Across Ghana, 76 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 today would experience as an adult under current conditions, the World Bank has noted in a new Human Capital Index (HCI) launched today at the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia.
The HCI measures the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18. It conveys the productivity of the next generation of workers compared to a benchmark of complete education and full health. It is constructed for 157 countries. It is made up of five indicators: the probability of survival to age five, a child’s expected years of schooling, harmonized test scores as a measure of quality of learning, adult survival rate (fraction of 15-year olds that will survive to age 60), and the proportion of children who are not stunted.
As per the findings of the Index, the probability of survival to age 5, is 95 out of 100 children born. Thus 95 per cent of babies born in Ghana survive to age 5. It is also revealed in the report that, in Ghana, a child who starts school at age 4 can expect to complete 11.6 years of school by her 18th birthday.
The expected complete years of school for a Ghanaian child who starts school at age 4 is 11.6 while the learning-adjusted years of school – factoring in what children actually learn, expected years of school is only 5.7 years.
“Children in Ghana can expect to complete 11.6 years of preprimary, primary and secondary school by age 18. However, when years of schooling are adjusted for quality of learning, this is only equivalent to 5.7 years: a learning gap of 5.9 years”, the report documents.
Ghanaian children in school scored 307 on a scale where 625 represents advanced attainment and 300 represents minimum attainment in the Harmonized Test Scores.
With regards to healthy growth of Ghanaian children, it is estimated that 81 out of 100 children are not stunted – implying that, 19 out of 100 children are stunted, and so at risk of cognitive and physical limitations that can last a lifetime.
Globally, 56 percent of all children born today will grow up to be, at best, half as productive as they could be; and 92 percent will grow up to be, at best, 75 percent as productive as they could be, the report says.
“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”, said the World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim at the launch.
In Ghana however, a child born today will be 44 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health – resulting in Ghana’s Human Capital Index, falling 12 points below the global average of 56 percent.
Generally, Ghanaian girls have slightly higher HCI than their male counterparts – with the HCI for girls being 45 per cent while that of boys is 43 per cent.
The Index in its overall assessment notes that Ghana’s HCI is higher than the average for its region, Sub-Sahara, but lower than the average predicted for its income group.
By Bismark Elorm Addo
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