Heads Up

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Message from Naheed Bardai, Head, Middle Division

Naheed BardaiEach year, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) produces an independent, analytic and empirically grounded report called the “Human Development Report.” This year’s report marks its 25th anniversary and its theme, “Work for Human Development,” reflects the basic idea that work is a fundamental driver for boosting human development. Previous themes have included “The Rise of the South” (2013), “Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future For All” (2011), and “Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis” (2006).

This report is so important because it provides insightful thought-pieces on both the report’s specific theme and the most comprehensive and inclusive country-based global ranking of human development. More traditional measures of development tend to look at economic-based indicators such as gross domestic product, foreign direct investment, exports and imports, and the GINI co-efficient (a measure of the deviation of the distribution of income among individuals within a country).

Arguably, these measures present a very limited view of overall human development. Instead, the UNDP’s “Human Development Report” takes into account a broad spectrum of indicators of development clustered into three broad categories: health, education, and standard of living. These three categories are then aggregated to produce one number as an overall indicator of human development per country.

In the latest 2015 edition of the report, Canada ranked ninth overall in the world. The top 10 countries, in order from highest to lowest human development, are: Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, United States, Canada and New Zealand. Where Canada does very well is in its overall ranking vis-à-vis its gross national income (GNI) per capita ranking, where it sits at 20th in the world (i.e. despite a relatively lower income per family, overall human development is relatively high). The full report can be found at http://hdr.undp.org/en/2015-report. For those who love data, you’ll find 16 different tables measuring and ranking countries on variables ranging from gender inequity to international integration.

While our boys may be too young to fully engage with the report and its findings, I think it offers an incisive look at issues that face our world. With some guided assistance and discussion, I think many rich conversations can take place with our boys around this type of report. If you have time at home during dinner or over a weekend, present your son with some of the data and see what they think.headshotI also wanted to take this opportunity to welcome a new member of faculty who will be with us until June. Rebecca Penturn is a graduate from the Toronto French School, having completed her bilingual IB Diploma. She has completed an Honours BA in French from the University of Toronto and a B.Ed in the teaching of French. Over the past few years, she has worked at both Crestwood School and Bayview Glen before joining us at UCC. She is teaching Form 5, 6, and 7 French.  Please join me in welcoming Ms. Penturn to our faculty.