Human Resources – The Key Resource By: Yusuf H. Shirazi


A Conference On The Development Of Human Resources In South Asia Held In Islamabad, Sometimes Ago, Was Attended By More Than 60 Intellectuals Of The Region. The Details Of This Conference Provide Food For Thought For The Thinkers, Policy-Makers, Those Entrusted With Implementation Of Policy And The Common Citizens Of The Country. Pakistan Ranks 132nd In The World In The Manpower Development, Because Enough Heed Has Not Been Paid To Manpower Planning And Development. No Serious Effort Has Been Made To Determine How Many Professionals And Technicians Are, Or Will Be Required In Each Field Of Economic Activity And Performance. Pakistan Is Neglecting Its Future Needs Of Manpower, And Consequently The Pace Of Economic Development.

And, That Is The Reason Why Pakistani Students Graduating In Certain Specific Field Are Facing Lack Of Employment Opportunities While There Are Several Other Fields Which Have Remained Undeveloped Only Because Of An Acute Lack Of The Right Manpower. Countries, Such As, India, Indonesia, Malaysia And Turkey Have Given Due Priority To Manpower Development In Their Planning. The Secret Of Their Progress Thus Lies Primarily In Their Manpower Planning And Development.

Population Growth

Pakistan Has One Of The Highest Per Capita Income In The South Asian Region: It Is About Us$500 With Indian’s Us$433. The Literacy Rate In Pakistan Is The Lowest Among The South Asian Counties. In 1947, The Literacy Rate In India Was 15 Percent. According To The 1991 Census, It Has Gone Up To 52.1 Percent, Indeed A Significant Accomplishment For A Country Having A Population Of Over A Billion.

The Population Of The United Pakistan (East And West) In 1947 Was About 70 Million. Now, The Population Of The Present Pakistan Has Swelled To 140 Million. Presently, It Is The Eighth Most Populated Country With A 3.1 Percent Population Growth Rate, Which Is One Of The Highest In The World. At This Rate Of Growth, Within A Few Years, Pakistan Will Become The Fourth Most Populated Country Of The World-After China, India And Nigeria.

Due To The Tremendous Pace Of Population Growth All Planning And Development Of Additional Sources Is Going To Be Grossly Inadequate. An In-Depth Review Of The Current Situation Would Thus Make It Clear That In This Age Of Progress, There Are Certain Vested Interests That Lack The Appreciation Of Planning For Manpower Development, Thereby Jeopardizing Long Term National Interests. There Are The People Who Have Seldom Been Concerned With Spreading Literacy With Some Of Them Also Thinking That It Would Tantamount To Harming Their Personal Interests. It Is Some Of These Remnants And Alike Who Are Normally At The Helm Of Affairs-Political, Economic And Social, Holding The Country As Hostage And The People As Their Serfs. Since Long, Some Of Them Have Preferred To Continue To Represent Interests Which Are Not Germane To The Genius Needs Of The Country.

Lagging Industry

In The Wake Of The 1965 War, Pakistan Had To Increase Its Defence Expenditure Which Registered A Further Increase After The 1971 War, Displacing Major Economic Development Programmes. Because India Has A Much Larger Resource Base And A Stronger Social And Physical Infrastructure, Despite The Immense Increase In Its Defence Expenditure, Our Neighbor Could Sustain Their Pace Of Economic Progress, Helped By Sustained Political Stability. In Contrast, Pakistan Has Always Been A Victim Of (Socio) Political Instability And Economic Inconsistency Which Has Hampered Her Socio-Economic Growth. India Provided All-Out Protection To Its Industries And Banned All Imports. Whenever An Opportunity Of Signing An Agreement With A Foreign Enterprise Developed, Indian Ensured The Transfer Of Technology And In Most Cases, ‘ Indianized’ The Brand Name. The Vespa Scooter Sells In India As ‘Bajaj’, Pepsi Cola As ‘Lehr-Pepsi’ And The Suzuki Car As ‘Maruti’. In Pakistan, Local Manufacturing Has Not Been So Encouraged And Perhaps Quite Unwittingly. As A Result, Most Of The Products Continue To Be Imported And Sold Under Foreign Brand Names. No Progress Has Been Made In Industrial And Agriculture Research And Development. For This Reason, Among Others, Whenever There Is A Talk Of Trading With India, Pakistan Hardly Finds The Comfort In Its Industry To Complete With The Mighty Neighbors. Pakistan Industry Lags Far Behind India’s Because Of The Latter’s Lower Production Cost, Higher Level Of Technology And The Economy Of Scale Coupled With A Favorable Taxation Policy. Indian Rupee Is 45 To A Dollar When Pakistan Is Rs. 57.80 To A Dollar. In Pakistan, There Is A Presumptive Tax Regime- Whether There Is Leviable Tax Or No Tax Payable, Tax Is Deducted At Source And Hardly Ever Refunded, If Deducted In Excess. Sales Tax In India Is 5% To 12% Depending On State To State And In Pakistan It Is 15% To 23%. Indian Export Is 60% Hi-Tech Value Added. Pakistan Is 60% Low-Tech Textiles. Indian Industry, Agriculture And Services, All Are Highly Subsidized. Pakistan Is Not. India Is Also Far Ahead In Manufacturing Of Military Equipment.

It Is Some Of The Elite Of Pakistan Themselves Who Are In The Forefront In This Respect. They Quite Prefer Their Own Interest Over National Interest, Come What May! The Lobby Includes Some Of Those Influential People, Some Typical Remnants Of The Past Who Were Against The Creation Of Pakistan; In Fact Some Of The Educational Institutions And Scholars As Well As Those In The International Organization – All Over The World. All This Is Due To A Lack Of National Spirit Because Of A Lack Of Proper Education, Which Has Resulted In Not Directing The Pakistani Human Resource In The Right Direction With The Right Commitment:

(Clerics And Connoisseurs All Alike: They Bestow Light On Others: But Live In Darkness Themselves!)

Lack Of Merit

Wherever Industrial Progress, Technical Expertise And Arms Technology, Has Been Acquired And Put To Good Use, It Is Primarily Because There Was An Emphasis On Developing The Manpower And Retaining It In The Country. Indian Education System Is One Of The Best In The Whole Of South Asia With Its High Standard As Compared To Pakistan. It Is In Harmony With Its Political, Economic And Social Demands And It Is Generally The Same For The Poor And The Rich. This Education System Produces Thousands Of Phd’s Each Year-The Scientists, Engineers, Doctors And Other Professionals Who Are Not Just Inducted Into The Universities For Teaching Only But Are Engaged In Research And Development Work, In Different Projects And Laboratories. It Is This Research That Has Helped Develop A Politico, Socio-Economic Environment Conducive To The Economic Health Of The Indian Nation, A Phenomenon To Be Reckoned With. It Is Merit That Generally Counts There. There Is No Discrimination On The Basis Of Language, Ethnicity, Religion, Or Place Of Birth Or Residence As In Pakistan. Dr. Abdul Kalam, The Creator Of The Indian Missile Programme, Is A Muslim Scientist, To Live (And Die) In India! He Was Elevated As The President Of India, Just Imagine The Merit, He Earned And The Honor He Was Bestowed Upon In A Non Muslim Majority State. On The Other Hand, Pakistani Talent- The Entrepreneurs, Professionals, Engineers, Doctors And The Technicians, Educated And Trained In Pakistan Are Constrained To Serve Elsewhere, Contributing To The Economies Of Foreign Countries, When They Are Needed Most In Their Own. Some Also Serve Abroad Out Of Frustration, Since They Do Not Find Any Respect, Recognition Or Reward Within The Country. This Includes Scientists Of Unique Capabilities Like Professor Abdul Salam, The Only Nobel Laureate, Who Was Born In Pakistan But Preferred To Live And Die In Trieste (Italy). Only His Dead Body Was Brought Back To His Own Homeland!

Education System

Pakistan Has Not Been Able To Build A Stable Education System Even At The Primary Level, Which Is The Backbone Of Any Education System. It Has Not Bothered To Harmonize Its Education System With The National Requirements. Even At Present The Curriculum Consist Of Foreign Published Books. In A Country, Where The Current Literacy Rate Is A Mere 27 Percent And In Real Terms Perhaps 15 Percent, How Can One Think Of Achieving A 100 Percent Literacy Rate Without Concentrated Efforts. There Is Thus An Absolute Necessity Of Merit Recognition In Pakistan. Whether It Is In Education, Service Or Wherever, 90 Percent Of All Intake Is On The Basis Of Such Inconsequential Considerations As The Province One Was Born In, One’ Heritage And One’s Clout, Despite These Issues Of Discrimination Having Been Agitated In The Law Courts As Un-Constitutional. Only Those Countries, Which Have Adopted A Merit System That Brings Out The Best To The Forefront Have Prospered. How Can One Expect To Build A Solid System On Such A Weak Foundation That Has Been Somehow Laid!

It Is Not “Abundance Of The Natural Resources, Cheap Labour, Size Of The Population Or Might Of The Army Which Helps The Economy Grow” Said, Michael Porter, A Celebrity Of The Harvard Business School, In Hongkong, Recently, While Addressing The Sixth Harvard Business School International Convention On The Future Of The Chinese Economic Might. “…. It Is Productivity. It Is The Value That You Add. It Is Not Material, What You Do, What Is Material Is How You Do. It Is The Uniqueness That You Create. It Is The Value That You Add …. And, It Is The Quality Of The National (Socio-Political And Economic) Business Environment (And The Erudition) That Leads To All This….” Added Michael Porter. Further, According To A Recent Study Of The Work Bank, It Is 64% Of The Intellectual Capital, 16% Physical And Only 20% Of Natural Resources Which Build A Society, On The Whole. It Is A World Of Competitive Advantage. It Is The Quality Of Life Which Any Country Would Ensure To Its People. And, It Can Be Assured Only Through The Right Education And Training Envisioned By The Right National Sense Of Direction And Commitment.

Work Ethos

During The 60’s The Gulf Sates After Their Independence And With The Discovery Of Oil Prepared Various Plans For Development And, In Order To Meet Their Needs, Imported Manpower From The World Over. During The 70’s When The Process Of Nationalization Commenced In Pakistan, Employment Opportunities Were Reduced And The Rate Of Gdp Declined. The Skilled And Professional Classes Started Migrating To Foreign Counties. The Gulf States Got The Biggest Benefit Of This Migration, Employing The Skilled Pakistani Labour On Low Wages Compared With Others. The Entrepreneurs, Professionals, Doctors, Engineers And The Skilled From Pakistan Continue To Prefer To Serve All Over The World Earning Money And Reputation For Excellence In Ability And Hard Work. Why Not Then Create A Proper National Work Ethics Environment, To Attract Them To Come Back And Work In Their Country?

During The 60’s When Pakistan Experienced A Period Of Economic Prosperity And The Private Sector Started Getting Its Economic Benefit, It Resolved To Play Its Due Role In Promoting Education. In Karachi Alone, Some Entrepreneurs Established Such Prestigious Educational Institutions As The Adamjee Science College, Dawood Engineering College, Aisha Bawany Academy, Saify Polytechnic, Hej Research Institute Of Chemistry, Shipowners Polytechnic, Islamic College, And The Sir Syed College. But During The 70’s The Awful Experiment Of Nationalization Resulted In Horrible Repercussions. Education Became The Responsibility Of The State And It Was Never Discharged Properly. Later In The 80’s When It Was Finally Decided That Running Schools And Colleges Is Not The State’s Cup Of Tea, Privatization Began. The Private Sector Resumed Its Role And Such Prestigious Educational Institutions Like The Aga Khan University, Hamdard University, Baqai University, Dr. Ziauddin University, Lums, Gik Institute Of Science And Technology And The Aligarh Institute Of Computer Science And Technology Etc Were Established. This Process Is Going On And It Is Incumbent That It Goes On Well Enough!

The New Vision

For The Development Of Human Resource, The Need For A Comprehensive Plan Is Thus Essential. An Independent Board Of Specialists, Comprising The Top-Most Intellectuals Having An Excellent Track Record Of Success Should Be Formed. The Board Should Be Headed By An Eminent Selfless Dignitary Having Track Record Of Selfless Service To The Nation. The Board Should Set Both Short-Term And Long-Term Targets And In Order To Achieve Them Comprehensive Planning Should Be Carried Out On Well Set Systems And Methods Like In Uk And Usa In The Developed World And Countries Like Malaysia And Thailand Among The Developing Ones. A Comprehensive Survey Of The Employment Opportunities In The Country Should Be Carried Out In Order To Find Out The Present And Future Manpower Needs Of The Country. Priority Should Be Given To The Primary-Level Education System And It Should Be Made Compulsory For All. The Mosques And The Existing Schools, Colleges And Universities Should Be Used For Running Several Shifts In Order To Meet The Stupendous Backlog And Teachers Should Be Specially Inducted For Such A Purpose.

The Curriculum Should Be Prepared In The Regional Languages As Well As In Urdu. English Should Be Given Importance As A Language But It Should Not Be Treated As The Sole Medium Of Instruction. Developed Countries Like Japan, Germany And France Can Be Taken As An Example In This Regard. The Curriculum Should Be Harmonized With The Tradition, Culture And The Needs Of The Country. Special Arrangements Should Be Made For The Publication And Printing Of The Curriculum Books. Dependence On Importing Books Should Be Reduced And Printing Of All The Relevant Books Be Carried Out Within The Country.

The Private Sector, Through Their Respective Trade Bodies Should Be Encouraged To Open Vocational And Technical Institutions In Their Respective Industrial And Trade Zones Both In Rural And Urban Areas And Run Them On “No Profit, No Loss” Basis. Free Education Must Be Provided To The Deserving Supported By The Affluent Members Of Society. The Political Parties Should Give Priority To Education In Their Manifestos And Delineate Detailed Programme They Plan To Implement. The Primitive Bygone Practices Must Not Be Allowed To Hold Up The March Of Educating The Nation. Foreign Interests In The Country Should Be Put In Their Place So That National Interests Are Not Jeopardized In The Pursuits Of Their Whims Or ‘Isms’. Pakistanis Serving Wherever – In The International Agencies And Elsewhere, Called By Whatever Title, Must Realize That The World Citizenry Must Be Harmonized With The Hard Realities As They Exist – Through Instruments Of Protectionism, Nationalism And Regionalism As Exercised Through Such Expanding Alliances As Ecc, Nafta Etc. The So-Called “Liberal World View” Should Not Be At The Cost Of One’s Own Citizens: It Is Their Own Country That Has Invested In Their Education Through Hard Earned Money And In Time. They Must Pay Back Sincerely.

Professor Michael E. Porter In His Much Publicized Article “A New Vision For ……. Economic Development” Says: “….. : A Nation Half Educated And Half Illiterate Cannot Hope To Become A ….. Power. From That Realization Should Come The Following Steps. First, Public Resources Should Be Reallocated Away From Tertiary Education To Primary And Secondary Education. Second, Resources Must Be Redirected Away From Elite Institutions Towards Providing Wider Opportunities For High Quality Education To All Those Who Are In The Primary And Secondary Schools. Third, Educational Standards Must Be Systematically Raised To International Benchmarks At All Levels. Fourth, Access To University Education Must Primarily Be Governed By Academic Merit And Achievement….”

“These Recommendations, And The Diagnosis That Preceded…. Seem To Us Self-Evident. Why Have They Not Been More Obvious To (Local) Researchers Within ….. (The Homeland)?: Clearly Political Factors Have Played An Important Role. However, Poor Information On …….. Conditions And How They Compare With Other Countries Is One Of The Main Reasons. Indeed, In Our View, A Final, Central Obstacle To …… Progress In Many Areas Is This Lack Of Access To …. Information… On (All Areas Compassing)…. Firms, Industries, Government Policies, And Comparable International Developments.” If The Nation Is Not Equipped With Education, And If Its Manpower Is Not Trained Well Enough, It Can Never Claim To Join The Ranks Of The Developed Nations At All. Pakistan Cannot Strengthen Its Political, Economic And Social Self Reliance For A Long Time, Without Educating The Mass Of People. The Only Way To Salvation As A Free Self-Reliant Nation Is Thus In Education And Training Of Her People And Nothing Else….!:

(Bricks And Mortars Are Bound: And, Hounds Free!)