Increasingly, there is a curious trend in America in which the country’s wealthiest, best-educated, most tech-savvy parents work hard and pay good money to keep their children away from digital technology. For example, executives at companies like Google and eBay send their children to a Waldorf school where electronic gadgets are banned until the eighth grade. And, Steve Jobs famously told a reporter that he didn’t let his children use iPads: “We limit how much technology our kids use at home”.
What is it that these parents know? And, how should it affect technology policy in education around the world?
In a blog, World Bank Senior Director for Education Claudia Costin praised Fernando La Sama de Araujo, the recently deceased Minister of Education of Timor-Leste, for his visionary leadership.
Indeed, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste should be praised for the progress it has made since gaining independence in 2002. This is despite the fact that the country is still suffering the after-effects of a decade-long struggle for independence.
Today, on the Day of the African Child, we interview our World Bank colleague, Christin McConnell, about early childhood programs and her work in Malawi.
Fernando La Sama de Araujo, the recently deceased Minister of Education of Timor Leste, was a freedom fighter and a visionary leader. “La Sama”, which means unbreakable, dedicated his life to the service of his country, Timor-Leste and was recently engaged in a plan to improve the quality of education. I received this news with great sadness, especially due to the engaging meetings we had in Dili, where I was on mission just a few days before he passed away.
Minister La Sama was a leader of Timorese students’ resistance movement in Indonesia and spent six years in prison in Jakarta, together with Xanana Gusmão. Following independence, he held several public positions: President of the National Parliament, Acting President, and Vice Prime-Minister. Following leadership transition in February 2015, Minister La Sama his position as Minister of State, Coordinating Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Education.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) refer to any online learning or use of education technologies. In China, a country of 1.4 billion people, these are growing.
The Chinese government expects MOOCs to bring “revolutionary” change to the education system by reducing inequity in quality of education between urban and rural schools and by sharing the best teaching resources. One of the government’s goals is to train 13 million k-12 (“k-12” is the sum of primary and secondary school years) teachers on education technology skills in the next five years through MOOCs. Yes, you read it correctly, 13 million teachers.
On International Children’s Day, we reflect on the kind of world our children will inherit. To prosper in a rapidly changing world, all children need more than basic literacy and numeracy. They need to be creative, critical thinkers and problem-solvers. Early childhood development can help level the playing field from the early stages of life.
Everyone who has been working on and is devoted to education is about to be confronted with an important deadline: the target date for reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is 2015.
On May 19-22, the World Bank Group- along with other UN agencies, ministers of education, civil society organizations, and other key players- will be revisiting the targets we’ve established 15 years ago in Dakar and will be putting together a powerful new education agenda that will transform lives in the years to come.
I’m really excited about participating in the upcoming World Education Forum in Incheon, Korea, where World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, my colleagues, and I will be making the moral and economic case for learning and equity in education.
Next week, UNESCO will convene the world’s educational leaders in Incheon to set the agenda for educational development over the next 15 years. Those who think that’s mainly an agenda for the developing world should read our new report Universal Basic Skills - What Countries Stand to Gain. The report shows the scale of the effort that is ahead even for many of the wealthiest nations to develop the essential skills that can transform lives, generate prosperity and promote social inclusion. And with a new global metric of the quality of learning outcomes, the report demonstrates that the world is no longer divided between rich and well-educated countries and poor and badly educated ones.
For a region that is considered middle-income, it is unacceptable that one in every 40 children in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) dies in the first year of life mostly from preventable causes. Neither does it makes sense that one fifth of its youngest population is stunted from malnutrition, and more than half are missing out on critical micronutrients such as iodine in salt, which impairs cognitive development. Moreover, with only 27 percent of children ages 3-5 enrolled in pre-school, almost half the world average, three quarters of children in the region are missing the opportunity to build the foundations for school readiness, and to acquire the skills they will need to lead a happy, autonomous, and healthy life.
What are the implications of these alarming trends?
The 2015 Education for All Global Monitoring Report – Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges– will be launched at the World Bank in Washington today, bringing together international leaders in the fields of education, development and aid to take stock of major achievements and setbacks and discuss recommendations to support the ambitious post-2015 education agenda.