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Making Educational Investments Grow: Lessons Learned from Korea and Mexico

Christine Horansky's picture

Like plants in a garden, investments in education need certain environmental conditions in order to flourish.Investments in education and human capital have long been recognized as precipitators of future economic growth. Rapid development in Korea in the second half of the 20th century, for instance, has been traced by scholars back to high levels of investments in schooling and training, creating the enabling environment for industrialization and further specialization.

There is no doubt that commitment to education for economic development requires both long-term funding and the multiplying effects of time.

But what causes countries with similar levels of sustained spending to achieve vastly different outcomes? It's a question that burns in the minds and wallets of governments and development efforts around the world.

New publication on ICT convergence-strategies and regulation

Siddhartha Raja's picture

With my co-author, Rajendra Singh, I had written two reports in 2008 on the topic of ICT convergence. These reports have been compiled with an updated introduction and are now available as a book published by the World Bank. I will be happy to answer any questions through this blog. 

You may also browse through this book in its entirety by clicking on the preview at the bottom of the page.

ICT & Education: Eleven Countries to Watch -- and Learn From

Michael Trucano's picture

KERIS looms increasingly large on the international ICT/education scene | image attribution at bottomAs part of engagements with ministries of education around the world, I am often asked to provide lists of countries considered to be 'best practice examples of ICT use in education'. I am asked this so often that I thought I'd provide a representative list here to help point people in some useful directions, in case doing so might be of any interest.

But before I get to the list ...

First, I'd like to say that I prefer the term 'good practice' to 'best practice'.  This may seem to be unnecessary semantic nitpicking, but in many if not most cases and places, learning from and adapting 'good' practices is often much more practical -- and more likely to lead to success. 

And: Given that many initiatives seem immune to learning from either 'best' or even 'good' practice in other places, I am coming to the conclusion that it may be most practical to recommend countries that have had 'lots of practice' (of any kind).  Is this ideal?  Obviously no -- but it tends to yield better results. For whatever reason, there appears to be a natural learning curve that accompanies large scale adoption of ICTs in the education sector in many countries, and that there is an important element of 'learning by doing' that appears to be important, even if this means 'repeating the mistakes' of others. (This is a process often known in international development circles as 'capacity building'.)

Building broadband: Strategies and policies for the developing world

Siddhartha Raja's picture

With broadband becoming an important topic in ICT policy discussions, it seems like the right time to publish a new report on what strategies and policies might help countries boost broadband access and use.

With the generous funding of the Korean Trust Fund for Information and Communications for Development (IC4D), I along with co-authors Yongsoo Kim and Tim Kelly, have prepared a report that does just that. 

How Can South Asia Overcome its Infrastructure Deficit?

Ejaz Ghani's picture

Last week, I discussed the two very different South Asias and the need for regional cooperation to bring the lagging regions up to the standards of thriving regions. However, increased market integration by itself will not be sufficient to accelerate growth and benefit the lagging regions. South Asia suffers from a massive infrastructure deficit. Infrastructure is like second-nature geography, which can reduce the time and monetary costs to reach markets and thus overcome the limitations of physical geography.

Improved infrastructure that enhances connectivity and contributes to market integration is the best solution to promoting growth as well addressing rising inequality between regions. The Ganga Bridge in Bihar in India is a good example of second-nature geography. The bridge has reduced the time and monetary costs of farmers in the rural areas in north Bihar to reach markets in Patna, the largest city in Bihar. The Jamuna Bridge in Bangladesh is another good example of spatially connective infrastructure. The bridge has opened market access for producers in the lagging Northwest areas around the Rajshahi division. Better market access has helped farmers diversify into high value crops and reduced input prices.

South Asia suffers from three infrastructure deficits. First, there is a service deficit, as the region’s infrastructure has not been able to keep pace with a growing economy and population.

Making ICT and education policy

Michael Trucano's picture

public domain image from Jossifresco via Wikimedia Commons

India is currently engaged in a consultative process to formulate a new ICT and education policy.  The United States is doing the same to prepare its new National Educational Technology Plan.

In the context of a discussion of ICT/education policies, GeSCI's Jyrki Pulkkinen takes a step back and asks, who really needs policy? While he doesn't provide answers to this question himself in his note (yet -- I suspect this is coming), he follows up with a set of high-level, practical guiding questions for people involved in these processes.  

When thinking about the questions that Jyrki poses, I had a few questions of my own: What are best practices for the development of such policies and plans?  Where can we turn to for examples of such policies and plans to help inform work in this area?

"Guest Worker" - an oxymoron?

Dilip Ratha's picture

In many cultures, the term "guest worker" would be an oxymoron. Yet policy makers in both receiving and sending countries seem to like guest worker programs. The hope is that guest workers will fill labor shortage in the receiving countries, and at the end of an employment contract go back home with money and some new skills. There is also a belief that temporary migrants will remit more of their savings back home than migrants who plan to stay on in the destination country (often called the "host country", another oxymoron?).

EU just approved the Blue Card: Are there advantages for developing countries?

Sonia Plaza's picture

On May 25th, 2009, the European Council adopted the EU Blue Card directive which was initially agreed upon by the European Union’s interior Ministers under the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum in September 2008.

According to the directive, the Blue Card will attract high skilled workers from a third-country into the EU- member states’ labor market and will have a period of validity between one and four years depending on the contract.  The directive rules state that EU Blue Card holders will be treated equally with nationals of the member state issuing the Blue Card in certain areas such as working conditions, education, and a number of provisions in national law regarding social security and pensions. The card will also allow the visa holder to bring in family members with him or her in the EU country where the job is located.

Undocumented Immigration: restrict or liberalize?

Neil Ruiz's picture

In a recent seminar at the World Bank, Peter Dixon and Maureen Rimmer presented a paper titled "Illegal Immigration: restrict or liberalize?" showing that tighter border security and internal enforcement actually reduce the welfare for U.S. households; raise the wage rate of the undocumented migrants who remain; and generate dead-weight losses in the form of prosecution and prosecution-mitigating activities. More importantly, they explain that restricting the inflow of undocumented immigrants pushes U.S.

A commendable web anthology on remittances

Dilip Ratha's picture

I recently revisited the Social Science Research Council's (SSRC) Web Anthology on Remittances and Development, and was pleasantly surprised to find an excellent collection of research articles on this rather fast-growing topic. The articles are presented in a convenient format, organized under some broad themes such as concepts, methods, measures, determinants, uses, and impacts of remittances.

One area where more articles exist and can be added are those on remittance systems (by this I mean retail payment systems) and how they can be leveraged for accessing finance/capital at the household or institutional level. There could also be more articles on regulations - especially on anti-money-laundering/countering financing of terrorism - that affect remittance transactions.


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