BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, September 13, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Economist Dr. Colin Cannonier told a diverse audience, which included tertiary and secondary school students in St. Kitts and Nevis, that the acquisition of higher education has the potential to significantly increase one’s earning capacity and improve their overall standard of living.
“There are numerous reasons why education matters. The World Bank reminds us that education is a human right, a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace and stability,” Dr. Cannonier said.
Dr. Cannonier was at the time delivering a thought-provoking and insightful presentation on education and its other aspects at the 2019 Prime Minister’s Independence Lecture Series held on Thursday, September 12, at the Sir Cecil Jacobs Auditorium at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.
As it pertains to the link between education and higher income earnings, the Economics Professor indicated that, “For most countries in the world the average hourly pay for an individual increases by about 9 percent on average for each year of schooling. If we compartmentalize into regions, the highest returns to schooling occur in the Caribbean of which we are a part. More specifically, an individual in the Caribbean can expect the average hourly income to increase by 11 percent for an additional year of schooling.”
“It means that the more schooling we attain, the greater are the opportunities for individuals to substantially raise incomes, improve our standard of living and reduce inequality,” Dr. Cannonier added.
He however stated that the benefits of schooling go well beyond the potential for higher income earnings, noting that there are many social returns that are available as well.
“For instance, we now know those who are more educated tend to choose jobs that offer greater opportunities for reward and accomplishment. Such individuals are more likely to be recognized in the workplace by managers and peers and receive support that enhances working conditions. People with more schooling tend to have better relationships with their colleagues; the more educated are more likely to receive fringe benefits such as pension contributions, medical insurance, paid vacation and allowance for travel, vehicle and housing,” Dr. Cannonier said.
He further added that education is also associated with benefits that occur outside of the working environment, noting that, “A vast literature points to the fact that our critical thinking and social skills improve with education. As we become better critical thinkers, we are better able to solve difficult problems in shorter amount of time. They become better at multi-tasking which is linked to increased productivity.”
Among those in attendance for Dr. Cannonier’s presentation at the Prime Minister’s Independence Lecture Series were His Excellency the Governor General, Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton; Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris and members of his Team Unity-led Cabinet including Deputy Prime Minister the Honourable Shawn Richards; officials of the diplomatic and consular corps and representatives of the business community.