Just look around the world: .
To meet that challenge and be able to compete in the global economy, countries need to prepare their workforces now for the tremendous challenges and opportunities driven by technological change.
To that end, .
The Index will be released on October 11 at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Bali as part of the Human Capital Project, a global effort led by the Bank to accelerate investments in people for greater equity and economic growth.
No doubt, any country ranking gets high visibility and, sometimes, meets controversy. But I hope it triggers a dialogue about policies to promote investments in people.
To be clear, —or the “frontier”.
The index, irrespective of whether it is high or low, is not an indication of a country’s current policies or initiatives, but rather reflects where it has emerged over years and decades.
The index ranges from 0 to 1 and takes the highest value of 1 only if a child born today can expect to achieve full health (defined as no stunting and survival up to at least age 60) and complete her education potential (defined as 14 years of high-quality school by age 18).
What’s great is that governments recognize the importance of investing in people, and we see some major achievements.
For example, , and girls are catching up with boys when it comes to attending school. Under-five mortality rates declined three-fold between 1990 and 2015.
But the It needs continuous political will and investment. Results take time and are much more difficult to accomplish than results in creating physical capital, such as roads, ports or bridges.
There are remaining stubborn challenges that require close attention and persistent action.
Stunting in South Asia remains the highest in the world, with 36 percent of children stunted.
Almost 13 million children of primary age are still out of school, and even when kids go to school the quality of learning falls behind – for example, many students are not able to read grade-relevant text in their own language.
So, when we release the Human Capital Index next week, many of the South Asia countries may find they have significant distance to the frontier.
We may say to some countries: “look, you are halfway to the frontier, the progress is good but there is a way to go”. To others: “you are three quarters away, so you are missing out on 75 percent of your future economic potential.”
We feel confident that the index is rigorous and substantial, and it will certainly generate rich debate both around the results and the methodology.
The first version of the index is based on what data is available today, and our goal is to be fully transparent about how it is derived and how it will evolve over the years. Our ultimate hope is to create much more demand for countries to invest in health and education.
“Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation,” said Nelson Mandela. We at the World Bank urge all governments in South Asia and across the world to prioritize investing in people from an early age, as this is crucial for everyone to thrive in the economy of the future.