Prof Wei Shangjin, Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), delivered a lecture on the topic “A Smarter Future: Education, Skills, and Growth in Asia” on 20 October at the Distinguished Lecture Series organised by the Department of Economics, Pan Sutong Shanghai-Hong Kong Economic Policy Research Centre and MSc in International Banking and Finance. He also introduced the findings of a new ADB report on education and skill upgrading. President Leonard K Cheng, Prof Wei Xiangdong, Dean of Faculty of Social Science and Director of Pan Sutong Shanghai-Hong Kong Economic Policy Research Centre, Prof Lin Ping, Head of Department of Economics and nearly 80 audience attended the lecture.
Prof Wei pointed that though developing Asian countries has made large strides in expanding education especially in school enrollments, quantity of education alone is not enough and quality is more important for upgrading cognitive skills and greater growth. The report predicts that per capita income in a typical developing Asian economy can more than double in a 20-year period if cognitive skills can progressively reach levels seen in more advanced economies.
Prof Wei suggested three focus areas to improve the quality of education: a system to collect and share information (like public test scores and school, teachers and students performance), attention to curriculum content and early childhood education.