Pak­istan needs skill-based youth

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

AC­CORD­ING to a re­port, about twenty-one thou­sand trainees ben efited from the Prime Min­is­ter Youth Skills De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme in seven months of the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year as against twenty-five thou­sand dur­ing last year. The ben­e­fi­cia­ries were trained in 100 dif­fer­ent trades and are now con­tribut­ing in lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

So­cial sci­en­tists point out that Pak­istan is go­ing through the de­mo­graphic tran­si­tion, and is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a once-in-a-life­time de­mo­graphic div­i­dend as the work­ing-age pop­u­la­tion bulges and the de­pen­dency ra­tio de­clines. The coun­try can ben­e­fit from this div­i­dend if fo­cus is laid on ed­u­ca­tion; pub­lic health and fam­ily plan­ning; in­cen­tives for sav­ings; and most im­por­tantly cre­ation of an eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment that en­cour­ages em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion and labour flex­i­bil­ity. It is sat­is­fy­ing that Prime Min­is­ter’s pro­gramme for youth is aimed at, to some ex­tent, on th­ese ob­jec­tives but un­der­stand­ably its achieve­ments are de­pen­dent on prac­ti­cal im­ple­men­ta­tion, al­lo­ca­tion of re­quired funds and co­op­er­a­tion of the Prov­inces in the oth­er­wise de­cen­tral­ized en­vi­ron­ment. No doubt, PM’s pro­gramme would help im­prove in­come-gen­er­at­ing prospects for the trainees but the num­ber of ben­e­fi­cia­ries is peanut if seen in the back­drop of 6% un­em­ploy­ment rate. It is un­der­stood that the Govern­ment alone can­not pro­vide job to each and ev­ery cit­i­zen but what it can cer­tainly do is to af­ford op­por­tu­ni­ties to peo­ple to equip them­selves with some mar­ket-ori­ented skill to gain em­ploy­ment in lo­cal or in­ter­na­tional mar­ket. Apart from widen­ing scope of the ex­ist­ing pro­grammes, it is for plan­ners of the Govern­ment to come out with a longterm plan to over­come the chal­lenge. It would be in the fit­ness of things if Min­istries of Ed­u­ca­tion and Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment work with Prov­inces to de­vise a com­pre­hen­sive plan of ac­tion in this re­gard in­clud­ing fun­da­men­tal changes in school, col­lege and univer­sity cur­ric­u­lar with em­pha­sis on skill de­vel­op­ment. Im­proved hu­man cap­i­tal re­quires the sci­ence based knowl­edge and in­for­ma­tion skills to meet the chang­ing needs from tra­di­tional agri­cul­tural and man­u­fac­tured goods to more tech­no­log­i­cally driven agri­cul­tural and man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts and ser­vices.

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