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How do we achieve sustained growth? Through human capital, and East Asia and the Pacific proves it

Michael Crawford's picture
Students at Beijing Bayi High School in China. Photo: World Bank

In 1950, the average working-age person in the world had  almost three years of education, but in East Asia and Pacific (EAP), the  average person had less than half that amount. Around this time, countries in  the EAP  region put themselves on a path that focused on growth  driven by human capital. They made significant and steady investments in  schooling to close the educational attainment gap with the rest of the world. While  improving their school systems, they also put their human capital to work in  labor markets. As a result, economic growth has been stellar: for four decades  EAP has grown at roughly twice the pace of the global average. What is more, no  slowdown is in sight for rising prosperity.

High economic growth and strong human capital accumulation  are deeply intertwined. In a recent paper, Daron Acemoglu and David Autor explore  the way skills and labor markets interact: Human capital is the central  determinant of economic growth and is the main—and very likely the only—means  to achieve shared growth when technology is changing quickly and raising the  demand for skills. Skills promote productivity and growth, but if there are not  enough skilled workers, growth soon chokes off. If, by contrast, skills are abundant and  average skill-levels keep rising, technological change can drive productivity  and growth without stoking inequality.


Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Also available in: English
图中为越南芹苴市附近Tran Dai Nghia高中的学生(图片来源:D7K_4030,摄影:makzhou,按照知识共享组织CC BY-NC 4.0规则使用/已对原照片进行裁剪)

正如在最近发布的《国际数学于科学趋势研究报告》TIMSS )的结果表明,新加坡学生在国际学生评估项目每一学科的成绩均在世界上名列前茅,以较大优势领先于其他经济体和国家。新加坡学生在科学、数学和阅读三门学科上的成绩水平,要比同地区和经合组织国家的学生成绩水平高出两个学年。另外,几乎所有的新加坡学生都达到了基本熟练水平或更高水平。同时,他们的成绩越来越好,成绩低于基本熟练水平的学生人数因此而显著减少。


Lars Sondergaard's picture
Also available in: English

ระหว่างที่ผมและดิลกะเดินทางไปทำงานที่จังหวัดอุดรธานี เราได้มีโอกาสไปเยี่ยมโรงเรียนขนาดเล็กนอกตัวเมือง  โรงเรียนเหล่านี้ก็เหมือนกับโรงเรียนขนาดเล็กที่มีอยู่กว่า 15,000 แห่งในประเทศไทย ซึ่งมีนักเรียนน้อยกว่า 120 คน

หากเป็นเมื่อสิบปีก่อน โรงเรียนแต่ละแห่งนี้จะมีจำนวนนักเรียนมากกว่านี้ถึงสามเท่า แต่เมื่อเวลาผ่านไปจำนวนนักเรียนได้ลดลงเนื่องจากอัตราการเกิดลดลงมาก นอกจากนี้ การคมนาคมที่สะดวกขึ้นทำให้บางครอบครัวสามารถส่งลูกไปโรงเรียนที่ดีกว่าในตัวเมืองอุดรธานีได้

นอกจากโรงเรียนที่เราไปเยี่ยมแล้วก็ยังมีโรงเรียนอื่นๆ อีกที่ตั้งอยู่ในบริเวณใกล้เคียงกันอีกเจ็ดแห่งในรัศมีระยะสามกิโลเมตร หลายโรงเรียนในกลุ่มนี้ได้ลดขนาดลงเป็นโรงเรียนขนาดเล็ก

โรงเรียนหลายแห่งอยู่ในภาวะขาดครูที่จะให้การศึกษาที่มีคุณภาพแก่นักเรียน เนื่องจากโรงเรียนอยู่ในภาวะลำบากที่จะดึงดูดหรือรักษาครูที่มีคุณภาพเอาไว้ไ ระหว่างที่เราได้เยี่ยมชมโรงเรียนนั้น ครูใหญ่ท่านหนึ่งเล่าให้ฟังว่า โรงเรียนขาดครูสอนภาษาอังกฤษที่เก่ง ครูหลายคนเพิ่งเรียนจบมหาวิทยาลัย และยังไม่มีประสบการณ์การสอน  นอกจากนี้ครูใหญ่ยังเกรงว่าครูใหม่เหล่านี้จะสอนที่โรงเรียนได้ไม่นาน จากนั้นจะหาทางย้ายไปบรรจุที่โรงเรียนอื่นๆ ที่อยู่ในเมืองหรือเขตเมือง

Providing better education for children in Thailand’s small schools

Lars Sondergaard's picture
Also available in: ภาษาไทย

During a recent trip to Udon Thani, we visited several small schools in the outskirts of the city. In several ways, these small schools were typical of Thailand’s 15,000 schools with less than 120 students.
In past decades, the schools had nearly three times as many students but, over time, their enrollment numbers had gradually fallen as a result of shrinking birth numbers; and with better roads that allowed some families to place their children in better schools located in Udon Thani city itself.  
Several other schools were located in their close vicinity. In fact, a total of seven schools – many of which had also shrunk into small schools – were now located within a 3-kilometer radius.
The schools struggled to provide quality education for their students because they had a hard time attracting and retaining qualified teachers. During our visit, the principal of one of the schools explained that the school had no qualified English language teacher and that many of their teachers were recent, and mostly inexperienced university graduates. The principal feared that many of these new teachers would only stay at the school for a short while before seeking to move to Udon Thani city or another urban area, and to teach at a city school.

Which region in the world has the smartest kids? According to the OECD, it’s East Asia

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Also available in: 中文
Students from Tran Dai Nghia High School near Can Tho, Vietnam (Photo: D7K_4030 by makzhou, used under CC BY-NC 4.0 / cropped from original)

With the release last month of the latest PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) results by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), it is apparent that many of the highest achieving students in the world are in East Asia.
Just as in the recently released TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) results, Singapore leads the world in every subject in PISA, outperforming other economies and countries by a significant margin. Students in Singapore perform at a level that is up to two years ahead of their regional and OECD counterparts in science, mathematics and reading. Moreover, almost all Singaporean students have reached a basic level of proficiency or higher. And they just keep getting better, having significantly reduced performance below basic proficiency.
Japan also outperforms most participating economies in science, mathematics and reading. However, its score in reading has declined since the last round. Still, as in Singapore, 90% of students have reached a basic level of proficiency or above.

Điều gì lý giải cho kết quả ấn tượng của Việt Nam trong kỳ thi PISA 2012?

Christian Bodewig's picture
Also available in: English
Kết quả của kỳ thi PISA 2012 - Chương trình đánh giá học sinh quốc tế (Program for international Student Assessment) cho thấy hệ thống giáo dục phổ thông của Việt Nam thành công hơn khá nhiều các hệ thống giáo dục ở các quốc gia giàu có hơn,xét trên khả năng cung cấp cho học sinh những kỹ năng nhận thức cơ bản như đọc, viết và tính toán.

What explains Vietnam’s stunning performance in PISA 2012?

Christian Bodewig's picture
Also available in: Tiếng Việt
The results from the Program for international Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 show that Vietnam’s general education system is more successful than systems in many wealthier countries in providing students with strong basic cognitive skills such as reading literacy and numeracy. Participating for the first time in PISA, Vietnam’s 15 year-olds perform on par with their peers in Germany and Austria and better than those in two thirds of participating countries.