Opportunities in Pakistan-China vocational training cooperation to be further tapped

By Wang Kai | China Economic Net May 19, 2022

“There is a strong need from both Pakistan and China to cooperate in vocational education. Much progress has been made, and it’s just the start”, said Mr. Syed Javed Hassan, Chairman National Vocational & Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC), Pakistan in an exclusive interview with China Economic Net (CEN).

According to Mr. Syed Hassan, China has provided hundreds of Pakistani schools with vocational training and technical equipment that was worth about 500 million rupees. About 200 Pakistanis have been sent on scholarship to get short-term training in Chinese vocational institutions.

“Dialogues are ongoing regarding how to further enhance the cooperation”, he added.

Under-tapped opportunities

There is a lot that can be done in Pakistan in vocational training.

First is capacity building. “The total amount of capacity of formal vocational training is about 400,000, but what we need is probably as much as 2 million”, Mr. Syed Hassan said.

Just as important is the training of trainers. “It is not simply a question of having classrooms and equipment, but it is also very important to have the right kind of trainers”, Mr. Syed Hassan told CEN that communication is underway as to what training of trainers can take place both by bringing Chinese trainers to Pakistan and by sending trainers to China to get trained there.  

Then there is also a question of course certification. “We would like to see some joint programs between the two countries so that for example, if Chinese employers come to Pakistan, they should be able to immediately employ those with mutually recognized certification and vice versa”, Mr. Syed Hassan opined.

“More institutes, training equipment of higher quality, better trainers, the curriculum in line with international standards and market demand, this is where Pakistan’s vocational education is going”, Mr. Syed Hassan concluded.

Beyond teaching and learning

Educational institutions on both sides are responding to this huge demand.

“This year, we will see cooperation established with about ten institutions in Pakistan”, Mr. Ma Xiaoyan from Tang International Education Group told CEN.

The group, which launched the China-Pakistan modern dual-degree joint talent training program at the end of last year, selected 210 majors out of over 700 vocational majors in China to be introduced to Pakistan.

In the third year of the program, students shall have a chance to study in China for Sino-Pak Dual Diploma. 

“About twenty Pakistani students come here to study each year”, introduced Mr. Wen Yongming, Vice President of Bailie Vocational College, one of the partners of Tang International Education Group. The college has been cooperating with Faisalabad Agricultural University on modern agricultural technology training programs with plans, courses and credits mutually agreed upon.

“Along with Pakistani partners, we upgrade the curriculum catering to market needs. Moreover, the Chinese language is a special focus”, Mr. Ma further elaborated. They have developed a “CCTE” model that integrates training in the Chinese language, commerce, technical skill, and employment.

Opportunities in Pakistan-China vocational training cooperation to be further tapped

Sino-Pak Dual Diploma Joint Technical Education Program under “CCTE” model

“It is much more about teaching and learning. We aim to help improve the overall education system in Pakistan. For instance, many of our courses are provided online through our smart education system using the latest information technologies that can be transferred to Pakistan. Besides, after providing training to the teachers, they will in turn promote changes in their classrooms”, Mr. Ma added.

High-tech is the future

According to Mr. Syed Hassan, while traditional manufacturing, welding, and construction industries shall be an indispensable part of Pakistan’s vocation education, the greater demand for young people is in the high-tech sector.

“For the first time, in the “Skills for All” initiative, we not only covered traditional skills such as electricians, plumbing, welding, etc. but also introduced high tech skills training including certification programs for Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, coding, etc. This kind of workforce is also needed by Chinese firms”, he told CEN.

Coinciding with Mr. Syed Hassan’s opinion, Tang International Education Group is training professional talent for the special economic zones under CPEC in the fields of modern agriculture, e-commerce, and AI, and logistics and customs clearance. For Pakistan’s industrial parks, the group provides training programs on electrical and electronic technologies and civil engineering. Courses on new energy vehicles and information technology will also be introduced.

Opportunities in Pakistan-China vocational training cooperation to be further tapped

Students of Sino-Pak Dual Diploma Program learning computer skills

College-enterprise cooperation has proved to be an effective model. “Support from the government, protection by laws, training to teachers, and the idea of life-long learning are pillars supporting vocational education development”, Mr. Wen concluded.    

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