Mian Muhammad Javed
WHEN multinationals i.e. companies/corporations from advanced countries head for overseas and establish business houses and/or manufacturing plants, apart from technology the management skills also come to the recipient countries. CPEC agreement between China and Pakistan includes portfolio of gigantic projects of electric power plants, motorways, seaport, airport, economic zones for setting up of industrial units and telecom optic fibre link etc, It is expected that Chinese construction engineering and management practices will find their way into Pakistan and managers, engineers and technicians working in Chinese aided projects and ventures will have opportunity to learn modern project management skills.
It is after a long while that so many big projects are going to be executed in the country. Existing management and construction expertise in the country is mostly outdated. CPEC therefore offers a great opportunity to upgrade engineering, technical and managerial skills in the country. To make sure it happens and opportunity is not lost Pakistan may like to examine the possibility to enter into a specific agreement with China in this regard so as to bring revolution in way of doing business to modernize and upgrade construction industry and enhance operational skills.
In their respect it is important to learn from Chinese history itself. It was in mid eighties that new approach to poverty alleviation and economic development was ushered in China after Dong Xiaoping took over reigns of the country. One of the steps as a prelude to launching world’s unprecedentedly enormous development plans was to create awareness and educate people about things to come and prepare them to partake in the upcoming economic activity. Apart from other measures, it was through electronic media that Chinese government reached out to the public using TV & Radio broadcasts to bring them in loop. On visit to China in early 1986 it was viewed that Chinese TV Channels were telecasting educational programmes about various types of industry foreseen to be set-up and how it worked.
Television channels were also carrying teaching programme on English, French, German and Japanese languages as Chinese government was targeting investment from countries like USA, UK, France, Germany & Japan and communication channels had to be improved with the multinationals from these and other developed nations. In fact TV programmes were designed for general well-being and life skills with emphasis on education. Specific TV channels were opened which focused on youth and tailored educational programmes in the subjects of science, technology, engineering, economics, health and teaching special attention was paid to rural areas. For children of age up to 12 years TV programmes catered for pre school and early education. Mother’s education included upbringing of infants. A TV channel was dedicated to higher education in modern subjects. Radio broadcasts were also being made use of for keeping the populace informed on new ideas in development and helped fill the ignorance gaps throughout Chinese land.
Pakistan today needs such a public instruction programme With social indicators showing over 60% population in rural areas low literacy rate, high child mortality and about 30% poverty, there is urgent requirement to accelerate flow of constructive and beneficial information for educating masses about social and health issues and about economic opportunities. With about 100 commercial TV channels and nearly 200 Radio Broadcast stations operating in Pakistan, number of educational TV and Radio stations are less than a few. Except for two Virtual University TV channels one health TV and about 10 University / Police radios, all other edifices of electronic media provide only entertainment, and news. In view of Chinese successful experience in calibrating and utilizing electronic media as part of development strategy it may be considered if CPEC scope be enlarged to seek China’s advice also how to go about on this route in Pakistan. It may be added that in 1970s Japanese govt had built an Education TV Broadcast Station in Islamabad, which could not be run and has since been converted into an entertainment TV channel.
— The writer is ex-Chairman PTCL and Vice Chairman Nazriya-i-Pakistan Council, Islamabad.