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July 2013

Big educational laptop and tablet projects -- Ten countries to learn from

Michael Trucano's picture
tablets loom increasingly large on the horizon in many places
tablets loom increasingly large
on the horizon in many places

[also available in Thai]

Recent headlines from places as diverse as Kenya ("6,000 primary schools picked for free laptop project") and California ("Los Angeles plans to give 640,000 students free iPads") are just two announcements  among many which highlight the increasing speed and scale by which portable computing devices (laptops, tablets) are being rolled out in school systems all over the world. Based on costs alone -- and the costs can be very large! -- such headlines suggest that discussions of technology use in schools are starting to become much more central to educational policies and planning processes in scores of countries, rich and poor, across all continents.

Are these sorts of projects good ideas? It depends. The devil is often in the details (and the cost-benefit analysis), I find. Whether or not they are good ideas, there is no denying that they are occurring, for better and/or for worse, in greater frequency, and in greater amounts. More practically, then:

What do we know about what works,
and what doesn't (and how?, and why?)
when planning for and implementing such projects,
what the related costs and benefits might be,
and where might we look as we try to find answers to such questions?

George Washington and Land Readjustment

Chandan Deuskar's picture

George Washington, Land SurveyorAs the world urbanizes, acquiring land for urban development has become a critical challenge. In China, some estimate that there are as many as 500 land-related protests, riots and strikes per day, making land acquisition one of the greatest threats to the country’s political stability. Indian policy makers are struggling to devise regulations to ease the acquisition of land for the vast amounts of infrastructure and housing the country needs, while avoiding the disruption and displacement that has gone alongside land acquisition in the past. In response to these challenges, there is a renewed interest among urban planners around the world in “land pooling and readjustment”, a mode of land acquisition for urban development. As it happens, this approach appears to have been first used by none other than George Washington, in order to assemble the land he needed to build the US capital city.

Prospects Daily: US treasury yields at 2-year high on Q2 GDP outturns, China’s current account strengthens, capital account in deficit, Albania cuts interest rates

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Financial Markets…U.S. Treasuries extended losses on Wednesday, pushing 30-year yields to nearly a two-year high, after reports showed the U.S. economy grew stronger-than-expected in the second quarter and private sector added jobs more-than-expected in July. Robust U.S. economic data fueled speculation the Federal Reserve may start to scale back its stimulus program sooner than expected. The benchmark 10-year yield widened 6 basis points to 2.67%, while 30-year bond yields touched 3.74%, the highest level since August 2011.

Q&A: Engaging with Citizens in India for Improved Water Services

Vandana Bhatnagar's picture

Is there a model to track citizen experience of water services and present it in a ready-to-use manner for decision makers and the public? Would better articulation of citizen preferences encourage more meaningful engagement with service providers? 

Notes From the Field: Improving Sierra Leone's Ability to Trade

Julia Oliver's picture

About "Notes From the Field": With this occasional feature, we let World Bank professionals who are conducting interesting trade-related projects around the globe explain some of the challenges and triumphs of their day-to-day work. The views expressed here are personal and should not be attributed to the World Bank. All interviews have been edited for clarity.

Gozde Isik, Trade EconomistThe interview below was conducted with Gozde Isik, a Trade Economist in the Africa Region Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) network. She spoke with us about the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) Update for Sierra Leone and how these studies help Least Developed Countries (LDCs) prioritize and sequence trade-related interventions and integrate trade into poverty-reduction strategies. Gozde is part of the Africa Region's Trade Practice and co-author of “De-Fragmenting Africa: Deepening Regional Trade Integration in Goods and Services” and “Why Does Cargo Spend Weeks in Sub-Saharan African Ports?

The International Rescue Committee's approach to impact evaluation

Markus Goldstein's picture
Our series on institutional approaches to impact evaluation continues!    DI recently virtually sat down with Jeannie Annan, Director of Research and Evaluation at the International Rescue Committee.   
DI:  What is the overall approach to impact evaluation at the IRC?
JA:  We are committed to providing (or supporting) the most effective and cost-effective interventions. This means using the best available research about what works combined with understanding of the context and experience in implementation to design and deliver our programs.  

Can I get the bill, please?

Jean-Christophe Dumont's picture

Are Immigrants a Burden or Net Contributors to the Public Purse?

If you ask your neighbour whether immigrants are a burden or net contributors to the public purse -- what in jargon is called the fiscal implications of migration -- it is more likely that you will get the former response rather than the later. The current doxa about the fiscal impact of migration is indeed that immigrants contribute less in taxes than they receive in benefits and that this ultimately leads to higher taxes paid by native-born citizens. And this goes well beyond anti-immigrant groups.

Caribbean: Working together to boost growth

Andrea Gallina's picture

What is the solution to low growth in the Caribbean? That's been the question on the minds of  private sector, government and civil society representatives from 12 Caribbean countries for the last year.

They're all member of the Caribbean Growth Forum - a regional initiative designed to share experiences, ideas and expertise to promote a more prosperous Caribbean. Andrea Gallina has been coordinating the process since it launched in May 2012.

Here he explains what has been achieved so far and what the next steps are for the Caribbean.

Caribbean: Working together to boost growth


Prospects Daily: China injects liquidity, Japan IP falls, South Africa’s unemployment rate rises

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Financial Markets…Global equities moved higher on Tuesday amid promising earnings reports from Asian, European, and U.S. companies and a rise in Euro-zone consumer and business confidence in July. Investors are currently turning their focus to this week’s three central bank meetings (the U.S. Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, and Bank of England). The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5% with the index gearing for a monthly gain of 2.5%, while the Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.2%, extending its July gain to 5.1%. U.S.