Aftenposten article JB, english version 16 Jan 2014

This is an edited extract from Lesley Riddoch’s new bookBlossom – what Scotland needs to FlourishBlossom is £11.99

via Bringing It All Back Home.

Planned Route and Times.

Dear readers, I have been absent from the blog for too long. The usual excuse – very busy! We went to Thailand for Doug and Preeya’s wedding. Doug is my oldest son, and Preeya and he are based in Edinburgh. It was all great fun, and nice to see so many of the family on all sides. We pottered around bit on trains, visiiting a lovely small island in the Andaman sea and also (briefly) Bangkok, where we did some touristy things – wonderful things to see and do here. 

This was all in the middle of writing the ‘status report’ on renewable energy in the MENA region for the REN-21 Policy Network. MENA= Middle East and North Africa region, in all 24 varied countries. The work also involve a week in the middle east, and will be completed in march. 

The green innovation group is also very busy preparing a new bioenergy research bid, and I think its a very exciting prospect.

In mid february I am going to join Keith Hart in Pretoria for a fortnight, and give some seminars for his ‘Human Economy’ PhDs there, which is very exciting. I’ll also meet some other friends and contacts there, and look at the idea of an interdisciplinary Masters in Development Studies at Pretoria. S Africa is also doing some interesting things on renewable energy at the moment.


ICRPS tenth anniversary conference, Bologna, June

As many will know, I was one of the founders of the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies programme which is a collaboration between Universities and Research Institutes in Europe, Canada, US and Mexico. We developed the idea while I was a visiting fellow with Tom Johnson and Chuck Fluharty at RUPRI, Columbia Missouri in 2001, and the first summer institute took place in Guelph in 2004. This year will be our tenth ICRPS summer institute, and we are holding an anniversary conference in the middle of the summer institute to mark this. Its in a wonderful location, and one day will be for presentations, the second for interesting field trips. While mainly for Faculty and Alumni, we welcome relevant proposals from other scholars. Please see the webiste for details.

Reaching out. The place of Small Multi-Grade Schools in Developing Countries: The Case of Ethiopia.

Book details: The main title highlights a major and important obstacle to reaching the generally agreed upon EFA goal by 2015. In many developing countries, not the least in sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of people live in rural areas with poorly developed infrastructure for school transportation, the tradition of providing relatively large primary schools actually renders school enrolment or regular school attendance impossible for large numbers of school age children, especially girls. Thus, education does not “reach out” to many children. The sub-title sets the scene; when children are unable to reach the school, the school provision must be organized in such a way that basic education reaches the children. The logical solution in sparsely populated areas is to establish networks of small school within reach by a school walk of not more than two-three km. Economically and practically such schools inevitably need to be small one- or two-teacher schools applying multi-grade teaching. During the first three chapters we present a short account of the multi-grade scene, past and present, in industrialised as well as in developing countries, before discussing current conceptions of why literacy and basic education are so vital both from an individual and societal perspective. The point is made that not all elementary schooling is of great value; necessarily it must stimulate learning generally and foster independence, democratic skills and entrepreneurial attitudes among the learners. The education provided needs to be of quality. During the next three chapters we portray the features of quality small multi-grade schools serving small rural communities. The “ideal” features are based on extensive research and literature studies on rural education which are then translated jnto a project proposal for the UNESCO and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. The remaining three chapters, which make up the major part of the book, are devoted to the presentation and discussion of empirical data from internal and external evaluations connected to a follow-up of several multi-grade schools and their communities in rural Ethiopia. The findings strongly indicate that by locating small schools near the pupils homes, by necessity employing multi.-grade teaching strategies, school enrolment may be greatly boosted, especially for girls, without in any way impairing the quality of the education offered. Whilst the focus is upon Ethiopia, the target country for the multi-grade set up and evaluation, the findings and conclusions are seen as generalisable for developing countries, and particularly so for sub-Saharan African countries.


Reaching out. The place of Small Multi-Grade Schools in Developing Countries: The Case of Ethiopia.
Authors: Karl Jan Solstad, Wanna Leka and Alan Sigsworth
2012 Paperback. 250 pages. Prices (incl. postage): US$ 30; EUR 25; GBP 20; NOK 200; ETHB 60 (for Ethiopian customers only)
ISBN 978-99944-993-5-9
Publisher: Image Printers, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Greetings to all. I have been busy visiting family and friends in Scotland over New year, so rather silent. However, I am also preparing a book proposal on the Nordic-Scottish Connection, mainly because the SNP’s vision for a post Independence Scotland is to get closer to the Nordics, and the two peoples need to have ready access to an account of the historical and present day connections between the nations. Also, I am reading! Keith gave me the link to the book ‘Treasure Islands’ a truly shocking but very readable analysis of tax havens (By Nicholas Shaxson) and also the book by Sylvia Nasar ‘Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius) which I have just started. That’s in addition to many other more recreational books for christmas! What is everyone else doing?

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