News and Research 46: Early Childhood Development

Status of Early Childhood Health and Development in Northern Lao PDR  A recent study provides an in-depth picture of the status of children’s health and development, of the social, demographic and economic contexts in which children in northern Lao PDR are growing up, and of how all these factors are having an impact on children’s development. Read more  Infographics | Snapshots | Report | Project


Reducing Early Grade Drop Out and Low Learning Achievement in Lao PDR  Participation in basic education in Lao PDR has improved steadily in recent decades. However, the country still faces persistent problems related to the significant number of children remaining out of school or leaving primary school early. Read more  Report | Project


Program for Herders’ pre-school children wraps up Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Save the Children Mongolia and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports have successfully implemented a project that helps herders’ children make a good start to their education. The project demonstrated significant results for 8,500 herder children, their parents, teachers, community and rural areas. The project’s closing workshop was held at the Tuushin hotel on May 29, 2017. The project titled “Improving primary education outcomes for the most vulnerable children in rural Mongolia”, was conducted between 2012 and 2017 in 30 soums in Arkhangai, Dornod, Uvurkhangai and Sukhbaatar aimags with a total grant amount of USD 2.5 million financed by the World Bank and Japan Social Development Fund. The project created and implemented three programs to meet the learning and development needs of herders’ children in rural Mongolia.  First, over 4,000 five-years old herders’ children with little or no access to early childhood education completed the Home-based school preparation program with their parents’ help. As a result, the average rate of preschool enrollment in four target aimags increased by 13.2%,from 72.8% in the 2012-2013 academic year to 86% in 2016-2017. A World Bank study on the quality of preschool education found that the cognitive and language skills of  children who completed the home-based school preparation programs were better than those who had no access to early childhood education and that studying in ger kindergartens to prepare for school is crucial for children’s further learning and achievement…


Analyzing Upper Secondary Education Dropout in Latin America through a Cohort Approach This study examines recent trends and factors in school dropout at the upper secondary education level across Latin America. The methodology employs repeated cross sections of data to track the life cycle path of cohorts of individuals in 18 countries. A key finding is that while upper secondary enrollment rates increased in the region, dropout has remained persistently high, despite relatively favorable macroeconomic conditions. To explain dropout trends, the study examines the impact of three groups of factors: (i) shifts in the cohort size and socioeconomic composition of the population eligible for entering upper secondary; (b) the macroeconomic environment and labor market opportunities; and (c) the returns to schooling. We show that an important factor in persistently high dropout rates has been the higher numbers of students from poor socioeconomic backgrounds reaching upper secondary…

Test score difference halved due to subsidy from government to private schools for migrants in Shanghai As spaces in public schools are limited, a substantial number of migrant children living in Chinese cities but without local hukou are enrolled in private migrant schools. This paper studies the quality of migrant schools using data collected in Shanghai in 2010 and 2012. Although students in migrant schools perform considerably worse than their counterparts in public schools, the test score difference in mathematics has almost been halved between 2010 and 2012, due to increased financial subsidy from the government. We rule out alternative explanations for the convergence in test scores. We also conduct a falsification test and find no relative changes in the performance of migrant school students based on a follow-up survey of a new cohort of students in 2015 and 2016, a period with no changes in financial subsidies to migrant schools.

Special Issue: Progress toward a Literate World: Early Reading Interventions in Low- and Middle-Income Countries | New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development

New Estimates on Educational Attainment Using a Continuous Approach (1970-2010)

Understanding the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Evidence from China

China’s expansion of higher education: The labour market consequences of supply shock

Essays on Vulnerability and Inclusive Development in Developing Asia : a focus on Vietnam

New Estimates on Educational Attainment Using a Continuous Approach (1970–2010)

New evidence on the need for a multi-sectoral approach to reducing childhood stunting

Mismatch as choice

Economic Returns to Education in the United Kingdom

Labor market developments and reforms in Korea | Lee, Juho | 1997 This paper attempts to document the structural changes in the Korean labor market in the 1980s and the 1990s with special emphasis on the changes around 1987. We have investigated the…

Labor market reform and wage inequality in Korea | Kim, Hyeon-Kyeong | 2014 A large and growing literature discusses the causes of increasing Korean inequality. Off-shoring, greater exposure to the global market, and skill-biased technological change have figured…

Globalization, labor market flexibility and the Korean labor reform | You, JongIl | 1997 This paper addresses the question of labor market flexibility in Korea. It starts out with a conceptual discussion on different notions of labor market flexibility, identifying market-driven flexibility and…

Strategies for reforming Korea’s labor market | Dao, Mai | 2014 While the Korean unemployment rates are currently among the lowest in OECD countries, the labor market duality and the underemployment in some segments of the population…

Labour market reform and social safety net policies in Korea | OECD | 2000 Korea has experienced one of the most impressive economic records of modern capitalism. Following the Korean War, from which the country emerged as one of the poorest in the world,…

The politics of labor market reform in coordinated welfare capitalism: comparing Sweden, Germany, an | Fleckenstein, Timo | 2016 Since the 1990s, coordinated welfare capitalism has been subject to comprehensive change, with workfare measures and the deregulation of employment protection at the heart of labor…

Labor market reform | SaKong, Il | 2010 In restructuring corporations and financial institutions, the large-scale layoff of redundant workers was inevitable. However, militant labor unions had traditionally been afixture in these organizations…

News and Research 45: Happy and Smart Kids

Happy and Smart Kids: Three Lessons from the Netherlands  I just read The Happiest Kids in the World: Bringing up Children the Dutch Way by Doing Less by Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison. It turns out that by relaxing more you can raise happy, well-adjusted, bright children. It’s great parenting advice. Dutch children are globally ranked Number 1 in happiness. Also, Dutch teens rank near the top of another global survey in terms of life satisfaction. The Netherlands accomplishes this through great traditions but also good policy. (The Dutch also have a great Christmas tradition, recounted here by David Sedaris, but that’s another story altogether.) Since 1917 the Netherlands has had school choice and today more than 2/3 of all schools are run privately, though all are equally funded by the state. Choice in the Netherlands comes as a surprise to many, including pro-choice advocates in the United States. But it is certainly not ignored for its progress. The Netherlands is consistently ranked high in academic achievement. Since 2003, among countries with continuous participation in PISA, the Netherlands on average ranks in the top 10, in fact, number 8 in the world in mathematics. What lessons can one draw from this experience?…[more]


Be educated, be happy Learning is no entertainment.” Was Bruno Mars, an example of a talented person without formal skills, the one who coined this phrase? Nope. Aristotle did. If you want to be happy, then don’t engage in learning-related activities. This goes against the recent global trend in schooling. Many education systems in a variety of nations are leaving behind the concept of “no pain, no gain.” Many advanced countries now implement the concept of happy schools. In March, the World Bank and Australia’s Foreign Affairs and Trade ministries conducted a conference on “equitable and excellent basic education systems” in Jakarta…[more]

Vietnam urges for more autonomy for schools

Measuring Gender Equality

The World Wealth and Income Database (

Management and Student Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment

Is Test-Based Accountability Dead?

Thailand: Education reforms as elusive as ever

Multilingual education helps children in north east Cambodia to learn at school

Research Digest Spring 2017 Issue now Online | Special Issue on Labor Market Issues

La educación de calidad es el antídoto

Happy and Smart Kids: 3 Lessons from the Netherlands

[From HuffPost]

I just read The Happiest Kids in the World: Bringing up Children the Dutch Way by Doing Less by Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison. It turns out that by relaxing more you can raise happy, well-adjusted, bright children. It’s great parenting advice. Dutch children are globally ranked Number 1 in happiness. Also, Dutch teens rank near the top of another global survey in terms of life satisfaction. The Netherlands accomplishes this through great traditions but also good policy. (The Dutch also have a great Christmas tradition, recounted here by David Sedaris, but that’s another story altogether.)

Since 1917 the Netherlands has had school choice and today more than 2/3 of all schools are run privately, though all are equally funded by the state. Choice in the Netherlands comes as a surprise to many, including pro-choice advocates in the United States. But it is certainly not ignored for its progress. The Netherlands is consistently ranked high in academic achievement. Since 2003, among countries with continuous participation in PISA, the Netherlands on average ranks in the top 10, in fact, number 8 in the world in mathematics.

What lessons can one draw from this experience? There are three principal ones:

1. Educational freedom and choice. One of the key features of the Dutch education system is freedom of education (guaranteed under Article 23 of the Constitution) – freedom to establish schools and organize teaching. The country’s policies encourage innovation by providers; schools are not restricted to teaching the core curriculum; and they can tailor the curriculum to meet the needs of the specific students they teach. Schools are also able to select teachers and set wage and salary increases. There is relative ease of entry of new providers. A small number of parents can and do propose to start a school. Government is required to provide initial capital costs and ongoing expenses, while the municipality provides buildings. The school choice system creates a healthy dose of competition. Coupled with transparent achievement results dissemination by the national inspectorate, the competition leads to improved academic results. School rankings published in the national newspaper Trouw led to significance quality improvements by schools with relatively low rankings. Yet, even with high overall scores and seeming equity in performance, it is the case that private school attendance promotes academic performance. In fact, private school attendance is associated with higher test scores in math, reading and science. The reason for that is that in the Netherlands, private school choice is not the preserve of the rich. In fact, it is relatively less educated parents that send their children to private schools.

2. Regulations and policy apply to the whole system, public and private. Moreover, it is municipal authorities that manage public schools; the central Ministry of Education oversees all schools through regulation and policy. The Netherlands has a well-developed policy environment for engaging the private sector in education. While the freedom to organize teaching means that schools are free to determine how to teach, still the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science does impose a few statutory standards in relation to the quality of education. The country also has a high level of school accountability. Information has been publicly available from the Dutch Inspectorate of Education since 1998. The Education Inspectorate is charged by the Minister of Education with supervising the way schools fulfill their responsibilities.

3. A focus on equity. Schools must admit all pupils and most pursue non-restrictive admissions policies. Money follows students and each school receives for each student enrolled a sum equivalent to the per student cost of public schooling. The school that receives the funds is then entitled to funding that will cover specified amounts of teacher salaries and other expenses. There is, despite school choice and diversity of supply, no significant elite school sector, and private schools are run not-for-profit. The government also increases funding to meet specific student needs.

Moreover, the Netherlands delivers these results while spending considerably less than most other countries. While the specific policies are uniquely Dutch, the system characteristics are eminently adaptable in other countries. There are in fact several jurisdictions that follow similar policies.

News and Research 44: Autonomous Higher Education




World Bank funds US$155 Million to Support Autonomous Higher Education in Vietnam  The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today US$155 million in financing to strengthen the research, teaching, and institutional capacity of three autonomous universities and improve the management of Vietnam’s higher education system.  More than 150,000 students and 3,900 members of faculty will benefit from the investments for Vietnam’s National University of Agriculture, the University of Science and Technology in Hanoi, and the Industry University of Ho Chi Minh City. Some 600,000 students and 27,000 lecturers from other higher education institutions will also broaden their learning resources by gaining access to a digital library at the National Economics University…The project will support the financing of new facilities and equipment for teaching and research, as well as the strengthening management systems. Science and technology universities as well as research-oriented institutions will benefit, so that lessons can be generalized to inform policies on autonomy and quality assurance for the universities…

Extreme selection methods spark China education storm…Shanghai private schools assess parents and grandparents along with prospective pupils

Pakistan to cooperate with N Chinese port city in vocational education

Cognitive ability, parenting and instruction in Vietnam and Germany

Implications for Teacher Training and Support for Inclusive Education in Cambodia: An Empirical Case Study in a Developing Country

Paying for education in Dubai: is it really worth it?

Hands-on work beats theory, Hong Kong vocational educators using VR technologies say

School for refugee children, run by refugees in Indonesia


Coping with change: International differences in the returns to skills

Earnings over the Life Course: General versus Vocational Education

Tills and skills: How to prepare America’s retail workers for technological change

Make education free of charge?

Compensation, Diversity and Inclusion at the World Bank Group

News and Research 42: Shared principles for equitable and excellent basic education


psachLearning for all: shared principles for equitable and excellent basic education systems  More than 200 participants – including government officials, policymakers and education experts from over 20 countries gathered in Jakarta, Indonesia, for the global conference Learning for All: Shared Principles for Equitable and Excellent Basic Education SystemsThe conference addressed themes related to improving learning outcomes for all students, including how to support effective teaching and early childhood development, balancing school autonomy and accountability, and how education systems can build the skills needed for the 21st century…[more]

Indonesia needs to revive interest in reading books

Education in Cambodia – GPE

Private education plays expanding role across Africa

How a former economist in a village near Dehradun is transforming lives of the poorest of the poor

Northwestern economist receives lifetime achievement award

Daily chart: Higher education in Britain is still good value compared with America

Economy mega shifts are here to stay – Tap your talents to thrive

250 Million Children Lack Basic Reading Skills. Let’s Make It Zero.

The Comparative Politics of Education: Teachers Unions and Education Systems around the World

Going beyond basic indicators: A new tool to measure education service delivery

Teacher performance pay: Experimental evidence from Pakistan

The Business of Education in Africa

Social intelligence will revolutionize education. Here’s how:

Prof. George Psacharopoulos: Sixty Years of Returns to Education, Where Do We Stand?

How China Escaped the Poverty Trap

how china

In 1980 China’s GDP per capita was $193. Lower than that of Bangladesh, Chad and Malawi.  This means that average food consumption was below basic nutritional standards.  But 30 years later, China is the world’s second largest economy, the world’s largest exporter and GDP per capita jumped 30-fold to $6,091 – at the same time Malawi’s income grew by $50. How China Escaped the Poverty Trap by Yuen Yuen Ang documents in detail the process of economic development and shows how improving institutions and opening up of markets simultaneously led to economic growth.

News and Research 41: China to make high school compulsory


chinaChina to make high school compulsory

Move expected to raise enrollment ratio, support children in less developed areas. The country is to extend the current nine-year compulsory education to encompass high school students nationwide by 2020, according to a guideline recently released by the Ministry of Education and other three ministries. The Guideline for Popularizing High School Education (2017-20), released early this month, aims to raise the gross enrolment ratio for high schools to above 90 percent on average nationwide with rates in central and western China substantially improved. Last year, China’s overall gross enrollment ratio was 87.5 percent for high schools, meaning a rise of 2.5 percentage points in the next four years, according to the guideline. The ratio is a statistical measurement to show the number of enrolled students to those who qualify for certain grades, ranging from primary school to middle and high school periods. Over the past few decades, China required children to attend primary and middle schools, while high school was not obligatory. Meanwhile, the document said the country is set to achieve a more reasonable structure between high school and secondary occupational education while enrolling a larger number of children into both schools. In addition, these schools will enjoy more funds and better facilities to significantly improve the quality of education. High school is a special and important stage for most Chinese students, which links the nine-year compulsory education and college time they will spend before getting a job. That’s why high school has been considered a key period to improve quality of the nation’s human resources. The guideline was in line with China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), which pledges to popularize high school education by the end of this period. The new document is also to bridge regional disparity of high school education as the central and western regions lag far behind the east…

Variation in Education Costs and Future Earnings  Future earnings differ substantially across college majors, but so do instructional costs. They don’t always line up…

America’s Missing Workers Are Primarily Middle Educated

Social inclusion essential for eradicating poverty

How Dubai Cares is getting children into school

800 million students will be unemployed by 2030: Here’s why

Asians spend seven times as much as Americans on tutoring to give their kids an edge

Evidence of Private Wage Returns to Schooling in Indonesia from Labor Force Surveys

Returns to Education Using a Sample of Twins: Evidence from Japan

Escuela Nueva is 30 years old: Bringing a student-centered participatory pedagogy to scale in Colombia

Returns to Education During and After the Economic Crisis: Evidence from Latvia 2006–2012

Benefits to elite schools and the expected returns to education: Evidence from Mexico City

Flourish or Fail? The Risky Reward of Elite High School Admission in Mexico City

Impact of Universal Primary Education Policy on Out of School Children in Uganda

High School Track Choice and Liquidity Constraints: Evidence from Urban Mexico

Public-Private Partnerships in Education Presentation at Harvard Ministerial Leadership Forum, April 25, 2017

The impact of an accountability intervention with diagnostic feedback: Evidence from Mexico