Planning, plumbing, or posturing? Explaining the weakness of human resource development structures and policies in South Africa

Stephanie Allais, Carmel Marock, Siphelo Ngcwangu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In South Africa, a national peak structure, the Human Resource Development Council, led by the Deputy President and consisting of key Cabinet Ministers, senior leaders from organised labour and business, community representatives, professional bodies and experts from research and higher education, was established to enable high-level coordination at a strategic level. There is little evidence of achievements of this Council and its associated human resource development strategy. This paper suggests that human resource development strategies in South Africa have been more about posturing to be seen to be doing something, than actually planning the development of the skills of the nation, with one brief period when there was a focus on ‘plumbing’–or dealing with specifically targeted ‘blockages’ in the skills ‘pipeline’. The underlying problem, we suggest, lies in the very notion of national human resource development, which seems on the one hand to be too broad and unwieldy a concept to be useful to governments; on the other hand, it seems to carry too much of the weight of economic development. These conceptual weaknesses, as well as bureaucratic weaknesses in South Africa, explain the poorly conceptualised structures and processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Education and Work
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • human resource development council
  • National human resource development
  • skills development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Planning, plumbing, or posturing? Explaining the weakness of human resource development structures and policies in South Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this