Pakistan has the world’s sixth largest population, seventh largest diaspora and the ninth largest labor force. With rapidly declining fertility and aging populations in the industrialized world, Pakistan's growing talent pool is likely to play a much bigger role to satisfy global demand for workers in the 21st century and contribute to the well-being of Pakistan as well as other parts of the world.

Source: Economic Intelligence Unit of The Economist Magazine

With half the population below 20 years and 60 per cent below 30 years, Pakistan is well-positioned to reap what is often described as "demographic dividend", with its workforce growing at a faster rate than total population. This trend is estimated to accelerate over several decades. Contrary to the oft-repeated talk of doom and gloom, average Pakistanis are now taking education more seriously than ever. Youth literacy is about 70% and growing, and young people are spending more time in schools and colleges to graduate at higher rates than their Indian counterparts in 15+ age group, according to a report on educational achievement by Harvard University researchers Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee. Vocational training is also getting increased focus since 2006 under National Vocational Training Commission (NAVTEC) with help from Germany, Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands.

Pakistan's work force is over 60 million strong, according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics. With increasing female participation, the country's labor pool is rising at a rate of 3.5% a year, according to International Labor Organization.

With rising urban middle class, there is substantial and growing demand in Pakistan from students, parents and employers for private quality higher education along with a willingness and capacity to pay relatively high tuition and fees, according to the findings of Austrade, an Australian govt agency promoting trade. Private institutions are seeking affiliations with universities abroad to ensure they offer information and training that is of international standards.

Trans-national education (TNE) is a growing market in Pakistan and recent data shows evidence of over 40 such programs running successfully in affiliation with British universities at undergraduate and graduate level, according to The British Council. Overall, the UK takes about 65 per cent of the TNE market in Pakistan.

It is extremely important for Pakistan's public policy makers and the nation's private sector to fully appreciate the expected demographic dividend as a great opportunity. The best way for them to demonstrate it is to push a pro-youth agenda of education, skills developmenthealth and fitness to take full advantage of this tremendous opportunity. Failure to do so would be a missed opportunity that could be extremely costly for Pakistan and the rest of the world.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on September 22, 2012 at 4:13pm

Here's a Dawn report on Pakistani student winning International Computer Olympiad:

A Pakistani student from Balochistan has bagged gold medal in an international contest held in Turkmenistan leaving all the countries like Germany, Canada, Russia, England, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka behind.

M. Ubaidullah son of Haji Talib Din, a rice trader, is a class ninth student of Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges, has brought home a gold medal from the International Computer Project Olympiad (ICPO) held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

The competition was held on September 14 and 15 among students from 45 countries who presented 150 projects in the Olympiad.

Ubaidullah’s project that caught attention of participants, organisers and judges was regarding plant automation system; subsequently he was awarded 1st position in the hardware category.

His project P-Bot aims at saving plants in cold-flame or greenhouse setting, especially when someone wants to protect the plants at home in all the seasons. P-Bot automates the round-the-year tasks of plant care by means of its full-automatic cold flame and greenhouse routines.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 22, 2012 at 10:10pm

Here's an ET story of German firms establishing vocational training in Karachi:

KARACHI: Eight German multinational corporations and the German Consulate in Karachi have joined hands to tackle the need for skilled labour in the country. German Consul General Dr Tilo Klinner and representatives of the Aman Foundation’s AmanTech and Habib University Foundation’s Institute for Advancing Careers and Talents (iACT) launched the “Germany-Pakistan Training Initiative” during a ceremony on Monday.

The German federal ministry of economic cooperation and development is supporting the programme which will be spearheaded by Dr Stefan Oswald.

Dr Klinner said that a country where nearly 63 per cent of the population was under 25 years has a tremendous opportunity to progress. According to the German expert, an increasing number of youngsters were graduating from universities, “but they were mostly equipped with theoretical knowledge”.

German multinational giants such as Siemens, BASF, Linde, Mercedes-Benz, Merck, Lufthansa Cargo, DB Schenker and DHL have decided to act as partners in the programme that aims to generate a regular stream of dedicated workers. Metro, a retail chain in Pakistan, will also be part of the project. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (the German Agency for International Cooperation, or GIZ) will be assisting the German government in the programme. GIZ has had an office in Pakistan since 1990.

The programme will be based on the dual training system, which will combine theoretical lessons at schools with apprenticeships at a company. Theory classes will be taught at iACT’s offices in Saudabad, Malir, and AmanTech’s offices in Korangi Town. Matric graduates will be eligible to apply for an entrance test that is a perquisite for entrance into the programme. The first group of trainees are expected to enroll by April 2013. Vocational training for the commercial sector will span one year, while that for the industrial sector will extend over two years. Officials also hope to extend the programme to other multinational companies later on. The government’s technical education and vocational training authority is also expected to extend it to Pakistani companies.

“The dual training system combines theory and practice via vocational education at schools and apprenticeships at a company for a specific course,” GIZ’s principal education advisor Dr Julie Reviere told The Express Tribune. He added that meeting the need of skilled manpower was a challenge. “Well-trained [workers] who are tailored for particular skills are extremely difficult to recruit. Our multinational partners would love to hire skilled manpower from Pakistan,” she said.

Dr Oswald said that the principle objective of the project was to produce a productive workforce that would be equipped to handle the challenges presented by modern industries. It also aims to contribute to capacity building of vocational training institutes in Pakistan. He added that Germany was spending around €50 million on different programmes in Pakistan.

“We want to focus on the bottom of the pyramid, which is the largest, but poorest socio-economic group that has very little opportunity to move forward,” said Aman Foundation chief executive Ahsan Jamil. “he AmanTech vocational training institute targets male matriculates and equip them with a mix of vocational and soft skills training so that they could meet with the job market requirements.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 7, 2012 at 9:03pm

Here's a BR report on training workers to boost renewable energy sector:

Technology Upgradation and Skill Development Company (TUSDEC) has joined hands with GIZ, Pakistan to foster the renewable energy sector in the country by developing skilled force in various disciplines of solar technologies. The programme is being implemented under the implications of FIT (Funds for Innovative Training), Green Skills initiative.

A company spokesman said on Wednesday that TUSDEC will enroll 125 candidates in 5 batches to be trained in various areas of Photovoltaic and Solar Water Heating Systems. The overall programme duration is stretched over one year where each course will be for a span of three months.

The spokesman further shared that state-of-the-art facilities of NIDA Lahore centre will be utilised to administer the theoretical as well as practical trainings sessions, while on-site demonstrations will be organised specifically in the disciplines of Water Pumping and Solar Dryer where proficient master trainers will deliver the lectures, employing the originally deployed infrastructure.

According to him, TUSDEC has conducted an acute baseline analysis comprised of rigorous focus groups with major enterprises (Suppliers, Manufacturers and Assemblers) of solar power equipment and solar heating systems that has divulged huge dearth of trained manpower in the industry.

TUSDEC experts' panel has contrived market-oriented and internationally accredited training curricula, which will enable the trainees to serve productively in the approaching industry. TUSDEC further aims to nurture the diverse areas of renewable energy sector in Pakistan with the provision of immensely adroit and skilled manpower. Pakistan is experiencing approx 12 percent increase in its energy consumption with each passing year. The prevalent situation suggests a dire need of infrastructure investment as well as manpower cultivation in various alternate energy sources to effectively impede the resultant economic revolt, he said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 21, 2012 at 10:34pm

Here's Daily Times on industry-driven technical and vocational training in Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD: Active involvement of the industry in imparting technical and vocational training is inevitable for provision of required demand-driven skills to Pakistanis as 1.5 million new youth enters the labour market annually.
This was the crux of deliberations at a national seminar entitled ‘Involving Enterprises into Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)’, jointly organised by National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) and TVET Reform Support Programme at a local hotel on Friday, which is co-funded by the European Union, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany.
TVET experts, officials, employers and training providers participated in the seminar from all over the country. The main purpose of the seminar was to deliberate upon various local and international models of involving the private sector into TVET system and seeking a way forward to replicate them in Pakistan.
NAVTTC Executive Director Tariq Shafi Chak opened the seminar and underlined the need for involving the industry into TVET system. He said Pakistan has the biggest potential of youth, which needs to be equipped with demand-driven skills and that cannot be possible without participation of the industry. He invited the private sector to come forward and be part of the TVET delivery system.
Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC) Chairman Faisal Ijaz Khan gave a presentation on involvement of industry into training delivery mechanism being applied by his organisation. He explained that PVTC is a body run on public private partnership basis, as out of 14 council members, 11 comes from the private sector. Similarly, the industry is involved in curricula designing, management of training institutes, on the job training and placement of trainees after finishing their training.
Former Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Vice President Dr Shahid Raza briefed the participants about the internship scheme that the LCCI had been undertaking for the last couple of years.
An expert from United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) Mehran Gul shared the experiences of an internship programme that UNIDO had conducted in 2007 in a selected trade. He opined that success of any internship programme lies on the active involvement of the industry in terms of sharing cost, contribution to the Terms of Reference of the interns and assessment of the interns.
Operations Sindh Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (STEVTA) Director Nazar Ali gave a presentation about the apprenticeship law, being reviewed by the Sindh government. He underlined the need for more active involvement of industry for producing skilled workforce through an effective apprenticeship system.
NAVTTC Regional Director Lahore Hasan Nasir Jamy gave a presentation of involvement of enterprises in training of rice production and processing. A related need was also identified for providing support in the standardised indigenous development and production of rice processing based machinery and equipment. According to Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), 2,500 rice producing, processing and manufacturing units are located in Punjab. Approximately 25,000 semi-skilled workforce was engaged in the industry and 4.6 million tonnes of rice was exported annually with estimated export earnings of $2.04 billion. ...\12\22\story_22-12-2012_pg5_14

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 8, 2013 at 10:03am

Here's Gulf News on a planned model village named after Arfa Karim:

Islamabad: Authorities in Pakistan are planning to build a model village in honour of late Arfa Karim, an information technology genius who at nine years became the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional.

Arfa’s ancestral village in Punjab, Ramdewali Chak No 4, will be soon developed into a model village at a cost of Rs140 million (Dh52 million) the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

A monument will be built at her grave, and a library and a museum will also be established within the model village.

“She deserves to be honoured by the entire nation forever,” the APP quoted a government spokesman as saying.

The village will have a girls’ degree college, a technical training centre, a basic health unit, a playground, improved drainage scheme, paved streets, provision of portable water and agriculture equipment.

Arfa died in January 2012, aged 16, after complications resulting from an epileptic stroke and cardiac arrest.

She rose to international fame when she became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) at the age of nine in 2005. She was subsequently invited to visit the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, by founder Bill Gates.

She received the Fatimah Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of science and technology in 2005, and was also the recipient of the President’s Award for Pride of Performance.

In 2006, she was invited by Microsoft to be a part of a conference in Barcelona. She was the only Pakistani among over 5,000 developers in that conference, the Daily Mail reported.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 13, 2013 at 8:48pm

Here's a Nation newspaper story on solar tech training in Peshawar:

National Institute of Design and Analysis (NIDA) Peshawar centre has concluded the technical training course of solar panels installation for 16 trainees. The candidates were registered community members of Sarhad Rural Support Program. To impart the short training course, NIDA Peshawar Centre facilitated with the provision of 2400 Watt hi-tech training set-up as well as arranged for proficient trainers to apprise the trainees with the astutely developed course curricula. Trainees were brought to rehearse the techniques imparted in the classrooms sessions, thereby were enabled to effectively deploy the acquired skills set for their livelihood prospects.

At the course culmination, the successful candidates were certified by NIDA Peshawar and were also facilitated in finding employment opportunities for them. NIDA Peshawar Centre is committed to enhance the manpower capacity in various employable technical trades so that the local community at KPK could be effectively mobilized to reduce poverty and resource litter in the area. NIDA Peshawar being a subsidiary concern to TUSDEC is pursuing to train manpower as well as extend infrastructural support to facilitate the renewable energy sector in Pakistan.

According to a company spokesperson, NIDA Peshawar has implemented various successful programs in collaboration with Sarhad Rural Support Program and both organizations deem to work further together to maximize their efforts for the sustainable development of the area inhabitants.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 21, 2013 at 4:42pm
Here's PakistanToday on German help for vocational training in Pakistan:

KARACHI - The Government of Germany is launching a joint initiative with eight German firms to impart vocational training for mechanical professionals in Pakistan. To be formally started in spring this year, the Germany-Pakistan Training Initiative (GPATI) was supported by the German Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation through Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
GPATI was a joint initiative of the German Consulate General in Karachi and eight German companies based in the metropolis.
On Monday, Robert Bosch GmbH of Germany donated some tool sets consisting of over 10 top of the line power tools for the vocational institutes in Pakistan through their local principals, Adamjee Trading Corporation, a part of the Adamjee Group.
The German Consul General Dr Tilo Klinner and Adpower Group Executive Director Hisham Adamjee presented the first set of the tool kits to AmanTech, one of the two vocational training institutes participating in the GPATI.
The donated sets included tools for woodworking, metalworking, stone working and concrete drilling and breaking.
The tools would enable trainees at the selected vocational training institutes to work with quality tools and according to international standards and to promote the German quality concept regarding products in Pakistan.
Moreover, it would also allow the trainees to learn new skills which would help them compete and work in the international market.
Bosch, one of the largest portable power tools manufacturers in the world, had recently launched their power tools in the Pakistani market which have proved its worth in the local market.
GPATI was founded on the renowned concept of Dual Training System that was implemented effectively throughout Germany and was also successfully applied internationally.
The objective of this unique training initiative was to produce a workforce that was immediately productive and ready to take on the existing and emerging challenges of the industry.
The participants of this programme would have a good balance of knowledge, skills and a positive work attitude. On the Job Training (OJT) was an essential element of this concept.
The two vocational training institutes participating in this programme were AmanTech and iACT.
Comment by Riaz Haq on February 14, 2013 at 4:48pm

Here's a piece by Stephen Mosher on fertility decline in Europe published by Population Research Institute:

It’s happened before.

Writing a century and a half before the birth of Christ, the Greek historian Polybius observed “nowadays all over Greece such a diminution in natality and in general manner such depopulation that the towns are deserted and the fields lie fallow. Although this country has not been ravaged by wars or epidemics, the cause of the harm is evident: by avarice or cowardice the people, if they marry, will not bring up the children they ought to have. At most they bring up one or two. It is in this way that the scourge before it is noticed is rapidly developed.”

He concluded by urging his fellow Greeks to return to their historic love of family and children. “The remedy is in ourselves,” he wrote. “We have but to change our morals.” His advice, unfortunately, went largely unheeded.

The demographic winter of the Greek city-states led to economic stagnation and military weakness, which in turn invited invasion and conquest. After a century of increasing dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean, Rome finally annexed the Greek city-states in 146 B.C.

Will a Europe in the grip of a similar demographic winter come to a similar unhappy end? Certainly Europeans of today, like the Greeks of old, are barely having children. The birthrate across the entire continent is far below the replacement level of 2.1 children per couple. Italy, Spain, Austria, and Germany have total fertility rates, or TFRs, of only 1.4 or so, while Poland and Russia languish at 1.32 and 1.2 respectively. The more or less generous child allowances these countries pay the prolific has scarcely caused these numbers to budge. The birth dearth continues to widen.


Most Muslim countries in North Africa and the Middle East have fertility rates two or three times as high as Europe. Afghanistan and Somalia, whose fertility rates are above 6 children (6.62 and 6.4 respectively), may be outliers. But other Middle Eastern countries with above-replacement TFRs include Iraq at 4.86, Pakistan at 3.65, and Saudi Arabia at 3.03. Even immigrants from the most Westernized Muslim countries such as Turkey and Tunisia average nearly twice as many children as the extant populations of most European countries.

While falling fertility may be humanity’s general fate, it is this differential fertility that will determine Europe’s destiny. Although the birthrates of Muslim immigrants to Europe are far lower than they were just a generation ago, they are still far more open to life than highly secularized Europeans. Moreover, these immigrants, once in place in Germany, Italy, Spain, etc., tend to maintain their relatively high fertility for a generation.

If, on the other hand, the second- and third-generation Muslims are largely secularized, then the Christian minority will be, presumably, treated somewhat better, though still subject to some level of discrimination. As everyone knows by now, the Secular Left preaches a tolerance that it generally does not practice.

Either way, believers in once-Christian Europe will probably find themselves living in what might be called a pre-Constantine moment. In others words, they will be living under regimes that punish, even persecute, them for their beliefs.

At the present moment, Europeans still control their own destiny. As Polybius, were he alive today, would surely remind them: “The remedy is in yourselves. You have but to change your morals.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 22, 2013 at 8:04pm

Here's PakObserver on Junior Achievement Program in Pakistan:

Saturday, February 23, 2013 - Karachi—Indus Motor Company (IMC) has committed USD 50,000 per year for the next 3 years to INJAZ Pakistan to support youth entrepreneurship training in Pakistan.

The event that was held at the AMANTECH premises in Korangi today was attended by CEO IMC, Parvez Ghias, CEO Aman Foundation Ahsan Jamil, Executive Director INJAZ Pakistan Azra Maqsood, Manager Corporate Planning IMC Atif Ahmed, GM Marketing Aman Foundation Sukayna Sadik and Program Manager INJAZ Pakistan Sitvat Jamal.

Mr. Ahsan Jamil thanked Mr. Parvez Ghias for their generous contribution. Looking forward to more partnerships that involved community building, he asserted that sustainable development is a key to positive change which is exhilarated through such alliances.

Parvez Ghias, CEO, Indus Motor Company said that the idea behind this initiative was to promote self- employment by empowering youth so that they could build their careers towards a better future. INJAZ Pakistan, an initiative of the Aman Foundation, is a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide and has been established with the objective of fostering, promoting, encouraging and developing entrepreneurial and vocational skills (EVS) among students between the ages of 5 and 25 in Pakistan. It works closely and reports progress to INJAZ al Arab (, which ranks amongst the top 50 NGOs of the world.

Indus Motor Company (IMC) is playing a vital role in the development of the society with its advanced technical education programs and supporting various training initiatives for young students, generating skilled based manpower for the automobile industry along with career opportunities for diligent citizens.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 26, 2013 at 4:11pm

Here's PakistanToday on German assistance for vocational training in Pakistan:

The German Consulate in Karachi is going to initiate the “Dual Training” system which is an internationally recognised concept related to vocational training and based on German skills of development.
Under the Germany-Pakistan Training Initiative (GPATI), this scheme would now be modified and developed into an appropriate model of cooperative training in Pakistan.
The training was demand-driven and focused on the development of an employable and highly skilled workforce. In collaboration with employers, such as BASF, Dewan Motors/BMW, DHL, Linde, Lufthansa Cargo, Merck, METRO, Schenker, Shanawaz/Daimler and Siemens and Vocational Training Institutes (VTIs) such as AMANTECH and iACT, this pilot scheme would now be implemented in Karachi. The VTIs would develop programmes according to the need of the employees and the employers would ensure the provision of technical/practical training under normal work conditions.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, a federal enterprise, supported the German government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development around the globe. Along with the European Union (EU) and the Embassy of Netherlands, the German Ministry of Economic Development and Technical Cooperation was funding an ambitious TVET Reform Support Programme in Pakistan and had commissioned the GIZ to assist the Government of Pakistan in the implementation thereof. Programme partners included the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC), the Technical and Vocational Training Authorities (TEVTAs) in provinces and regions, private sector organisations and a large number of other stakeholders.
A key theme of the reform programme was to give employers and industry/training experts of the business economy a central role in all aspects of TVET planning and policy development, quality assurance, monitoring and delivery.
GPATI united the underlying principles of the reform and was therefore highly significant as it could give valuable input into the implementation of the overall TVET sector reform. Once the pilot phase of GPATI was successful, the long term objective was to scale up this scheme in 2014 under the TVET Reform Support Programme by including other national and multi-national companies and reaching out into other parts of Pakistan.
The first project committee meeting of GPATI took place on February 26th this year. Besides presenting the outline of GPATI activities for the current year, the participating companies, training institutes and GIZ signed a Letter of Intent. The event was chaired by Consul General of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr Tilo Klinner and GIZ Principal Education Advisor Dr Julie Reviere.
The idea of the project was to make use of the presence and commitment of large German companies to develop a workable approach to cooperative training (modeled after the German dual training approach). The success of the project would also demonstrate that TVET was intrinsically driven and delivered by industry and had the chance to produce better results in skills development in terms of both quality and relevance.
The training was planned to commence in the first quarter of the current year in the following occupational groups: General electric (incl. motor winding), general mechanics (including bench fitting and machining), electronics, process controlling, pharmaceutical technician, motor vehicle service mechanic, customer service, supply chain, sales and operations. All courses would be complemented by “Life Skills”, “Computer Literacy” and “English Language” learning modules.


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