Expanding Universal Primary Education
Diagnosis Writing Assignment
Education as an essential element to overcome poverty
Developing countries have experienced great progress in primary education access. From 2000 to 2011, the enrollment rate increased from 83% to 90%, and the number of children who had never gone to school decreased by half (from 102 million in 2000 to 57 million in 2011). However, even today 250 million children are unable to read, write or do basic maths. It is not enough to provide school access, improving the quality of learning is decisive. Moreover, children tend to leave school before finishing primary education. Estimations suggest that around 25% of the children who are starting school this September will not finish primary education (same …show more content…
This exceptional economic growth was attributed by many scholars to, among other reasons, the development of human capital. So was the case of Japan (Emi, 1968) and Taiwan (Singer, 1983). In recent years, education has also played a determining role, contributing to reduce inequalities and raise life expectancy and quality of life. Of course other different factors have to be taken into account, but at least partly, this results are associate with the prioritization in education spending (Papanek, 1988). As an example, Bolivia and Indonesia had similar levels of GDP/Capita and education spending back in 1990. The difference relied in where was that spending actually spent. Bolivia devoted 41% of that budget to primary schooling, whereas Indonesia devoted nearly 90%. This fact resulted in abrupt differences in outcomes: 60% primary enrollment in Bolivia compared to 91% in Indonesia (with almost no gender gap). The highest priority for public intervention in education should focus on primary education, since it provides higher returns at a much lower cost.
Education is complex and policy options are not easy to evaluate. Finding empirical evidence is not simple, since in most of the cases evidence supporting positive and negative effects, or finding statistically insignificant ones, do exist. For instance, Harbison and Hanushek (1992) found out that from 30 studies analyzing the effect …show more content…
It is essential to take into account that enrollment does not mean, by itself, learning. It is true that enrollment rates are going up around the world, but said before, learning levels are still low. What really matters now is the quality of education and, since the largest component of the education budget is teacher salaries, attention must to be paid to teachers. Teacher absence is common in countries like India (25%) and other developing countries, usually the poorest. In order to incentive teachers to attend to school, Duflo, Hanna and Ryan (2012), equipped some schools with cameras with date stamps; and they conducted a randomized evaluation comparing those schools with similar schools in the same region. Only by asking each teacher to take one photo a day in which both the teacher and the pupils appeared, teacher attendance and test scores