Bangladesh performed better than the South Asian average as well as the Lower Middle-Income average in all criteria, said a World Bank (WB) research.
The research on Human Capital Index, launched today at the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, showed that 56 percent of children born today across the world will lose more than half their potential lifetime earnings because governments are not currently making effective investments in their people to ensure a healthy, educated, and resilient population ready for the workplace of the future.
At his remark on the report, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said over the last decade, the government has consistently improved human capital and created better opportunities for Bangladesh population.
“From independence in 1971, the country has come a long way. We have reduced child and maternal mortality, and the fertility rate. Bangladesh is among the few developing countries to achieve gender parity in school enrollment. This progress is captured in the Human Capital Index,” he added. World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said “For the poorest people, human capital is often the only capital they have”.
“Human capital is a key driver of sustainable, inclusive economic growth, but investing in health and education has not gotten the attention it deserves. This index creates a direct line between improving outcomes in health and education, productivity, and economic growth. I hope that it drives countries to take urgent action and invest more – and more effectively– in their people,” he added.
Kim said the bar is rising for everyone. “Building human capital is critical for all countries, at all income levels, to compete in the economy of the future,” he added.
“Bangladesh’s strong track record of poverty reduction and development shows that with the right policies and actions, further progress is possible,” said World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal Qimiao Fan.
In Bangladesh, the research said, 97 percent of children are likely to survive to age 5, and about 87 percent of 15-year olds are likely to survive to age 60.
“Further, a child who starts school at the age of 4 will complete schooling by her 18th birthday. The country performs well in gender equity. A girl has higher human capital than a boy. But, with about 36 percent children stunted, there is no room for complacency,” the research added.
As per the research, the HCI reflects the productivity as a future worker of a child born today, compared with what it could be if he or she had full health and complete high-quality education, on a scale from zero to one, with 1 as the best possible score.
In Bangladesh, a child who starts school at the age of four can expect to complete 11 years of school by his or her 18th birthday. Students in Bangladesh scored 368 on a scale where 625 represents advanced attainment and 300 represents minimum attainment.
Factoring in what children actually learn, expected years of schooling is only 6.5.
Across Bangladesh, 87 percent of 15-year olds will survive until the age of 60. This statistic is a proxy for the range of fatal and non-fatal health outcomes that a child born today would experience as an adult under current conditions.
Around 64 out of 100 children are not stunted, but the rest are at risk of cognitive and physical limitations that can last a lifetime.
In India, 83 percent of 15-year olds will survive until the age of 60. Compared to India, this is slightly higher in Pakistan – 84 percent – while the rate is 85 percent in Nepal.
The World Bank report also revealed that in Bangladesh, the HCI for girls is higher than for boys.