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Friday, 16 May 2014

Open Knowledge Foundation and open education data in development. What chance of a change of business model ?

Today I was speaking at Making it Matter: Supporting education in the developing
world through open and linked data
part of the linkedup programme Slides are on slideshare here:

The discussion session around "what problems need solving" in development world education gave so wide a focus that we all had to think not about specific initiatives, but rather what single cross-cutting interventions might have impact across multiple fields.

Hope, meetings, and change of business model came up as the candidates. We sit on reams of courses, armies of teachers, desks full of policies from Governments - and they often hamper improvements.

The change of business model is worth a look.

It was the key to the single biggest change in the quality of womens' lives in Africa: the business model for getting water used to be the woman standing in the queue. The advent of the cheap chinese bucket changed it: put the container in the queue.

In classrooms, the current business model is waiting or sitting while an unpaid Government-appointed teacher does not arrive, or teaches a poor lesson when they do arrive. Getting the setting to provide something (book ? access to self-guided learning supported by peers or older cohorts ?) might be a candidate. Allowing families to invest to solve the problem might be another solution.

A colleague raised the possibility of Art. It's not a bad idea. It reminded me of the huge impact we got in Mbollet-ba from proposing creative activity in the nursery classes. When we arrived, they were simply sitting and banging bottles on the table. Given the permission to be creative, they thrived. The materials were debris from the school yard.

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