Tak kenal maka tak cinta. Jom Kenali Universiti Awam (UA) Malaysia.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Malaysia Public Holidays 2018 Calendar (Kalendar Cuti Umum Hari Kelepasan Am)

Malaysia Public Holidays 2018 (Tarikh Hari Cuti Umum Malaysia 2018)

The Malaysia Public Holidays 2018 Calendar (Jadual Hari Kelepasan Am Persekutuan & Negeri 2018) below is useful for your next holiday trip planning and you have no more excuse not to buy overseas flight tickets during next AirAsia free seats / zero fares promotion.
Malaysia Public Holidays Calendar 2017 Kalendar Cuti Umum Malaysia

Malaysia Public / National / Federal Holidays 2018 Calendar (Kalendar Jadual Hari Cuti Kelepasan Am Persekutuan Malaysia)

  1. February 16 (Friday): Chinese New Year (Tahun Baru Cina)
  2. February 17 (Saturday): Chinese New Year Second Day (Tahun Baru Cina Hari Kedua)
  3. May 1 (Tuesday): Labour Day (Hari Pekerja)
  4. May 29 (Tuesday): Vesak Day (Hari Wesak)
  5. * June 15 (Friday): Hari Raya Puasa
  6. * June 16 (Saturday) Hari Raya Puasa (Hari Kedua)
  7. * August 22 (Wednesday): Cuti Hari Raya Haji / Qurban
  8. August 31 (Thursday): National Day (Hari Kebangsaan / Merdeka)
  9. September 9 (Sunday): Agong's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong)
  10. September 11 (Tuesday): Awal Muharam (Maal Hijrah)
  11. September 16 (Sunday): Malaysia Day (Hari Malaysia)
  12. * November 6 (Tuesday): Deepavali (Hari Deepavali)
  13.  November 20 (Tuesday): Prophet Muhammad's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Nabi Muhammad S.A.W. / Maulidur Rasul)
  14. December 25 (Tuesday): Christmas (Hari Krismas)

State Holidays 2018 (Jadual Hari Cuti Kelepasan Am Negeri)

  1. January 1 (Monday): New Year 2018 (Tahun Baru 2018)
  2. January 14 (Sunday): Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan)
  3. January 21 (Sunday): Sultan of Kedah's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Kedah)
  4. * January 31 (Wednesday): Hari Thaipusam
  5. February 1 (Thursday): Federal Territory Day (Hari Wilayah Persekutuan)
  6. February 18 (Sunday): Chinese New Year Replacement Holiday
  7. March 4 (Sunday): Anniversary of Installation of Sultan of Terengganu (Hari Ulang Tahun Pertabalan Sultan Terengganu)
  8. March 23 (Friday): Sultan of Johor's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Johor)
  9. March 30 (Friday): Good Friday
  10. April 14 (Saturday): Israk dan Mikraj
  11. April 15 (Sunday): Declaration of Malacca as a Historical City (Hari Perisytiharan Melaka Sebagai Bandaraya Bersejarah)
  12. April 26 (Thursday): Sultan of Terengganu's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Terengganu)
  13. May 7 (Monday): Hari Hol Pahang
  14. * May 17 (Thursday): Awal Ramadan
  15. May 17 (Thursday): Raja Perlis' Birthday (Hari Ulang Tahun Keputeraan Raja Perlis)
  16. May 30 (Wednesday): Harvest Festival (Pesta Kaamatan / Pesta Menuai)
  17. May 31 (Thursday): Harvest Festival (Pesta Kaamatan / Pesta Menuai)
  18. June 1 (Friday): Perayaan Hari Gawai Dayak
  19. June 2 (Saturday): Perayaan Hari Gawai Dayak Holiday
  20. June 2 (Saturday): Hari Nuzul Al-Quran
  21. June 17 (Sunday): Hari Raya Aidilfitri Replacement Holiday
  22. July 7 (Saturday): Georgetown World Heritage City Day (Hari Ulang Tahun Perisytiharan Tapak Warisan Dunia)
  23. July 14 (Saturday): Penang Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Pulau Pinang)
  24. July 22 (Sunday): Sarawak Day
  25. * August 23 (Thursday): Hari Raya Qurban / Haji Hari Kedua
  26. September 8 (Saturday): Sarawak Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak)
  27. September 17 (Monday): Malaysia Day Replacement Holiday
  28. October 6 (Saturday): Sabah Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah)
  29. October 12 (Friday): Malacca Governor's Birthday (Hari Jadi Yang di-Pertua Negeri Melaka)
  30. October 15 (Monday): Hari Hol Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Johor
  31. October 24 (Wednesday): Sultan of Pahang's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Pahang)
  32. November 2 (Friday): Sultan of Perak's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Perak)
  33. November 11 (Sunday): Sultan of Kelantan's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Kelantan)
  34. November 12 (Sunday): Sultan of Kelantan's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Kelantan)
  35. December 11 (Tuesday): Sultan of Selangor's Birthday (Hari Keputeraan Sultan Selangor)
Note: * Subject to change (tertakluk kepada perubahan).

Kalendar Jadual Hari Kelepasan Am Malaysia 2018 Persekutuan & Negeri

Malaysia Public Holidays 2018 Calendar (Kalendar Cuti Umum Hari Kelepasan Am)
Please take note that Penang Governor's Birthday is on July 14th not 7th.
Malaysia Public Holidays 2018 Calendar (Kalendar Cuti Umum Hari Kelepasan Am)

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Friday, July 07, 2017

3 Types of 'Chinese Schools' in Malaysia: Facts & Comparison of SJKC, SMJK & Chinese Independent High School

What you should know about Chinese schools in Malaysia

by Ida Lim

Not all Chinese schools in Malaysia use Mandarin as the medium of instruction. Surprised? Why are they called Chinese schools then?

That is because the term “Chinese schools” has been used indiscriminately to group together disparate types of schools with a common historical background under a very wide umbrella.
Characteristics of Chinese Schools in Malaysia
Characteristics of Chinese Schools in Malaysia
In reality, there are two broad categories for Chinese schools here: those that are private and those that are government-aided. Some of their key distinctions revolve around funding, medium of instruction and syllabus used.

According to the Education Ministry, the self-funded Chinese independent high schools are private schools while those called national-type Chinese primary schools (SJKC) or national-type secondary schools (SMJK) are public schools that receive either full or partial financial assistance from the government.

Chinese independent high schools

Chinese independent high schools may sound like an odd moniker but it can be traced back to the history of local Chinese-medium schools, which United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) chairman Datuk Vincent Lau told Malay Mail Online were first established by the migrants originating from China to provide education for their children.

Surviving a push for English-medium schools during British colonial rule as they insisted on using their mother tongue for lessons, the Chinese-medium secondary schools that refused to switch to using Bahasa Malaysia in exchange for government funding became known as Chinese independent high schools.

These schools do not receive funding from the federal government, except for one-off contributions.

However, Dong Zong confirmed that state governments such as Penang, Sabah, Sarawak and Selangor do provide financial assistance. The respective school boards otherwise continue to rely on school fees and donations from the community for all expenses including teachers’ salaries and infrastructure.
Dong Zong Chairman Datuk Vincent Lau
Dong Zong chairman Datuk Vincent Lau said the shrinking fresh intake of students is also tied to lack of space and the non-approval for new Chinese independent schools to cope with demand.

SJKC and SMJK: Government-aided schools

There are also primary schools where Mandarin is used to teach all subjects. These existed before Malaysia was formed in 1963 and are now known as SJKC, where the vernacular language is allowed to continue to be used as the medium of instruction as an alternative to the Bahasa Malaysia-medium national primary schools (SK).

SK schools are located on public land and accorded the status of “government schools” which the ministry fully maintains and funds.

SJKC schools adopt the same national syllabus used by SK schools and offer the same school-leaving UPSR examination. But because they are built on private donated land, they are given the status of “government-aided schools” and receive less government funding compared to SK schools.

While the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 states that the ministry allocates teachers for both government and government-aided schools and fully pays for their salaries, funding in other aspects for these two subsets of public schools differ slightly.

Both receive government support for operational expenditure in the form of grants-in-aid based on the same criteria of individual school’s needs, but there is a limit on funding for government-aided schools’ utilities bill.

And while the government fully funds the development costs for SK schools, SJKC schools may get 80 per cent funding, sometimes more, for their renovation and construction.

Similarly for SMJK schools which were once Chinese-medium schools that opted to conform by using BM and the national syllabus in return for government aid, the amount of government funding received also depends on ownership of school land.

While SMJK schools have told Putrajaya that they should be granted full financial assistance regardless of their land status, they are currently only considered fully-aided schools if the school boards surrendered the land titles to the government. Otherwise they only receive partial financial assistance with teachers’ salaries and per capita grants paid by the government.

Syllabus and examinations

SMJK students follow the same syllabus and sit for the same examinations as their counterparts in national secondary schools (SMK) during Form Three (PT3), Form Five (SPM) and Form Six (STPM).

But SJMK schools also allocate more time for Mandarin classes with five periods per week to instil deeper awareness of the language and its roots among their majority ethnic Chinese students. In comparison, SMK schools offer only three periods of Mandarin classes a week.

At Chinese independent schools, the syllabus and textbooks are prepared by Dong Zong, which also prepares and conducts the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) for their students.

While students typically sit for the UEC examination during their Junior Three and Senior Three years — or the equivalent of Form Three and Form Six in national schools — there are also some Chinese independent schools which offer the SPM to their students too though Lau said it is not compulsory for Chinese independent schools.

Dong Zong’s records showed that 8,574 students at the Chinese independent schools registered as SPM candidates last year.

Lau said some Chinese independent school students may not take the UEC Senior Three exam after sitting for their SPM as a Senior Two student, opting instead for other pre-university courses.

The STPM exam is not offered however, as the UEC Senior Three exam is its equivalent and is widely-accepted abroad and in local private institutions as a pre-university qualifier.

The UEC examination for Junior Three is in Chinese for most schools, but some schools are also given examination papers in both Mandarin and English. UEC Senior Three candidates are given examination papers set in both Mandarin and English.

While not part of Dong Zong’s tally of Chinese independent schools, Kuantan’s SM Chong Hwa has the unique arrangement of being a private secondary school where students can sit for both the UEC examination and examinations under the national syllabus.

Chinese education in numbers

There are currently 81 SMJK, including three branch schools. The branch campus of Kajang’s SMJK Yu Hua, which received government approval last December after the 3,500-capacity main campus had to turn down students, will be the latest addition when completed.

Based on Dong Zong’s data sourced from the Education Ministry, the number of SJKC schools has been shrinking while BM-medium national primary schools have been growing.

As at last December, the number of SJKC schools numbered 1,298 compared to 1,346 in 1970. In contrast, SK schools boasted 5,877 in 2016 compared to 4,277 in 1970.

The dwindling trend for vernacular schools is also reflected in the decreasing number of Tamil-language primary schools (SJKT) that recorded just 524 last year compared to 657 in 1970.

As for secondary schools, there are currently 61 Chinese independent schools, inclusive of Johor’s Foon Yew High School and its branch which both collectively have over 10,000 students. Foon Yew is set to open yet another branch in 2021.

But Lau of Dong Zong said demand remains high for enrolment in Chinese independent schools, especially in cities, where some of these schools have around 3,000 students and cannot take in more due to limited land, facilities and classrooms.

“The other thing is we cannot get the permission to build more Chinese independent schools, the government does not allow, they limit you to 60. We applied but they don’t give permission,” he said, comparing this with the boom in the number of international schools approved by the government.

As such, some Chinese independent schools have resorted to demolishing some of their buildings to rebuild additional storeys to cater to demand.

How big a pie?

While the overall number of students at Chinese independent schools continued its uninterrupted upward trend of 15 years and hit a historic peak this year with 85,304 students, it accounts for only four per cent of the total recorded number of secondary school students, which is 2,099,603 as of January 2017.

SMJK schools account for over 108,000 students, and even when combined with Chinese independent schools amount to less than 10 per cent.

The number of new intakes at Chinese independent schools has however been going down in the past four years.

After a record high at 17,620 in 2013, this year saw only 14,481 enrolments, which Lau attributed to a cocktail of factors: the rural to urban migration, the subsequent imbalance between overcrowded urban schools and under-enrolled rural schools, and lower birth rates especially among the ethnic Chinese community.
Malaysia SJKC Chinese Independent High School Total Student Number
According to an Education Ministry parliamentary reply in the March-April session, the number of primary school students as of January 2017 is 2,674,327. A separate reply in the same session shows that the bulk of the student are enrolled in SK schools at 2,065,279, while almost one-fifth are in SJKC schools at 527,453 and SJKT schools account for 81,483.

Based on the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s data of live births in the 2000-2015 period, the annual number of babies born in some of the preceding seven years before primary school enrolment from 2000 to 2017 are also among the lowest of the entire 15-year period.

The SK, SJKC and SJKT overall student numbers have generally been on a downward trend during the 2010-2017 period (except for a rebound for SK schools in the past two years).

Beyond the flocking of locals to international schools since the federal government removed limits in 2012 on intake of Malaysians, the Department Statistics Malaysia’s 2000-2015 data of live births may also give a hint on the explanation for the student numbers in national and national-type primary schools.

Malaysians typically enter primary schools at age seven, so students freshly enrolled in the 2010-2017 batch would generally be those born during the 2003-2010 period. The annual number of babies born during the latter period are among the lowest in the 2000-2015 period — 481,800 in 2004, 474,473 in 2005, 472,698 in 2006, 479,647 in 2007.
Live Births Number in Malaysia
Live Births Number in Malaysia

Future goals

Dong Zong has long been pushing Putrajaya to recognise the UEC for entry into the civil service and local public universities, with Lau saying that further discussions are required to pursue this recognition.

The government had in parliamentary replies said it is maintaining the status quo by letting the 60 Chinese independent schools here continue their operations as provided for under the Education Act 1996.

The replies indicate that the government’s steadfast refusal to recognise the UEC is because of the differing national syllabus standards and alleged contradiction with the National Education Policy which envisions a uniform syllabus and examinations delivered in BM.

The Higher Education Ministry had in a March 2016 parliamentary reply highlighted that it will deny public university entry to UEC graduates owing to several reasons including entry requirements of an SPM pass with credits in the BM subject; UEC’s BM levels not being on par with SPM standards; as well as alleged inadequate coverage of national history in the UEC syllabus.

Lau said the BM levels may differ in the two examinations, adding that Dong Zong is agreeable to having UEC students sit for the Bahasa Malaysia subject under SPM as a single subject and would want to be able to waive sitting for the entire examination.

“Maybe they have misconception about what we study, they are thinking we are studying Chinese history textbook from China or Taiwan, which is not true,” he said.

He claimed that Chinese independent schools cover a wider scope in history lessons on Europe, China and South-east Asia compared to the syllabus taught in national schools, but that they also cover Malaysian history.

The UEC is currently recognised by the Sarawak state government for entry into the state’s civil service and is recognised by local private universities such as the Selangor-owned Unisel, but is not accepted by the public universities such as Universiti Malaysia Sarawak which is under the federal government, Lau said. The Penang state government also accepts UEC graduates at its subsidiary companies.

As for Chinese primary schools, Lau said the federal government should adopt a systematic policy by either relocating under-enrolled schools or build new schools in high-demand areas such as urban areas and new townships that have predominantly ethnic Chinese population.

“Sometimes this becomes political, when it’s closer to election, the place there requests a school, the government [says] OK and they will build the school,” he said of the current ad-hoc approach.

Chinese education groups had in two memoranda in 2011 and 2012 to the prime minister said an additional 45 SJKC schools in six states needs to be built. The government has yet to approve the construction of these schools as of a December 2016 statement by Dong Zong.

This artile was first posted at The Malay Mail Online)

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Thursday, July 06, 2017

How technology is changing classroom education

How technology is changing classroom education

Guest post by Justin Goh (Share your insight with 56,000+ Malaysian students)

Education technology has improved a lot in modern times. With inculcation of avant-garde techs such as augmented and virtual reality, the learning experience has just gone off the roofs.

There’s absolutely no doubt of the fact that it has played a big role in transforming classroom education for good. In this article, we’ll see to the different ways through which it has changed classroom education.
Young man in high school computer lab

1. Education technology has played a great role in extending education beyond the classrooms

The advent of the mobile internet has played a great role in extending education beyond the walls of the classroom.

With devices like iPhones and iPads (for example), it has become immensely easy for students to do their practical programming classes even from the comfort of their drawing rooms or even when they have gone mobile. They don’t have to gain access to a computer lab anymore to do their practical classes as per schedule.

So we can see that the mobile technology has more or less acted as a bridge between the classroom and home learning to great effects.
E-learning concept Ebook

2. The rise of ebooks

Ebooks are gaining more prominence in schools and colleges because of the host of benefits that come with them. Some of them are:
  • Ebooks have the benefits of instant availability over conventional textbooks. The school libraries don’t have to wait for their stock to arrive anymore. Just a click of the mouse is enough to get the book to their collection. Amazon, eBay, Barnes and Noble, etc. can aid a lot.
  • Ebooks are environment-friendly.
  • Ebooks also provide a text-to-audio option for visually-challenged pupils.
  • They are cost-effective and also require a significant low storage space (a simple mobile device is capable of storing thousands of ebooks depending on its storage space) in comparison to the conventional text books.
The immense popularity of ebooks in classrooms has created a number of changes like low baggage and less storage space, and so on. All such changes are considered desirable from the point of view of education.

3. The teacher-student role reversal

With the inculcation of education technology in classrooms, the teacher-student roles have gone through a complete transformation.

The student has become a whole lot more active and engaged in comparison to the way it was before.

The teacher, on the other hand, has stopped being just a dispenser of information. S/He has now become more or less a facilitator of information by guiding their students on the right track.
Silhouette of a boy with e learning concept

4. Significant increase in classroom engagements

One of the main benefits of educational technology lies in collaboration. And technology plays an important role to empower the same in the best possible manner.

With the aid of classroom technology, students collaborate well with one another, both inside and outside the classrooms. Here’s a simple example:
The power of social media.

Teachers can now use the power of social media to great effects to increase collaboration between students and their parents on the same platform itself. They will be able to create their unique groups, post assignments and share a number of useful educational resources on the same platform itself.

Parents will be able to keep track of their child’s progress on social media and will also be able to interact with the teacher in case there’s any requirement.

5. Educational technology has made it possible for teachers to deliver a more personalized learning experience to students

Educational technology has made it possible for teachers to customize their lessons according to the needs of individual students.

Personalized learning such as e-learning has made it possible for students to learn at their own pace; a trait that has benefited many average students to do well in the long run.

Some of the best uses of educational technology in classrooms

  • Blogging
    • Blogging is one of the best ways for teachers to take their lessons beyond the boundaries of the classrooms. Blogging gives teachers a platform to share their thoughts, ideas, and experience with the world as a whole; something that’s considered to be pretty “constructive” from the general point of view.
    • Through the help of blogging, teachers might be able to build themselves a small online learning community which, in a sense can benefit both the teachers and the students in general.
    • Note: Getting a blog site on the World Wide Web has become as easy as a piece of cake now; thanks to the user-friendly content management systems such as Wordpress, Joomla!, and others.
  • Usage of apps and games in classes
    • Nowadays, we have several educational apps and games available on the app stores for a broad range of mobile devices. A fair chunk of them doesn’t even cost a dime.
    • Teachers can use them effectively in their classrooms for different teaching purposes of their own.
  • Usage of augmented and virtual reality in classrooms
    • The augmented and virtual reality technologies have gained a lot of prominence in modern days. The educational sectors have benefitted a lot as a result of these avant-garde mean of technologies.
    • It has helped to create the maximum possible impression on students through its immersive learning experience which has significantly and positively affected their studies on the whole.
    • Case in point -
Educational technology has really changed the meaning of classroom education. But the question is: “Are you on the bandwagon yet?” If you are not, you better get on it ASAP. You will definitely get benefited in the long run as a student.

Justin Goh Profile Picture
Justin Goh is a former teacher and prolific writer, penning blogs to help the parents, students and the educators alike. Regularly contributing articles for MyPrivateTutor Malaysia, he prefers to write on varying aspects of education ranging from learning strategies and preparation tips to the ways to reach out to the students better.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2017

How Malaysian Students Can Befriend English To Get Better At Writing Essays

How Malaysian Students Can Befriend English To Get Better At Writing Essays

Guest post by Mallory Zoe (Share your insight with 56,000+ Malaysian students)

Writing to express yourself clearly could be a challenge if you are not a writer. This could make the situation worse if you have trouble connecting your thoughts. And if you are required to write in a language that is not your mother tongue, you can only imagine your condition. Add the pressure of time to it and it makes you want to quit instantly.
English Word Title Image

Writing in English is no different. English is a beautiful language with appropriate words for almost all situations. Writing in proper, coherent English is always a challenge for ESL students. Students from Malaysia are ambitious and go abroad for higher studies; but without a proper command over the English language, most students find themselves struggling. Whether it is the UK, US or Australia, students are required to submit essays as part of their curriculum. This is where many students approach model essay writing services to help them learn the art of writing essays.

A part of the problem lies in the way students are taught a foreign language like English. Malaysia has seen a drastic change with regards to English as a medium of teaching. The education system which primarily used English until 1980’s, saw a change only to adapt Malay as a medium of teaching. This was briefly changed to English medium only for Maths and Science, which was rolled back in 2012 to Malay medium. Besides, while the US, UK, Australia, and Canada allocate undergraduate degrees to students based on their research skills demonstrated through many small essays and research papers, this is not the case with Malaysia.

How Can Students Overcome Limitations To Get Comfortable With English?

The obvious question that comes to mind is, how can you overcome these shortfalls and still get comfortable with English and essay writing without using essay writing services if you are a Malaysian student looking to study abroad? The simple answer to this is to plan your way ahead. If you know your aim is to study abroad or if you are a parent who is interested in sending their children abroad, you must plan ahead.
Woman sitting at her desk thinking of things to write

Steps You Can Take to Make Your Children Comfortable With English and Essay Writing

  1. Send your children to English coaching centers - Yes, sending your children to a good coaching center for English can help you advance their skills. Not only would they get to learn the language, they would also make a bunch of friends with common goals. 
  2. Ask them to converse in English - If you are not very comfortable with English, ask your children to practice the language with someone who can speak good English. There is nothing like practicing a language. 
  3. Practice by writing sentences - Once your child has reached a stage where they are comfortable with spoken English, ask them to start writing in English. For most students, the only writing practice they get in English is when they mug up for exams and write word by word what they had memorized. While they can still get good grades by doing so, but their actual language skills would remain hidden from you. 
  4. Practice essay writing - If you child has successfully achieved the above stages, which may take several months, it is time to expose them to essays. Give them a simple topic (preferably something of interest) and ask them to research the topic using Google books and other scholarly sources. Check their essay for language, sources, and the depth of research. You can also take the help of an online examiner from the UK who would mark the essay and send it back to you.
  5. Learn academic formats - Lastly, make your child learn academic formatting. Essays in the UK and the US are written in academic formats like APA, MLA, and Harvard. There are many online sources for this. Most universities have their own formatting guidelines shared through their official websites.
The above steps are not easy, especially if you are a Malay medium student, but they are possible if you approach them step by step. Don’t lose sight of your aim to study abroad and put all these steps into practice. If you do your homework right, life aboard would become much easier as you become more confident of handling tons of assignments, which are going to be thrown your way.

Remember, the true reason behind getting education abroad is because the education system is more robust and prepares you for the biggest challenges of life. It develops your character in ways you can hardly imagine. Only those who can overcome hurdles of expressing themselves clearly would get a shot at getting a UK/US degree that will stay with them for life and open doors to most wonderful opportunities around the globe.

Mallory Zoe is an independent blogger and an avid reader. She writes on education, college life and career choices for students. She is presently associated with a cheap essay writing service where she helps international students improve their language and get better at writing essays.

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