Human Capital is an integral part of any country’s development and economic growth has human capital as an important factor. This study analyzes the human capital development, education and economic growth in Nigeria. The total population for the study is 200 staff of ministry of education, Akwa Ibom State. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up technical instructors, education officers, senior staff and junior staff was used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies.
- Background of the study
Human capital development is human centered because its major concern is on human empowerment which would lead to active participation. According to OECD (2001), human capital is concerned with knowledge, skills competitiveness and attributes embedded in an individual that facilitates the creation of personal, social, education and economic wellbeing. In order to achieve positive economic growth in Nigeria, human capital development should be considered as an integral and important factor for education and economic growth. A major challenge facing the global community and Nigeria at large is how to achieve sustainable development. The three pillars of sustainable development cannot be achieved if human capital development doesn’t come to play as an integral part. In Nigeria, the annual federal government budget to educational sector (in percentages) is nothing to talk about, statistics show that the percentages over the years are not in line with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) recommendation of 26.0% it was discovered that from 2005-2007,the percentage was 6.3%, 7.8%, respectively. A poor country is a country, which never invested sufficiently in its human capital development and the citizens who are supposed to be at the centre of the economic growth would be poverty stricken. Human capital as defined by Schutz (1993) is the key element in improving firms’ asset and employees in order to improve productivity as well as sustain competitive advantage. Human capital becomes a tool for competitive advantage since it involves the process of training, knowledge acquisition (education), initiatives and so on, all these are geared towards skill acquisition. Education can improve labor quality, drive the spread of new knowledge and improve labor’s ability to introduce, imitate and apply advanced technologies. Human capital theory holds that the well-being of a society is a function not only of the traditional stocks of financial capital, labour and natural resources but also of the knowledge and skills of individuals. This “human capital” can be used like any other asset to generate outcomes of value to individuals and society. In particular, the theory predicts that increased knowledge and skill will yield improved economic outcomes for both individuals and societies. This idea has attained increased prominence in the past couple of decades because of the widely held view that we are in a “knowledge economy,” in which knowledge and skill convey a greater premium than in the past. The development of human capital has been recognized by economists to be a key prerequisite for a country’s socio-economic and political transformation. Among the generally agreed causal factors responsible for the impressive performance of the economies of most of the developed and the newly industrializing countries is an impressive commitment to human capital formation (Adedeji and Bamidele, 2003; World Bank, 1995; Barro, 1991). This has been largely achieved through increased knowledge, skills and capabilities acquired through education and training by all the people of these countries. It has been stressed that the differences in the level of socio-economic development across nations is attributed not so much to natural resources and endowments and the stock of physical capital but to the quality and quantity of human resources. According to Oladeji and Adebayo (1996), human resources are a critical variable in the growth process and worthy of development. They are not only means but more importantly, the ends that must be served to achieve economic progress. This is underscored by Harbinson (1973) who opined that “human resources constitute the ultimate basis for the wealth of nations. Capital and natural resources are passive factors of production; human beings are the active agents who accumulate capital, exploit natural resources, build social, economic, and political organizations, and carry forward national development. Clearly, a country which is unable to develop the skills and knowledge of its people and to utilize them effectively in the national economy will be unable to develop anything else”. Investment in human capital plays an important role in increasing competitiveness, improving quality of life of the population and in generating economic growth and development of a country.