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Education in developing countries: issues, trends, and assessment of policies
Published on September 30, 2016 30 min
Other Talks in the Series: Development Economics
Development economics: people, choices, and well-being
- Dr. Julie Schaffner
- Tufts University, USA
Hello, my name is Paul Glewwe. I'm a professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. And I'm going to give a talk on education in developing countries.
So education has sort of a dual role in economic development. First, it is an objective in its own right, people want to be educated and they want their children to be educated, but it is also a means for attaining other objectives because educated people usually have higher incomes, they have better health, there are other things that education helps people to accomplish. There are many ways to obtain education, the most common way is by formal schooling but you can also get education outside of school and learning on the job and things like that. That's sort of from a microeconomic perspective. From a macroeconomic perspective, education is thought to be a key determinant of economic growth, although this is very hard to prove in a very rigorous way. Another reason education is important is how much money is spent on education. We have good data on government spending, and in developing countries alone, not even counting developed countries, but developing countries alone, about $1 trillion is spent on education per year. This is at, you know, primary education, secondary education, post-secondary education. In addition, parents spend a lot of their own money on schooling for their kids. And college age people or university age people spend their own money on education. So a lot of money is spent. But we don't have as good a data on how much the parents or the students are spending on their education. And so the basic purpose of this talk is to discuss, well, what are we getting for this money, both in terms of kids going to school and kids learning while they're in school. So that's what I'll be talking about. And the first thing to point out, and I'll show you a slide in a second, is that there have been very large increases in school enrollment and attainment in terms of years of schooling in developing countries since 1960, which is a good news. On the other hand, the bad news is that there's a lot of evidence that schools are not very effective in terms of kids learning a lot when they're in school.