The e-Institute: WBI Urban Perspectives | World Bank Institute (WBI)

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • What tools are available to help local governments and urban practitioners better carry out their functions and better meet the demands of their constituencies?
  • The World Bank launched the e-Institute that offers development practitioners a virtual learning classroom to share high quality learning and knowledge resources.
  • E-courses are powerful tools, but they are even more powerful if associated with other capacity building activities.
(c) Simone D. McCourtie, The World Bank. Mumbai, India.


June 29, 2012—
Cities throughout the world are incredibly diverse. Yet, many of the problems that they face are strikingly similar. Urban planning and development, economy, health, major environmental issues, transport, infrastructure and communications are among some of them. These issues are not new but rapid urban growth is forcing both political leadership and municipal managers to find new, effective and accountable ways of planning and managing urban transformation.

What tools are available to help local governments and urban practitioners better carry out their functions and better meet the demands of their constituencies? What drives change and how is change implemented?

To help municipal managers think through these “old” issues in new and innovative ways, in 2011, the World Bank launched the e-Institute that offers development practitioners a virtual learning classroom to share high quality learning and knowledge resources.

e-Institute: Urban Curriculum

The urban curriculum has been instrumental to the launch of the e-Institute. It is prepared by the World Bank Institute's (WBI) Urban team. This curriculum is organized under four key thematic lines: Urban Planning and Land management; Municipal Finances and Governance; Urban Service Delivery and Safe and Resilient Cities.

These topics directly respond to the needs of local governments around the world.  They provide a body of knowledge with an emphasis on the “how to” of reforms, global content and regional or local practical examples, and a platform for interaction and networking.

Content of most WBI Urban team's courses is based on the wealth of experience, knowledge and lessons inside and outside the Bank.  These lessons go too often untapped and knowing where to find them and how to package them for practical use has been at the core of the team's content development strategy. 

open-quotesWe are proud to be your partner. We don't know how education will look in future but we know it will look different from today. We have to move from ‘just-in-case’ education to ‘just-in-time’ education.close-quotesPatricio Lopez del Puerto, President of the Virtual University at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico.

The courses have generated overwhelming demand from all over the world, and contributed to building community of practices among their participants. So far, the following courses have been completed or are ongoing: Sustainable Urban Land Use Planning, Street Addressing and Management of Cities, Introduction to DRM, Urban Crime and Violence Prevention, Safe and Resilient Cities, and Water Utility Reform. 

“For a long-time a practitioner like me who hasn't gone into updated training, the resources and case studies were helpful and enlightening. I appreciated the diversity of participants and hence a diverse look at the same issues throughout the world. It was a great learning platform that allowed the exchange of views and gain knowledge unavailable elsewhere,” said Elmer Mercado, Environmental Management and Governance Adviser, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Quezon City, Philippines, who attended the Sustainable Urban Land Use Planning course.

“This was a great experience and I have learnt many new things and received validation along the way for things I have been doing over the years working with "at risk" youth in volatile communities,” said Gregory Sloane-Seale, Programme Coordinator, Citizen Security Programme, Ministry of National Security, Trinidad & Tobago, who attended the Urban Crime & Violence Prevention course.

Two other courses are being developed: Municipal Finances: A Learning Program for Local Governments, and Upgrading Informal Settlements.

e-Curriculum and Capacity Building Programs

E-courses are powerful tools, but they are even more powerful if associated with other capacity building activities. WBI Urban’s Balkan program is a good illustration of this combination as the e-Learning curriculum is closely aligned with priority topics in the region. Marketing is done not only though the World Bank's channels but also through national and regional Local Government Associations and municipal cohorts are encouraged to attend in order to create a momentum for action. The e- Learning activities are usually followed by City to City Dialogues (which provide smaller groups of municipalities with an opportunity to engage more deeply in action and reforms) and by a few selected leadership programs.

Partnerships

The WBI Urban team has also been developing partnerships with regional and national institutions for increasing outreach and coverage of the urban curriculum.  These partnerships have different levels of maturity ranging from institutions with a proven track record of regional outreach (Tec de Monterrey for Latin America) or national coverage (Chinese Academy of Governance and Urban Planning Society for China), to newer and evolving partnerships such as the Central European University. The expectation is that, over time these partnerships will take various forms from joint delivery to joint development of e-courses.

“We are proud to be your partner. We don't know how education will look in future but we know it will look different from today. We have to move from ‘just-in-case’ education to ‘just-in-time’ education,” said Patricio Lopez del Puerto, President of the Virtual University at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico, which is one of WBI’s key global knowledge and e-learning partners.
 

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