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Migration and Remittances News Roundup: Sept 10, 2010

Ani Silwal's picture

Retreating in Mongolia

Tony Whitten's picture

Retreat: A withdrawal for prayer and study and meditation; the going backward or receding from something hazardous, formidable, or unpleasant; a place affording peace, quiet, privacy, or security. Some of the ‘retreats’ I’ve been to during my time at the World Bank could also be described as ‘very long and tedious meetings in windowless hotel basements’ not far from the office. But thankfully the one which 46 members of the Mongolia Country Team attended recently in Mongolia was very different. 

Learning the Queen's English ... on your mobile phone?

Michael Trucano's picture

the infrastructure is increasingly there ... how can we take advantage of it? | img attribution at bottomMuch lip service is paid in various quarters to the potential use of mobile phones in education in developing countries.  That said, concrete examples of such use -- especially projects that have gone beyond small initial pilot stages -- remain few and far between. This is beginning to change.  One interesting project can be found in Bangladesh, where the BBC World Service Trust and BBC Learning English are implementing the Janala project, an initiative that is providing English language lessons to citizens via their mobile phones as part of the wider English in Action program in Bangladesh, funded by the UK's Department for International Development (UKaid).

Some of people involved with the Janala project recently shared some information about what they have been doing -- and learning -- as part of a discussion series at USAID around 'mobile education' topics (the other project presented in the latest session was the MILLEE project, which has been profiled on this blog before).  I was fortunate enough to be be able to sit in on the presentation, at the kind invitation of USAID educational technology team, and thought I'd share some brief highlights:

Final Countdown: Top 10 Common Errors when Building a World-Class University

Jamil Salmi's picture

This is my last post sharing the top 10 common errors when building new world class universities based on my work over the past 17 years at the World Bank and reflecting on my observations from  working with colleagues involved in advising countries keen to establish new tertiary education institutions.  A full version of the lessons can be accessed at Ten Common Errors When Building a New World-Class University

8. Be too ambitious in enrollment targets.  The leaders of new institutions sometimes think that they can rapidly enroll large numbers of students, often in the tens of thousands.  This is rarely achieved without sacrificing quality.  In the 1970s, E.F. Schumacher wrote in his famous book “Small is Beautiful” that successful development projects were preferably of a small size. 

India's $35 Tablet Computer: A Pill for Poverty?

Antonio Lambino's picture

Recently featured in the news was a 35 USD version of Apple’s iPad that the Indian government hopes to mass produce by 2011.  India also hopes to bring the unit price down to around 10 USD.  If successful, this initiative could bring an affordable, mobile, multiple application device within reach of lower income families in poor countries.  CNN’s Fareed Zakaria expressed the opinion that a fully-functioning 10 USD computer “could change the world” similar to the way in which satellite dishes and mobile phones have in the past.  I think implicit in Zakaria’s point is the belief that information and communication revolutions have the potential to increase productivity and enhance human development.  But this potential rarely leads to an actual breakthrough.  Due to a host of factors in addition to price (see, for instance, Michael Trucano's post), what might perhaps be called “socio-technological epidemics” tend to be few and far between, especially in poor countries.  There is a difference, of course, between a predominantly commercial success and one that really contributes to development results.


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