HCMC – A new report by the World Bank revealed that between 2010 and 2020, Vietnam’s human capital index (HCI) increased from 0.66 to 0.69, which is higher than the average for East Asia and the Pacific region as well as for lower middle income countries.
The HCI measures the extent of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by the age of 18. It conveys the productivity of the next generation of workers compared to a benchmark of comprehensive education and complete health. The score of 0.69 indicates that a child born in Vietnam today will be 69% as productive when he/she grows up, as he/she could be if he/she enjoyed comprehensive education and complete health.
According to the Human Capital Index 2020 report, Vietnam’s score is well above the world’s average of 0.56 and it ranks 38th among the 174 surveyed economies.
In Southeast Asia, Vietnam ranks above Brunei (56th), Malaysia (62nd), Thailand (63rd), Indonesia (96th), the Philippines (103rd), Cambodia (118th), Myanmar (120th), Laos (126th) and Timor-Leste (128th).
The index has six components, including the probability of survival up to the age of five, expected years of school, harmonized test scores, learning-adjusted years of school, adult survival rate and healthy growth.
The World Bank’s data indicates that 98 of the 100 children born in Vietnam survive up to the age of five and a child who starts school at the age of four can expect to complete 12.9 years of school by his/her 18th birthday.
Students in Vietnam scored 519 in the Harmonized Test Scores (HTS), a level similar to countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands and New Zealand, which are significantly richer.
HTS measures how much children learn in school based on the countries’ relative performance on international student achievement tests, where 625 represents advanced attainment and 300 represents minimum attainment. Globally, the HTS ranges from a score of around 305 in the poorest countries to a score of some 575 in the richest countries.
Across Vietnam, 87% of 15 year olds will survive until the age of 60. This statistic is a proxy for the range of health risks that a child born today would experience as an adult under current conditions.
The HCI for girls (0.73) is higher than it is for boys (0.65), reflecting in part a female biological advantage early in life. However, women continue to be at a substantial disadvantage in a number of dimensions of human capital that are not captured by the HCI’s components, including participation in economic life.
The ratio in HCI between the richest and poorest 20% of the population in Vietnam is 1.47, higher than the global average of 1.35.
The HCI gap between ethnic groups remains large. Survey data from 2014 disaggregated by ethnic groups shows that ethnic minorities have an HCI score of 0.62, compared with 0.75 for the ethnic-majority Kinh. School enrollment also lags among ethnic minorities relative to their Kinh peers by 30 percentage points.
Launched in 2018 as part of the Human Capital Project, the HCI is an international metric that benchmarks key components of human capital across countries. The HCI 2020 report includes health and education data from 174 countries, covering 98% of the world’s population.
It highlights how current health and education outcomes shape the productivity of the next generation of workers and underscore the importance for governments and societies of investing in the human capital of their citizens.