By Amruta Byatnal
From the article:
MUMBAI, India — When World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced the human capital index at the bank’s spring meetings this April, he anticipated the rankings to be “wildly controversial.” Delivering on his prophecy, India — which ranked 115th out of 157 when the index was launched last week — rejected the results.
The HCI aims to determine national levels of human capital by using survival and stunting rates as a measure of health, and quality-adjusted learning as a measure of education, to indicate the potential productivity of children born in a given country. India scored 0.44, lower than the average of 0.56, suggesting a child born in the country today will only be 44 percent as productive as she could be if she had complete health and education. The country brief points out that India’s score “is lower than the average for its region and income group.”
In challenging the methodology of the HCI, India also challenged its premise. It claimed such slow-moving indicators would do little to motivate efforts toward an improved ranking, and that the indicators used do “not reflect the key initiatives that are being taken for developing human capital in the country.”
It claimed the data used for measuring education quality is not accurate, challenging the veracity of the Programme for International Student Assessment and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study scores used in the HCI. That was in part because the PISA scores date back to the last time the assessment was done in India in 2009.
Still, a forthcoming paper from the Center for Global Development, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, used a synthetic test made up of different international assessments on 4,000 children in the Indian state of Bihar. The results weren’t very different from the 2009 PISA test.
Anit Mukherjee, a policy fellow focusing on education at CGD who co-authored the paper, sees this as an opportunity for the government to shift its focus from inputs to learning outcomes. “Can learning be the center of India's education policy going forward? There are good examples in different states within the country, and there’s a lot to learn from them,” he said.
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