Achieving Sustainable Infrastructural Development in Developing Nations: Project Management Education to the Rescue
The need for adequate supply of infrastructure has long been viewed as a key ingredient for economic growth and sustainable development, both in the academic literature and policy debates. With the quest for economic development by governments in developing countries and the consequent emergence of public-private partnerships to deliver major infrastructural projects on time, within the approved budget and in accordance with the preset specifications. A linkage can be established between Sustainable infrastructural development and Project management. This will be seen from the need to maximize success in infrastructural projects that will deliver integrated social, economic, and environmental concerns. In this setting, there would be need for the recruiting of multi-disciplinary teams with specialist backgrounds to implement these infrastructural projects. The question to ask is if project management as a profession is adequate in the delivery of a steady stream of experts to carry out needed project management activities in infrastructural development? We present evidence that project management is being increasingly seen not as a profession with a clear educational path, but as a skill that can be acquired with experience and as a second degree specialization. We also present evidence that shows that project management is not highly competitive in tertiary institutions in our Nigerian case-study and this may be as a result of a lack of clear understanding of the profession of project management. We argue that there is an urgent need for harnessing the development potential of project management as a structured profession with a clear educational path; such that project managers can begin to take on the task of delivering sustainable infrastructural projects. They are to ensure that in the execution of these projects; the economic role of these infrastructural projects should not be accorded ‘precedence’ over the other dimensions of sustainable development – the social, cultural and environmental aspects.
Key words: Sustainable development; Infrastructural projects; Project management; Education; Nigeria; Economic growth
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