Building human capital for the tourism sector : a case study from Yemen

Al-Saqqaf, Raidan Abdulaziz (2018) Building human capital for the tourism sector : a case study from Yemen. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis examines how investing in tourism education was explored as an attractive national development policy in Yemen, where this education would provide the human capital needed for the sector to grow. This examination adopted a dual lens, namely the lens of policy makers responsible for the creation of this educational process as well as that of the students involved. The underlying thought for this research can be summed up in the simple notion: How successful is an educational institution in creating human capital for the tourism sector as seen by both the policymakers and the young people engaged? Responding to this question requires considering the intended goals of both policymakers and students, seen as to accelerate national development and individual wellbeing respectively. Investigating this question is important, particularly given Yemen’s developmental status as a Least Developed Country (LDC) experiencing recurrent cycles of instability, and based on the human capital premise that investing in education contributes positively to achieving development outcomes across the board.

For this research, I used a purpose-built vocational training institute as a case study to understand more about how tourism education as an instrument to achieve development goals was understood, formulated, and executed. I relied on official documentation as well as primary data collected through interviews and focus group discussions to build the case study. Those interviewed included high-level officials and other experts as key informants, as well as students who were also engaged through in-depth focus group discussions. The collection of primary data from students enrolled in the institution was useful not only in understanding their perceptions towards the human capital development process through the institution, but also to learn more about issues that potentially contributed to the frustrations that were expressed in the Arab spring events of 2011.

My research indicated that the conceptual framework used to guide policymaking in the case of NAHOTI was rather under informed and missed several important elements, thereby limiting the contributions of tourism education to development goals as intended. For example, an evaluation of evidence-based policy options was largely absent, and the process excluded taking into account the views and priorities of the young people despite their central role and contributions to the success of this process. This led to a range of complications that affected the viability of tourism education as a development instrument as evident in the case study.

Furthermore, the research revealed another dynamics relating to expectations on returns to investment in education at both the public and private levels. For instance, the students’ expectations from the case study institution were based on their employability interests towards improving their economic prospects, and therefore they viewed the educational process in the institution largely as a means to an end in terms of improving their access to the labour market. This did not only affect their potential contributions to the tourism sector, but also added to their frustrations and disenfranchisement with governance processes at large.

Finally, this research concludes with a number of findings and policy implications for the prospects of investing in human capital for development. It also proposes a range of recommendations to maximising the potential contributions of students in building human capital, through adopting a number of participatory and inclusive social dialogue measures within human capital development frameworks.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Speight, Sarah
Morgan, John W.
Newton, Len
Keywords: Yemen, human capital, educational policy, youth, tourism
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Faculties/Schools: University of Nottingham, Malaysia > Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Education
Item ID: 47038
Date Deposited: 31 May 2018 07:37
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2019 10:46

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