Research Analyst
July 26 - Aug 1, 2010

Pakistan's economic growth trends have been paradoxical. One of the reasons for this is that the periods of high growth have not resulted in the improvement of its human resource development indicators. Today, Pakistan comprises of approximately 170 million people and in terms of population, it is the seventh largest country in the world. The United Nation projects by 2050, Pakistan's population is expected to double to about 350 million making it the world's third or fourth most populous country.


2003-04 202871 61108 423236
2004-05 216454 67953 471964
2005-06 242879 78934 521473
2006-07 276226 91563 640061
2007-08 331664 103466 741092
2008-09 348434 115369 803507

Currently, human resource development is playing a vital and paramount role in the economic development of Pakistan. In this respect, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has made significant progress in the country. With the dual objective of increasing institutional capacity and enhancing local research activities, the major thrust of programs is primarily aimed at improving the academic qualifications of university faculty. Scholarships schemes are also open to individuals working in the private sector or government servants as well as for students.

HEC has awarded 1,426 undergraduate and 6,653 postgraduate scholarships, out of which 3,765 MS leading to PhD scholarships are under Indigenous Programs. This scheme has produced more than 300 PhDs. These scholars have joined reputable Pakistani universities and R&D organisations in the public and private sector.

These HEC scholars also support the local universities in upgrading the infrastructure of research facilities at universities particularly laboratory equipment, chemicals etc.

Currently, HEC has awarded post doctorate scholarships to 503 university teachers. In addition, 11021 faculty members and senior university administrators have been trained through different long and short-term courses.


Higher education plays a pivotal role in making an economy knowledge based and intellectual capital oriented that finally contributes as driving force for innovation and creativity in this age of globalisation where sound technological base provides rapid strides in development through rational allocation of resources for competitive value addition in human as well as in physical resources. In order to boost up higher education four new universities have been established during the year 2009?10.

The enrolment at universities degree awarding institution has been increasing over the years. During 2008-09, there were 803,507 students studying in the universities, which indicate an increase of 190.94 percent over the total enrolment of 2001-02.


Since the inception of HEC, the funding to higher education has immensely increased. The country is facing financial constraints for the last few years, impact of which has also been felt by higher education sector. Non-development funds were curtailed during the financial year 2007?08. Recurring grants allocated during financial year 2008?09 are kept at the level of previous year. For the current financial year 2009?10, with support of Rs8 billion from World Bank, funding the Higher Education for Development Expenditures has been increased to Rs22.5 billion. The non-development funds have also been increased to Rs21.5 billion. So far, 60 per cent of the allocated funds for current financial have been released.


For the human resource development, the government of Pakistan has completed the first phase of National Internship Program (NIP). Under this phase, 25826 applicants were offered internship at federal, provincial and district levels. Second phase of NIP was launched in Feb 2008. Total 71,915 applications were received. So far, 21138 applications have been verified by HEC and NADRA and are being placed in ministries, divisions, departments and provincial governments and at district level. Finance division allocated an amount of Rs1650 million for payment of stipend to internees during the financial year 2008?09.


Pakistan faces enormous challenges in developing the knowledge and skills of its people to reach the level of ability in order to participate in such advanced education and training. Human resource policies of the government should be in line with requirements of the economy and economic programmes including literacy programmes and skills development programes.

To improve the capacity of people to attain decent work, which is conceptualised as consisting of six dimensions that cover opportunities for work, work in conditions of freedom, productive work, equity in work, security at work and dignity at work, the development of skills through appropriate education and training is a fundamental requirement.

Human development is a multifaceted concept, which comprises various types of investments in people. In Pakistan, the employment and labour policies should be to promote opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security, and human dignity. Therefore, the government should organise more training and skills development programmes for their management and labour force to attain economic growth.