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Since it's inception in 1994, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development - soon called the World Bank - has expanded to a closely associated group of five development institutions with the goal of ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity. Comprising of four principal agencies working together as one World Bank Group, the World Bank Group has laid down strategy to best serve the development of its clients (countries) in pursuit of the two goals (reduce the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day to 3 per cent by 2030 and foster income growth for the bottom 40 per cent of the population in very developing country). In view of this, there has been a noticeable change in the world especially in the dramatic shifts in the economy of countries, changes in the character of poverty among many others. Although, the World Bank in line with it's focus of ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity has engaged in performance and learning reviews that identify and capture lessons from implementation of strategies, clients (countries) sometimes perceive the World Bank Group as falling short in several areas especially the closure of the human capital gap.

Given the deepening recognition that jobs and skilled workers are key to national progress in countries at all income levels, countries are advised to invest in human capital with a fierce sense of urgency. According to the World Bank and the United Nations, human capital is the largest component of human wealth for most countries in the world. The human capital is the sum total of a population's health, skills, knowledge, experience and habits. Throughout the World Bank Group's history, development experts have studied every aspect of what makes economies grow, what helps people lift themselves out of poverty and how developing countries can invest in prosperity. Research has shown that the value of human capital can be calculated in different ways. Cognitive abilities are part, but not the only dimensions of human capital that count. Socioemotional skills such as the ability to adapt to change(s) and conscientiousness, often have equally large economic returns. Established by researchers is the aspect of health. Health also matters: healthier people tend to be more productive. With all these evidences over the years, it has been proved that it is quite difficult for government to invest in human capital as politics often play a deficient role. Although, the human capital has been defined as the knowledge, skills, competencies, and other attributes embodied in individuals that are are relevant to economic activity, there has been numerous factors that have breezed a large gap in the human capital. Two of such factors is the aspect of education and health. It is well established that the human capital encompasses more dimensions, but education is arguably the most important component. It enhances individual well being not only by opening broader economic opportunities, but also through non-marker benefits such as improvements in health, fertility, opportunity for self-fufillment, enjoyment and development of individual capabilities. Researcher has established that one of the major ways to choose a human capital measure will be to measure the size if educational gap between the younger and older generation

In a number of countries, younger individuals (age 25-34) have a significant higher educational attainment than older individuals (aged 55-64). For these countries, expectations are that economic growth and well-being will improve over the longer time. However, for a county like Nigeria, the opposite is the case. Currently, Nigeria has the highest number of extremely poor people as it has taken over from India which used to hold the position. Over the years, the human capital has been measured in terms of education and health and these have been claimed a a major contribution to growth. For example, many empirical literature have been able to sufficiently examine the interactive effect of the relationship between education and health as measure of human capital and economic growth in Nigeria. The belief in human capital as a necessity for growth started in Nigeria during the implementation of the 1955 - 60 Development Plan and the concerns seem to be coming more from abroad than within: that the country's human capital development is shockingly low. The latest from a global study that ranked Nigeria 171 out of 195 countries in investment, in health, and education is a strong wake up call, which the authorities are yet to take pragmatic steps to address. Health is fundamental to economic growth and development and is one of the key determinants of economic performance both at the micro and macro levels. This derives form the fact that health is both a direct component of human well-being and a form of human capital that increases an individual's capability. Meeting the commendable United Nation Health Millennium Goals (MDG) of a reduction by two-thirds in theĀ  under-5 mortality ratio and a reduction by three quarters in maternal mortality and halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases as at 2015 will be be completely elusive for Sub-Sahara African countries like Nigeria if sufficient measures and attention is not paid to health expenditures. Undertaken by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, United States, the study measured human capital between 1990 and 2016. The researchers analysed 2,522 surveys and census reports that yielded data on years of schooling; testing scores in Mathematics, Science, Language and Health levels as it affected economic productivity. It was reported that "Nigeria's ranking of 171st in 2016, represents a drop from it's 1990 ranking of 155th". A world Economic Foum's Global Human Capital Index 2017 similarly ranked Nigeria poorly with it's 114th position out of 130 countries, thus confirming a steady deterioration. Lamentably, the Wolrd Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, observed that the country's spent less than one per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on health. This has been in contrast with the situation in other African countries: South Africa (6.3 per cent); Angola (6.5 per cent); Egypt (3.5 per cent) and Ghana (3.1 per cent). It also stands in sharp contrast to the 16.4 per cent the US posted to emerge the highest. This explains the country's notoriety for grabbing global headlines in the worst indices in material and child mortality rates; and the worst place for a child to be born. With Pakistan and Afghanistan, Nigeria completed the trio whose Polio disease incidence has yet to be eradicated globally. For Nigeria to confront this challenge head-on, it has to appreciate the dictum that: "Every development story starts with education", as the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, stated. Experience of developing countries during the last decades have indicated that shortage of talents and skills needed for development can decisively retard economic progress. Therefore, a country like Nigeria cannot afford to leave education to the whims and caprices of individual choice. The decline in the quality of education at all levels has become a fact of national life. Indeed, the most significant area in the sector in the recent past has been the continuing crises that beset the educational syaytem. This crisis is rooted in the deteriorating conditions within the citadels of learning, in respect of teaching facilities and other infrastructural facilities, the welfare of those engaged in the teaching profession and the ever increasing cost of education. This has culminated in student strikes and industrial actions by teachers at all levels of the educational system. As observed in the Third National Development Plan, at the primary level the shared responsibility of states and local governments in managing the school leaves neither of the tiers of government responsible for the upkeep of the system. The result is that infrastructural facilities are not maintained and teachers' salaries are not paid for months. The same is applicable at the secondary level even though state governments have the sole responsibility for that tier of the educational system. At the tertiary level, the facilities are also rapidly deteriorating. According to Hassana Alidou, UNESCO director in Nigeria, he said, "Nigeria had the worst education indicators globally, as it led 37 countries with a system that had education without learning". Both federal and state governments " spend on" education, rather than "invest in" education. This is typified in the building of modern classroom blocks without qualified and competent teachers; where pupils sit on the bare floor to learn and instructional materials are not available. A survey conducted by the Federal Government in 2010 had revealed that 207,818 unqualified teachers were in the primary schools, a school system where teachers fail competence tests in arithmetic and basic literacy- a cognitive appraisal meant for pupils in class four- holds no promise for the country. For example, in November 1990, the Federal Government constituted the large commission on the Review of Higher Education in Nigeria with a view to redressing the situation. The recommendations of the commission were largely left unimplemented by 1993, which gave rise to an industrial action declared by the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU) that lasted for over five months. Since then, industrial actions by ASUU and Nigerian Union of Teachers have become a yearly event. This has disrupted the academic programme at virtually all levels and had greatly affected the quality of human capital produced in nations higher institutions.

As a result of all these, the country should retrace its steps and find why basic education in the 1950s and '60s was so functional that it's beneficiaries were even employed as teachers, as against the mess of today. Where the foundation is weak, any superstructure on it cannot stand. For Nigeria to meet the human capital development challenges of the 21st century and beyond, the gaps and flaws of the educational system need to be urgently assessed. This is a prerequisite to revealing and repositioning the system to leverage national development. For the Nigerian Universities to have social relevance in the global market, the entire educational system must be caught, from the primary level to the tertiary level, each and everyone should be exposed to both formal and informal education. For the older generation for whom primary education was too late, programmes such as "education for the elderly" can be organized as well as special and public literacy programmes at the village level and made obligatory by law. Although, Nigeria's major economy focus has been on the oil resource, it is time to develop some special capabilities that are not visible: this is consultancy/research and development expertise that meet the needs of the growing oil sector. There is an urgent need to change the direction of our attention and make research facilities available to the universities in their area of location for the purpose of collaborative research. These new developments will require new policy coordination strategies between the departments of government concerned with the funding and supervision of the institutes and the universities. Developing and sustaining the universities can require enormous amounts for financial resources, as a result, one of the foundations for ensuring and maintaining this development is the adequate budgetary provision targeted at the attainment and advancement of knowledge. In the same vein, increase funding of the universities by the government should be a top priority in budget allocation. This will provide adequte resources for the maintenance of decaying infrastructres, procurement of new equipment, books, journals, chemicals and other learning inputs. Sufficient and reasonable consideration should be directed to all the various policies that have triggered the migration stream of academicians from the universities. The frequent harassment, arrest, and dismissal from the work of leaders of the Academic Staff Union Of Universities which was in vogue under the military government should stop in a civilian dispensation. Among many others, some of the strategies for developing the educational system include:- educational curricula alignment with requirements of employers, positioning technical education as key to economic development, private sector participation on education to complement government effort, use of vocational training methods to boost Human Capital Development, as well as mass literacy programmes to improve adult literacy. Strategic objectives and initiatives for these solutions involve the development of an industry wide knowledge management framework, conduction of current state assessment of existing Financial Education Institutions, exploration of possibilities for strategic alliances with Foreign Educational Institutions, donor organizations and Nigerians in the diaspora to develop existing Institution. Also, the World Bank had made a similar observation, with its president, Jim Yong Kim, declaring that Nigerian spends less than one per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on health, imploring the government to spend more on it's people, invest more in Human Capital Development rather than cover vacouos economic growth statistics.

On this note, it is wise to admit that there is a big problem. Yes, there are lofty targets set out in policy documents, but subsequent financial outlays and poor, aborted implementation demonstrate the preference for white elephants. Therefore, the key improvement initiatives include:- assignment of accountability for each action plan, a more complete examination of the current state of the agency with respect to the initiative, development of functional - and management - level metrics. Although, implementation challenges such as cost, progression of plans simultaneously and optimally may set in, all these can be addressed using Common Resource Pool Model for sourcing span of control.

Altogether, a key element to successful implementation of these solutions is periodic assessment of progress toward meeting the goals it has set for itself. This can best be achieved via a hierarchy of metrics. However, comparing and contrasting of mortality rate as years go by will most likely give an accurate measurement of how far the solution has impacted and affected a specific problem. There is a high need to also strengthen human capital partnerships with both private and public organization. The World Bank can gladly offer financial loans to a country like Nigeria under the appropriate conditions. Together, we can achieve the goals, reduce poverty and increase shared prosperity.

 

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