Friday, January 21, 2011

India and the Millenium Development Goals

There are times when growth and progress needs to be seen from the perspective of human development; and not just in terms of % GDP growth or industrial output. The UN Millenium Development Goals (MDG) provides an alternative reference point.

The UN published a report on where the world stands with regards to meeting the MDG in 2010.
There are three references to India in the text of this report. I reproduce these below ...

The fastest growth and sharpest reductions in poverty continue to be recorded in Eastern Asia. Poverty rates in China are expected to fall to around 5 per cent by 2015. India, too, has contributed to the large reduction in global poverty.

Asia, on the other hand, registered a net gain of some 2.2 million hectares annually in the last decade, mainly because of large-scale afforestation programmes in China, India and Viet Nam.
These three countries have expanded their forest area by a total of nearly 4 million hectares annually in the last five years.

And if you thought that this report was written to show India in favourable light, consider this ...

[P]roblems of contamination with naturally occurring inorganic arsenic, in particular in Bangladesh and other parts of Southern Asia, or fluoride in a number of countries, including China and India, have affected the safety of water supplies.

There you have it.
India is doing rather well in (almost) all fronts - beyond that indicated by the macro-economic indicators. What is more interesting is the India is and China seems to have the similar growth trajectory as far as the MDG is concerned.

It must be borne in mind that this report came out in the middle of 2010. Wonder what impact the recent spate of inflation will have on the above statements.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Swear if you care

Once in a while you stumble upon information that forces you to think. It might also push you beyond your comfort envelope.
The information can come to you from any domain, even mathematics. Especially when it comes in the form of an article titled 'If mathematics is a language, how do you swear in it?' One instictively knows that this article by David Wagner would be an interesting read and indeed it is.

Here's an extract ...
[H]istory ought to remind us to listen to students who say things that we think are wrong, and to listen to students who say things in ways we think are wrong. ... Furthermore, pursuing the non-permissible opens up new realities.

Read this article even if your are instictively repelled by the word 'mathematics'. There is no mathematics (in the normal sense of the word) in this article but lots of uncommon sense.

To wind up here's another extract from the article (after all, I need to justify the topic of this post)...
To help my students develop a sense of attachment to their mathematics, I need to give them mathematical investigations that present them with real problems. They may swear in frustration but they will also find satisfaction and pleasure.

I bet David Wagner is a great teacher.

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