Sunday, 23 November 2014


To understand the concept of human capital development, we must first examine the term human capital and move on to its development. The human being is the most important asset anywhere in the world. Natural scientists opined that the human being is very unique among living things. This is because of the high level of reasoning human beings demonstrate in their relationships within their environments. This reasonableness has made men to rapidly change their living conditions and their societies; hence, many scholars view human beings as capital to organizations and nations, though this view is not without criticism. In this sense, human capital refers to the stock of productive skills and technical knowledge embodied in labor.  Lev and Schwartz (1971) fall short of proffering a formal definition to the concept of human capital, but stated that it is, “…
a source of income embodied in a person, in the form of his brute force and his natural and acquired skills …”. This notion of human capital treats a person’s values as though it were totally an intrinsic phenomenon, that is, as though it were determined entirely by the individual’s inherent qualities, traits, and skills.
In recent decades, economists have devoted a great deal of effort to developing and to quantitative the concept, human capital, and have studied it through the concept of investment in its formation, in such activities as education, (academic study or on-the-job training), migration and medical care (Becker, 1993). The whole idea of human capital emanate from the fact that the acquisition of utilitarian shills, talents, knowledge ,and the maintenance of the acquirer during his/her education, study, or apprenticeship, always costs a real expense, which is a is an investment in the person, hence such
investment is conceived to be a capital. The point being stressed here is that the improved skills of a workman may be considered in the same light as a machine or instrument of trade, which facilities and abridges labor and which, though it costs a certain expense, repays that expense with a profit over time.
Following the above line of argument, Schultz (1995) posits that much of what we call consumption constitutes investment in human capital. He also asserted that direct expenditures on education, health care, and internal migration to take advantage of better job opportunities are clear examples. According to him, people use their leisure time to improve their skills and knowledge, which in turn enhances the quality of the human efforts and its productivity. These efforts are capital because they are substantially products of deliberate investment. In the words of Becker (1993), they are called human capital because people cannot be separated from their knowledge, skills, and heath or values in the way they can be separated from their financial and physical assets. Schultz, therefore, asserted that investment in human capital is probably the major explanation for the differences observed in the productive (output) levels in the various economics of the world. The argument is that well-developed human capital plays an important role in the development process of nations.
In view of the preceding description of human capital, one conceives human capital development as the totality of efforts or activities geared toward making the human person useful to him/herself, family, and the society at large. Harbinson and Mongers (1964) succinctly define human capital development as the process of increasing the knowledge, skills, and the capacities of all people in a society.  Similarly, Essien (2000) sees it as a well thought-out plan and action aimed at the developing and grooming of human beings so as to present them fit and qualified to be productive to themselves, in particular, and to the entire society, in general. Human capital development involves the provision of formal and nonformal education that would broaden the minds of the individuals and acquaint them with various utilitarian skills to enhance their expertise in different fields of human endeavor. In addition, it has to do with the provision of quality health care delivery systems that would keep the people fit for productive functions in the economy. According to OvenseriOgbomo (2006) for any meaningful development to take place anywhere, it must start with the development of the human beings. He considered human capital to be the engine of growth, agent of economic transformation, a catalyst for social re-engineering, and a base for economic take-off. It was on this basis Schultz (1995) argued that investment in human capital can overcome many of the characteristics of the labor force that act as impediments to greater productivity, such as poor health, illiteracy, un-receptiveness to new knowledge/ideas, fear of change, a lack of incentive, and immobility.

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