In this modern Information Age, the global nature of interactions and economies have put a premium on knowledge; and hence education. Today, knowledge and human or intellectual capital is widely recognized to be one of the important factors, if not the most important one, in economic development and production. This means that a greater premium is put now more than ever on investments in both health and education, which serve to improve the workforce and further unlock human potential. To this end, many people aim to find a health and education indicator or indicators to help gauge progress towards improving these aspects of society and government.
In fact, just taking a good look around will show that nothing is causing as much change, both upheaval and innovation, in academic and business institutions as the redefinition of intellectual and human capital. Continuing developments in information technology, new media, and their accompanying shifts in mindsets and ways of thinking are increasingly putting emphasis on human knowledge bases. That is, as most online businesses and electronic commerce organizations have found out, the company cannot ever claim to “own” those skills, information, and expertise that live in the minds of its employees. This is why more and more people are beginning to realize the need for a good educational system, if a country’s workforce is to remain globally competitive. Employers value the proper training and competence that only a proper education can give. Politicians are now running on platforms that heavily stress schooling and education, and voters show their sympathy.
However, as is true with almost all significant change, this paradigm shift has not yet been reflected fully. For instance, in the gross domestic product or GDP of the United States, costs incurred in the pursuit of education still count as expenditures instead of the investments in capital – human capital – that they are. In the future, as the new wave of the information age continues to swell, it is expected that proper importance and regard would be given to education.
Putting a set of indicators together to accurately gauge the state of an educational system should take into account many different factors. First, some overall measures should be taken in order to assess the general efficiency of the system. These might consist of the absolute and relative percentages of the population at various academic stages, for instance. This may then be correlated with each tier’s economic impact in order to get a general idea of the effects of the educational system on the national and global economy.
Next, the more specific aspects of the workings of the school system could be probed using more particular measures and indicators. These would then investigate the effects of education on the various demographic groups, and hence assess its relative efficiencies. The prime or most relevant education indicator would vary from country to country, depending heavily on its level of development. Basic education, for example, would be most important to developing countries, because it forms the fundamental step on which succeeding parts would need to build.