Towards a More Sustainable and Transparent Higher Education System in Latvia | Lucia Brajkovic, Diego Ambasz | Academic careers are an important aspect of higher education policy and practice. A high-quality academic workforce – spanning both teaching and research positions – provides major inputs into relevant research publications and top-notch teaching practices. But it is also costly. As a result, the overall success of a higher education system depends to a great extent on well-selected and motivated academics, benefitting from attractive academic career opportunities, research environments, and efficient human resources (HR) policies. Despite significant reform progress, Latvia’s higher education system – spanning 16 state-funded and 11 private higher education institutions – is currently unable to exploit the benefits of a dynamic academic-career system. This can be attributed to three systemic issues: (1) the fragmentation of academic careers by work contracts into teaching and research streams, with the former being the predominant one; (2) the lack of clear career paths; and (3) weak internationalization.
The most-regretted (and lowest-paying) college majors | Almost half of humanities and arts majors regret their choice — and enrollment in those disciplines is shrinking rapidly
Higher Education Expansion, Labor Market, and Firm Productivity in Vietnam | This paper examines the role of higher education on workers and firms by studying a national expansion of higher education in Vietnam, which established over 100 universities from 2006 to 2013. A dataset on the timing and location of university openings is collected and estimates of individuals’ exposure to a university opening increases their chances of completing college by over 30%. It also raises their wage by 3.9% and household expenditure by 14%. At the market level, the expansion increases the relative supply of college-educated workers, thus reducing the college wage premium. It also raises firms’ productivity and employment of college-educated workers. Opening a university in one district has substantial spatial spillover effects on the labor market of nearby districts.
Parental Beliefs about Returns to Different Types of Investments in School Children | Using a representative sample of 1,962 parents in England, we study how parents perceive the returns to parental time investments, material investments, and school quality. Parents perceive the returns to three hours of weekly time investments or £30 of weekly material investments to matter more than moving a child to a better school. Material investments are perceived as more productive if children attend higher-quality schools. Perceived returns do not differ with the child’s initial human capital or gender, and they are highly correlated with actual investment decisions.
Evaluating the Effects of a Massive Rural Education Expansion in Pre-reform China | On the eve of its economic reforms, China achieved a much higher level of secondary education than other countries with a similar per capita income at the time. This study investigates the pre-reform formation of China’s human capital by examining a massive rural education expansion program during the Cultural Revolution that increased the number of secondary schools more than tenfold. We estimate the impact of the expansion by compiling a new county-level data from local gazetteers and exploiting the county-level variation in the speed of expansion for the identification purpose. We provide strong evidence that the program significantly improved rural children’s educational attainment, and suggestive evidence that teachers contributed more to this improvement than schools. By building a pool of middle-skilled labor years later, the education expansion program boosted local agricultural yields and increased the productivity of the township and village enterprises that emerged after the reform. There is some evidence that this rapid expansion was associated with a deterioration in education quality.
Risks to Child Development and School Readiness among Children under Six in Pakistan: Findings from a Nationally Representative Phone Survey | This paper analyzes the risks to child development and school readiness among children under age 6 in Pakistan. Drawing on a nationally representative telephone survey conducted between December 2021 and February 2022, it presents the first nationally representative estimates of child development for children under 3 years of age and school readiness for children 3 to 6 years of age, using internationally validated instruments. The paper examines how risk factors such as parental distress, lack of psychosocial stimulation, food insecurity, low maternal education, no enrollment in early childhood education, and living in a rural area are associated with children’s outcomes. The data indicate that more than half (57 percent) of parents with children under age 3 were distressed and that 61 percent of households reported cutting down on the size of or skipping meals since the start of the pandemic. The data reveal that over half of parents fail to engage in adequate psychosocial stimulation with their child and enrollment in early childhood education is very low (39 percent). The paper finds that child development outcomes decline rapidly as the number of risks increase. Specifically, for children under 3 years, lack of psychosocial stimulation at home and higher levels of parental distress were most significantly associated with lower child development levels. For a child aged 3 to 6 years, early childhood education enrollment and the amount of psychosocial stimulation the child receives at home had the strongest association with school readiness scores.
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