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Bridging the skill gap: An analysis of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) policy 2018

11:21 PM | 10 May, 2024
Bridging the skill gap: An analysis of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) policy 2018

Tehreem Talat

Skill development is one of the essential factors for economic growth. The availability of a highly skilled labour force has transformed Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea into Asian Tigers. Countries try to improve the quality of their skilled labour by focusing on their technical institutions. In Pakistan, the TVET sector is dedicated to transforming human resources through skill development. It is governed both at provincial and federal levels. At the federal level, the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFEPT) sets broader policies and strategies while the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) acts as a regulatory body. In provinces, the Technical and Vocational Authority (TEVTA) is responsible for implementing these policies. Pakistan has 3,740 technical institutions, of which 56% are private and 44% are public. 

According to NAVTTC, Pakistan produces 0.45 million of skilled workforce annually. This number is far smaller than the actual demand which is 1 million, at present. These statistics show a huge gap of 0.55 million in demand and supply of skilled workforce.

This supply gap hinders economic growth. The same has been substantiated by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) which suggests that the rising unemployment in Pakistan leads to slow economic growth because of a structural mismatch in the labour market. Keeping in view the importance of technical education, Pakistan introduced a TVET Policy in 2018 namely "Skill for Growth and Development," based on eight objectives for skill development. Five years have passed since the introduction of the policy. So, it is the right time to analyse how far this policy has been implemented. 

Skill development for sustainable economic growth. Given the first objective, NAVTTC is focusing on the National Skill Strategy (NSS), an action plan that provides the roadmap for skill development and plays a vital role in improving the performance of technical institutions. 

Increase the number and quality of training so that at least one million people are trained annually. The number of enrolments in technical institutions in 2018 was 4,33,000, which fails to increase in 2022-2023.  Furthermore, the total annual supply of technical institutions is 4,19,732, which is below one million. 

Standard-based assessments and certificate systems: Considering the policy report “that technical institutions should focus on NQF (National Qualification Framework)”, or the assessment strategy document that was published in the year 2017. NQF provides the basis for comparison of qualification at the national and international level, while NAVTTC moderately focuses on that objective. 

Competency-based education: Technical institutions have adopted competency-based training and assessment (CBT&A). The TVET reforms project incorporates the demand-driven training program through CBT&A. 

Public-private partnership: Some industrial groups like Sitara Group and Pakistan Steel have started their technical colleges, while some public technical institutions have also collaborated with industry. Although, in some cases, industrial representatives are part of advisory committees in different institutions. German Agency for International Cooperation has also collaborated with institutions.

Expansion of labour exports: Institutional authorities focus on standardizing training programs by launching a national qualification framework and through the Qualification Awarding Board (QABs).

The linkage between informal skilled workforces with formal training: NAVTTC initiated a program called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), which helps skilled workers be provided with the certification after passing the necessary tests.

Reforming the public sector technical institutions: The Government of Pakistan has allocated Rs 1500 million in 2023-24, and the Asian Development Bank has given a 100-million-dollar loan for reforming the technical institutions , the result of which will trickle down slowly and show in the long term.

Given the above analysis of policy objectives, three problems have been identified:

Firstly, the availability of databases about technical institutions and the labor market on their websites is a significant concern because the information is outdated, and it is challenging to find skilled labor.  

Secondly, the mismatch between industrial requirements and the supply of skilled workforce due to ineffective partnerships between the TVET sector and the industrial sector of Pakistan is another challenge. Industries and technical institutions are not taking joint initiatives based on mutual commitments. 

Thirdly, a lack of adequate training procedures and staff for delivering quality education. Proper training standards are not available in technical institutions. It has been reported that these institutions lack a quality curriculum, and courses are not aligned with the required skills in the job market.  Similarly, the outdated curriculum is an issue linked to the inadequate infrastructure of institutions and a lack of skilled trainers in technical and vocational institutions. 

Following are the recommendations based on the problems mentioned above: 

A national database of skilled workforce should be developed. At the same time, a platform should be created under the supervision of Pakistan Single Window (PSW), to link industries with technical training institutions. 

Industries should be encouraged to run short-duration training programs. Technical institutions should involve industries in the design and delivery of programs. The focus should be on adequately evaluating courses/programs to ensure that they will positively impact the job market. 

For skill development and sustainable economic growth of the country, technical institutions must focus on quality and adaptability to the changing labour market needs. Teachers of technical and vocational institutions should be trained under the "Train the Trainer" program in close collaboration with industries. 

A lack of alignment between the TVET sector and industries will directly impact the economic viability and indirectly impact the national security of Pakistan. Policies should be developed for the alignment of technical institutions and industries. China has invested heavily in its technical institutions for industrial transformation. New Zealand and China have created a strong linkage for developing the capabilities of their teaching staff. Thus, Pakistan should explore opportunities in the international market for developing demand-driven training programs like New Zealand and China. Despite that, Pakistan can improve the performance of its technical institutions and the efficiency of the skilled workers based on a long-standing relationship and mutual interest with China.

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Pakistani Rupee exchange rate to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 28 May 2024

Pakistani currency rates against US Dollar and other currencies on May 28, 2024 (Tuesday) in open market.

USD to PKR rate today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.4 for buying and 280.25 for selling.

Euro stands at 298 for buying and 301 for selling while British Pound rate is 349.5 for buying, and 353 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.25 and Saudi Riyal increased to 73.45.

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 08:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.4 280.25
Euro EUR 298 301
UK Pound Sterling GBP 349.5 353
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.25 75.9
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.45 74.2
Australian Dollar AUD 183 184.8
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.03 748.03
Canadian Dollar CAD 203 205
China Yuan CNY 38.42 38.82
Danish Krone DKK 40.44 40.84
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.62 35.97
Indian Rupee INR 3.35 3.46
Japanese Yen JPY 1.91 1.99
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 904.07 913.07
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 59.05 59.65
New Zealand Dollar NZD 170.03 172.03
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.92 26.22
Omani Riyal OMR 723.64 731.64
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.42 77.12
Singapore Dollar SGD 203 205
Swedish Korona SEK 26.02 26.32
Swiss Franc CHF 304.75 307.25
Thai Bhat THB 7.6 7.75

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