THE new World Bank Human Capital Index this week gave policymakers in the Caribbean and around the world compelling evidence that delivering better outcomes in children's health and learning that could significantly boost incomes.
The Index ranks each country in terms of productivity of the next generation of workers. According to the research, Trinidad and Tobago, followed by Jamaica, have made significant human capital gains and rank ahead of other countries in the Caribbean region.
Despite the progress, however, the World Bank said important gaps remain, pointing out that a child born today in Trinidad and Tobago will have 61 per cent of the labour productivity it could have had if provided with complete education and full health. In Jamaica, children born today, once they grow up, will be only 54 per cent as productive as they could than if they enjoyed complete education and full health.
Other Caribbean countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname were not featured in the Human Capital Index due to the lack of internationally comparable data measuring quality of education.
This first version of the index is based on what data is available today, but an important objective of the Human Capital Project is to improve the measurement of human capital. Going forward, the index may incorporate more data, including the quality of education in the Caribbean, as well as expanding its coverage of other aspects of human capital.