Monday, March 16, 2009

Higher education and development

Nice series of articles about the role of science and technology (higher education) in achieving economic development on SciDev.

Anyone seeking to tackle the problems facing the developing world must remember two simple facts of life. First, none of these problems — from food shortages and the spread of disease, to achieving sustainable economic growth — can be addressed without the use of science and technology.

Second, harnessing science for development depends on the skills of a country's people. And that in turn requires a robust and effective higher education system — the only mechanism that can produce and sustain these skills.

But in the recent past, many governments overlooked this critical information. Few developing countries, for example, refer to either science or higher education in their Poverty Reduction Strategy Plans — the documents that guide donors, and others, on a country's investment priorities.

Here is an interesting article that argues for more donor funding on improvement in research activities in the developing countries rather than commissioned studies in specific areas.

If donor agencies genuinely want to recognise 'ownership' in the development dialogue, then funding institutional research capacity should be an essential ingredient of bilateral development cooperation.