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Popularizing Skill Development in Tharparkar

By: Sanjay Mathrani

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Skill development is the key to poverty alleviation, and it is the gateway to peace and prosperity. The 2018 UNDP National Human Development Report (NHDR) shows that 64 percent of Pakistan’s population is below 30 years of age, which makes it the youngest population in South Asia. And young cadre from the Southern region of Sindh, Tharparkar is stepping towards STEM education.

Tharparkar can change its current situation and tackle the problems through skill development,” Educationist Partab Shivani expressed, adding that vocational training will also provide the younger generation with more job opportunities. Improving the quality of training will improve the chances of the youth of the country to be employed in the mainstream market as well.

“It’s an era of STEM education and we focus to popularize it through different interventions by organizing STEM-related events, trainings, exposure visits and research. Besides formal education, one must have a grip over vocational and technical skills. Education with any skill makes more ensure of job. by skilling Tharparkar we would not merely train hundreds of the youth but employability too. One might have witnessed a number of skilled or semiskilled youth who are from Tharparkar an working throughout Pakistan. Thari youth are talented and they have to provide a platform for skilled presentations. Programs like NAVTTC plays a key role to uplift the lower economic community.” Shivani added.

Geeta Kumari Khatri, who is doing short course in graphic designing at Thar Education Alliance (TEA), said that women should have the access to digital technologies and training urgently, the country will lag in economic development. Along with improving girls’ access to literacy, digitalisation should be incorporated into curriculums to equip upcoming generations with adequate knowledge and skills.

“Many Pakistani female graduates struggle to find employment as their skills and knowledge have become obsolete. Many are either unaware of freelancing jobs or do not have access to digital devices or the internet. I feel lucky to have the access of this course and due support of TEA and through providing the services of graphic design at online platforms I’m earning sound amount. Before participating in this course, I was completely unaware from computer, Adobe, freelance market and all, but things are in my favor now. I’ll spread my learnings with the female aspiring freelancers of Tharparkar.” Geeta expressed.

“For the last couple of months, I am learning dress-making course here at TEA. The majority of the people think about it, women in Tharparkar are always doing something that is related to kitchen and clothes. I appreciate their thoughts, but do the women of Tharparkar have access to go out and learn something about making food recipes and clothes cutting professionally? This is what we need to bring change.” Saira a student of dress making said.

“If you have been browsing the fashion side of the internet recently, you may have come across the term ‘trending fashion’. There’s a lot of men tailors in market and women tailors in houses doing the stitching work with craft and creativity. But when we are watching television and observing new fashion most of the time we demand for that kind of clothes. And I have learnt here how to deal with sustainable/trending/traditional and local fashion. Even though I am in learning phase till now, but my practice is helping me in earning.” She added.

Assistant Program Coordinator NAVTCC Sindh, Bharat Kumar emphasized that Tharparkar is one of those places where the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission has undertaken significant efforts to boost the development of local communities through the provision of income earning opportunities through technical and vocational training. NAVTTC has undertaken training in multiple trades in the area to improve the quality of life of the Youth. Under Prime Minister’s Youth Skills Development Program, NAVTTC has trained more than 1000 trainees in different courses like computer Application Professional, Web Development, AutoCAD, General Electrician, Civil Surveyor, Dress Making and Fashion Designing, Beautician, Hand, and Machine Embroidery and HVACR.

The program particularly aimed to uplift the socio-economic condition of youth through employment, self-employment, and entrepreneurship, and to facilitate their engagement in the international labor market. After completing six months of training under this program, in addition to being awarded NAVTTC’s internationally accepted certificates, the trainees are fully skilled to be employed in the highly promising tech industry of Pakistan. While traditionally women & men living in rural areas like Tharparkar were least likely to acquire foundation skills, PM’s Prime Minister’s Youth Skills Development Program, executed by NAVTTC is helping them to make their own way in becoming professionals by imparting TVET training. Kumar adds.

Provincial Chief Sindh, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) Mukesh Kumar shared that females less privileged to be educated can be trained for improved livestock care, improved handicraft making and designing, midwife, mother and child health and organic produce farming. They can be trained to upskill their handicraft skill, which includes patchwork quilts, embroidery garments, wall hangings, and carpets. This is a digital era and the internet has made things more easiest.

Digital skills and technical education strategies must be rigorously implemented. To compete on a great scale, Tharparkar must widen the scope of information technology and digitalisation and welcome more women in these fields.

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