Each new teacher hired can create an additional 1.22 jobs (News and Research 312)

Rewiring Education for People and Planet | This report is a call to action to work across sectors, levels, and stakeholders to transform education together with a wider development transformation. Amid competing priorities and limited resources, one needs to stop thinking in silos and recognize the powerful benefits of linking education investments to investments in other sectors to fuel a virtuous cycle of progress. Education is not just the birthright of every child; it is a powerful co-creator with efforts to reduce poverty, improve health, and develop sustainable economies and societies. This call to action builds on RewirEd 2021 – a summit convened by Dubai Cares to redefine education for a prosperous and sustainable future… Returns to education are often focused on long-term income benefits but new analysis for this report provides an initial estimate of the immediate economic benefit of hiring teachers. This new analysis finds that each additional teacher hired can create, on average across all countries, an additional 1.22 jobs in other sectors as teachers use their salaries to buy goods from shops, meals from restaurants, and rent or buy accommodation. As the education workforce is one of the most dispersed professions, reaching more deeply into rural and remote areas than other sectors such as manufacturing or financial services, the economic benefits of this “employment multiplier” are more widespread and equitable in comparison. If all low- and middle-income countries were to increase education spending by an average of 0.5%, governments could create a combined 11 million new teaching positions. Based on each country’s unique employment multiplier, this could generate an additional 15 million jobs elsewhere in the economy. Benefits could become even more widespread by expanding the definition of the education workforce beyond teachers to include, for instance, learning assistants.

The Impact Evaluation of Vietnam’s Escuela Nueva (New School) Program on Students’ Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills | Hai-Anh Dang, Paul Glewwe, Jongwook Lee, Khoa Vu | This paper evaluates how Vietnam’s Escuela Nueva (VNEN) program, an educational reform for primary schools supported by the World Bank, affected the cognitive (mathematics and Vietnamese) and non-cognitive (socioemotional) skills of students in that country. Authors use propensity score matching to estimate both short-term (1-3 years) and long-term (5-7 years) average treatment effects on the treated (ATT). They find that the impacts of VNEN on students’ cognitive skills are relatively small in the short-term, and that they are larger for boys, ethnic minorities, and students in Northern Vietnam. The VNEN program modestly increased primary school students’ non-cognitive skills in the short-term; these impacts on non-cognitive skills are sizable and significant for ethnic minority students, although there seems to be little gender difference. The long-term impacts are less precisely estimated, but they appear to fade away, showing little or no impact of the VNEN program on cognitive skills. There is little variation of long-term impacts by gender or geographical region, although the imprecision of the estimates for ethnic minority students does not allow us to rule out large long-term impacts on cognitive skills for those students. The program’s impacts on non-cognitive skills also seem to have dissipated in the long-term.

An Education Inequity Index | Guilherme Lichand, Maria Eduarda Perpetuo, Priscila Soares | One of the leading reasons behind social inequities is that elite groups have had access to more widespread and higher-quality educational opportunities much earlier, often when their economic returns were much higher. Nevertheless, measures of educational inequalities tend to focus exclusively on current differences within the school-age population. This paper proposes a new measure – the education inequity index (EII) – that captures cumulative differences in access to the economic returns of education across different groups. Concretely, the EII is the share of the cumulative wage premium appropriated by the elite over time in excess to that accrued by other groups. The paper advances a methodology to compute different versions of the EII using national household survey data.

Global Universal Basic Skills: Current Deficits and Implications for World Development | Sarah Gust, Eric Hanushek, Ludger Woessmann | How far is the world away from ensuring that every child obtains the basic skills needed to be internationally competitive? And what would accomplishing this mean for world development? Based on the micro data of international and regional achievement tests, achievement is mapped onto a common (PISA) scale. The authors estimate the share of children not achieving basic skills for 159 countries and find that at least two-thirds of the world’s youth do not reach basic skill levels, ranging from 24% in North America to 89% in South Asia and 94% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Economic analysis suggests that the present value of lost world economic output due to missing the goal of global universal basic skills amounts to over $700 trillion over the remaining century, or 11% of discounted GDP.

Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown Harm Pre-Schoolers Learning in Portugal? Yes, but with Variations Depending on Socio-economic Status | Pedro Bem-Haja, Paulo Nossa, Diogo Simões Pereira, Carlos Silva | The literature has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has indelibly affected student performance. However, this deterioration is not the same for all students, with students of a lower socio-economic status (SES) being the most affected. The present study aims to understand if the pandemic lockdown in the last year of pre-school impacted the learning skills considered crucial for the transition to primary school, and whether this impact was moderated by SES or a quiet place to study (QPS). A total of 11,158 students belonging to 318 Portuguese schools underwent an assessment protocol composed of writing skills, maths, and motor-control tasks. A pandemic effect was observed for writing skills, especially during the first lockdown. Said effects were found to be potentiated by SES. Regarding maths, the fall in skills was only observed to be significant for less economically advantaged children. Motor tasks suffered; however, this was without any significant effect for SES or QPS. Thus, a detrimental effect of the pandemic lockdown was found on pre-school skills, particularly pre-literary abilities, and especially during the first lockdown. SES appeared to potentiate some inequalities. In other words, skills differences between individuals with higher and lower SES increased during the pandemic, particularly in the first lockdown, due to novelty, unpredictability, and the need for quick adaptation.