Singapore has been ranked first in the World Bank’s Human Capital Index report based on health, education and economic growth indicators.
The report was released on Thursday at the annual meeting of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and ranks 157 countries on parameters of mortality rates, school expectancy rates, adult survival rates and other health and education indicators. The index measures human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by her 18th birthday in his or her country, given the risks of poor health and poor education. The newly introduced system of country rankings is aimed at urging governments to invest more effectively in education and healthcare.
Singapore scored 0.88 on the Human Capital Index (HCI), which has a global average of 0.57, spurred by its superior health and education facilities. A Singaporean child starting school at the age of four was expected to complete 13 years of school by his or her 18th birthday. The report added that 98 percent of Singapore’s “students reach the international benchmark for basic proficiency in secondary school; in South Africa, only 26 per cent of students meet that standard”.
Singaporean students scored 581 on the “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.
Other indicators that make Singapore 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. Singapore was followed by South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.
Pakistan scored a dismal 0.39 on the index. The HCI said 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.
Per the index, a Pakistani child could expect to complete just 8.8 years of education, against a global average of 11.2 years of education. Pakistan’s expected education score was even below the South Asian average of 10.5 years. The country scored 339 on the harmonized test scores, while only a little over half of Pakistani children under five years of age were reported not to have a stunted growth.
Pakistan also ranked low for “learning-adjusted years of school” that factors what children actually learn at school. Compared to a Singaporean child’s learning score of 12.9, Pakistani children’s learning outcomes were recorded at just 4.8.
India on the contrary scored 0.44 on the index, with an average Indian child expected to complete 10.2 years of schooling. India also had a higher score than Pakistan of 355 in the harmonized test score, while it also had fewer number of children under five experiencing stunted growth.
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said it the report was important as it would encourage governments to take steps to move up the index. He said other countries should follow Singapore as a benchmark and must learn from their educational system.