After the devolution of the Ministry of Youth Affairs under the 18th Amendment, the future of the National Internship Programme (NIP) is up in the air, The Express Tribune has learnt. The programme has been discontinued by all four provinces before the completion of one-year tenure of most of the internees. This means that the curse of unemployment has once again caught up with the thousands of the graduates.
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) was earlier responsible for the operations of the NIP, but later the project was brought under the control of youth affairs ministry.
At present, the Ministry of Professional and Technical Training is responsible for running the programme, which is functional only in the federal capital.
Moreover, the issue of delayed payments is still haunting internees, even in Islamabad. Students from International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) and National University of Modern Languages (NUML) are among the victims.
NIP Director General Intizar Khan confirmed the development and said that the issue of delayed payments would be resolved soon. He said that the second NIP batch would be able to begin work from the next month.
Responding to a question, he said that the salary issue for the month of June is a serious issue, but explained, “Due to change of heads (ministries) we could not release cheques on time.”
The provinces shelved the project, and “only Balochistan wants it to continue it, the province has even sought funds for NIP,” he informed.
“All four kinds of NIP operations have been shelved, but the students were not told on time,” he said. Under Aghaz-e-Haqooq Balochistan, there was a relaxation of age and education for students of the province. A student from Balochistan province was eligible for the programme with 14 years of education and the age limit was 28, as opposed to 26 in the rest of the country.
Official data for the last four years shows that 30,000 students benefitted from NIP every year (120,000 in all).
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2011.