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January 2011

Top World Bank EduTech blog posts of 2010

Michael Trucano's picture

ten from 2010The World Bank EduTech blog recently had its second birthday.  As we did last year, we thought we'd gather together an idiosyncratic collection of 'top posts' and themes from the past year exploring issues related to the use of information and communication technologies to benefit education in developing countries.

Every week, the blog informally attempts to highlight particular initiatives, studies and emerging trends that we think -- based on regular interactions with government officials, NGOs, researchers and companies active in this area in developing and developed countries around the world -- might be of interest to a wider audience. It is also one small part of a larger movement at the World Bank -- symbolized perhaps most potently by the institution's Open Data initiative -- to provide greater transparency to some of the sorts of information, conversations and discussions that previously were accessible only to limited groups of stakeholders and partners. At least in the case of the World Bank's work related to ICT use in education, blogging has proven to be a useful mechanism to share perspectives and 'think aloud in public' along with our partners, expert practitioners and our critics, as well as with people who are simply interested in a particular topic.

Without further ado ...

The Perils of Biased Communication II: Fragile States

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

In my last blog post I wrote about the dangers of biased communication to a fair and level political playing field. In Western media systems the political polarization of media reporting (I hesitate to call it "news") is a somewhat recent phenomenon, but it's stark reality in countries where the media is owned by the government or a few influential political factions. Biased communication is not only problematic with regards to misinformation of the public.

In fragile states in particular biased communication can keep conflict alive, stir up unrest among the population, and endanger the formation of one unified idea of a nation. In fragile and post-conflict countries, communication, including the mass media, should ideally contribute to restoring a shared national identity and strengthen citizens' loyalty to their country. But consider the case of, for instance, Iraq: Ownership of private media is in the hands of competing political and ethnic factions. Their respective broadcasts reflect conflicting agendas, potentially widening the gap between Iraq’s communities, weakening a sense of national belonging and furthering the development of competing identities along sectarian lines, setting the country on a course of partition.

Facebook: A powerful tool to increase public access to government officials

Mohammad Amin's picture

Most of the attention on governance in developing countries is on developing efficient rules and regulations. That is, given the social and economic priorities of a country, rules and regulations should work towards achieving priorities in the least costly way. However, another dimension of governance that must be discussed is accessibility of government officials to the public. Arguably, better access would increase transparency and help citizens and businesses voice their ideas and concerns, thereby allowing for more effective implementation of laws.

Development 2.0 Brought to You by Social Entrepreneurs

Parvathi Menon's picture

We traveled an hour outside of Jaipur to Laporiya village, in the Jaipur District. One of the 41353 villages across 32 Districts of Rajasthan that depends largely on agriculture and dairy for sustenance.

The total cultivated area of the state encompasses about 20 million hectares and out of this only 20% of the land is irrigated. Ground water level is available only at a depth of 30 to 61m. Yet with minimum inputs, the agricultural sector of the state accounts for 22.5 per cent of the State economy.

Evaluating Millennium Villages Revisited

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Although the members of the Millennium Village Project were unavailable (but have offered to hold a follow-up seminar in January), we held a seminar on the Clemens-Demombynes  paper to discuss different approaches to evaluating rural development programs.

Public Opinion is the Ultimate Test

Antonio Lambino's picture

 

The video posted above is third in a series featured on this blog.  The interview was conducted last June, during a learning event jointly organized by the World Bank Institute’s Governance Practice and CommGAP entitled “The Political Economy of Reform: Moving from Analysis to Action.”  Featured in the video is Larry Cooley, president of Management Systems International, a firm that manages and implements development projects globally.  From years of experience working on governance reforms in various countries, Cooley stresses the centrality of public opinion in bringing about successful and sustainable change:

For me the ultimate test on these change strategies is the legitimacy that they enjoy with the population, locally.  And I think in most countries the days have gone when some narrow set of technical experts could simply decide something and expect the rest of the world to implement it… I think that puts the burden on people who would see themselves as technical experts to translate whatever it is they know into a language that can be generally understood.  If they can’t do that, they’re unlikely to sway public opinion and, frankly, from my point of view, they shouldn’t be swaying public opinion… (which is) the ultimate test.”


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