1.1 Background to the Study

The concern of human capital and subsequently its development has been a recurrent global issue because of the major role it plays in the achievement of growth and development which has been a major challenge for African governments as a whole and to Nigeria in particular. The role of human resources in achieving organisational objectives cannot be over emphasized; infact, the ability of any organisation, the public service inclusive, in implementing its strategy and achieving its goals and objectives depend on whether it can organize, develop and manage its human resources effectively. It is in recognition of this fact that Carlson (1994) opined that any organisation that aspires to a positive change or improved quality in service delivery would as a matter of necessity, strive to acquire quality human resources.

Human capital development originated approximately half a century ago under the leadership of Jacob Mincer, Theodore Schultz, and Gary Becker. It is “human” because it is embodied in man, and it is “capital” because it is a source of future satisfaction, or of future earnings, or of both (Schultz, 1971 p.48). It takes into consideration investment activities and processes that produce vocational and technical education, knowledge, skills, health or values that are embodied in people. It implies building an appropriate balance and critical mass of human resource base and providing an enabling environment for all individuals to be fully engaged and contribute to goals of an organisation or a nation. Any effort to increase human knowledge, enhance skills, productivity and stimulate resourcefulness of individuals is an effort of human capital development (Enyekit, Amaehule&Teerah, 2011). Human capital has its origins in classical economics. The notion of human capital goes back to Adam Smith. He was of the view that human capital was part and parcel of economic wealth creation and development and held that human beings should be perceived as capital.

Economists have written extensively on the of role human capital in development:

By investing in themselves, people can enlarge the range of choices available to them. It is one way that free men can enhance their welfare. He concludes his analysis as follows: Truly, the most distinctive feature of our economic system is the growth in human capital. Without it there would be only hard, manual work and poverty except for those who have income from property. (Schultz, 1961 p.2)


Human capital is therefore a major catalyst for any meaningful development of an economy and economists regard expenditures on education, training, health care, and so on as investments in human capital. Over time in Nigeria, human capital development had continued to enjoy high premium in national development process, for instance, the Federal Government set up the Ashby Commission to investigate the needs of Nigeria in the field of post-primary and higher education between 1960 and 1980 (Alani& Isola, 2009).

Recent theories on economic growth regard human capital as a significant determinant of economic development and thus make human resource the ultimate root of wealth of nations, while capital and natural resources, though important, are passive factors of production. The success of any productive program depends on human innovative ideas; they are the active agencies who accumulate capital, exploit natural resources, build social, economic and political organisation and transmit national development (Adelakun, 2011).  It has been empirically proven that those countries of the world that have realised sustainable development have invested heavily in human beings (Ibok & Ibanga, 2014).

A nation with abundant natural resources cannot achieve its full potentials without skilled human resources; technical innovations that have occurred in the developed countries and a few developing countries are a product of human capital development (Alani &Isola, 2009). Human capital development is regarded as the crux of the development efforts of developing countries, particularly in this “knowledge” society of the 21st century. This is because, comparative advantage is derived more from technical innovations and the competitive use of knowledge and less from natural resources and cheap labour endowment (World Bank, 2002).

As common with other developing countries with colonial heritage like Nigeria, the departure of the colonialists created a vacuum which required educated personnel to take over the functions of government. Education became crucial in the development of these countries. Those who had education at that time, no matter how minimal gained access to clerical, administrative and teaching jobs. They became the “creme de la creme” of the society (Omojimite, 2011). In spite of the acquisition of education it became apparent that performance on a job schedule is more than acquisition of certificates, rather training is of great importance in acquiring required skills in order to achieve expected result in terms of service delivery.

Service delivery in the Nigerian public service has for decades been battered with myriads of criticism due to the display of indiscipline, insensitivity, incompetence, rudeness, corruption, laziness, absenteeism, lackadaisical approach to work and many other vices by public servants (Oyedele, 2015).  It was the attempt to correct this anomaly that gave birth to the various public service/civil service reforms. Prior to independence and after, the Nigerian government carried out series of reforms of the public service aimed at improving the quality of service delivery. Specifically, 14 major attempts had been made to address the state of the service delivery through commissions, committees and teams, beginning with Hunt’s Commission of 1934 to Obasanjo service renewal programme of year 2000  (Adegoroye, 2006 ).

Despite these reforms it appears the development of human capital has not been sustainable; the media is regularly agog with the news of ineptitude in the delivery of public services either directly or indirectly. For instance, the Federal Government expenditure increased by about 500 percent between 2000 and 2012, but the aggregate public service quality increased by only 1.9 percent (Otivei, 2015). This is one major factor that instigated the interrogation of the role of human capital development in service delivery in the Nigerian public service today.

It must however be noted that until the last four decades in Nigeria, there has been a general resistance to investment in training in the public service because of the belief that:

                         Employees hired under a merit system must be presumed to be qualified, that they were already trained for their jobs, and that if at some point there is a shortfall in the expectations pertaining to job delivery, it is seen as an evidence that initial selection of    personnel was at fault.

(Okotoni &, Erero, 2005 p.1).

This conjecture is however not limited to Africa or Nigeria in particular, in England, for example, employee development was traditionally seen as a cost rather than investment (Constable and Mc Cormick 1987). This lack of investment in training and development was identified as a major factor in Britain’s economic performance in the past, and it has been argued that without the investments which was later undertaken, the United Kingdom will still be trapped in a low-usage, low skills economy. In recent decades, there has been government focus on measures to increase skill levels and reduce skills gaps in the United Kingdom contrary to what was hitherto the practice, other studies revealed that the United States’ economy is strong and will remain strong because of the high premium placed on training (Finegold, Levenson &Van Buren, 2005). The need for training institutions in Nigeria can be traced back to 1896 when some educated persons in Lagos proposed the establishment of a Training College and Industrial Institute. Though the idea was supported by the British government, it was not ready to make financial commitment. The lack of financial commitment on its part and the incapability of the initiators to raise the required funds led to the termination of the proposal (Okotoni & Erero, 2005).

It was the recommendations of the Public Service Review Commission (1972-1974) that emphasized on specific manpower policy objectives. The commission stated explicitly that: “Of all the aspects of personnel management, perhaps the most important for us here in Nigeria is training …Training will be the most urgent consideration in accepting and implementing our report” p 7.

The recommendations of the second national development plan (1970-1974) which gave considerable attention to the concerns for training of public servants and the report of the Public Service Review Commission (1974) culminated into the establishment of Training Institutes and manpower development agencies by the Government; such as the Centre for Management Development (CMD), the Industrial training Fund (ITF), National Centre for Economic Management and Administration (NCEMA), Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), and National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) and National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA). Subsequent Civil Service Reforms have continued to accentuate the importance and the need for training and retraining (Inyang & Akaegbu, 2014 p.93). The Ayida Panel (1994) stated thus: “Training ensures the acquisition and updating of the right skills needed for improved performances. It is therefore a right of every civil servant and an obligation on the government as the employer of these civil servants”.

Today, various universities, polytechnics and colleges of technology/education have been designated to serve as training and development centres for manpower development in the country. Most of these institutions have designed or modified their programmes to accommodate the training needs in the public services. Ever since the establishment of the aforementioned training institutes, over four decades ago, human capital development has been an ongoing concern in the Public service. The Public servants that are trained on a yearly basis run into tens of thousands (ASCON Brochure, 2014).

The Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, ASCON was established through Decree No. 39 of 1973 (now ASCON Act, Cap 6, Vol. 1 LFN 1990) to offer higher management training for senior executives of public and private segments of the Nigeria economy; offer and plan for a comprehensive study and exploration of the principles and techniques of management and administration, and for exchange of ideas and experience, as well as for promotion of better understanding among persons engaged with management and administration arising in diverse areas of national life; carry out research into the difficulties of management and administration connected with different aspects of national life; and commence and facilitate study courses, conferences, lectures, seminars and other activities to support the aforestated among other objectives (ASCON, 2014).

This research examined the relationship between Human capital development and service delivery in Nigeria. Specifically, to evaluate and assess the impact of the trainings/education being administered by the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria on public service delivery.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

One of the greatest challenges of the public sector is to build a competent and effective cadre of highly qualified, able, motivated and efficient human resource at all levels of public management. Developing the human capital is therefore essential for any nation to provide excellent and high quality public service to the stakeholders in the 21st century. Nigeria is ranked 152 among the 185 countries rated in the 2014 Human Development Report. Among the developing nations of the world, Singapore is ranked 9, Malaysia is ranked 62, Thailand 89, India 135 and in Africa, Tunisia is ranked 90, South Africa 118, and Ghana 138. The major indices considered in the ranking include: economic performance (Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross National Product (GNP), per capita income, life expectancy, literacy rates, water, nutrition and sanitation status, health risks and technology diffusion and use. Nigeria is one of the most expensive countries to operate industries, mainly because of the state of poor infrastructures.

This is further aggravated by the Nigerian economy which is monolithic in nature, that is, Nigeria can only boast of crude oil as her major export and source of income as at date, the health care system is poor, and the confidence reposed on the Nigerian education about four decades ago has also been grossly eroded. All these are symptoms and indisputable evidence of the low human capital status of Nigeria. The role of human capital has increased in importance in safeguarding the nation’s future competitive advantage. It is important that the public service focuses on its ultimate asset, namely people to deliver its services. It is worthy of note that on a yearly basis the Federal government devotes huge amounts to the education sector; for instance, from 2007-2013, amounts between N224 billion to N634 billion were allocated on an annual basis (Federal Ministry of Finance, 2014  The documented records of ASCON also show that about 100,000 (hundred thousand) public servants had gone through various training programmes administered by ASCON in the past ten years.

Given the assumption that inefficiency in the public service results from inadequate human capital development, it becomes ironical for a country that spends huge sums of the national income on human capital development to be regarded as inefficient in her public service performance. In spite of the large number of public servants from across the federation that have undergone human capital development programmes conducted by ASCON; this has not translated to higher level of efficiency. The general perception of the Public service as a haven of ineptitude suffices. The several civil service reforms that have been implemented as a result of low efficiency such as the Dotun Philips (1988), Allison Ayida (1995) and Obasanjo Civil service Renewal programme (2000) attest to this. In the light of these facts and the vast literature reviewed, there has been studies that examined the influence of human capital development on Nigeria’s economic growth with varying outcomes (Oluwatobi & Ogunrinola, 2011).  Other studies in Nigeria have examined, among other important issues, the nature of causality between human capital development and economic growth (Awe & Ajayi, 2010).  Similarly, scholars have evaluated the influence of government expenditure on the education sector in Nigeria, links has been established between education and selected human development indicators (Oriakhi &Ameh, 2014; Awopegba, 2001). Furthermore, while the importance of education and training as  major indices in developing the human capital has been recognised, the  impact of the training institutes established by the government in order to develop the human capital  for effective and efficient  service delivery  has not be sufficiently addressed by researchers. This study therefore seeks to investigate the relationship between human capital development and training programmes of ASCON and service delivery by Nigeria’s public service.


1.3       Objective of the Study 

The main objective of this study is  to examine the relationship between the Human capital development (HCD) programmes of  the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) and service delivery in Nigeria between 2003- 2014. The specific objectives are to:

  1. examine the relationship between the content of the training and staff development programmes of ASCON and functions / responsibilities of the different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs);
  2. evaluate the relationship between the level of integration of acquired skills and leadership, financial and project management by trainees;
  3. assess the relationship between utilisation of knowledge on facilities management and ICT by trainees in their MDAs;
  4. assess the relationship between training acquired and ethics in the Public service; and
  5. identify the challenges that inhibit the operation of ASCON on the delivery of its services


1.4       Research Questions

In this study attempt is made to beam search light on the following research questions

  1. How significant is the content of the training programme / project of ASCON to the functions and responsibilities of   the different MDAs?
  2. What is the relationship between the level of integration between acquired skills and leadership / financial and project management by trainees?
  3. How has the utilisation  of knowledge on facilities management and ICT use by former trainees improved service delivery in their MDAs?
  4. What is the relationship between training and ethics in the Nigerian public


  1. What are the factors inhibiting the effective delivery of human capital development             programmes of ASCON?


1.5       Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance

H1:       There is a significant relationship between the contents of ASCON training and

the  requirements for the functions and responsibilities of the MDAs

H2:       There is significant relationship between level of integration of acquired skills and

leadership / financial   and Project management by trainees.

H3:       There is a significant relationship between new knowledge acquired on facilities

management/ ICT use by trainees and improved service delivery in MDAs?


H4:         There is a significant relationship between training acquired and ethics in the

Nigerian Public service

H5:       There are challenges that inhibits the service delivery in response to human

capital development efforts of ASCON


1.6       Significance of the Study

The distinctiveness of this research is that it has evaluated training programmes that are relevant to the public service and those that are not, which would enhance the focus of training beneficiaries. It has also evaluated government investments on human capital development with a view to discovering how to improve on the status quo.

Another major factor that makes this research relevant to the Nigerian society is that despite the fact that there has been a lot of publications by scholars such as; Ogunade, 2012; Adelakun, 2011; Alani & Isola, 2009 on human capital development in the private sector, this study one of the few that focused on the evaluation of the training institute established by the government and how it has fared in entrenching competency in the Public service and in essence optimal service delivery. It is worthy of note that training is incomplete without evaluation. Therefore, the expectation of the study is that it would widen the knowledge of readers in general about human capital development in the Nigerian public service.

It brought to the limelight factors that hinder or encourage the efforts of ASCON in ensuring human capital development in the Nigerian Public service. This revelation would in turn serve as a support or reference  in the development of  a clear policy on staff training and development and in essence how best to achieve human capital development in the Nigerian public service. It would also be of great benefit to the developing countries of the world and serve as a resourceful tool for both public and private officials, organisations, entrepreneurs and other scholars.




1.7       Scope of the Study

The study was designed to assess the training implemented by the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, Topo Badagry, Nigeria from 2003-2014 specifically to the Nigerian Federal Public service. It examined the content of the curricula and evaluated the participants in selected federal ministries, departments and agencies in Nigeria in order to analyse the impacts the training have had on their work. The Administrative Staff College of Nigeria was specifically selected for this study because it was established principally for the training of the public service and it has been the major training institute with the highest number of public servants subscribing for its services. The choice of the period of 2003-2014 under consideration was premised on the fact that the fourth republic in Nigeria commenced in 1999 and by 2003, democracy had been reasonably consolidated to allow a rational evaluation; the period under consideration terminates at 2014 because this study commenced in 2015


 1.8      Operational Definition of Terms

Human Capital: Human capital means human beings who have acquired skills, knowledge and attitudes which are needed to achieve national development. These human resources are either employed in work organisations or are self-employed. They help to realise organisations’ objectives with the overall intention of promoting national growth and development (Oluwatobi & Ogunrinola, 2011).

Human Capital Formation: Human capital formation refers to the process of acquiring and increasing the number of persons who have skills, education and experience which are critical for the economic and political development of a country. (Satope, 2012)

Human Capital Development: It takes human capital to organize and rationalize the contributions of other factors of production before a result oriented productive goal can be achieved in any industrial setting. Therefore human capital development is about supporting cum investing in human capital through coaching, training, internship. Thus, human capital development is a people centered strategy, and not goods centered or production centered strategy of development (Haslinda, 2009).

Public Service: The public service is an indispensable instrument through which the government implements its policies and programmes.  It is made up of the employees of government. They are those responsible for the functioning of government through the implementation of government policies (Maikudi, 2012). This research would make use of the term public service and civil service interchangeably

Training: Within an organisation training is regarded as teaching or learning activities carried on for the primary purpose of helping members of an organisation to acquire and apply knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes needed by that organisation to function in accordance with its mission and  objectives (Cole, 2011).

Service Delivery: Service here implies tangible and intangible goods and services provided by the government in order to ensure the well-being of the citizenry. Service delivery can be referred to as the relationship between policy makers and the citizens, that is, the extent of satisfaction the citizens derive in the services and their supporting system as rendered by the government. These include social services (primary education and basic health services), infrastructure (water, sanitation, roads and bridges) and services that promote personal security, that is, justice, police etcetera (Felix, 2011).

Efficiency: A level of performance that describes a process that uses the lowest amount of input to create the greatest amount of output. Efficiency refers to doing things in a right manner. Scientifically, it is defined as the output to input ratio and focuses on getting the maximum output with minimum resources (Cole, 2011).

Effectiveness: Effectiveness can be defined as the extent to which an organisation realizes its goals or objectives. This means that it relates directly to organisational goals and objectives . (Cole, 2011).

1.9       Outline of the Study

This study is discussed in six chapters. Chapter one is the introduction and it provided background to the study, the statement of problem, the objective of the study, the research questions, the formulated hypothesis and the justification for the study. Chapter two reviewed relevant literature and theories, situated it in a theoretical framework and also provided a conceptual model for the study. Chapter three discussed the historical development of the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), chapter four discussed the methodology adopted for study. The chapter also discussed data sources, collection and analysis techniques. Chapter five showed the presentation and analysis of the data collected and the result of the analysis was interpreted and discussed for the purpose of conclusion and recommendation in chapter six.