Skilled labor is essential to ripe the benefits of CPEC
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has of high value for both countries Pakistan and China. It is just not beneficial for these two countries but will also benefit the surrounding region. CPEC intend to plan as corridor for peace, prosperity and development. The CPEC is holding a transformational power to impact on the state and the success of the people of Pakistan. It would be a revolution in development of Pakistan when achieved successfully. The Corridor will enhance economic development and create new business and job opportunities as well, which will be helpful in the eradication of poverty. The Chinese progress in reducing poverty over the past three decades is well known. Which can easily be dedicated to education only. As per UNICEF’s data, China’s adult literacy rate is 95.1 percent, in comparison to Pakistan’s 54.9 percent. And, when comparing youth literacy rate, China is almost 100 percent for both male and female, while in Pakistan male and female youth literacy rate is 79.1 and 61.5 percent, respectively. The more important question is, how to get the most benefit out of CPEC, and place Pakistan in a leading role on the road of economic development? The appropriate answer lies on various factors such as natural resources, capital and human resource. Whereas, human resources play an essential role in transforming economic development into social development of a country. It is evident that labor is power, that act as fuel for production. No one can deny the importance of skilled labor at CPEC projects. During the development phase of CPEC, adequate quality and skilled labor force is a big challenge to achieve high degree of excellence and in-time completion of the projects. Quality of labor force is very crucial which depends on training, education, physique, health and safety. Pakistan is lacking behind the training and development of labor force. Resultantly, local labor is not compatible to handle with technical machinery operating in CPEC. Most unfortunate in this scenario is that, government will have no choice other than allowing Chinese skilled labor to work-on instead of Pakistani labor. To overcome the capacity deficiency, Pakistani local institute and universities need to fulfill this gap. They should introduce specific CPEC need-based programs and also raise the standard of current ongoing ones. In order to understand the exact human resource demand and supply of the CPEC industry, we need to establish strong linkages and relationship with Chinese industry and academia, more specifically, vocational and technical training institutes. Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) may provide opportunity to address this challenge. Whereas government is emphasizing on language skills development, and Chinese language courses are being taught in different cities across Pakistan. There is no doubt that language is one of the challenges but stress must be put on developing applied and practical skills of students. Government should have to put its serious concern in capacity building of local labor, because only Chinese language skills development is not essential to assimilate and secure surplus, until and unless technological and skilled capacity of public and private universities is not fabricated. In this regard, collaborative programs of Pak-China universities will be instrumental. Otherwise Pakistan will not be able to ripe the benefits of CPEC and accomplishment will just remain limited to certain aspects. If Pakistan wants to achieve the same success as China is reaping, it should first improve literacy rate, along with skills development.