GP Article about Education

Topics: Education, Student, Higher education Pages: 3 (788 words) Published: September 24, 2014
Education is undoubtedly a critical driver of economic growth and social mobility. But efforts to expand access to education have typically focused on the primary level, while neglecting tertiary schooling. And initiatives that have emphasized post-secondary learning have placed relatively little emphasis on educational quality. This has to change. The influence of higher education on social mobility is particularly pronounced in low-income countries, where the scarcity of skilled human capital gives tertiary-educated workers a significant wage premium. The problem is that many of these countries lack high-quality institutions of higher education, leaving even university graduates at a disadvantage within an increasingly interconnected global economy. This is where study abroad programs can help. Sending students to high-quality foreign institutions can help to advance a country’s international integration, including into global knowledge networks, as it has for many countries in Asia and the Middle East. The advantages become even greater at the world’s elite universities. In the United States, roughly 54% of corporate leaders and 42% of government officials are graduates of just 12 institutions, including Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford – meaning that the friendships and associations formed at such universities ultimately shape the global economy, the political system, and public opinion. For low-income countries, however, these elite networks remain largely inaccessible. While countries like the US and the United Kingdom have been working to provide disadvantaged communities with greater access to their elite institutions, such efforts typically do not extend beyond national borders. With even their most highly educated professionals marginalized internationally, it is no wonder that low-income countries struggle to integrate into global systems. High-quality institutions of higher education are largely concentrated in a few countries in Europe, North...
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