The Sri Lanka Ministry of Education (MOE) recently decided to pilot the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program by purchasing laptops from the OLPC Foundation, with funding from the World Bank, and distributing them to 1,300 students in selected primary schools throughout the country. The scheme may eventually be scaled up, depending upon the educational benefits of the pilot stage.
A couple weeks ago, a series of debates, spurred by Paul Krugman, centered on the dynamism of the transatlantic economy.
Yesterday I attended an excellent presentation by John Fingleton, Chief Executive of the UK office of Fair Trading. He discussed his recent paper: “Government in markets – why competition matters – a guide for policy makers".
If you have had your fill of theories and promises about what the widespread diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) might mean for teaching and learning practices across an entire education system and want to see what actual practice looks like, a trip to Montevideo (or better yet, one of the regions outside the Uruguayan capital) should be high on your list.
Under Plan Ceibal (earlier blog post here), Uruguay is the first country in the world to ensure that all primary school students (or at least those in public schools) have their own personal laptop. For free. (The program is being extended to high schools, and, under a different financial scheme, to private schools as well). Ceibal is about more than just 'free laptops for kids', however. There is a complementary educational television channel. Schools serve as centers for free community wi-fi, and free connectivity has been introduced in hundreds of municipal centers around the country as well. There are free local training programs for parents and community members on how to use the equipment. Visiting Uruguay last week, I was struck by how many references there were to 'one laptop per teacher' (and not just 'one laptop per child', which has been the rallying cry for a larger international initiative and movement). Much digital content has been created, and digital learning content is something that is expected to have a much greater prominence within Ceibal now that the technology infrastructure is largely in place.
Editor's note: Dorsati Madani is a Senior Economist at the World Bank's Strategy and Analysis Unit (CICSA) of the Investment Climate Advisory
Yesterday I discussed the launch of the latest Doing Business sub-report, which focuses on the ease of paying taxes. This is a laudable effort- paying taxes is painful enough to begin with, why make it more difficult than necessary?
Editor's note: Augusto de la Torre is chief economist, and Alain Ize a consultant, in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region of the World Bank. This is the 10th in a series of policy briefs on the crisis—assessing the policy responses, shedding light on financial reforms currently under debate, and providing insights for emerging-market policy makers.
The latest publication of the Doing Business franchise is out: Paying Taxes 2010-The global picture.
The study measures tax systems from the point of view of a domestic company complying with the different tax laws and regulations in each economy. The case study company is a small to medium-size manufacturer and retailer, deliberately chosen to ensure that its business can be identified with and compared worldwide.
"There are many approaches to evaluating public health communication programs, all of them struggling to resolve the tension between making strong inferences and making sure that an intervention has gotten a fair test. There will always be some way to question the inferences made or the generality of the results to other contexts. That does not take away from the legitimacy of the evaluations. The fair question for them is whether they have gone reasonably down the path toward reducing uncertainty. A valuable study is one that can usefully inform the policy community about whether the intervention approach is worthy of support, without promising that there is no risk of a mistake. A study is valuable if future judgments about programs are better made taking this information into account than remaining ignorant of it."
ICTs are increasingly being used in education systems around the world. How do we know what the impact of such use is? How should we monitor and assessment the use of ICTs in education? How can, should and might answers to these questions impact the policy planning process?