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INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION PAYS OFF: International Report Links Education Spending and Economic Growth

According to a report issued last week, investments in education that were made by 16 countries may have directly contributed to their economic growth. The report, issued by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that all but three countries-Egypt, India, and Tunisia-demonstrated a correlation between education investment and economic improvement.

In fact, for each year that the average level of schooling of the adult population is raised, there is an increase of 3.7 percent in long-term economic growth. In Malaysia, for example, citizens completed an average of 3.22 years in school in 1960 and the country reported a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $2,000. By 2000, the average number of years in school had increased to 9.31 and the per capita GDP had nearly tripled. In Brazil, the average years of school completed in 1970 was 3.69 years and the per capita GDP was approximately $3,800. In 2000, Brazil’s average number of years in school grew to 7.50, and the per capita GDP was over $8,000.

One of the major factors contributing to economic and educational growth is a low rate of unemployment, according to the report. It concluded that a well-educated citizenry is more likely to be employed. The report also said that investments in education not only benefit the individual, but are likely to increase the general level of knowledge in society as well.

The report found a positive correlation between education investment and per capita GDP in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe.

The complete report is available at:
http://www1.oecd.org/publications/e-book/9603011E.PDF

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