Speakers at a conference on the State of Youth in Pakistan: Focusing on Youth Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) on Thursday stressed implementation of integrated youth development policies in letter and spirit.
They were of the view that 62 per cent of the population needs to be activated for productive economic output.
The conference was part of the 20th All Members Meeting of the Human Resource Development Network (HRDN) aimed at devising an outline of the future strategy to empower neglected youth through education and skills development initiatives.
The conference was organized in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Labour Organisation (ILO), Institute of Rural management (IRM), Aga Khan rural Support Programme (AKRSP) and Caritas Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar said the government was on a five-point youth development and economic engagement programme as a top priority.
About 100 billion loans would be disbursed to the young people having adequate plans to run businesses. We need to focus more on creating jobs through the private businesses instead of eying on the government jobs.
Dar said different youth empowerment projects Skills for All, National Internship Programme, and Green Movement initiatives would focus more on youth’s employability through enhancing their skills required for the jobs on ground, he said, adding the government is working with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to groom the youth in universities with the skill-sets needed in the job market.
The ILO country representative Ingrid Christensen said young women and men are disproportionately affected by unemployment and underemployment, poor quality jobs, labour market inequalities, difficult and long school-to-work transitions and skills mismatches. Young people that are not in employment, education and Training (NEET) are particularly at risk of long-term disconnect from the labour market. The NEET youth lack opportunities for their skill development that make them more prone to social exclusion and marginalisation over time.
Executive Director Devcom-Pakistan Munir Ahmed while rending policy recommendations said the foremost policy should be the implementation of the existing policies in an integrated manner.
The skills development programme should follow guidance and mentoring of youth in developing micro and small enterprises. The elected representatives at Union Council level may be engaged in data collection of the NEET youth to map out the needs for their education and training to enhance their skills according to their aptitude and interest.
Ahmed suggested engaging university students in on-job sort of training in the last two semesters of their Masters’ degree programmes to enhance their employability. Pakistan is rich in variety of crafts that can accommodate major portion of the uneducated rural youth. The urban youth can develop packaging and branding of the crafts to market it nationally and internationally. There are many ways of stretching the job market to adjust the NEET youth.