Education is the key to success.

Education is the key to success

  • The uber-cool, sharp, funny and highly relevant Lant Pritchett (definitely on my top-five-academics list) has finally published his book “The Rebirth of Education: From Schooling to Learning” which I have obviously ordered and cannot wait to read properly. I’ve actually read a good chunk of the book already since Lant put the chapters on his site for comment a while ago already (see here for pre-publication chapters and here for chapter one of the book). If you haven’t already watched his entertaining and informative Young Lives presentation, do yourself a favour and go and check it out (here).
  • Favorite quote of the week: “There are few policy questions to which improving the quality of education is not a reasonable answer” – well said! Economist article on the value of good teachers
  • Peggy Nkonyeni is the new MEC for education in KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa’s most populous province). For background information on the appointment see this DailyMaverick story.
  • What a week of groceries looks like around the world (via Esther Etkin). Perspective is everything.
  • For a laugh watch this video on scaring potential employees 🙂
  • Last year Alistair McKay wrote an article reflecting on race and consciousness in a post-apartheid South Africa – I agree with many of his sentiments but would obviously have played up the education side of things had I wrote it myself 🙂 I’m currently thinking of writing an article titled something along the lines of “Why we can’t just bury the hatchet”
  • If you feel like going down the rabbit-hole of South African education research Martin Gustafsson’s personal website is a really good place to start. His draft (read: practically final) PhD thesis is somewhere there. It should be published as a book and then shown to all first-year-PhD students once they’ve registered and passed the point of no return. Primarily for intimidation/motivation purposes. I am a huge fan of Martin’s pragmatic-yet-rigorous research and will personally hold a funeral service for the quality of SA education should he decide to leave education research anytime in the near future.
  • Quote of the week comes from the introduction to the NSES book (edited by Nick Taylor, Servaas van der Berg and Thabo Mabogoane – not released yet but see here):
  • “The systematic study of schooling has long been plagued by acrimonious debates around theoretical foundations and research methods. Our starting point is that the existence of these debates is indicative of the enormous complexity of the field, and that, far from representing the most appropriate approach, each of the contending perspectives provides a partial view and limited but valuable insights into the terrain of schooling. Thus, research studies that utilise multilevel modelling techniques attempt to unravel the many variables that direct and shape teaching and learning, and to understand their relative importance and interactional effects. Within this broad church, the traditions of school effectiveness research and the economics of education bring complementary perspectives to bear. While the former assumes that individual actors, and in particular school principals and teachers, are motivated by altruism and the desire to do the best for the learners in their care, economists assume that actors are motivated largely by self interest. Taken together, these views sound like a good description of human behaviour.”
  • For the next 10 days I need to find my productive-panic mode since I have a looming deadline and I am yet to find the rabbit in the hat, let alone pull it out…on the upside it does look like a promising paper looking at learning trajectories and accumulated learning deficits.

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