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Ms Leila Khan co-chaired the Opening Session of Need Assessment Conference on “Youth Engagement, Skill Development and Employment Facilitation”

Chairperson Prime Minister’s Youth Programme (PMYP), Ms Leila Khan co-chaired the Opening Session of Need Assessment Conference on “Youth Engagement, Skill Development and Employment Facilitation” with the Minister of State for Federal Education & Professional Training, Engr. Balighur Rehman, organized by Prime Minister’s Youth Programme and Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training in collaboration with the United Nations, in order to explore avenues for educating, training, employing and empowering youth at a local hotel here today.

Speaking at the occasion, Chairperson PMYP, Ms Leila Khan said, “Pakistan is blessed with rich demographic dividend in the form of youth, which constitute 65-68% of our population.  We must take effective steps to utilize their potential and give them an opportunity by engaging them in a productive manner for the socio-economic uplift of our country, and make them our country’s asset”.

Ms Leila Khan explained, “We can engage our youth effectively through multiple interventions like career counseling, capacity building of technical training institutions and teachers, developing job linkages through web portals, handholding of small entrepreneurs, private sector-led internship programmes and promotion of micro finance schemes to lure young entrepreneurs into establishing their own businesses so that they could not only become self employed but the employment generator too.”

Earlier, Minister of State for Federal Education & Professional Training, Engr. Balighur Rehman said “Education is the key to promote harmony in the community resulting in progress, peace and prosperity for the entire nation. It supports democracy, civil and fundamental rights in any country.” It is unfortunate that Pakistan is lagging behind the educational targets due to various reasons. But we are determined to improve our education sector and we have taken number of initiatives in this regard. He said that we have prepared a National Plan of Action to accelerate the progress towards the educational goals.

Instead of reinventing the wheel we need to scale up the ongoing programs/projects in the education sector, stressed the State Minister. He specially mentioned two programs which are running successfully at the moment namely Prime Ministers Youth Training Program and Benazir Bhutto Youth Training Program. Further he added that instead of criticizing previous government unnecessarily we should improve the existing programs of the previous governments in order to excel in the education sector.

Education and character building are two sides of the same coin. We can’t ignore one side and polish the other, emphasized the Minister.  He said that we have finalized the modalities of the Malala fund which would be focusing on the gender parity and would initiate projects to enable girls from the remote areas to have an easy access to the quality education.  

Engr. Balighur Rehman stated that we are also focusing on the enhancement of technical and vocational training facilities along with the research and development.  National Vocational Qualification Framework (NVQF) has been finalized and we are going to launch vocational secondary schools (from grade 6th to grade 10th) very soon.

Our goal is to increase the budget allocation of the education sector in near future provided that our economy and tax to GDP ratio also increase simultaneously, stated the Minister. He added that in our previous tenure our tax to GDP ratio was around 13% and we allocated around 2.6% to the education but unfortunately our government was ousted in an undemocratic way and we could not achieve our set goals then.

We have immense potential to grow and to improve the socio-economic conditions of our population and there is firmness in us which would help us achieving our targets very soon. In the end, he said that we hope to make strides in this year and mark it as the year of progress for education.

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