Empowering youth through education & training
by Mariam Raheem
Dr. Aftab Ahmad, President, National Academy of Young Scientists (NAYS), highlighted on the World Youth Skills Day 2021 that Pakistan can empower youth through education and training as this is how it can go for the knowledge-based economy. As more and more opportunities are coming to Pakistan for CPEC projects and tourist attractions, it is time for the country to prepare its youth for these and other similar opportunities.
He believed that China has achieved huge success in the past 30 years by empowering its youth and creating opportunities for them. "They have worked in all the sectors including agriculture, industry, and healthcare and made China the second biggest economy of the world. Pakistan should also provide more technical skills to its youth so they could play an active role in the development of Pakistan. Pakistan has over 60% youth population which has huge potential."
There are a number of Pakistani universities that have collaborative projects with China and thousands of Pakistani researchers are working in Chinese universities which is enhancing ties between both countries. China has also opened several institutes and programs in Pakistan. Moreover, China has started several mega projects in Pakistan and also empowering Pakistani researchers and engineers. Regarding this, Dr. Aftab stressed that both countries should go a step further and open more possibilities for youth especially in e-commerce, information and communication technologies, agriculture, and health sectors. China can help Pakistan to open and run more technological institutes so that not only technology could be transferred but also skillful youth could be prepared to tackle the challenges Pakistan is facing.
Due to Covid-19, youth all over the world are passing through challenging times. Educational institutes are closed, and there is a massive decline in youth employment all over the world, especially in low- and middle-income countries including Pakistan. Pakistan is also facing a challenge as many school-aged students are not returning to school. Dr. Aftab Ahmad pointed out that on the positive side, youth is learning a new skill set for better employment and entrepreneurship.
"Youth should learn the skills of the future like creativity, innovation, problem-solving, time management, leadership, social influence, active learning, flexibility, teamwork and stress management, so they could have better employability, good earning, respect and entrepreneurship opportunities. Along with hard skills, universities should have a focus on these important soft skills which we greatly lack in our higher education institutes.” Dr. Aftab added.