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To unlock student potential in East Asia Pacific, be demanding and supportive of teachers

Michael Crawford's picture

Among the 29 countries and economies of the East Asia and Pacific region, one finds some of the world’s most successful education systems. Seven out of the top 10 highest average scorers on internationally comparable tests such as PISA and TIMSS are from the region, with Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong (China) consistently among the best. 

But, more significantly, one also finds that great performance is not limited to school systems in the region’s high-income countries. School systems in middle-income Vietnam and China (specifically the provinces of Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Guangdong) score better than the average OECD country, despite having much lower GDP per capita. What is more, scores from both China and Vietnam show that poor students are not being left behind. Students from the second-lowest income quintile score better than the average OECD student, and even the very poorest test takers outscore students from some wealthy countries. As the graph below shows, however, other countries in the region have yet to achieve similar results.

ASEAN meeting explores ways of professionalizing public procurement to meet development challenges

Adu-Gyamfi Abunyewa's picture
Construction of a sky train in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Seksan Pipattanatikanunt/World Bank
In the past, procurement (purchasing) was not considered to be a specialist function but one of the numerous duties that administrators performed in their respective government departments. However, today it is acknowledged that procurement has become an extremely complex and crucial undertaking coupled with the need to ensure value for money in the use of public resources to enhance the living conditions of its citizens.

The responsibilities have radically changed from that of an administrative service function to a proactive and strategic one. Unfortunately, in most jurisdictions the procurement function is still not considered a specific profession and consequently, building procurement professional expertise to meet development challenges remains an unfinished agenda.

Resilient transport investments: a climate imperative for Small Island Developing Countries

Franz Drees-Gross's picture
В предыдущих постах я подчеркивала важность создания равных возможностей для всех девочек и мальчиков Армении - учиться, расти, и выбирать способы, с помощью которых они смогут внести вклад в свою экономику, свое общество и в свою страну. Я верю, что более диверсифицированная и устойчивая экономика с более полным диапазоном возможностей как для мужчин, так и для женщин, может помочь замедлить процесс эмиграции и «утечку мозгов», а также поспособствует достижению Арменией устойчивого роста.

В дополнение к нашим обсуждениям здесь, в Армении, по поводу поощрения участия женщин на рынке труда, мы также говорили о том, почему жизнь и благополучие мужчин находятся в таком неблагоприятном положении, например, в связи с устойчиво высоким уровнем смертности среди мужчин взрослого возраста. Мы задались вопросом: как подобная тенденция влияет на экономику и общество в целом?

How do we achieve sustained growth? Through human capital, and East Asia and the Pacific proves it

Michael Crawford's picture
Students at Beijing Bayi High School in China. Photo: World Bank


In 1950, the average working-age person in the world had  almost three years of education, but in East Asia and Pacific (EAP), the  average person had less than half that amount. Around this time, countries in  the EAP  region put themselves on a path that focused on growth  driven by human capital. They made significant and steady investments in  schooling to close the educational attainment gap with the rest of the world. While  improving their school systems, they also put their human capital to work in  labor markets. As a result, economic growth has been stellar: for four decades  EAP has grown at roughly twice the pace of the global average. What is more, no  slowdown is in sight for rising prosperity.

High economic growth and strong human capital accumulation  are deeply intertwined. In a recent paper, Daron Acemoglu and David Autor explore  the way skills and labor markets interact: Human capital is the central  determinant of economic growth and is the main—and very likely the only—means  to achieve shared growth when technology is changing quickly and raising the  demand for skills. Skills promote productivity and growth, but if there are not  enough skilled workers, growth soon chokes off. If, by contrast, skills are abundant and  average skill-levels keep rising, technological change can drive productivity  and growth without stoking inequality.

Part of the #Youthbiz movement? Share your story!

Valerie Lorena's picture
In Moldova, waiting for the snow to melt

Свежее зимнее утро, и из окна своего офиса я вижу город со стороны. Он черно-белый. Белый из-за зданий, построенных из известняка, который добыли в старых шахтах, в которых теперь размещаются винные погреба. Черный из-за деревьев и их теней на заснеженных улицах, парках и площадях. Но это только вид из моего окна.

Now is the time to strengthen disaster risk reduction in East Asia and the Pacific

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
In PDF: Korean | Khmer

Every time I learn of another natural disaster – the people killed and injured, homes destroyed, livelihoods lost – I know we must act to reduce the tragic impact instead of waiting for the next disaster strikes.

We have that chance with this year’s World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, which seeks to finalize the successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA2) that guides policymakers and international stakeholders in managing disaster risk. The conference is an opportunity to set new milestones in disaster risk reduction and fighting poverty.

The cost of natural disasters already is high – 2.5 million people and $4 trillion lost over the past 30 years with a corresponding blow to development efforts.

In Asia, rapid urbanization combined with poor planning dramatically increases the exposure of cities, particularly those along densely populated coasts and river basins. Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 7,350 people in the Philippines in 2013, directly contributed to a 1.2 percent rise in poverty.
 

Pacific connected: A regional approach to development challenges facing island nations

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Éoliennes en Californie. Bryan Siders/Creative Commons


La province de l'Ontario, au Canada, a annoncé le mois dernier qu'elle s'associerait à la Californie et au Québec au sein d'un système de plafonnement et d'échange destiné à réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre (GES). Saluée par les observateurs du marché du carbone, cette décision montre comment les administrations locales peuvent éviter les longues batailles politiques que doivent souvent mener les gouvernements nationaux au moment de soumettre leurs objectifs à la Convention-cadre des Nations unies sur le changement climatique.

En cette période où les États sont en mal d'ambition, est-ce que cette forme d'action locale pourrait être l'amorce d'un mouvement beaucoup plus étendu ?

East Asia and Pacific countries can do better in labor regulation and social protection

Truman Packard's picture
Le chef David Chang, à gauche, avec le Président du Groupe de la Banque mondiale Jim Yong Kim lors de la discussion sur l’avenir de l’alimentation
​© Simone D. McCourtie/Banque mondiale

Comment garantir à chacun une alimentation nutritive partout dans le monde ? C’est autour de cette question qu’ont été réunis un chef cuisinier célèbre, le président du Groupe de la Banque mondiale, une productrice de champignons et un défenseur de la « gastronomie sociale », lors d’un événement organisé avant la tenue des Réunions de printemps du Groupe de la Banque mondiale et du FMI. La discussion, consacrée à l’avenir de l’alimentation, avait pour objectif d’explorer toutes les pistes qui pourraient permettre d’éradiquer la faim dans le monde et de répondre aux défis alimentaires de demain.

À l’heure actuelle, près de 800 millions de personnes se couchent chaque soir avec le ventre vide. Sachant qu’en 2050, il faudra nourrir 9 milliards d’êtres humains, il est indispensable d’accroître la productivité agricole, a souligné Jim Yong Kim, président du Groupe de la Banque mondiale.

Mais, d’emblée, une question saute aux yeux : comment quelqu’un comme David Chang (a), fondateur de la chaîne de restaurants Momofuku, peut-il contribuer au débat ?

A Fragile Country Tale: Restrictions, Trade Deficits, and Aid Dependence

Massimiliano Calì's picture
Also available in: Español

Follow the author on Twitter: @shomik_raj

On a recent trip to Mexico City, I had the pleasure of participating in three events that really brought home the transformative power of the open data and open source eco-system that is becoming an ever more important element of our work in transport.

First I joined the Secretary of Mobility for Mexico City to inaugurate an open data-based system for alerting public transport users in this city of 8 million of any disruptions to the city’s multimodal transport system consisting of an extensive metro system, a suburban rail line, 5 lines of the Metrobus Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT), an electric trolley system, as well as a substantial publicly operated bus system.  The alert system was built using open-source software on an open standardized data set of schedules supported by the Bank last year (read more about that initiative led by my colleague Catalina Ochoa).  Not only does this service deliver value for Mexico City commuters immediately, but it also allows any other city that has its data organized in a similar standard GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification) format (over a 1,000 cities do) to use the same code developed for Mexico City off GitHub, a web registry.  Moreover, the open standardized formats let developers in Mexico City or elsewhere build apps that use this information. The market for these applications is potentially global, spurring innovation for user-oriented applications in public transport: there are already many hundreds of GTFS based applications.

Notes From the Field: Taking On Politics, Shifting Paradigms

Miles McKenna's picture


For Concepción, Chile, a smart city began with people using Lego blocks.

Together with the World Bank, Chile's Unit of Smart Cities in its Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications has been working with Concepción to create a vision for techonology solutions that will help build the Gran Concepción of 2025. A variety of stakeholders including local and municipal government officials, academic staff, the private sector, civil society actors and citizens participated in a vision exercise during a co-creation workshop. The workshop applied design thinking and foresight analysis techniques, organized teams with different stakeholders and assigned roles to each different group.

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