In the News (Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s Deputy Director of Education, from OECD Education Today): “OECD’s PISA [Project for International Students Assessment] study shows that there is also a significant negative relationship between the money countries extract from national resources and the knowledge and skills of their school population (see figure)…this is a global pattern that generally across 65 countries that took part in the latest PISA assessment. Exceptions such as Canada, Australia and Norway, that are rich of natural resources but still score well on PISA, have all established deliberate policies of saving these resource rents, and not just consuming them. Today’s learning outcomes at school, in turn, are a powerful predictor for the wealth and social outcomes that countries will reap in the long run.
“One interpretation is that in countries with little in the way of natural resources – other examples are Finland, Singapore or Japan – education has strong outcomes and a high status at least in part because the public at large has understood that the country must live by its knowledge and skills and that these depend on the quality of education. So the value that a country places on education seems to depend at least in part on a country’s view of how knowledge and skills fit into the way it makes its living. Placing a high value on education may be an underlying condition for building a world-class education system and a world class economy, and it may be that most countries that have not had to live by their wits in the past will not succeed economically and socially unless their political leaders explain why, though they might not have had to live by their wits in the past, they must do so now.
“The most troubling implications of these data relate to the developing world. Many of the countries with below-average GDP succeeded to convert their national resources into physical capital and consumption today, but failed to convert these into the human capital that can generate the economic and social outcomes to sustain their future.
“In short, knowledge and skills have become the global currency of 21st century economies. But there is no central bank that prints this currency, you cannot inherit this currency and you cannot produce it through speculation, you can only develop it through sustained effort and investment by people and for people.”
My Comment: Kabbalah states that the desire is at the heart of nature, and all of life is its development, realization and correction. And if the desire is prevented from developing, it feels its sufficiency and a person does not develop. He who increases knowledge, increases sorrow, but he who does not feel sorrow, does not multiply knowledge.