By Akhtar Jamil
In a typical educational setting in Pakistan, one needs to successfully complete sixteen years of education to be eligible for a professional position with some exceptions (like becoming a minister or a political worker). We should accept that not all of us are going to be ministers and need to go through a hiring process to get a job (in most cases). Therefore, a perspective student should not only require to learn subject specific knowledge (hard skills) but also need to focus on developing strong soft skills to get an offer for a good job.
According to a report of World Economic Forum (WEF), employers will heavily rely on person’s soft skills along hard skills to get hired in future. This means that a perspective job seeker should prepare himself/herself according to the needs of the job market. Figure 1 shows top ten soft skills that employers will be expecting in a potential candidate to hire .
The educational institutions in Pakistan in general and in Gilgit-Baltistan particularly, do not have any proper setup to develop these skills in students. Lack of proper infrastructure and teachers with outdated knowledge are dominating most of the government institutions. Although, government is spending billions per year in the name of education but the revenue is far less than the expected.
An immediate remedy could be–– at individual and community levels in collaboration with NGOs, to arrange seminars and workshops to guide youngsters about the importance of soft skills and how to prepare themselves to enter into competitive market in future. As a long term plan, it is the responsibility of the state to update and align its system with the world’s best educational systems like Japan, Finland etc. The later is beyond our domain, however, efforts should be made to convince the responsible leadership to put their efforts to awake the people asleep in the educational institutions.
Unfortunately, educational reforms does not seem to be on the priority list for deliberations under current regime in Pakistan. Unexpectedly, the current politicians and their allies were active enough to pass a resolution to allow a disqualified to head a party within a day, but it has no intension to make an educational reform to shape the future of our youth and ultimately Pakistan. Politicians are aware of the fact that if youth start to learn soft skills, e.g. critical thinking, then they would not get a chance to make the nation fool again. 😊
The writer is a PhD candidate in the field of computing. He contributes on various topics including education, technology and social circles. He can be reached at “firstname.lastname@example.org”.