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Human Capital

Equitable Investment in Human Capital is Vital for Thailand’s Future

Birgit Hansl's picture



Thailand has transitioned from a low-income to an upper middle-income country in a single generation. Poverty has declined to 7.1 percent in 2015 – as measured by the international upper-middle income class poverty line – and access to basic education and health has become nearly universal. Despite all these historic achievements, inequality remains a key concern for Thai people.

Bricks-and-mortar learning is obsolete

Nhi Doan's picture
© pickingpok/Shutterstock
© pickingpok/Shutterstock

In Sociology, I took a sip of my future.

Outside the classroom, my digital native self was poised to go online. Hungry to explore Goffman’s concept of dramaturgy and the implications of deviance, I would dig up CrashCourse videos, The Atlantic articles, edX courses, and everything in between. In these endeavors, a curious mélange of theory and application was always to be found: long and short reads of various styles, pop quizzes, data visualizations, videos, and global discussion forums fused together to make a compelling narrative, which screams “you’re the special one!” Like fellows of my own cohort, I bounce back and forth between the real world and the data-saturated virtual world, being fueled with an insatiable zeal for knowledge that is new, egalitarian, and individually curated.

Inside, however, the axis was flipped. In temporarily tuning out of online information consumption, I tuned in to the intimate experience of being human — talking, collaborating, inquiring, creating, storytelling. If anything, this class instilled in me a sense of mental flexibility, such that I could navigate tomorrow’s uncertain world with almost everything unconceived.

The future is in the decisions we make now

Ishita Gupta's picture
© Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock
© Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock

Picture this. You are a student in the year 2030. School is completely different from what your parents remember.  Only attending school four days a week, most of your time is spent outdoor learning spaces. With the help of Blended E-learning, you can study on your own, focusing time on strategic topics through a plan personalized for you. Your AI learning assistant grades and offers feedback on your assignments, guiding you through difficult problems step by step, reteaching you concepts from scratch if necessary.
 
In geography class, you put on a virtual reality headset. Suddenly you are transported to the Andes in South America. Mesmerized by the colossal formations all around, you take notes on which materials constitute the vibrant spectrum of rock layers. History debates come alive as you and your classmates reimagine the Paris Peace Conference, sitting in the Palace of Versailles.
 
The possibilities are truly endless.

World Bank Group, Financial Times’ blog writing competition winners announced

Arathi Sundaravadanan's picture
World Bank Group and Financial Times’ blog writing competition winners Ishita Gupta from India and Nhi Doan from Vietnam at the World Bank Group headquarters in Washington, DC moments before receiving their award. © Bassam Sebti/World Bank
World Bank Group and Financial Times’ blog writing competition winners Ishita Gupta from India and Nhi Doan from Vietnam at the World Bank Group headquarters in Washington, DC moments before receiving their award. © Bassam Sebti/World Bank

In December we announced the World Bank Group and the Financial Times blog writing competition, ‘How Would You Reimagine Education?’ The competition closed on January 31st and we received almost 600 entries from more than 90 countries. This competition built on our Human Capital Project as well as the World Bank’s World Development Reports on The Changing Nature of Work and LEARNING to Realize Education’s Promise.

Several common themes emerged from the blog posts across cultures and continents. Despite the rising use of technology in classrooms, students said teachers and personal interactions would always remain valuable. They also highlighted that teaching methods have not changed for centuries and reviving that system to help students think critically, solve problems, and enhance their creativity would be crucial.

What happens when someone is unable to access health or education? These artworks confront these very questions

Juliana J Biondo's picture
Human Capital exhibition at the World Bank Group Visitor Center in Washington, DC. © Bassam Sebti/World Bank
Human Capital exhibition at the World Bank Group Visitor Center in Washington, DC. © Bassam Sebti/World Bank

What exactly is Human Capital? The phrase itself is only two words: “Capital” refers to an asset that improves one’s ability to be economically productive while “Human” refers to the individual as the very unit in which the asset comes. Taken together however, the phrase transforms to be about that which an individual human can harness within themselves to realize their full potential, and be the best contributor to society they can be. Human Capital is about the economic power which lays ready for realization inside every human; the ideas and talent imbued in every individual.

What can each individual harness to make the most for, and of themselves? This is the question that the contemporary visual art exhibition on view in the Gallery in the World Bank Group Visitor Center seeks to understand.

The World Bank believes that it is the health, knowledge, and skills which people accumulate through their lives that enable them to harness and realize their full potential as productive members of society. But, how can we ensure that every human being has access to those three things? What happens when someone is unable to access health, knowledge, skills - some, or all three? The artworks on view confront these very questions. 

Paving the way for better lives in Bangladesh: A human capital story

Muneeza Mehmood Alam's picture
Bangladesh: Better roads for Better Lives

After improvements were made to a local road, Swapna Akhter, a Community Woman in Kalmakanda, Netrokona, can take patients more conveniently to the nearby hospital. Similarly, Ibrahim Talukder, Chairman of a Union Parishad in Fatikchari, Chittagong, has found that the cost of getting to the local health complex has substantially reduced after the paving of a local road.  

These stories demonstrate the intrinsic link between transport and human capital development. This connection is perhaps most obvious in rural areas, where improved mobility has transformed countless lives by unlocking economic opportunities and expanding access to essential services like healthcare or education.

The ongoing Second Rural Transport Improvement Project (RTIP-II) in Bangladesh is a case in point. We talked to several beneficiaries of the project—which supports road expansion and upgrading, and rural market development in 26 districts across the country, and the dredging of local waterways on a pilot basis—to understand how better connectivity had impacted their lives.

Lado Apkhazava – one exceptional teacher’s recipe for unlocking Georgia’s human capital potential

Mercy Tembon's picture
Lado Apkhazava and Mercy Tembon

I am very happy I met Lado Apkhazava, a truly gifted, committed, and professional Civics Education teacher from Guria - one of Georgia’s poorest regions. Lado’s innovative and student-centered approach is transforming the culture of teaching and learning at his public school in Chibati.

How can Malaysia realize the potential of its human capital?

Richard Record's picture
To boost productivity and go the next mile in its development path, Malaysia must improve its human capital through better learning and nutritional outcomes and social protection programs. (Photo: Samuel Goh/World Bank)


Anyone who visits Malaysia will quickly come to realize that Malaysians are blessed with enormous talent, ranging from the myriad of entrepreneurs creating new businesses online to those active in the creative industries including music, culture and sports. But there is also still a widespread sense that Malaysia is not making the most of its human capital, with concerns that despite large investments in education and health, the returns are not as high as they should be, and that a large share of Malaysians are still being left behind.

Gender equality: Unleashing the real wealth of nations

Annette Dixon's picture
© World Bank
© World Bank

Last week, we launched the Women, Business, and the Law report, which found that despite the considerable progress that many countries have made in improving women’s legal rights over the last decade, women are still only accorded 75 percent of the legal rights that men, on average, are given. As a result, they are less able to get jobs, start businesses and make economic decisions, with economic consequences that reverberate beyond their families and communities.

This is a particularly timely piece of research because as we mark International Women's Day, it’s another reminder of the work we have ahead of us: women without legal protections to go to school or work outside the home are stripped of their voice and agency—and unable to invest in human capital for themselves or their families. With the Human Capital Project in full swing and work underway with more than 50 countries on improving people-based investments, putting gender equality at the top of the agenda will be critical to crafting better policy.

While routines are comforting, they can also be job killers

Hernan Winkler's picture
The rapid adoption of digital technologies tends to benefit workers with skills that are difficult to replace with a computer, such as creativity, inter-personal skills or leadership. Photo: Sarah Farhat/ World Bank

 In the changing nature of work, diplomas are important, but skills are invaluable.

Being a teacher in Norway may require a very different set of skills than being a teacher in Africa, even though the job title is the same. For example, while teachers in the developed world may need to have digital or foreign language skills, these attributes may not be as essential to become an effective teacher in the rest of the world.


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