Skill development – the only way forward

By Faisal Ansar
Fri, 07, 20

Technical and vocational education prepare entrepreneurs also. The institutions are generally established closer to workshops where they manufacture and sell the products....


Unemployment is the root cause for many problems that the country is facing. In fact, it also gives rise to bad law and order situation, for the simple reason that there are always more chances of an unemployed person getting involved in criminal activities. Unemployed persons become a liability not only to their family members, but to the society as well. Unemployment causes depression and tension for unemployed persons, which, in turn, affects their family members, too. In the present scenario, unemployment has become a nightmare. With the rate of inflation skyrocketing, it has become a lot harder for people to make ends meet, which brings us to a very important question: how can an unemployed person survive and provide a livelihood for his dependents?

Countries like China have tackled the problem of unemployment by investing a great deal on skill development. Skill development is a great source of earning, and by imparting technical and vocational education, China has made gigantic strides in terms of providing its citizens the wherewithal to earn money. In China, educational institutions across the country are linked with industries and impart market demand-driven trades. Curriculum is designed and accredited by the relevant authorities for certification and examination, as per different industries’ requirement of workforce. This curriculum, then, is followed by the educational institutions. Consequently, all graduates are employed soon after completion of education, allowing them to become useful citizens of the country.

Technical and vocational education prepare entrepreneurs also. The institutions are generally established closer to workshops where they manufacture and sell the products. In China, small industries are flourishing; people have established small industries in their houses. They produce and sell their products from their homes. Lives of many inhabitants of China have been transformed owing to running such small industries in their houses.

There are three different natures of works across the globe. The first one is labour work. This includes plumbers, masons, electricians, carpenters, drivers, etc. Maximum number of jobs are available in these lines of work but very few people like to make careers in these fields. The second one is public dealing, including anchor persons, call centre agents and media related jobs, etc. The third one is office work which includes accountants, administrators, managers, etc. These professions fall under the category of ‘white collar’ jobs. Minimum jobs are available in this sort of work but unfortunately most people try to go for the white collar jobs, as they are considered prestigious.

As said earlier, the maximum number of jobs fall in the first category which is related to labour work, but generally labour are not trained and therefore draw nominal wages. If the labour force is trained and certified, they could earn handsome amounts of money; otherwise, hard work would not pay well. Career counseling is essential in schools, so students can realise what lines of work are suitable for them. In foreign countries, Pakistanis are not paid the amount according to their area of expertise of money, as compared to the inhabitants of other Asian countries who are trained in their particular fields and are certified by institutes. Pakistanis, though as skilled as these people, suffer because of the fact that they did not attend vocational training institutes.

In Pakistan, hardly any attention has been paid to technical and vocational education. The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said in 1947: “Education does not merely mean academic education, and even that appears to be of a very poor type. What we have to do is to mobilize our people and build up the character of our future generations. There is immediate and urgent need for training our people in the scientific and technical education in order to build up future economic life, and we should see that our people undertake scientific commerce, trade and particularly, well-planned industries. But do not forget that we have to compete with the world, which is moving very fast in this direction. Also, I must emphasize that greater attention should be paid to technical and vocational education.”

But, unfortunately, the Quaid’s statement was never taken seriously by the subsequent regimes in Pakistan. The initiative to impart technical and vocational training across Sindh was taken

by the provincial government of Sindh in 2008. Similar nature of programmes across the country were initiated by the federal government. Through these programmes, lives of many young people have been transformed.

The concerned authorities should replicate the mechanism adopted by China where institutions imparting technical and vocational education are linked with industries, and design and impart training according to the market demand, which is ascertained through surveys. A comprehensive survey should be carried out to find out what skills are in demand, before the commencement of education programmes, so that students can train for the field required by industries. Once the chain is established, graduates may get employment soon after completion of their education. Moreover, interest free loans on easy installments to graduates could help them to start a business of their own choice. In this way, our youth can be become productive citizens of the country, and the unemployment ratio in our country can be reduced.