Pak-China vocational training collaboration to be strengthened
by Mariam Raheem
ISLAMABAD, June 24 (Gwadar Pro) - In the industrialization drive under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with the establishment of free zones, Pakistan ha one more area to collaborate with China. That is vocational training for Pakistani workers.
These ideas were shared by Ms Lubna Bhayat, CEO of Pakistan’s first dedicated job portal and E Academy www.shemeanswork.com during an interview with Gwadar Pro recently.
She further mentioned that, “just like we have sister cities, we should have sister vocational institutes where the certifications should be acceptable and accredited in both countries.”
The pandemic has seriously compounded Pakistan’s already grave economic challenges, but it had some positive effects on Pakistan’s job market. Before the pandemic, Pakistan’s job culture leaned heavily towards manually searching for jobs, and showed a strong reluctance to modernize the workplace. Digital tools for hiring and remote work through video conferencing were never considered before, and almost all work was done in person. The move to remote working during the pandemic forced both employers and employees to see the value in digitizing and modernizing jobs, both in attaining them and working them.
Ms Lubna Bhayat highlighted that it’s important to make use of China’s great success in achieving gender parity where men and women hold equal opportunities in the job market. “Whereas in Pakistan, we are still working towards improving the job market share for all genders. At present women constitute only 20% of the job market hence the portal is important to connect skilled women back to jobs.”
With her online E academy “Vii Learn”, she aims to not only train women, especially moms who have finished their studies and taken a break to raise families and they want to come back to the job market. Online academy is a useful tool to train and prepare these job seeking women sitting at home. “We need to learn from our friend China and make use of their expertise in training its workforce in vocational courses. China’s institutes can collaborate with Pakistani institutes and offer vocational training on modern technologies.” She said she is receptive to any Chinese institute to collaborate with Vii Learn Academy for training Pakistani homemakers who want to come back to work.
Pakistan is dealing with three major challenges in the new phase. Pakistan wants its higher education student population better suited for the work place in terms of skills at the end of their education, reform educational curricula to increase STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and applied science courses, and to pave more access to technical education which will allow to expand its industrial base. Pakistan and China can join hands in exchanging the best practices and add value to both systems.
According to Ms. Lunba, Pakistan can follow the strategy adopted by China where the STEM subjects have become so popular that they have a 55 % increase in students taking these courses. CPEC is a great opportunity to link up not only as trade partners but also on a cultured and educational level. It is also important to align the degree programs either attained in Chinese educational institutes or Pakistani institutes so both countries can make use of the talent pool.
She announced that her E academy will be fully operational in December this year when she is looking at collaborating with Chinese vocational institutes to partner with her to digitize popular courses and intend to provide English language courses for Chinese students. For now SMW (she means work) is open to provide workforce to Chinese companies in Pakistan.
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