This is one of my favorite indicators in terms of having a high impact on the quality of life for people all over the world. And it’s just getting better and better which makes it almost fun to look at and update.
One major factor in this, again, is the impact of the Millennium Development Goals and their emphasis on girls’ education. The importance of this can hardly be emphasized enough. Study after study has shown that educating a community’s girls pays off in dividends of lower infant and maternal mortality, better overall health, and lower rates of preventable diseases, not to mention happier girls.
It’s not just the girls of course — children all over the planet have access to education at a rate never seen before. (I’ll address this in my next post.) The phenomenal growth of the internet is speeding this process up even further through free online education programs such as the ground-breaking Khan Academy.
The gauge I’ve used to measure this indicator is the Education Index from the UN as posted on Wikipedia (with numbers from 2007). This index is put together from a combination of adult literacy, school enrollment and other data. Looking at the change over the 2006 figures, most of the countries either remained stable or increased their levels of education. (Out of the 179 countries listed, only 17 were lower.)
However, I’m a firm believer in ongoing education. We should never stop learning and exploring our world! In fact, in today’s economy, it isn’t possible to keep afloat without continually educating yourself. So someday, I would love to see this indicator be measured by the number of people per country gaining a college degree!
Thanks for stopping by,
It is easy to overlook educational progress in other parts of the world when one is so focused on education problems here in the U.S. Thanks for sharing this, you made me think!