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April 2016

How coding bootcamps are helping to tackle youth unemployment

Cecilia Paradi-Guilford's picture
you have some important choices to make on which path to choose ...
you have some important choices to make
on which path to choose ...

In two weeks I'll visit BETT, the London-based event which is sometimes referred to as the 'world's biggest educational technology trade show'. While I don't know if it is in fact the 'biggest' (ISTE's annual event is huge as well), nor how one calculates magnitude in such cases, there is no doubt that it is indeed really, really, really, big.

I attend BETT most years for a number of reasons. Doing so provides me with a chance to see all of the new cool gadgets and applications in one place. It is pretty easy to schedule meetings packed into a few days with lots of groups and people who are also at BETT; 'back home' it would take months to coordinate such meetings.

Conveniently, BETT takes place immediately after the Education World Forum, where scores of education ministers gather together each year to share experiences about challenges and successes related to education in their countries. This 'convenience' is actually no coincidence: Many ministerial delegations, especially those from middle and low income countries, stay on to tour the exhibition halls at BETT, to see the 'latest and greatest' and be (presumably in some cases) wined and dined by various vendors hoping to build relationships and do some business. While I skip the 'hospitality' stuff (not really my scene), I typically find it very educational to attach myself to, and rotate between, a few ministerial delegations each year as they tour the BETT exhibition spaces. Doing so offers me some exposure and insight into what such groups are interested (and not interested) in, and provides me with a 'fly-on-the-wall' view into the various sales pitches that are made to these sorts of government officials by companies eager to ring in the new year with some big contracts – as well as how such officials respond to such marketing.

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Just as I find the questions that educational officials ask of vendors when they tour the BETT exhibition spaces to be revealing in many ways, I am often intrigued by the related questions that many of these companies then pose to me.

As a result of my work at the World Bank helping to advise on issues at the intersection of technology use and education in middle- and low-income countries and emerging markets around the world, I am, for example, asked from time to time by companies sets of questions that can be summarized as follows:

What would be the 'ideal' educational technology device for use in schools,
and by teachers and students, in developing countries?

Mental Health: An opportunity to achieve gender parity

Samhita Kumar's picture

Sri Lanka's population is young now, but getting older quickly. What does this demographic transition mean to you and for Sri Lanka?

Join a live chat Jan. 7 on the World Bank Sri Lanka Facebook page with experts including Indralal De Silva, professor at the University of Colombo; Sundararajan Gopalan, senior health, nutrition, and population specialist with the World Bank; Shalika Subasinghe, social protection consuiltant with the World Bank; and Tehani Ariyaratne of the Center for Poverty Analysis (CEPA).

The discussion will focus on the dimensions of growing old in Sri Lanka and move on to the challenge Sri Lanka is facing in dealing with an aging population with limited resources.

Media (R)evolutions: Ad blockers popular worldwide because they improve web browsing experience

Roxanne Bauer's picture

New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.

There’s a lot of discussion right now about ad blocking. As a consumer, you may think ad blocking is a protector that improves your web browsing experience, but if you run an online business you may think it’s a growing problem that reduces your revenue. What appears to be clear, however, is that the use of ad blockers is expected to grow. 

Ad blocking software blocks online advertisements before they are loaded by a user’s web browser. Once installed, the content of the page is stripped of ads before they even get the chance to load.

Ad blocking vastly improves the Web-browsing experience. The average web page is a mess of third-party analytics, plug-ins, and advertising tags, which make pages bulky and distracting.  Since ad blocking prevents those elements from loading, it speeds up page load times, reduces the amount of data consumed, and cuts back on the number of things competing for attention. There are also privacy benefits to running ad blockers. Most ad networks and tracking tools collect information about page visits and user behavior, but the ad blockers prevent third-party tracking tags from loading and following people across sites. Moreover, the display ecosystem is still the largest part of online ads and includes a mixture of video, audio and other media that seek to create more “interactive” and “engaging” ads. To enable these features, ad networks have allowed third-party JavaScript and Flash files to run in ad slots, which also allows for malicious code to be run and provides a way for viruses and malware to spread on a massive scale

GlobalWebIndex found, as part of their regular reporting, that regardless of  gender, age, income or the region in which they live, people are most likely to be blocking ads because they feel that too many of them are annoying or irrelevant and because they believe there are simply too many ads on the internet.

   
    

Piloting results-based financing for disaster risk and climate resilience in Morocco

Axel Baeumler's picture
Acaba de publicarse la edición del informe Estadísticas de la deuda internacional (IDS) (i) correspondiente a 2018.

Esta incluye datos y análisis sobre la deuda externa y los flujos financieros (deuda y capital) de las economías de todo el mundo para el año 2016, y presenta más de 200 series cronológicas de indicadores que cubren el periodo comprendido entre 1970 y 2016 para la mayoría de los países que informan datos. Si desea tener acceso al informe y otros productos relacionados, usted puede: La edición de este año se publicó solo 10 meses después del periodo de referencia de 2016, por lo que las estadísticas de deuda se encuentran disponibles con una rapidez nunca vista. Además de los datos publicados en diferentes formatos digitales, el informe IDS incluye un análisis conciso sobre el panorama de la deuda mundial, que se ampliará a través de una serie de boletines durante el próximo año.

¿Por qué monitorear y analizar la deuda?

El objetivo principal del informe IDS es medir los saldos y flujos de deuda en los países de ingreso bajo y mediano que se obtuvieron como préstamos de acreedores externos. En términos generales, los saldos de deuda son los pasivos corrientes que se deben pagar en forma de principal o intereses a los acreedores. Los flujos de deuda son pagos nuevos o reembolsos a las entidades crediticias.

Estos datos se producen como parte del trabajo que realiza el Banco Mundial al monitorear la capacidad crediticia de sus clientes, y son ampliamente usados por otros actores con fines analíticos y operacionales. Las crisis recurrentes en materia de deuda, incluida la crisis financiera mundial de 2008, ponen de relieve cuán importante es medir y controlar los saldos y flujos de la deuda externa, y la gestión sostenible de esta. A continuación, se presentan tres aspectos destacados del análisis realizado en el informe IDS 2018:

La afluencia neta de recursos financieros hacia los países de ingreso bajo y mediano aumentó, pero los países de la AIF quedaron rezagados

En 2016, los flujos netos de recursos financieros dirigidos a los países de ingreso bajo y mediano se elevaron a USD 773 000 millones, un aumento tres veces superior a los niveles de 2015, pero más bajo que los niveles observados entre 2012 y 2014.​

Sin embargo, esta tendencia no se extendió a los países más pobres del mundo. En el grupo de países que reciben solo financiamiento de la Asociación Internacional de Fomento (AIF), (i) estos flujos disminuyeron un 34 % llegando a USD 17 600 millones, su nivel más bajo desde 2011. Este descenso fue impulsado por caídas en la afluencia de capital de acreedores privados y bilaterales.

Some theory on experimental design…with insight into those who run them

Markus Goldstein's picture
A nice new paper by Abhijit Banerjee, Sylvain Chassang, and Erik Snowberg brings theory to how we choose to do evaluations – with some interesting insights into those of us who do them.  It’s elegantly written, and full of interesting examples and thought experiments – well worth a read beyond the injustice I will do it here.  

Global Daily: Global equities at 2016 highs

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Highway Tunis-Béja - By DrFO.Jr.Tn l Wikimedia Commons

تشير الأحداث الأخيرة في تونس إلى أن المجتمع بات يعاني من حالة استقطاب - وأن هناك في الواقع تونسيين، أحدهما فقير والآخر أكثر ثراء. فعلى سبيل المثال، تعد مدينة سوسة واحدة من المراكز الاقتصادية الرئيسية على الساحل؛ في حين تعاني القيروان الواقعة في المنطقة الغربية الوسطى من نسبة بطالة تصل إلى 15%، ومن معدل فقر يبلغ 32% (وفقا لأرقام 2013) وقد شهدت مظاهرات عديدة تعرب عن التذمر الشعبي .

Mobilizing domestic resources for universal health coverage

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's picture
Students heads to a female only toilets in Maskoke Primely and Secondly School
in Gode Town in Ethiopia. Credit: UNICEF Ethiopia

In the lead-in to World Toilet Day, we hear a great deal about the role of toilets in sanitation and in better health and human development outcomes.  Toilets are good development. Period.
 
We hear less about the fact that toilets are often sites and instruments of social exclusion.
 
Let me explain.
 
Segregated toilets for males and females were intended to give women privacy and to respect the “intrinsic” physical differences between the sexes.  In fact, in most developing countries, segregated toilets are a sine qua non for female participation in public spaces, in education and in employment. 
 
But the story is more complex.

Found a positive impact, published in a peer-reviewed journal. What more do we need?

Urmy Shukla's picture

Family utilizes protective malaria bed nets in their home, Nigeria In this blog, we advocate the importance of in-depth reporting on implementation processes, evaluation processes, and relevant contextual details of interventions and linked evaluations. This will facilitate research transparency, as well as assessments of both learning and the potential for generalizability beyond the original study setting (learning lessons from ‘there’ for ‘here,’ but not necessarily promoting the strict and exact duplication of a program from one setting to another, in line with an understanding of external validity that is appropriate for the social sciences in development).
 
We start with a hypothetical scenario of an intervention and associated evaluation, based on too-frequent experiences in the impact evaluation space. We hope that it doesn’t sound familiar to those of you who have been involved in evaluation or have tried to make sense of evaluation results -- but suspect that it will.
 
A research team, connected to a larger research and evaluation organization, ran a study on an intervention. For reasons of statistical and political significance, they have deemed it sufficiently successful and worthy of scaling up, at least in a very specific new setting. 
 
The intervention sought to overcome the following problem, for which there are supply-side and demand-side issues. People in malarious areas may procure a bednet (whether for free or for a positive price), but they do not always follow-through with maintenance (re-treatment or replacement).
 
For supply, the private sector only sporadically offers retreatment and replacement, and it is expensive, while the public sector does not always have supplies available. The intervention, therefore, concentrates provision of this service at a specific time and place through temporary service centers.
 
For demand, people with nets often don’t understand the need for retreatment and, even if they do, continuously put off doing so. The intervention, therefore, included a non-monetary incentive for which there is local demand (in this case, soap) to be picked up at the time of net retreatment.

Welcoming Michelle Obama to the World Bank and furthering a commitment to girls’ education

Rachel Cooper's picture

Mary Barton-Dock, director of the Climate Policy and Finance unit of the World Bank, welcomes the participants to the 10th Carbon Expo in Barcelona
Some 2000 visitors from more than 100 countries are leaving Barcelona today at the end of Carbon Expo. The meeting, now in its 10th year, got off to a great start on Wednesday with the director of the World Bank´s Climate Policy and Finance unit, Mary Barton-Dock, welcoming the participants, followed by stimulating opening remarks from Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Figueres urged the audience to continue building carbon markets and not wait for policy perfections. She also encouraged participants to continue making the case for carbon markets to policy makers, who have committed to a global agreement on emissions by 2015. She emphasized the importance for the private sector to more loudly voice their willingness and ability to move to a low-carbon growth trajectory and compared the carbon market to a tree planted just a few years ago, not possibly imagining that today it would have sprouted 6,800 projects registered with the UNFCCC in 88 countries, representing 215 billion dollars of investment.

However, Figueres also acknowledged the importance of domestic initiatives that were putting a price on carbon, at a time when a global agreement continued to challenge policy makers.

Does child sponsorship pay off in adulthood?

Paul Glewwe's picture
An International Study of Impacts on Income and Wealth

International child sponsorship has long been a common way for people in industrialized countries to connect with the poor in developing countries. We estimate that there are at least 9 million internationally sponsored children today, which means that there may be up to 100 million people today in families that are directly affected by child sponsorship (9 million sponsored children and their family members, and 9 million sponsors and their family members)  Sponsorship typically involves payments of $30-$40 per month to an NGO to help support an overseas child's schooling, health, and other needs.  Some faith-based programs also place a strong emphasis on the spiritual mentorship of sponsored children.  But the question remains--does it work? Our research shows that sponsorship translates to higher education levels and future earnings for formerly sponsored children.

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