Wednesday, December 30, 2015

How to Bootstrap Education

I read recently an article (link here) in The Economist about behavioural economics and how it can be applied in development policies. The main point of behavioural economics is to challenge the assumption of classical economics that people always make rational decisions that are best for them. There are many reasons for people not to take the best decision for them: peer pressure, impulse or rushing to take a decision and so on. This approach to economics turns out to be very successful and it is now incorporated in many other theories. The development programs like the ones funded by the World Bank now take into account behavioural aspects when designing their policies. One good example is education. We know for sure how important is education to boost a child's chances to be successful in life. So many people invest heavily in the education of their children. But exactly the poorest people many times miss this point and neglect or sometimes are even against the education of  their children. So to give them a chance to escape poverty you have to actually design some incentives to make sure children actually go to school and learn something. I recently heard about two such programs in Romania:
- one is aiming to get every 3-5 years old child from poor families to attend kindergarten by giving to families a monthly stipend on the condition that the children do actually go to kindergarten. You can read more details here.
- the second is called Teach for Romania and aims to recruit, train and send teachers to impoverished communities; the training focuses on education techniques, but also on leadership, so that those teachers would also change the schools and communities where they will be teaching.

I like both these programs and from what I read they achieved a lot already, so I'll try to support them as much as I can in the future. This is one of the reasons I wrote this post: to let you know about them :)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Over in the Meadow

Lately I became a big consumer of a new music genre, children songs :) Like in every area there are good pieces and also some others that are not that well made. But there are also masterpieces like the one below. The song, the orchestration, the voices and the cartoons, all of them are excellent in this video from Barefoot Books. And I'm not the only one in the family who likes it :) Well done, guys!