Aligning policy goals and outcomes in developing human capital: a case study of the Rivers State of Nigeria overseas scholarships programme
Developing countries often use government-funded overseas scholarships to build some of their human capital abroad in order to fill skills gaps at home. Most of these developed skills however do not return home thereby ostensibly defeating the purpose of the programmes. There is also a dearth of quantifiable outcome targets to objectively assess the achievements of these schemes. The Rivers State government of Nigeria set up one such government-funded overseas scholarships programme in 2008. This study is an empirical assessment of the relative success of the Rivers State overseas scholarships programme. The study examines the extent to which the outcomes were aligned with its policy goals. Five research objectives and seven hypotheses were postulated for the study. The population was the 1,298 students who had travelled abroad to study and should have graduated and returned by 2015. It adopted a quantitative research approach using descriptive statistics and binary outcome regression techniques on secondary data. The study found that 89% (1,152) of the 1,298 had successfully graduated and 37% (485) had graduated and returned home. Age, successful graduation, immigration policy and level of award were statistically significant predictors of their likelihood to return home. The study concludes that the programme was relatively successful in developing the human capital of the individual students of Rivers State but not too successful in developing human capital for the State because majority of the students did not return home to add to the manpower pool. It recommends the continuation of the programme but that policy goals should be quantified as key success factors and the successfully graduated students should be incentivised to return home through creation of job opportunities at home and signing return home agreements with study destination countries. These measures should engender the chances of developing human capital for Rivers State.
- School of Management