Staff Reporter:Bangladesh is ahead of India and Pakistan in the Human Capital Index as it performed better than the South Asian average as well as the Lower Middle-Income average in all criteria except for Stunting, according to new World Bank research.Stunting and quality of education hold back a child for achieving her full potential. With current education and health conditions, a child born yesterday in Bangladesh will be 48 percent as productive as she could have been.A Human Capital Index, launched yesterday at the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, shows that 56 percent of children born yesterday 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.Regarding, Bangladesh, the report said, a child born in Bangladesh yesterday will be 48 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health.In India, a child will be 44 percent productive, and Pakistan only 39 percent. Sri Lanka is the top with 58 percent productivity followed by Nepal with 49 percent.
According to the report, in Bangladesh, 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.Students in Bangladesh score 368 on a scale where 625 represents advanced attainment and 300 represents minimum attainment.It said that across Bangladesh, 87 percent of 15-year olds will survive until age 60. This statistic is a proxy for the range of fatal and non-fatal health outcomes that a child born yesterday would experience as an adult under current conditions.About healthy growth, the Bank said 64 out of 100 children are not stunted. However, some 36 out of 100 children are stunted, and so at risk of cognitive and physical limitations that can last a lifetime.The HCI reflects the productivity as a future work of a child born yesterday, 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 one as the best possible score. A country score of 0.5, for example, means that individuals – and the country as a whole – are forgoing half their future economic potential. Calculated over 50 years, this translates into deep economic losses: a 1.4 percent annual loss in GDP growth.The study report gives policymakers compelling evidence that delivering better outcomes in children’s health and learning can significantly boost the incomes of people—and of countries—with returns far into the future.Human capital—the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives—has been a key factor behind the sustained economic growth and poverty reduction rates of many countries in the 20th century, especially East Asia.In a statement, 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.“The bar is rising for everyone,” Kim added. “Building human capital is critical for all countries, at all income levels, to compete in the economy of the future.”The Human Capital Index measures the amount of human capital that a child born yesterday can expect to attain by age 18, given the risks of poor health and education that prevail in the country where he or she lives. The Index measures each country’s distance to the frontier of complete education and full health for a child born yesterday. The measure includes:“Over the last decade, our government has consistently improved human capital and created better opportunities for our population. We have reduced child and maternal mortality, and the fertility rate,” said Finance Minister AMA Muhith.“Bangladesh is among the few developing countries to achieve gender parity in school enrollment. This progress is captured in the Human Capital Index,”About the performance of Bangladesh Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal said:“Bangladesh’s strong track record of poverty reduction and development shows that with the right policies and actions, further progress is possible.”