China Pakistan Vocational Training Cooperation
Editor's Note: The writer is the Founder of Friends of BRI Forum. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.
Pakistan and China are steadfastly strengthening their collaboration through the inclusion of technical education and training including dual degree programs and initiatives under the CPEC framework to build Pakistan’s strength to fight back poverty. Luban Workshop, a collaborative initiative between the Punjab Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) in Pakistan and the Tianjin Modern Vocational Technology College in China, is playing a pivotal role in this regard by empowering the local youth with essential technical knowledge to earn a better living and contribute towards overall economy.
As part of a broader international vocational education project initiated by China, with numerous workshops established in 19 countries across Asia, Africa, and Europe, this initiative is playing an important role in helping youth in Pakistan. Through this endeavor, colleges in Tianjin are empowering local youth to acquire cutting-edge technological skills, enabling them to contribute significantly to the development and progress of their respective nations. The workshops serve as vibrant platforms for knowledge exchange and capacity building, fostering an environment where state-of-the-art technologies are learned, harnessed, and leveraged to drive positive change and socioeconomic advancement.
The impact of this program is evidenced by the achievement of 33 Pakistani graduates who have successfully acquired both Pakistani vocational training certificates and Chinese academic certificates, showcasing their dual expertise. The comprehensive approach of the initiative involves a six-month course at the Luban Workshop, followed by a 24-month study focused on electrical automation at the Tianjin Modern Vocational Technology College. To further enhance their practical skills, students engage in a six-month internship with enterprises aligned with the workshop.
Eight enterprises in Pakistan have forged industry-education alliances with the Luban Workshop, thereby creating valuable employment opportunities for the students. In a country where approximately three million young individuals enter the job market each year, the lack of access to technical training and outdated training agendas pose significant obstacles to securing employment and hinder the modernization of the agricultural and industrial sectors.
This progressive step of collaboration between Pakistan and China under the broader CPEC framework demonstrates their shared commitment to addressing the imperative need for skilled manpower and preparing the youth for gainful employment within the industrial sector. Jointly operated vocational institutes in Pakistan serve as platforms where the burden of imparting essential knowledge and training to the burgeoning workforce can be shared effectively. This strategic partnership not only facilitates the acquisition of marketable skills but also bolsters the foundation of mutual prosperity and socio-economic development for both nations.
Pakistan, with its burgeoning population of youth, holds immense potential for labor productivity. However, the country faces the challenge of low productivity levels despite operating several vocational institutes aimed at generating a skilled workforce. To bridge this gap, it becomes imperative for Pakistan to not only fulfill industrial benchmarks in terms of both quality and quantity but also enhance its competitiveness on a global scale.
The Luban Workshop initiative has emerged as a transformative force, revolutionizing the labor market and technological landscape in both industrial transformation and agriculture mechanization. Recognizing its success, multiple industrial players are actively establishing industry-academia linkages to impart the necessary skills to the workforce and enhance employee retention within the sector. This collaborative effort significantly boosts efficiency and productivity throughout the entire industrial cycle, particularly benefiting economies like Pakistan. To ensure the resounding success of this initiative, Pakistani and Chinese instructors have joined forces to develop comprehensive resources, including simulation software, 160 academic and experimental curriculum components, six textbooks, and 25 hours of teaching videos.
A significant milestone in this regard is the Pakistan-China Dual Degree Program, the first of its kind in the region. The program aims to share practical knowledge and expertise with Pakistani universities, empowering students to gain valuable insights. This multifaceted approach, encompassing vocational training, higher education collaborations, and skill-sharing, reinforces the commitment of Pakistan and China to empower the youth, equip them with relevant expertise, and pave the way for their successful integration into diverse sectors of the economy.
The credit for all these developments directly goes to CPEC, which brought wonderful opportunities for Pakistani youth to prove their mettle in the industry. The leadership in Pakistan and China remains on the same page of the development agenda. The youth trained in vocational institutes adds value to industrial efficiency, gives impetus to the socio-economic development of a nation, and increases the employment rate while reducing poverty. In a manner, technical education in vocational institutes directly contributes to the economic development of Pakistan.