Govt committed to woo youth away from extremism to technical training; Gilani

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Wednesday said the government was committed to woo the youth away from extremism and terrorism and equip them with necessary skills to optimally use their talent in nation-building.He was speaking here at a ceremony marking the inking of an agreement for grant of 42.4 million Euros between National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) and the German Development Agency GIZ, here at the PM House.The program will be executed by NAVTTC in collaboration with the German Development Agency, GIZ over a period of five years and will practically implement the National Skills Strategy 2009-13.

Prime Minister Gilani said Pakistan was facing a huge challenge of extremism and terrorism and stressed that some of the unemployed youth were suffering from this malaise primarily because of lack of opportunities.He said the democratic government was working hard to evolve a comprehensive mechanism to equip the youth with necessary skills aimed at productive utilization of their talent within the overall economic framework.Gilani termed the agreement another “milestone of meaningful relationship” with the partners from European Union to Netherlands and Germany.He expressed the belief that the formal agreement would have a long-term impact, and further augment the efforts in the field of technical and vocational training aimed at realizing the immense potential.

The Prime Minister mentioned that of Pakistan’s total population 60 percent and placed the country at a better position compared to the developed world teeming with aging population.“The need of the hour is to equip the youth with competitive skills to espouse the cause of social development as well,” he said.He mentioned the benefits reaped from expatriate Pakistanis’ contribution in shape of 11 billions dollars (per annum) remittances, which were the second largest source of foreign exchange after 25 billion dollars export.The Prime Minister stressed the need for imparting quality skills having worldwide recognition and demand.“We are mindful of the fact that against an annual target of a million skilled force set in Medium Term Development Framework, our current capacity in TVET institutes only caters for little over 300,000,” he said.

He called for urgently up-scaling of building capacity and recognition of vocational and technical training.A comprehensive framework in shape of National Skills Strategy is already in place.Gilani said the Agreement concluded today basically envisages the implementation of the same strategy in its true perspective.He said National Vocational and Technical Training Commission had been tasked at the federal level to devise policies and strategies to identify and address problem areas in vocational and technical training.  He pointed that this area has traditionally been neglected in the past and appreciated the efforts of NAVTTC to improve the quality, relevance and suitability of the skills so imparted.Gilani reiterated commitment of the government to work for the betterment of the youth and said it was an asset that was yet to be capitalized.

He said the government was dispensing cash assistance to the poor for immediate relief through initiatives like Benazir Income Support Program and was also working to equip them with relevant skills through special programmes such as “Fanni Maharat” and “Hunarmand Pakistan”.He noted that NAVTTC was instrumental in augmenting and implementing the plans in this regard.Gilani thanked Pakistan’s European friends for their support and cooperation and expressed confidence that initiatives like this will further enhance cooperation.“My government looks forward to strengthening this collaboration that encompasses, learning, quality training, and providing job opportunities to the young segment of our society.”Earlier Prime Minister Gilani along with the ambassadors witnessed the signing ceremony.

Under the program, the NAVTTC through the Economic Affairs Division and in consultation with the provincial stakeholders has negotiated a technical assistance program with the European Union and governments of Netherlands and Germany who have contributed the grant.Minister for Professional and Technical Education Commission Riaz Hussain Prizada said skilled human resources were essential for sustained economic growth. He said Pakistan has the largest segment of population in the working age that needs to be harnessed.He said the quality of training for the youth need to be improved and its quality enhanced and made demand driven.

He said the Ministry was specifically created for this purpose and reflected the vision of the national leadership. He said under the President’s “Fanni Maharat” and Prime Minister’s “Hunarmand Pakistan” programs 132 vocational centres would be setup at uncovered areas of the country, while the youth, particularly women, would be provided employment under the latter program.Chairman NAVTTC, Muhammad Mumtaz Akhtar Kahloon gave details of the program and said the European Union, governments of Netherlands and Germany have contributed grants of 25.4 million Euros, 15 million Euros and 2 million Euros respectively for the program that would be executed over a period of five years.
Under the program the curricula and skill standards for technical and vocational education and training will be redesigned and redeveloped according to national and international requirements and standards for the Provincial Technical Education & Vocational Authorities (TEVTAs) and other training institutes in the country.

He said the program would train millions of jobless and unskilled youth.The National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) is the national regulatory authority to address the challenges of technical and vocational training in the country in collaboration with international donor agencies.The event was attended by Minister of State for Professional and Technical Training Sardar Shahjahan Yousaf and national and international stakeholders including heads of international donor agencies, diplomats, heads of TEVTAs. – APP