Thursday, October 22, 2009

Illegal Chocolate?

Not many people ask themselves when they sink their teeth into a delicious, creamy piece of chocolate: "I wonder if the workers who helped to produce this treat were properly treated?". Recent reports by the Department of Labor have highlighted the gruelling conditions that workers face on the cocoa plantations in West Africa. "Illegal", "slavery" and "human trafficking" are among many words used to describe the setting. Ghana supplies nearly 60% of the world's chocolate, many workers being between the ages of 11 and 16. Although many exporters claim to have been unaware of the 12-hour long days, inhumane conditions with no pay and no education given to workers, not much has been done to improve the situation. Measures have been taken to ameliorate the conditions, however the upcoming reports have skeptics telling you "I told you so" when you read an article about a five-year old boy from Ghana who is among the staff.

I highly recommend the article "Blood and Chocolate" found at for your review. Please share with friends, family and coworkers to help enforce (child) labor laws and secure basic human rights. Until this becomes a legal work situation, chocolate won't taste so good anymore... Please help take action!

New Placement System Becomes Controversy

Recently, a new system for student placement into schools was initiated. This new system focuses solely on raw exam scores, throwing away an older system that relied heavily on students' grades. Complaints arose when students gained high marks but low raw scores and were thusly not accepted into schools. Now, grades don't matter! Before, grades alone would get a student accepted into a school.

The emphasis on testing/raw scores above grades became a deciding factor for Ghana, and little discussion took place on behalf of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to inform parents of their decision. Controvery emerged most recently when many kids were still not placed into schools due to low raw scores, and school is starting very very soon...!

To read more about this topic, please read the article "Ghana: Addressing Computer Placement Challenges" at