What caught our eye this week


While Kirsty Newman has now moved on from INASP, she is still telling us what we need to hear. ‘Fighting the RCT bogeyman’ is a recent post on her blog Kirstyevidence. This discusses the often unproductive debate around randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and the possible (desirable) combination of rigorous quantitative methodologies and qualitative observation. The blog is one to watch.

Speaking of which, it seems the Guardian has been making a frequent appearance in this little round up recently. Although this week’s is something of an ‘oldie but a goodie’. Jonathan Tanner’s ‘Talk Point: Should we change the way we talk about development?’ urges us to dump the development jargon and speak more plainly. There are some good points and interesting comments.

Pete Guest’s article in Wired, ‘In search of Africa’s Einstein’, looks at Neil Turok’s plan to invest in higher education institutions in Africa. Also worth checking out is the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) and Turok’s 2008 TED prize wish for a little context (and a change of pace).

In a related vein, the Centre for Higher Education Transformation has recently released some open data for the first a set of cross national, comparative data on the performance of African universities.  See the African HE Performance Indicators.

Finally, the Olympics may be over (bring on the Paralympics!), but Zaki Laidi identifies 4 main factors determining Olympic success – 1) population size; 2) sports traditions; 3) sports policy; 4) level of development in his article ‘Olympolitik’.


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