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Op-ed: Pakistan needs to declare national emergency on the development of its youth

Pakistan needs to work on the moral as well as professional training of this young lot of the country in order to turn it into human capital for the country.

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This tale dates back to 1971 when a South-Asian country got independence from another South-Asian country. At the time of independence, she was regarded as a country in which people breed like rabbits. Her total population count was 65.3 million at the time of independence; however, the country she gained independence from had a total population of 59.73 million.

Fast forward to the 21st Century, her total population is around 162 million and is the eighth-most populous country in the world; whereas, the country she gained independence from is the fifth most populous country in the world. The name of the eighth-most populous country is Bangladesh and that of the fifth most populous country is Pakistan.

To put the last nail in the coffin, Pakistan needs inclusive policies to address this issue; policies that are free of any political prejudice or vested interests of the political elite.

The power of youth

Both countries were one country before 1971 that had gained independence from British Raj in 1947. Both had an ever-increasing population growth rate as compared to their resources and institutional capacity to turn a huge population into a resource; not a liability. In this era of exponential economic growth, both countries have a huge youth bulge.

Bangladesh has 40-50 percent of its population comprising of youth. Contrarily, Pakistan’s 64 percent of the total population comprises of youth. Youth is, considered to be, an efficient human resource that plays a vital role in the economic growth and economic development of any country. If trained efficiently, the youth has the power to transform the future of the country it belongs to. If not trained efficiently, the same youth can bring social unrest in society and can lead to an exponential increase in the social fabric crimes of the society it belongs to.

Read more: What Pakistan needs to do for Education in the next decade – Faisal Mushtaq

Realisation to run with the flow of the river

Bangladesh realized the importance of its youth bulge and started working on their skill development. The globalized world of this age has many career opportunities in the services sector because the economic models are making a shift from manual labor to skill-based economies. Two million young people enter the job market every year in Bangladesh. In recent years, the world has witnessed a tremendous amount of work done by Bangladesh in skilling up its youth. It has been working with China for the skill development of its youth. Skill and Training Enhancement Project (STEP) is an example of a partnership between the two States.

Such efficient and sustainable policies by the Bangladeshi government depict their determination for the societal uplift of their country. This is the reason that today in every other service-based market like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, most of the young professionals working are either Indians or Bangladeshi. The reason behind this is they learned to run with the flow of the river.

There is a direct nexus between Pakistan’s economic growth and skilled young professionals.

On the other hand, the Pakistani youth bulge has been a bane and not a boon for the country. Nearly four million youth enter the job market every year in Pakistan, but they are highly unskilled and unsuitable for the modern world order. It is a ubiquitous fact that the youth of Pakistan is largely a ticking bomb for the country, which is not trained to keep up with the pace of the modern world. The Pakistani government is in dire need of bringing institutional reforms and bottom-up approaches in tackling this issue.

The threat of unskilled youth

Unskilled, illiterate, and unprofessional youth is a severe threat to the sovereignty of any country. The same has been happening to Pakistan. Rampant corruption, increase in social fabric crimes and galore drug addiction among the youth are evident of the fact: leading to tearing apart the social thread of the Pakistani society. It is tarnishing the image of the country in the international arena. Pakistanis make themselves a laughing stock for the world through portraying such an image of the youth: considered an asset for any developed country.

The rising crime rate is another indicator of the moral decline of society. When young people are not given ample opportunities to do something productive with their lives, such as social and moral evils grow like mushrooms in society. Pakistan needs to work on the moral as well as professional training of this young lot of the country in order to turn it into human capital for the country.

Read more: ‘Get rid of socialist mindset’: PM Imran urges youth not to shy away from profit-making

The world has largely moved to services-based economies. In this age of technological advancement, the country needs to train its youth bulge according to the new world trends in order to make them suitable for the changing economic world order. Bangladesh’s model of effective youth management is an example for Pakistan. Pakistan can follow the same footsteps of youth management. The current government has introduced many programs like the PM youth skills development program.

National emergency

Pakistan’s economic prosperity is directly linked to its investment in the skill development of the youth pool. There is a direct nexus between Pakistan’s economic growth and skilled young professionals. According to Jawad Khan- Chief Executive Officer of Punjab Skills Development Fund, Pakistan is in dire need to declare a national emergency on skills development.

To put the last nail in the coffin, Pakistan needs inclusive policies to address this issue; policies that are free of any political prejudice or vested interests of the political elite. It is only possible when the State institutions will start looking into this matter with a foresighted approach. To date, the State policies show that the only lesson national institutions have learned from past mistakes is that they have learned NOTHING.

On the other hand, the Pakistani youth bulge has been a bane and not a boon for the country.

Without making the youth competent enough, the country cannot make progress socially or economically. Pakistani governments need to work on the skill development and socio-moral uplift of the youth. The age they are living in demands for young professionals who are equipped with modern technical knowledge and can compete globally. 

Read more: Youth’s future dependent upon how we confront poverty

The author has done her MPhil in English Literature and Linguistics. She is doing her MS in Peace, Conflict and Development from NUST, Islamabad. This article has been written in partial fulfillment of her course work. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

 

She can be contacted through ammarakalsoom@yahoo.com 

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