Spend more on school­ing to re­duce in­equal­ity: IMF

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

WASH­ING­TON:

Tack­ling dis­par­i­ties in ed­u­ca­tion is cru­cial to re­duc­ing global in­come in­equal­ity, the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund said yes­ter­day, urg­ing gov­ern­ments to spend more on school­ing for dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren. In a re­port, the IMF said that over the past three decades, 53 per­cent of coun­tries had be­come more un­equal but ex­pe­ri­ences var­ied widely.

Global in­equal­ity fell-prin­ci­pally as In­dia and China ex­pe­ri­enced swift eco­nomic growth-but in wealth­ier coun­tries the di­vide be­tween rich and poor had broad­ened, the re­port said.

Ad­vanced economies had seen ris­ing in­equal­ity dur­ing pe­ri­ods of slug­gish growth be­tween 1985 and 2015 while poorer na­tions saw in­come dis­par­i­ties worsen as their economies ex­panded. While some in­equal­ity was in­evitable in mar­ket-based economies, an over-broad di­vide be­tween rich and poor “can erode so­cial co­he­sion, lead to po­lit­i­cal po­lar­iza­tion, and ul­ti­mately lower eco­nomic growth,” said the re­port, re­leased dur­ing semi­an­nual meet­ings with the World Bank in Wash­ing­ton.

But, un­like other meth­ods of re­dis­tribut­ing wealth, ed­u­ca­tion both pro­motes eco­nomic growth at the same time as it re­duces in­come in­equal­ity, the re­port said. De­spite progress in re­cent decades, ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries is still closely tied to the wealth of fam­i­lies-with chil­dren from dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, the Mid­dle East as well as poorer coun­tries in Latin Amer­ica and Asia suf­fer­ing low ac­cess to pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion.

Poorer chil­dren also of­ten at­tend un­der-re­sourced schools and re­ceive lower qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and in poorer coun­tries girls are still en­rolled at lower rates than boys, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, but greater aca­demic achieve­ment breaks poverty cy­cles. — AFP

To­bias Adrian

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