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The Countries Getting the Highest Return on Education

December 26, 2018 Articles, INSEAD
Kai L. Chan, Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative | December 26, 2018 [caption id="attachment_3750" align="aligncenter" width="600"] The key to fostering a more educated populace is not financial – it’s cultural.[/caption] The key to fostering a more educated populace is not financial – it’s cultural.In measuring performance in education or healthcare, societies often mistakenly focus on inputs rather than outcomes. That is, it is common to erroneously measure success by counting the resources devoted to it. But expenditures do not equal success. Indeed, societies would like to spend – for an equivalent outcome – as little as possible. The United States is the global leader in dollars spent per student in tertiary education, yet its students rank 42nd globally on the GMAT, a standardised test used primarily for admission to post-graduate schooling. There is a similar disconnect between inputs and outputs for the PISA, a test administered by the OECD to a broad sample of 15-year-old students. Luxembourg spends the most in absolute terms per student in the primary and secondary stages of education, yet ranks 32nd on the PISA. If expenditures were calibrated against the size of the economy, the global leader in education would be Botswana. Figure 1 below shows the relationship…




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