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Human resource development in Pakistan.

Low literacy is one of the most important defects of our nation. An urgent need is the improvement of literacy. All over the world it has been found that increase of literacy to above 50% is a must for rapid economic development. Only with such literacy the people can take advantage of government projects like increase of employment, population control, spread of small scale industries in rural areas etc.

In the economy of Pakistan we have arrived at an important stage of progress. Leading economists of the world agree on one aspect about the economy of developing countries. When an underdeveloped country makes systematic and sustained efforts for economic and advancement, initially the development rate is low. The people are not aware of the economic potential of the country. The resources of the country: agricultural, mineral and human have not been identified. Systematic and determined efforts have not been done to eradicate poverty, illness, illiteracy and other social evils.2

In this state of economic development the progress is understandably slow. The yearly growth in the GNP is between 2% to 4%. In many countries, the annual growth of population is around 3%. So the resultant growth of per capita GNP is painfully low 1% to 2%.

Many developing countries in Africa, Latin America and to some extent in Asia are still in this first stage of economic advancement.

Fortunately a few of the developing countries have managed to attain more speedy development. Shining examples of such countries are South Korea and Taiwan. They have made progress in GNP at the yearly rate of 10% or more during recent decades. Almost same rate of progress has been made by Hong Kong and Singapore. These four countries are called the Asiatic tigers.

Recently some more Asiatic countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia have achieved high rate of development. A group of countries have been formed with the name of ASEAN. This group have shown remarkable dynamism and determination.

Another inspiring example is China. This country of around one billion people has achieved high rate of economic development during recent years.

Fortunately the development of Pakistan's economy has been better than average of the developing countries. The annual growth rate of around 6% has been better than that of India. Bangladesh and many other countries. A cautious optimism can be seen among the economists, planners and thinkers. Already a target of yearly economic growth of more than 7% has been adopted for the eight five year plan. Foreign investors from Japan, Germany, UK, South Korea and some other industrialised countries are showing interest in offering technical and financial collaboration for our development projects. It will be natural to expect that the yearly progress of Pakistan's economy may increase to 8% and stay above that level in the first decade of the twenty first century.

To achieve and maintain annual economic progress of 7% to 8% we have to give adequate priorities to certain matters. Every effort in human life gradually shows some weak points. One has to identify these weak points and remove those to ensure sustained success in the effort.

In our effort to quicken economic growth certain weaknesses have appeared. The existence of these are nobody's fault in particular. These have been due to our difficult circumstances. So it will be intelligent of us not to blame each other for these but to find out ways to eliminate these defects with zeal and determination.

Perhaps our national asset which has the highest potential for improvement is human resource. We have a tremendous human capital all over the country the people are intelligent and hardworking. Pakistani workers have created high reputation for skill and productivity in several countries of the Middle East. There is no reason that they cannot work with similar success for their own country.

Due to remaining engrossed with many difficult problems since birth as a nation such as the refugee problem and the ethnic problem leaders of the nation could not pay adequate attention to human resource. Now that the original problems have been solved to some extent and some economic development has taken place it is time to develop our human resource with determination and skill.

Fortunately the possibility and need for human resource development has been recognised in almost all developing countries. Now we have to take up the task in a very systematic way. The first step is to identify the reasons for lack of adequate development. It is not difficult to identify these. Here we can mention a few with steps to correction.

Low literacy is one of the most important defects of our nation. An urgent need is the improvement of literacy. This is less than 30% now compared to more than 90% in Sri Lanka. The economy of Sri Lanka is not stronger than that of Pakistan. So our low rate of literacy is not due to our poverty. If Sri Lanka has been able to increase literacy to 90% we should also be able to increase our literacy to 50% and then 70% or more within a short period.

A determined and systematic effort should be made to increase our literacy on an urgent basis. High government officials occasionally mention about efforts to increase literacy. This is a very good sign. It would be beneficial to strengthen the efforts and set a time table.

All over the world it has been found that increase of literacy to above 50% is a must for rapid economic development. Only with such literacy the people can take advantage of government projects like increase of employment, population control, spread of small scale industries in rural areas etc. So we need to announce a time table for increasing literacy to 50%. We should assess the resources at the disposal of the nation for increasing literacy to 50% and fix a date say the year 2000 as the target date for this purpose. This would mean increase of literacy at the yearly rate of about 3% which is within the capability of the government. Once this objective is fixed, i.e. attainment of 50% literacy by the year 2000, then we should continue this course with iron determination so as to achieve this object. Management by Objective has been found very effective in many projects. The project of increase of literacy up to 50% by the year 2000 will also be possible if we use this modern management technique.

Another defect in our human resource development is the lack of female education. The literacy among females is much lower than that among males. In some rural areas, literacy among females is less than 10%. It is simply not possible to have speedy economic development of the nation with such extremely low literacy.

We can think of a bird which has one wing very weak. The bird will not be able to fly. Women population is about half of the total population. If we keep this half weak in development by neglecting their education, then the fate of our nation will be similar to that of a bird with one wing. It will be very difficult for the nation to make economic progress. So one obvious step for us is to make all out effort to increase literacy among females. While trying to increase overall literacy to 50% we should take meticulous care to ensure that female literacy is also increased to this level.
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Author:Alam, M.N.
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Words:1237
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