There is growing emphasis on hiring qualified and trained employee rather than spending on their development

Oct 08 - 21, 2007

According to the estimates Pakistan's population touches 165 million. The larger percentage of people lives in rural areas and most of them are involved in agriculture. Composition of population, on the basis of gender, indicates that number of females is on the rise. In terms of age groups the youngsters are on the rise and the number of school going children is growing. This is because of the recent incentives provided by the government to the school going children, mainly as no tuition fees and provision of free books to the children.

Though, the government claims that literacy level is more than 35%, the number cannot be authenticated. Reportedly, the government terms a person literate if he/she can sign. However, this bench mark is completely misleading. According to some of the sector experts even the people having attained high school level education are of no good.

This is because of the disparity in the education system being followed in the country, the institutions range from Madarsas to yellow schools to those following Cambridge system. It may not be wrong to say that the number of educated but unemployed youngsters is on the rise. This is because of the obsolete and outdated curriculum being followed by the schools and even the universities.

While all sorts of subjects are being taught at the educational institutions, least attention is being paid on vocational training, the skill for earning bread and butter for the family. In present time a person without any skill is of no use. Even those having any skill have to go for refresher course for updating their knowledge.

Educational system being followed in the country was inherited from the colonial system, having objectives contrary to those of a sovereign country and particularly an ideological state like Islamic Republic of Pakistan. However, the people at the helm of affairs have been failing over the last six decades to define the national objectives, particularly the educational system.

For decades the nation has been following a stalled system of education which has produced hundreds and thousands of unskilled people. The situation is even worse in rural areas. The prime source of earning in the rural area is agriculture but lack of appropriate education and training has kept yield of most of the crops at almost half the level achieved by the next door neighbor India.

Vocational training is a must for any country aiming to achieve higher industrial output and no country can afford to live without industrialization in present time. For managing mega size industrial units, people from diversified disciplines are needed. These include business administration; chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering; metallurgy, computer hardware and software just to mention a few.

On the job training is also a must because the graduates coming out of business schools have only the bookish knowledge and need proper orientation before starting work at any particular private or public sector entity. Though, the business schools follow case study methods, most of these pertain to developed countries which have elaborate administrative, regulatory legal framework.

Refresher courses have become important in updating knowledge and improving professional skills of the employees. The need arise because of regular update in technologies, accounting standards and regulatory frameworks.

Corporate usually follow either in-house training or outsourcing options depending on their needs. However, in-house training remains the prime option because business entities have developed elaborate training manuals, which they also keep on updating. It is important to recognize that Pakistani operations of multinational and transnational companies also enjoy the full support of their headquarters.

Like business schools now specialized training institutes have also established in the country, which undertake training of corporate employees. One such example is an institute, which offers specialized courses in Islamic banking. People coming to this institute belong to various fields from employee of the conventional banks to the students of business schools and even an ordinary person.

Seminars and conferences can also be used as a tool for improving human resource. Seminars of half a day or one day are held for improving knowledge and skills of the participants. The added advantage is that since participants belong to different walks of life the discussions are lively and value adding.

As regards conferences, the quality of speakers determines its level. If the speakers/delegates belong to various countries and also enjoy global recognition the conference is termed "International". Since topics and names of speakers are announced well in advance, its provide ample opportunities to the delegates to ensure their participation and make necessary traveling arrangements. Attending seminars and international conference not only adds to the knowledge of participants but also provide an opportunity to interact with people having knowledge and expertise.

It goes without saying that probability of acquiring knowledge, new skills and self-grooming are ample at higher levels. While the need is most pressing at the lower levels the opportunities are fewer. The key reasons are opportunity and affordability. In this part of the world senior executives consider it their prerogative to attend training programs, seminars and conferences, particularly if overseas traveling in involved.

According to a corporate sector executive, "In the past the business entities used to invest relatively higher amounts for workers training. However, due to rising turnover now employers are reluctant in spending money on human resource development. The first preference is to employ qualified and trained people. However, it is an unhealthy trend and has to be rectified at the earliest."