The collaboration between education and employers promoted under British Council’s Skills for Employability programme is a match made in heaven in a country like Pakistan. In Pakistan, employment opportunities are scarce particularly for rural communities which account for more than 60% of the 180 million population and where 2 million are joining the workforce every year. Skills for Employability aims to bridge that gap between education and employment by developing curricula in partnership with employers and learning providers which is more suited to the local job environment.
Our partnership with the Provincial Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA), Pakistan’s Government College of Technology (GCT), Multan and UK’s City College Brighton and Hove has resulted in the development of a 3-year diploma in Associate Engineering in Electronics.
The Diploma which was approved by the Provincial Government has been rolled out across Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province as well as being recognised as a qualification at national level. The new programme will be taught in more than 138 TVET colleges across the Province benefitting more than 15,000 students every year. To support the roll out of the new programme, 700 teachers are being trained to enable them to teach the new programme from the next academic year beginning in September 2011.
Imran Ashraf, Head of Electrical Department at GCT Multan and the link coordinator for the partnership with Brighton & Hove identified the importance of this new development “For the first time in the history of Pakistan, we have added specialisation in the Light Engineering section. Now every student will be a specialist with specific knowledge in a particular field”.
UK and Pakistan partners collaborated for three years in the development of the new programme during that time Pakistan was affected by the worst floods in history.
Despite challenges, the partnership completed its 3-year collaboration plan and achieved all its goals. In March, teachers from Brighton & Hove travelled to Pakistan to visit their partners at GTC Multan and to celebrate their achievements with important education stakeholders and the British High Commissioner.
However, both colleges are keen to continue to collaborate “Yes, the project is officially over, but our partnership will go a long way”, said Imran. “We have agreed to keep in touch, share information with each other and develop a Quality Assurance System for this 3-year diploma”.
“This is encouraging and satisfying as British Council aim to develop sustainable partnerships that continue working on their own for a long time”, said Zahra Rizvi, Head of Skills for Employability programme in Pakistan.