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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…

The world’s smartest countries

July 12, 2017 Articles, INSEAD, Media / Op-ed
Kai L. Chan, Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative | July 12, 2017 [caption id="attachment_3479" align="aligncenter" width="650"] The countries most likely to produce the next Google.[/caption] When Sergey Brin was 16 and his family had already been living in the United States for a decade, his father took him on a short trip back to Russia. It was 1990 and the Soviet Union was collapsing. By the second day of the trip, the teenager had seen enough to grasp what his life could have been. Taking his father aside, the future co-founder of Google told him in earnest: “Thank you for taking us all out of Russia.” Although Russia has since rebounded, young Brin won the citizenship lottery, having been raised in the U.S. where he had access to great schooling and an environment to nurture his brain. As a child, he received a Montessori education, known for cultivating creativity. Later he went on to study at Stanford University where he met Larry Page and together they would go on to found one of the most valuable brands in the world. Brin’s story illustrates how – given the proper environment – education and creativity can give rise to transformative innovation in the…

The World’s Most Powerful Languages

May 22, 2017 Articles, INSEAD, Media / Op-ed
Kai L. Chan, Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative | May 22, 2017 What leaders should know about English and other languages competing for global influence. Should we all emulate Mark Zuckerberg and embrace speaking Mandarin? In April this year, U.S. President Donald Trump’s grandchildren (aged 5 and 2) engaged in soft diplomacy at the highest level when they sang in Mandarin for the Chinese president and his wife. Ten years ago, investor Jim Rogers even moved to Asia to provide his daughters with a strong Chinese learning environment. Language opens doors. Speaking more tongues means more opportunities to participate in conversations… or eavesdrop on them. It’s also clear that the power of a language goes beyond simple head count, not to mention that it’s difficult to count the number of speakers of a language given their various proficiencies. As someone who became a polyglot (five languages) in my 40s – proving that picking up languages in later years is not insurmountable – I grew interested in ranking the usefulness of languages in a scientific manner. I created the Power Language Index (PLI) as a thought experiment: If an alien were to land on Earth, what language would serve it…

A New Global Measure of Gender Progress

April 20, 2017 Articles, INSEAD, Media / Op-ed
A New Global Measure of Gender Progress Kai L. Chan, Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative | April 20, 2017 [caption id="attachment_3383" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Societies should look beyond where women fall behind and instead try to tap the full potential of both sexes.[/caption] Inequality is the “defining issue of our time”, said then U.S. President Barack Obama in 2011 and again in 2013. The next year Pope Francis tweeted that inequality was the root of all social evil. And the IMF issued a report in 2015 framing income inequality as the “defining challenge of our time”. Where does gender fit in the inequality picture? In most countries, women who want to work face more hurdles than men and, when employed, are often paid less for the same work. Another report by the IMF showed how gender income gaps dampen productivity and growth at the worldwide level. There’s no question that closing gender gaps – typically understood as giving women equal rights – is a pressing issue. However, I would argue that just as society loses when women fall short, so too when men are stifled. What Jack can do so can Jill, and vice versa Take countries like Rwanda, Nicaragua…

UAE tops GCC in INSEAD Gender Progress Index

March 11, 2017 Articles, INSEAD, Media / Op-ed
Published Saturday, March 11, 2017 The UAE achieved another milestone in the area of women's empowerment by leading the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in a Gender Progress Index (GPI) released by INSEAD, a top business school. INSEAD's GPI takes a holistic view towards gender issues and includes five dimensions: Education, health, labour, politics and power, and society. The index considers the relative performance of men versus women with no distinction between the two. The findings of the index were discussed at a seminar marking International Women’s Day at the INSEAD Middle East Campus in Abu Dhabi, and were presented by Dr. Kai L. Chan, Distinguished Fellow, Innovation & Policy Initiative, INSEAD. "The index will enable policy makers to understand the problems within society and focus on where efforts should be placed. It is about assessing which countries are doing their best in achieving the full potential of both sexes. There are more obstacles to women, but society progresses when both genders maximise their outcomes,'' Chan said. ''So far, other gender reports have focussed exclusively on either the level of gender progress or the ratio between men and women (i.e. absolute progress vs relative progress). For the GCC countries to perform…




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