Investing more in human capital, that is, investing more in people, is critical for development. This sounds almost cliché by now, which to a certain extent is a tragedy. And it is a tragedy because while it is true, many governments and societies are not acting upon it. If you are ill and you don’t know about it, it is a bad thing. If you know about it and you don’t do anything about it, it is a tragedy. When it comes to education in developing countries, we know we are ill and yet we are doing little about it. Yes, more children are in school, and that is great. But too often they are not learning or they are not learning enough.

Looking at the most recent data, we know that half of children in primary schools across the developing world are not able to read or write a sentence, and cannot do a simple two-digit math operation. That is why, at the World Bank, we argue that we are facing a global learning crisis. That is bad; but it is not uniformly bad... —