Technical training critical to engage youth bulge

PAKISTAN IS passing through a complex demographic transition. According to the analyses made by US Census Bureau, in year 2012, Pakistani youth under 29 years of age is approximately 124 million, which is about 65.1 per cent of the total Pakistani population. Another report of UNDP estimates that about 68 per cent population of Pakistan is under the age of 30 years. Growing youth population is an advantageous sign for prosperity; but at the same time report shows that 37 per cent out of estimated 124 million youth is illiterate, 71 per cent youth doesnt receive career counseling at school, 28 per cent finds curriculum irrelevant to the job market, 47 per cent dont have sports facilities in their localities and 23 per cent youth wants to start their own business but not supported at all. The swelling youth population is not fundamentally threatening, but it can aggravate the risks of internal disorders if the government is unable to provide them work opportunities and platforms for expression and engagements or the prospects of stability. In current unstable environment, youth has to face many challenges like social, cultural, economic, political etc. The hardest challenge faced by youth is economic challenges, such as unemployment, underemployment, working below their potential in low-paid, low-skilled jobs without prospects for career advancement. They are being trapped in part-time, temporary, casual or seasonal employment; and frequently working under poor and precarious conditions in the informal economy. The unemployment rate among the youth is two to three times higher as compared to adults. Only 8 per cent of the youth is self-employed that indicates the lack of entrepreneurship skills among youth, or the lack of entrepreneurial opportunities in Pakistan. With respect to size of labor force, Pakistan is the 9th largest country in the world (which itself is a big opportunity), but due to absence of conducive environment, Pakistan faces immense challenges in the employment sector and this is mainly due to dearth of skilled technical workforce. In last few decades, the economic performance of Pakistan has not been good. Over a period of ten years, we see the figures falling steadily; our share of global exports dropped from 0.2 per cent in 1990 to 0.18 per cent in 2011, at the same time our global competitiveness position has worsened from a rating of 130th to 133rd out of 148 countries. The need of the hour is to utilize the nations youth potential by producing skilled technical workforce who will be working locally, as well as overseas. We need to invest in our youth bulge, especially on their technical skills development, so as to increase our productivity which will then increase the per capita income and improve the economy of our country. Pakistan has copious potential and capacity for growth, with sound fundamentals – mineral and agricultural capital; tactical geographical position and constructive demographics; we just need to capitalist in our youth, we need to exploit their potential, so they can bring Pakistan economy at a bigger and better position.

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