Education in a Globalized World

David E. Bloom

Published: December 2006

The arguments in favor of education rest on various premises: legal and humanitarian—that children are entitled to an education as a basic human right; economic—that countries will advance faster when people are educated; social and political-that education is essential for building cohesive, equitable, democratic societies; and moral-that devoting resources to education is the “right” thing to do. For decades, countries have worked together in an attempt to ensure that all children get an education, particularly primary education. Falling short, these efforts have been repeatedly renewed. Although enrollment ratios have increased in all developing regions, several regions are likely to fall short of the 2015 goal of universal primary completion. Gender disparities remain high in some regions. Several developing regions are particularly far behind developed ones in secondary and tertiary enrollment, and although enrollment at these levels has been increasing, international efforts have not focused on this. Globalization has offered the biggest rewards to countries that have emphasized education and made improvements at these levels, and it has most benefited individuals who have gained higher-level skills through quality education. In many developing countries, however, the quality of education is low, a fact that has received insufficient attention. Greater investment in education will be needed, but better use of educational funds is also important.

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