Universal Basic Skills

What Countries Stand to Gain

Published on May 13, 2015

While access to schooling has expanded around the world, many countries have not realised the hoped-for improvements in economic and social well-being. Access to education by itself is an incomplete goal for development; many students leave the education system without basic proficiency in literacy and numeracy. As the world coalesces around new sustainable development targets towards 2030, the focus in education is shifting towards access and quality. Using projections based on data from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other international student assessments, this report offers a glimpse of the stunning economic and social benefits that all countries, regardless of their national wealth, stand to gain if they ensure that every child not only has access to education but, through that education, acquires at least the baseline level of skills needed to participate fully in society.


Executive summary
The case for promoting universal basic skills
Relationship between skills and economic growth
The goal: Every young person acquires basic skills
Distance from the goal of basic skills for all
Economic impacts of achieving the basic skills goal by 2030
Sharing the benefits of universal basic skills
What achieving universal basic skills means for the economy and for education
Annexes5 chapters available
Review of knowledge capital and growth
Transforming performance in TIMSS onto the PISA scale
Augmented neoclassical results
Distribution of skills when goal of universal basic skills is achieved
Sample of PISA questions requiring Level 1 skills
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World Bank Launch of OECD Report for World Education Forum  - Universal Basic Skills: What Countries Stand to Gain: Live streaming
May 13, 2015 | 9:30 am - 11:30 am | Eastern Standard Time

  • Chair: Amit Dar, Education Director, The World Bank Group
  • Presenter:  Eric A . Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
  • Discussant:  Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)       


  • Education post-2015
    Andreas Schleicher, Director for the OECD Directorate of Education and Skills.


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Universal Basic Skills - What Countries Stand to Gain from OECD Education