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Deteriorating Human Capital

Human Capital Pakistan | Moderate Thoughts Research Center

A recent Human Capital Review report by the World Bank has revealed the shambolic state of Pakistan’s Human Capital Index (HCI). Pakistan’s HCI, at 0.41, is below the South Asian average of 0.48. The Human Capital Index measures which countries are best mobilizing their human capital by investing in education and health. Furthermore, HCI is determined based on the survival, schooling, and health of children.

Based on all the aforementioned indicators, Pakistan is a human capital disaster. To illustrate this, Pakistan’s population is ballooning at an alarming rate, with a mortality rate of 2.55 per cent; infant mortality stands at 55 deaths per 1000 births, which is exceedingly high; malnourishment among children stands at 40%. In addition, educational standards in the country are fast deteriorating, with around 23 million children in Pakistan, aged 5-16, out of schools.

This grim situation is not something most people in the country are aware of. In fact, it has been highlighted so many times in the past that it seems people have become impervious to the situation.

Further, the report also warns about the possible ramifications of a total human capital disaster. First, the swelling population in Pakistan is exerting extreme pressure on the country’s food security. Pakistan is already a food-importing country with a food import bill of $9.4 billion in 2022. Moreover, agricultural vulnerabilities, exacerbated by the climate crisis, are further aggravating the situation. Second, 40 per cent of children in the country are malnourished. With limited opportunities for horizontal and vertical social mobility that Pakistan offers, this generation of malnourished children will, one day, produce more generations of the same. Third, Pakistan has so far been unable to resolve the out-of-school children problem. In fact, the country has not been able to achieve any enrollment-related targets ever. To illustrate, 23 million children are bereft of educational opportunities, and even 100 per cent enrollment at the primary level remains a distant dream. This, in turn, is creating an army of unskilled population—a burden Pakistan can hardly carry.

Unfortunately, in Pakistan, those at the helm of affairs are apathetic to the human capital situation. They follow a model of exploitation and extraction. The minuscule budgetary allocation to the Education and Health sectors testifies to this fact. Given the current state of affairs, human development in Pakistan seems like a pipe dream.

Sheihryar Asif

Sheihryar Asif

Holding a Degree in Political Science, he writes frequently on geo-politics and issues related to Pakistan's Economy, Politics and Society.


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