ISLAMABAD: In a bid to make the education imparted in schools relevant to the job market, the government is working on introducing technical and professional training programmes at the school level so that students who graduate at the matriculation level come out with some marketable skills.
This was stated by the Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood while addressing the first Inter-Provincial Ministerial Conference on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). The conference had been organised by the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC).
The minister added that the government was making reforms to bring the education and vocational training system in line the requirements of the labour market, adding that this was at the forefront of the incumbent government's agenda.
In this regard, Mahmood disclosed that the federal government has constituted a task force representing all stakeholders in the sector in order to identify the challenges in the TVET sector of the country and to devise a roadmap to address these systemic issues.
The education minister further said that he believes education and skill development are beyond politics and urged all political parties to aside differences and work collectively in the national interest to promote skill development and empower young people.
“We are working in close collaboration with the overseas ministry, chambers of industries, the private sector and the key stakeholders to identify the skills as required in the domestic market and overseas," he said.
He reiterated the government’s plan to soon establish the first National Skill University in Islamabad apart from five Centres of Excellence, one in each province.
Mahmood emphasized working in close collaboration with the provincial governments including those of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) so that a uniform TVET system can be launched across the country.
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Special Assistant to Prime Minister Youth Affairs Usman Dar added that apart from enhancing the sector, he said that they were also looking to bring in reforms in the TVET sector.
“The government will soon launch the National Youth Development Framework which will help in synchronizing training with job placement,” Dar disclosed, adding that they were also working on a National Employment Exchange Portal with NAVTTC which will facilitate youth by matching skills with demands of the market.
“With the help of NAVTTC, we are focusing on enhancing innovation-driven entrepreneurship skills of youth and promote blue collared and white collared jobs," Dar said.
NAVTTC Chairman Syed Javed Hassan said that skill development was critical to provide employment opportunities to the youth and increase foreign remittances.
“Right now our capacity is limited to imparting skills to just 400,000 people in the formal sector but that needs to be increased considerably apart from enhancing the quality of training,” he said.
NAVTTC Executive Director Dr Nasir Khan gave a detailed presentation on the eight major areas for intervention including cleansing governance structure from fragmentation, increasing capacity of TVET system, improving quality, ensuring meaningful involvement of industry, delivering equal access (Skills for all), producing skilled workforce to meet international job requirements, and building a positive image of TVET to attract more youth towards the skill sector.
Mahmood assured that all suggestions put forward by the participants will be incorporated into the TVET roadmap 'Skills for All". The conference agreed to establish the "Inter-provincial TVET Ministers conference" as a permanent forum to evolve a consensus on TVET-related issues at the national level.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2019.
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