In­dex tracks im­proved PHL hu­man cap­i­tal

Business World - - Front Page - By Eli­jah Joseph C. Tubayan Re­porter

THE PHILIP­PINES’ hu­man cap­i­tal im­proved over the past six years, ac­cord­ing to the World Bank, which said the coun­try im­proved on this count bet­ter than ex­pected though it still fell short of the re­gional aver­age due to pro­duc­tiv­ity gaps.

The Washington-based mul­ti­lat­eral lender on Thurs­day launched its The Hu­man Cap­i­tal Project, which shows that the Philip­pines’ Hu­man Cap­i­tal In­dex (HCI) stood at 0.55 in 2017, from 0.49 in 2012.

The Philip­pines placed at the bot­tom half of 157 economies, rank­ing 84th in the HCI that was topped by Sin­ga­pore, South Korea and Ja­pan.

It also placed 14th among 24 East Asia and Pa­cific economies.

The HCI is based on in­di­ca­tors re­lated to sur­vival, school­ing and health.

A read­ing closer to 1 re­flects bet­ter hu­man cap­i­tal sta­tus.

“The Philip­pines’ HCI is lower than the aver­age for its re­gion but higher than the aver­age for its in­come group,” the World Bank said.

“In 2017, the HCI for the Philip­pines is higher than what would be pre­dicted for its in­come level.”

“Chil­dren in the Philip­pines can ex­pect to com­plete 12.8 years of pre-pri­mary, pri­mary and sec­ondary school by age 18. How­ever, when years of school­ing are ad­justed for qual­ity of learn­ing, this is only equiv­a­lent to 8.4 years: a learn­ing gap of 4.4 years,” the World Bank said in its re­port.

It also said that 80% of the pop­u­la­tion who are 15 years old is likely to sur­vive un­til age 60, and that 33 out of 100 chil­dren are stunted, or at risk of cog­ni­tive and phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions that can last a life­time.

The World Bank also found out that girls had higher HCIs than boys across all in­di­ca­tors, get­ting 0.58 over­all, ver­sus 0.52.

“The Gov­ern­ment of Philip­pines rec­og­nizes these chal­lenges and has ini­ti­ated crit­i­cal re­forms to im­prove hu­man cap­i­tal in the coun­try,” said Mara K. War­wick, World Bank Coun­try Di­rec­tor for Brunei Darus­salam, Malaysia, Philip­pines and Thai­land, said in a state­ment.

“Pol­icy mak­ers have in­tro­duced uni­ver­sal kinder­garten, cre­ated se­nior high school, pro­vided greater fund­ing for ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion, and ex­panded the Pantawid Pam­ilya Pro­gram, which has boosted school at­ten­dance among the poor.

The re­port noted that “pro­grams can im­prove peo­ple’s in­cen­tives to in­vest in hu­man cap­i­tal when they make its longterm ben­e­fits salient or pro­vide mech­a­nisms to make good choices bind­ing.”

“Young peo­ple may not want to stay in school or take care of their health be­cause they lack self-con­trol or do not fully ap­pre­ci­ate the ben­e­fits of ed­u­ca­tion and good health,” the re­port read, adding that “[g]oing for­ward, key pol­icy pri­or­i­ties in the Philip­pines are re­duc­ing stunt­ing and im­prov­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of teach­ers to boost learn­ing.”

Sought for com­ment, Na­tional Eco­nomic and De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity Un­der­sec­re­tary for Pol­icy and Plan­ning Rose­marie G. Edil­lon said in an e-mail: “Be­tween 2012 an 2017, we in­creased our hu­man cap­i­tal in­vest­ments: the 4Ps (cash trans­fer pro­gram) which in­creased en­rol­ment rate and the health-seek­ing be­hav­ior among the poor, and the in­tro­duc­tion of the K-12 which in­creased the ex­pected years of school­ing.”

She added that the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion’s free tu­ition fee for ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion “could fur­ther in­crease the ex­pected years of school.”

“We have also for­mu­lated the Philip­pine Plan of Action on Nu­tri­tion which in­cludes pro­grams to en­sure the proper nu­tri­tion of chil­dren es­pe­cially dur­ing the first 1,000 days,” Ms. Edil­lon added.

“This will im­prove the sur­viv­abil­ity in­dex.”

YEARS and qual­ity of school­ing are a key fac­tor for im­prov­ing the coun­try’s hu­man cap­i­tal.

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