1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The development of human capital has been recognized by economists to be a key prerequisite for a country’s socio-economic and political transformation. Among the generally agreed causal factors responsible for the impressive performance of the economy of most of the developed and the newly industrializing countries is an impressive commitment to human capital formation (Adedeji and Bamidele,2003 world Bank, 1995, Barro, 1991). This has been largely achieved through increased knowledge, skills and capabilities acquired through education and training by all the people of these countries.
It has been stressed that the differences in the level of socio-economic development and growth across nations is attributed not so much to natural resources and endowments and the stock of physical capital but to the quality and quantity of human resources. According to Oladeji and Adabayo (1996), human resources are critical variable in the growth process and worthy of development. They are not only means but, more importantly, the ends that must be served to achieve economic progress. This is underscored by Harbinson (1973) who opines that “human resources constitute the ultimate basis for the wealth of nations. Capital and natural resources are passive factors of production, human beings are the active agents who accumulate capital, exploit natural resources, build social, economic, and political organizations and carry forward national development and growth. Clearly a country which is unable to develop the skills and knowledge of it’s people and to utilize them effectively in the national economy will be unable to develop anything else”.
In order to ensure the economy delivers on it’s potentials, the country experimented with two development philosophies – a private sector – led growth in which the private sector served as the “engine house” of the economy and a public sector driven growth in which the government assumed the “commanding heights” of the economy. The initial low level of private sector development however, led to public sector dominance of the economy, encouraged by growth in the oil sector (UNDP,2009). It is not worthy that since the advent of civilian role in 1999, growth performance has improved significantly. The last seven years witnessed an average growth rate of about 6 percent (UNDP, 2009:5; CBN, 2008). However, economic growth has not resulted in appreciable decline in unemployment and poverty prevalence.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM