As many as 170,000 youths would be given vocational training in the next 20 months to equip them with skills according to demands of the job market, said Shafqat Mehmood, minister for federal education.
Speaking during the question hour in the National Assembly in Islamabad, he said that while under the prime minister’s programme, 50,000 undergraduates would receive scholarships this year. He said that the government is focusing on two aspects of higher education to bring it at par with international quality standards.
He said that the stress would be on faculty development and revision of the curriculum on a regular basis. “We are focusing on faculty development and trying to provide education that is relevant to the needs of the market and generates jobs,” the minister said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan will launch Pakistan’s ‘largest ever’ skill development programme – Hunermand Jawan – aimed at the emancipation of young people through quality professional training. The initiative will be carried out in next four years, costing Rs 30 billion and will facilitate youth through easy loans, professional capacity-building, start-ups and internships.
Chairing a pre-launch meeting of the Hunermand Jawan in Islamabad, Imran Khan termed youth an asset of the nation, saying the programme would help youth get better job opportunities and contribute to national development. Stressing improvement in formal education, he said that there is a need to link technical and professional skills with the needs of the market.
QUALITY OF INSTITUTIONS?
He pointed out that young people faced difficulties in getting better job opportunities due to lack of standardization of education and professional skills. On the promotion of technical and professional education in academic institutions, the prime minister said utilization of technology would provide an effective solution to several challenges.
He said that the inability of qualified youth to get jobs raised question over the quality of technical and professional institutions. He stressed for the training of youth in advanced technology particularly artificial intelligence for better utilization of their capabilities for the national development and also for international institutions.
Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mehmood and Special Assistant on Youth Affairs Usman Dar briefed the prime minister about different aspects of the programme. The Hunarmand Jawan will have technical support of the Ministry of Education, National Vocational and Training Centre and the Higher Education Commission.
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PAKISTANIS
The first phase of the Hunermand Jawan will span over 20 months, costing Rs 10 billion with an objective of youth’s capacity-building and preparing them as a useful workforce in accordance with international standards. The initiative will develop linkages with international organizations to generate more employment opportunities for Pakistani youth.
In the first phase, around 170,000 youth will be given professional skill-based training, of which 50,000 will be trained in areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud computing and other advanced areas of technology. As many as 50,000 youths will be given training at the Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) in conventional areas including auto-mechanics, plumbing etc.
NATIONAL ACCREDITATION COUNCIL
About twenty thousand youth will be given apprenticeship, whereas 50,000 will be awarded certificates in recognition of skilled knowledge. The prime minister was updated that a National Accreditation Council will be established and the 2,000 centres affiliated with TEVTA will be accredited. Standardization of professional training will be done to ensure uniformity of syllabus across the country.
Around 75 smart classrooms will be set up to ensure easy access to skill and professional education besides provision of such training at 70 Islamic seminaries. Five Centres of Excellence will also be established in collaboration with friendly countries. Also, departments of TEVTA will be affiliated with other countries. To ensure the provision of jobs to youth, the prime minister was briefed over the start-up programmes.
HI-TECH TRAINING ON DIGITAL TRENDS
Briefing journalists in Islamabad, Special Assistant Usman Dar said that the Hunarmand Pakistan would offer high technology training to youth based on modern digital trends. The initiative will work under the banner of the Kamyab Jawan Programme whereas it is designed on recommendations of the National Skills Strategy Task Force headed by Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood.
Usman Dar said that it is the largest skill development programme that would impart training on emerging technologies and the latest advancements of the 21st century. “All of the skill training programmes launched earlier were focusing on numbers of the masses to be trained on conventional trade skills where nobody talked about information technology and modern developments taking place in the world,” he said.
He said that they only set a target to cater around 200,000 people under those projects. Hunarmand Pakistan would impart training on artificial intelligence, robotics and many others, he said and asked the youth to prepare themselves to get skill set training under this programme which would help them to seek relevant jobs in the industry and market along with the opportunity to get assistance to set up new businesses as well.
“Our target is to benefit 80 per cent youth through the Hunarmand Jawan programme where they would get job and business opportunities after getting skill-based training.” He said that it is the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to have skill sets to enhance human resource in line with the job market trends and also enable the youth with better business opportunities.
STARTUP PAKISTAN PROGRAMME
The Startup Pakistan Programme is also providing assistance to the youngsters whereas an internship programme is also in the pipeline which would be launched within a few months. Green Youth Movement is also going to be launched where the youth creating innovative projects for environment conservation would be financed under the programme.
The special assistant said that all these five components of Kamyab Jawan Programme would be launched in 2020 to benefit the youth. Prime Minister Imran Khan would also inaugurate an online portal for the registration of the Hunarmand Pakistan programme on the launching ceremony.
“I would like the media to audit the Kamyab Jawan Programme which is completely transparent, on merit and free from any political interference,” he told a questioner. All the loans issued under the programme were being issued through the artificial intelligence-based online system.
He also pointed out that the global youth development index number of Pakistan was 89 in 2013 which declined to 154 in 2017. He said that the former government’s youth development programme received only 109,000 applications in five years where Imran Khan’s Kamyab Jawan Programme got one million applications in just 15 days. He said that the Kamyab Jawan is not a loan or bank lending scheme rather its core objective is uplifting the local industry and small businesses.
He said that the youngsters who have a clear and properly designed business plan will get a loan for implementing his idea. He mentioned that around 300,000 telephone calls were made to the applicants and one million confirmation messages had been sent to the youth in the first phase. He said that there is a 25 per cent ratio of successful candidates who have applied for the Kamyab Jawan where most of the applications are being cancelled due to wrong data and no business plan in place.
CPEC AS AN OPPORTUNITY
National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) Executive Director Dr Nair Khan told journalists that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a great opportunity for Pakistan’s skilled youth. The commission had carried out three months detailed study of the workforce requirement of the special economic zones under CPEC and designed particular courses in this regard, he said.
He said that consequently for the brick kiln conversion on the eco-friendly zigzag technology, NAVTTC had designed modern training courses. NAVTTC Chairman Syed Javed Hassan said that China had given Rs 600 million under the social development component to upgrade equipment for latest technology training where the commission would establish fully-equipped modern classrooms in this regard.