To End Poverty, Give Everyone the Chance to Learn

…The highest returns may come from investing in the people who have the biggest opportunity to catch up with everyone else. All they need is a chance…

How Much Graduates Earn Drives More College Rankings

PayScale introduced its first college salary report in 2008, and the College Scorecard from the federal government followed last year, ushering an elephant into the hallowed halls of college admissions: What do the schools’ graduates actually earn?..

Country readiness to monitor SDG 4 education targets: Regional survey for the Asia and Pacific region

The survey examines country readiness to measure and monitor the 11 global indicators and the 43 thematic indicators which include the same global indicators. In order to better assess country readiness, the survey was able to collect important information on data availability at the country level which provides insights into the possible data gaps for each of the targets and indicators…

Out-Of-School, Not Out of Reach – The Children of Ban Nam Lo, Lao PDR – Photo Essay

Ban Nam Lo is located among the dazzlingly green hilltops of Vieng Phouka district in Luang Namtha province, an hour north by plane from the Lao PDR capital Vientiane, lies a province called Luang Namtha. There are more than 36,000 children who are out of school in…

Early childhood Development & Inclusive Education Keystones in Kuwait’s Reforms

The FINANCIAL — Kuwait has picked the “ideal strategic partner” in the World Bank to carry out an ambitious transformation of its education system, Kuwaiti Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr. Bader Al-Essa said. Minister Al-Essa’s remarks were made at a meeting with several World Bank experts in Washington, DC, which discussed education reform in Kuwait and exchanged views on relevant global experiences…

Publicly financed and sensibly provided: An agnostic framework for managing public and private education

This paper intends to offer policy-makers, whatever their goals, a framework that will help them to understand how to regulate and finance publicly and privately provided schools. It is not intended to be a prescriptive framework. We believe that there are many plausible arrangements of public and private education provision and financing that could achieve meaningful educational goals, and that the right arrangement will reflect a country’s educational history, culture, government capacity and the political economy of interactions between education stakeholders. However, we also believe that an effective policy, regulatory and financing framework is better in all cases than no framework, and it is towards that end that we offer this paper…

Privatized education’s growing role requires data, attention and planning

In the privatized education debate — both in developed and developing countries — we are quick to judge: judge parents for sending their children to private schools, judge governments for letting them, judge international organizations for championing one side of the debate or the other. But, as a new report published by Results for Development and the UBS Optimus Foundation makes clear, such judgements stand on shaky ground…

Can information and counseling help students from poor rural areas go to high school? Evidence from China

Recent studies have shown that only about two-thirds of the students from poor, rural areas in China finish junior high school and enter high school. One factor that may be behind the low rates of high school attendance is that students may be misinformed about the returns to schooling or lack career planning skills. We therefore conduct a cluster-randomized controlled trial (RCT) using a sample of 131 junior high schools and more than 12,000 students to test the effects of providing information on returns or career planning skills on student dropout, academic achievement and plans to go to high school. Contrary to previous studies, we find that information does not have significant effects on student outcomes. Unlike information, counseling does have an effect. However, the effect is somewhat surprising. Our findings suggest that counseling increases dropouts and seems to lower academic achievement. In our analysis of the causal chain, we conclude that financial constraints and the poor quality of education in junior high schools in poor, rural areas (the venue of the study) may be contributing to the absence of positive impacts on student outcomes from information and counseling. The negative effects of counseling on dropout may also be due to the high and growing wages for unskilled labor (high opportunity costs) in China’s transitioning economy…

Structural transformation and inclusive growth in Viet Nam

This project responds to the call by the UN Secretary General for reliable, timely and better disaggregated, country level data in the search for an evidence-based course to realizing economic transformation and sustainable development in a post-2015 development context. Specifically, the project builds on – and further develops – two unique firm and rural household panel data sets in Viet Nam, a dynamic East-Asian economy.

Green Returns to Education: Does Schooling Contribute to Pro-Environmental Behaviours? Evidence from Thailand

We investigate whether there are green returns to education, where formal education encourages pro-environmental behaviours using nationally representative surveys on environmental issues in Thailand. To establish the causal relationship between education and green behaviours, we exploit the instrumental variables strategy using the supply of state primary schooling i.e. the corresponding number of teachers per 1000 children, which varies over time and across regions as the instrument, while controlling for regional, cohort and income effects. We find that more years of schooling lead to a greater probability of taking knowledge-based environmentally-friendly actions a great deal, but not cost-saving pro-environmental actions. In addition, the paper finds no significant impact of formal education on concern about global warming nor the willingness to pay for environmental tax.

Asia-Pacific Regional Report: Financing for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)

The International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED),1 designed by UNESCO, classifies pre-primary education as centre or school-based programmes designed to meet the educational and developmental needs of children at least three years of age, with staff adequately trained or qualified to provide educational programmes for children. In addition, participating countries use ECCE, ECD and Pre-Primary Education interchangeably. Research evidence from good practices of ECCE systems shows that sustained public funding, quality standards and regulations are essential factors in achieving quality ECCE for all children (International Labour Organisation, 2014). Moreover, it is important to place equal importance on the efficient use of available resources in order to increase the systemic efficiency of ECCE. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2015, contain Target 4.2 which states, “by 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education”. Accordingly, a Framework for Action was established, which includes strategies aimed at achieving the target of “putting in place integrated and inclusive policies and legislation that guarantee the provision of at least one year of compulsory and free quality pre-primary education, paying special attention on reaching the poorest and most disadvantaged children through ECCE services”.

Fixed Investments and Human Investments for Economic Growth – A case study of Aceh Province – Indonesia

Under endogenous growth theory, education as part of human investments has become one of the key drivers of economic growth. Many recent studies have put an increasingly strong emphasis on human investments as opposed to physical fixed investments. More attention has been paid to find evidence of whether government intervention through education spending has a positive contribution to educational outcomes, labor market outcomes and hence economic growth. This study is aimed at making a comparative analysis of whether human investments have a greater impact on the economic growth than fixed investments, by taking Aceh province, Indonesia, as a case. A static linear panel data model was utilized to gauge the impact of the two types of investments on economic growth. The panel data from all 23 districts within Aceh Province from 2008 to 2011 were collected. Based on statistical testing for model selection, random effects model was selected as the appropriate approach to explaining the relationship among the following variables; fixed investments, education spending and economic growth. The results of the study have shown that both types of investments have statistically positive impacts on the economic growth of a regional economy. Moreover, fixed investments have well greater impact than education spending on economic growth. Therefore, subnational governments, particularly those with special fund allocation to education, should optimally manage the use of their education funds in a more effective way in order to achieve a certain targeted rate of economic growth.

Earnings differentials between formal and informal employment in Thailand

The paper estimates the earnings gap between formal and informal employment in Thailand, using a sample of workers that includes both wage and self- employed workers. It finds that while the major part of the earnings differential is attributed to observed characteristics, there is a significant unexplained component. The paper then applies a quantile regression method to an earnings function to understand the factors that explain differences in earnings for different quartiles. Controlling for other factors, it finds that informally employed workers systematically present lower earnings at all earnings levels, and the difference increases with level of earnings. Furthermore, the estimated marginal effect of gender on earnings is negative and remains more or less constant across the different quartiles, while returns to education are positive and increase with income quartiles. The premium of working in services or manufacturing is higher at the lower end of the income distribution and the non- farm self-employed worker is likely to earn more than others. The findings of this study have implications for policies for productive transformation in the country, along with a focus on education and gender equality.

Return To Education By Ethnicity: A Case Of Malaysia

This study investigates the factors that influence earning differentials across three different ethnics in Malaysia—Bumiputra, Chinese and Indian. A specific focus is given to the effects of education on earnings. The variable is considered vital in restructuring the socioeconomic positions of these Malaysian ethnics. Mincerian earning functions have been estimated. Positive effects of education with varying magnitudes on earnings across the three ethnics have been found. Estimates on returns to education also vary across educational levels and gender for all the ethnics. The marginal rate of returns to university degree is the highest, as compared to other lower qualifications. A comparison across ethnicity shows that for those with university degrees, the returns for Indian ethnic were the highest at 24.85%, followed by Bumiputra at 22.55% and Chinese at 14.8%. There is also significant evidence of earning differentials attributable to occupational activities and regional/urban-rural locations in Malaysia…

Educating disabled kids is worth the extra investment

…the returns on investing in education for persons with disabilities are two to three times higher than that of persons without disabilities. A new report called Costing Equity, shared with the United Nations by a consortium of international disability bodies this week, cites evidence from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal and the Philippines proving this. In Bangladesh alone, lack of schooling and consequently employment for people with disabilities and their caregivers could be losing the country $1.2bn of income annually. This translates as 1.74 per cent of gross domestic product, according to the World Bank…[#CostingEquity: The case for disability-responsive education financing]

Decreased tracking, increased earning: Evidence from the comprehensive Polish educational reform

The Polish educational reform in 1999 is often considered successful as the results of the Polish students, and especially that of the low-performers, on the OECD PISA tests have improved significantly since the introduction of the new system. The reform extended the previous 8-year undivided comprehensive education to 9 years, core curricula were introduced and the examination, admission and assessment systems were changed. It has been argued before that this longer comprehensive education improved the test performance of worse performing students; hence increasing average performance and decreasing interschool variation of test scores. However, the lack of reliable impact assessment on long-run labour market effects of this reform is awaiting. In this paper, we aim to fill this gap by looking at the causal effects of the reform. By comparing the labour market outcomes of the pre- and post-reform cohorts, we find a nonnegligible and positive effect. We look at employment and wages as outcomes. Using data from the EU-Statistics on Income and Living conditions, and pooling the waves between 2005 and 2013 and taking the 20-27 year-olds, we generate a quasi-panel of observations to estimate the treatment effect by difference-in-difference estimation. We find evidence that the reform was successful on the long-run: the post-reform group is more likely to be employed and they also earn higher wages. On average, the treatment group is around 2-3% more likely to be employed, which effect is driven by the lowest educated. The post-reform cohort also earns more: we find an over 3% difference in real wages, which is also more pronounced for the lowest educated…

Education Quality and Teaching Practices

This paper uses a RCT to estimate the effectiveness of guided instruction methods as implemented in under-performing schools in Chile. The intervention improved performance substantially for the first cohort of students, but not the second. The effect is mainly accounted for by children from relatively higher income backgrounds. Based on the CLASS instrument we document that quality of teacher-student interactions is positively correlated with the performance of low income students; however, the intervention did not affect these interactions. Guided instruction can improve outcomes, but it is a challenge to sustain the impacts and to reach the most deprived children…

Time to unleash the power of books

As someone who grew up in the UK, having access to books at home, in school and at my local library was something I took for granted. As a child, I always had a stack of books on the go, to the extent that I truly believed I was the real life Matilda – sadly without the magical powers. But too many children around the world aren’t so lucky – 250 million primary-school-age children cannot read. Worryingly, 130 million of these children can’t read despite completing four years of education. This will limit their options and opportunities for the rest of their lives…

Are college costs worth it? How ability, major, and debt affect the returns to schooling

This paper examines the financial value over the course of a lifetime of pursuing a college degree under a variety of different settings (e.g. major, student loan debt, individual ability). [The author] account[s] for ability/selection bias and the probability that entering freshmen will not eventually graduate.[The author] find[s] the financial proposition of attending college is a sound investment for most individuals and cost scenarios, although some scenarios do not pay off until late in life, or ever. [The author] estimate[s] the present discounted value of attending college for the median student to vary between $85,000 and $300,000 depending on the student’s major. Most importantly, the results of this paper emphasize the role that risk (e.g. the nontrivial chance that a student will not eventually graduate) plays in the cost-benefit analysis of obtaining a college degree…

Nobel Lessons for Education Researchers and Policymakers

Bengt Holmstrom’s work shows that no incentives are often preferable to poorly-designed incentives

This year, Bengt Holmstrom received the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on contract theory. Holmstrom does not work on education per se, but he has spent much of his career writing about the use of incentive contracts in settings where worker actions are hard to observe and worker output is difficult to quantify, e.g. educators in schools. We live in an information age, and for decades we have seen organizations employ new measurement technologies and create new performance metrics for workers, teams, or organizations. Many non-economists assume that economists believe that more performance metrics and more performance pay always mean more efficiency. However, Holmstrom’s work teaches us that the world is not so simple. The details of performance pay schemes matter, and new incentive schemes built around new performance metrics do not always improve performance…

Will More Higher Education Improve Economic Growth?

Calls for expanded university education are frequently based on arguments that more graduates will lead to faster growth. Empirical analysis does not, however, support this general proposition. Differences in cognitive skills – the knowledge capital of countries – can explain most of the differences in growth rates across countries, but just adding more years of schooling without increasing cognitive skills historically has had little systematic influence on growth…

PISA 2015: A Sneak Preview

When: October 25, 2016, 9:30 am – 10:30 am EDT

The Alliance for Excellent Education is partnering with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development for a conversation on PISA and the upcoming release of its 2015 data. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of fifteen-year-old students. To date, students representing more than eighty economies have participated in the assessment. For the 2015 assessment, which focuses on science, seventy-two economies took part, and data from it will be released by the OECD on December 6. Please join Bob Wise, president of the Alliance and former governor of West Virginia, and Andreas Schleicher, director for education and skills and special advisor on education policy to the Secretary-General for the OECD, as they discuss the PISA assessment. While the 2015 PISA data will not be released until December 6, Wise and Schleicher will share sample questions from PISA and discuss how PISA can impact education policy around the world. Panelists will address questions from the online audience. Please follow the event on Twitter at #OECDPISA. Register here.