Providing skills to downtrodden under CSR remain insufficient
Leap forward measures must be taken to improve vocational training for sustainable development
Interview with Muhammad Khalid – an analyst
Muhammad Khalid is a retired Army officer. He served Pakistan Army for about 27 years. After retirement, he did a few jobs including an assignment in a multinational company in the Middle East. Recently, he has completed Masters in Philosophy in Peace and Conflict Studies from NDU, Islamabad as a regular student. His thesis of research is regarding Internal Security Policy of Pakistan 2014-2018.
PAGE had an exclusive conversation with him. Excerpts are:
Human capital of Pakistan needs to be developed on the modern lines. Two important ingredients for the development of human capital, education and health sectors are being given less attention by the government. Huge population of Pakistan is living below the poverty line. Unless we enhance the skills of our people, improve the literacy, broaden health facilities, it would be difficult to produce quality man power in the country. At present, we are spending around two percent of GDP on education and even less on health sector. This is not sufficient to achieve healthy results and improve the overall productivity of the country. Apart from spending adequately in physical capital, there is a need to invest more in human capital to achieve economic growth, reduce unemployment and improve quality of life of the people. There is a need of coordination between educational institutions and the related industries to bring improvement in our human capital.
All over the world, industrial sector plays a vital role by providing required financial support for the selected manpower to develop their skills. It is not possible for the government departments only to make available the skilled manpower for the industries. Frequent interactions between the management of the industries and the heads of the educational institutions can bridge the chasm for the required focused approach. Educational institutions need to keep asking regularly the industrial sector regarding their ‘expectations of skills’ from their employees. Industries through various forums are required to disseminate/advertise required matrixes and templates of skills for the educational institutions. It will help develop required human capital as per modern demands and will improve overall economic growth of the country. Vocational training enhances human potential and diversifies choices of the needs for self employment, sustainable citizenship and entrepreneurship development. Vocational training in any developing country is considered to be a linchpin for the sustainable development. Pakistan needs to be focused upon this dire need deliberately. To promote vocational training we have to create respect of working with hands among our people. We also have to improve primitive and obsolete infrastructure meant to impart vocational training. Improvement and development of faculty and trainers employed in vocational institutions will also add towards overall improvement of vocational training. At present meager funds are spared for the vocational training. By increasing the funding and generating sponsorships we can take a leap forward to revive vocational training.
Corporate Social Responsibility activities by various organizations to provide skills to the downtrodden are insufficient as compared to the capacity of our industrial/business base. Very less segment of our society is complying to this social responsibility as a binding. In other words our organizations are miser in performing this responsibility despite enough resources available. Rather they are accumulating wealth out of the country in the form of properties and high rise buildings. In developed world CSR compliance is willingly done to develop downtrodden and marginalized communities. There is a need to carry out legislation in this regard to allocate fix amount of the income to promote CSR among organizations and industries.
Overseas Pakistanis are a dynamic community serving all over the world. As per estimates 7.6 million Pakistanis are living across the world in different countries. Annual remittances of overseas Pakistanis are around twenty billion dollars, which is substantial amount to be added in overall economical growth. Unfortunately government could not form a mechanism through which overseas Pakistanis can establish a joint business enterprise in Pakistan. Resultantly most of their investments in Pakistan are in the real state. With little effort and innovation overseas, Pakistanis can be persuaded to install their industries in Pakistan. Number one richest person of Pakistan Shahid Khan is also an overseas Pakistani living in US. Secondly there is hardly any worthwhile effort by the government to increase the numbers of overseas Pakistanis. Other countries in the region have done very well by sending surplus manpower abroad. One third of total population of Nepal is in overseas. This tiny nation has done very well in this regard.