Sondergaard, Lars M.

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Last updated September 20, 2023
Lars M. Sondergaard is a lead economist in the World Bank’s Education Global Practice, East Asia and Pacific Region. In different regions of the world, he has led both operational and analytical work to support improvement in educational outcomes. His policy research encompasses a range of issues, including education, poverty, growth, and fiscal policy. He is the coauthor of several World Bank publications, including Skills, Not Just Diplomas: Managing Education for Results in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Getting Back on Track: Reviving Growth and Securing Prosperity for All. Before joining the World Bank, he was a senior economist at the European Central Bank. He holds doctoral and master’s degrees in economics from Georgetown University.

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    Skills, Not Just Diplomas : The Path for Education Reforms in ECA
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-05) Murthi, Mamta ; Sondergaard, Lars
    Europe and Central Asia (ECA) countries are currently emerging from the deepest recession among all developing regions. In the post economic-crisis world, financial resources are more limited and more expensive and export growth is restrained by potentially slower growth in the destination countries. Restoring and sustaining growth in this context require reforms to boost competitiveness and increase labor productivity. ECA had a well-regarded education system prior to the end of central planning. While the intervening years have taken some of the shine off this reputation, the countries continue to have some strong achievements in the field of education. Notably, enrollments are high at all levels of education. The socialist legacy is particularly visible in the low income countries in the region which show the highest secondary enrollments in the world for their income level. Whatever measures countries take, it would be important to continue to build learning assessment systems and monitor and evaluate the impact of the reforms on desired outcomes. This is the only way of telling whether the adopted measures had the intended effect and whether course correction is needed. The education reform agenda ahead of the countries in the region is an extremely important one as it lies at the heart of their competitiveness. The reform will take time, suggesting that there is no time to lose to make a start.