OECD's report on universal basic skills quantifies the long-run economic benefits of countries meeting the proposed post-2015 learning targets. A post-2015 focus on learning and skills is strongly supported by evidence about the economic benefits that accompany improved school quality.
Economic growth and social development are closely related to the skills of a population, indicating that a central post-2015 development goal for education should be that all youth achieve at least basic skills as a foundation for work and further learning. Achieving such a goal would lead to remarkable overall economic gains while providing for broad participation in the benefits of development.
The report measures skills based on the achievement of youth on international assessments of learning outcomes. Using data from 76 countries, it measures the economic impact of universal achievement of basic skills for each of the 76 countries that currently have data on school enrolment and on achievement.
On average, the economic impact over the next 80 years in the lowest-income countries, where the enrolment rate averages just 75%, is still greatest for quality improvements. The gains from improving the current quality of schools are three times as large as those from expanding enrolment at the current quality. In these countries, the economic gains from achieving universal basic skills would average more than eight times their current GDP.