The workings of the government departments in Pakistan are subject to personal interest and slowed processing – this is exactly what I thought before being handed over the opportunity to work in a government department myself. The KP government has proved to be the most efficient as compared to the rest of the governments.
In the later of 2020, UNDP initiated the process of inclusiveness by launching a project called, “KP Lead Youth Program”. The program was launched with the assistance of two other bodies namely, the School of Leadership Foundation (SolF) and the Norwegian Embassy. However, to dwell deeper, the purpose of this project was to involve young energetic blood from KP in the processing of government bodies.
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Hope for new beginnings
The entry form was circulated all over the internet and the announcements were made through different channels including the newspaper which was inviting the fresh grads to participate in this internship program. When I confronted this opportunity through a Facebook post, I was determined to get it no matter what. My desire to get appointed there was not caused by the Pakistani obsession with the government jobs but to answer the intricate thought in my mind that narrated, why is the government of Pakistan too slow to take any action and make the country better?
Nonetheless, I applied for the internship and after some months, I was emailed a confirmation with a scheduled interview invitation. I appeared and cleared the interview too along with the other 25 candidates, 26th being myself. To my surprise, the total number of applications received for that program was 3,600 and these 26 people who got selected were not lucky, but competent above the bar from whom the organizing bodies expected something exceptional.
We were being appointed to different departments namely; Home department, Youth affairs, Higher education, Planning and Development, Local government, and myself being appointed at KPITB short for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board. With the given JDs, my duties involved writing different blogs, assisting the Project sections with concept briefs and content for PC-1 along with their alignment to Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).
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To touch a little background here
KPITB’s vision is built upon the four main pillars; Digital access, Digital skills, Digital economy, and Digital governance. Thus, all of the projects that KPITB carries out, fall under either of these four categories. It strives to implement a systematic digital transformation in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa by using information and communication technologies for job creation, Internet accessibility, empowerment, and equitable development. Besides that, KPITB makes sure that the projects are fulfilling at least one of the SDGs. Most common among which are, SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and infrastructure). The reason for this alignment is to make sure that the projects are meaningful and are contributing to society by making it a more inclusive place for generations to live in.
During my three months at KPITB, I realized the immense efforts and innovation that the government is doing for the youth of Pakistan. For instance, there is a project called, “KP Youth Employment Program (KPYEP)”, a flagship program of KPITB as the first building block of its Digital Policy for tackling youth employment through the digital economy. It is Pakistan’s first digital skills platform and it links youth with training, skills, and employment opportunities by employing a flexible and adaptable strategy to meet the quickly changing demands of the digital economy.
This project specifically focuses on women’s digital skills as an important element to be facilitated. Undoubtedly, the employment opportunities in today’s century are measured being in parallel to the possession of skill set. Financial autonomy on hand can reduce the gender gap but facilitate financial autonomy, one has to upskill women in advanced digital skills. As women not being in the market is just the tip of the iceberg, while the real problem lies in the presence of unskilled women in the market. As unskilled women can become a liability rather than an asset to the state.
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Subsequently, to overcome this digital gender gap, KPITB has taken on a mission to educate, empower and enable women in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry. While they ensure the participation of women in the workforce, KPITB is upskilling women in digital spheres where their expertise can be at equilibrium with the demands of the job market.
Early Age programming
With each passing day, Information Technology is adding up into our lives as an essential part of it. It’s safe to say that the future is digital and the skills needed – to facilitate this digital connectivity – are a human survival’s pre-requisite. To carry it out, one should equip him or herself with coding and programming from an early age because being alienated from the language of computers will cause a challenge equal to that of being illiterate or innumerate.
KPITB with its project, Early Age Programming has taken upon itself the responsibility of educating kids in coding and programming to equip them with the skills needed to survive the wave of the fourth Industrial Revolution. Through the curriculum developed for the students of KP Elementary and Secondary schools, the students were able to develop animations, apps, and games by using block programming tools. The project has shown amazing results, with underprivileged children in government schools considerably improving their computer literacy and digital skill level through drag and drop computer programming.
This groundbreaking project and many others were proof that the government is focused on working for the betterment of society. Nonetheless, my experience working there was a realization that things that involve big entities usually go through slow processing because huge operations have huge responsibilities to carry out. Thus, complaining about how the government is not working is an insecure dilemma fallen upon us as a citizen because we complain before we research. The idea that the officers at government departments are sitting idle the whole day and getting paid for nothing might be true for some areas but my ordeal exhibited otherwise.
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Subsequently, the opinions from my other fellow mates who were placed at different departments had quite similar opinions except a few, who had not so good experience but rather faced with a traditional old school office environment where piles of files were prominent and digitization was vetoed. Lastly, the dilemma of a failed government has different perspectives attached to it but it is safe to say that, the government’s work is still in progress, even if it is slow. As progress shall not be needed to be a perfection always; rather sometimes, the progress itself is the beauty.
Laraib Farhat is a graduate of International Relations from KP, with a keen interest in advocating socio-economic issues. She can be reached at Laraibfarhat6@gmail.com.The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.