Changes in education system must to fight joblessness

Karachi: Joblessness is the most pressing problem of Pakistan, resulting in feelings of despondency and hopelessness amongst youth and also contributing to rising violence in society and this problem could be solved by bringing suitable changes in education system, so as to train highly skilled manpower to cater the prevailing needs of job market,

The government can end joblessness in the country by promoting technical education and suitable changes in curriculum from the high school level would give amazing results. The majority of population in Pakistan comprises youth and instead of giving them useless degrees of matriculation and intermediate, new innovative diploma programs be devised based on education in training in practical technological fields so that these youth could be absorbed in trade and industry, said All Pakistan Organization of Small Traders & Cottage Industries (APOST&CI) Karachi chapter Mehmood Hamid.

He said more than 250million Pakistani children have need seen a classroom. These children work in fields, shops, workshops, cottage industries and informal sector. There is no place for these children in our prevailing educational system. The policymakers should also focus on how to give these children some education and training. For these street and working children we have to open some unique and informal schools-cum-technical training centers, where these children could not only learn reading and writing and basic arithmetic but also training of some technical trades and skills. After completing their primary education/ training these children should be given primary school/diploma certificates so that they can continue their education/ training on their basis if they wish.

The education planners should devise such a phase-wise apprenticeship based education program under which students of poor and working families could continue their education in phases and get diplomas and professional degrees. Normally these children cannot give full focus and full time to their studies as they have to give more time to their work. For them informal and phased education and training in morning, evening and night shift schools would pay dividends. The concept of distance learning also need to be further promoted and again this learning should be closely synchronized with the needs of job market.

He suggested that a technical university should be set up in Karachi, as preferably the Government College of Technology (GCT) Karachi should be upgraded as technical university. Such universities should also be set up in Hyderabad, Sukkur, Ghotki, Mirpurkhas, Larkana, Shikarpur and Nawabshah towns, where sufficient industry infrastructure is present. Technical universities have been playing an important role in the development of industrialized nations and it is high time that Pakistan also focuses opening purely technical universities.

Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) spokesman Prof Iftikhar Aazmi said education should be free and compulsory up to intermediate level. Special focus need to be given to technical education and training to fight joblessness. The government should spent more funds on educational sector as it is the catalyst for a sustainable change in society. The present college system should be revamped by improving infrastructure including libraries, laboratories and research facilities in government colleges. Teachers’ bodies should be given more say in the affairs of colleges as inefficient and politically inclined bureaucracy has marred the college education in Sindh province. The concept of industry-academia linkages (IAL) have to be promoted in Pakistan to educate and train youth as per the market needs so that young people can get jobs as soon as they complete their education and training.

Pasban Pakistan President Altaf Shakoor said the professional degree programs should be split in such a way that working students can also get professional degrees like MBBS, BE, ME and MBA. He said majority of Pakistani population is poor and only a few families could afford sending their children for fulltime study. He said students should be offered such programs where they could learn and earn.

A student can get a dispenser or laboratory technician certificate and work in some hospital. His should be given some credit hours for his work and then he can do some higher diploma in some medical and surgical discipline and again work in hospital and later on the basis of his experience and learning he should be given admission in some specialized program where he can work and study and get a formal MBBS degree. Such split work-and-study programs should be chalked out for engineering and other professional degree programs.

The government policymakers need to change the basic paradigm of formal education and make suitable changes to make a room of informal education and training with an aim to train the huge population of youth into a highly skilled workforce for which vocational and technical training need to be given proper focus and needed funding.

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