With the release last month of the latest PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) results by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), it is apparent that many of the highest achieving students in the world are in East Asia.
Just as in the recently released TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) results, Singapore leads the world in every subject in PISA, outperforming other economies and countries by a significant margin. Students in Singapore perform at a level that is up to two years ahead of their regional and OECD counterparts in science, mathematics and reading. Moreover, almost all Singaporean students have reached a basic level of proficiency or higher. And they just keep getting better, having significantly reduced performance below basic proficiency.
Japan also outperforms most participating economies in science, mathematics and reading. However, its score in reading has declined since the last round. Still, as in Singapore, 90% of students have reached a basic level of proficiency or above.
Despite a challenging global economic climate, Ethiopia has managed to pull off one of the most remarkable growth narratives of the past decade. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged 10.9% between 2004 and 2015, but the growth slowed down to 8.0% in FY2016 on account of El-Nino-driven drought that affected agricultural production and its spillover effect on industry and service sector. In general, the growth exceeds that of many Sub-Saharan African and other low-income countries. The positive growth and related poverty reduction has put Ethiopia on the right trajectory to reach middle income status by 2025.
Our Top Ten blog posts by readership in 2016. This post was originally published on June 14, 2016.
This is at the geeky, number-crunching end of my spectrum, but I think it’s worth a look (and anyway, they asked nicely). The 2016 Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index was published yesterday. It now covers 102 countries in total, including 75 per cent of the world’s population, or 5.2 billion people. Of this proportion, 30 per cent of people (1.6 billion) are identified as multidimensionally poor.
The Global MPI has 3 dimensions and 10 indicators (for details see here and the graphic, right). A person is identified as multidimensionally poor (or ‘MPI poor’) if they are deprived in at least one third of the dimensions. The MPI is calculated by multiplying the incidence of poverty (the percentage of people identified as MPI poor) by the average intensity of poverty across the poor. So it reflects both the share of people in poverty and the degree to which they are deprived.
The MPI increasingly digs down below national level, giving separate results for 962 sub-national regions, which range from having 0% to 100% of people poor (see African map, below). It is also disaggregated by rural-urban areas for nearly all countries as well as by age.
We walked into the largish conference room in the Baghdati municipality building. This small town of about five thousand people is in western Georgia, in the Caucasus. It was freezing cold, and the recent snowfall had deposited a crisp, beautiful white sheet all around. Not too different from my thoughts at the time; a blank sheet, waiting to hear from a collection of small businesses.
The topic: if and how these businesses use the internet.
Amena Begum resides in a village in the Habiganj district in Bangladesh and is a mother to three young children. Last year Amena spent US$100 to construct a toilet to ensure her three children were hygienically protected from feces.
Even though her family members have adapted to using the toilet, exposure to fecal contamination can occur anywhere. For example, while playing outside, a child may accidentally ingest soil with animal feces, or the child could be exposed when he or she eats food off of dishes washed with pond water.
It is also not uncommon for families without toilets to throw feces into a nearby bush, which remains exposed in their living area. These actions can lead to the contraction of hazardous, lethal diseases and create a traumatizing effect on the lives of many children, not to mention the unfavorable impact on the environment.
A new study on early childhood diarrhea in rural Bangladesh found that despite high on-site latrine access, frequent fecal contamination was present along all environmental pathways investigated. Human fecal markers on children’s hands and in soil, and rotavirus in stored water, soil and on hands had been detected. Animal (particularly ruminant) fecal markers were highly prevalent in water, soil and on hands.
To learn more about the future of sustainable mobility, don't miss Transforming Transportation 2017 on January 12-13. Click here to watch the event live and submit your questions to our experts.
From taxi apps to car sharing, from buses to the metro, from bike sharing to walking, not to mention personal cars, there are more transportation choices than ever before for that staple of modern life: the daily commute. The same goes for the transport of goods, which can get from A to B by road, air, rail, waterways and soon drones. There are currently more than 12,600 km (nearly 8000 miles) of metro or urban rail and 5,400 km (3,300 miles) of bus rapid transit (BRT), collectively providing 154 million trips a day in 250 cities. Increased access to transport and enhanced connectivity decreases travel time and generates higher rates of direct employment, keys to elevating overall economic opportunity.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that the increase in mobility options comes at a high price. The challenges associated with growing traffic, especially in cities, are significant and threaten to become insurmountable. And despite the wide range of ways to get around, there have never been so many people who lack access to transportation or the means to use transportation.
Can a shift towards a sustainable forestry ecosystem help to deliver the jobs and diversity that Angola’s economy needs?
The timber industry offers enormous developmental potential. According to the Centre for International Forestry Research, domestic wood or community logging markets in Sub-Saharan Africa (as opposed to large-scale commercial felling) employ hundreds of thousands of people. It is an industry that provides employment and wages for entire communities and that has huge socio-economic and environmental importance.
New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.Every year the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) publishes Measuring the Information Society Report that looks at the latest developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs).
Here are some of the latest ICT trends according to ITU.
- Europe continues to lead the way in ICT development;
- A number of countries in the Americas significantly improved their performance in the ICT Development Index (IDI);
- The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region is the most homogeneous in terms of ICT development;
- The Asia-Pacific region is, by contrast, the most heterogeneous;
- There is great diversity in ICT development across the Arab States;
- Africa is working on pushing up its IDI performance.
- Many people have access to Internet, but many do not actually use them;
- The full potential of the Internet remains untapped;
- Many people still do not own or use a mobile phone;
- Progress in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) – mobile-cellular prices continued to decrease in 2015, and the price drop was steeper than in previous years;
- Affordability is the main barrier to mobile-phone ownership;
- Fixed-broadband prices continued to drop significantly in 2015 but remain high – and clearly unaffordable in a number of LDCs.
The recent report also finds that the gender gap is prominent in many aspects of technology. For example, “data on mobile-phone usage by gender shows that the percentage of male users is higher than that of female users in most countries, although differences are small in most economies.” However, in some countries gender gap is significant in the mobile-phone ownership. For example, in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, men are twice as likely as women to own a mobile phone.
Low commodity prices and weak global trade continue to create challenging conditions for commodity-exporting, emerging markets and developing economies. According to the Global Economic Prospects, in 2016 commodity exporters in these economies grew more slowly than commodity importers did.
The pickup in growth is expected to come from the receding of obstacles that have recently held back growth among commodity exporters, and from solid domestic demand in commodity importers. Major emerging economies—including Russia and Brazil—are anticipated to recover from recession as commodity prices bottom out.