Education and employment: really where are the jobs?

What I have a noticed in the last decade growing up amongst the smartest of youth is that Pakistani kids have taken command into their own hands, to create their own employment world. We are surrounded by highly intelligent and dexterous entrepreneurs! There are flourishing industries of artists, photographers, designers, architects, tech geeks, and what not – in Pakistan.

Sadly that is not enough. We need institutional support and real economic growth to create jobs for those who cannot be entrepreneurs. Cities attract economic growth through investment from outside cities or the country, keeping aside the politics and other problems. Promoting tourism can be a source of generating income as well; by drawing tourism money in and creating a multiplier effect.

Apart from that, agglomeration economies – that are built on smart ideas from people working close together and sharing common perspectives – also create growth that big cities like New York benefit from. But then again, Pakistan needs institutional support such as infrastructure, education and enforcement of justice for maximizing this benefit for our smart youth.

So where are the jobs? Even university graduates out of the prestigious universities have a hard time landing a decent job in Pakistan. With stagnating growth, there are less opportunities for earning a livelihood. Fast moving consumer goods organizations and banks seem like some of the best possible options – that too are not well paid.

To my surprise and Pakistani pride, I come across so many foreign individuals who applaud the highly intelligent Pakistanis making strides at the UN or World Bank for example, making change for a better world. We have such people in our homeland too but we need more of them in Pakistan and they are only going to stay if there are strong institutions with a stable environment of agglomeration economies.

For better jobs, we need higher economic growth with sound governance and higher education levels. Or vice versa. There are some prestigious schools and universities in Pakistan with world renowned education standards – the kids who go there are lucky. The rest of the bulk of Pakistani children who do not attend the privileged schools deserve an equivalent quality of education as well.

Some of us are the best public speakers and debaters, developers or artists and our youth deserves to harness this potential. Our public education system could be strengthened. Local finance and governance can be major contributors, tied to performance based incentives for providing a better quality of education – so our children have the privilege to be enrolled in school and actually learn something.

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