Sunday, January 25, 2009

On aid, malaria, education and Bill Gates

Another one by Kristof, this time on Bill Gates and his efforts in the area of development economics.

Remember what we said in class concerning the Sachs article 'Reforming Aid ' and the J-PAL efforts and research? Remember also the Higher Level Economics Data Response Question from May 2005Q5 on 'Africa’s economic problems have a medical solution'

Well, first of all, there is yet (unfortunately) a malaria vaccine as question (b) sort of implies: Quoting from the NK article:
“We’re on the verge of some big advances,” Mr. Gates said. In particular, a promising malaria vaccine will enter its final phase of human trials this year, with others behind it. Mr. Gates said he is “absolutely confident” that a successful malaria vaccine will be achieved, probably within a half dozen years, and an AIDS vaccine 10 or more years from now.

Bill Gates is also (together with Rotary International and the British and German governments) 600 million dollars for the eradication of polio 'a crippling and sometimes fatal disease that still paralyzes children in parts of Africa and Asia'

The next quote seems (or, is) irrelevant but I have had such a difficult time explaining this exact point to friends a few years ago when my older daughters were about to enter 1st grade that I have to post it (and, perhaps, share it with the same people):
“It is amazing how big a difference a great teacher makes versus an ineffective one,” Mr. Gates writes in his letter. “Research shows that there is only half as much variation in student achievement between schools as there is among classrooms in the same school. If you want your child to get the best education possible, it is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school.”
I firmly believe in this (and there is research to support it...)

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