ISLAMABAD: Universities should focus on degree programmes of those fields of whose graduates are in demand in the market.
This was stated by President Dr Arif Alvi as he addressed a seminar on employment opportunities organised by the National Logistic Cell (NLC) at the Presidency on Thursday.
The event was also attended by PM's Special Assistant for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari, NLC Director General Major General Asim Iqbal, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Andeleeb Abbas and a host of national and international experts.
President Dr Alvi said that universities should focus on conducting practical research in order to create job opportunities while they must also streamline their degree programs and courses in line with the requirements of the job market.
“There is a critical need for research in universities. NAVTTC and Toyota are performing their roles to meet the industrial needs of the country,” he said.
Noting that he was the chancellor of some 25 universities across the country, he said that he will call a meeting of universities and ask their administrations to ensure that graduates with their degrees are employable so that they can easily become a part of the job market.
“We will provide livelihood to the maximum number of people possible,” he said, adding that they need to upgrade their capabilities to see improvement.
“Without, intelligence, a man only becomes a labourer,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan has committed to ensuring employment in the country.
“The information technology industry has seen great development over the past two decades. We need to take our students towards innovation and teach them courses which will help them in employment,” he said, adding that the world is now moving towards artificial intelligence.
PM's Special Assistant for Overseas Pakistanis Bukhari said that Pakistan is a country with a critical problem of employment.
“It is rare that a country continues to see unemployment with the passage of time but Pakistan has suffered this phase,” he said, as he went on to term unemployment a social problem which causes depression amongst the youth.
Previous governments focused on infrastructure but unemployment could not be reduced, he noted, adding that the PTI was not against infrastructure development but believes that human development is a far better a choice than infrastructure development.
“In the coming times, the government plans to bring unemployment to under 4.5%,” he said and warned that they will have to suffer more unemployment in the future if this issue is not addressed.
Heads over several countries have visited our country and Pakistan is soon expected to get a large amount of investment in the technology sector, Bukhari said as he lamented a dearth of technical universities in Pakistan when compared to other countries.
Pakistan is rich with resources for tourism and great employment opportunities can be generated from this sector, he suggested.
“There are countries which make over 10% of their gross domestic product (GDP) from tourism alone. We also need to promote the tourism sector of the country,” he said.
Bukhari said that they were also introducing reforms in the civil services of Pakistan apart from setting up a technology board aimed at digitization of institutions to ensure transparency and end corruption.
“We need to empower our business tycoons in order to boost investment in the country,” he said.
NLC Director General Maj Gen Iqbal said that they have thus far administered technical training to over 56,000 students.
There is a need for coordination between training and industrial institutions, he stressed.
PTI MNA Abbas said that nations which lack in technically trained people cannot achieve development. She stressed the need to unify all technical institutes so that they can work for skill development.
“We are short of institutions while there is an abundance of trainers,” she said, adding that skill training is one of Pakistan’s biggest issue.
Abbas claimed that over the past five years, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had recorded the highest increase in employment. The province created 50% more jobs than any other province of the country.
“People have the education but lack in skill. There is no benefit if skills and education are not combined,” she said.
On the subject of education, she said that people do not object to the number of schools but have reservations against the standard of education in those schools.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2019.
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