The Malay Mail Online
Thursday May 14, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 ― A new study claims that Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could multiply by as much as 500 per cent if the country is able to ensure that every single 15-year-old achieves a basic level of education.
The study on global school rankings by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates Malaysia’s growth potential at 505 per cent of its current GDP, indicating a direct correlation between education and economic growth.
The report, jointly written by Stanford University’s Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessman of Munich University, said that a country’s standard of education is a “powerful predictor of the wealth that countries will produce in the long run”.
It also warned that countries that maintain poor education policies and practices will remain in a “permanent state of economic recession”.
Comparatively, Singapore ― which took first place out of the 76 countries included in the report on mathematics and science proficiency ― will improve its GDP by 86 per cent if it were to achieve 100 per cent delivery of basic education among 15-year-olds.
On the other end of the spectrum, Ghana, which placed last in mathematics and science proficiency, stands to see its growth figures improve by 38 times if it implements an effective education system.
Others that stand to gain exponentially from drastic improvements to delivery of basic education are South Africa (2,624 per cent), Honduras (2,016 per cent), Morocco (1,591 per cent), Oman (1,427 per cent), Botswana (1,303 per cent), Macedonia (1,137 per cent), Peru (1076 per cent) and Qatar (1,029 per cent).
The potential growth projections are ranked inversely to each country’s rank in mathematics and science proficiency in the new OECD study.
Malaysia is ranked 52nd out of the 76 countries.
According to World Bank figures, Malaysia’s GDP stood at US$313.2 billion (RM1,129.4 billion) as at 2013.
The country is currently pursuing an ambitious transformation programme spearheaded by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, with the goal of achieving developed nation status with a gross national income (GNI) per capita of US$15,000 by 2020.
Malaysia, however, has been struggling to convince its best and brightest to work in their home country, with the World Bank estimating in a 2011 report that one in every 10 Malaysians with tertiary education migrate.
A study by the Penang Institute released in June last year claimed that the impact of brain drain on the country could also lead to a serious fiscal impact of some RM8.4 billion per annum after considering the effects of both immigration and emigration, tax revenues, consumption taxes from brain drain and levies the government collects from foreign labour.