Pakistan has scored a disappointing but expected 0.39 on World Bank’s first ever Human Capital Index released on Thursday. The index ranks 157 countries for the first time on the basis how they develop their human resources and what a child in that country today could expect to achieve by his or her 18th birthday.
The index evaluates the contribution “of health and education to the productivity of the next generation of workers”, with the World Bank saying countries could use it to assess how much income they were foregoing because of human capital gaps, and how much faster they could turn these losses into gains if they acted now. Singapore was named the top country on the index with a score of 0.88 and an expected average 13.9 years of education for children.
Other indicators that helped Singapore rise to the top shine include infant mortality. The index said children born in Singapore had a survival rate of almost a 100 percent, while 95 per cent of 15-year-olds were likely to survive until the age of 60.
According to the Human Capital Index, a “child born in Pakistan today will be 39 percent as productive” when he or she grows up as he or she could be if provided complete education and full health. Decoded, this means an average Pakistani child would perform at only 39% of his productivity of a total 100% given the current level of health and education facilities. Moreover, a Pakistani child was expected to complete just 8.8 years of education if enrolled in school at age 4. This average school years are much below the global average of 11.2 years of education that children could expect to attain. Even in South Asia, an average child could expect to attain 10.5 years of education.
But more harrowing was the amount of learning children are actually attaining in Pakistan. When adjusted for learning outcomes, an average child in Pakistan was expected to achieve just 4.8 years of schooling by the time he or she reached 18 years of age. The same average was 12.9 for Singapore, and 7.9 globally.
Pakistan also scored below par for harmonized test scores, a system that combines data from major international student achievement testing programmes into common units. Per the scores 300 represents minimal attainment, and 625 represents advanced attainment. Pakistan achieved a score of 339, paltry when compared to Singapore’s 581. Pakistan’s score was also dismal in the health category, where the index reported that only 55 percent of Pakistani children under five years of age did not have stunted growth.
On the other hand, India fared better on the Human Capital Index with a score of 0.44. Per the report, an average Indian child could be expected to complete 10.2 years of schooling. India also had a better score than Pakistan of 5.8 for adjusted school years. India’s score in the harmonized test score was 355, while it also had fewer number of children under five experiencing stunted growth.