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Submitted to: Faculty-FSW Course-MGT372 North South University

Submitted by: Miss Zinat ara tutul ID: 082699030 North South University


SAARC is South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. is an organisation of South Asian nations, founded in December 1985 and dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasising collective self-reliance. SAARC headquarter is located in Kathmandu, Nepal. SAARC holds its meetings every year, meetings of heads of state are usually scheduled annually; meetings of foreign secretaries, twice annually. The 11 stated areas of cooperation are agriculture; education, culture, and sports; health, population, and child welfare; the environment and meteorology; rural development (including the SAARC Youth Volunteers Program); tourism; transport; science and technology; communications. SAARC has 8 member countries. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are the founding members. Afghanistan joined the organization in 2005.

Our country, Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is a small country liberated only in 1971. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma (Myanmar) to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south. Politics Bangladesh is a unitary state of parliamentary democracy. Direct elections in which all citizens, aged 18 or over, can vote are held every five years for the unicameral parliament known as Jatiya Sangsad. The parliamentary building is known as the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban and was designed by architect Louis Kahn. Bangladesh has two mainstream parties, Bangladesh Awami League (BAL) and Bangladesh National Party (BNP). BNP is led by Khaleda Zia and has traditionally been allied with Islamist parties like Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and Islami Oikya Jot,[33] while Sheikh Hasina's Awami League aligns with leftist and secularist parties. Hasina and Zia are bitter rivals who have dominated politics for over 15 years; each is related to one of the leaders of the independence movement. Economy Bangladesh is a developing country mainly depending on its agriculture. Although one of the world's poorest and most densely populated countries, Bangladesh has made major strides to meet the food needs of its increasing population, through increased domestic production augmented by imports.


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The land is devoted mainly to rice and jute cultivation, although wheat production has increased in recent years; the country is largely self-sufficient in rice production. Bangladesh is limited in its reserves of coal and oil, and its industrial base is weak. The country's main endowments include its vast human resource base, rich agricultural land, relatively abundant water, and substantial reserves of natural gas. The sea port of Chittagong is very much operational for the exports and imports that take place. A greater percentage of people in Bangladesh live below the poverty line. Population problem is one of the hazards that cause this. The countrys budget is largely dependant on financial aid and loans from foreign banks and countries. Since independence in 1971, Bangladesh has received more than $30 billion in grant aid and loan commitments from foreign donors, about $15 billion of which has been disbursed. Society Family and kinship were the core of social life in Bangladesh. A family group residing together would function as the basic unit of economic endeavor, landholding, and social identity. In the eyes of rural people, the group defined the effective household--an extended family exploiting jointly held property and being fed from a jointly operated kitchen. Patrilineal ties dominated the ideology of family life, but in practice matrilineal ties were almost as important. The death of the father usually precipitated the separation of adult brothers into their own households. Marriage is a civil contract rather than a religious sacrament in Islam, and the parties to the contract represent the interests of families rather than the direct personal interests of the prospective spouses. Marriages are often preceded by extensive negotiations between the families of the prospective bride and groom. One of the functions of the marriage negotiations is to reduce any discrepancy in status through financial arrangements. Parents ordinarily select spouses for their children, although men frequently exercise some influence over the choice of their spouses. Womens position is society, though still needs improvement, has become relatively firm in recent years. Women previously were counted only as a counterpart of men responsible for managing the household. But now women contribute a great deal to economy by working in garments factories, and some even conduct their own business. Bangladesh is rich in culture and heritage. The country has centuries of old tradition that still echoes the life of people. Even the capital Dhaka has 400 years of rich culture. Education The educational system in Bangladesh is three-tiered and highly subsidized. The government of Bangladesh operates many schools in the primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels. It also subsidizes parts of the
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funding for many private schools. In the tertiary education sector, the government also funds more than 15 state universities through the University Grants Commission. Bangladesh conforms fully to the Education For All (EFA) objectives, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and international declarations. Article 17 of the Bangladesh Constitution provides that all children between the ages of six and ten years receive a basic education free of charge. Though dealt with much importance, a great percentage of people are still illiterate. Religion Though the majority of people in Bangladesh are Muslim, no religion is looked down upon here. Almost 89.7% people of Bangladesh practice Islam while a significant percentage, almost 9.2%, of the population adheres to Hinduism. The majority of Muslims are Sunni. Many people in Bangladesh practice Sufism, historically Islam was brought to the region by Sufi saints. Other religious groups include Buddhists, Christians, and Animists. Bangladesh has the fourth largest Muslim population after Indonesia, Pakistan, and India, with over 170 million. Language Bangla or Bengali is the mother tongue of Bangladeshi people. There is a glorious and significant history behind the establishment of Bengali as the mother tongue. Bangladesh, before its birth, was a part of Pakistan and was known as East Pakistan. The then, oppressive Pakistani rulers of authority tried to impose Urdu as the national language upon the Bengali-loving people. The mass population broke out against this and in 1951 many students were shot at and killed in a procession by the Pakistani military police. Thus after long struggle and bloodshed Bengali was promoted as our mother tongue. This language was acquired in exchange of blood, so it is related with the roots of our birth. Bengali culture is largely in debt to the language movement in 1951. Every year 21 February is observed as Shahid Dibosh which was later acknowledged by UNESCO as the International Mother Language Day, and is celebrated throughout the world as a celebration of freedom of speaking mother tongue. Nearly all Bangladeshis speak Bangla as their mother tongue and it is the official language. It is an Indo-Aryan language of Sanskrit origin with its own script. English is used as a second language among the middle and upper classes. English is also widely used in higher education and the legal system.

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India, officially the Republic of India, is one of the largest countries in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; Bhutan, the People's Republic of China and Nepal to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Burma to the east. Politics India is the world's most populous democracy. A parliamentary republic with a multi-party system, it has six recognised national parties, including the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and more than 40 regional parties. The Congress is considered centre-left or "liberal" in Indian political culture, and the BJP centre-right or "conservative". For most of the period between 1950when India first became a republicand the late 1980s, the Congress held a majority in the parliament. Since then, however, it has increasingly shared the political stage with the BJP, as well as with powerful regional parties which have often forced the creation of multiparty coalitions at the Centre. Jawaharlal Nehru Gandhi is considered the most influential and iconic political figure in India and is also known for his ethics and principles throughout the world. Economy According to the International Monetary Fund, the Indian economy is worth US$1.632 trillion; it is the world's ninth-largest economy by market exchange rates, and is, at US$4.06 trillion, the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). With its average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8% over the past two decades, and reaching 10.4% during 2010, India is one of the world's fastest-growing economies. However, the country ranks 138th in the world in nominal GDP per capita and 129th in GDP per capita at PPP. The 467-million worker Indian labour force is the world's second largest. Major industries include textiles, telecommunications, chemicals, food processing, steel, transport equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery and software. Major exports include petroleum products, textile goods, jewelry, software, engineering goods, chemicals, and leather manufactures. Major imports include crude oil, machinery, gems, fertiliser, and chemicals. Despite the booming economy a moajor part of India that resides in rural areas live below the proverty line and have to deal with hardship throughout their lives. Society


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Traditional Indian society is defined by relatively strict social hierarchy. The Indian caste system describes the social stratification and social restrictions in the Indian subcontinent, in which social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed as Jatis or castes. Traditional Indian family values are highly valued, and multi-generational patriarchal joint families have been the norm in India, though nuclear families are becoming common in urban areas. An overwhelming majority of Indians, with their consent, have their marriages arranged by their parents or other family members. Marriage is thought to be for life, and the divorce rate is extremely low. Child marriage is still a common practice, more so in rural India, with more than half of women in India marrying before the legal age of 18. Education Education in India is matter of prime concern for the government of India. Education in India is provided by the public sector as well as the private sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. Child education is compulsory. Education in India falls under the control of both the Union Government and the states, with some responsibilities lying with the Union and the states having autonomy for others. The various articles of the Indian Constitution provide for education as a fundamental right. Most universities in India are controlled by the Union or the State Government. India has made progress in terms of increasing primary education attendance rate and expanding literacy to approximately two thirds of the population. India's improved education system is often cited as one of the main contributors to the economic rise of India. Much of the progress especially in Higher education, Scientific research has been credited to various public institutions. The private education market in India is merely 5% although in terms of value is estimated to be worth $40 billion in 2008 and will increase to $68 billion by 2012. Religion India is the birth place of four of the world's major religious traditions; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Throughout its history, religion has been an important part of the country's culture. Religious diversity and religious tolerance are both established in the country by law and custom. A vast majority of Indians associate themselves with a religion. Hinduism is the main religion practiced in India. Around 80.5% Indians are Hindu, whereas 13.4% are Muslim. Christianity and Sikhism are the other major religions followed by the people of India. This diversity of religious belief systems existing in India today is a result of, besides existence and birth of native religions, assimilation and social integration of religions


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brought to the region by traders, travelers, immigrants, and even invaders and conquerors. Citizens of India are generally tolerant of each other's religions and retain a secular outlook, although inter-religious marriage is not widely practiced. Inter-community clashes have found little support in the social mainstream, and it is generally perceived that the causes of religious conflicts are political rather than ideological in nature. Language The principal official language of the Republic of India is Standard Hindi, while English is the secondary official language. The languages of India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-European languagesIndo-Aryan which is spoken by 72% of Indians and the Dravidian languages which is spoken by 25% of Indians. Other languages spoken in India belong to the Austro-Asiatic, Tibeto-Burman, and a few minor language families and isolates. The constitution of India states that "The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script." Neither the Constitution of India nor Indian law specifies a national language, a position supported by a High Court ruling. However, languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian constitution are sometimes referred to, without legal standing, as the national languages of India.

Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. Strategically, Pakistan is located in a position between the important regions of South Asia, Central Asia and the greater Middle East. Politics Politics of Pakistan have taken place in the framework of a federal republic, where the system of government has at times been parliamentary, presidential, or semi-presidential. In the current parliamentary system, the President of Pakistan is the largely ceremonial head of state, the Prime Minister is head of government, and there is a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is largely vested in the Parliament. Pakistan has been ruled by both democratic and military governments. Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League (N), Pakistan Muslim League (Q), Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Awami National Party, Muttahida Majlis-e-


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Amal Pakistan are the major political parties in Pakistan. The prime minister is appointed by the members of the National Assembly through a vote. Economy Pakistan has a semi-industrialized economy. The growth poles of the Pakistani economy are situated along the Indus River. Diversified economies of Karachi and Punjab's urban centres, coexist with lesser developed areas in other parts of the country. Despite being a very poor country in 1947, Pakistan's economic growth rate has been better than the global average during the subsequent four decades, but imprudent policies led to a slowdown in the late 1990s. Recently, wide-ranging economic reforms have resulted in a stronger economic outlook and accelerated growth especially in the manufacturing and financial services sectors. The 2005 estimate of foreign debt was close to US$40 billion. However, this has decreased in recent years with assistance from the International Monetary Fund and significant debt-relief from the United States. Today, Pakistan is regarded as to having the second largest economy in South Asia. The structure of the Pakistani economy has changed from a mainly agricultural base to a strong service base. Significant foreign investments have been made in several areas including telecommunications, real estate and energy. Other important industries include apparel and textiles, food processing, chemicals manufacture, and the iron and steel industries. Society Pakistani society is ethnically diverse yet overwhelmingly Muslim. It is largely rural yet beset by the problems of hyperurbanization. Since its independence in 1947, Pakistan has enjoyed a robust and expanding economy--the average per capita income in the mid-1990s approached the transition line separating low-income from middle-income countries--but wealth is poorly distributed. A middle-class is emerging, but a narrow stratum of elite families maintains extremely disproportionate control over the nation's wealth, and almost onethird of all Pakistanis live in poverty. It is a male-dominated society in which social development has lagged considerably behind economic change, as revealed by such critical indicators as sanitation, access to health care, and literacy, especially among females. Family or personal interest and status take precedence over public good in Pakistan. Ethnic, regional, and--above all--family loyalties figure far more prominently for the average individual than do national loyalties. Education


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Education in Pakistan is divided into five levels: primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); high (grades nine and ten, leading to the Secondary School Certificate); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a Higher Secondary School Certificate); and university programmes leading to graduate and advanced degrees. According to the constitution of Pakistan, it is the states responsibility to provide free primary education. In 2004 only 46.6 percent of adult Pakistanis were literate. Male literacy was 60.6 percent, while female literacy was 31.5 percent. Literacy rates also vary regionally, and particularly by sex. The government launched a nationwide initiative in 1998 with the aim of eradicating illiteracy and providing a basic education to all children. Religion Pakistan is the second-most populous Muslim-majority country and also has the second-largest Shi'a population in the world. About 97% of the Pakistanis are Muslim. The majority are Sunni, with an estimated 520% Shi'a. 2.3% are Ahmadis, who are officially considered non-Muslims since a 1974 "antiAhmadi" constitutional amendment. There are also several Sufi and Quraniyoon communities. Although the groups of Muslims usually coexist peacefully, sectarian violence occurs sporadically. The remaining are Parsis, Buddhists, Jews, Bah's and Animists Language Languages of Pakistan include two official languages: Urdu, which is also Pakistan's national language and lingua franca, and English. Additionally, Pakistan has four major provincial languages: Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, and Balochi, as well as three major regional languages: Saraiki, Hindko and Kashmiri. Most of the languages of Pakistan belong to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family.

Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the Maldives. It is part of South Asia. Politics Sri Lanka is the oldest democracy in South Asia. Current politics in Sri Lanka is a contest between two rival coalitions led by the centre-leftist and progressivist United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), an offspring of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and the comparatively right-wing and proCourse-MGT372 Page 9

capitalist United National Party (UNP). Sri Lanka is essentially a multi-party democracy with many smaller Buddhist, socialist and Tamil nationalist political parties. As of July 2011, the number of registered political parties in the country is 67. Economy Srilanka is a small country largely depending on its production and export of tea, rubber, coffee, sugar and other agricultural commodities. The nation has moved steadily towards an industrialised economy with the development of food processing, textiles, telecommunications and finance. Main economic sectors of the country are tourism, tea export, clothing, rice production and other agricultural products. In addition to these economic sectors, overseas employment contributes highly in foreign exchange, most of them from the Middle East. According to the International Monetary Fund, Sri Lanka claims to a US$50 billion economy as of 2010. Sri Lanka is next only to Maldives in the South Asian region in terms of per capita income. Although poverty has reduced by 50% during last 5 years, malnutrition remains a problem among children. 29% of the children under 5 years of age are reported to be underweight. Society Among all ethnic and caste groups, the most important social unit is the nuclear family--husband, wife, and unmarried children. Even when economic need causes several families or generations to live together, each wife will maintain her own cooking place and prepare food for her own husband as a sign of the individuality of the nuclear family. Among all sections of the population, however, relatives of both the wife and the husband form an important social network that supports the nuclear family and encompasses the majority of its important social relations. The kindred of an individual often constitute the people with whom it is possible to eat or marry. Because of these customs, local Sinhalese society is highly fragmented, not only at the level of ethnic group or caste, but also at the level of the kindred. The kinship systems of Sri Lanka share with most of South Asia and the Middle East the institution of preferred crosscousin marriage. This means that the most acceptable person for a young man to marry is the daughter of his father's sister. The most suitable partner for a young woman is the son of her mother's brother. Parallel cousins--the son of the father's brother or the daughter of the mother's sister--tend to be improper marriage partners. There is a close and special relationship between children and their aunts or uncles, who may become their fathers- or mothers-in-law. Education


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With a literacy rate of 92.5%, Sri Lanka has one of the most literate populations amongst developing nations.[310] Its youth literacy rate stands at 98%, computer literacy rate at 35%, and primary school enrolment rate at over 99%. An education system which dictates 9 years of compulsory schooling for every child is in place. The free education system established in 1945. It is one of the few countries in the world that provides universal free education from primary to tertiary stage. Religion Buddhism is the main religion of Srilanka with more than 70% people following it. The other religions practised are Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Sri Lanka's population practices a variety of religions. 70% of Sri Lankans are Theravada Buddhists, 15% are Hindus, 7.5% are Muslims and 7.5% Christians. Sri Lanka was ranked the 3rd most religious country in the world by a 2008 Gallup poll, with 99% of Sri Lankans saying religion is an important part of their daily life. Language Several languages are spoken in Sri Lanka within the Indo-Aryan, Dravidian and Austronesian families. Sri Lanka accords official status to Sinhala and Tamil. The languages spoken on the island nation are deeply influenced by the languages of neighbouring India, the Maldives and Malaysia. Arab settlers and the colonial powers of Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain have also influenced the development of modern languages in Sri Lanka. The Sinhala language is spoken by the Sinhalese people, who constitute approximately 70% of the national population and total about 13 million. The Veddah peoples, totaling barely 300, speak a distinct language, possibly a creolized form of an earlier indigenous language. The Tamil language is spoken by Sri Lankan Tamils, as well as by Tamil migrants from the neighboring Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Tamil speakers number more than 3 million. Additionally, a form of Tamil influenced by Arabic is spoken by the Moor ethnic minority. There are more than 50,000 speakers of the Sri Lankan Creole Malay language, which is strongly influenced by the Malay language.



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Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China. Bhutan is separated from the nearby country of Nepal to the west by the Indian state of Sikkim, and from Bangladesh to the south by Assam and West Bengal. Politics Bhutan's political system has developed from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy. In 1999, the fourth king of Bhutan created a body called the Lhengye Zhungtshog (Council of Ministers). The Druk Gyalpo (King of Druk Yul) is head of state. Executive power is exercised by the Lhengye Zhungtshog, the council of ministers. Legislative power was vested in both the government and the former Grand National Assembly. The new political system comprises an upper and lower house, the latter based on political party affiliations. Elections are held for both the houses which determines the government of Bhutan. Economy Though Bhutan's economy is one of the world's smallest, it has grown rapidly in recent years, by eight percent in 2005 and 14 percent in 2006. In 2007, Bhutan had the second fastest growing economy in the world, with an annual economic growth rate of 22.4 percent. Bhutan's economy is based on agriculture, forestry, tourism and the sale of hydroelectric power to India. Agriculture provides the main livelihood for more than 80 percent of the population. Agrarian practices consist largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Handicrafts, particularly weaving and the manufacture of religious art for home altars, are a small cottage industry. The industrial sector is in a nascent stage, and though most production comes from cottage industry, larger industries are being encouraged and some industries such as cement, steel, and ferroalloy have been set up. Society Bhutan's traditional society has been defined as both patriarchal and matriarchal, and the member held in highest esteem served as the family's head. Bhutan also has been described as feudalistic and characterized by the absence of strong social stratification. In premodern times, there were three broad classes: the monastic community, the leadership of which was the nobility; lay civil servants who ran the government apparatus; and farmers, the largest class, living in self-sufficient villages. Social status is based on a family's economic station. Except among the Hindu Nepalese in southern Bhutan, there was no caste system. Although Bhutanese were endogamous by tradition, modern practices and even royal


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decrees encouraged ethnic integration in the late twentieth century. Primogeniture dictated the right of inheritance traditionally, although in some central areas the eldest daughter was the lawful successor. In contemporary Bhutan, however, inheritance came to be more equally distributed among all children of a family. Education Bhutan's literacy rate in the early 1990s, estimated at 30 percent for males and 10 percent for females by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), ranked lowest among all least developed countries. Other sources ranked the literacy rate as low as 12 to 18 percent. A modern educational system was introduced in Bhutan in the 1960s. Prior to that, education was provided only by monasteries. Efforts have been made to improve the education of women, and girls account for 45% of primary school enrollment. However, the overall literacy rate for women is still very low and lags far behind that for men. Bhutan's estimated rate of adult illiteracy for the year 2000 stood at 52.7% Education is not compulsory. The educational system consists of seven years of primary schooling followed by four years of secondary school. In 1994, primary schools enrolled 60,089 pupils. In the same year, secondary schools enrolled 7,299 students. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 42 to 1 in 1999. Religion It is estimated that between two thirds and three quarters of the Bhutanese population follow Vajrayana Buddhism, which is also the state religion. About one quarter to one third are followers of Hinduism. Other religions account for less than 1% of the population. Language Bhutanese, or Dzongkha, is the language of the Ngalop. It is a Southern Tibetan language that is partially intelligible with Sikkimese and spoken natively by 25% of the population. Tshangla, the language of the Sharchop and the principal pre-Tibetan language of Bhutan, is spoken by a greater number of people. It is not easily classified and may constitute an independent branch of Tibeto-Burman. Nepali speakers constituted some 40% of the population as of 2006. The larger minority languages are Dzala (11%), Limbu , and Kheng.

The Maldives, officially Republic of Maldives, also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double


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chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and Chagos Archipelago. It stands in the Laccadive Sea, about seven hundred kilometers south-west of Sri Lanka and south-west of India. Politics Maldives is a presidential republic, with the President as head of government and head of state. The President heads the executive branch and appoints the cabinet which is approved by the People's Majlis (Parliament). Prior to 2008, Maldives did not have a constitution which guaranteed fundamental human rights. In 2008 a new constitution was approved and the first direct presidential elections occurred. Despite the passage from monarchy to republic, the contemporary political structure shows a continuity with the feudal past in which power was shared among a few families at the top of the social structure. Economy The Maldivian economy is to a large degree based on tourism. In ancient times the Maldives were renowned for cowry shells, coir rope, dried tuna fish (Maldive Fish), ambergris (Maavaharu) and coco de mer (Tavakkaashi). Local and foreign trading ships used to load these products in Sri Lanka and transport them to other harbors in the Indian Ocean. Historically Maldives provided enormous quantities of cowry shells, an international currency of the early ages. The Maldivian government began an economic reform program in 1989, initially by lifting import quotas and opening some exports to the private sector. Subsequently, it has liberalized regulations to allow more foreign investment. Today, the Maldives' largest industry is tourism, accounting for 28% of GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives' foreign exchange receipts. Fishing is the second leading sector. Society The family is the basic unit of society. Roughly 80 percent of Maldivian households consist of a single nuclear family composed of a married couple and their children rather than an extended family. Typically, unmarried adults remain with relatives instead of living alone or with strangers. The man is usually the head of the family household, and descent is patrilineal. Women do not accept their husbands' names after marriage but maintain their maiden names. Inheritance of property is through both males and females. Male, the traditional seat of the sultans and of the nobility, remains an elite society wielding political and economic power. Members of the several traditionally privileged ruling families; government, business, and religious leaders; professionals; and scholars are found there.
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As Muslims, men may have as many as four wives, but there is little evidence to suggest that many have more than one. The status of women has traditionally been fairly high, as attested to in part by the existence of four sultanas. Women do not veil, nor are they strictly secluded, but special sections are reserved for women in public places, such as stadiums and mosques. Education Only primary and secondary education, neither of which is compulsory, is offered in Maldives. Students seeking higher education must go abroad to a university. Maldives has three types of schools: Quranic schools, Dhivehilanguage primary schools, and English-language primary and secondary schools. Schools in the last category are the only ones equipped to teach the standard curriculum. In Maldives primary education comprises classes one through five, enrolling students in the corresponding ages six through ten. Secondary education is divided between classes six through ten, which represent overall secondary education, and classes eleven and twelve, which constitute higher secondary education. The government in Male directly controls the administration of these primary schools. Literacy is reportedly high; the claimed 1991 adult literacy rate of 98.2 percent would make Maldives the highest in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. Religion Islam is the only official religion of The Maldives. The open practice of all other religions is forbidden and such actions are liable to prosecution under the law of the country. According to the revised constitution, it says that the republic "is based on the principles of Islam." It also says that, "a non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives". The importance of Islam in Maldives is further evident in the lack of a secular legal system. Instead, the traditional Islamic law code of sharia, known in Dhivehi as sariatu, forms the basic law code of Maldives as interpreted to conform to local Maldivian conditions by the president, the attorney general, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Majlis. Language The official and common language of Maldives is Dhivehi, an Indo-European language having some similarities with Elu, the ancient Sinhalese language. Maldivian language and culture is heavily influenced by geographical proximity to Sri Lanka and southern India.


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Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. Politics The politics of Nepal function within a framework of a republic with a multiparty system. Until May 28, 2008, Nepal was a constitutional monarchy. On that date, the constitution was altered by the Constituent Assembly to make the country a republic. Nepal has seen rapid political changes during the last two decades. Nepal's legislature was bicameral, consisting of a House of Representatives called the Pratinidhi Sabha and a National Council called the Rastriya Sabha. The House of Representatives consisted of 205 members directly elected by the people. The National Council had 60 members: ten nominated by the king, 35 elected by the House of Representatives, and the remaining 15 elected by an electoral college made up of chairs of villages and towns. The legislature had a five-year term but was dissolvable by the king before its term could end. All Nepali citizens 18 years and older became eligible to vote. In December 2007, the interim parliament passed a bill making Nepal a federal republic, with a president as head of state. Elections for the constitutional assembly were held on 10 April 2008. Economy Agriculture is the backbone of economy of Nepal. Agriculture accounts for about 40% of Nepal's GDP, services comprise 41% and industry 22%. Agriculture employs 76% of the workforce, services 18% and manufacturing/craft-based industry 6%. Agricultural produce mostly grown in the Terai region bordering India includes tea, rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops, milk, and water buffalo meat. Industry mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce, including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Its workforce of about 10 million suffers from a severe shortage of skilled labour. About half of the population live below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day. The spectacular landscape and diverse, exotic cultures of Nepal represent considerable potential for tourism, but growth in this hospitality industry has been stifled by recent political events. Society NEPAL IS OFTEN CHARACTERIZED as a country caught in two different worlds, having one leg in the sixteenth century and another in the twentieth century. Entrenched in a feudalistic social structure, the deeply traditionCourse-MGT372 Page 16

bound society increasingly was experiencing the pervasive influence of Western material culture. The adoption of Western popular cultural values has not, however, translated into much-needed technological and economic progress and a consequent reduction in pervasive poverty. Although youths, especially those living in and around urban centers, readily adopted Western consumer habits, they appeared to have little knowledge about more productive habits that the West exemplifies. Education About two thirds of female adults and one third of male adults are illiterate. Net primary enrollment rate was 74% in 2005. It is currently at about 90%. In 2009 the World Bank has decided to contribute a further $130 million towards meeting Nepal's Education for All goals. Nepal has several universities. Religion The overwhelming majority of the Nepalese population follows Hinduism. Shiva is regarded as the guardian deity of the country. Nepal is home to the famous Lord Shiva temple, the Pashupatinath Temple, where Hindus from all over the world come for pilgrimage. According to mythology, Sita Devi of the epic Ramayana, was born in the Mithila Kingdom of King Janaka Raja. Islam is a minority religion in Nepal, with 4.2 % of the population being Muslim according to a 2006 Nepalese census. Mundhum, Christianity and Jainism are other minority faiths. Language Nepali is the official national language and serves as lingua franca among Nepalis of different ethnolinguistic groups. Regional dialects Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Maithili and rarely Hindi are spoken in the southern Terai Region. Many Nepalis in government and business speak English as well. Dialects of Tibetan are spoken in and north of the higher Himalaya where standard literary Tibetan is widely understood by those with religious education. Local dialects in the Terai and hills are mostly unwritten with efforts underway to develop systems for writing many in Devanagari or the Roman alphabet.

Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country in South and Central Asia. With a population of about 28 million, it has an area of 647,500 km, making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world. It is bordered by Pakistan in the southeast, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast.


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Politics The government of Afghanistan is an Islamic republic consisting of three branches, executive, legislative and judicial. Afghanistan is administratively divided into 34 provinces (wilayats), with each province having its own capital and a provincial administration. The provinces are further divided into about 398 smaller provincial districts, each of which normally covers a city or a number of villages. Each district is represented by a district governor. The provincial governors are appointed by the President of Afghanistan and the district governors are selected by the provincial governors. The provincial governors are representatives of the central government in Kabul and are responsible for all administrative and formal issues within their provinces. There are also provincial councils which are elected through direct and general elections for a period of four years. The functions of provincial councils are to take part in provincial development planning and to participate in monitoring and appraisal of other provincial governance institutions. Economy Afghanistan is an impoverished and least developed country, one of the world's poorest. The nation's nominal GDP stands at $16.63 billion and the GDP per capita is about $900. Its unemployment rate is 35% and roughly the same percentage of its citizens live below the poverty line. About 42 percent of the population live on less than $1 a day, according to a 2009 report. Despite this, the economy has been growing strong in the last decade, which is due to the infusion of multi-billion dollars in international assistance and investments as well as remittances from expats. Society Afghan society, with its fragmented groupings, has often been composed of a congeries of warring factions. Although themes common to the many groups resident in the country (such as honor or family loyalty) ramify throughout the country, these more easily serve to divide than to unite Afghans into multitribal and multiethnic groups. Islam, however, represents a common and potentially unifying symbolic system. The potency of Islam as a unifying factor lies partly in the essence of Islam itself, partly in the meaning of Islam to Afghans, and partly in the fact that religion is one of the few shared symbolic systems in the society. Before proceeding to a discussion of what Islam means in Afghanistan in the mid 1980s, it is necessary first to understand Islam as a religion and then to comprehend how Islam is practiced in Afghanistan. Education Despite substantial improvements during the reign of Mohammad Zahir Shah (ruled 193373), in 1979 some 90 percent of Afghanistans population remained illiterate. Beginning with the Soviet invasion of 1979, successive
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wars virtually destroyed the education system. Most teachers fled the country during the Soviet occupation and the subsequent civil war. By 1996 only about 650 schools were functioning. In 1996 the Taliban regime banned education for females, and the madrassa (mosque school) became the main source of primary and secondary education. After the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, the interim government received substantial international aid to restore the education system. In 2003 some 7,000 schools were operating in 20 of the 34 provinces, and 27,000 teachers were teaching 4.2 million children (including 1.2 million girls). Of that number, about 3.9 million were in primary schools. In 2004 and 2005, informal community education programs began in nine provinces. When Kabul University reopened in 2002, some 24,000 students, male and female, enrolled. In the early 2000s, the rehabilitation of five other universities progressed very slowly. Since the end of the dogmatic Taliban era in 2001, public school curricula have included religious subjects, but detailed instruction is left to religious teachers. In 2003 an estimated 57 percent of men and 86 percent of women were illiterate, and the lack of skilled and educated workers was a major economic disadvantage. Religion Virtually the entire population is Muslim. Between 80 and 85 percent of Muslims are Sunni and 15 to 19 percent, Shia. The minority Shia are economically disadvantaged and frequently subjected to discrimination. Small numbers of Hindus and Sikhs live in urban centers. A Jewish population that numbered 5,000 in 1948 had left Afghanistan entirely by 2000. Language More than 30 languages are spoken in Afghanistan. The official languages are Dari (Afghan Persian) and Pashtu. Dari is spoken by 50 percent of the population, and Pashtu is spoken as a first language by 35 percent. Turkic languages (primarily Turkmen and Uzbek) are spoken by 11 percent of the population. Of the languages spoken by smaller segments of the population, the most important are Balochi and Pashai. Many Afghans speak more than one language; Dari is the most common second language.


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