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May 2009

Computers in secondary schools: Whither India?

Michael Trucano's picture

CC-licensed photo courtesy of World Bank via Flickr, SDM-IN-097The German scholar Max Müller famously remarked that "If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India."

No doubt there are many other countries also deserving of similar sorts of accolades, but the challenges that India currently faces related to providing universal access to a relevant and quality education for everyone -- and the solutions it deploys to meet such challenges -- are of increasing interest and relevance to people around the world.  This is especially true as it relates to the use of ICTs to meet a variety of educational and developmental objectives.

Crowdsourcing creativity

Ryan Hahn's picture

A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune of attending a conference on prediction markets hosted by Inkling, a prediction market platform provider. The first presentation of the day actually had little to do with prediction markets, but still had everything to do with tapping into the wisdom of the crowds. (Or, better yet, the wisdom *in* the crowds.)

Finding ways to improve migration data

Ani Silwal's picture

A constant struggle facing researchers and policymakers tackling migration issues is a lack of good data. The Center for Global Development recently released “Five Steps Toward Better Migration Data,” an excellent report on concrete steps governments and non-governmental organizations can take in the short run to fill this gap. 

This report is particularly important in the context of a new round of census taking in 2010. The five recommendations are to: 

  1. Ask basic census questions and make the data publicly available; 
  2. Compile and release existing administrative data;
  3. Centralize labor force surveys; 
  4. Provide access to microdata, not just tabulations; and 
  5. Include migration modules on more existing household surveys.

Given the abundance of recommendations in the development industry, a laudable effort is the accompanying report card (PDF) which tracks countries’ progress with respect to the recommendations.

Mongolia's forests burning: are they good or are they bad?

Tony Whitten's picture

Last weekend a small group of us decided to drive the 8 hours or so to the Khonin Nuga (pronounced Honing Nuk) research station, northwest of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. We had a standing invitation to visit the site for years from Professor Michael Mühlenberg of Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany, and Professor R. Samiya of National University, Ulaanbaatar – who together run the station. The route took us through the town of Zuun Kharaa, the vodka-producing capital of Mongolia, and off towards the dark-green forested mountains of the western Khentii.  We saw Mongolia’s largest bird, the Black Vulture, and also the respected and graceful Demoiselle Cranes picking up grasshoppers among the wind-blown solid waste around the town. We were going to spend the night in the research station, discuss with Prof. Mühlenberg the possibility of using the site as a training center within the forest landscapes project we are preparing, and find time to explore the taiga forest and steppe by horse. And then we were going to do the bumpy ride home again.

Instead, we found ourselves facing a major forest fire. (Continue reading after the jump)

Sachs vs. Easterly: From saga to mud-wrestling

Ryan Hahn's picture

Back in 2007, we were calling the Jeffrey Sachs and William Easterly debates a saga. Now we've been reduced to "two middle-aged white men mud-wrestling." Seriously, guys? I recommend leaving the mud-wrestling to the experts - you're liable to pull a muscle.


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