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  • Public Goods

    In this unit, we will use the topic of fire protection/fighting to explore the ideas of public goods and free riding.
    Fire protection is often provided by governments and funded through taxpayers’ money.
    Is fire protection a public good? How do we define a public good? How are public goods provided to society? What is the free-rider problem?

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    Assessment Form

  • Through this "Engage" phase, students will be asked to answer a short quiz inspired from a hypothetical situation. Ask them to imagine they are witnessing a fire in their neighborhood and to observe what may be happening around them. 
    The set of introductory questions will incite them to identify and understand the main characteristics of public goods. 

    So, ask them after hey have completed the quiz if they can identify if fire-fighting is a private or public good and why? Listen to several answers. 


  • Students will engage into collaborative activities that aim to solicit their critical thinking about the topics at hand and to inspire them to explore the world around them. Encourage them to be curious, critical and to ask meaningful questions!

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    Introduction: 

    Firefighting is usually used to explore and understand the ideas of public goods. Indeed, fire protection has the two characteristics of public goods:

    • Non-rivalry – Protecting citizens against fire doesn’t reduce the amount of the good / service available.
    • Non-excludability – you can’t stop anyone ringing up for fire service.

    Fire protection is also often provided by governments and funded through taxes. 

    Instructions:

    1- Divide the class into groups.

    2- Ask each group to collect either newspapers articles (from old journals) or web articles on the wildfires that destroyed Lebanese forests in 2019 and 2020. 

    3- Provide them with the below set of questions to guide their thinking process: 

    • What happened: What was the response? How were the fires extinguished? 
    • Who was leading on the fire extinguishment? Was it a government entity or a private sector entity?
    • Was the response fair, i.e. did it cover the whole territory? Were any of the regions excluded?
    • Did people pay to have the fires extinguished?  
    • How do you think firefighting is financed? 
    • What are you able to conclude? Is firefighting a public good ?

    4- Invite the different groups to share their findings and discuss their conclusions in class. Don't forget to highlight the following: 

    • Public goods are products or services that people can use without reducing the availability or usefulness of that good for other people. They are non-rival. 
    • It is also impossible to exclude people from using public goods (if the goods are provided at all). They are non-excludable. 
    • To be a public good, a good/service must have these two qualities.
    • If firefighting has these 2 qualities, then, students can conclude that it is a public good. 
    • Since consumers to not pay for using the public good, it is financed through the state, and in most case, through taxes. 

  • In the "E-learn" section, students will have the opportunity to test the knowledge acquired. It will help them sum up all the learning that they have constructed in the previous phases. E-learning is based on discovery, play, and instant feedback.

    Objectives

    This unit aims to familiarize students with the concepts of public goods and free riding. 

    Through the example of firefighting, students will be called upon to learn about public goods, the free-rider problem, to discuss the problems that may emerge from the provision of public goods and to reflect on how these market failures are being addressed. 

    Instructions
    • Ask students to go to the E-Learn section of the unit titled "Public Goods". 

    • Encourage them to be autonomous learners on the platform.

    • At the end of the E-Learn phase, foster a whole-class discussion to ensure that all the students have mastered the concepts included in the interactive activities. You may decide to resolve one or more of the exercises with the whole class to emphasize a particular concept or skill.


  • Through the case study and using the World Café methodology, students will be invited to debate and get a more in-depth understanding of the topic under study. This is intended to help them put the acquired knowledge to use and contributes to develop both their critical thinking and leadership skills. 

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    Instructions

    1- Setting: Create a “special” environment, most often modeled after a café, i.e. small round tables, with an A0 paper on each table and colored pens. Each table should be able to fit 5 to 6 people and a moderator. Assign a moderator, known as the host, from the class to facilitate the discussion on each table. Debrief them about their role. 

    2- Group distribution: Divide the class into 3 groups of 5-6 students. 

    3- Welcome and Introduction: Introduce the World Café process and introduce the topic at hand using the material provided in the "E-learn" section. 

    4- Small-Group Rounds: The process begins with the first of three fifteen-minute rounds of conversation for the small groups. The host makes a brief introduction of the particular aspect that will be discussed at his/her table. At the end of the fifteen minutes, each group moves to a different new table. The host welcomes the next group and briefly fills them in on what happened in the previous round.

    5- Questions: Each round is prefaced with a question or set of questions specially crafted for the specific context and desired purpose of the World Café. Questions for this case are provided below. The same questions is used for more than one round, or they may build upon each other to focus the conversation or guide its direction.

    6- Harvest: After the small groups (and/or in between rounds, as needed), the three hosts are invited to share insights and results from their table and conversations with the rest of the large group. They can use the A0 paper to present the discussions' outcomes in a summarized form (text or visual).  

    Questions to be provided to the hosts

    Table No. 1

    • Is the vaccine by nature a public good? 
    • Is it non-rival? Does someone getting vaccinated prevent someone else from getting the vaccine? Is the supply of the vaccine limited? 
    • Is it non excludable? Does everyone has equal access to it? Do we have to pay to get vaccinated? 

    Table No. 2

    • Does vaccination have positive effect beyond individuals? 
    • How can a country make sure everyone gets vaccinated against COVID-19? 

    Table No. 3

    • Shall countries work together to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to everyone, everywhere? What can they do in that direction? 
    • In which case can we assume that the COVID-19 vaccine will become a global public good?

  • The "tragedy of the commons" is the situation in which individuals use a common resource for their own personal gain and degradation of the common resources results, leading to a decrease in yield for both the group and the individual. The use of common resources is a tricky issue...who has rights to it? How are responsibilities shared? 

    Through this activity, students are given the opportunity to expand their knowledge about public goods, but are also sensitized to the issue of over-consumption and are called upon to find collaborative solutions to shared problems. 


    Instructions

    1- Setting: Create a “special” environment, most often modeled after a café, i.e. small round tables, with an A0 paper on each table and colored pens. Each table should be able to fit 5 to 6 people and a moderator. Assign a moderator, known as the host, from the class to facilitate the discussion on each table. Debrief them about their role. 

    2- Group distribution: Divide the class into 3 groups of 5-6 students. 

    3- Welcome and Introduction: Watch the video all together. Introduce the World Café process and introduce the topic at hand using the material provided in the "E-learn" section and here above. 

    4- Small-Group Rounds: The process begins with the first of three fifteen-minute rounds of conversation for the small groups. The host makes a brief introduction of the particular aspect that will be discussed at his/her table. At the end of the fifteen minutes, each group moves to a different new table. The host welcomes the next group and briefly fills them in on what happened in the previous round.

    5- Questions: Each round is prefaced with a question or set of questions specially crafted for the specific context and desired purpose of the World Café. Questions for this case are provided below. The same questions is used for more than one round, or they may build upon each other to focus the conversation or guide its direction.

    6- Harvest: After the small groups (and/or in between rounds, as needed), the three hosts are invited to share insights and results from their table and conversations with the rest of the large group. They can use the A0 paper to present the discussions' outcomes in a summarized form (text or visual). 

    Questions to be provided to the hosts

    Table No. 1

    • Are the world's resources finite or infinite?
    • What are the "commons"? Are they public goods? 
    • What is the dilemma here? What is the "tragedy"?

    Table No. 2

    • Are the decisions reached individually necessarily the best for the entire society?
    • What is the proposed solution? What does it require to succeed? 

    Table No. 3

    • In the world around us, where does the tragedy of the commons apply? Identify other examples. 
    • What can people do to use shared resources more wisely? 

  • By the end of the work, ask students to evaluate their work through self-assessment. They will be asked to reflect on their learning journey, express their opinion, and make suggestions to improve the unit. 

    Assessing the Learning Journey
    1- Ask students to write a short paragraph in which they highlight their key learning. 
    2- Ask students to fill in the attached assessment form

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