Asian countries urged to improve education quality 2008-06-17 23:47:22   Print

    MANILA, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Developing countries in Asia need to improve the quality of their education systems as many graduates lack the skills needed in today's rapidly changing workplace, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Tuesday.

    "The shortage of skilled workforce in the Asia-Pacific Region, male and even more so female, has been a major bottleneck in economic and social development," ADB Vice President Ms. Ursula Schaefer-Preuss said at the launch of a research report on education.

    The report, titled "Education and Skills: Strategies for Accelerated Development in Asia and the Pacific," is intended as a guide for ADB's future operations in the education sector. ADB has provided some 7 billion U.S. dollars in loans for education since 1970, the Manila-based lender said.

    Many developing countries in Asia have had tremendous success in expanding access to primary and secondary schooling. However, this is now fueling a spike in demand for post-secondary opportunities.

    "Demand for higher education is booming and is expected to double in five years and triple in 10 years in many (of ADB's) developing member countries," according to the report.

    "But this expansion will continue to be haphazard, spawning many institutions of inferior quality," the report said.

    The report called for greater emphasis on technical and vocational education and training.

    The report also said that governments need to find innovative approaches to education financing, including public-private partnerships.

    It also calls for the mainstreaming of information and communication technology as a means to improve education content and delivery.

    The Vice President said that greater emphasis needs to be put on getting girls into schools.

    According to a recent publication "A Future Within", a joint publication by ADB with it partners, which tracked the region's progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals, more than one-third of the countries are off-track in achieving gender parity in tertiary education.

Editor: Yan Liang
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