The Human Capital Index 2020 Update (News and Research 213)

The Human Capital Index 2020 Update: Human Capital in the Time of COVID-19

Report  |  Press release  |  Visualization, country briefs, data

Highlights for Europe and Central Asia (ECA):

  • The economies with the largest gains include Albania, the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan
    • A variety of factors account for these improvements:
    • improved learning as measured by higher test scores (Albania)
    • better health (in the case of Russia)
    • school enrollment (pre-primary level in Azerbaijan, secondary level in Russia)
  • Albania witnessed one of the largest improvements in learning outcomes, with harmonized test scores increasing from 397 (based on PISA 2009) to 434 (based on PISA 2018)
    • Albania’s improvements coincide with launch of intensive reform efforts in education
    • Government launched National Education Strategy (NES) in 2004
    • NES served as catalyst for reforms implemented through Pre-University Strategy
    • Reforms include improved teacher recruitment, compensation, management; revised curriculum; enhanced transparency and accountability through reform of Matura, national student assessment; reduced price and improved textbook quality
  • Accounting for the level of GDP, economies such as Ukraine and Uzbekistan performed particularly well in learning.
  • Why have expected years of school decreased in Romania, from 12.7 to 11.8 years?
    • In wake of financial crisis of 2008-09, decision made to close Arts and Crafts Schools, which offered a vocational path as part of upper-secondary education
    • Number of students enrolled fell by more than 50 percent between 2010 and 2018, without a corresponding rise in enrollments in other types of education
    • While resident population of school-age children fell by only 7 percent during the decade, net upper-secondary enrollment rates fell from 86 percent to 77 percent in 2010-18
    • People who would have enrolled in vocational schools never enrolled in other schools
    • In 2015, the 3-year vocational path was reintroduced, helping the system to recover
    • Number of out-of-school children has continued to increase during the past decade
    • Out-of-school children ages 6-10 doubled between 2009 and 2018
    • The underlying reasons include persistent underfunding of the sector
    • Government spending on education is lowest among European Union (EU) countries
    • Romania still lacks an early warning system to alert authorities about risk of drop out
    • With the help of the Bank and EC work is under way to implement such a system
    • In 2012, the government introduced a compulsory year of schooling starting at the age of 6
    • As of 2012, all children age 6 were counted as out of school if they were not in school
    • In 2018, some parents were still postponing enrolling their children in school at age 6

(From Box in HCI report contributed by Alina and Lars)

  • Some of the greatest service delivery challenges in conflict-affected countries involve education for displaced populations and host communities
    • Turkey committed to include all Syrian refugee children in national education system by 2020
  • Cyprus recorded gain of 40 points in harmonized test scores based on TIMSS/PIRLS tests
  • Some countries experienced modest declines in the index
    • Greece, Bulgaria and Italy, where the index fell by about 2 HCI or more points
    • Among the 10 countries with the largest drops, eight are European countries
    • These decreases in the HCI can be mainly traced back to drops in test scores
  • In Uzbekistan before 2019 there was no internationally comparable learning data available
    • Launch of 2018 HCI galvanized the government toward measurement of quality
    • In 2019 with the support of the World Bank (Janssen and team), the country conducted its first ever nationally representative and internationally comparable assessment (using TIMSS linking items) for grade 5 students in Mathematics, now part of the country’s 2020 HCI

ECA Regional Press Release: English | Armenian | Croatian | Bulgarian | Serbian | Turkish | Russian

Country Press Releases (+ translations):

Albania (Albanian)





Moldova (Moldovan)

North Macedonia (Macedonian)



Ukraine (Ukrainian)

Regional Media Coverage:


World Bank: Albania, among 10 countries with the greatest improvement in health and education
World Bank study, 10% of the population in Tirana and 6% in Durres live in high-risk buildings
World Bank: Albania has made improvements in Human Capital Index
WB: Albania to increase spending on health and education
Human Capital Index, COVID risks Albania’s improvements in Health and Education


Armenia Slightly Improves Its Standing in World Bank Human Capital Index Report
ՀԱՅԱՍՏԱՆԸ ՓՈՔՐ ԻՆՉ ԲԱՐԵԼԱՎԵԼ Է ԻՐ ԴԻՐՔԸ «ՄԱՐԴԿԱՅԻՆ ԿԱՊԻՏԱԼԻ ՀԱՄԱԹՎՈՒՄ»/ Armenia Has Slightly Improved its Position In Human Capital Index


World Bank: Azerbaijan makes progress in health and education
Azerbaijan Needs to Invest More in Strengthening Human Capital – WB
WB’s report on Azerbaijan – Human capital must be strengthened
The World Bank has announced that there is development in Azerbaijan / Dünya Bankı


The World Bank: Drop in education quality and years of schooling in Bulgaria
A decline in the quality of education in Bulgaria is reported by a new World Bank report
Countries in Europe and Central Asia Continue have progress, but face setbacks from Covid-19


A serious World Bank warning: Covid-19 threatens the education of children around the world
The pandemic will deepen inequalities among children
European and Central Asian countries continue to improve their health and education
Human Capital Index: Croatia better than the European average


World Bank report: Georgia needs more investment in human capital to assure well-being
World Bank: Georgia needs more investment in human capital to assure well-being
Georgia in World Bank HCI Report
Georgia Needs More Investment in Human Capital to Assure the Well-Being of its Future


COVID-19 pandemic unveils importance of investing in human capital in Moldova, WB
On-going World Bank-supported projects to enhance human development in Moldova total


North Macedonia needs to continue investing in education and health in order to improve
World Bank: North Macedonia needs to continue investing in education and health
A child in the country, educated for 11 years learned equivalent to 7.3 years
Students in the country after finishing primary and secondary education learn equivalent to 7.3


A child born in Romania today will achieve only half of the productive potential
Children in Romania will reach only 58% of their productive potential, 75% in Poland
How the Covid-19 pandemic affects the education of children around the world (World Bank)
Children in Romania who do not receive adequate education and health services less productive
Children in Romania will reach only 58% of their productive potential
The Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to shutting down the schools, threatens to erase progress
Children in Romania face potential development risks


World Bank: Europe and Central Asia Advance in Health and Education
WB: Improvements in Health and Education in European Countries
World Bank: Countries in Europe and Central Asia Advance in Health and Education
WB: Improvements in Health and Education in European Countries


The World Bank has explained the importance of investing in education and health
The World Bank is helping Ukraine build an inclusive economy during a pandemic
10 years without changes. What does the Human Capital Index say about Ukraine?
The World Bank told where Ukraine should invest in the first place
The World Bank researched the level of human capital development in Ukraine
The World Bank has named investments that are key to economic growth in COVID-19 Has the human capital development index of Ukraine changed in 10 years?
Ukraine does not improve the level of human capital development – World Bank


World Bank assessed Uzbekistan’s human capital development (RUS)

The World Bank assessed Uzbekistan’s human capital development for the first time (RUS)

The World Bank released its 2020 Human Capital Index. Uzbekistan also took part (UZB)


Russia Returns to Education: more working papers:

YouTube recording of my seminar, “The Cost of Schools Being Closed Due to COVID-19,” September 17, 2020, Organized by TEDMEM the Turkish education think-tank

‘Lack of education for 4 months reduced per capita income’ | Dünya Bankası yöneticisinden eğitim açıklaması

Dünya Bankası yöneticisi açıkladı: Kişi başına düşen geliri yüzde 12 ila 18 arasında geriletmektedir

Dünya Bankası Avrupa ve Orta Asya Yöneticisi Patrinos: “Pandemi kişi başına düşen geliri yüzde 12…

4 aylık eğitim eksikliği kişi başına düşen geliri yüzde 12-18 arasında azalttı

Dünya Bankasi’ndan “Kovid-19 Sürecinde Eğitim” Değerlendirmesi

Dünya Bankası Yöneticisinden ‘Kovid-19 sürecinde eğitim ‘değerlendirmesi