|National Profiles in Technical and Vocational Education in Asia and the Pacific - Islamic Republic of Pakistan (ACEID, 1995, 60 p.)|
Technical education and training of technicians has been considered as a crucial sector of manpower development in achieving the socio-economic goals by Pakistans developing economy. The last two decades have witnessed eminent development in establishment of new institutions or expansion of the existing ones. Inspite of these developments and investments, concern for technicians (quality-wise) with adequate skills, knowledge and attitudes is on the increase.
The need for considerable improvement in the quality of TEVT is fully recognized. However, the current lack of quality training to recognized trade standards has created anomalies in the employment market which have become complex over time. Employers either recruit over-qualified engineers and technicians to undertake work which is below their training but are not prepared to recruit educated, but untrained or semi-trained students and train them on the job. The large over supply of students at the professional and technical level means that such persons are available, if they can be encouraged into employment. However, many prefer to remain unemployed or enter self-employment rather than accept a position which they feel to be below their perceived abilities.
Therefore, present TEVT system in Pakistan has failed to provide adequate, relevant high quality training to meet Pakistans manpower needs. Current basic training programmes are not producing skilled workers to the skill standards required by industry. Over-concentration on traditional areas in technician and commerce training has led to the shortage of manpower in new high technology areas, a shortage which will become more serious in the immediate future.
It may also be mentioned that due to present disparate administrative agencies for TEVT, there is lack of:
i) a system for identifying changing industry manpower needs for planning and implementing national training to meet those needs.
ii) an on-going process for industry training needs assessment, development of training strategies and associated programmes and their curriculum development.
iii) adequate database and management system for effective planning and management.
iv) uniformity of awards and certification processes within TEVT.
It may be mentioned that the demand for quality skills at all levels is growing faster than planned supply. Therefore, to meet manpower requirements of the industrial sector, a training needs survey for industrial occupational skills is desirable on a provincial and regional basis. Moreover, training system need expansion for the development of skills required for rural development. Training facilities are also needed for small-scale industry development including management and supervisory training.
To cater to the manpower needs of industry, there must be quantitative expansion of training programmes in various skills but qualitative improvement must have priority over qualitative expansion in the light of relatively small demands for skilled manpower in industry.
Technical training institutions need to keep liaison with industry to formulate job descriptions for the jobs available in the industry as well as to determine the influence of planned technological changes on future jobs so that these training institutions maybe able to produce the manpower with demanded skills.
During the 7th Five Year Plan Period, the labor ministry/labor departments planned to produce 225,000 skilled and 29,500 semi-skilled workers. These figures include the expansion targets of the national vocational training projects as well as other sources. For the present, the programmes at this level as envisaged by the National Training Board (NTB) and other related organizations may be sufficient for the plan period.
It may be mentioned that it was one of the objectives of Seventh Five-Year Plan to create 6.1 million new employment opportunities. Because of the weakness of the present database which has, by necessity, been used as a base for these projections, they should only be interpreted as indicative of future trends.
PROBLEMS, ISSUES AND PRIORITIES
A technical education system must provide training which in terms of standard produces a product which is acceptable to the industry or is capable of making a contribution to the economic growth of the society he lives in. The soundness of a technical education system depends on the degree and extent to which it is responsive to the manpower needs.
The critical elements and processes within a system of technical education are the educational structure, the place of technical education in the over-all national education set up, teacher training and faculty development, relationship of educational growth to industrial growth, teaching methods and materials, student evaluation and examination, and educational research and innovations. Undoubtedly, an attempt has been made to expand technical education system to meet the nations demand to build up a reasonable infrastructure for the supply of technical manpower in the country.
It has been pointed out in the report of Hawthorn Institute of Education (HIE) that (a) one of the weakest links between technical education and training is lack of co-ordination between polytechnics and industry; (b) and the number of DAE pass-outs and their fields do not relate to job market because information regarding need assessment is lacking.
The co-operation between polytechnic and industry is unsatisfactory due to (i) insufficient motivations and incentives for both ends; (ii) negative attitudes of student and trade unions; (iii) problems of communication and public relations; and, (iv) apathy and casual interest of the industry.
The importance of matching the output of polytechnics with the demand of industry/field needs emphasis. It is unfortunate that much headway has not yet been made in this regard, except two studies, including one on relevance of technologies of polytechnics to needs of employment market by the Directorate of Technical Education in N.W. F. P. which helped to some extent. However, the country-wide data on the type and quantum of needs is still lacking. Some of the problems in the task of need assessment are quite genuine and may be summarized as below:
i) Most of the employers due to lack of interest and motivation remain unconcerned and apathetic and often are unwilling to co-operate.
ii) Many employers are not familiar with the level and scope of polytechnic programmes and are unable to determine their appropriateness vis-a-vis industrial needs.
iii) Large number of employers do not plan ahead and are not very much clear about their short/long term needs.
iv) In planning documents like Five-Year Plans, Education Policy, etc; the expansion of TEVT is tied up with the industrial growth but due to resource constraints in public sector, the short falls in industrial development projections far exceed those in TEVT. Consequently, polytechnics continue enrolling and passing out diploma holders irrespective of actual industrial needs.
v) Technology and DAE Programme once introduced are socially and politically difficult to withdraw on the consideration of reduction in demand. During the period, many students in the pipe line, will pass-out and add to the imbalance between supply and demand.
vi) Due to credibility gap the surveys for need-assessment lack validity and authenticity.