Here in the US, education is getting much attention over the last few weeks. Probably due to the documentary, 'Waiting for Superman', that was released.
Education could provide a good return on investment. Look at China, India, Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, on and on.
We have not received a good return on investment over the past few decades in the US. Students, parents, and the government demand that the population be "educated" but the student has to want to be educated and work at it. Education is not a give me proposition, it is a participatory endeavor.
I have a good friend who immigrated to the US about 20 years ago. He came from one of those growing 3rd world countries, and was very poor. Today he is successful and financially secure. He earned several degrees, and in business he works hard... not long hours, but is effective in what he does. He is not afraid of our current economic crisis, because he knows it is easy for him to get a job, because he is extremely good at what he does, he is in high demand, and is well compensated. He does not have to look for a job, companies seek him out. And he is not in some smoke and mirrors service business, he is in manufacturing.
Some of his observations include the fact that too many Americans are lazy. He saw this in college. The students were lazy. He got top grades, and more importantly he LEARNED, while most students were just trying to maintain a GPA or assemble the correct combination of classes to graduate. He sees the same attitude among too many workers.
He lives in a city that boasts one of the highest per capita incomes in the US. His neighbors are billionaires, and he is not heavily in debt. While he is middle aged, he could continue to live comfortably for several years without working. So, here is a guy who speaks with an accent, who 20 years ago lived in a barefooted 3rd world country and had nothing. He came to America because it was the land of opportunity, and he was willing to work.