Integration of Freelancing Skills in Technical Education Curricula
According to Human Resource Expert, the youth of today belongs and are named as Generation – Z. This categorization has its own characteristics, which I am not going to explain further. The point that I emphasize here is that this generation opt to have their own independent way of earning. They want to be their own boss.
Therefore, Freelancing is an easy option for them. Pakistan luckily has been ranked at the top list of countries in online Freelance market places. Which is very pleasing due to the fact that foreign reserve was once only expected from those living abroad, but now sitting in our own space of comfort, the youth brings money from international Employers.
Pakistan has outranked many Asia and Asia Pacific region in the online Freelance skills. We are the best within Asia, and are ranked after Brazil & UK.
According to a research conducted by pk.indeed.com, a job portal, Pakistani Freelancer youth earns 36, 600 per month at an average from local and international Freelance Employers. We are counted as top five countries having excellent Freelancing aptitudes and tendencies towards online businesses in our youth.
According to a local Freelance Market place truelancer, hiring of a Freelancer even by the Pakistani Employers community for outsourcing their projects is also very easy, and saves up to 50% of expenses of the employers.
The payoneer.com (An innovative cross boarder payment platform) conducted a survey on global gig economy index, which has ranked Pakistan as at 47% in gig economy and provides detail by considering geography and demographic trends in the World.
These indicators are very encouraging for the Government and Policy makers. As a third world weaker economy, Pakistan faces a lot of economic problem. Our economy can hardly provide job to the overwhelmingly saturated un-employed youth. Investing on training the youth in the IT related online skills set is the need of the day for our country.
The Government on the other hand is investing on the promotion of Technical Education at federal and through provincial TEVTAs. Competent people have been given space to work for the promotion of Technical and Vocational skills with in the Country.
National Vocational & Technical Training Commission- NAVTTC as an apex body regulating Policy, reforms and implementation of Technical Education and Vocational Training in Pakistan has a vital role to play. They do their best.
Luckily the National Skills Strategy has come into its final shape. The accreditation of the Polytechnic Institutes and Government Technology Colleges along with skills programs provision is underway under the Hunarmand Pakistan initiative by the Prime Minister.
Fortunately, the policy makers at national level are making appreciable efforts by introducing Freelancing skills. Digiskills.pk and the initiative taken by the Punjab Government as National Freelance Training Program or NFTP.
Similarly, the private sectors experts are also contributing to these efforts. For example, Learning with Earning is a platform who enroll interested individual to learn various skills with a nominal fee structure. The writer himself has benefited from digiskills.com and Learning with Earning or LWE virtual academies. There are many such platforms which provide these skills in private sector. Which is very positive.
According to the report of UNDP on Human development in Pakistan, the population of Pakistan is mainly youth. According to their survey 64% of the nation is younger than 30 years of age. Similarly, 29% of Pakistanis are between 15 to 29 (an age group which we define as the youth). The same research shows that Pakistan now has more young people than ever before, and this is forecasted to continue in the same way till 2050.
This is an opportunity for the nation to look into these realities and cash them timely. Otherwise we may lose a potential growth opportunity and this youth would rather become a source of tension for the nation.
It is high time that the curriculum departments at NAVTTC and at Provincial TEVTAs level should also consider the inclusion of as many skills set of Freelancing as possible in the existing Curriculum bank.
But it is indeed needed that Government should invest more by acquiring expert from the market having experience of the online freelance markets, who may lead these youth to initiate work in the online Freelance market places after learning these skills.
After the pandemic of Covid-19, many people have diverted their attention to work from home. This in fact leads us again to look into the importance of Freelancing throughout the world.
Skills of international recognition should also be included in this spectrum of skills set. This would also pave a way for the youth to go abroad and find a decent employment in the international labor market, which is in fact the essence of Technical Education in Pakistan.
After the BREXIT in UK, the government of Britain has relaxed its rules and they encourage work permit visas to skilled work force. Similarly, many European and other nationalities across the world encourage the skilled immigrants. Therefore, inclusion of skills set having international recognition can play a vital role to increase our foreign reserve and help in the economic stability of the country.
Therefore, this is high time that we should plan to integrate freelancing skills education in our National Technical & Vocational Education Curriculum. These skills should carefully be identified so as to have an international recognition for the youth, which would enable them to work abroad too.
Secondly the Government should give more opportunities in the form of virtual academies like Digiskills.pk and National Freelance Training Program. Due to high population of youth the opportunities of imparting skills programs should also be more. Last month when digiskills.pk declared the enrollment in 8th batch of students. 2,50,000 seats got filled within no time of hardly a week. It shows that people are more interested in learning these kinds of vocational skills.
Similarly, private sector virtual academies should also be encouraged by providing incentives and subsidies to provide such opportunities.
By: Iqbal Munir
About the Author:
The Author is Assistant Professor in Government College of Technology Mingora Swat Technical Education KP. He is a professional writer and registered member of Writers Club Pakistan and his detailed profile is available in Writers Directory.
“The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely of the author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of writersclubpk.com and its staff members”