Measuring Human Capital in Europe and Central Asia

Measuring Human Capital in Europe and Central Asia (News and Research 219)

Measuring Human Capital in Europe and Central Asia  | This paper outlines an extension of the Human Capital Index that addresses the specific challenges in education and health faced by countries in Europe and Central Asia. Good basic education will not be enough, as job markets today demand higher levels of human capital than in the past…

New research reveals best investments to tackle learning crisis in vulnerable countries | UK, World Bank and partners launch a new report by leading global education experts that identifies ways to improve global learning and tackle learning crisis that has been compounded by coronavirus (see: Cost-Effective Approaches to Improve Global Learning: What Does Recent Evidence Tell Us Are “Smart Buys” for Improving Learning in Low and Middle Income Countries?).

Promoting Parental Involvement in Schools: Evidence From Two Randomized Experiments NBERWorld Bank | Parental involvement programs aim to increase school and-parent communication and support children’s overall learning environment. This paper examines the effects of low-cost, group-based parental involvement interventions in Mexico using data from two randomized controlled trials. The first experiment provided financial resources to parent associations. The second experiment provided information to parents about how to support their children’s learning. Overall, the interventions induced different types of parental engagement in schools. The information intervention changed parenting behavior at home—with large effects among indigenous parents who have historically been discriminated and socially excluded—and improved student behavior in school. The grants did not impact parent or student behaviors. Notably, the paper does not find impacts of either intervention on educational achievement. To understand these null effects, the paper explores how social ties between parents and teachers evolved over the course of the two interventions. Parental involvement interventions led to significant changes in perceived trustworthiness between teachers and parents. The results suggest that parental involvement interventions can backfire if institutional rules are unclear about the expectations of parents and teachers as parents increase their involvement in schools.

What Have We Learnt? Overview of Findings from a Survey of Ministries of Education on National Responses to COVID-19 | As part of the coordinated global education response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank have conducted a Survey on National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures… government responses to school closures from pre-primary to secondary education…

Learning Loss in Europe is Real

Why Is Europe Keeping Its Schools Open, Despite New Lockdowns? When Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the latest round of restrictions on public life, she named bars, restaurants, theaters, concert halls, gyms and tattoo parlors as institutions that would be forced to close. But missing from the list released on Wednesday were schools and day care centers — among the first to be shuttered in the spring lockdown…

UN, World Bank urge school openings amid pandemic (AFP) |The UN and World Bank pleaded in a new report Wednesday for schools to remain open despite Covid-19 risks, highlighting the damage the pandemic has inflicted on children’s education…

How School Closures Affect Low- and High-Achieving Students | Time-use information on students before and during the school closures in in Germany reveal that students on average reduced their daily learning time of 7.4 hours by about half, the reduction was significantly larger for low-achievers (4.1 hours) than for high-achievers (3.7 hours). Low achievers disproportionately replaced learning time with detrimental activities such as TV or computer games rather than with activities more conducive to child development…

Learning Inequality During the Covid-19 Pandemic | The Netherlands, which experience a relatively short lockdown (8 weeks) and has a high degree of technological preparedness, tests before and after lockdown reveal a learning loss of about 3 percentile points or 0.08 standard deviations. Losses are up to 55% larger among students from less-educated homes. The average learning loss is equivalent to a fifth of a school year, nearly exactly the same period that schools remained closed. These results imply that students made little or no progress whilst learning from home, and suggest much larger losses in countries less prepared for remote learning.

The Effect of School Closures on Standardized Student Test Outcomes | In Belgium, significant learning losses 0.19 to 0.29 standard deviations due to school closures, and increasing inequality…

School closures and SARS-CoV-2. Evidence from Sweden’s partial school closure | Among parents, exposure to open rather than closed schools resulted in a small increase in confirmed infections…

Baseline Secondary Writing: have Year 7 pupils gone backwards? | In England, year 7 pupils are 22 months behind where they would be expected to be at this time. Attainment appears to have been affected adversely by a combination of the summer holiday, school transition, and prior disruption caused by COVID-19…


Much ado about nothing? The next generation of human capital investments, skills and labor in Turkey and beyond | Heba ElgazzarKids in Turkey attending their lessonIs the ‘middle-income trap’ myth or reality? The World Bank’s  2020 Human Capital Index (HCI) report offers new analysis on the distribution of learning and health outcomes, and what they mean for long-term earnings, from low- to high-income countries. Looking at the data, it may seem that middle-income countries could be prone to getting stuck in the middle without boosting key human capital dimensions. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) this year is exacerbating this challenge.  Yet some countries have managed to avoid the trap. How you invest matters…

Rising College Access and Completion: How Much Can Free College Help? | This paper develops and estimates a dynamic model of college enrollment, performance and graduation to evaluate the potential effects of free college programs that differ in eligibility requirements. Among these, universal free college expands enrollment the most, but it does not affect graduation rates, and performance-based free college, in contrast, delivers a slightly lower enrollment expansion yet a greater graduation rate at a lower per-graduate cost.

Adults’ Cognitive and Socioemotional Skills and Their Labor Market Outcomes in Colombia Previous research has shown that people with higher cognitive skills (mental abilities) and socioemotional skills (behaviors and personality) get better labor market outcomes. It is unclear, however, if this conclusion applies to low- and middle-income countries, given that  existing  literature  builds  on  studies  that  are  dominantly  about  high-income  countries.  In  this  paper,  we  explore  how  cognitive  and  socioemotional  skills  of  adults,  ages  15-64, relate to their labor market outcomes in the context of Colombia. Controlling for a range of confounding factors in a cross-sectional survey, we find that adults with higher skills also have better outcomes, while cognitive and socioemotional skills correlate with different ones, seemingly through different channels. Adults with higher cognitive skills have better jobs (with higher earnings, more formal, and high-skilled) and are more likely to complete tertiary education. Socioemotional skills correlate more modestly with having a better job but more strongly with labor market participation and tertiary-education completion. Results suggest that adults with both cognitive and socioemotional skills tend to do better in the labor market and that policies boosting the development of both types may be beneficial in Colombia.

A conversation with Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico | On September 28, former President of Mexico Vicente Fox joined a select group of senior political leaders and global education experts to discuss the education crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this installment of the Leadership Dialogue Series—organized by the Center for Universal Education at Brookings, the World Bank, Senator Esteban Bullrich of Argentina, and global education expert Vikas Pota—the future of education after the pandemic was top of mind. President Fox emphasized the importance of seizing the opportunity to improve and innovate existing education systems across the globe.

Categories COVID, Education, Human capital, Returns to education

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