‘Hunarmand Jawan’ Program: Enough to Bridge Skills Gap?

Unfortunately, Pakistan is perpetually facing extreme unemployment among its youth. As of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, unemployment rate during 2017-18 was 5.7% with a drastic gap between the male and female employment rates. Though it is a little better than the previous year, yet not satisfactory. Moreover, it draws a dismal picture when we compare the employment-to-population ratio with other South Asian countries. For instance, according to the PBS report, Pakistan witnessed an employment-to-population ratio of 36.9% as compared to South Asia’s overall 53.9% ratio in 2017-18 PM Imran has inaugurated the country’s largest-ever skills development program, ‘Hunarmand Jawan’, to equip the youth with modern skills.

The initiative is aimed at training 170,000 youth in the first phase. Realizing the need of the hour, Government has allocated 50,000 slots for artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning, and robotics training courses. Moreover, this program, costing 30 billion rupees, will provide easy loans and opportunities for internships. The formal training will be launched in the vocational and technical educational institutes across the country.

Many young men and women had applied for a loan scheme and still, they haven’t contacted by the authorities, making it more doubtful in the eyes of youth. Another factor that may cause distortions is the lack of professionals in the relevant fields, and if found, will be abandoned due to the barriers of nepotism and favoritism. Who doesn’t know that nepotism has become the only merit for success in careers, particularly in public departments?

No doubt, the initiative is in acquiescence with the modern era professional development and career-building trends. With the advent of modern skills, many developing countries have availed of the opportunity. For instance, solely Bangladesh is earning $100 million with 500,000 active freelancers, according to the ICT division of Bangladesh. Therefore, Pakistan should have initiated such wits well before the year 2020, as now the foreign market is depleted with other nationals, making it tough to make way for Pakistanis.

Moreover, the looming danger of negligence and lack of accountability in Pakistani institutions still may lead to failing even a well-planned program. We can see the fate of “Kamyab Jawan”, as it is entirely disappeared from the scene. Many young men and women had applied for a loan scheme and still, they haven’t contacted by the authorities, making it more doubtful in the eyes of youth. Another factor that may cause distortions is the lack of professionals in the relevant fields, and if found, will be abandoned due to the barriers of nepotism and favoritism. Who doesn’t know that nepotism has become the only merit for success in careers, particularly in public departments?

Consequently, the ineligible recruitment will lead to nowhere, leaving the youth in a muddle and causing a loss of national resources. Furthermore, the Government should make sure that the proper distribution of resources would be observed. It is considered not a crime to use public resources for the sake of personal doles by the big guns of the public departments. So, the government should take strict measures in this regard, leaving no stone unturned. Let the benefits shower on the below leaves as well. Additionally, the Government should launch an effective awareness campaign to rush for modern skills, as there would be no survival without having modern talents in careers. So, the youth should be made understanding the need of the hour.

Also, the Government should make sure that the skills comply with the modern employer’s needs. Modern employment trends show that the employees do not have enough capabilities to meet the demands of employers. These skills are none other than machine learning, artificial intelligence, digital media marketing, and robotics, etc.

The initiative should aim to bridge the skills gap that is only possible if appropriate measures would be observed. Also, the instructors and course planners must take all the requirements of modern employers in the account. Only this way, we would witness fruitful results at the end of the successful completion of PM’s ‘Hunarmand Jawan’ Program, after four years. Let’s hope for the best.

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1 Comment

  1. Proud to be Pakistani says

    Thank you for writing about this very important, yet neglected, situation.

    People call me a fool for not taking US passport despite being eligible for 8 years and for rejecting hundreds of US job offers in order to come back to my home country after 14 years. That was in 2013.

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