A significant but relatively
unknown poverty alleviation programme of the Punjab government has been
on the anvil for the past many years with steady progress.
The programme is run under a
high-powered Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC) through a vast
network of Vocational Training Institutes spread all over the province
by imparting demand driven skill training involving private sector to
It is much to the credit of
present Chief Minister, who has taken some remarkable initiatives in the
field of education, economic uplift, health and other social sectors to
have not only continued a worthy and noble project started by his
predecessor but further enlarged and strengthened it. PVTC was
established under the PVTC Act 1998 to set up and manage Vocational
Training Institutes (VITs). The Council is an autonomous corporate body
constituted by the government consisting of up to 15 members out of whom
three are ex-officio provincial secretaries including Secretary Zakat
The Chairman and all members of
the Council work voluntarily on honorary basis. A look at the PVTC
reveals the secret of its steady success because it includes some highly
distinguished and successful personalities from public and private
sector. The council includes Jahangir Khan Tareen, currently a federal
minister but a successful industrialist and entrepreneur, Dr Salman Shah
(management expert and educationist), Saeed Khan (a former Coca Cola
Senior Executive), Almas Hyder, Riaz Asghar, Arif Ijaz, Mumtaz Khan,
Arshad Chaudhry, Avais Mazhar Hussain, all known figures as members with
Sikandar Mustafa Khan, a successful private sector name as its chairman.
The need for above programmes was felt due to many compelling reasons,
like about 35 per cent population being below the poverty line and high
youth unemployment. With the generally untrained workforce unable to
match the required skills of local employers, there was an imperative
need for providing demand driven employable skills. Adding to overall
problem of low literacy rate was an alarmingly high dropouts scenario
both at elementary school level as well as at higher and secondary
PVTC started out under the
umbrella of Punjab government as an autonomous body to chalk out and
implement purposeful training programme. The programme was to be
undertaken through a network of VTIs, to be set up at tehsil level and
all to be run by a local management board. Most of the sites were picked
up from the available unutilised official buildings and running
expenditure of the programme was to be met from the Zakat and Usher
funds, as the admission was given to the deserving and bona fide
candidates who come under the category of Zakat Mustahiqeen. Each of the
students was also paid a monthly stipend of Rs 500, besides being
provided with necessary classroom and on-job training for a certificate
to be awarded on their passing out.
The experiment of VTIs is a
unique one as this was undertaken through the productive utilisation of
Zakat funds and was no burden on the government exchequer. It was also
unique for it was offering demand driven training in industrial,
agriculture and services sectors.
The special feature of the
programme was 'Mora' stipends of Rs 500, for personal expenditure, and a
special grant of 5000 for each trainee for the purchase of tools, etc.
at successful completion of training.
The Chairman PVTC, Sikander
Mustafa Khan, commended the dedicated services of his council members,
which have brought such remarkable results. The number of VTIs has
jumped from 20 in 2002 to 129 in 2005 and PVTC was aiming to reach the
figures of 500 by 2008, he added.
Saeed Khan, who as CEO overseas
the development and expansion of VTIs said that there was a tremendous
response from the private sector and multi-nationals to the project.
That over 70 per cent of the traceable trainees were instantly absorbed
by the industry and the rest were able to get start on their own, tells
the story of this unique venture. CEO Saeed Khan says that major
emphasis is on imparting quality training. Standards are set in order to
guarantee a minimum quality for every trainee. Quality is monitored both
at the institutional level and among the teaching staff. Curricula is in
line with the requirement of labour market.
So far PVIC has developed
curricula for 38 trades based on need assessment. Each trainee is
provided with a trainee manual. Training schedules and lesson plans are
provided to teachers. Curricula are constantly revised and updated as
per market needs and technological changes.
Saeed Khan believes that
teachers are the most important asset of the organization as only good
teachers can impart quality training. Teaching and training staff
employed by PVTC are well qualified and knowledgeable in their trades.
Teachers are selected purely on
merit basis. Training programmes for teachers are organised according to
regular monthly schedules. In addition training programmes are also
organised for principals and administration staff to develop their
Management competencies. A staff and teachers training institute is
being set up at Lahore to ensure regular training programmes.
correspond to latest requirements and technology used in the industry.
Participation of private sector
in the management of VTIs through the formation of local board has
proved to be an excellent tool for the efficient management of institute
and for monitoring the quality of training. Boards of Management (BOMs)
are sufficiently empowered to assist in the selection of trades relevant
to their area, monitor the utilisation of recurring and capital budget
and most importantly to facilitate the on the job training and placement
of pass-outs in local business enterprises.
A major aspect of this training
programme is that at the end of a training, the VTIs facilitate the
trainees find gainful employment through a placement officer and the
efforts of the members of local boards.
The entire system has been
computerised to ensure efficiency, better monitoring and control as well
as prompt decision making. All VTIs have been linked to the PVTC Head
Office via internet for efficient flow of information for consolidation
and analysis. A web site has been developed and activated for the
awareness of various publics.
Stringent financial controls
have been put in place. A comprehensive financial manual has been
developed for efficient control and monitoring of financial and
administrative functions of PVTC and each of the VTIs.
The project with its proud and
successful track record shows the way as a role model to all others and
notably to other provinces that what can be achieved with sheer
single-mindedness and sincerity. This programme should continue to
receive the full support of the Punjab government as vocational training
for Mustahiqeen-e-Zakat, which is perhaps the best possible utilisation
of Zakat funds.