The number of motorcycles in many Latin American cities, such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Bogotá, has grown much faster than the automobile fleet in recent years. In many Asian cities, motorcycles and three-wheeled vehicles are the primary modes on urban roads.
In 2009, nearly 43.3 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced due to conflict and persecution. According to the latest statistics published by the United Nationals High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), this is the highest number since the mid-1990s. This number includes 15.2 million refugees, 27.1 million internally displayed persons, and nearly 1 million individuals whose asylum application had not yet been adjudicated by the end of the reporting period.
"... I have travelled widely and met many leaders, ambassadors and statesmen from around the world. I address you today as Queen of sixteen United Nations Member States and as Head of the Commonwealth of 54 countries.
I have also witnessed great change, much of it for the better, particularly in science and technology, and in social attitudes. Remarkably, many of these sweeping advances have come about not because of governments, committee resolutions, or central directives - although all these have played a part - but instead because millions of people around the world have wanted them."
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the United Nations, July, 2010
Imagine, if you will, that you were an official at an international development organization who has been working with country x for a number of years in helping them think through options and issues related to the use of ICTs in their education sector. As part of this dialogue, you had regularly preached the virtues of a commitment to rigorous monitoring and impact evaluation.
Country x has, in various ways, been host to numerous initiatives to introduce computers into its schools and, to lesser extents, to train teachers and students on their use, and schools have piloted a variety of digital learning materials and education software applications. It is now ready, country leaders say, to invest in a rigorous, randomized trial of an educational technology initiative as a prelude to a very ambitious, large-scale roll-out of the use of educational technologies nationwide. It asks:
What programs or specific interventions should we consider?
This month's edition of The Atlantic contains an excellent profile of economist Paul Romer and his campaign to create charter cities. Money quote:
Bill Easterly argues that development is about creating problem-solving systems, and not just individual solutions or interventions for specific problems (e.g. malaria, access to finance, etc.). The whole post is worth reading in full, but here is a snippet:
Editor's Note: Kusi Hornberger is an Investment Policy Officer with the Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group.
In conjunction with the new Access to Information policy, the World Bank recently launched the Open Data Initiative, freeing up development data for use to stakeholders worldwide. The new website at data.worldbank.org underlines the importance of data collection and utilization for better tracking trends in global development. Education statistics are prominently featured on the new site and serve as major indicators for two of the eight Millennium Development Goals (#2 universal primary education and #3 gender equality.)
Editor's Note: Esperanza Lasagabaster is a Senior Economist in the Finance and Private Sector Development Group of the Latin America and Caribbean region.