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Educational Development News Blog

Friday, September 24, 2004

World Bank Approves Education Grant to Congo

allAfrica (Kenya) reports that the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) has approved a $20 M grant to rebuild Congo's war-torn education system. This Support to Basic Education Project will dedicate approx. $8.5 M to rebuild destroyed buildings, and the rest will be spent on technical aid to the ministry, professional development for teachers and administrators, curricular materials, and non-formal education and training for children, 14-18 years old.

World Economic Forum Investing in Jordan for Education Reform

The Daily Star (Lebanon) reports that the World Economic Forum, an organization of world leaders and CEOs, are investing in the Jordan Education Initiative (JEI) to integrate technology in the classroom. Private donations consist of $15 M from companies such as Cisco ($3 M), Dell, IBM, Intel, and HP; the government is also contributing $5 to $6 M.

From the article:

"If you want to look at it from a business perspective, call it market development," JEI program director Emile Cubeisy told The Daily Star.

"But for the country, it's social inclusion, it's opportunities, this is the place where market development and our efforts to reform and advance Jordan's capability are hand in hand, there's nothing wrong with it," he added.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Editorial from Bangladesh re: Continuing Education Program

The New Nation (Bangladesh) is running an editorial outlining the implementation of a rural continuing education program. This program sponsored by BRAC (formerly known as the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) focuses on creating libraries (known as Gonokendro Pathagar) in secondary schools to extend the schools, reach out to the adult population, educate, and serve as community centers. Established in 1995, there are currently 857 libraries in operation.

"Why education is paramount in wooing foreign investment"

The UK's Independent analyses the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development World Investment Report (released 09.22.04) and makes a call for improving basic education in the developing world (notably Africa) to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) into developing the trade of services rather than goods.

The argument is that the globalized world is becoming more focused on shipping services and ideas rather than goods, and a services infrastructure is more essential to developing a strong economy, as well as more inexpensive to develop. The key to developing this is basic education, which brings in FDI, which then brings in the skills and training necessary to develop a service economy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Nations Lobby to Expand UN Security Council

AP Asia reports that Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan are lobbying the UN for permanent seats on the Security Council. They are also pushing for a permanent seat representing Africa, with Tanzania making a bid for election to a non-permanent seat. Japan is the second-largest contributor to the UN (and the World Bank), and is supported in its bid by the US President Bush. India's bid has the support of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Most Nigerians Think AIDS Does Not Exist

Medical News Today is reporting that though 90% of Nigerians have heard of AIDS, 80% don't believe it actually exists. This report by the National Action Committee on HIV/AIDS is being used to push increasing their number of informational officers from 20 to 40 to reduce a 2003 HIV prevalance rate of 5% to 2.5% by 2005.

Saving the Smart Kids

Time magazine has an article on the state of gifted children in American education. In a 2000 study, 5% of gifted students dropped out after the 8th grade, compared to 5.2% non-gifted. 37% of early entrants to college demonstrated "adjustment problems" reported by teachers. With most of the dialogue (such as No Child Left Behind) focused on remediation, are the gifted students being left out?

U.S. Wants to Cancel Poorest Nations' Debt

The Washington Post reports that the Bush administration is advancing a plan (registration required) to forgive debts to developing nations from the World Bank and IMF. They also want to move financial aid to developing countries to grants rather than loans.

This move has been criticized as a political move by Bush domestically and abroad--to clean up his international image as well as clear up major repercussions from Iraqi reconstruction--as well as a move which will hurt the World Bank's ability to fund future projects (I'm assuming because then the World Bank doesn't earn interest on the loans).

To me it also seems like another example of the US trying to be more autonomous in its relations with the world--picking up its ball and starting a game somewhere else. On the surface, it sounds like a great idea; unfortunately the rationale is most likely more insidious.

China Urged to Stop "Anti-Japan" Education

Kyodo reports that Japan's former top financial diplomat Toyoo Gyohten has urged China to stop anti-Japanese education to soften bilateral ties. A patriotic education syllabus introduced in 1994 raises anti-Japanese sentiments in students stemming from Japanese atrocities conducted in China before and during WWII. Gyohten also says that Japan must also issue a formal apology no matter how many times the general public has heard it.

LA Times Reports on State of Urban Mexican Schools

In Mexico's Schools Can't Keep Up the LA Times reports on the status of the Mexican school system, specifically focusing on Tijuana. Poor results on the PISA math exam for 9th graders (last on the list of 28 participating OECD countries) and a 10% middle school drop out rate (for those students who complete elementary school) are bringing these issues to the forefront of the social conscience. Some of the stated causes are the high rates of violence and poverty and the inability of an inefficient educational infrastructure to keep pace with housing growth. The Mexican government is responding with telesecondaria--video-enabled distance learning--that they claim, along with the World Bank, is just as effective as traditional schools. But the response: "All we ask is that the government send us certified teachers ... We [parents] will do the rest."