Education: India vs. China

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In an op-ed (subscription required), Nicholas Kristof places his bet:

You see up-and-coming cities like Hyderabad or Ahmedabad, and it’s easy to believe that India will eventually surpass China. But here in rural Bihar state in northern India, there’s no economic miracle to be seen.

No child I met in Khawaspur had ever been vaccinated for anything. […] That’s a common problem: the government pays for school, clinics or vaccinations, but someone pockets the money and no education or health care materializes.

Those malnourished children suffer permanent losses in I.Q. and cognition, and are easy prey for diseases. There is some evidence that widespread malnutrition lowers economic growth in affected countries by two to four percentage points a year.

[…] China has many similar problems, with growing gaps between rich and poor and an interior that is being left far behind. But rural Chinese schools provide a basic education, including solid math and science skills.

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