Improving Education in Developing Countries

Here is a fascinating article that comes about as the result of bringing together the minds of some of the world’s top economists to think about some of the big issues and challenges facing the world today. In this case, looking at how to improve the outcomes of school education there is a starting acknowledgement that quite significant strides have been made, though there is a long way to go and the improvements have not been consistent between countries. Tellingly, it points out that the education outcomes are worst in the worst governed countries!

Three major interventions are proposed;

  1. Improved nutritional inputs for young children (presumably both before and during schooling),
  2. Education programmes targeted at increasing parental awareness of the longer term benefits of staying longer in school, to improve drop-out ratios,
  3. Cash transfer payments to incentivize parents to keep their children in school longer.

The first and second are not only more affordable, but also appear to yield the best results.

Slate Article – Copenhagen Consensus 2012 Article – Education

For those who have the time there’s a wealth of very thoughtful and well presented articles in this ‘Copenhagen Consensus’ section of this website.

Strangely, it’s just occurred to me – nowhere did these wise economists appear to be advocating forcing private independent schools to provide free education under a vast social experiment as a solution for improved educational outcomes in developing countries – strange that!


Counting Calories for Weight Loss and getting Fit

When exercising, have you ever wondered how far you need to run or walk to burn a given number of calories, or for the distance you covered, how many calories did you burn.

Well, here’s a nice short article that sets out the figures, including how to do the calculations, the all-important after-burn from running (not from walking).

For the record, as most people here deal in kilometers, it’s about 1.6km to a mile, so you need to include that in your calculations as well:

Runners World – Walking vs Running

Motivation & Finding Work You Love

Clayton Christensen has been best known, until now for his work on ‘disruption’ in business and in other fields. He formulated ideas about hhow seemingly good companies can get blindsided and even put out of business by small upstart companies using disruptive ideas, technology etc. in ways that didn’t m,ake sense for the ‘good’ company, either because it was too small and insignificant to figure on their radar, or didn’t match the requirements of their existing customer base (listening too much to their existing customers!)

So, I was fascinated to see that Christensen has now turned his hand to new fields associated with human motivation and the wider issues of living a worthwhile life. This fast Company article does a good job of summarizing the current understanding on motivation in the workplace, including a neat summary of Herzberg’s powerful article for the Harvard Business Review (which by coincidence I just reread a few days ago!) There’s a link in the article to the Herzberg piece, which is well worth reading as well.

Fast Company – Clayton Christensen – Finding Work That You Love

What’s interesting is the way in which Christensen builds on Herzberg’s ideas to explore how people can find work they love, the benefits when they do, and the traps that some fall in to that mean they may never find themselves doing work they truly love. Money, or a perceived inadequate supply of it, may be a hygiene factor. However, the trouble is for so many in today’s consumerist society that as their money increases they rush so quickly to adjust their lifestyles

Personally, I very nearly got in to such a trap myself around 16 years ago. It took a lot of courage to get out of it (and a lot of explaining to family!) In all honesty, if I had had a family at that time it might very well not have been possible – I just would have been accused of self-indulgence and failure to acknowledge my ‘duties’. It’s not a mistake I ever intend to make again. Older and, I hope a bit wiser, I don’t intend to do work I can’t love.

IT Future – Now

After seeing this, I find myself wondering whether the current obsession with all things ‘touch screen’ – tablets, phones and other appliances, may prove to be just a temporary transitioning point to something far more radical in technology:

PhoneCracked – Leap 3D Motion

To get my head around what technology like this might imply in education will take a little longer.

%d bloggers like this: