Tue | Oct 23, 2018

PM wants greater human capital development

Published:Thursday | October 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Andrew Holness addresses the conference of Heads of Mission held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said that his administration recognises a need for greater development of Jamaica's human capital while hinting that the nation could be part of a new Human Capital Index to be launched by the World Bank.

Holness was addressing the 2018 Executive Management and Heads of Missions Conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday.

"Human-capital development is an area that we need to return to. Indeed, we are doing programmes and we have policies in place, but there needs to be greater emphasis on the development of [our] human capital.

"Indeed, it is going to become even more important as our multilateral partners, specifically the World Bank, will be launching a new Human Capital index, and Jamaica is considering becoming part of the first cohort to be measured."

He stressed that it is absolutely important that the Government redoubles its efforts, from a policy perspective and from an implementation perspective, to make sure that the country is doing well in terms of measuring its human-capital development.

"And in that regard, an important piece of information that I believe you should know is that the Ministry of Education is now going to be part of the world cohort being measured under the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study, which is an international body that measures educational performance in critical subject areas, in particular, math."

The PISA is a worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in member and non-member nations intended to evaluate educational systems by measuring 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance in mathematics, science, and reading.

"So, it means that Jamaica will be benchmarked internationally, so that is another step towards our human-capital development," the prime minister said.

Holness was juxtaposing the assessment against the background of what he says are the five national domestic policy priorities: justice, inclusive economic growth and job creation, debt reduction and macroeconomic stability, fiscal prudence, and human-capital development.

In addition, Holness said true human-capital development cannot be achieved without the reduction of poverty, which he noted is still a critical part of the Jamaican landscape.

"This administration does not ignore that fact; this administration accepts that the poverty levels are still too high. Granted, we take some comfort that the poverty rates have declined, but our job is to end poverty in Jamaica," said Holness.

"Jamaica has so great a potential that we could end absolute poverty in our country. It is a priority of this Government as we are always concerned about what is happening to the poor people of this country.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com