Speakers at a workshop on Wednesday underlined that the youth are an asset and have the potential to be converted into an engine for economic development.
These views were expressed during a two-day national workshop to identify challenges and formulate recommendations to make technical and vocational educational training (TVET) accessible and attractive for the youth.
The event was jointly organised by the National Vocational and Technical Training Centre (NAVTTC) and Unesco.
“The youth available to us present a window of opportunity. If we want to turn this youth bulge into a demographic dividend, they must be equipped with marketable skills,” said NAVTTC Chairman Mumtaz Akhtar Kahloon. “Otherwise soon we will find these young people crowded in street, desperate and threatening peace in the country,” he added.
Unesco representative Dr Kozue Kay Nagata stressed that the potential of young adults in Pakistan should not be undermined. “I can see the faces of young men and women with great potential and energy in this country. This indicates the demographic trend of Pakistan,” she said.
“If we can find a way to train them with modern skills and bring them at par with industrialised countries, Pakistan’s future will be very bright”, Nagata added.
NAVTTC Executive Director Tariq Shafi Chak urged the younger lot to define the role of TVET in general education and to incorporate it into the school curriculum.
“We need to find solutions which are integrated in existing frameworks so we can utilise our future generations fruitfully,” he said.
Pakistan currently has more than 100 million people under the age of 24. Of them, 32% are illiterate, while 9.5% are unemployed and only 6% are equipped with technical skills. The worrying number of uneducated youth with no vocational and life skills means that a number of individuals are vulnerable to unemployment or inactivity, with females disproportionately forming the majority.
While talking to participants, Unesco Education Program Specialist Dr Roshan Chitrakar pointed out the need to change the present image of TVET in Pakistan, saying, “We are in a catch-22 situation. Technical and Vocational training is still considered to be second-class education in this country when compared with formal education.”
Published In The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2012.