Human resource development is a vital component in a country’s economic policy. A country cannot develop by neglecting the honing of skills of its people. Many a times countries in the East Africa region have no coordinated national human resource development policy; yet the most challenging part in their economic development is lack of focus on the link between the economy and education.
Whereas our countries heavily invest in machines and equipment, there is failure in committing similar efforts in investing in people. This essentially means that when there are enough people trained in different skills, they will be in positions of operating, maintaining, repairing and building machines.
It is clear that much of what lies ahead for the East Africa region will depend on full utilisation of human resources. Leaders must realise that unemployment, government expenditures for unemployment insurance and welfare rises while tax receipts fall.
Most of the policies in East African countries are designed to foster social equity rather than encouraging the development of human potential, self sufficiency and individual empowerment youths who do not have chances of making to higher institutions of learning.
Realistically, people must be educated and trained. It must be recognised though, not because they are poor, but because they represent a fundamental resource for maintaining the economic health of our economies in East Africa. It is incumbent upon political leadership and other stakeholders to recognise people as untapped resources instead of using them during election period and dumping them later.
Future jobs in our economies will require some post secondary education for entry. Employees with high level of competence will expand the east African economies. Attention should therefore be given to the linkage between the economy, education and human resource development.
East Africa’s success in meeting challenges of uncertain but far reaching economic change will depend on how well knowledge, skills, and resource of colleges and universities are utilized. This depends also on how flexible these institutions respond to the human resource development challenge.
A lot of observations have to be made in looking at what type of work to be done in the future and availability of workers for the same. The two have far reaching implications for both colleges and universities. Workers themselves must develop higher levels of problem solving and meaningful skills computer skills notwithstanding. This implies that workers must be broadly educated with the ability to apply the knowledge acquired. The future workforce in East Africa needs, therefore, significant post secondary education and training.
Gone are the days when people got manual jobs in farms and other related fields. There has been economic transition: between Industrial and technological eras. Jobs that have been created now are technology related and service part of the economy. It doesn’t however mean that manufacturing jobs have disappeared; they would rather change. Technology-service sector worldwide has become the job creation sector now and in future.
The East African Leadership should ensure that there would be only professionalism at work which shall boost economic growth. This needs better educated workers. Technology will be the only driving force of these economies by creating many jobs, revamping old industries, and venturing in new fields. Many jobs will be eliminated, others altered, and others will be radically altered. Technology will make decision makers to make new policy choices of whether workers are going to be imported or exported hence creating brain drain or invest fully in human resource development of our own.