Computer Use Considerations

Study of a Romanian voucher program that distributed computers to needy families found that:

Children in households who received a voucher were substantially more likely to own and use a computer than their counterparts who did not receive a voucher. Our main results indicate that that home computer use has both positive and negative effects on the development of human capital. Children who won a voucher had significantly lower school grades in Math, English and Romanian but significantly higher scores in a test of computer skills and in self-reported measures of computer fluency.

The clincher seems to be a significant rise in computer gaming, as these graphs illustrate – red line delineates voucher recipients on left from comparable non-recipients on right.

Apropos to my Arguments for Evaluation post on textbook findings in African schools.


Filed under: Irony, TECHNOLOGY

High Stakes Testing in India

From the NYtimes

India has one of the world’s youngest populations, often called its “demographic dividend,” yet as the middle class has steadily grown, so has the cutthroat competition for the limited slots in the country’s system of higher education.

Education presents such a stubborn problem, especially access to quality education, that experts warn that the future advantages of India’s youthful population could become a disadvantage if the government cannot improve the system rapidly enough to provide more students a chance at college. Of the 186 million students in India, only 12.4 percent are enrolled in higher education, one of the lowest ratios in the world.

Most sobering,

“If you have 150 million or 160 million children who don’t go to college, what is going to happen to them 10 or 15 years from now?” asked Kapil Sibal, the government minister overseeing education.

Filed under: EDUCATION, Irony, Uncategorized

Today in Irony

The Middle East edition.

U.S. forces are creating the Afghan army in their own image: as an institution that not only fights but hosts meetings with elders, hands out humanitarian aid, and crafts a sophisticated media strategy ahead of its battles, conveniently filling gaps left by the frail and corrupt government and justice system.

And in Iran a sigheh, the Farsi word for a temporary marriage.

Filed under: Irony

Calling the Data Police

The UK Statistics Authority was founded after a 2007 citizens poll revealed that only 1 in 3 believe in published stats.

Richard Alldritt was called in to become Britain’s top data cop.

he monitors figures from roughly 200 public agencies. He opens the data to peer review, publicly calls out bureaucrats, and even drags them before Parliament if need be. He has scolded the Home Office for cherry-picking data to suggest a drop in knife crime and chided the Government Equalities Office for exaggerating the gender pay gap.

But who polices the data police?

Filed under: Irony, Poop patrol