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Private sector engagement to push TVET reforms in Punjab

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is a discipline of education, training and learning activity that helps beneficiaries secure skilled jobs or opt for self-employment. The skill-set they obtain through this training, make them eligible to enter in the indigenous job market according to labour market dynamics.
Pakistan’s TVET sector faces a number of challenges, including the lack of access to quality and relevant education by a huge population. The curriculum and disciplines taught to the students are often outdated and there is a major disconnect between the training institutes and private sector organizations which adds up to the irrelevant workforce development.
The gap is prevailing day-by-day due to a limited cooperation between the public and the private sector for the TVET governance and delivery. As a consequence, the workforce produced lacks demand-driven approach and hence is a mismatch to the fast-changing dynamics of the domestic and foreign job markets.
Against this backdrop, the realization of having an increased participation between the private and public sector and ownership of the public sector organizations are a key to mainstream the skilled workforce and reforming the TVET sector. No doubt, the public and private sector can work like hand and gloves with each other and upgrade the curriculum according to the demands of the job market. Besides, they can mutually agree on the introduction of new disciplines and creation of on-the-job training opportunities for the trainees.
To address the perennial issues of the TVET sector, the Government of Pakistan launched a TVET Reform Support Program (RSP) in 2011 with an aim to devise a National Skills Strategy (NSS), introduced systems to impart and assess skills, making this sector as an engine to economic growth. This is a multi-lateral initiative co-funded by the European Union (EU), the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany, and being implemented in Pakistan by the GIZ. The first phase of TVET Reform Support ended in December 2016 while the second phase started in January 2017 for another five years. The overall objective of the Programme is to improve governance and private sector participation in the TVET sector to increase quality skill development that meets the demand of the labour market. Milestones achieved during the first phase include the formulation of TVET policy and National Vocational Qualifications Framework (NVQF) and the introduction of Competency Based Training & Assessment (CBT&A).
Increased participation of private sector and ownership of public sector organizations is one of the integral factors to bring the skilled workforce into the mainstream. In view,
Punjab Skills Advisory Forum is established and notified by Industries Department, Government of Punjab in the month of December 2017 with the support of TVET Sector Support Programme. The formulation of Technical Working Groups (TWG) under this forum for Construction, Leather and Footwear, Light Engineering, Services and Textile Sector will further execute the activities and foster the development of qualifications, delivery of quality training, placement of trained technical graduates, implementation of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and ensure gender balance in the province.
The establishment of said forum and TWGs will help to increase the collaboration between the public and private sector bodies in the TVET sector. The representatives from the public and private sector organizations had the common voice on the acknowledgement of the collaborative efforts of public and private sector hand-in-hand. Without this collaboration, it is impossible that the skill improvement of relevant expertise may be developed, certified and contributed mitigating the demand for a skilled workforce of the country.
The importance of the formation of Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) in relevant sectors was equally recognized by the NAVTTC, provincial TEVTAs, Vocational Training Councils, Business and Industry Associations. These forums will perform as a secretariat to provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss issues, challenges and opportunities pertaining to TVET programmes and labour market and provide solutions. The forums will advocate the paradigm shift of the traditional methods of training and vocational education to Competency Based Training & Assessment (CBT&A) and Recognition of the Prior Learning (RPL).

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