Most of the Christian students in Pakistan after completing their education at secondary, higher secondary, bachelor’s or master’s level, want to start their professional carrier - they find out that there are no jobs for them due to the following deficiencies:
• Vocational or Professional Education
• Technical Training Programmes
• Internship / Apprenticeship
Many of these students do not have even any approach to get a job; the only way to get a job is by showing their competence which is very rare because our Christian students in Pakistan usually follow a very similar path or pattern i.e. after finishing SSC (Secondary School Certificate or Matric) they enter into a college for HSSC (Higher Secondary School Certificate or F.A. / F.Sc.) on completion they usually start to attain Bachelor’s Degree (B.A. / B.Sc.) and after that rarely they try to get a Master’s Degree (M.A. / M.Sc.). So, in all these 16-18 academic years our Christian students do not have any idea of professional education, they were never offered any training programmes and technical courses and also never did any apprenticeship or internship due to which all employers have closed their doors for such certificate or degree holders. And their joblessness impacts on whole of our Christian Community in Pakistan due to which factors like poverty and degeneracy increases among us (Christian Community of Pakistan). Already, the literacy rate (especially Bachelor’s Degree holders) is alarmingly low and when our youth watches these happenings and our jobless degree holders, they become disheartened and quit the education in their early years.
Let me give you a glimpse about the etymology of Vocational, Professional, Polytechnic and Technical Education basically these are all interrelated having the same terminology and also synonymous in the field of Education. The only difference is in their effectuation at different levels of academic education in different academic years. And the effectuation of vocational, professional, polytechnic and technical education can also interact with the apprenticeship system at any level and at any stage of the academic studies or at the professional career. And secondly, the explanation about Vocational, Professional, Polytechnic and Technical Education is thought and described by me, after watching the present situation and educational system of our Christian Community in Pakistan. All over the world this type of education is provided by the countries according to their own educational system, rules and laws but I thought and explained you in such a way that it will be very helpful and useful for our youth and for our next generations to come, to fulfill the needs and requirements of this new era of industrialization revolution as described below, but you may differ because I am not an educationist, I am just a simple thinker (in an effort to reach a decision):
Vocational Education: Is the education that teaches skills which are directly related to a specific job or profession and can be started from the 9th Grade – Bachelor’s Level. And most of the time it is school focused. Vocational Education prepares people for specific trades, crafts and careers at various levels from a trade, a craft, technician, or a professional position in engineering, accountancy, nursing, medicine, architecture, pharmacy, law etc. And can interact with the apprenticeship system.
Professional Education: This education is very similar to the vocational education. Professional education is mostly focusing at University or Higher Education levels and especially for the Employed people i.e. courses for the Managers or CEOs etc and can also interact with the apprenticeship system for some higher positions.
Polytechnic and Technical Education: This type of education is directly related with applied science education, associated with the new needs created by industrialization. Examples are 3-Years of Associate Engineering or Diploma in Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Information Technology etc
Internship / Apprenticeship: Apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners a basic set of skills. Most of their training is done while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade or profession, in exchange for their continuing labor for an agreed period after they have achieved measurable competencies. The modern concept of an internship is similar to an apprenticeship.
And also most importantly, to gain and attain the vocational education and training or VET - the ability to Read, Write and Speak (Urdu and English) in Pakistan is a must which means that the completion of SSC (Secondary School Certificate) is also must. Therefore, academic education is necessary and absolutely essential and important before getting any type of Vocational, Professional and Technical Education.
I think, now you must have some idea about the vocational education, so let us come back on our topic that how to give this important part of education to each and every Christian student at any level of his/her academic education, so that after completing the academic studies he/she should be prepared to start a job from the very first day. Most of the employers in the private sector usually ask one question, “Do you know the work?” and if the interviewee has some prior experience and knowledge learned during the vocational education or at apprenticeship period then he/she will at once answer the employer, “Yes, Sir! Please ask any question” which means that you got the job. I believe that, at present times vocational education and apprenticeship are the utmost important parts of any education system, even you can get the job without vocational education or apprenticeship but your growth in the company or firm will be very slow, at what position you were employed – you will remain there for many years but after having good vocational education and apprenticeship you will excel at your workplace.
Let me give you a very simple and a universal example of work in any kind of office; Your boss asks you to download one jpg picture/drawing from his/her Microsoft Outlook email account, print it on A4 paper by using the color LaserJet printer shared on the network in the meeting hall and write a heading on the picture, scan it and copy it in the Microsoft Word (MS Word) and convert it into PDF (Portable Document Format) and send it to the following recipient. After listening all this - the newly employed worker, who has never seen the office environment will just stand there with an open mouth but the worker who has done some vocational education and training or VET courses and internship even for 1 month at any office will solve this problem within 5 minutes which means that his/her company or firm will slowly become dependable on that worker and he/she can then easily ask for pay raise and bonuses and facilities etc.
Most of the times our Christian brothers and sisters who are already working on good posts, when they see any vacancy in their company they always try to bring their Christian brothers and sisters who have done their bachelor’s or master’s degree or even have just finished their college but when they call them and ask them that do you know AutoCAD, OrCAD, Photoshop or Coral, Microsoft Office, SPSS, basic Networking, Web hosting, any programming language, basic Accounting, Marketing or advertising etc, all the answers include only one word “NO” because in Pakistan a simple B.A. (bachelor’s degree in arts) or M.A. (master’s degree in arts) has no exposure to any of the above technologies and techniques and without which to get a job in the private sector is somewhat impossible now. I always tell my Christian brothers and sisters that just try to enter any business organization by using your vocational Education or technical training knowledge and skills and once you are entered then you can always show your academic education or certificates or your qualifications to your higher authorities and your boss and can go on the higher positions and posts. In the Western World including Australia vocational education and training or VET is an essential part of their educational system which is why, the students can easily get a job and can also continue their further studies. So, let us now read further in the Part-II, how to - actually implement VET all over Pakistan for our Christian Students, Youth (jobless, left education early etc) and Professional People, so that they can surpass others.
We (Christian Community of Pakistan) can implement the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system, in an impartial way all over Pakistan for our Christian Community by working on a method or in easy words a scheme which is known as Public-private partnership (PPP or P3). Let me discuss this scheme:
Public-private partnership (PPP)
I will not go in detail about this Public-private partnership (PPP) system and how it process or works, just for your understanding - both the Government and the Private Sector are involved in such consortiums (to conduct some specific business or to promote some common interest). Why, I thought about this scheme is because all the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Centres or Institutes which we will establish all over Pakistan will be For-Profit (Business) Organizations, again I will repeat they will not be Nonprofit Organizations because if we are involving Government and the Private Sector we need to generate the profit, to return them their investments with profit as per sector (Government or Private), but usually in such processes Government only gives you support and very less investment but all the investment comes from the Private Sector and likewise we need. And secondly, let me tell you that in the beginning we will use the word “Centres” for VET centres, why because in the beginning we will only establish VET centres by Government support and Private Sector’s financial assistance. At this time, we will need a very small support of our Education Ministry of Pakistan – just to certify and attest our VET Centre’s Certificates only. Later, when the Education Ministry of Pakistan will watch our VET Centres that these centres are progressing and advancing and we are having more students and acquiring big buildings and if we will fulfill the Education Ministry’s requirements, we can ask Education Ministry of Pakistan to accredit our VET Centres to the level of VET Institutes and so on and so forth we can reach the point where we can start the process of accrediting our Institutes into the University level.
All this above gossip is not as simple as I have explained, these processes can take decades but we need to take the first step for our community’s betterment, advancement and improvement. So, let me explain you in detail how we can initiate our first steps; first of all we need to talk with our high profile spiritual leaders that they should arrange a meeting in between our Christian Notables who understands the education system and our Christian Ministers (Federal and Provincial). These notables will ask our Ministers to talk with the Education Ministers (Federal and Provincial) to help support us in this plan by certifying and attesting our VET Certificates and on the other hand, we will fulfill all the requirements of the Education Ministry as per rules and regulations. And if our Christian Ministers are able to take the Education Ministers in their full confidence and I hope they will because Education Sector is the only sector remained in Pakistan where Christians still have some or little influence and also our Ministers will tell the Education Minister, Chief Minister and to the Prime Minister that there will be a large ratio of students who will study for free and we will have a skilled labor and after listening such points which will go in the favor of the present government, for sure they will agree and then our Christian Educationists and our Notables can start the process on this VET plan by direct meetings with the Federal Secretary of Education Ministry and similarly with Provincial Secretaries of Education Ministry. For these meetings we need to involve and hire Foreign Christian Educationists from all over the world, who will give presentations of our VET Centres and their Implementation Planning all over the Pakistan to the Ministers and Secretaries of the Education Ministry and these Foreign Christian Educationists will be paid by the Church of Pakistan, I think the Church can afford them for a week or two. So, if the Education Ministry agrees and we have a proper agreement than we can start our groundbreaking work of VET Plan and also let me tell you that the above given presentations by the Foreign Christian Educationists will be based on future statistical assumptions. But now, as we have the agreement of the education ministry we are ready to establish our VET centers in reality, for this we will go to our every Bishop of every Diocese and to every Catholic Father who also has the authority on their Catholic Schools and will show them the Agreement of the Ministry of Education and will explain them that we need one room or hall in every school for 4-5 hours under his territorial jurisdiction to start Christian VET Center with the help of Ministry of Education, and we will explain them that the profits generated by the VET Centers will straightly go to the Schools, Cathedrals and Churches and the youth from these churches will have free VET which will also increase the number of church members. And the educated people from the congregation can also teach in the VET Centre which will also help in decreasing the unemployment problem in our Christian Society.
Now let us discuss also the initial funding for the VET Centres, there are two options – the first option is that our Christian Ministers (Federal and Provincial) can help us in getting the one-time grant from the Government, if it will be difficult for them - then they can help us by sanctioning some kind of tax-free loan. And once the grant or the loan will be sectioned we can start the VET Centres from their very basic level which I will discuss later. Second option is if our Government fails to provide us any support then as always I write in my articles “help yourself” - we will need donation of Rs.5 for a total of 12 Sundays (3 months) from our one fourth (1/4) Christian Community in Pakistan which means that if we are 1 Crore (suppose) then ¼ will be 25 Lakhs of people and every Sunday 25 Lakhs of rupees and for 12 Sundays will be 25 x 12 = 3 Crore rupee (Rs. 30,000,000), which means that we can start the building process of our VET centres all over Pakistan. This includes furniture, computers and computing accessories, stationery, decor of the VET center and two months salararies of the teaching staff.
How we will generate profit from the VET Centres, as we know now that our VET Centres are based on public-private partnership consortium which means in our case Government, Churches and Schools are the partners in this consortium and so they all need the output in different means by one way or another. What we will to do to generate profit out of the VET Centers is we will announce in every school having a VET Centre in their 9th and 10th grade that we have started the VET Center and they can attend the courses for 1 or 2 hours according to the course limit. And we can fix the fee structure for every course. Now let us suppose that in every 9th and 10th grade class we have 40 pupils and the ratio of Christian pupils is 5 – 10% from the strength of 40 pupils 30 are Muslims and 10 are Christians, and mostly in every Christian schools we have section of 9th Grade class and similarly of 10th. So let us suppose that each grade has 2 sections, Section A and Section B, which means roughly that we have 150 students and if even 50 students are enrolled in our VET Courses in every centre then we can have the profit from our fee structure which we can share it with the employees and with the owners and the best output for which we had made this plan is that minimum of the 10 Christian students will study and take VAT courses for free and at successful completion they will enter into the skilled labor category. And also for every Christian student, VAT courses will be a must to attend. So, in easy words - I will write that we will take fee from the Majority and Minority will study for free. Fee structure will depend upon the course, its time and length and it will be less comparing other polytechnic institutes in Pakistan and we will give special discount to the students of the same school.
Now, you can imagine that 10 students from one VET centre and if we have 100 VET Centres all over Pakistan – it means that we are giving 1,000 Christian Skilled Workers to the industry after every 3-6 months which will make a big difference in the socioeconomic status of our Pakistani Christian Community. And the best achievement we have is that all these Christian students studied for free.
Part-III VET Structure
The structure of VET, as I have already mentioned above in Part-II that in the beginning we will only have one room in every Missionary School and College and in that room we will have 4 – 5 Desktop PCs for our VET subjects/courses. The teachers who will teach will be the same which are already teaching in Missionary schools and colleges, just we will ask them to prepare our VET Courses and we will give them the full material according to the International Standards of VET Courses. All teachers will be paid for their effort and extra time for the VET as I have already discussed in Part-II topic Profit.
All these courses below are accordingly with the International Standards of the VET. In the beginning we can start with the basic subjects like Accounting, IT, English Language, Mathematical Applications, Physics and later on we can go with the other branches of knowledge. Let us discuss what these courses offer:
Students learn about the successful management of financial affairs in business, gain knowledge and skills related to accounting processes for organizational and business applications, and develop greater understanding of accounting concepts and standards and their use to generate financial reports.
Agriculture and Horticulture
This subject focuses on the types of applied technologies involved in daily practice in agricultural and horticultural production. Students learn to use and maintain these technologies, and to explore new technological developments as they emerge.
Students undertake a specialized study within or across one or more arts disciplines. They actively participate in the development and presentation of creative arts products. These may take the form of, for example, musicals, plays, concerts, visual art, craft and design works, digital media, film and video, public arts projects, community performances, presentations and installations, and vocal groups or other ensembles.
Students learn how an economy operates, the structure of economic systems and the way in which they function. Students develop an understanding of different economic systems and institutions, and can assess the degree to which these systems and institutions help satisfy people’s needs and wants. They become aware that economic decisions are not value-free and have outcomes that may be inconsistent with social, moral, and ethical values.
This subject focuses on the development of English skills, and in particular the communication process. Students learn to recognize the conventions of different text types and contexts. They consider the role of language in communication between individuals, groups and organizations. By reading, writing, viewing, listening and speaking, and through the use of information and communication technologies, students develop literacy skills in a broad range of contexts.
English as a Second Language
This subject is designed for students for whom English is an additional language or dialect. Students develop and use a range of language strategies to convey ideas and opinions that are appropriate for a variety of purposes and contexts. They exchange opinions and convey information and experiences in written and spoken forms. Student learning is supported through explicit modeling and construction of texts. Students develop their confidence and competence as users of English, developing skills as critical viewers, listeners, speakers, readers, and writers.
Food and Hospitality
Students focus on the dynamic nature of the food and hospitality industry in Pakistani society. They develop an understanding of contemporary approaches and issues related to food and hospitality. Students work independently and collaboratively to achieve common goals. They develop skills and safe work practices in the preparation, storage and handling of food, complying with current health and safety legislation. Students investigate and debate contemporary food and hospitality issues and current management practices.
Students recognize the various factors that shape the behavior and attitudes of individuals and groups in relation to healthy living, and caring for themselves and the environment. They develop skills to consider how changing social structures, community values, environmental issues, and new technologies affect the health and well-being of individuals and communities.
Information Processing and Publishing
Students apply practical skills and design principles to provide creative solutions to text-based communication tasks. They create both hard copy and electronic text-based publications, and evaluate the development process. Students use technology to design and implement information processing solutions, and identify, choose, and use the appropriate computer hardware and software to process, manage and communicate information in a range of contexts.
Students investigate existing information technology systems to discover their nature and components. They develop a range of skills and techniques while creating their own systems that can be tested and evaluated. Students develop and apply specialized knowledge and understanding in the use of software in a number of information technology areas.
Students participate in a wide variety of problem solving activities, express and interpret mathematical ideas, and use appropriate instruments, technology, and networks to access information, process ideas, and communicate results.
Students explore, describe and explain aspects of the world around them in a mathematical way. They understand fundamental concepts, demonstrate mathematical skills, and apply routine mathematical procedures, making informed and critical use of electronic technology.
Students develop media literacy and production skills. They research, discuss and analyze media issues, and interact with, and create media products. Students explore the role of media in Pakistan and global contexts, and how media can exert a significant influence on the way people receive and interpret information about the world, explore their own and other cultures, make economic choices and develop political ideas.
Music - Composing and Arranging
Students develop their musical imagination and creativity by composing and/or arranging musical works. They explore a range of techniques and styles, and develop an appreciation of arranging and/or composing as a creative music-making process. Students learn to analyze and present their own compositions and/or arrangements clearly and confidently.
Music - Music Technology
Students demonstrate their knowledge of recording and/or sequencing skills, and develop skills of aural analysis and creativity using music technology. Students demonstrate the application of the skills and knowledge they gain by completing a series of projects and commentaries on the projects.
Students investigate up-to-date scientific information on the role of nutrients in the body as well as social and environmental issues in nutrition. They explore the links between food, health, and diet-related diseases, and have the opportunity to examine factors that influence food choices and reflect on local, national, Indigenous, and global concerns and associated issues.
Students gain an understanding of ecology, environmental sustainability, cultural perspectives, and physical and emotional health through participating in outdoor activities. They learn to develop and apply risk and safety management skills and responsibility for themselves and other members of a group. Students reflect on environmental practices related to outdoor activities.
Students gain an understanding of human functioning and physical activity, and an awareness of the community structures and practices that influence participation in physical activity. They explore their own physical capacities and analyze performance, health, and lifestyle issues. Students develop skills in communication, investigation, and the ability to apply knowledge to practical situations.
The study of physics enables students to understand and appreciate the world around them. This subject requires the interpretation of physical phenomena through a study of motion in two dimensions, electricity and magnetism, light and matter, and atoms and nuclei. As well as applying knowledge to solve problems, students develop experimental, investigation design, information, and communication skills through practical and other learning activities. They gather evidence from experiments and research and acquire new knowledge through their own investigations.
In the Research Project, students have the opportunity to study an area of interest in depth. They use their creativity and initiative, while developing the research and presentation skills they will need in further study or work.
Students develop their knowledge of scientific principles and concepts, the ability to use that knowledge to identify questions, issues, opportunities and challenges, and the capacity to acquire new knowledge through their own investigations. They develop the skills and abilities to explain scientific phenomena, and to draw evidence-based conclusions from the investigation of science-related issues. In this way, students develop scientific knowledge and skills to support them in their future career pathways, including those that are science-related, and everyday life in a world shaped by science and technology.
Students gain the insight, understanding, knowledge, and skills to follow pathways that will lead them to become designers and makers of technology. The subject provides pathways into mathematical science, engineering, computer science, physical sciences, surveying, economics and commerce.
Students develop an understanding of the nature of tourists, tourism, and the tourism industry. They investigate local, national, and global tourism, and explore tourism as a business. Students gain an understanding of the complex economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts of tourism.
Visual Arts - Art & Visual Arts – Design
Students research, analyze, explore and experiment with media and technique, and resolve and produce practical work. They use visual thinking and investigation to develop ideas and concepts, refine technical skills, and produce imaginative solutions. Students learn to communicate personal ideas, beliefs, values, thoughts, feelings, concepts and opinions, and provide observations of their lived or imagined experiences in visual form.
Students develop knowledge, skills, and understanding of the nature, type and structure of the workplace. They learn about the value of unpaid work to society, future trends in the world of work, worker’s rights and responsibilities and career planning.
All these subjects are offered internationally to the School, College and University students as their extra VET and now you can also imagine after reading these course that if our Christian Youth will also have VET then definitely we will have 100% skilled force and I guarantee you that after implementing VET as a must course in every Missionary School and College we will have a brilliant and an intelligent new brand of our Christian Youth in the later years.
About the Internship / Apprenticeship and Accreditation of our VET Centres to the Institute Level and then at the University Level, I will discuss in detail in my next topics because they are very important issues and topics for our Christian Community which we need to debate.