Reducing Poverty in Villages

Thailand needs to better target its programs and policies to more directly address the problem of poverty, according to a new World Bank report released yesterday.

Poverty is reemerging as one of the nation’s most serious problems, according to the Thailand Social Monitor: Poverty and Public Policy. Until the onset of the crisis in 1997, high economic growth rates had pulled poverty down from 32.6 percent of the population in 1988 to merely 11.6 percent in 1996. But this progress was reversed due to the crisis, and poverty increased to 16 percent of the population or about 10 million people.

“High growth rates had a dramatic effect on poverty rates in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and a resumption of vigorous growth will be essential to reversing these adverse trends,” says Ian C. Porter, World Bank Country Director for Thailand. “However, structural poverty among certain sub-groups and in certain areas may need more targeted programs and policies to help these long term poor climb out of poverty.”
The report’s authors, who collaborated with staff from the NESDB, TDRI, Thai experts and international academics, emphasize the importance of properly targeting poverty to address the entrenched or “structural” poverty that remains. The highest rates of poverty are mostly found among the Northeastern provinces of Surin, Kalasin, Sakon Nakhon, and Roi Et, the Northern province of Mae Hong Son, and the Southern provinces of Narathiwat and Yala. Poverty is also significant in other Northeastern provinces and in a few of the Northern and Southern provinces. The Northeast accounts for nearly half of all Thailand’s poor households. At the village level, all the poor in Thailand are living in roughly 27 percent of the country’s villages.

The authors emphasize targeting poverty programs at the village level. “Block grants and other anti-poverty interventions targeted to the poorest villages are likely to be a better use of public funds than universally distributed programs, at least from an equity perspective,” the report says. Better data on village-level poverty may soon be available, and this would enable Government programs to identify and reach the poorest villages.

Education is another key factor. Households headed by an illiterate person are most likely to be poor. People living in households headed by persons with no education or only primary education are much more likely to be poor than those in households headed by a secondary- or post-secondary-educated person.

The report also shows that the less-educated suffered significantly larger declines in real income per capita than the better-educated during the crisis. Between 1996 and 1999, real income per capita fell by 13-19 percent among households headed by a person with lower secondary schooling or less, while income increased by 5-12 percent among households headed by a person with upper secondary and vocational education.

“Education beyond the primary level is the surest pathway out of poverty,” says Porter. “Education also seems to make people less vulnerable to economic shocks.”
Not only did farmers with very small farms (under 5 rai) not participate in the boom period of the early and mid-1990s, but they also lost ground during the economic crisis of the late 1990s. As a result farmers with very small landholdings as a group are poorer today than they were at the start of the decade.
Inequality continues to be a problem in Thailand, with the richest fifth of the population holding 58.3 percent of the income in 1999 and the poorest fifth of the population sharing just 3.9 percent. The report concludes that increases in inequality in different Thai provinces have substantially offset the potential poverty gains from growth. At the national level, inequality of income distribution increased in Thailand between 1998 and 1999, pushing an additional 2 million people into poverty.
The report analyzes the admirable self-reliance of Thai families in providing safety nets to their neighbors and relatives. Gifts provided to poor Thai households prevented another 6 percent of the population from falling into poverty in 1999. The rise in community activism and self-help activities during the crisis has also played a role in cushioning the effects of the crisis. “This key attribute of Thai society, family self reliance and community-based support, is indeed the country’s secret weapon against economic shocks; it is frequently underestimated,” notes Porter.

Poverty and Public Policy uses national household survey data to review many Thai programs that address poverty. Public employment schemes were highly successful in targeting the poor and could be used again even more successfully if designed to expand quickly in times of economic crisis. Other programs were less successful, including the key scholarship and school loan programs that if better targeted would help the poor attend secondary and higher education.

“Thailand has had a highly successful record in reducing poverty, in putting girls and the poor in school, in delivering programs that do indeed help the poor,” says Porter. “Our message is not that Thailand has failed; our message is that the poverty порно видео problem has come back, probably in a more difficult form. Easy to find, but more hard to reach. Thailand will have to work harder to reduce it.”

Why have today’s students become a bunch of grade-grubbing morons?

Teachers, as you may not know, complain a lot. There is, after all, a great deal to complain about, and teachers, being smarter (and having more flexible hours) than the average malcontent, fully exploit their opportunities. Class size (too high), pay (too low), culture (too little), the administration (too administrative), government (too corrupt), pay (still too low), vacation time (never you mind, I work hard!). Among favorite topics, however, nothing comes close to students (too much to fit between parentheses).
Most of the griping is summed up by Miss Parker: “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.” But some of the mutterings to which I am privy suggest something worse: whorses who cannot even be led to culture. Having taught philosophy, history of science and ancient Greek literature at schools from 400-student liberal arts colleges to Ivy League universities, I think I know what they mean.
I recall one student in particular who had done rather poorly on a writing assignment and had come to office hours to talk me out of her grade. I explained what I expected from such a paper, what was fruitful, what was unlikely to be so, and tried to get her to see the demand for thoughtful writing as a way to come to terms with issues that she cared about.
Me: Let’s talk more about this paragraph: Why do you think that Antigone’s obligation to her brother is the most important factor?
Her: Is that wrong? Did I lose points for that?
Clearly, something about this approach was deeply puzzling to her, and we replayed the same conversation until she suddenly realized what it was I was having trouble seeing.
“You don’t understand,” she announced with a trumpish air. “I need this class to balance the GPA in my major.” Well, why didn’t she say so before?
Perhaps it has always been thus. As I have just complained about my students to you, my colleagues complain to me, and Augustine and Epictetus complain to us all. Poor Socrates tried dialogue after dialogue to teach philosophy to the budding politicians he attracted; all they wanted was rhetoric. But the present bout of chronic student malaise among liberal arts students seems different and deserves more than nostalgic name-dropping: Why would it make sense to a student to argue for a grade she doesn’t deserve in one class by citing her poor performance in another? What failure of education leads to the complaint (from one of my teaching evaluations) that “he seemed to grade with some objective standard in mind”? And what accounts for the level of disdain necessary for a student to hand in, as his own, a photocopy of someone else’s paper?
It’s the economy, stupid, here and everywhere. When it comes to questions of the value of an education, we have gradually adopted a disturbingly anemic vocabulary. Discussing the benefits of education, the U.S. Department of Education mentions only the following: “higher earnings, better job opportunities, jobs that are less sensitive to general economic conditions, reduced reliance on welfare subsidies, increased participation in civic activities, and greater productivity.”
It’s not that these claims are trumped up: Higher education is the most predictive precursor of a long and lucrative career. So who can blame schools for using placement data, salary averages and tuition-to-earnings “value” to market and sell the education they offer? And why shouldn’t parents also pay attention to this data in guiding their children toward certain schools or certain majors? The problem now, however, is that such economic standards have become increasingly central to students as well.
The American Council on Higher Education reports that more than 50 percent of students chose their college because “graduates get good jobs” (a close second behind “very good academic reputation,” at 54 percent, and way ahead of the next reason, “size of college,” at 34 percent). And although a solid 60 percent of students listed “to gain a general education and appreciation of ideas” as one important reason in deciding to go to college (a number that has held relatively steady for the last 20 years), more of these students are in fact hoping to receive this “appreciation of ideas” through the study of porno. Indeed, the business major is the only category of enrollment that is rising — at the expense of law, medicine and all the humanities and sciences. This, I suppose, is due in large part to the fact that fully 75 percent of students report that it is “essential or very important to be very well off financially,” up steadily from 39 percent in 1970.

Regional Networks of Civil Society Organizations in Latin America

We request your help in a project dealing with an issue that is fundamental to strengthening civil society and deepening democracy in Latin America: regional networks of civil society organizations (CSO) in Latin America and the Caribbean facing the challenges of globalization. The key role of regional networks and their growing linkages to other North American and European networks demonstrate the importance of a phenomenon that although little understood, is very relevant for the future of civil society in the region.
Recognizing the importance of this phenomenon, and in order to evaluate its impact in the region, we have formed a working group that involves researchers and CSO participants interested in analyzing the linkages developed by regional networks in the region and with other international networks. Hence, our project, “Regional Networks of Civil Society Organizations in Latin America,” includes research teams based in different countries of the region:

  • Laura Sarvide Alvarez Icaza and Gabriela Sánchez, (Espiral, S.C., México)
  • Leilah Landim (Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro, Brasil) and Átila Roque (Instituto Brasileiro de Análises Sociais e Econômicos, Brasil)
  • Paula Antezana Rimassa and Cecilia Dobles Trejos (Centro para la Participación Organizada, Fundación Arias para la Paz y el Progreso Humano, Costa Rica)
  • Gonzalo de la Maza and Carlos Ochsenius (Fundación para la Superación de la Pobreza, Chile)
  • Mercedes Botto and Gabriela Rodríguez López (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Argentina)
  • Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz (University of Maryland, USA) and William C. Smith (University of Miami, USA).

The project will create a database that will be published and made available electronically to all those CSOs and researchers interested in obtaining a list of contacts and/or learning about the characteristics (activities, composition, and objectives) of networks active in the region. The database will help promote the development of closer ties between CSOs in the region, and further support their role as key actors in the current transformations of the region.

We believe that the direct participation of CSO members is essential to the success of this exercise, and that is why we request your collaboration by answering the questionnaire below. The reports produced by our research project will not identify the individuals participating in the survey. The survey has been designed to generate some data needed to analyze the structure and linkages characterizing regional networks in the region. As we explain in the questionnaire, the answers to sections A, B and C will be incorporated in a public database, while the answers to sections D and F, in recognition of the confidential character of some of the requested information, will not be included in the general database, and the use of this information will be restricted to strictly academic objectives.

The project will also include workshops held between scholars and OSC representatives aiming to evaluate the role, reach, and impact of regional networks in Latin America. As a product of these workshops and the research project, we will distribute a series of publications evaluating the results of the project. To achieve this objective, we will have the support of the local offices of the Ford Foundation in Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

We would like to thank your help in completing the questionnaire below in the next ten days. We are available to you to answer any questions about our project, and we commit ourselves to maintaining you informed about our future activities. Likewise, we will send you a copy of the database, as well as of the reports produced by the project, once they are completed.

If you wish to participate in this survey but have not received an invitation, please contact us to obtain your Network Code necessary to complete the questionnaire.

The following survey contains 36 questions, divided into 5 main sections. While there are a number of open answer questions, most of the questions require only a brief response.
Please remember to enter the Network Code at the top of the survey page.
If you are unable to complete the survey in one session, please submit the survey as is and continue with the remaining questions in a subsequent session.
It is essential that you enter the Network Code and the Name of your Network again if you complete parts of the survey in a second or third session.

Source: nacionbeta.com

A Survey of Technology in Cities by Nigel Harris

The point of any city is innovation, the forcing of new ideas. The close physical interaction of people is still the easiest means we have to force change. There are economies of creativity, and concentrating people concentrates intelligence. It is not that they are all smarter, but collectively the whole is immeasurably greater than the sum of the parts—everybody gets to be cleverer by courtesy of the crowd.
The concentration of collective intelligence is feverishly active and continually changing—in dress style, eating habits, the style of everyday speech and accent, even the styles of body language. The city is continually reinventing itself—expelling some activities that no longer need the incubator, drawing in others that do. The city’s innovations are not the spectacular changes of technology led by heroes—the invention of the steam engine, the aircraft, the Mexican dwarf hybrid. Rather, it is the daily piecemeal adjustments by unknown teams, cumulatively transforming our lives. Who invented the toothbrush, the windshield wiper, the vacuum cleaner, the electric kettle, the flower transported across the world without wilting, and millions more changes? Only through history books do we realize that there was a time when such things did not exist.

The collective intelligence of the city is created by communication, by interaction. And we are in the midst (or on the edge) of the most extraordinary revolution in communication. It makes possible the emergence of a global collective intelligence, the interaction of thousands of cities on a daily or hourly basis—and thus a quantum leap in innovation. Consider how far we have come: the average cost per mile of air transport has fallen from 68 U.S. cents in the 1930s to about 11 cents today; a three-minute telephone call, New York to London, has fallen from $245 in the 1930s to $3.32 now—in some cases, the call can be made for under 30 cents.

Now we are within sight of even more amazing changes—perhaps an hourly air shuttle from New York to Tokyo or Delhi to Sao Paulo. Virtually cost-free communication regardless of distance. A global telephone that completely escapes geography. And one day, not too distant, a hand-held box, big enough for your pocket, that will do it all—a video-telephone, a fax, a radio, a television, with capacity anywhere in the world to listen to a concert in Sydney, consult a library in Santiago, buy a book in Beijing, check the state of the Zambian harvest.

The implications for cities can hardly be exaggerated. Already the more advanced city-ports have been transformed. They are no longer places where thousands of men heave goods between ship and shore. They are almost silent automated junctions where machines manhandle containers. Others monitor relevant global ship movements—watching as a vessel slips out of Yokohama, recording its cargo and crew, its progress to Galveston or Bombay or Lagos. Or, as market demand changes, watching as a cargo is shifted to air in Singapore or rail in Marseilles. The port is not only a global managing and logistics center, it also integrates all means of freight transport to achieve the cheapest throughput along uninterrupted corridors.
And that is also what is happening to cities generally. They are junction points for global flows of people, cargo, information and finance. They manage to find the linkages between vastly dispersed points of supply and demand: the linking, the design, the finance, the facilitation. That is what the city as a servicing center means: a global management and logistics system. Technology has made it possible to “unbundle” a commodity so that different bits of it are manufactured in thousands of different places across the world. The whole may then be managed from a city where none of the process of manufacture takes place.
Consider Ford Motor Company’s Hermosillo plant in Mexico. It used to make a Mazda car. Just-in-time stock policies ensured that there was no accumulation of parts either in the factory or en route. In the thousands of contributing plants scattered over the Kansai region of Japan, the components were monitored as they passed through the factory, to trucks in Kobe, across the Pacific, unloaded at Guaymas port and then trucked to Hermosillo—all at the right speed to ensure that vehicle assembly in Mexico was not interrupted and no parts were accumulated. The overall result of unbundling has been the spread of manufacturing capacity worldwide— binding the globe into a single manufacturing system directed from cities.

Unbundling Services

The unbundling of manufactured goods is well known. The parallel is the unbundling of services, so that different parts of the provision of a service are done in different places. The design of Walt Disney cartoons starts in Hollywood, but part of the drawing is done in Manila. Mumbai handles Swiss Air’s accounting, Barbados that of American Airlines. Manila processes British criminal records; Shenzhen, Japanese land transactions. Dozens of other cities in developing countries are loading and sorting catalogues for libraries in developed countries, processing land records, managing law records. One day, they may process national censuses, national accounts and any other large-scale data operation. A dozen or more cities in Asia do the software programming for Silicon Valley.

Unlike manufactured goods, the consumer often has to move to the service provider or vice versa (as with tourism, for example). So liberalizing the service trade (as is being discussed by the World Trade Organisation) would require changing the immigration rules—so that a German consulting engineer could work, say, in India, or an American banker in Nigeria. On the other side, developing countries are strong in labor-intensive services, so they would need to get into developed countries to provide a service. Thus, a Bangladeshi or Brazilian company could tender for the contract to clean the streets of New York, to run the hospital laundries of Germany or to staff a giant supermarket in Japan. It is already happening—Filipino workers run the Bahrain free trade zone; some also staff the ferry from Newcastle in England to Hamburg in Germany.

Governments hate it. They want a world in which they know the difference between “their” products and “foreign” ones—and there’s a label to prove it. But, more and more, goods or services are no longer made in one place, but in dozens. It does not stop governments trying—as the European Union halted garment imports from Bangladesh because the fabric used was imported so the garments were not properly “Bangladeshi” (the United States objected to Mexican garment imports on the same grounds). In the end, reality will have to be accepted.

The spread of innovations is, of course, immensely uneven. Some of us feel quietly grateful to at last have a telephone after years of waiting (even if it takes 10 tries to get a call). Others hardly grasped the advantages of telex over telegraph before both were swamped by fax, and both fax and telephone are now inundated by e-mail and the whole universe of the Internet: and this is only the beginning of the story.
Cities force technological change. And they are transformed by technology. The technological revolution of today is such that the promise of the next century is more spectacular than ever before—and the global city is at the forefront.

Source: Breaking.com.mx

Pioneering women’s suffrage online

I teach at the Latifa School for Girls in Dubai, one of the main cities of the United Arab Emirates.  The school follows a British curriculum and one of the classes I teach comprises Year 12 students, students roughly equivalent in age to 12th grade students in the United States.

My Year 12 history students recently completed their studies of civil rights in the United States and women’s suffrage in Britain.  This is a new course and I was looking for a series of lessons that would allow the students on the course to consolidate their understanding of some of the topics covered in a fun way, but which would also help them to tease apart and reflect on the various strands of those topics.
There are five girls in the Year 12 group I teach and only a very short time span was available to me for this review, as we needed to move on to and complete our third and final module before the students’ exams began in June, 2001.  I had already done a search on the Web as part of my research into teaching topics new to me and had been struck by the polarity in the sites I uncovered video porno italiano.  Most of the sites were either highly detailed or terribly basic and did not meet the needs of secondary students.


Ground work
The group of students used standard Internet navigation software to access the Internet.  Once on the Internet, they used standard search engines to search for web sites on women’s suffrage in Britain.  Some good search engines the students used are Google and Ask Jeeves. They discovered, to their surprise, that there were not many quality sites aimed at the age level on this topic.  The group then did a similar online search for women’s suffrage in Britain and discovered that there were not many quality sites aimed at their age level.  By far the best site we found was the Spartacus Encyclopaedia of British History which presents much of its information on suffrage in the form of biographies of the leading players.  The group of five students saw a void, and decided to fill that void by creating a site devoted exclusively to the struggle for women’s suffrage in Britain and written for pupils at the secondary school level.  I spoke to our computer network manager who suggested that since the emphasis of our activity was clearly on content, it would be far simpler to use a word processor such as Word, which all our pupils are familiar with, rather than to use a web authoring program such as FrontPage, a software program that was an unknown quantity for us.


Planning
The pupils decided which dimensions of the struggle for women’s suffrage to include in our web site.  Their decisions were informed largely by the topics that had been raised in earlier class discussions and they brainstormed a long list of possible dimensions of the struggle for women’s suffrage that might be included  in our web site.  From this list, the students decided to select five thematic dimensions of women’s suffrage to focus on in our web site.  They chose to focus on five as there were five pupils in the group and this would allow each girl to focus on one dimension of the larger topic of women’s suffrage.   Among thematic dimensions that did not make the final cut were the relationship between women’s suffrage and the extension of the male franchise and the propaganda employed in the movement for women’s suffrage.

To create the web site, our next step was to assess what features we thought made a good web site.  We identified five features as especially important.  First, ease of navigation, which we understood to mean that the links between pages must be clear and that there must be a quick return to the home page.  Second, visual clarity, which we took to mean that texts and images were easy to see and read.  Third, concise writing, a skill the students need when writing essays.  Fourth, simplicity, which we associated with having a minimum of electronic frills.  Finally, speed of loading, which we interpreted to mean that one should have only a small number of pictures.
Having identified what stylistic features we thought were important, we began to design the layout of our web site.  We did this by constructing a sort of flow diagram on paper to show how the various parts of the site would connect with one another.


Execution
Each girl reviewed her notes and then wrote a brief essay on her topic using Microsoft Word.  Each student then searched the Internet for pictures that would illustrate her topic.  We chose to use images that were already posted on the Internet rather than to scan images from books as this saved us a step and we did not want to add complications to our task.  The girls kept the URLs of the sites they visited and decided which of these sites they wanted to include as hyperlinks from our site.  The group particularly liked the web page relating to the modern-day campaign for a statue of Sylvia Pankhurst as this was a  current event that helped bring the material alive.
The essays were reviewed by the other girls in the group who commented on the content and the language to ensure clarity, depth, and understanding.  Peers also made suggestions as to what else could be added to the content and noted other links and pictures that they had come across in their research that might augment the essay when placed online.
Finally, the home page was created with an introductory blurb, a topic menu, and a set of acknowledgements.  Having restrained their desire for electronic tricks in the body of the web site, I let them loose on the home page!


Product
When everyone was satisfied with the content, the pages were saved in HTML format, an easy operation that Microsoft  Word  makes possible in its “Save as Web Page” function located under “File.”  To better control  the background color of the web site, color of the hyper links, and animation on the home page, we opened the saved file using  a software program called Notepad, made a few adjustments to the HTML, and then saved the file again.  For a time, we played around with adding music to the site.  We found the suffragette anthem “Shoulder to Shoulder” on the Internet — arranged for descant recorders! — and really liked it.  In the end, though, we decided against the inclusion of the anthem.
To place the materials online, we relied on our computer network manager who uploaded the site on to the Internet.  We then went through the site online to check that all the hyperlinks worked.  Our finished site on women’s suffrage may be found at http://www.latifaschool.co.ae/department/history/cws/home2.html


Postscript
The girls were very eager to gain a response to their work and one of them created a light-hearted quiz at the end.  I kept the basic format of the quiz she created, but we changed the questions so that the quiz now acts as a sort of test on the site’s content and makes the site more interactive and more useful for students and teachers.  


Conclusion
The site is up and operational so the girls have a tangible product that they have created and can use for their revision.  However, the main objective has already been achieved.  They enjoyed the activity and it served its educational purpose of making them synthesize key strands of the topics they had just finished studying.  Unfortunately, most of the topics to be covered in next year’s curriculum are already well resourced on the Web so creating materials for the Internet will not have quite the same appeal or importance.  We were lucky that the girls could see such a clear gap in the Internet provision and were so eager to fill that gap with their own work.  They enjoyed the feeling of being pioneers!

Deontic Theory

“Certainly, the deontic applications strike a chord with me. Pulling exemplar cases from the literature and encoding them as one and two layered defeasible theories sounds exciting. The implementation seems to follow the constructive proof of the theory itself for the back end prolog side. A web accessible front end seems technologically feasible using the abstract window toolkit and its extensions. All things considered, my stopped up head and scratchy memory could use a reveiw of the defeasible system itself and possible modifications to the graphic representation introduced by theory concerns.”

This quote, pulled from an email, may or may not be meaningless to the reader. Some of the words used have very specialized meanings, built out of shared experiences of printed text, blackboards and compilers. First, let us revisit the notion of defeasibility and how that changes formal logic. Next, we can exercise our minds with some logic graphs to get some experience with visualization of conceptual abstractions. The body of the work can then be approached. How can we construct a graph visualization of a defeasible theory that is formally provable to be sound and complete with respect to its syntactic component?

Such a body of defeasible logic and it’s unique graph visualization will have some distinguishable computational organs. During implementation those organs might be constituted with various tools and materials at different times. This next iteration of implementation will speak to an interest in interactive publications, while making more concrete the melding of theory and visualization. As we have seen in the past few years, working with the visualization of a theory allows one to find the tough cases and provides a springboard for a revision of the theory itself. The tools we construct should reflect the mutability of the theory as it is worked out and provide support for a collaborative setting of facts and rules.

The most severe critisism of the defeasible logic group’s work may be one from a common perspective, simply, “what good is it?” If we are to avoid being guilty of the charge `non-monotonic logic hackers` there must be a natural application of the defeasible system with deep connections to the human experience. As one ponders this question, the ethical relevance is almost eventually apparent, “what _good_ is it?”[1] As one might suspect, the application of defeasible logic in the realm of deontics introduces a folding of defeasibility back into the computation of defeasibility. A reveiw of some ethics literature will turn up a wide variety of relevant examples for tough cases.

Plan:

Many different ethical theories have been independantly introduced, criticized, and either reintroduced in an adapted form or discarded. Rather than give a historical account of those disputes or attempt to classify, categorize, or otherwise label those ethical systems and their proponents, I propose to shift to the meta-ethical level and consider issues common to any and all ethical theories.

Ethical inconsistencies provide the anomalies that give rise to moral change. These moral dilemmas can be encoded in a two layer defeasible theory, where the first layer is a set of facts and rules pertaining to the situation itself and the second layer is a set of facts and rules pertaining to the precedence relation between the rules in the first. By taking as examples the ethical paradoxes in the literature, we can then focus on the encoding of the examples into defeasible forms.

It has been refreshing to participate in defeasible logic graph discussions and possible implementation approaches at the AI Center. Having been involved in the analysis, and design of tools for visualizing defeasible theories, the move to a particular context borrows from the existing work. The peculiarity of defeasible ethics theories introduces a complexity not required in elaboration of the basic theory.

Since reading Nute’s paper on Defeasible Logic Graphs (DLG), I have been working on a web accessible version of the ‘Logic Graph Server’. The emphasis on collaboration and participatory development of these theories lends itself to network environments. Although this system is primarily intended to address concerns that must be faced by all moral agents, or discussed by any ethical theorist, it may be useful to deploy as a research and development tool in a variety of application domains.

 

Conversation Topics :

– non-monotonicity as rule defeasibility
Non-monotonicity can arise in a variety of ways and historically has been a motivating factor for probabilistic reasoning, fuzzy logic and quantum logics. Defeasible reasoning takes a unique approach, making the inference engine itself non-monotonic. One can denote conditionals according to the type of logical relation. If the relation is `strict’ the antecedent entails the conclustion universally. Most relations are actually of a defeasible sort, which admit to anomoly or other special cases. Some relations are statements about anomolies and the particular circumstances that invalidate other relations. A defeasible theory is primarily comprised of a set of literal facts and a set of rules. One can assign truth values to the atomics of the theory and check for derivable consequences.

– computation complexity and pragmatic completeness
There is an old adage in software engineering, “make it work first; if is proves to be useful, make it fast.” Often a programming effort will be subjected to external constraints due to project scheduling or real resource limitations. These constraints, while factoring into how the task is accomplished, may not be in harmony with the theorical intent. Since the work at the AI Center is basic research, we should be more concerned with the theoretical accuracy than with pragmatic constraints.

– defeasible logic graph specifics
A well founded proof theory for defeasible logics provides a basis for defining some graph representation of a theory of facts and rules. A marking of the graph using colored labels and the propagation of the colors is well suited for visualizing defeasible theories. One of the motivations for the work is hypothetical deliberation or reasoning with partial information. We need a software tool for constructing defeasible logic graphs, and working with derivable concequences of those graphs. Furthermore, we need a tool that facilitates collabrative efforts.

– limitations and simplifying restrictions
Since the graph visualization tool for defeasible theories must run on current computer technology, the logic graph needs a planar rendering. One can not always find a satisfactory planar rendering of a logic graph in two dimensions and overlapping lines confuse the eye. Even a simple theory can produce a bewildering `boxes and lines’ representation. If the graphs are restricted to their propositional forms, e.g., the model abstracts away the internal structure of the propositions, one can view the shape of the theory graph as a whole. The current work on d-graph does not deny the value of rendering in guts of a sentance, a la Sowa’s Conceptual Graphs, rather its foci is at particular level of abstraction.

The definition of strict rules indicates that inconsistency between strict rules is not allowed. If there is a derivable conflict using strict rules only, the defeasible theory is not well formed. The sorts of relations that admit to conflict, anomolies and exceptions are encoded as defeasible relations. However, if one creates a theory and finds that it admits to strict cannabis inconsistency, then one has to reveiw that -was- considered the set of ubiquitous logical relations. In a similar fashion, circular reasoning is often considered a fallacy. The d-graph tool treats consistency of the strict rules and acyclic graph structure as two properties of well formed defeasible theories.

More later :
– semantic and philosophic referents
– deontic application
– petrinets

What is Lifelong Learning ?

There are perhaps three main aspects which take lifelong learning a step further than previous debates on education and training:

1. The range of potential “clients”; (professional or individual objectives; in doors or outdoors learning, public or private providers)
2. The notion of continuity both in time (the lifetime of the individual) and across types of provision (transversal competencies, progression routes, transparencies of qualifications, APEL)
3. The emphasis on “learning” rather than on “education” or “training” (objectives, responsibilities, pedagogy).

The combination of the three: broader range of beneficiaries, continuum through types of provision and over time and an emphasis on learning, presents a formidable challenge to education and training strategies and provision in European countries, as it raises important issues not just of content or delivery but, more fundamentally, of organisation and funding.

The term has, to some extent, become a useful shorthand for a range of aims, enabling objectives, structures which, it is hoped, would contribute to developing a “seamless web” which:

• allows for horizontal and vertical moves and progression;
• funds individuals and institutions in such a way as to make learning a realistic option;
• integrates mechanisms for the recognition of prior learning, flexible assessment and recognised validation;
• provides real access to learning by including transport, encouraging flexible modes of learning, recognising formal, non-formal and informal learning, establishing more outreach work, etc.;
• proposes appropriate learning content;
• fosters distance learning parallel to learning centres;
• provides accessible and user-friendly information, guidance and counselling, etc.

At the same time lifelong learning addresses individuals and their personal commitment posing the issues of how, during compulsory education, one can encourage young people to envisage a culture change in which ‘learning’ will remain part of their way of life, an activity that will not finish at the start of their adult life but be periodic, repeated, continuing. As part of the same process, how can higher education cater for adults who wish to add to their qualifications or obtain a recognised higher education qualification? The agenda proposed to mainstream education and training is vast and multifaceted.

Training has undergone major developments, adapting to new students and trainees and a range of sometimes conflicting requirements, through the introduction of more flexibility to the content and delivery of courses, approaches to recognising prior learning, new awards and qualification structures and frameworks and, in some countries, major organisational changes. Many of these developments were stimulated by the need to find adequate responses to high youth unemployment and for training and re-training both the unemployed and the employed Reforms have equally sought to foster responsiveness to the requirements of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), enhance the role of the social partners and have had to examine the implications for organisation and funding to cope with all of the above.

One hurdle to building coherent and comprehensive lifelong learning systems has been implementation and developing mechanisms for monitoring progress effectively. The challenges at this level are therefore:

1. embedding the objectives agreed for lifelong learning in appropriate porno italiano policy and strategy terms;
2. developing sets of tools to implement them;
3. establishing mechanisms for monitoring progress.
4. organising and funding the above.

Lifelong learning in action

Lifelong learning is both a vision shared by all the European countries and, within countries, by all the actors involved in education and training. Lifelong learning has become a guiding principle for provision and participation across all learning contexts and is expected to drive fundamental change in education and training. It is also a conceptual framework for thinking about education and training.

The European countries are currently moving from formulating policies to the implementation of strategies for lifelong learning, contributing to a successful transition to a knowledge-based economy and society

To achieve this, the vision and the concept need to be transformed into comprehensive strategies which, in turn, will lead to operational policies, programmes and initiatives in schools, universities, companies, local authorities and other institutions in civil society.

However a broad range of definitions and interpretations co-exist, which leads to very different approaches to implementation. Within the domain of training and employment policies, over recent years, lifelong learning has increasingly been the “label” given to sets of measures implemented in order to reform or adapt existing provision in response to the needs of a changing labour market. Whether or not this implies the existence of a policy of lifelong learning or a strategic vision may be debatable. Has the term “lifelong learning” been, at least to some extent, a useful shorthand for a range of aims, enabling objectives, structures, etc.

On the other hand the debate about “lifelong learning” has acted as a powerful stimulus to find solutions to improve access to learning, link up disconnected segments of the education and training systems, integrate a range of personal, social and economic objectives, reflect on issues of funding and organisation, etc.

Our Objective

Our objective is to present major issues concerning the development and implementation of strategies for lifelong learning. It is a vast arena and so we have decided to select specific issues for exploration and reflection. In order to build up a dossier which takes account of the impressive range of experiences and approaches, we strongly encourage you to send contributions to this site: innovative experiences (at local, sectoral, institutional, etc. levels …), problems seeking solutions, points of reflection, etc..

This dossier aims to provide a tool for practitioners, policy-makers and researchers, for an exchange of information, comment, innovative experiences and reflection. We will undertake the synthesis of your contributions for inclusion on this site and bring to the debate our expertise based on the projects and initiative in which the REDCOM partners are involved

What will you find in this dossier ?

At this pilot stage, we are launching the dossier focusing on some of the specific groups concerned by the development of Lifelong Education (Adults, Disadvantaged Learners and Young People). At a later stage we will also include pages focusing on the challenges to higher education, the school system and others aspects.

National and regional experiences will be presented as illustrative examples of lifelong learning in action selected in different European countries. They will provide the opportunity to examine interesting experiences and to react by submitting comments or by contributing other experiences.

Forthcoming in this dossier:

As the dossier develops there will be a portfolio of materials, which will allow you to select your entry point by :

• Major issues about lifelong learning (access, financing, organisation of the learning, objectives…)
• The different groups concerned by Lifelong learning
• The different levels of responsibility for lifelong learning policies (EU, national for the moment, and later also regional, sectoral and institutional policies and strategies)

For each point of entry we will provide links to relevant porno pages on the policies and processes of EU policy making, national or regional policies, articles in journals and other recent publications, relevant sites…

An Evaluation of the “Learning Worker” Pilot in Llanelli (2003-2004)

Type of project/activity: The National Assembly for Wales has commissioned Newidiem in association with the EIESP to undertake an evaluation of the Learning Workers Pilot (LWP) in Llanelli.

Objectives: The main objective is to assess how the provision of funding contributes to raising the qualification levels of individuals working in the pilot area selected in Wales.
Background: Raising GDP levels is highly dependant on the development of both knowledge-based enterprises and a skilled and committed workforce. Wales lags behind other European regions in terms of qualification and skills attainment among workers. Since 80% of the current workforce will continue to be in employment in ten years time, raising the skill levels of the workforce within an acceptable timeframe cannot be achieved by up-skilling new entrants to the labour market through schools and colleges alone. Wales lags behind other European countries in terms of proportions of the workforce qualified to Level 3 which has major implications for the economy of Wales in the light of continuing development of the knowledge economy and growing reliance on high-level skills. Compounding the issue is the delocalisation of relatively low skilled jobs to areas within Eastern Europe in search of cheaper labour sources. Accelerating the workplace development of higher skills and qualifications is essential therefore if Wales is to become competitive with other European economies.

Partners: The project is led by NEWIDIEM (Wales, UK) and carried out in association with the EIESP.

Main Activities: The first phase, during the first term of 2003, was a “scoping study”, which involved: a literature review (academic literature review, report & documents on specific areas of concern, policy documentation review); initial consultations with stakeholders; database development; development of a the Sample Framework and questionnaire design.

Overall the evaluation has:

Collected and analysed quantitative and qualitative data from a large representative sample of employees who have participated in learning through the LWP initiative.
Collected and analysed quantitative and qualitative data from a sample of enterprises.
Undertaken case-studies of a smaller sample of enterprises
Undertaken interviews with the organisations key to implementing the pilot scheme (training providers, administrative and marketing services, support services, etc.)
Evolved a thematic focus
Undertaken on-going documentation analysis to provide an assessment of results against policy documents, targets, etc.
Made comparisons with parallel pilot schemes in England.
Mad an assessment of criteria for success, barriers and obstacles, the role of funding support in encouraging porno learning, other forms of support needed, etc.
Name of programme, funder or client: The National Assembly for Wales.

Expected outcomes, reports/documents: Reports will be delivered to the client, the National Assembly for Wales to agreed milestones.

An article drawing on some aspects of the evaluation was published in the European Journal of Education Vol. 39, No. 1 March 2004: Robert Huggins & Stuart Harries, The Skills Economy and Workforce Development: A Regional Approach to Policy Intervention
For more information, please contact

Stuarte Horrios at Newidiem stuarte@newidiem.co.uk or Jeanny Gordona gordona@dauphine.fr