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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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Economic impacts of achieving the basic skills goal by 2030

This chapter proposes three scenarios to examine the economic impact of achieving the goal of universal basic skills: each student now in school acquires a basic level of proficiency in mathematics and science; universal enrolment in secondary school, without changing the quality of schooling; and both universal enrolment and at least basic skills among all students. A fourth scenario posits improvements to be made over 30 years rather than over 15 years.

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