THIS refers to the report “PM in ‘giving mood’ on first trip to Karachi” (April 14). The prime minister may have given or committed many things for Karachi and its people, but everyone would probably agree that if he donates a dozen technical institutions to the city, it will alleviate the suffering of the poor who cannot afford mainstream education.
These technical universities should be spread all over Karachi with one each in Keamari, Sohrab Goth, Baldia, Lyari, Shah Faisal Colony, Malir and New Karachi.
These universities should impart skills to help develop students become specialists in their fields. They can then kick-start their own businesses instead of running around with general academic degrees looking for clerical jobs.
A trained auto technician can start his own small business. Current roadside workshops have illiterate workmen who took up the profession as a chota learning from an old hand who had also been a chota. These chotas have some skills, but lack background knowledge and remain stuck at that level all their lives.
Same is true for electricians, lathe operators, die-makers, loom masters, plumbers and so many others of their ilk. As part of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project for my employers a few years ago, we trained some 10,000 plumbers from Karachi to Peshawar, including cities like Sukkur, Multan, Faisalabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and Peshawar. Some of our trained plumbers got jobs in the Middle East because they impressed their prospective employers by correctly answering conceptual questions during the job interviews.
Moreover, reproducing their certification that we had arranged through leading plumbing consultants also helped. Same is possible for their counterparts in other trades.
The prime minister has always supported education. I remember he had invited position holders from across Punjab to recognise and reward them with scholarships. In another instance, he had invited the students to Alhamra Art Centre in Lahore where he saw a poor boy, who was a position holder, in slippers sitting on the stairs. He lifted him up and made him sit in his chair.
Millions of poor must have leapt in the air seeing this. Even this old man jumped with excitement. How about spreading the same light in Karachi/Sindh with seven technical universities?
S. Nayyar Iqbal Raza
Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2022