The next Thailand government (whoever that will be) needs to invest in human capital if the country is to achieve its goal of reducing inequality and reaching high income status by 2036, as is its ambition.
The cost of under utilisation of human capacity in Thailand is highlighted in a new video report by The World Bank.
Titled Thailand: Investment in Human Capital Key to Reducing Inequality and accompanied by an #EndPoverty hashtag, the report unearths some concerning figures.
The report finds that despite a thriving economy with strong growth of 4.1 per cent in 2018 and expected growth of 3.9 per cent by 2020, social and economic inequality remains high. In particular the report finds that:
- 90 per cent of Thais think the gap between rich and poor is a significant problem
- Only 39 per cent of Thais feel their standards of living are getting better.
- Only 60 per cent of children born in Thailand today will reach his or her productivity or income potential
- The 12.4 years of schooling that a child receives is equivalent in quality to just 8.6 years
- Access to quality education is restricted to wealthy, developed areas
- While Bangkok household income in 2018 grew 10 per cent, the national average was just 3.8 per cent
In the video Birgit Hansl, Thailand country manager for the World Bank, says it is very important for the government to invest in the people of Thailand with quality education for children, though to a health-care system attuned to the needs of an ageing population.
“Ensuring that people live healthy lives and reach their full potential will be not just important for long-term economic growth but also help families of Thailand to prosper”.
More direct is Kiatipong Ariyapruchya, a senior World Bank economist for Thailand, who bluntly says: For Thailand to get to high-income through inclusive growth, Thailand must invest in human capital and continue implementation of economic reforms.
“To address inequality in education outcomes, he says Thailand needs to address the efficiency of public expenditure in education, consolidate small schools so that there are better teachers per school, and increase the quality of school-based management.
For the medium-term the report urges Thailand to continue its implementation of large public infrastructure projects, particularly in the north, northeast, and south, to the central regions, and to the larger Asean region in general, he said.
If Thailand acts now, investments in human capital will have a lasting impact on lifting long-term growth, reducing inequality, and improving people’s lives, the report concludes.
In the period 1980 to 2002 Thailand’s per capita GDP increased by more than 482 per cent, from $682 to $3,971. In the following 10 years it grew by only 40 per cent, reaching $5,560 in 2012. Since then the growth curve has flattened out, increasing by only 18.6 per cent through to 2017 when it reached $6,595 according to data from The World Bank.
Feature video World Bank
- Productivity slump behind Thailand’s economic woes (Bangkok Post)
- Thailand’s economy ends first quarter of 2019 on weaker note (ING)
- Thailand 4.0: boosting productivity (OECD)
She commenced as an intern at AEC News Today and was appointed as a junior writer/ trainee journalist on April 2, 2018