Quality of schools is critical for economic growth in developing countries, Stanford expert says

February 08, 2016

By Clifton B. Baker

The quality rather than the quantity of education is key to boosting a nation's economy, especially in the developing world, a Stanford scholar writes.

Rates of school attendance, student enrollment and years of school do not matter as much as many would believe. However, the schools' ability to improve students' basic skills in math and literacy are important to economic growth.

"If there is going to be inclusive economic development across the world, attention must focus on school quality and having all students achieve basic skills," wrote Eric Hanushek, a Stanford economist, in a new study published in Science magazine.

School quality issues are clearly important for the United States, said Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. Hanushek noted that the United States currently ranks 29th in the world in its overall score on the globally used Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) mathematics and science tests. As defined by tests like the PISA, the United States can gain significantly from improving its schools.