One of the key drivers of a successful economy is the need for a highly educated workforce to maximize the opportunity provided by the knowledge economy and to use creativity, innovation, and higher productivity to create greater wealth.
Most of us would no doubt smile broadly and knowingly at this with the insight that Nova Scotia loves to boast of it highly educated workforce – and it is true -more than 75% of the labour force had at least a high school diploma and almost 50% had at least some post secondary.
Good stuff, but what it means is that, and here is the elephant, cow or gorilla in the room, 25%, almost a quarter of a million people in Nova Scotia, have not finished high school, and about 38% of working age Nova Scotians don’t have the minimum literacy skills to work in today’s economy and 50% – half – don’t have the numeracy skills!
This is an enormous number of people who are not able to participate in our envisioned future which creates an enormous burden on those who can.
We fully support investing in making educated people smarter but a management rule of thumb is that a dollar spent on training the most untrained worker has a much higher rate of return then a dollar spent on those at the top of the scale.
We need to start taking a closer look at Nova Scotia’s literacy and numeracy and work to have our province at one of the highest levels of literacy and numeracy in Canada.