The concept of human resource development (HRD) has gained more and more importance in recent times. It is primarily, functionally and most pertinently applied to education. Human resources constitute the basic part of accomplishing any activity or programme. The extent of recognising this crucial link is on the rise in the present world. The use of HRD process has become widespread in business and non-business organisations. Unfortunately, the meaning of human resource development is currently understood as a body without a soul, because development of basic human qualities of the inner man has remained conceptually overlooked. Stress is laid on only knowledge and skill, not development of core human qualities in humans so they become conscientious beings ethically shaped up.
It is argued that education and social development are positively correlated. The relationship is normatively true, but the question is: is our education producing necessary human resources with core human qualities? Humans are born with some potential, and thereafter they emerge resources through learning. The core human qualities required for making humans a resource are : love and respect for self and others, love for truth and hatred for falsehood and injustice, punctuality, patience, striving for others wellbeing, patriotism and internationalism, integrity, sense of responsibility and dutifulness, respect for others different views, and adherence to discipline in every sphere of life. First, education (formal, informal and non-formal) develops a humans general knowledge and aptitudes. Subsequently, an employees job-related skills and knowledge, and attitude are developed through different forms of training.
Practical human resource development is construed as the development of human capabilities and career opportunities so that humans become useful to society and business. We clearly observe in our society that the literacy rate is constantly rising. The number of both general and technical graduates is increasing. The quality of passing grades is improving. Todays educated youths possess much more diversified knowledge, and most of them are of high calibre with working skills in information technology. Public expenditure in human resource development has considerably gone up. Private sector educational institutions from primary to tertiary levels are also playing a dominant role in developing human resources. In the corporate sector, huge opportunities are being created for ensuring improvement of organisational performance through training and career progression.
A pessimistic scenario is observed side by side. The reality belies our argument, belief and expectations to a considerable extent. Inhuman activities such as ruffianism, vandalism, terrorism, and malpractices like corruption, shirking from attending offices, intolerant behaviour, mismatch between word and deed, and so on are experienced in daily life at all levels of society more or less. Everybody has become accustomed to frequently hearing a buzz-word duinambar (number two) meaning concerned people are mischievous or not good at all and things are not original. People hold a binary perception that good persons and good things are coded as number one (eknambar) and persons or things not good coded as duinambar. Surpassing ethical boundary is represented by the buzz-word duinambar and that is hardly denied even by those who reportedly belong to the category of duinambar. The phenomenon has become natural to people. This makes the existing concept of human resource development questionable and warrants a fresh look at it.
The fundamental problem in the contemporary society is that the population is increasing but the proportion of man is not increasing, rather decreasing. Here human is simply a human being and man signifies ethically developed human resource. Man may be regarded as a human resource only when he or she is prepared to contribute towards peace, progress and the well-being of the family, society, state, and the globe. An educated person may be apparently considered to be a potential human resource but it is crucial to examine whether education has been able to imprint those core human qualities in the person having obtained the certificate of being educated. Moreover, it is also imperative to see that the educated person or the skilled person, whoever he or she might be, holds, conserves and practises core human qualities.
In actuality, the essentiality of ethical development of human beings is totally ignored. Lots of seminars are held but so far we have no knowledge of a seminar which addressed the problem of the ethical man making process in the society as a burning and fundamental issue. The reason is that our perception or practical view of HRD is totally mechanistic and misled by western materialistic philosophy and instigations. Discussions, reviews and criticisms are replete with the focus on problems of the state and society. But the problems, symptoms of problems and the root causes of the problems are often used or interpreted interchangeably and thus muddled up. The basic problem remains unattended.
Humans are growing value-free and ideology-free. Most of those who claim to believe in any ideology do not behave ideologically, rather hypocritically. The gap between belief and practice is therefore broadening day by day. We are yet to focus on this slow-poisoning danger engulfing our society and life imperceptibly.
There can never be any sustainable peace and the desired level of progress in any society until and unless conscientious human beings with core qualities grow adequately to lead in the society. Solutions to all the problems of the society lie in the development of quality humans in the desired proportion in the rising population. Change of the concept is thus highly demanding and that must take place primarily in the education system. New evaluation criteria for performance in the educational sector should be devised in view of the suggested soulful approach to human resource development. Of course, united efforts and vision are a must for designing, implementing and evaluating HRD activities with the new paradigm of HRD concept, the basic element of which would be development of ethical humans instead of mechanistically developed so-called human resources.
The writer is a PhD researcher