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Abstractauthor’s own and not necessarily of the World Bank or any of its affiliated agencies. 1 Learning for the 21 st Century: Opportunities and Challenges Globalization offers unprecedented opportunities as we enter the 21 st century. The developing world is more open today than at any than in recent history. The knowledge and information revolution is opening up unprecedented possibilities of progress. Examples are accumulating of how openness of countries to knowledge and learning is providing tangible avenues for catching up. Yet it is also clear that none of these opportunities is automatic. There lies one of the toughest challenges. If the developing countries do not manage to invest in education and learning in tandem with the pace of globalization, the gap between the rich and the poor will only increase. Both the quantity and quality of investments in learning are crucial. It is the combination of investments in people and the openness to the rest of the world that ensures payoffs. I. Investments in Education No country has achieved sustained development without investing substantially and efficiently in education and health. In the past decade, developing countries have been spending a modestly increasing share of public resources on education (figure 1), even protecting them during periods of stabilization and fiscal austerity. But whether public spending produces good outcomes depends on the distribution and quality of the public spending, along with incentives for more private spending.