How Technical and Vocational Education and Training Can Boost Youth Employment and Economic Development in Pakistan
Technical And Vocational Education In Pakistan: A Key To Youth Empowerment And Economic Growth
Technical and vocational education (TVE) is a form of learning that provides practical skills and knowledge for employment and self-employment. TVE can be offered at different levels, such as institutes of industrial education, diploma and bachelor's degree, postgraduate studies and research in specific technical fields. It includes training in trade, commerce, carpentry, weaving, agriculture, medicine, engineering and many other sectors.
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TVE is crucial for Pakistan, a country with a large youth population of over 120 million, who need to acquire market-driven skills that can enable them to earn their livelihood and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. TVE can also help Pakistan achieve its vision 2025, which envisages a competitive, knowledge-based economy through value addition and innovation.
In this article, we will explore the current status, future prospects and challenges of the TVE sector in Pakistan. We will also provide some recommendations for the stakeholders involved in the TVE sector to improve its quality, accessibility and relevance.
What is technical and vocational education (TVE)?
According to UNESCO, technical and vocational education (TVE) is "a comprehensive term referring to those aspects of the educational process involving, in addition to general education, the study of technologies and related sciences, and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of economic and social life".
TVE can be delivered through formal, non-formal or informal modes of learning. Formal TVE refers to organized programs that lead to recognized qualifications or credentials. Non-formal TVE refers to organized programs that do not lead to formal qualifications but are recognized by employers or communities. Informal TVE refers to learning that occurs through work experience, self-study or social interactions.
TVE can be offered at different levels of education, such as: - Pre-vocational education: This level provides basic skills and orientation for further vocational education or training. It is usually offered at lower secondary level or equivalent. - Vocational education: This level provides specific skills and knowledge for a particular occupation or group of occupations. It is usually offered at upper secondary level or equivalent. - Technical education: This level provides advanced skills and knowledge for a specific technical field or profession. It is usually offered at post-secondary level or equivalent. - Higher technical education: This level provides specialized skills and knowledge for research and innovation in a specific technical field or profession. It is usually offered at tertiary level or equivalent.
Why is TVE important for Pakistan?
TVE is important for Pakistan for several reasons: - It can provide youth with employable skills that match the demand of the labor market, both domestically and internationally. This can reduce unemployment, poverty and social exclusion among youth. - It can enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the workforce and the economy by promoting value addition, innovation and entrepreneurship. This can increase economic growth, exports and foreign exchange earnings. - It can support the development of key sectors such as agriculture, industry, services, energy, infrastructure and human capital. This can help achieve the goals of Pakistan Vision 2025 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). - It can foster social cohesion and national integration by providing equal opportunities for learning and earning to people from diverse backgrounds, regions and genders. This can improve social harmony, peace and stability in the country.
Current status of TVE in Pakistan
Challenges and gaps in the TVE sector
Despite its importance, the TVE sector in Pakistan faces many challenges and gaps that limit its potential and impact. Some of the major challenges and gaps are: - Low enrollment and participation: According to the Pakistan Economic Survey 2019-20, only 3.6% of the total enrollment in education was in TVE. The gross enrollment ratio (GER) in TVE was 8.5% for males and 1.9% for females. The participation rate in TVE was also low, especially among women, rural areas and marginalized groups. - Poor quality and relevance: According to the National Vocational & Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC), the apex body for TVE policy making, standardization, regulation and coordination in Pakistan, there are about 3,946 public and private TVE institutes in the country, offering about 200 trades and courses. However, many of these institutes lack qualified teachers, modern equipment, updated curricula, quality assurance mechanisms and linkages with industry and employers. As a result, the quality and relevance of TVE is compromised, leading to low employability and productivity of graduates. - Inadequate funding and governance: According to the Pakistan Economic Survey 2019-20, the total expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP was 2.3%, of which only 0.1% was allocated to TVE. The low funding reflects the low priority given to TVE by the government and other stakeholders. Moreover, the governance and management of TVE is fragmented, with multiple authorities, policies, standards and regulations at federal and provincial levels. This creates confusion, duplication and inefficiency in the delivery of TVE services.
Opportunities and initiatives in the TVE sector
Despite these challenges and gaps, there are also many opportunities and initiatives in the TVE sector that can be leveraged to improve its performance and outcomes. Some of the major opportunities and initiatives are: - High demand for skilled workers: According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the labor force participation rate (LFPR) in Pakistan was 54.7% in 2019-20, with an unemployment rate of 4.5%. However, there is a mismatch between the supply and demand of skilled workers in various sectors, such as construction, textile, leather, IT, hospitality, health care and others. According to a study by NAVTTC, there is a demand for about 1.6 million skilled workers annually in Pakistan, while only about 400,000 are produced by the TVE system. This indicates a huge potential for expanding and diversifying TVE to meet the current and future needs of the labor market. - Increased access to technology and information: The advancement of technology and information has opened new avenues for enhancing the delivery and quality of TVE in Pakistan. For instance, online platforms, mobile applications, digital libraries, e-learning modules and virtual labs can be used to provide flexible, interactive and customized learning opportunities for TVE students and teachers. Moreover, technology can also facilitate the assessment, certification, accreditation and recognition of TVE qualifications across different regions and countries. - Enhanced collaboration among stakeholders: The development of the TVE sector requires the active involvement and collaboration of various stakeholders, such as government agencies, private sector entities, civil society organizations, academic institutions, international donors and development partners. There are several examples of successful collaboration among these stakeholders in Pakistan, such as: - Prime Minister's Youth Skill Development Program (PMYSDP): This is a flagship initiative launched by NAVTTC in 2014 to provide market-driven conventional and high-tech skills training to youth across Pakistan. The program has trained over 200,000 youth so far in various trades and sectors. - National Skills Development Program (NSDP): This is a joint initiative of NAVTTC and GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation) to support the implementation of the National Skills Strategy (NSS) 2009-13. The program has supported various interventions such as competency-based training (CBT), recognition of prior learning (RPL), national vocational qualifications framework (NVQF), national skills information system (NSIS) and others. Future prospects of TVE in Pakistan
Vision and goals of the TVE sector
The vision and goals of the TVE sector in Pakistan are guided by the national and international frameworks and policies, such as: - Pakistan Vision 2025: This is a long-term development plan that aims to transform Pakistan into a prosperous, democratic and inclusive country by 2025. One of the pillars of this vision is to develop a competitive, knowledge-based economy through value addition and innovation. TVE is seen as a key enabler for achieving this goal by providing skilled human capital for various sectors and industries. - National TVET Policy 2018: This is a comprehensive policy document that provides the strategic direction and framework for the development and reform of the TVE sector in Pakistan. The policy has four main objectives: (1) to increase access and equity in TVE; (2) to improve quality and relevance in TVE; (3) to enhance governance and management in TVE; and (4) to strengthen financing and sustainability in TVE. - Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): These are a set of 17 global goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all by 2030. One of the goals (SDG 4) is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. TVE is seen as a key contributor for achieving this goal by providing skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.
Based on these frameworks and policies, the vision of the TVE sector in Pakistan is to provide "quality technical and vocational education and training for all that meets the current and future needs of the economy and society". The goals of the TVE sector in Pakistan are to: - Increase the enrollment and participation rate in TVE to at least 10% by 2025 and 15% by 2030. - Improve the quality and relevance of TVE to meet the national and international standards and benchmarks. - Enhance the governance and management of TVE to ensure coordination, accountability and transparency. - Strengthen the financing and sustainability of TVE to ensure adequate resources, efficiency and effectiveness.
Strategies and actions for the TVE sector
To achieve the vision and goals of the TVE sector in Pakistan, various strategies and actions have been proposed and implemented by different stakeholders. Some of the major strategies and actions are: - Expanding and diversifying TVE provision: This strategy aims to increase the availability, accessibility and affordability of TVE opportunities for youth across Pakistan. Some of the actions under this strategy are: - Establishing new TVE institutes, especially in remote, rural and under-served areas. - Upgrading existing TVE institutes with modern facilities, equipment and technology. - Introducing new trades and courses that are aligned with the emerging trends and demands of the labor market. - Promoting non-formal and informal modes of TVE delivery, such as community-based training, mobile training units, online learning platforms etc. - Providing scholarships, stipends, loans and subsidies to support needy students to enroll in TVE programs. - Improving quality assurance mechanisms: This strategy aims to ensure that the standards, curricula, assessment, certification and accreditation of TVE programs are consistent, reliable and valid. Some of the actions under this strategy are: - Developing a national vocational qualifications framework (NVQF) that defines the levels, competencies and outcomes of different TVE qualifications. - Implementing competency-based training (CBT) that focuses on learning outcomes rather than inputs or processes. - Establishing a national skills information system (NSIS) that collects, analyzes and disseminates data on skills supply and demand in Pakistan. - Developing a national accreditation system that evaluates and recognizes the quality of TVE institutes based on predefined criteria. - Establishing a national certification system that issues credible certificates to TVE graduates based on their skills attainment. and employers. Some of the actions under this strategy are: - Establishing sector skills councils (SSCs) that represent the interests and needs of different sectors and industries in the TVE sector. - Developing industry advisory groups (IAGs) that provide feedback and guidance on the curricula, assessment and certification of TVE programs. - Strengthening apprenticeship training system (ATS) that provides on-the-job training and mentoring to TVE students by employers. - Creating skills development councils (SDCs) that facilitate the coordination and collaboration among TVE providers, industry associations, chambers of commerce and other stakeholders. - Developing a national employment exchange tool (NEXT) that connects TVE graduates with potential employers through a web-based portal. - Promoting social inclusion and gender equality: This strategy aims to ensure that TVE opportunities are accessible and equitable for all segments of society, especially women, rural areas and marginalized groups. Some of the actions under this strategy are: - Providing gender-sensitive and inclusive curricula, facilities, teachers and trainers in TVE institutes. - Offering flexible and customized TVE programs that cater to the needs and preferences of different learners, such as women, persons with disabilities, minorities etc. - Implementing affirmative action policies and programs that encourage and support the participation of under-represented groups in TVE programs. - Raising awareness and advocacy campaigns that promote the value and benefits of TVE for all members of society. - Developing a recognition of prior learning (RPL) system that acknowledges and certifies the skills and competencies acquired by learners through informal or non-formal modes of learning. Conclusion
Summary of the main points
In conclusion, technical and vocational education (TVE) is a key to youth empowerment and economic growth in Pakistan. TVE can provide youth with employable skills that match the demand of the labor market, both domestically and internationally. TVE can also enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the workforce and the economy by promoting value addition, innovation and entrepreneurship. TVE can also support the development of key sectors such as agriculture, industry, services, energy, infrastructure and human capital. TVE can also foster social cohesion and national integration by providing equal opportunities for learning and earning to people from diverse backgrounds, regions and genders.
However, the TVE sector in Pakistan faces many challenges and gaps that limit its potential and impact. Some of the major challenges and gaps are low enrollment and participation, poor quality and relevance, inadequate funding and governance. To overcome these challenges and gaps, various strategies and actions have been proposed and implemented by different stakeholders. Some of the major strategies and actions are expanding and diversifying TVE provision, improving quality assurance mechanisms, enhancing linkages with industry and employers, promoting social inclusion and gender equality.
Recommendations for the stakeholders
To achieve the vision and goals of the TVE sector in Pakistan, it is recommended that the stakeholders involved in the TVE sector take the following actions: - Government: The government should increase its funding and priority for the TVE sector. It should also improve its governance and coordination of the TVE sector at federal and provincial levels. It should also implement effective policies and regulations to ensure quality, relevance and accountability in the TVE sector. and guidance on the curricula, assessment and certification of TVE programs. It should also provide on-the-job training and mentoring to TVE students and graduates. It should also offer employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to TVE graduates. - Civil society: The civil society should increase its advocacy and awareness campaigns for the TVE sector. It should also provide support and services to TVE students and graduates, such as counseling, mentoring, coaching, networking etc. It should also monitor and evaluate the performance and impact of the TVE sector. - Academic institutions: The academic institutions should increase their research and innovation activities for the TVE sector. They should also provide academic and professional development opportunities to TVE teachers and trainers. They should also collaborate and exchange best practices with other TVE institutes and stakeholders. - International donors and development partners: The international donors and development partners should increase their technical and financial assistance for the TVE sector. They should also align their support with the national priorities and policies of the TVE sector. They should also facilitate the regional and global integration and recognition of the TVE sector.
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about technical and vocational education (TVE) in Pakistan:
- Q: What is the difference between technical education and vocational education? - A: Technical education refers to the education that provides advanced skills and knowledge for a specific technical field or profession. Vocational education refers to the education that provides specific skills and knowledge for a particular occupation or group of occupations. - Q: What are some examples of technical and vocational education (TVE) programs in Pakistan? - A: Some examples of TVE programs in Pakistan are: - Diploma of Associate Engineer (DAE): This is a three-year post-secondary program that provides technical skills and knowledge in various engineering disciplines, such as civil, electrical, mechanical, chemical etc. - Certificate in Vocational Training (CVT): This is a one-year post-secondary program that provides vocational skills and knowledge in various trades, such as carpentry, plumbing, welding, tailoring etc. - Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech): This is a four-year tertiary program that provides specialized skills and knowledge in a specific technical field or profession, such as computer science, biotechnology, textile technology etc. - Q: How can I enroll in a technical and vocational education (TVE) program in Pakistan? - A: You can enroll in a TVE program in Pakistan by following these steps: - Identify your interest and aptitude for a specific trade or course. - Search for a suitable TVE institute that offers your desired trade or course. - Check the eligibility criteria, admission process and fee structure of the TVE institute. - Apply for admission by filling out an application form and submitting the required documents. - Appear for an entrance test or interview if required by the TVE institute. - Pay the admission fee and enroll in the TVE program. - Q: How can I get a job or start a business after completing a technical and vocational education (TVE) program in Pakistan? - A: You can get a job or start a business after completing a TVE program in Pakistan by following these steps: - Update your resume or CV with your skills, qualifications and achievements. - Register with a national employment exchange tool (NEXT) that connects you with potential employers through a web-based portal. - Search for job openings or opportunities that match your skills