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Date: 2024-05-20 Page is: DBtxt003.php txt00004428

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Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators

Education Indicator

Burgess COMMENTARY

Peter Burgess

Education Indicator

Our Education Indicator gives an overview of current educational issues. Swirling around the debates over educational reform, national testing and standards, school vouchers, 'charter' schools, and home schooling are those on the shift to today's globalized information-based economy. Knowledge is now widely recognized as a key factor of production. Politicians in many countries, including the USA, run for office on platforms that stress education. Since 9/11, there have been many calls to 'globalize' the curriculum to prepare students for a globally-interdependent, multicultural world. One example of an innovative program is Brasil's 'bolsa escola,' which successfully keeps children in school by tying welfare payments to their parents, based on school attendance records.

The World Bank and other multilateral institutions now agree that investments in education (particularly at preschool and K through 12 levels) are the new keys, along with investments in health, to economic development. Nothing is changing our business and academic institutions faster than the new definitions of human and intellectual capital. As many new Internet-based, e-commerce businesses know, a company cannot 'own' the part of its knowledge base that resides in the heads of its employees. The rise of stock options, partnerships, and Employee Stock Ownership Plans are all related to this new new evaluation of intellectual capital, on which all technical and social innovation is based. Today, more than ever, education is a basic human right in many countries as well as in the United States. Furthermore, levels of education will drive all the world's economies toward development, depending on how they structure and invest in educating our most precious resource: our children. Current GDP still accounts for education costs as 'expenditures' rather than as investments in human capital. (To see Hazel Henderson's article on education, Key Investments in the Wealth of Nations go to www.hazelhenderson.com and click on 'Editorials'.) Investments needed to repair and upgrade US schools are estimated by the National Association of Education at $268 billion for infrastructure and another $54 billion for upgrading technology.

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