Research Analyses the Impact of Educational Performance on Innovation and Income

 Research Analyses the Impact of Educational Performance on Innovation and Income

Study by Wittenborg Lecturers Based on Data from PISA Exams

What effect does educational quality, as evaluated by performance in mathematics, science and reading in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), have on countries’ innovation and income levels?  

That is the important question Wittenborg lecturers Amjad Naveed, Muhammad Ashfaq and Rauf Abdul sought to answer in their paper ‘The effect of average scores in reading, mathematics and science on innovation and income: A quantitative analysis for a group of countries’. 

Published by Cell Press’ open-access journal Heliyon, the work is co-authored by Aziza Zhuparova, from Kazakhstan’s Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.  

The paper highlights that, according to endogenous theory, one of the key factors influencing development and growth is human capital, which takes the form of education and knowledge. Therefore, it argues that countries with strong educational systems and general knowledge may experience positive effects on their economic development and technological advancement. Additionally, the human capital theory also views education as a key factor in accumulating human capital.  

Conducted by OECD, PISA is an international study aimed at evaluating education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students in participating countries/economies. Every three years, a randomly selected group of students takes tests in key subjects – reading, mathematics and science – with focus given to one subject in each year of assessment. Since the year 2000, over 70 countries and economies have participated in PISA. 

To understand the correlation between PISA scores, innovation and income (GDP per capita) the authors employed qualitative and quantitative methods.   

First, based on the literature in the field, they built a conceptual model that shows a nexus between education, innovation and growth. The model reveals that the quality of secondary education is the basis of both innovation and economic growth because of its direct and indirect (spillover) effects on the economy. However, there is a bidirectional link between these three variables. This means that, while the initial direction of influence goes from education to innovation and then to growth, the feedback effect goes from growth to innovation and education. 

The quantitative part of the study is based on data from three sources: 1) World development indicators from the World Bank, 2) Scores from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and 3) The Knowledge and Technology output from the Global Innovation Index (GII). 

The results of the study suggest that educational quality measured by the PISA scores of three core subjects (mathematics, science and reading) positively affects both innovation and GDP per capita. However, the scores in mathematics play an even more significant role than the others in their contribution toward a country’s innovation levels and GDP per capita. Additionally, the impact of the overall score (PISA average) is also positive and significant, which suggests that all three subjects are crucial to promoting innovation. 

The authors point out that the study’s findings provide obvious suggestions for the implementation of policies aimed at raising income and innovation levels through the enhancement of educational quality. In their view, it is crucial to improve education overall, with a focus on mathematics, as this will help students develop their innovative skills while also improving their ability to solve complex problems on their own. Therefore, the focus of authorities should be on offering mathematics-related training and courses to teachers engaged in basic education.

WUP 27/06/2024 
by Ulisses Sawczuk 
©WUAS Press