Korea

Let’s talk money: New campaign helps Cambodia’s new generation on financial management

Let’s talk money: New campaign helps Cambodia’s new generation on financial management

The World Bank partnered with the Women’s Media Center “Let’s Talk Money” radio show to help build financial stability in Cambodia.

Risky financial behaviors among Cambodians of the post-millennial generation have become more widespread in the country, especially among the 18-35 age group. While they are important customers for the financial and banking sectors, their behaviors are often dominated by lavish spending and excessive borrowing. 
 
However, this generation is also “techno-savvy” with extensive exposure to social media like Facebook and YouTube, radio, television, the internet, and smart phones. These channels are readily available in urban areas and increasingly accessible in Cambodian provinces. 
 
With this in mind, we thought “outside the box” about ways to help address this issue, and to reach a younger population. Utilizing social media, our Finance and Markets team at the World Bank launched an innovative “Let’s Talk Money” campaign, as part of our overall effort to build financial stability in Cambodia.
 
In partnership with the National Bank of Cambodia and supported by the Korean Trust Fund, we aimed to address consumer financial issues and influence financial behaviors of Cambodians through the “Let’s Talk Money” radio show. The program broadcasted nationwide three times a week from December 2016 to February 2017 on Women’s Media Center FM102 and their Facebook page.
 
The radio show attracted over one million listeners nationally. On Facebook, it got an average of 4,000 views per show. Nana, the DJ of the program, is a prominent Khmer radio personality with over 500,000 Facebook followers and advocates for women to take control of their household finances and to make sensible financial choices.
 
The show’s messages resonated far and wide among Cambodians. It raised sensitive questions about household finances and money management and provided practical answers to difficult money-related questions facing any Cambodian family. 
 
Following the show’s take-off, we stepped further outside the box by marrying the idea of talking about money to singing about money. We invited Cambodia’s most popular young performer, Oun, to sing about “Luy”, which means money in Khmer.

Popular singer, Oun from Cambodia, helped raise awareness about ways to manage money better through his song.

The song highlights the singers own experience, the mistakes he made, and the lessons he learned. Keeping the messages light and funny, he sang about managing money, spending no more than what you make, avoiding unnecessary borrowing, and saving money. 
 
Posted in May 2017 on Facebook and YouTube, the video became an overnight sensation throughout the country. By June 2017, the video reached over one million viewers, a high figure compared to other popular songs in Cambodia. 
 
Over 30,000 people have shared the music video on Facebook. The comments were positive with people saying: this is a meaningful song, need to be more careful with money, have to avoid overspending and debt, stop being crazy about money, think twice before spending, save money, and more.
 
Through our experience of engaging a radio program and pop artist in Cambodia, we found that music, though unconventional, has a lot of potential to reach the new generation. The results so far have confirmed that radio and engaging videos on social media can influence people’s financial behaviors and strengthen Cambodia’s financial capacity. 
 
Together with traditional activities, such as policy measures to manage risks and financial sector stability, going directly to the financial consumers with a message on prudent financial management can also serve to further achieve our financial objectives. The effect of this method for outreach will need to be carefully monitored and we hope to learn more about its impact.

by · Friday, 15 September 2017 · Cambodia, Korea
A Greener Growth Path to Sustain Thailand’s Future

A Greener Growth Path to Sustain Thailand’s Future

Global experience shows that growing first and cleaning up later rarely works. Rather, it is in countries’ interest to prioritize green and clean growth. This also holds true for Thailand, a country with rich natural resources contributing significantly to its wealth.

According to World Bank data, annual natural resource depletion in Thailand accounted for 4.4 percent of Gross National Income in 2012, and it has been rising rapidly since 2002. The rate of depletion is comparable to other countries in the East Asia and Pacific region, but it is almost three times faster than the rate in the 1980s. 

Rapid natural resource depletion in Thailand is increasingly visible in reduced forest areas. Illegal logging and smuggling have led to a decline from 171 million rai of forested area in 1961 to 107.6 million rai in 2009. Coastal communities face erosion, ocean waste, and illegal, destructive fishing. The coasts are also increasingly vulnerable to storm surges and sea level rise, due to continued destruction of mangroves and coral reefs.

How does natural resource depletion affect people? The effects are ubiquitous, every day:

  • A Karen villager, for example, will have a more difficult time finding food and herbs to use as medicine in a forest that is disappearing.

  • A local operator or a boatman making a living from a diving business will face decline in his or her income as coral reefs bleaching becomes a more serious threat. 

  • Some key tourist destinations may have to close temporarily for recovery or shut down completely.

  • As air pollution in Bangkok stays above the World Health Organization’s recommended standard, it can cause breathing problems, respiratory diseases, and a range of adverse long-term health effects.

  • Only around 50 percent of wastewater is treated in Thailand, and communities along the river will risk using unsafe water for consumption. Urban residents must be concerned about the safety of food grown with contaminated water in food-producing areas.

But the future need not be bleak. On the contrary, the opportunities for Thailand to enjoy the benefits of sustainable growth are plenty! Such opportunities are outlined in a recent report by the World Bank. The Systematic Country Diagnostic report, Getting Back on Track: Reviving Growth and Securing Prosperity for All, includes some options for Thailand to make concrete progress on green growth.

How can Thailand enjoy economic growth and also protect the environment? Aware of the need for change, policymakers have put in place strategies to address dwindling natural resources. For example, a clear target has been set to increase forest coverage to 40 percent of the country’s total land area. Actions to accelerate identification and clarification of forest boundaries will be the first step to achieving this target. Investment in sustainable forest management is also important to increase forest areas – both public and private investment. Such investments have proven successful, for example, in Brazil.

Since 2012, regulations to keep in check water pollution have become more stringent. As is often the case elsewhere, the weakest link is enforcement. But simple steps can be taken by taking advantage of data. A real-time digital monitoring system can be put in place more to monitor pollution and wastewater discharges. Enforcement has improved with the introduction of monitoring systems for wastewater discharges at almost 300 large factories. Expanding the systems to strengthen enforcement further will be important – including sharing the data with the public, so citizens can play a more active role in enforcing the laws.

Putting a price on pollutants like carbon emissions can encourage firms and consumers to develop and use cleaner energy opportunities and technologies.  Over 40 countries have started carbon pricing mechanism. Payments for environmental services where government pays nearby communities in return to protecting the forest, could also be considered.

Green growth is a driver of economic growth and job creation in other countries, such as South Korea and the United Kingdom, and it can be for Thailand too. The results of incentives for renewable energy producers has yielded encouraging results in the gradual growth of renewable energy production and use. About 44 billion baht in renewable investments are expected this year alone – investments that will lead to more jobs for the country. Still, there is scope for much further and faster renewable energy growth, especially solar energy.

What can people do? What can we do? Green growth and a clean country starts with us. We all can become more environmentally conscious consumers and contribute to a clean and green Thailand. For example, we can buy environmentally-friendly appliances, such as energy efficient light bulbs and refrigerators with less ozone-damaging coolants. We can also take shorter showers, reduce waste, especially plastic waste, and recycle at home.  And we can engage in public debate to support policies and projects that are good for the environment.  

Thailand is on the right track in addressing its key energy and environmental challenges. Greener growth will be critical for ensuring the availability of resources to power future growth, and for protecting Thailand’s wealth of natural resources for generations to come.

A version of this blog appeared in Krungthep Turakij.

by · Wednesday, 21 June 2017 · Korea, Thailand
Providing quality education to one million students in Thailand’s small schools

Providing quality education to one million students in Thailand’s small schools

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results brought several pieces of alarming news for Thailand.
 
First, Thailand’s ranking slipped further (from 51st to 64th in reading; 50th to 55th in Mathematics; and 50th to 54th in Science).
 
Second, the education system produces a disturbingly small share of “high performers” – only 1.4 percent of Thai students demonstrated superior problem solving and analytical reasoning skills compared to 35 percent of students in Singapore, and 15 percent, on average, in the OECD.
 
Third, the share of functional illiterate students rose further: from 33 percent in 2012 to 50 percent in 2015.
 
But behind these headline figures is a trend we should be more aware of – students in Thailand’s smallest schools are falling further behind their peers in larger schools. This movement was already taking place between 2003 and 2012 – highlighted in the World Bank’s “Wanted: a Quality Education for All” report – but the trend continued between 2012 and 2015.
 
This year, nearly one million children are attending small mostly rural schools in Thailand. Many of them are from Thailand’s poorest families, and the quality of education they are receiving is not preparing them for modern work life.
 
Thailand can do so much more to prepare its children for a competitive workforce. For Thailand’s economy to regain its competitive edge, more children will need to be equipped with stronger problem solving, analytical reasoning and English language skills. For Thailand to revive growth and become more equal, the children of its poorest citizens need a fairer chance in life, including an opportunity to receive the same type quality education as is provided in Bangkok.
 
Why are children in these schools falling further behind? Our research suggests there are two primary reasons.
 
First, poor and inadequate provision of quality early child development centers in rural areas means that too many rural students do not receive proper care and cognitive stimulation to ensure that they are ready for school by the age of six. Such care and stimulation is especially important for children coming from socio-economically poor backgrounds where they may not get this support at home.
 
Second, Thailand’s small schools struggle to attract and retain quality teachers. In short, these schools have chronic teacher shortages and too many of the teachers they do attract are not of the caliber seen in Thailand’s best schools. As an example, 20 percent of teachers in Bangkok have a graduate degree compared with only 9 percent in the poor province of Mae Hong Son.  
 
How can Thailand ensure that children from poor families also get a quality education?
 
First, supporting all children to be ready for school by the age of 6 is key. Doing so involves expanding access to quality early childhood development services, especially in rural areas. Thai parents care deeply for their children, as parents do around the world.  They will do whatever they can to foster their children’s development.  The government can support them with programs and outreach campaigns in areas such as breastfeeding, nutrition and health protection, and child learning and development. Moreover, many early child development centers in rural areas can benefit from more and better trained professionals.
 
Second, Thailand faces a unique challenge of a growing number of small schools.  Indeed, Thailand has far more schools than its current and projected student numbers, which have shrunk from nearly 9.5 million in 1997 to around 7.4 million today, and are projected to drop further to 5.5 million over the coming two decades. Yet, the number of schools have remained largely unchanged during the past few decades.
 
The rising number of small schools is at the heart of Thailand’s teacher shortage problem. Thailand does not have a shortage of teachers, the problem is getting the teachers deployed in small schools.
 
How can good teachers and a good education reach all Thai children? The Office of Basic Education’s decision to consolidate small and poorly resourced schools with nearby larger schools is a good approach if communities can also lead the decision-making process. Despite the disruptions of closing some schools and building up others, consolidating Thailand’s school system from approximately 30,000 to 15,800 schools could offer one of the best opportunities to heighten the learning opportunities for Thailand’s most disadvantaged children. 
 
As the Education Ministry works towards its 20-year Strategic Education Plan of reducing disparities between urban-rural schools and bringing Thailand’s educational standards to the same level as developed countries, we realize that there are no silver bullets to fix a faltering education system. However, good policies and careful implementation of those policies lie at the heart of the strong performance by students in Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam.
 
To ensure that Thailand has the workforce it needs for Thailand 4.0, it is time to get to work on strengthening early childhood care, and – through school consolidating – ensuring that every child attends a well-equipped school with a quality teaching force.
 
A version of this blog appeared in Krungthep Turakij.

by · Thursday, 23 February 2017 · Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
世界上哪个地区的孩子最聪明?经合组织数据显示,该地区为东亚地区

世界上哪个地区的孩子最聪明?经合组织数据显示,该地区为东亚地区

图中为越南芹苴市附近Tran Dai Nghia高中的学生(图片来源:D7K_4030,摄影:makzhou,按照知识共享组织CC BY-NC 4.0规则使用/已对原照片进行裁剪)


经合组织上月发布的国际学生评估项目(PISA)最新调查结果表明,全世界学习成绩最好的学生中,很多都来自东亚地区。
 
正如在最近发布的《国际数学于科学趋势研究报告》TIMSS )的结果表明,新加坡学生在国际学生评估项目每一学科的成绩均在世界上名列前茅,以较大优势领先于其他经济体和国家。新加坡学生在科学、数学和阅读三门学科上的成绩水平,要比同地区和经合组织国家的学生成绩水平高出两个学年。另外,几乎所有的新加坡学生都达到了基本熟练水平或更高水平。同时,他们的成绩越来越好,成绩低于基本熟练水平的学生人数因此而显著减少。
 
日本学生在科学、数学和阅读学科上的成绩,也明显高于大多数参与该项目的经济体。不过,与上一轮评估相比,日本学生在阅读方面的分数有所下降。尽管如此,与新加坡一样,日本90%的学生已经达到了基本熟练水平或更高水平。

国际学生评估项目是于2000年发起的一项国际调查项目,每三年展开一次调查,其宗旨是在测试15岁学生技能和知识水平基础上对世界各国教育系统进行评估。2015年,该项目对72个国家和经济体超过50万名学生在科学、数学和阅读等三方面进行了评估。
 
总体而言,东亚经济体的表现突出,在前10名中占据7席。

 
在“科学”这一学科上,不但高收入的东亚国家(如新加坡韩国日本、香港特区、中国)占据领先地位,越南也首次进入前10名之列。对于一个低收入国家能够取得这一结果,的确令人赞叹。越南学生的成绩继续明显高于其收入组别的平均水平,并高于很多高收入国家。其在“科学”的得分水平大约高于经合组织和本地区平均水平一学年左右。
 

2015年之前,上海是唯一代表中国参加国际学生评估项目的城市,它的成绩即代表了整个中国学生的成绩水平。我们在之前对此已进行过充分记载。今年有四个省市参加了国际学生评估项目,它们分别为北京、上海、江苏和广东。这些学生的成绩也明显高于经合组织各参与经济体的平均水平。
 
但也存在挑战
 
但是,其他东亚国家的表现却有些差强人意。 印度尼西亚马来西亚泰国也参加了2015年的国际学生评估项目,但这三个国家学生的成绩均低于按其国家收入而预期设定的水平。与本地区和经合组织平均值相比,学生们每个学科科目的成绩继续滞后2至3年。大约50%的学生低于基本熟练水平,这使得他们在接触第二十一世纪技能时,几乎属于功能性文盲,尽管他们已经完成九年的小学和高中学业。
 
在泰国,在科学和阅读学科上的成绩大幅下滑,数学成绩则略有下滑。尽管印度尼西亚在测试分数上已经取得显著提高——科学测试的成绩水平升高了约0.7个学年;在阅读方面,印度尼西亚在2000年至2015年间提高了26分(从371至397分),但其整体成绩水平仍远远落后于经合组织和本地区的平均水平。
 
成功经验
 
东亚各国的成功并非奇迹,也无秘密可言。成功归因于勤勉的付出和良好的政策。
 
正如多年前韩国所做的那样,取得好成绩的东亚各国都做好了基础工作,它们从对基础教育进行精明投资入手,之后推广有效的早期阅读课程。对私营部门服务或资金和公共资金的经济有效使用,能够帮助弥补所存在的差距。在建立和完善基础教育体系的同时,东亚各国对于高等教育采用创新性的资金扶持计划,例如按收入比例还款型学生贷款计划,即学生可通过其未来收入筹集学费和其他费用。得益于学校同行业和用人单位建立的紧密联系,面向小学毕业后学生的技能培训项目得以顺利实施。此外,上述各国也很好地利用了发展机构的贷款。
 
越南的成功得益于下述几个因素。该国除了重视国家预算对教育的投入之外,家长也会通过经常帮助学校或向学校募捐等方式,更多地参与到孩子的学习生活当中。教师的教学工作得到更多的监督,与其他发展中国家相比,越南更加重视学生的成绩。学生也因此更加专注和认真对待其学业。他们较少担心数学,并且对将来如何应用数学知识更有信心。
 
越南也做好了基础工作。该国已从对学校和教师素质的早期投资中获益。学校的最低质量标准以及学科知识、技能和行为标准得以实施。教师均具有很高的职业水平。该国强调识字和识数能力标准化评估的重要性。这些举措所获得的优势很早就开始显现:研究表明,五岁以下越南儿童的表现已略优于其他发展中国家的同龄儿童。
 
应当先从这一地区吸取成功经验。我们将通过区域研究和在3月在印度尼西亚召开的会议上总结上述经验。
 
请可通过Twitter@hpatrinos关注Harry Anthony Patrinos

by · Friday, 10 February 2017 · China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
世界上哪个地区的孩子最聪明?经合组织数据显示,该地区为东亚地区

世界上哪个地区的孩子最聪明?经合组织数据显示,该地区为东亚地区

图中为越南芹苴市附近Tran Dai Nghia高中的学生(图片来源:D7K_4030,摄影:makzhou,按照知识共享组织CC BY-NC 4.0规则使用/已对原照片进行裁剪)


经合组织上月发布的国际学生评估项目(PISA)最新调查结果表明,全世界学习成绩最好的学生中,很多都来自东亚地区。
 
正如在最近发布的《国际数学于科学趋势研究报告》TIMSS )的结果表明,新加坡学生在国际学生评估项目每一学科的成绩均在世界上名列前茅,以较大优势领先于其他经济体和国家。新加坡学生在科学、数学和阅读三门学科上的成绩水平,要比同地区和经合组织国家的学生成绩水平高出两个学年。另外,几乎所有的新加坡学生都达到了基本熟练水平或更高水平。同时,他们的成绩越来越好,成绩低于基本熟练水平的学生人数因此而显著减少。
 
日本学生在科学、数学和阅读学科上的成绩,也明显高于大多数参与该项目的经济体。不过,与上一轮评估相比,日本学生在阅读方面的分数有所下降。尽管如此,与新加坡一样,日本90%的学生已经达到了基本熟练水平或更高水平。

国际学生评估项目是于2000年发起的一项国际调查项目,每三年展开一次调查,其宗旨是在测试15岁学生技能和知识水平基础上对世界各国教育系统进行评估。2015年,该项目对72个国家和经济体超过50万名学生在科学、数学和阅读等三方面进行了评估。
 
总体而言,东亚经济体的表现突出,在前10名中占据7席。

 
在“科学”这一学科上,不但高收入的东亚国家(如新加坡韩国日本、香港特区、中国)占据领先地位,越南也首次进入前10名之列。对于一个低收入国家能够取得这一结果,的确令人赞叹。越南学生的成绩继续明显高于其收入组别的平均水平,并高于很多高收入国家。其在“科学”的得分水平大约高于经合组织和本地区平均水平一学年左右。
 

2015年之前,上海是唯一代表中国参加国际学生评估项目的城市,它的成绩即代表了整个中国学生的成绩水平。我们在之前对此已进行过充分记载。今年有四个省市参加了国际学生评估项目,它们分别为北京、上海、江苏和广东。这些学生的成绩也明显高于经合组织各参与经济体的平均水平。
 
但也存在挑战
 
但是,其他东亚国家的表现却有些差强人意。 印度尼西亚马来西亚泰国也参加了2015年的国际学生评估项目,但这三个国家学生的成绩均低于按其国家收入而预期设定的水平。与本地区和经合组织平均值相比,学生们每个学科科目的成绩继续滞后2至3年。大约50%的学生低于基本熟练水平,这使得他们在接触第二十一世纪技能时,几乎属于功能性文盲,尽管他们已经完成九年的小学和高中学业。
 
在泰国,在科学和阅读学科上的成绩大幅下滑,数学成绩则略有下滑。尽管印度尼西亚在测试分数上已经取得显著提高——科学测试的成绩水平升高了约0.7个学年;在阅读方面,印度尼西亚在2000年至2015年间提高了26分(从371至397分),但其整体成绩水平仍远远落后于经合组织和本地区的平均水平。
 
成功经验
 
东亚各国的成功并非奇迹,也无秘密可言。成功归因于勤勉的付出和良好的政策。
 
正如多年前韩国所做的那样,取得好成绩的东亚各国都做好了基础工作,它们从对基础教育进行精明投资入手,之后推广有效的早期阅读课程。对私营部门服务或资金和公共资金的经济有效使用,能够帮助弥补所存在的差距。在建立和完善基础教育体系的同时,东亚各国对于高等教育采用创新性的资金扶持计划,例如按收入比例还款型学生贷款计划,即学生可通过其未来收入筹集学费和其他费用。得益于学校同行业和用人单位建立的紧密联系,面向小学毕业后学生的技能培训项目得以顺利实施。此外,上述各国也很好地利用了发展机构的贷款。
 
越南的成功得益于下述几个因素。该国除了重视国家预算对教育的投入之外,家长也会通过经常帮助学校或向学校募捐等方式,更多地参与到孩子的学习生活当中。教师的教学工作得到更多的监督,与其他发展中国家相比,越南更加重视学生的成绩。学生也因此更加专注和认真对待其学业。他们较少担心数学,并且对将来如何应用数学知识更有信心。
 
越南也做好了基础工作。该国已从对学校和教师素质的早期投资中获益。学校的最低质量标准以及学科知识、技能和行为标准得以实施。教师均具有很高的职业水平。该国强调识字和识数能力标准化评估的重要性。这些举措所获得的优势很早就开始显现:研究表明,五岁以下越南儿童的表现已略优于其他发展中国家的同龄儿童。
 
应当先从这一地区吸取成功经验。我们将通过区域研究和在3月在印度尼西亚召开的会议上总结上述经验。
 
请可通过Twitter@hpatrinos关注Harry Anthony Patrinos

by · Friday, 10 February 2017 · China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
世界上哪个地区的孩子最聪明?经合组织数据显示,该地区为东亚地区

世界上哪个地区的孩子最聪明?经合组织数据显示,该地区为东亚地区

图中为越南芹苴市附近Tran Dai Nghia高中的学生(图片来源:D7K_4030,摄影:makzhou,按照知识共享组织CC BY-NC 4.0规则使用/已对原照片进行裁剪)


经合组织上月发布的国际学生评估项目(PISA)最新调查结果表明,全世界学习成绩最好的学生中,很多都来自东亚地区。
 
正如在最近发布的《国际数学于科学趋势研究报告》TIMSS )的结果表明,新加坡学生在国际学生评估项目每一学科的成绩均在世界上名列前茅,以较大优势领先于其他经济体和国家。新加坡学生在科学、数学和阅读三门学科上的成绩水平,要比同地区和经合组织国家的学生成绩水平高出两个学年。另外,几乎所有的新加坡学生都达到了基本熟练水平或更高水平。同时,他们的成绩越来越好,成绩低于基本熟练水平的学生人数因此而显著减少。
 
日本学生在科学、数学和阅读学科上的成绩,也明显高于大多数参与该项目的经济体。不过,与上一轮评估相比,日本学生在阅读方面的分数有所下降。尽管如此,与新加坡一样,日本90%的学生已经达到了基本熟练水平或更高水平。

国际学生评估项目是于2000年发起的一项国际调查项目,每三年展开一次调查,其宗旨是在测试15岁学生技能和知识水平基础上对世界各国教育系统进行评估。2015年,该项目对72个国家和经济体超过50万名学生在科学、数学和阅读等三方面进行了评估。
 
总体而言,东亚经济体的表现突出,在前10名中占据7席。

 
在“科学”这一学科上,不但高收入的东亚国家(如新加坡韩国日本、香港特区、中国)占据领先地位,越南也首次进入前10名之列。对于一个低收入国家能够取得这一结果,的确令人赞叹。越南学生的成绩继续明显高于其收入组别的平均水平,并高于很多高收入国家。其在“科学”的得分水平大约高于经合组织和本地区平均水平一学年左右。
 

2015年之前,上海是唯一代表中国参加国际学生评估项目的城市,它的成绩即代表了整个中国学生的成绩水平。我们在之前对此已进行过充分记载。今年有四个省市参加了国际学生评估项目,它们分别为北京、上海、江苏和广东。这些学生的成绩也明显高于经合组织各参与经济体的平均水平。
 
但也存在挑战
 
但是,其他东亚国家的表现却有些差强人意。 印度尼西亚马来西亚泰国也参加了2015年的国际学生评估项目,但这三个国家学生的成绩均低于按其国家收入而预期设定的水平。与本地区和经合组织平均值相比,学生们每个学科科目的成绩继续滞后2至3年。大约50%的学生低于基本熟练水平,这使得他们在接触第二十一世纪技能时,几乎属于功能性文盲,尽管他们已经完成九年的小学和高中学业。
 
在泰国,在科学和阅读学科上的成绩大幅下滑,数学成绩则略有下滑。尽管印度尼西亚在测试分数上已经取得显著提高——科学测试的成绩水平升高了约0.7个学年;在阅读方面,印度尼西亚在2000年至2015年间提高了26分(从371至397分),但其整体成绩水平仍远远落后于经合组织和本地区的平均水平。
 
成功经验
 
东亚各国的成功并非奇迹,也无秘密可言。成功归因于勤勉的付出和良好的政策。
 
正如多年前韩国所做的那样,取得好成绩的东亚各国都做好了基础工作,它们从对基础教育进行精明投资入手,之后推广有效的早期阅读课程。对私营部门服务或资金和公共资金的经济有效使用,能够帮助弥补所存在的差距。在建立和完善基础教育体系的同时,东亚各国对于高等教育采用创新性的资金扶持计划,例如按收入比例还款型学生贷款计划,即学生可通过其未来收入筹集学费和其他费用。得益于学校同行业和用人单位建立的紧密联系,面向小学毕业后学生的技能培训项目得以顺利实施。此外,上述各国也很好地利用了发展机构的贷款。
 
越南的成功得益于下述几个因素。该国除了重视国家预算对教育的投入之外,家长也会通过经常帮助学校或向学校募捐等方式,更多地参与到孩子的学习生活当中。教师的教学工作得到更多的监督,与其他发展中国家相比,越南更加重视学生的成绩。学生也因此更加专注和认真对待其学业。他们较少担心数学,并且对将来如何应用数学知识更有信心。
 
越南也做好了基础工作。该国已从对学校和教师素质的早期投资中获益。学校的最低质量标准以及学科知识、技能和行为标准得以实施。教师均具有很高的职业水平。该国强调识字和识数能力标准化评估的重要性。这些举措所获得的优势很早就开始显现:研究表明,五岁以下越南儿童的表现已略优于其他发展中国家的同龄儿童。
 
应当先从这一地区吸取成功经验。我们将通过区域研究和在3月在印度尼西亚召开的会议上总结上述经验。
 
请可通过Twitter@hpatrinos关注Harry Anthony Patrinos

by · Friday, 10 February 2017 · China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
Skilled workforce and strong R&D keys to Thailand 4.0 success

Skilled workforce and strong R&D keys to Thailand 4.0 success

Several of the government’s recent economic initiatives have the potential to kick-start Thailand’s economy. To achieve the economic transformation it has been aspiring for, having a skilled workforce and much more strategic investments in research and development (R&D) will be important.

Following nearly four decades of impressive economic growth at 7.7 percent, the Thai economy has slowed sharply to 3.3 percent over the last decade from 2005-2015. At this rate of growth, it would take Thailand well over two decades to achieve high-income status.

A new World Bank report “Getting Back on Track: Reviving Growth and Securing Prosperity for All” cites that a main reason for the slowdown is a loss of competitiveness.

Ten years ago, Thailand was ahead of its neighbors and peers on virtually all the competitiveness indicators tracked by World Economic Forum in its Global Competitiveness rankings.

Today, other middle-income countries have caught up, while more advanced economies in the region have surged further ahead, particularly in technological readiness, higher education and training, innovation, financial market development, institutions, and business sophistication.

To accelerate growth, our report finds that Thailand has the opportunity to leverage spillovers from foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to enable its industries to upgrade and innovate. Like Korea, Singapore, and more recently China, which managed to maintain high growth rates after attaining upper-middle income status, Thailand can build up its capabilities to effectively absorb the technological spillovers from FDI.

Thailand also has the opportunity to accelerate the implementation of its large infrastructure mega projects to help relieve infrastructure constraints and make Thailand the hub of ASEAN. Finally, Thailand has the potential to invest in its innovation ecosystem to make its schools and universities the envy of the region and its businesses world-class.

Already, the government has launched several promising initiatives that could help make this happen, allowing Thailand to escape from the middle-income trap. These include a focus on 10 industries as “new engines of growth” (or “S-curve industries”), investing in the Eastern Economic Corridor Development Project, and the launching of a major push for the creation of an electronic payment system.

For these initiatives to reap their full potential, more investments in R&D and more graduates with sophisticated problem-solving and analytical-reasoning skills will help.

While the fast-growing ASEAN+3 countries have rapidly ramped up their R&D spending, Thailand’s R&D intensity has remained at less than half a percent of GDP. As a result, from 1996 to 2014, Thailand has fallen behind most of its peers in the ASEAN+3 region.

The returns to investing in R&D are high – possibly by as much as 300 percent for middle-income economies according to our most recent estimates, suggesting that Thailand’s peers may well see faster growth in the years ahead.
Another area Thailand can focus on is expanding the availability of skills. A growing body of research indicates that a country’s technological absorption capacity depends crucially on the availability of highly skilled workers.

On this front, the results of the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) released by the OECD reminds us that strengthening skills is a priority for enabling Thailand to realize its vision under the Thailand 4.0 Economic Master Plan.

Based on the PISA results, around half of Thai students performed below the basic proficiency level in science, reading and mathematics. In other words, they are functionally illiterate and/or innumerate, or lacking a basic level of skills in reading and mathematics needed for modern jobs in spite of attending school for nearly nine years. 

At the other end of the proficiency spectrum, 30 percent or more students from Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, Taipei, Vietnam, Korea and Japan attained level 4 or higher in science and mathematics, while 5 percent of the Thai students managed to do so.

Equipping the workforce with the skills for jobs today and in the future is critical for Thailand’s economy. On this front, focusing on eliminating functionally illiteracy and/or innumeracy is a priority, as well as raising the share of the top-performing students.
 
Since these students constitute the future workforce of the country, it will be important that they possess the skills and technical expertise required for the Thailand 4.0 vision in which innovations will be the main engine of growth to propel Thailand into a high-income economy.
 
A version of this blog appeared in the Bangkok Post.

by · Wednesday, 8 February 2017 · China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

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Kim, 56, a Korean-American medical doctor who has focused the World Bank on programs to reduce extreme poverty, earned solid backing for a …

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World Bank chief Kim heads for 2nd term

Kim, 56, a Korean-American medical doctor who has focused the World Bank on programs to reduce extreme poverty, earned solid backing for a …

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