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Universal Basic Skills

What Countries Stand to Gain

image of Universal Basic Skills

While access to schooling has expanded around the world, many countries have not realised the hoped-for improvements in economic and social well-being. Access to education by itself is an incomplete goal for development; many students leave the education system without basic proficiency in literacy and numeracy. As the world coalesces around new sustainable development targets towards 2030, the focus in education is shifting towards access and quality. Using projections based on data from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other international student assessments, this report offers a glimpse of the stunning economic and social benefits that all countries, regardless of their national wealth, stand to gain if they ensure that every child not only has access to education but, through that education, acquires at least the baseline level of skills needed to participate fully in society.

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Distance from the goal of basic skills for all

How far do countries have to go to achieve the goal of basic skills for all? This chapter offers a comprehensive picture of the current state of “knowledge capital” in each of the 76 countries that have relevant data. It also provides additional information about some of the countries in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa that have not participated in either PISA or TIMSS, but have participated in regional assessments, and information concerning India and China.

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