Future of education in Asian Countries

Social, technological and economic developments/trends, will significantly increase the importance of education in the coming years.

There are big benefits to be reaped, for countries that invest in education, in order to improve the availability, quality and affordability.

Having a well educated workforce, with relevant skills, is essential for continued economic development and a robust job market.

To provide some insights on these issues, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), looked at how countries globally are expected to perform on the following indicators:

  1. Public expenditure on education.
  2. Affordability of tertiary education.
  3. Youth unemployment.
  4. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates.
  5. Internet access in schools.

Here are the rankings, which show how the countries will perform from now till 2030 (higher ranking is better across all indicators). Asian economies have been marked out for easy reference:

asia education trends ranking 2030

And here are some highlight and conclusions from the report

Public Expenditure on Education

  • An area of concern is that even though countries like India will spend more on education, there will be insufficient focus on the quality of the education being provided.
  • The bottom of the rankings has numerous countries with shrinking and aging populations, including Hong Kong SAR, Japan, People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Singapore.
  • Most of the countries in Asia do not fare very well on this measure.

asia public spending as percentage of gdp

Affordability of Tertiary Education

Countries fare better on this indicator if the cost of a 4 year degree is lower relative to income per head.

  • After the top 5 economies, costs begin to increase rapidly and towards the bottom, where we find economies like India and Indonesia where the cost of a degree is between 200% and 500% of average income. However. this is still a big improvement for some economies, like India, where the number was 503% in 2015 (263% expected in 2030).
  • In Singapore the cost of getting a degree is expected to increase quite a bit. It is projected to cost around 70% of average annual income, as compared to 53% in 2015.
  • The performance of countries in Asia is mostly around the middle.

cost of degree in asia

Youth Unemployment 

Youth unemployment has dire political, economic and social implications.

  • Many of the Asian economies in the top 10, like Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, have demographics that point towards a tightening labour market over the next 15 years. This will  result in lower rates of youth unemployment.
  • Others, like India, will be aided by good economic growth.
  • Many countries that are currently facing high levels of youth unemployment will see those levels reduce but still remain high.

unemployment in asia

STEM Graduates

With the increased use of technology, jobs in the future will require a different set of skills. STEM will weigh heavily in that mix and countries that perform best are those that graduate the most students with STEM degrees as a percentage of the overall labour force.

  • In absolute terms, India and China will have the most STEM graduates. India is expected to have 1.7 million STEM graduates in 2030 and China 400,000. But size of the class does not indicate quality, which is already a concern with India’s recent STEM grads.

stem graduates in asia

Internet Access in Schools

Internet access in schools is well correlated with a nation’s wealth.

  • In Hong Kong the Internet will reach nearly all schools.

internet access in asian schools

For more details and to download the full report, head over the the EIU website.

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