PPP plans mass export of skilled Pakistanis

By Mehtab Haider

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government will arrange road shows in four Middle Eastern countries this year to export a quarter million skilled Pakistanis in the next two to three years, The News has learnt.

“The four road shows will be arranged in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar before Dec 31,” official sources in the Gilani government said on Sunday. An official said the government was making arrangements to put in place job placement mechanism under the umbrella of the National Vocational and Technical Education Commission (NAVTEC), which would make efforts to export skilled labour force. The labour force would complete its training at 1,300 vocational institutes across the country.

In an exclusive chat with The News, NAVTEC Chairman Adnan A Khawaja said that the government had brought major changes in the policy of the commission by focusing only on four major sectors rather than the 218 sectors identified by the previous regime.

“We will focus upon developing skills of workers in agriculture and livestock, construction, information technology, telecom and services sectors,” he said and added the government would make all efforts to train at least 100,000 skilled workers before June 30.

“The PPP government plans to ensure export of one to two million workers during its five-year tenure,” he said, adding there was a need to motivate the youth below 20 years whose population was around 90 million in the country.

He said that the government had increased stipend for students of vocational training institutes from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 per month payable even to fresh students. He also said that the prime minister’s initiative of ëHunarmand Pakistanي would be launched in December in Peshawar.

“The NAVTEC initiative has so far trained 72,000 skilled workers in the country and our target is to train at least 100,000 in this financial year,” he added. He said the NAVTEC was making efforts to rehabilitate the training centre given by China, which had state-of-the-art facilities, where students from Fata would be equipped with the latest technology.

He said that the government had increased the budget of the NAVTEC from Rs 510 million in the last financial year to Rs two billion in the current financial year. “We will focus on public-private partnership in order to promote vocational training with the help of the private sector,” he added.

He said the NAVTEC was going to propose to the government to provide school buildings for giving vocational training in the evening to bridge the demand gap.“Donor agencies such as the USAID, JICA and others are ready to extend financial help for promoting vocational training in Pakistan,” he added.

Quoting a Unesco report, he said Pakistan’s statistics showed that the gross enrolment rate (GER) in the higher secondary education was nine per cent but in Europe and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island), the GER was 69 per cent and 62 per cent, respectively. “There is a huge potential that needs to be attracted towards vocational training,” he concluded.

Source: The News, 27/10/2008


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