Just under two weeks back, the national Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) held a three-day work shop to sensitize what they termed as ‘stakeholders’ on issues relating to human resource development and planning in our country.
At the same time, the seminar was also meant to solicit those ‘stakeholders’ advice and support on the establishment of the selection of special human resource development sub committees. The key sectors that have so far benefitted or will ultimately benefit from the noble idea entails Health, Information Communications Technology and Business sectors.
The sub committee’s key roles, we have been told, is to provide a single link which focuses on identifying the human resource development needs and designing a collaborative education and skills development response that will enable the human resource development sector to thrive and succeed.
But at the time that the HRDC has decided to come up with such committees, it is quite evident that our country is at a crossroads in its efforts to develop a robust human resource capital. Available statistics show that as a country we have produced more graduates in certain disciplines than the economy is able to absorb or need them.
In the same token, it is also clear that over the past decades, our overall education policy neglected other areas, most notably the engineering and technical disciplines, including but not limited to medicine and its related specialized disciplines. Despite our country being blessed with vast of mineral resources, our education system has over the years failed to produce adequate mining engineers.
There is no doubt therefore that, while with time, the mismatch between what our education system churned out and what the economy needed got more pronounced, policy and law makers took long to respond.
With enough evidence upon us, this therefore calls for a vibrant and regular dialogue between the private sector and higher institutions of learning to avoid mismatch between what is needed on the labour market and what students are taught in the university.
We challenge all the industries, particularly regarded as key to the domestic economy to actively participate in the development of academic programmes. It cannot be left to Universities and other tertiary institutions alone. We are of the view various universities in this country, both private and public ones will develop curricula tailored to the specific skills that the labour market need.
We also believe that strong partnership between the public and private sector and higher learning institutions is paramount in the development of any country including ours. There is need to promote employability skills in all universities and as such ‘stakeholders’ should jointly work towards value addition for graduates to be suitable for the labour market. A perfect intermediary between these key ‘stakeholders’ is the HRDC.
As such, in all their endeavors, executives at the HRDC should bear in mind that our country needs full engagement of the private sector to realise the development ambitions in as much as the private sector requires the right workforce.
The Bottom-line however remains that we need to curb the mismatch in our labour market. Also in the long run, we ought to have ambition to have our country exporting experienced skills to the region and the global village.