Revamping School Education & Vocational Training
The irrelevance of education and training imparted in the formal sector is one of the important factors contributing to a higher dropout and non-employability of the passed-outs. The poor quality of education is, somehow, also embedded with these two issues. What is then essentially needed is a complete overhaul of post-primary school education. This education, in fact, should be more relevant to the labour market conditions, pattern of employment and its likely contents in the future. The major absorption of the workforce in Pakistan is in the agricultural sector, and in the numerous small and micro enterprises in the informal sector including manufacturing and cottage industry. The present education system, largely, does not cater to their needs. Such activities for their effective promotion requires from its participants, besides working knowledge of English and Urdu, some basic business and trading skills such as: accounting, commercial correspondence, stores management, establishing a small and micro enterprise, marketing skills, subcontracting, cropping patterns, livestock farming, fish farming, etc. Hence, education system should contain instruction in these disciplines. The aim is that a student at the secondary school level should have an adequate knowledge of these variables whereby he/she is prepared for self-employment. Presently, the education system is not tuned to such requirements, it is tailoring to the formal sector needs where employment opportunities are declining.
The vocational training imparted should also be aligned towards the needs of informal sector manufacturing and repair activities but with a significant time allocated to the instructions related to organisational and management aspects. For a proper response to such needs, the administration of vocational training needs be decentralised and training centres should be made autonomous. Further, private sector and representatives of employers, even workers, need to be increasingly integrated with the management of vocational training centres. These then should also accompany the steps directed towards improving the existing schools, their buildings and going for universal enrolment in the foreseeable future.
In rural areas some special efforts need to be made for making available a girls primary school in each village and for boys such schools should be conveniently placed.
Source: Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan: Present Scenario and Future Strategy, Mohibul Haq Sahibzada. Republished with permission.
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