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Govt to establish first National Skill University in Islamabad: Mahmood

ISLAMABAD: National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) on Wednesday organised first-ever Inter-provincial Ministerial Conference for uplift of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Islamabad.

The federal government constituted a taskforce comprising representatives of the stakeholders for identifying multitude of challenges to TVET sector in Pakistan. The taskforce will also devise a roadmap to address the systemic issues.

The conference was attended by the ministers from Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), erstwhile Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Balochistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), ambassadors of European Union (EU), Turkey, Germany, Norway.

The occasion was participated by representatives from China, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Scotland & British Council, German development agency (GIZ), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and all provincial Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA).

While addressing the conference, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said, “Skill Development is at the forefront of our government’s agenda and reforms are underway to bring education and vocational training system in sync with labour market requirements”.

“I believe, education and skill development are beyond politics and we must all put our efforts collectively in the national interest to promote skill development and empower our young people,” the minister said.

“We are focusing on introducing skills at school level so that matriculated students come out with some marketable skills.”

“We are working in close collaboration with overseas ministry, chambers of industries, private sector and the key stakeholders to identify the skills as required in the domestic market and overseas” he added.

The government will soon establish the first National Skill University at Islamabad and will set up five centres of excellence, one in each province, Mahmood announced.

He emphasized working in close collaboration with provincial governments including AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan so that a uniform TVET system is launched across the country.

He thanked the participants for their contribution in addressing the systemic issues being faced by the skill sector and showed resolve to further the efforts for skilling the youth.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, Usman Dar, said the present government is focused on revamping the TVET sector and committed to empower young people.

“We are soon going to launch National Youth Development Framework that will help in synchronizing training with job placement”, he said.

Moreover, we are working on a National Employment Exchange Portal which is being developed by NAVTTC that will facilitate youth in matching skills with the demand of labour market, Dar added.

He appreciated the efforts of NAVTTC for working hard to overcome shortcomings of skill sector.

“With the help of NAVTTC, we are focusing on enhancing innovation-driven entrepreneurship skills of youth and promote blue collared and white collared jobs,” the assistant said.

The initiative of the education ministry and NAVTTC for arranging inter-provincial meeting received appreciation over giving attention to the TVET sector by putting collective efforts, both at federal and provincial level. The participants gave valuable suggestions and recommendations to uplift the skill sector.

NAVTTC Chairman, Syed Javed Hassan, said, “Skill development is critically important to provide employment opportunities to the youth and increase foreign remittances. Right now our capacity is limited to groom skills of only 400,000 people in the formal sector but that needs to be increased considerably as well as enhancing the quality of training.”

NAVTTC Executive Director, Dr. Nasir Khan, gave a detailed presentation on eight major areas of intervention including cleansing governance structure from fragmentation, increasing capacity of TVET system, improving quality, ensuring meaningful involvement of industry, delivering equal access (Skills for all), producing skilled labor workforce to meet international job requirements, and building a positive image of TVET to attract more youth towards skill sector.

The education minister concluded the meeting. He said that all suggestions put forward by the participants would be incorporated into TVET roadmap called ‘Skills for All” strategy.

The conference agreed to establish “Inter-provincial TVET Ministers’ Conference” as a permanent forum to evolve consensus on TVET related issues at the national level.

The participants of the conference also agreed to adapt the “Skills for All” strategy as a national strategy document for development of TVET sector in the country.

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