A COMPREHENSIVE HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT POLICY FOR BALOCHISTAN
SYED FAZL-E-HAIDER, QUETTA
Oct 08 - 21, 2007
The modern economists use the term "human capital" for education, health and other human capacities that can raise productivity when increased. The analysis of investments in health and education is unified in human capital approach. The human capital approach focuses on the indirect ability of education and health to increase utility by increasing incomes.
Balochistan is rich in natural resources. These natural resources however will have no impact on development if it is not matched with human resources that can tap this natural endowment. At the same time, the concept of good governance and a strong civil society needed for good governance is not imaginable without a population with a basic level of education. Therefore in any development strategy for the province, human resource development is a key factor.
A healthy and well-educated and trained population is the aim of any human resource development effort. Balochistan is the least populated province of the country. In 1995, the National Institute for Population Studies made a projection for the Balochistan population and it came to a total population of 7.357 million. This meant a population of around 8.3 million at the beginning of the 9th Plan period. With an area of 347,192 square kilometers, this implies a density of 23 per square kilometer. After these results are known, the government was set to formulate a human resource development policy. From the relatively low population density, the vastness of the area and the difficulties in communication, any policy aiming at human resource development is bound to take regional needs into account. A clear example is the need for good fishermen in the coastal belt.
The government's first consideration in designing a human resource development policy was that, with a view on the low literacy rates, elementary education was a priority area, especially for girls. Attention for elementary education was however not at the cost of secondary and higher forms of education. A balanced approach was required, with a strict policy with regard to allocation of development funds, avoiding overlap, that was avoiding investments in areas where educational facilities were already available.
The second consideration was the need for skilled labor. The natural resources could only be utilized if skilled labor was available. Industries aiming at processing of raw materials available in the province could only have a fighting chance of success if skilled labor could be supplied locally. Based on this consideration, the government planned to upgrade and broaden the base of the vocational training and education facilities in the province, wherever possible in cooperation with the private sector.
The backward position of women was the third consideration in formulating and implementing a human resource development policy.
A comprehensive and long term policy for human resource development in Balochistan will base on triadic structure i-e 1) Education 2) Health care 3) Women empowerment
Education is a prime component of human resource development. Only the educated, skilled and healthy people can make the best use of the enormous natural resources of Balochistan. The development of human resources will raise labor efficiency and revolutionize the social attitudes and institutions in the province. The qualified teachers, instructors and trainers should be recruited and be accorded importance for human resource development in the province.
The government should arrange for launching on-job training programs for the people in Balochistan. The education at primary, secondary and higher levels and the technical education according to the needs of 21st century should be provided to the students in the province. Secondary level education should be prioritized that remains instrumental in provision of critical skills, which are highly desirable for the economic development of Balochistan. The government must establish technical institutes in various districts to develop human resources.
The second leg of a comprehensive human development policy is the maintenance and promotion of health standards in Balochistan through provision of better health care services and nutrition. A healthy population can work better for the economic progress of the province fully utilizing its capabilities and skills. For obtaining this health capital in the province, there is a high need to resolve basic and pressing issues related to the health sector.
The health indicators in Balochistan are poorer than any other province. Malaria, Typhoid, Hepatitis, gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders are common in the province. There is only one doctor available for 7300 persons, in average. Lack or absence of female health staff including female doctors in rural Balochistan worsens the situation. Serious efforts are needed to combat public health problems in the province.
3) WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
Third leg of human development policy is to create conditions leading to the economic empowerment of women in the province. They should e provide with the opportunities to play their role at all levels and in all types of development activities. They must have the opportunity and be provided with an environment to develop their talents.
Handicrafts sector can play an important role in women's economic empowerment, especially in rural Balochistan, where it is generally practiced at local family level.
The art of handicrafts in Balochistan has survived since old ages without undergoing any scientific and industrial advancement. According to a UN literacy survey report, females in rural areas with lowest literacy rate, were more inclined to embroidery. They, belonging to the lower class of society, live under poverty, and for them making money on embroidery skills is a real bonus in life. Females from all age are engaged in doing embroidery skills, however, majority of them belong to young age.
The embroidery involves a lot of eyesight work as one has to concentrate all on stitching without losing a trace, otherwise it can spoil the work. The important thing in needlework is cleanness and sophistication of stitching. In rural areas females spend longer time in needlework and doing it in night under a lamp, are prone to eye-sight problem. According to the survey report, those who have received education in rural areas were less inclined to learning embroidering. The educated females can earn handsome salary by serving as school teachers in any girls school.
Women in Balochistan should get the possibility to enter all types and all levels of education and training. Education and training facilities should be built to a large extent on the inputs women are already providing. In 2004, a Women University with both science and arts faculties was established in Quetta. It was a welcome step by the present government, as it has provided a chance to the female students in Balochistan (who were not willing to study in co-education system at University level) to continue their education to the higher level.