Massive potential in technology sector requires Instant attention in technical education

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh

TECHNICAL education is always essential for the development of any country. Pakistan has witnessed massive industrial and infrastructural development in recent years. This industrial and infrastructural development cannot be attained without converging the technical and education in the country. It is the technical and vocational education, which provides the skilled manpower for the industry and infrastructure construction.
By technical education I mean to transform the unskilled and uneducated hands into skilled and educated hands, which can build the nation by playing their role in the industrial and infrastructural development of any country. In other words technical education means making aware someone of the technology, making him expertise of its practice and practical demonstration.
I would like to exemplify Japan here, which has become a giant in the field of technology and has made its economy as one of the stable and strongest economies of the world. The main reason behind this is that they have worked and established the technical education in the country and they have trained their people to get expertise in that field so that they can work and bring benefit to the state.
Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) Punjab in this regard have started to inculcate the technical education through the technical institutions and has started its technical people get practical exposure of the modern technology. TEVTA is imparting technical education through polytechnic, vocational training centres, apprenticeship schemes, various training and vocational institutions and also upgrading the traditional ‘Ustad-Shagird’ system in the informal sector.
There was time when people were thinking that our country now should have bring the technology in the country so that the technical people who are carrying technical education should get the proper opportunity to test and implicate their skills and knowledge for the benefit of the state Pakistan. Now the time has arrived with the upcoming projects of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which will change not only the economic condition of the country but it would also fit in the technical hands of our country.
Since the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Nawaz Sharif has signed the CPEC agreement with the Chinese Government Pakistan’s economic and strategic condition has been shifted rapidly. The right decision of Prime Minister at right time will not only change the condition of country but it would also provide employment opportunities to millions of Pakistan. As the industrial boost is expected after the completion of projects of CPEC, TEVTA has already started courses, which will train the youth for future perspective. Since the works started on the projects of CPEC, major change is being observed in the education sector as the students now prefer the technical education on the conventional education. TEVTA is designing the courses while focusing on CPEC and starting of Chinese Language course is an example of this effort of TEVTA, 47 institutes had been dedicated to Chinese language working in 23 districts of Punjab.
It is pertinent to mention here that massive increase in enrolment is also being observed since the work on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects started. A major shift in these regards was also witnessed in the first quarter of 2017. The data shows that from January 2017 to March 2017 as many as 120,000 students have been enrolled in different courses of TEVTA. As compared to 2016, where the number of enrolment in whole year was 170,000, the numbers of 2017 are much greater.
TEVTA has the largest institute’s network across the province of Punjab. With its 393 institutes in every nook and corner of the province, TEVTA has trained thousands of students. It has more than 30 Colleges of Technology, more than 310 Vocational Training Institutes, 18 Service Centres and 5 Staff Training Colleges. Around 200 thousands students are currently getting technical and vocational training and education in more than 45 different courses across the largest populous province of Punjab. Three years ago were only 60 -65 thousand students enrolled in TEVTA’s colleges, institutes and training centre. The tiring efforts demand driven course and trust of parents have caused massive increase in the enrolment of TEVTA students, as the number now has been increased upto 190 thousand. This increase is around 300 percent, which is record enrolment since the inception of the Authority.
TEVTA offers different courses, degree programs and short courses. These include BSc Tech (four years), Diploma in Associate Engineering (DAE) a three year course, DAE two years and many short courses. Besides, keeping the importance of CPEC in view, TEVTA has started offering latest and updated courses for the students and will continue to add more courses. These courses included Chinese Language Learning, Hospitality Management, Construction, Industry, Automobile, Driving, Security, Beautician, Financial Market, Agriculture, Livestock, Communication, Electrical and Electronics, Garments, Health, Leather, Chemical, Information Technology, Mechanical, Pottery and Ceramics, Services, Textiles, Sports Goods. Recently TEVTA has also started courses of driving for training of drivers in collaboration with City Traffic Police Lahore. Three driving schools will be established at TEVTA colleges including Government Technical College Raiwind Road, Technical College Township and Mughalpura. CTP will train 7000 students enrolled in three to five weeks driving courses of TEVTA at three driving schools which will provide state of the art driving training as per international standards under supervision of CTP officials to Pakistani youth.
This course will bridge a massive gap available in for job opportunities available in the field of driving. It will also provide manpower for recently introduced mobile app based taxi services Careem and Uber. We have also signed agreement with Careem to provide them trained drivers who will be hired by Careem on Rs 25000 to Rs 30000 per month. A student getting degree of MBA, CA and BBA from renowned institutions is getting the same salary which will be given to TEVTA’s train drivers. Besides meeting the local demands, this course will also provide several Pakistani a chance to avail international opportunities especially in Middle East. In future, this will also be fulfilling the demands for China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by providing the driving manpower for the project.
In conclusion, it is very essential and crucial that effective and good quality technical education is offered to all the individuals so that they excel in their professional life. It’s the time when parents as well as teaching community of the country should change its behaviour and attitude towards the technical and vocational education. As I earlier mentioned that world’s leading economies gave priority to this education, which educates a child, provide knowledge but also provide them skill, which the conventional education cannot provide them. Parents should send their students to schools and college but after Matriculation and Intermediate, they should let their child learn technical education and vocational training. They would not just get skills but they would get the proper earning.
—The writer is Chairman Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority

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