Ref 2.11 Human Resource Development in Pakistan: An Overview Working Paper Nadir N. Budhwani,1 Human Resource Development, Suleman Dawood School of Business, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan Email: [email protected]
Keywords: Corporate sector, Developing country, Education, International human resource development, Pakistan, Social sector. Abstract: Pakistan has been in international news headlines for a variety of reasons other than for its human resource development (HRD) efforts. Observations suggest that increased international support and a reverse brain drain phenomenon continue to contribute to the HRD efforts in Pakistan. This paper provides an overview of HRD in Pakistan’s government and non-profit sectors. There has been a significant increase in the application of HRD at community, national, and regional levels (McLean et al. 2006). The November 2008 conference of the Academy of HRD in Asia also intends to focus on the role of HRD in sustainable development. Thus, it is important to examine HRD not only in corporate, but also in government and social settings, especially in developing countries (Budhwani and McLean 2005). In Pakistan, HRD is influenced by lack of funds and qualified HRD staff. The government of Pakistan allocates a small amount of budget for HRD activities (Aftab 2007). However, the nonprofit sector, a public-private partnership sector, seems to be more organized in its HRD efforts. This paper sheds light on HRD in Pakistan and how it can be developed by using local knowledge and international support and expertise. The purposes of this paper are to: (1) address HRD in Pakistan’s government and non-profit sectors; (2) share Pakistan’s HRD resources with the international HRD community; (3) create awareness among the HRD community about the need to promote HRD by sharing its knowledge with developing countries; and (4) use this inquiry as a building block for studying national level HRD in Pakistan. In this paper, the author plans to show how HRD in a developing country can be as challenging, if not more, as it is in a developed country. It is hoped this paper will add to the learning of Pakistani and international HRD communities.
1 Email 2: [email protected]
Phone (cell): 0300-2404682 Phone: 042-5722670 (9 lines), extension (W) 2179, (H) 3373
Pakistan has been in international news headlines for a variety of reasons other than for its human resource development (HRD) efforts. Observations and preliminary data analysis suggest that increased international support and a reverse brain drain phenomenon continue to contribute to the HRD efforts in Pakistan. This working paper provides an overview of HRD in Pakistan’s government and social sectors. Purpose There are several purposes of this working paper. One is to address HRD in Pakistan’s government and non-profit sectors. Another purpose is to share Pakistan’s HRD resources with the international HRD community. The other purpose is to create awareness among the HRD community about the need to promote HRD by sharing its knowledge with developing countries. Besides, this working paper is a building block for studying national level HRD in Pakistan. Significance The inquiry is significant because it adds to the limited HRD knowledge and resources available on Pakistan. Also, South Asia’s emerging economies present many challenges and opportunities in HRD, which will be highlighted as the study progresses. Besides, the paper aims to addresses HRD in government and non-profit sectors. In addition, the inquiry may challenge the negative stereotypes about Pakistan, and its people, values, and culture. Limitations and assumptions There are several limitations of this working paper. First, the author focused mainly on HRD resources that were accessible electronically. This is because many organizations in various sectors are trying to reach their clients/customers through the internet. Second, the inquiry is not representative of HRD in entire Pakistan. Instead, the working paper is a building block for a national level HRD study. Third, it is assumed that bigger metropolises have more and better organized HRD resources compared smaller towns. Fourth, the author is back in his culture after more than a decade and thus, does not have enough contacts through which he could obtain data. Having contacts is an important factor in a high-context society like Pakistan where information is shared only after establishing a certain level of trust. As the study progresses, the author will be able to create a network in various sectors. Fifth, the author might be ethnocentric in his approach to understanding and documenting HRD efforts. It is hoped that the dialog initiated by this inquiry will be a source of constructive feedback for the author.
Background of Pakistan A developing south Asian country, Pakistan became an independent sovereign state in 1947, after the division of India which was ruled by the British. It is bordered by Iran in the west, Afghanistan in the north-west, India in the east and south-east, Arabian sea in the south, and China in the north (see figure 1). Figure 1: Map of Pakistan (Source: USAID Pakistan 2008)
According to the United Nations Development Program report (2007), Pakistan’s human development index (HDI) is 136 out of a total of 177 countries. The adult literacy is rate is approximately 50% and thus, there is an acute shortage of trained human resources. Less than 3% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is allocated to education. Method Given this is a working paper, the data collection will be an ongoing process. Data for this inquiry were obtained by conducting two in-person interviews and reviewing literature from various HRD resources accessible in print and electronic media. Resources such as electronic libraries, databases, and websites of various organizations were thoroughly explored. Visits were also made to the ministry of labor and the Social Enterprise Development Center (SEDC), a partnership between Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), McGill University, and the Canadian International Development Agency.
In addition, the author sought help of Athar Mansoor, an MBA student at LUMS, who is well-connected with the civil service sector of Pakistan. Athar made few visits to government departments and obtained relevant HRD literature. Upon seeking feedback from scholars, the author plans to conduct more interviews using open-ended questions with individuals in government and non-profit sectors. Theoretical framework In Pakistan, HRD is influenced by lack of funds and qualified HRD staff. The government of Pakistan allocates a small amount of budget for HRD activities (Aftab 2007). However, the nonprofit sector, a public-private partnership sector, seems to be more organized in its HRD efforts. McLean and Budhwani (2002) also addressed HRD in Pakistan’s social sector by applying the Action Research model to HRD efforts in northern Pakistan. Also, there has been a significant increase in the application of HRD at community, national, and regional levels (McLean et al. 2006). The November 2008 conference of the Academy of HRD in Asia also intends to focus on the role of HRD in sustainable development. Thus, it is important to examine HRD not only in corporate, but also in social and government settings, especially in developing countries (Budhwani and McLean 2005). While scholars have addressed HRD at the national level in various countries, not much has been done within the context of Pakistan. This working paper sheds light on HRD in Pakistan and how it can be developed by using local knowledge and international support and expertise. The goal is to contribute to the limited HRD literature available on Pakistan. Research questions As the study progresses, the following research questions will be addressed: (1) What is the nature of HRD in Pakistan? (2) What factors influence HRD in Pakistan? (3) How is HRD addressed by the government sector in Pakistan? (4) How is HRD addressed by the social sector in Pakistan? (5) What are the key challenges for HRD in Pakistan? (6) How can HRD in Pakistan be improved? Preliminary data analysis Based on the preliminary data and analysis, the author has been able to focus on HRD in government and non-profit sectors. This section provides an overview of the following: - HRD in Pakistan’s government sector - HRD in Pakistan’s non-profit sector - Key HRD resources in Pakistan HRD in Pakistan’s government sector Preliminary data revealed that HRD in Pakistan’s government is addressed by (1) planning and development division; (2) ministry of labor, manpower, and overseas Pakistanis; (3) the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) and; (4) National Vocational & 4
Technical Education Commission (NAVTEC). The following paragraphs briefly describe the aforementioned areas. The planning and development division promotes HRD through the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan by giving scholarships to students, teachers, and scientists. According to the HEC website (2008), various scholarships are awarded to pursue doctoral degrees from international universities, individuals are sent to international institutions for conducting research, and Pakistanis living abroad are offered positions at various universities in Pakistan. The author of this paper is also working in Pakistan as a foreign scholar. The focus of HEC is on developing individuals and institutions in social sciences, humanities, engineering, agriculture, and technology. The mandate of the ministry of labor, manpower, and overseas Pakistanis is to formulate policies pertaining to labor administration, human resource planning, and employment promotion. According the ministry’s website, the ministry’s vision focuses on socio-economic upliftment of the working people, harmonizing labor management relations, promoting a productivity-based culture, addressing the dignity of labor, and creating a decent work environment. The NCHD was established in 2001 as a federal body. Its focus is on achieving the millennium development goals through the social sector by improving the public sector delivery mechanisms. It aims to address areas such as universal primary education, adult education, gender empowerment, and capacity building at grass-roots level. NCHD works as an incubator for building capacity and competencies of government and NGO sectors (NCHD 2008). In 2006, NAVTEC was established by the government of Pakistan. Its focus is on preparing HRD strategy, promoting technical education and vocational training, and developing national occupational skills standards (NAVTEC 2008). HRD in Pakistan’s non-profit sector Interview findings revealed that the non-profit sector in Pakistan, also referred to as the nongovernmental organization (NGO) sector, seems to be far more organized, experienced, and committed to promoting HRD than any other sector in the country. International and local NGOs have played a significant role in promoting HRD in Pakistan (J. Williams, personal communication, November 15, 2007) The NGO sector, through public-private partnership, has been able to promote HRD in various ways such as imparting adult education, designing and delivering training programs, providing funds through microfinance for economic development, setting up healthcare centers, and addressing the child labor issue. Presently, the NGO resource center (NGORC) and SEDC are the two umbrella organizations that have created platforms for various NGOs in Pakistan. Key HRD resources in Pakistan This section provides, in a tabular form (see Table 1), an overview of various HRD resources in Pakistan. Only key organizations in government and non-profit sectors are included.
The organizations mentioned in Table 1 also publish various HRD related materials. The published materials include journals, quarterly newsletters, research reports, annual reports, monographs, case studies, and directories. Table 1: Key HRD organizations in Pakistan Organization Year of inception HEC* 2002
Website HRD site: http://www.hec.gov.pk/new/HRD/hrd.htm Homepage: http://www.hec.gov.pk/index.htm http://www.hrdn.net/html/index.html http://126.96.36.199/wps/portal/Molmop (accessible through http://www.pakistan.gov.pk/) http://www.navtec.gov.pk/ http://www.planningcommission.gov.pk/ http://www.nchd.org.pk/ws/ http://www.ngorc.org.pk/index.htm http://www.sdnpk.org/index.htm http://sedc.org.pk/portal/index.php http://www.spdc-pak.com/ http://www.shrdc-isb.org.pk/
HRD Network (HRDN)** Ministry of labor, manpower, and overseas Pakistanis* NAVTEC* Planning & development division** NCHD* NGORC** Sustainable development networking program (SDNP)** SEDC** Social policy and development center (SPDC)** South Asian association for regional cooperation HRD Center** (*Government, **NGO) Recommendations
2006 1958 2001 1990 1992 2001 1995 2002
Based on the preliminary data, there are several recommendations for HRD scholars and practitioners. First, it is recommended that HRD in Pakistan be understood from a holistic and not from a narrow, ethnocentric perspective. In Pakistan, HRD is more about overall human development than just training and organization development. Second, it is recommended that researchers avoid assuming that HRD in a developing country may not be challenging enough. In fact, it might be the contrary and enhance one’s current HRD perspectives, thereby opening more avenues for HRD research and practice. Third, the international HRD community should consider creating collaborative partnerships with public and private HRD institutions in South Asia, particularly in Pakistan. This is in addition to building on the current HRD Asia chapter. Starting exchange programs, organizing field trips for HRD students, and teaching and conducting research at educational institutions are some of the steps that can be taken to promote collaboration with institutions in Pakistan.
Also, Pakistan has an acute shortage of HRD researchers and practitioners (Aftab 2007), which is proving to be a major obstacle in the country’s economic growth. While security and safety issues can pose a challenge in certain parts of Pakistan, it would be inappropriate to consider the entire country as unsafe and insecure. Fourth, as suggested by participants in the December 2006 AHRD conference in Malaysia (Ismail et al. 2007), the influence of Asia’s current political issues, socio-economic development, and culture on HRD should be addressed. The same argument can be used for studying HRD in Pakistan. Fifth, efforts should be made to create long-term partnerships with the HEC, Pakistan. The HEC, in its efforts to improve the quality of education in all universities across Pakistan, is actively seeking scholars in various fields who are willing to work and conduct research in Pakistan. Finally, it is recommended that efforts should be made to use technology to promote collaborative efforts with institutions in Pakistan. Use of technology should not be considered as an alternative to working or conducting research in Pakistan. Instead, it should be looked at as one of the ways to initiate a collaborative partnership. Conclusion In conclusion, it can be stated that HRD in Pakistan needs to be studied from a broader perspective (Budhwani and McLean 2005). While government’s HRD efforts focus on the public sector, the non-profit sector’s HRD efforts are aimed at the grass-roots level. Also, at the government level there is a no ministry or division of HRD. As the study progresses and more data are collected, the author will be in a position to address the nature and scope of HRD in Pakistan.
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McLean, G. N., M. H. Kuo, N. Budhwani, and S. Yamnill. 2006. In Poell, R. F. (Ed.), Seventh international conference on HRD research and practice across Europe, held in Tilburg, Netherlands, 22-24 May. Tilburg, Netherlands: Tilburg University, Department of HR Studies. NAVTEC. 2008. http://www.navtec.gov.pk/ (accessed 31 March 2008). NCHD. 2008. http://www.hec.gov.pk/ (accessed 31 March 2008). The official web gateway to the government of Pakistan. Accessed on March 31, 2008. http://www.pakistan.gov.pk/AboutPakistan.jsp United Nations Development Program. 2007. Human development report. New York: NY, USA. USAID Pakistan. 2008. http://www.usaid.gov/pk/mission/mapof_pakistan/ciamap_worldatlas.gif (accessed 31 March 2008).