Human capital development is a key driver of economic prosperity and political transformation. Educational investment in particular drives improved quality of life worldwide. Accelerating globalization and technological change, together with shifting demographics and citizen expectations, places new, increasing demands on educational systems’ capacity to produce knowledgeable, skilled workforces. Current needs are for robust institutions, and coherent programs and policies that address local needs and anticipate global challenges. Huge efforts on universal primary education have improved overall access. Dramatic gains, however, have sometimes compromised quality in the pursuit of outcomes – and inadvertently transferred the problem: in poorer countries major skills gaps result from reduced post-primary education.
This manual tackles key issues in human capital development: assessing current challenges and barriers to improving outcomes; reviewing current debates and policy initiatives; and analyzing how education’s perceived value shapes inputs and learning outcomes. We address each individual component of educational systems: curriculum development; national and international standards; teacher training programs; construction, facilities and infrastructure; harnessing technological progress; resource allocation; and financing options. This manual is geared to policymakers and practitioners, particularly those tasked with building education systems.