RAHIM YAR KHAN: Education is an important factor in an individual’s upbringing but after completing it they struggle to find jobs. Although the main objective of education is to gain discernment but earning is also an important aspect. Unemployment of the youth is a major problem in Pakistan.
Lack of job opportunities in every field is on the rise, engineering being one of them. Many engineers change their careers owing to a lack of job opportunities. And if they do get job then the salary is minimal. Many fellow engineers I know of have either shifted to health departments or are trying to go abroad for jobs.
The main reason for it is the gap between the institutes and the industry. There are plenty of institutes awarding engineering degrees as compared to the relevant industries available in the market. There is also a lack of coordination between the two. Universities are not well aware of the needs of the industry and the kind of engineers they are looking to employ, leading to a provision of insufficient training. On the other hand, industries want readymade employees. Hence, a system is needed to ensure a focused involvement of both stakeholders.
First thing to do is to reform the institutes’ programmes and courses, closing the ones that are not practical in the industry anymore and introducing the ones that are required. Allocate seats to universities based on the demand of the industry on a yearly basis. Instead of establishing new institutes, improve the existing ones. Focus on lab work and students should be bound to complete their internship while studying. Encourage students to interact with their field professionals and encourage professionals, motivational and career developers to visit classes and deliver lectures, and understand the needs of their future employees.
On the other hand, industries should take an interest in universities’ activities. They should compel their professionals to visit universities to deliver lectures on industry’s needs and future prospects. Sponsor research and projects. Help students by offering internship and optional course work that could give them an edge. Establish an institute in coordination with the universities to train students by creating specialised post-diplomas and certificates.
At completion of coursework, students should be able to join industrial projects where they can solve real world problems in the industry in a professional environment. Through this, the thinking and problem solving ability of students would be improved. It is also economical for the industry to invest in students’ education and training as compared to their employees.
This gap can be easily bridged by collective effort from the Pakistan Engineering Council, the government and industry by designing courses in entrepreneurship and developing research institutes and promote and facilitate knowledge transfer.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2017.