The writer is director of the Centre for Information and Communication Technology at IBA.
Education in Pakistan is still relegated to the older system. While there has been substantial development and improvement in teaching, it is always argued that the education system tends to adopt an outdated memorization style. The population of youth in Pakistan has been estimated to be 120 million. This highlights the need for government intervention in procuring a better future for the country.
A commendable development is the government initiative, ‘Skills for All’, that aims to provide useful skills for the youth through capacity building without any sort of discrimination regarding their education level. The programs contained herein offer the youth the needed ability to compete nationally and internationally and develop an enviable work qualification in the current technology world.
The programs include the extension and strengthening of the NAVTC’s National Skills Information System (NSIS); accreditation of 2,000 TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) institute; training of 500 TVET teachers; skill development training for 50 000 youths in high-technology in formal universities; the establishment of 70 labs/workshops in madressahs across Pakistan; development and standardization of 200 TVET qualifications; international accreditation of 50 Pakistan TVET institutes; establishment of 75 Smart Tech Lab and more importantly the establishment of 50 Business Incubators Centers. These, among others, are programs made available for the youth in the bid to cure unemployment and ensure that every young person can afford a decent means for livelihood.
These programs are great efforts on the part of the government. Interestingly, they do not only create an opportunity to achieve skills, but within each program lies the opportunity for great networking and attract interested investors. Hence, it is a program both entrepreneurs and those who intend to work for a company can explore. Interestingly, several highly commendable universities of Pakistan have shown interest in this government initiative and are ready to provide the training at their campuses, where required facilities and qualified staff are available.
Currently, the first phase of the schemes listed above has been completed, and the next phase has already been initiated. These schemes are rare opportunities for the youth to exploit. The initiative has the potential of improving the living conditions of youth and even create an all-inclusive environment where youths’ engagement and contribution are recognized.
Technology development across the globe has triggered every other country to follow suit, and Pakistan is not behind in the race to ensure that this innovation is used to provide job opportunities for youths. In lieu of this development, Pakistan’s government has implemented policies that do not just introduce technology but offer free courses for willing youth. These policies include the availability of classes where high-technology programs like ERP, website development, blockchain, digital marketing, SEO, cyber security, digital forensic and other tech-related courses are offered.
This act of the government has indeed yielded a positive effect on the country. With the production of jobs, it provides an opportunity for freelancing and so increases the country’s GDP. Also, this initiative is a good one because it has helped develop entrepreneurs, which has also created job opportunities in the country.
The need to create employment opportunities is one of the cardinal duties of the government. Performing this role, Pakistan’s government, through the prime minister, promised to provide 10 million jobs for the youth. If the country can educate and empower its youths through these courses, it may be possible to harness their huge income to other aspects of the country that can increase the country’s revenue and boost GDP. For example, an increase in entrepreneurs will automatically increase the tax paid into the government account, which in turn, will increase government participation in economic growth and development through infrastructure investment.
In a bid to fulfill this promise, the government adopted a more beneficial means, the provision of free high-technology courses. This means it can provide advanced education, improve interest in entrepreneurship, increase freelancing, and boost Pakistani citizens’ employment opportunities across the globe.
Some of the courses provided include:
Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP): One of the leading high-tech courses is the enterprise resources planning course. The urge to improve organizational management and accumulate more profit is the driver of this system’s adoption. Undoubtedly, ERP has successfully helped several organizations to set better goals and achieve beyond a limit. Hence, the increase in demand for the system and even for better customization.
Advanced Application and Website Design: Asking whether this course is capable of providing jobs is rhetorical in today’s digital world. The request for websites and applications is regularly increasing and is expected to keep growing because the digitalization is unstoppable. Private and public organizations, business owners, bloggers and even news agencies request a website for business and operation everyday. This is because, with an online presence, businesses get to reach more people globally. This course can create multiple job opportunities for the youths. Website developers are needed not for the building of websites alone but also for website maintenance.
Blockchain: When you hear blockchain, what comes to mind is multi-millionaire cryptocurrency trading and investment. However, beneath this are the entrepreneurs who make cryptos available for trading and investment; this is what the government envisages by providing this free course.
The assumption that the world is moving from hard currency to a digital one gradually becomes a reality. Some writers have considered cryptocurrencies’ tendency to overtake the hard currency and blockchain substitute physical banks and their operation. While it is not yet established, there is an obvious chance of cryptocurrency becoming the leading currency and blockchain eliminating banks’ specific roles.
Internet of Things (IoT): This course is one of the latest advancements in technology today. It envisages a world of interconnected technology and the transformation of the current ways of carrying out businesses. This system intends to create a more sophisticated system that is easy but still complex.
The government of Pakistan has made this course available for young people in order to create employment, and the tendency of this course performing that role is unquestionable. Development in technology is procuring an ecosystem that demands a widespread adoption of IoT.
Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity is one of the most popular high-tech courses with high job opportunities. The perpetration of cybercrime across the globe has increased organizations’ interest in implementing a system that aptly protects their system. Banks are especially in need of this system to protect depositors’ and investors’ interests. Several organizations also require a top-notch security system to ensure that confidential information about the organizations and their clients remains within the organizations.
Other offered courses include digital marketing and SEO, project management, mobile application development, and big data analytics. All of these courses are capable of fulfilling the prime minister’s intention to provide adequate jobs.
Indeed capacity building is a feasible way to create 10 million jobs and even more. By opting for these programs, the government’s good intention has been declared to the county, and such intention is appreciated. According to the World Bank, ICT development in Pakistan as of 2019 was 17 percent; IT contributed above five percent of the country’s GDP during the same year. The scheme can enhance the development of the ICT industry in Pakistan, which in turn improves communication, government revenue, and overall economic development in the country. Therefore, it remains the responsibility of our youth to maximize this golden opportunity and create a better reputation for the country.
The provision of jobs has a series of outstanding positive effects on the country. It increases living conditions, reduces the crime rate, eradicates poverty, and boosts its GDP. Therefore, this initiative seeks to provide a better country for all. Through this scheme, the government can change the country’s narrative and project it in a better light in the international community.Dr Imran Batada, "Creating ten million jobs," The News. 2021-04-03.
Keywords: Economics , Economy-Pakistan , Economic development , Economic growth , Trade , Business , Unemployment , Pakistan , ICT , SEO , ERP