The Articles of Agreements were signed by His Excellency Fathulla Jameel, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations. At that time, Maldives had a GDP per capita of just over $200 and had achieved independence only 13 years prior.
The project helped mechanize fishing craft, established repair centers, and installed navigational aids to increase the safety of fishing operations.
Those present for the signing from left to right, Said El-Naggar, Executive Director of the World Bank for Maldives, His Excellency Ahamed Zaki, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations, and Robert Picciottto, Projects Director for South Asia.
Oh, you work at the World Bank, someone recently remarked to me.
It must be great to have access to so much information and data about so many things.
Yes, that's certainly a perk of the job, I responded, although it can be overwhelming at times.
What's more interesting, and exciting, at least to me (and, truth be told, overwhelming as well), is the access to so many fascinatingquestions.
(For what it's worth: Most of the information and data with which we are traditionally associated are actually 'open' these days, freelyaccessible to anyone with a web browser as a result of our access to information policy).
Here's a (lightly anonymized, slightly disguised) sample of questions that arrived in my in-box just today:
For the first time in a few decades, our country is about to build lots of new schools: Should we be designing them any differently in order to accommodate the use of new technologies?
What are some compelling examples of how 'edtech' has been 'scaled up' to promote greater equity and inclusiveness that are relevant to our country?
We want to put all our textbooks online -- how should we do this?
We need to hire an expert in governance issues in education systems who can help us better understand the opportunities and challenges that new technologies will pose for us in the future: Can you suggest some related terms of reference, and a shortlist of candidates who speak our language and are familiar with operating contexts in our country and region?
What specs should we include in our big new tender for tablets?
(By the time I've completed this blog post, I expect a few more will have been sent to me as well.)
Whether these should be the types of things we get questions about -- that's another matter. There are no bad questions ... but of course some questions are better than others. Before we attempt to respond to a specific information request, we first pause and consider if we are being asked the 'right question'.
In steering people to the 'right question', or at least to a better question (or, as we like to phrase it when we respond, 'That's a great question! And here's another question that you may also wish to consider ...'), we have concluded that it usually helps to be able to address the one that they have already posed.
To help with this, we are trying to better organize what we know, based on our own work and more generally, to better address the things that we -- and the 100+ governments with which we actively work around the world -- don't know.
As part of this process, we have developed a master list of master list of 50+ key topics related to the use of new technologies in education of potential operational relevance to the World Bank in its strategic advice, lending activities and research going forward. It is not meant to be comprehensive in its consideration of topics related to the use of technology in education, and does not represent a 'framework for how to think about edtech'. Instead, it seeks to document and organize related requests for information and advice into distinct categories. It is not based on what the World Bank has done and supported in the past, but rather on questions we receive related to what governments are looking to do in the future. Reasonable people can and will no doubt disagree about whether we are being asked the 'right' questions or not. (We have strong opinions on this ourselves!)
Countries in Africa are facing a conundrum according to a recent World Bank flagship report, “Facing Forward: Schooling for Learning in Africa.” Over the past 10 to 25 years, many have made tremendous progress in getting children into classrooms. Yet, while total enrollment has increased, in many of these same countries primary school completion rates have not.
Public school teachers in Brazil, Indonesia or Peru have stable jobs, enjoy high level of legal protection, and are part of teacher unions that shield them politically. Public school teachers in Finland also have stable jobs and are rarely fired. They are represented by a powerful teacher union, which is very influential among other stakeholders in policy discussions. Why do student learning outcomes among these countries vary dramatically?
The same kind of cooperation that is driving impact on the ground is also driving awareness and advocacy more broadly as the world rises to these challenges. Below are just a few examples of how collaboration online has strengthened and amplified the global effort to end poverty in 2018 across three key themes.
It’s often said that you cannot be what you cannot see. The truth of this adage is becoming clear especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers, where a lack of female role models is increasingly cited as a key driver of women’s underrepresentation in these fields. But a new generation of female role models is emerging in technology, and some hope that their increased visibility will help confront gender stereotypes that often discourage young women from pursuing the careers of the future.
In the Africa Chief Economist’s Office, we seek to generate knowledge on key development issues around the continent. We also host the Gender Innovation Lab, which – as the name suggests – specifically generates evidence on how to close the gender gap in Africa. Over the course of 2018, we’ve produced a range of products (regional reports and updates), but we also produce academic articles and book chapters seeking to answer key, specific development questions.
Last month, I attended the International Family Planning Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, where policymakers from across the world gathered to strategize about ways to achieve a demographic dividend—the increase in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita that comes from having a young and productive labor force driving economic growth that is faster than population growth. I was heartened to be joined by ministers of finance and representatives of the highest levels of government, all of whom agreed that women’s empowerment–which centrally includes access to reproductive health services–-is essential for inclusive, sustainable growth.
To drive urgent action on human capital development, the Bank Group’s Human Capital Project (HCP) is working on two other fronts beyond the Human Capital Index. These are Measurement & Research and Country Engagement.
In the classroom, along with her sixth-grade classmates, Yudeisy tells us that what she likes doing the most during the day is watching videos and tutorials on YouTube. She also likes to use her computer and cell phone because she can watch music videos, influencers' clips and interviews with her favorite artists. Yudeisy, along with her classmates in a public elementary school in Santo Domingo, is part of a four-month pilot to reinforce mathematics using software that adapts to the math level of each student.