The World Bank Group unveiled a new system on Thursday to rank countries based on their success in developing human capital, an effort to prod governments to invest more effectively in education and healthcare.
The bank’s “Human Capital Index,” showed Bangladesh ahead of India and Pakistan, but one neighbour in South Asia shines brighter — Sri Lanka.
According to the Human Capital Index, a child born in Bangladesh today will be 48 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health. That compares with 44 percent in India and 39 percent in Pakistan. Sri Lanka boasts 58 percent and Nepal 49 percent in the same category.
97 out of 100 children born in Bangladesh survive to age 5, whereas it is 96 in India and 93 in Pakistan. Sri Lanka surpasses its neighbours with 99 out of 100 children surviving to age 5.
In Bangladesh, a child who starts school at age 4 can expect to complete 11 years of school by her 18th birthday. In India, a child can expect to complete 10.2 years of school in the same category, while it is 8.8 years in Pakistan. In Sri Lanka, a child who starts school at age 4 can expect to complete 13 years of school by her 18th birthday.
In harmonised test scores, students in Bangladesh score 368 on a scale where 625 represents advanced attainment and 300 represents minimum attainment. That puts Bangladesh behind Sri Lanka and Nepal. Students in Sri Lanka score 400, the highest in the region. It is 369 in Nepal and 355 in India, followed by Pakistan at 339.
In learning-adjusted years of school, factoring in what children actually learn, expected years of school is only 6.5 years in Bangladesh. That compares with 8.3 years in Sri Lanka, 5.8 years in India and 4.8 years in Pakistan.
Across Bangladesh, 87 percent of 15-year olds will survive until age 60 — an indicator that puts Bangladesh on par with Sri Lanka. 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.
Across India, 83 percent of 15-year olds will survive until age 60. Compared to India, it is slightly higher in Pakistan — 84 percent. The rate is 85 percent in Nepal.
In terms of healthy growth (not stunted rate), 64 out of 100 children are not stunted in Bangladesh. And 36 out of 100 children are stunted, and so at risk of cognitive and physical limitations that can last a lifetime.