Roundup of blogs and research – August 11, 2016


Trends in returns to schooling: why governments should invest more in people’s skills

One of the biggest economic benefits of schooling are labor market earnings. For many people, education and experience are their only assets. This is why I believe that it’s very important to know the economic benefits of investments in schooling…

The skills that matter in the race between education and technology

Prepared for the 2016 Brookings Blum Roundtable

The threat of automation implies a race between education and technology. In most developing countries, education systems are not providing workers with the skills necessary to compete in today’s job markets. The growing mismatch between the demand and supply of skills holds back economic growth and undermines opportunity. At the same time, the returns to schooling are high in most developing countries, and growing skill premiums are evident in much of the world.2 Automation simultaneously results in deskilling and a need for new skills, and is changing what education will need to look like in the future…

Jobs and skills for youth: Review of policies for youth employment of China

Young Chinese face significant obstacles in their transition to the labour market, including high levels of underemployment, informality and graduate unemployment. The Chinese Government is strongly committed to addressing these issues. It recognizes that actively developing its human resources, bringing into play the full potential and value of each individual, and promoting people’s all round development is essential to China’s modernization and transformation from a human-resource-rich country to one with powerful human resources. This report has been developed to support those aims…

Myanmar: I can choose my career as I like

Po Tha Jan is from the Kapyinyoe Non-Formal Education (NFE) class, Hlegu Township, Yangon Region. He is nine years old and lives together with his family. He is physically disabled, not being able to walk well. His mental capacity is good. He can quickly catch what teachers say. Before he came to the NFE class he attended Grade one of a formal school (Kindergarten). There he was bullied because of his disability. After some months, he resigned from that school. In the NFE class, he happily and actively learns, and can read and write very well. A teacher for the NFE class, Bwe Say, has taken special care to foster compassionate relationships between children and Po Tha Jan. Later he has gained confidence in learning…

The Measurement of Student Ability in Modern Assessment Systems

Brian Jacob, Jesse Rothstein – NBER Working Paper No. 22434

Economists often use test scores to measure a student’s performance or an adult’s human capital. These scores reflect non-trivial decisions about how to measure and scale student achievement, with important implications for secondary analyses. For example, the scores computed in several major testing regimes, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), depend not only on the examinees’ responses to test items, but also on their background characteristics, including race and gender. As a consequence, if a black and white student respond identically to questions on the NAEP assessment, the reported ability for the black student will be lower than for the white student—reflecting the lower average performance of black students. This can bias many secondary analyses. Other assessments use different measurement models. This paper aims to familiarize applied economists with the construction and properties of common cognitive score measures and the implications for research using these measures…

Self Selection Bias in Compensating Wage Differential Theory: Evidence from Vulnerable Workers in Malaysian Labor Market

Zulkifly Osman, Hazrul Izuan Shahiri

This paper utilise Hedonic Wage Theory (Rosen 1974 & 1986) to test relationship between vulnerable workers and wage. Analysis is made using the Mincerian semi-log earnings function (Mincer 1974) specified in the tradition of Becker’s Human Capital Model (Becker 1964) with a correction for self selection bias. A total of 1705 private sector employees are selected and the result shows that the coefficient for predicted vulnerable worker variable is significant but non-positive. The implication of this result is that no adjustments in wages are made to compensate workers for undesirable job conditions. The third party, namely the government interventions therefore is needed in order to protect and enhance the well-being of the vulnerable workers…

Taking Stock of Programs to Develop Socioemotional Skills: A Systematic Review of Program Evidence

This book represents a systematic review of the documented impacts of programs aimed at fostering socio-emotional skills in developed and developing countries. It uses a life-cycle approach to organize the findings from rigorous evaluations of more than 80 programs. This includes programs for toddlers and young children before primary school, programs for students enrolled in formal education, and programs targeted at the out-of-school population. The book develops a conceptual framework that helps to identify the program characteristics and participants’ profiles associated with a range of program outcomes. These include health-related, behavioral, academic or cognitive, and economic-related outcomes. The review finds that few of the programs studied focus exclusively on the development of socio-emotional skills. In fact, most efforts to develop socio-emotional skills are embedded within innovative education and training curricula, as well as pedagogical and classroom practices. Evidence shows that programs are particularly effective when targeted to highly vulnerable populations and, in particular, to young children. Overall, findings indicate that high-quality programs for young children tend to foster cognitive abilities in the short run and to impact socio-emotional skills over the long run. Programs for students enrolled in formal education (primary and secondary levels) show positive and significant impacts on the outcomes reviewed. The most successful of these programs are implemented school-wide and follow the SAFE approach: that is, they are appropriately sequenced, active, focused, and explicit. Finally, the review finds that programs for out-of-school children and youth are usually designed as a means of achieving immediate labor market outcomes (e.g., job-placement, formal employment, and higher wages). While some of these programs show positive and statistically significant impacts on socio-emotional skills, the impacts tend to be small.

Workforce development in emerging economies: Comparative perspectives on institutions praxis, and policies

This report examines workforce development (WfD) systems in emerging economies around the world and presents novel systems-level data generated by the Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER)-WfD benchmarking tool. The book’s findings, based on cross-sectional data for nearly 30 countries and time-series data for five countries, identify successes and common issues across countries in the sample. In lagging countries, the biggest difficulties relate to: forming and sustaining strategic partnerships with employers; ensuring equitable and efficient funding for vocational education; and putting in place mechanisms to enhance training providers’ accountability for results defined by their trainees’ job market performance. By framing WfD in the broader skills-for-growth context and drawing on lessons from countries where well-designed WfD strategies have helped to drive sustained growth, this book offers clear guidance on how to enable a more effective approach to the inevitably complex challenges of workforce development in emerging economies…

No Time to Lose: How to Build a World-Class Education System State by State

Lessons from the best: Alberta, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong, Ontario, Japan, Poland, Shanghai, Singapore, Taiwan

The good news is, by studying these other high-performing systems, we are discovering what seems to work. Common elements are present in nearly every world-class education system, including a strong early education system, a reimagined and professionalized teacher workforce, robust career and technical education programs, and a comprehensive, aligned system of education. These elements are not found in the U.S. in a consistent, well-designed manner as they are found in high performers.

The Human Capital Report 2016

The Human Capital Index seeks to serve as a tool for capturing the complexity of education, employment and workforce dynamics so that various stakeholders are able to make better-informed decisions. Last year’s edition of the World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Report explored the factors contributing to the development of an educated, productive and healthy workforce. This year’s edition deepens the analysis by focusing on a number of key issues that can support better design of education policy and future workforce planning…

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