The Role of Higher Education in Human Capital Development

21 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2014

Date Written: February 8, 2013


This paper confirms earlier position that higher education is a sine-qua-non for human capital development and economic growth. However, the paper posits that the form of education that will translate to economic growth, especially, in Nigeria must place emphasis on the access to, content and openness of the education programmes to labour market demand. In today’s world, human capital development is crucial for attaining a sustainable economic growth and development. To create a knowledge based economy, in the light of technological advancements and globalization, there is the inevitable need to increase innovative capacity and transmission of knowledge. Higher Education is a prerequisite for the production of highly competent experts, which in turn, contributes to the development of organizations and the economy at large. Higher Education therefore is expected to play an important and increasing role in the development of Human Capital of a nation. Nevertheless, the problem of inability to gain access into university, inadequate funding and the mismatch between university programmes and the labour market demand have become serious and alarming issues to parents, policy makers and the society at large. This paper, therefore, examines the nexus between higher education (HE) and human capital development. The paper proceeds to identify the challenges confronting HE and human capital development in Nigeria and proposes, in particular, the diversification of HE curriculum to meet the need of the labour market and generate a wider fiscal space for the nation’s economic development. Finally, the paper recommends the introduction of Public-Private Partnerships in HE in order to improve the performance of the educational system in general and increase the payoff from higher education investment in particular.

Keywords: Human Capital, Higher Education, University Education, Access

JEL Classification: I12, J2,O15

Suggested Citation

Adedeji, Olugbenga and Campbell, Omolara, The Role of Higher Education in Human Capital Development (February 8, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Olugbenga Adedeji

University of Ibadan

University of Ibadan
Ibadan, OR Oyo Stase 10001

Omolara Campbell (Contact Author)

Lead City University ( email )

P.O.Box 30678, Secretariat
Toll-Gate Area, Challenge
Ibadan, Oyo State 234
234-803-317-6177 (Phone)

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