Quality of education: measurement and implications for Arab States

Author(s): Abu-Ismail, Khalid; Ishak, Phoebe W.; Jaafar, Abdulkarim; Safa, Oussama

Organisation(s): United Nations. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

Publisher(s): United Nations

Date: 2021

Pages: 24 p.


This paper proposes a quality-adjusted education index which can be viewed as a revised HDI education index that incorporates a measure of education quality by taking into account scores on international student assessments. The proposed index has a strong conceptual reasoning grounded in the capability approach. It is also relatively easy to calculate as the indicators informing this index are regularly updated by the UNDP Human Development Data Center and the World Bank. In order to assess the capacity of the proposed index to capture the quality of education, the paper introduces two additional input indicators that are known to affect the quality of education, namely the pupil-teacher ratio and the number of scientific and engineering articles published per 1,000 people. As expected, the results show a positive relationship between the quality-adjusted education index and income, and between the quantity and quality of education. However, the presence of certain outlier countries on the graphs indicates that there is wide variation in the quality of their schooling systems. A positive correlation is also apparent between the quality-adjusted education index and the pupil-teacher ratio index. That correlation becomes weaker when class sizes become very small, however, suggesting that it is not very effective to reduce still further the number of students in classes in which each student is already receiving enough attention from his or her teacher.

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