras (PRAF), and Nicaragua (Red de Protección Social). Most immediately, these incentives (often in the form of conditional cash transfers) serve to increase food consumption, school attendance and use of preventive health care among the extremely poor. In the long run they are intended to assist with poverty and malnutrition reduction and to improve schooling completion rates. As reported by the IDB, “results are proving that it is possible to increase a family’s accumulation of human capital (measured by increased educational attainment and reduced mortality and morbidity) and, as a result, also raise potential labor market returns for the beneficiaries, as well as overall productivity. The programs have had a substantial positive long-term impact on the education, nutrition and health of its beneficiaries, especially children.” 7In the World Bank’s expansive document analyzing CAFTA’s potential impact on Central America, entitled “DR-CAFTA – Challenges and Opportunities for Central America” the authors repeatedly reference technology and emphasize the importance of a complementary educational agenda that is tied to each country’s stage of development and innovation. For example, “for those countries farthest away from the technological frontier -such as Honduras and Nicaragua– the best technology policy is likely to be simply sound education policy… in the more advanced settings of Costa Rica and El Salvador, where adaptation and creation of new technologies is more important, issues of education quality and completion of secondary schooling are more important.” 8 In fact, without ever making specific reference to the MDGs, the authors recommend that the former countries focus on the goal of achieving universal primary education while the latter countries focus their energy on expanding and improving secondary level education. Failing to do so is choosing failure in the open market.Ultimately, rather than seeing CAFTA as a first class ticket to a better economic end – with no strings attached, countries must acknowledge the critical importance of first implementing MDG Two – target three. This target, which says “by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling” 9 is a critically important step towards guaranteeing the emergence of a workforce that can respond to increased marketplace demand and evolving technologies. Without immediate investment in that future workforce via the education system, CAFTA will surely flounder and drag MDG Two along with it.Furthermore, as mentioned above, educational infrastructure must be put into place now that will not only guarantee a higher quality education but will also be made accessible and desirable to Central America’s most at-risk citizens. After all, based on Mexico’s experience, the likelihood of a positive outcome for both CAFTA and MPG Two is slim. Yet the possibility of economic success does exist if we agree to truly choose “Education For All.”CITATIONS1) Millennium Development Goals, Goal Eight, http://www.un.org2) At the time this brief was written (Dec 2005), the agreement still hadn’t been ratified by the Parliaments of Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.3) The Millennium Development Goals Report 2005, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/mi/pdf/MDG%20Book.pdf4) The Millennium Development Goals in Latin America and the Caribbean: Progress, Priorities, and IDB Support for their Implementation, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC, Aug 05, http://idbdocs.iadb.org/wsdocs/getdocument.aspx?docnum=5910885) National Public Radio, All Things Considered, Interview with Daniel Lederman, Monday, December 8, 2003 http://web.lexis-nexis.com/6) The Millennium Development Goals in Latin America and the Caribbean: Progress, Priorities, and IDB Support for their Implementation, ibid7) The Millennium Development Goals in Latin America and the Caribbean: Progress, Priorities, and IDB Support for their Implementation, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC, August 2005, p. 568) DR-CAFTA – Challenges and Opportunities for Central America, Chapter VII: Obtaining the Pay-off From DR-CAFTA, p199.9) Millennium Development Goals, Goal Two, http://www.un.org

How To Make Your Videos Go Viral

This is the final bit of this webinar before we get into the question and answer session. A lot of people have asked me about this, you know, “How do you actually make your videos go viral?” Trust me, there’s been a lot of studies on this and books have been written on this.

In fact, if you’ve ever heard of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, it’s an amazing book. It talks about the science behind stuff going viral. I really recommend you read that, The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

The Definition Of Going Viral

Let’s just look at the definition of going viral. All it basically means is it’s like a virus that duplicates itself with everything it gets in contact with. Think about how this relates to your videos online. Now this is the key thing, every new contact then becomes a host and starts the process all over again. That creates that viral effect.

It’s the same sort of thing with the pyramid schemes. You have one person tell two of their friends and each of those two people tell two of their friends and before you know it, you’ve got a viral effect. That’s what it means to go viral.

So you need those things. You need the virus that duplicates itself and that new contact becomes the host to start the process again. Those are the requirements for something to go viral. It’s word of mouse on YouTube, not word of mouth. Word of mouse.

If you look at studies done, I mentioned this before, one of the most popular ways for people to get to YouTube is through referrals and having their friends tell them about a video. They’ll send an email to them at work and say, “Hey, check out this funny video.” Those are the key ways of getting people to your videos is word of mouse – recommendations, the most important vehicle for making your stuff go viral online.

The Tipping Point By Malcolm Gladwell

I mentioned The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. He talks about three factors or three things that are needed for something to go viral.

The Law Of The Few

The law of the few, and this points to like the big guns, people with big lists or people with big influence – like for example those people with a lot of subscribers on YouTube. There are not many of them. There are only a few of them.

Stickiness Factor

There’s the stickiness factor. In other words, what’s going to encourage people to spread it and why would this message stick?

The Context

Then there’s the context. What is the context of the video? In our case it’s YouTube and the niche that you’re operating in.

The question is why would people want to promote it, what’s in it for them? Why would people want to spread the word about your video? I really recommend you read The Tipping Point. That’ll give you incredible insight into how to make your videos go viral. It’s a great book.

Of course, it’s difficult to engineer videos to go viral and sometimes they’ll just go viral without you even planning it. Sometimes you can engineer it. If you can, it can be very, very successful.

I’ve got a couple of methods here that I want to talk about. One I’ve tested and I’ve been able to get some good results, but I need to test it more. I’ll show you what I did.

The Viral Competition Method

The first one is what I’m calling the Viral Competition Method. This is basically use of competitions. There are six requirements that you need for this.

• First, you need a WIIFM factor, or What’s In It For Me factor – for example, a prize. People can win a prize if they enter into this thing.

• There’s the viral hub page. That’s your original host. This is often the YouTube video page. I’ll show you how this works in a second.

• There’s the opt-in catch. That’s the opt-in page where you give people the free report, or your squeeze page.

• You’ll need viral annotations, and these are the annotations where you link people back to your viral hub page. I’ll show you how this works in a second.

• You need a viral beachhead. This is the big guns. The viral beachhead, someone with a big list, someone with a big subscriber base, you need someone like that on board for this to work.

Let’s see how this works in action. We did a competition awhile ago for FreeMagicLive, me and JayJay. We created a video where we told people about a competition to win a Flip camera, but to be able to enter they had to do a few things. They had to go to our website, at www. StreetMagicMastery. com over here, and they had to perform a trick and submit their own video as a video response over there. For each of these videos, one of the requirements to enter is that they had to create this annotation here, this video annotation. Now what this annotation does is basically it links back to this video here. That’s what it does. Everybody that creates a video response has this annotation inside the video.

That means all their subscribers, all these people here – sorry, these videos are all the same, but it just represents all the subscribers of this channel here – they will see this video and they’ll click on it. They’ll watch our video, download our report, and then they’ll go ahead and multiply and do the same thing over and over. This is the theory behind this.

Now let’s look at some results. Let’s look at our competition video, See All. Now I’m not sure if it really went viral, but we certainly got a lot of views. We got 9,558 views. If you want to see this in action, I recommend you go to our channel and check out the video that says, “Want to win a brand new Flip video camera? It’s real easy to enter.” Check it out and see how we did it. Look at the elements.

Now that one was a little bit complicated, but I’m sure you can simplify it to get the same sort of effect. The important thing here is that you think about this viral concept. What are you using to make this thing go viral?

In our case, it’s this annotation theme that we get people to go back to this video, and also the requirement to click on our link and to download our report. That is the requirement of this competition. Everybody had to do that.

That’s the viral competition method. It’s pretty straight forward. It’s not that hard to do and it’s fun. It’s heaps of fun. We had 74 responses for our video, so it’s not as huge as that other guy, but our channel’s only seven or eight months old. We’re getting better as we go.

The Forced Referral Method

The second one is one that I still want to try. I’m going to explain it to you, because I really think this could work very, very well. This is called the forced referral method. For this there are six requirements.

• First, you need the viral beachhead. This is someone with a big list, either on YouTube or someone with an email list.

• You need the opt-in catch, which is your squeeze page.

• You need the multiplier factor. This is a tell-a-friend script, so that’s what’s going to help you multiply the number of people who sign up to your newsletter.

• You also need a viral video.

The first step is to have the viral beachhead. This is basically just someone with a massive email list or a YouTube user with a massive following, and you get them involved to basically send traffic to your squeeze page. That’s the next step.

Once people get into your squeeze page they’ll get a free resource, and before they can get access to this free resource, they’ll get sent to a page with a tell-a-friend script. This basically says, “If you want to get access to this free resource, first you need to tell three of your friends about it, then you’ll get your free resource.”

Once they’ve told their three friends, it’ll be like a simple form. It will send all their friends to this YouTube video. So you need this initial impetus from the viral beachhead to make this work.

You may be able to do that with your own list if you have one or you can find someone else, if you can think about a way to make it worthwhile for these people.

This is the key thing. Inside your YouTube video, you want to drive people back to the squeeze page. So that continues this process and it goes round and round in circles.

Every time people go through the tell-a-friend script batch, it gets three or five or however many people to visit your YouTube video. That’s how it goes viral. I haven’t tested this one. I’ve seen this used very effectively in other internet marketing situations – not with YouTube yet, but just with normal websites. It’s definitely something to test and check out. It’ll just help you make stuff go viral.

Special Training For Brain Development Of Kids

Many researchers have proven the fact that functioning of brain cells of infants is twice active as adult’s brain. Neurons are the brain cells that connect together and power of neuron have the potential of a PC. Connectivity of neurons decides the smartness or intelligence of individuals. In human, brain development and the learning ability of an individual is 50% in the first four years of age. The nerves of individuals are reduced as they grow up and this is why the 1000 trillion nerves present in an 8 months baby are reduced to 500 trillion as it grows up. A child that has given more opportunities to explore will be much smart.

A majority of children, more than 90% of them use their left brain, but the imperative fact to remember is the right brain must also be utilized. Education system present in almost all the schools is designed to develop or use the left brain. Right brain is never the less significant because it is responsible for creativity, arts, feeling, imagination, visualizing, daydreaming, rhythm, holistic thinking and many others. Hence it is equally important to develop both side of brain. It is also most important to take steps to keep both the brain much active, by keeping them to perform analytically on an equal basis. It is the responsibility of parents to give activities to their children that ensures the involvement of both brain. If both brain used by children it is probable to enhance their learning power and they can also increase their brain power. If brain development programs are offered to children they can make most of the program and develop their skills to give work to both side of brain and remains high in intelligence level. Development of brain in human beings is based on the degree of how much it is used. If it is left unused there are more probabilities for individuals to lose as brain works on the basis of use it or lose it.

To ensure the progressive brain development in children, it is the role of parents to introduce their children with a reputable brain development program. Most of the experts suggest step by step educational program to the children which is systemic and efficient. Nowadays it is very simple to find out a lot of schools which not only gives importance to academic program, but they also boost the creativity of children through their extracurricular activities. It is probable to search internet and get hold of relevant schools that present with a variety of activities to stimulate the brain and encourage the development of children. A total development program to stimulate mental activity of children is also found out in the online sites and parents can try out these activities with their children while they are at home. Getting education from a school that implements total development program is much beneficial. Search for such schools and secure admission to enhance the future of the children and boosts in brain development.