KARACHI: On Wednesday, World Youth Skills Day, ZABTech organised a virtual event by bringing together young people, public representatives, policymakers, development partners, technical and vocational education and training institutions and entrepreneurs to talk about the need for helping young people develop resilience to face employment challenges and to reimagine the role of technical and vocational training (TVET) in post-pandemic scenario.

The event included a panel discussion on ‘Future of skills’ and ‘Reimagining TVET in the post Covid-19 scenario’.

Innovative ways in which the skills development system can cope with the pandemic were examined.

Dr Suleman Shaikh, board of trustees’ secretary, Szabist, said that it was time that we should think of creating new courses to support the preservation of food in the agriculture sector. “Unfortunately we don’t meet international standards of preservation and our exports are affected,” he said.

“Another vibrant sector is livestock. We need to redesign courses. Solar energy is coming up as the most feasible alternative electricity. We need to transform in the alternative energy sector and train people in energy products,” he added.

Nabeela Umar, director general, National Vocational and Technical Training Commission of Pakistan, Sindh, said: “The government needs to invest in improvement of internet infrastructure and tools. We need to shift towards short-term courses and other employable skills. There is a need to redesign courses in such a way that we can get out of this pandemic [with] minimum damage,” she said.

Sharing the best TVET practices in Germany, Maren Dick, counsellor attaché for cultural economics and press affairs, Consulate General of Germany, Karachi, said that vocational training was very common in Germany and therefore the Germany development agency (GIZ) was working together with different TVET institutes on the TVET sector support programme in Pakistan.

Masroor Ahmed Sheikh, director, Sindh Technical and Vocational Training Authority, said: “A majority of youth here are trained in ustad-shagird system with no certification. We need to think of innovative methods in TVET. We already have 10,000 trainers available in Pakistan. For practical training without which TVET qualification is not complete, we need to shift towards virtual reality.”

Sindh Information and Technology Minister Taimur Talpur said: “we cannot go further if we don’t collaborate with private sector”.

ZABTech also launched their ‘eSkills Programme’.

Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2020