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Education

What have we learned from reviewing 75 studies about interventions to reduce inequality in higher education?

Koen Geven's picture

Graduating from college remains one of the best routes out of poverty. Recent research shows that returns to higher education are now larger than the returns to any other education sector, and they are particularly large for low-income countries. In low- and middle-income countries, the private (wage) returns to accessing higher education are 26.8 percent and 20.2 percent, respectively, relative to obtaining a high school degree. Women tend to have higher rates of return than men, and there is even some evidence (from the United States) that children from poor families benefit the most from higher education.

Bricks-and-mortar learning is obsolete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.

We need a reskilling revolution. Here's how to make it happen

Børge Brende's picture
As the world of work changes, so must our approach to education and skills. Photo: Reuters

As the world faces the transformative economic, social and environmental challenges of Globalization 4.0, it has never been more important to invest in people.

Valuing human capital not only serves to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to respond to systemic shifts, it also empowers them to take part in creating a more equal, inclusive and sustainable world.

Aligning education and social protection to boost education equity in Europe

Christian Bodewig's picture



Robots may not be taking all our jobs, but they are changing profoundly the way we work. Take the European Union (EU), where jobs are increasingly about “non-routine cognitive” and “interpersonal” tasks which require workers to think creatively, solve problems and collaborate with others. Labor market transformation in the EU can be summed up by the number 15: the intensity of non-routine cognitive tasks in EU jobs has increased by 15 percent over the last 15 years, while the prevalence of manual tasks has declined by 15 percent. This is producing a growing divide in employment and earnings across the EU: While high-skill workers are thriving, low-skill workers are losing out. It has never been more important to invest in people and provide every worker with sound foundational skills.

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. 

Making Pakistan more equitable for all

Silvia Redaelli's picture
Between 2001 and 2015, approximately 32 million people were lifted out of poverty
Photo: World Bank

This blog is part of a series that discusses findings from the [email protected]: Shaping the Future report, which identifies the changes necessary for Pakistan to become a strong upper middle-income country by the time it turns 100 years old in 2047. 

In recent years, Pakistan has made remarkable progress in reducing poverty. Estimates based on the national poverty line, which was set at Rs3,030.3 per adult equivalent per month based on 2013-14 prices, show a consistent decline over the past two decades.
 
Between 2001 and 2015, approximately 32 million people were lifted out of poverty and the poverty rate was more than halved, going from 64 percent in 2001 to 24pc in 2015. However, a lot is yet to be done.

Not only because 2015 estimates show that approximately one in four Pakistani still does not have enough money to satisfy basic needs, but – even more alarming – progress has been far from equal when looking across the provinces, districts, cities, and rural areas.
 
While poverty declined at a fast pace in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and, to a lesser extent, in Punjab, progress was less positive in Sindh and Balochistan.
 
Within provinces, poverty has remained stubbornly high in Southern Punjab and Northern Sindh. Similarly, the pace of poverty reduction has been slower in rural areas compared to cities, where the risk of poverty is less than half compared to rural areas.

Inequalities in poverty levels and poverty reduction performance are compounded by substantial inequalities in access to and quality of basic services such as health, education, electricity, water, and sanitation.
 
Being born in one of the country’s lagging areas and/or in a poor family largely predetermines a child’s chances of escaping deprivation and realizing his or her full human capital potential in life.

Ways for Sri Lanka to fix its healthcare

Deepika Attygalle's picture
Ways for Sri Lanka to fix its healthcare
Nurses in Sri Lanka. Photo: World Bank

Today on World Health Day, we can say with confidence that Sri Lanka’s healthcare system has delivered on many of its promises.

This year’s focus on universal health care is a timely reminder that Sri Lanka is still reaping the benefits of far-thinking health policies implemented as early as the 1800s.  

Many of these measures were designed to address what were then considered the key challenges of previous centuries, such as high maternal and child mortality rates and infectious diseases that claimed the health and lives of thousands.
 
Successes in lowering maternal and child mortality rates and introducing effective vaccination programs have made Sri Lanka’s low-cost model one worth emulating in the rest of South Asia.  
 
Sri Lanka’s healthcare faces new challenges
 
However, we can no longer afford to rest on our laurels. Our policies and systems must now evolve to address the country’s urgent concerns.
 
The island must also now contend with a worrying rise in non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD), ischemic heart disease and stroke, cancers, diabetes, and respiratory conditions such as asthma.
 
Fertility decline and increasing longevity have resulted in a demographic transition in Sri Lanka and this is taking place while the country is aspiring to become an upper middle-income country. 

Population projections show that the proportion of Sri Lankans above the age of 60 years will increase from 14 percent in 2017 to 22 percent by the year 2037.
 
With such a rapidly aging population in Sri Lanka, it is imperative for policymakers to ensure that social and economic institutions in the country are ready to face the health challenges and social consequences ahead.
 
In response, Sri Lanka is undertaking an ambitious agenda that will strengthen and expand primary healthcare services from the ground up. Documented in Re-Organizing Primary Healthcare in Sri Lanka, preserving our progress preparing our future”   this approach is backed by strong evidence.

The report captures the findings of wide-ranging conversations among hundreds of stakeholders from every level of the country’s healthcare system.

Facilitated by the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, and supported by the World Bank, the report makes a case for why, and how, Sri Lanka must re-imagine its primary healthcare systems in order to attain the goals of universal healthcare. 


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