Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pakistan's Expected Demographic Dividend

Pakistan has the world’s sixth largest population, seventh largest diaspora and the ninth largest labor force. With rapidly declining fertility and aging populations in the industrialized world, Pakistan's growing talent pool is likely to play a much bigger role to satisfy global demand for workers in the 21st century and contribute to the well-being of Pakistan as well as other parts of the world.

Source: Economic Intelligence Unit of The Economist Magazine

With half the population below 20 years and 60 per cent below 30 years, Pakistan is well-positioned to reap what is often described as "demographic dividend", with its workforce growing at a faster rate than total population. This trend is estimated to accelerate over several decades. Contrary to the oft-repeated talk of doom and gloom, average Pakistanis are now taking education more seriously than ever. Youth literacy is about 70% and growing, and young people are spending more time in schools and colleges to graduate at higher rates than their Indian counterparts in 15+ age group, according to a report on educational achievement by Harvard University researchers Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee. Vocational training is also getting increased focus since 2006 under National Vocational Training Commission (NAVTEC) with help from Germany, Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands.

Pakistan's work force is over 60 million strong, according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics. With increasing female participation, the country's labor pool is rising at a rate of 3.5% a year, according to International Labor Organization.

With rising urban middle class, there is substantial and growing demand in Pakistan from students, parents and employers for private quality higher education along with a willingness and capacity to pay relatively high tuition and fees, according to the findings of Austrade, an Australian govt agency promoting trade. Private institutions are seeking affiliations with universities abroad to ensure they offer information and training that is of international standards.

Trans-national education (TNE) is a growing market in Pakistan and recent data shows evidence of over 40 such programs running successfully in affiliation with British universities at undergraduate and graduate level, according to The British Council. Overall, the UK takes about 65 per cent of the TNE market in Pakistan.

It is extremely important for Pakistan's public policy makers and the nation's private sector to fully appreciate the expected demographic dividend as a great opportunity. The best way for them to demonstrate it is to push a pro-youth agenda of education, skills development, health and fitness to take full advantage of this tremendous opportunity. Failure to do so would be a missed opportunity that could be extremely costly for Pakistan and the rest of the world.


Tahir said...

No doubt Pakistan is in a strong position to take advantage of the young population, but to be able to fulfill the requirements of other countries we will have have to impart vocational training in different trades.

Hope our future Government can plan something, the present Govt is good for nothing and are not interested in long term planning for the benefit of the country, there only aim is to amass as much wealth as they can while they are in control.

Riaz Haq said...

Tahir: "Hope our future Government can plan something, the present Govt is good for nothing.."

Through most of the years since 1947, Pakistani govts have been part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Pakistanis have accomplished much in spite of their cotrrupt and incompetent government. They can continue to do so in the future through a more organized private sector.

I. KAMAL said...

What a great article again, Riaz Saheb! Gives one hope:

"Zara num ho yo ye maTTi bahut zarKhaiz hai saaqee"
(With a bit of nurturing, this soil can bring forth miracles!)

The two major polical parties have ruined the country by indulging in "plunder and loot by turn". I hope the forces of change would unite before the next elections and create a corruption-free Pakistan, with absolute meritocracy as the sole criterion for selection and continuation.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "my point push for improvement. If you say Pakistan is the best country in the world, no improvement then."

Misleading articles like the one you refer to do not "push for improvement".

Enough of this self-flagellation!

The author Niaz Murtaza is factually incorrect on a number of data points. For example, India lags behind its neighbors, Pakistan and Bangladesh, on basic human development indices like life expectancy at birth and mean or average years of schooling and gender parity, according to the last United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report.

On gender parity, Pakistan ranks 112, ten places ahead of India at 122.

Titled “Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development”, the report said life expectancy at birth in India is 64.4 years, while in Pakistan it is 67.2 years. In Bangladesh, life expectancy is 66.9 years.

Similarly, mean years of schooling in India is 4.4 years while in Pakistan and Bangladesh it is 4.9 and 4.8 years respectively.

And India lags behind Pakistan on such basics as nutrition (Indian Planning Commission’s Syeda Hameed) and public hygiene (UNICEF).

And in the last decade, Pakistan has graduated more people from schools and colleges (Barro & Lee of Harvard U) and created more jobs (World Bank Jobs report) as percent of its population than India has.

Habib said...

S. Akbar Zaidi from DAWN

"That Pakistan’s economy has been performing at a level which is far below its assumed potential, or that its neighbours and other countries in the region are doing better, is a fact which has been acknowledged by serious economists for some years now. Even Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have better economic growth rates compared to Pakistan, and more importantly, unlike Pakistan’s roller-coaster economy, countries in the region are locking in to steady states of economic growth."

Riaz Haq said...

Occasional and isolated but nonetheless tragic suicide cases like Raja Khan's in Pakistan get a lot of media coverage as they should. Meanwhile, over 200,000 farmer suicides in India have passed with little media attention in India.

Here's a Washington Post report on rising suicides in India:

NEW DELHI — Ram Babu’s last days were typical in India’s growing rash of suicides.

The poor farmer’s crop failed and he defaulted on the $6,000 loan he had taken to buy a tractor. The bank’s collectors hounded him, even hiring drummers to go round the village drawing attention to his shame.

“My father found it unbearable. He was an honorable man and he couldn’t take the humiliation. The next day he hanged himself from a tree on his farm,” his son Ram Gulam said Friday.

Babu’s suicide went unreported in local newspapers, just another statistic in a country where more than 15 people kill themselves every hour, according to a new government report.

The report released late Thursday said nearly 135,000 people killed themselves in the country of 1.2 billion last year, a 5.9 percent jump in the number of suicides over the past year.

The suicide rate increased to 11.4 per 100,000 people in 2010 from 10.9 the year before, according to the statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau.

Financial difficulties and debts led to most of the male suicides while women were driven to take their lives because of domestic pressures, including physical and mental abuse and demands for dowry.

A 2008 World Health Organization report ranked India 41st for its suicide rate, but because of its huge population it accounted for 20 percent of global suicides.

The largest numbers of suicides were reported from the southern Indian states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, where tens of thousands of impoverished farmers have killed themselves after suffering under insurmountable debts.

The loans — from banks and loan sharks — were often used to buy seeds and farm equipment, or to pay large dowries to get their daughters married. But a bad harvest could plunge the farmer over the edge.

Sociologists say the rapid rise in incomes in India’s booming economy has resulted in a surge in aspirations as well among the lower and middle classes, and the failure to attain material success can trigger young people to suicide.

“The support that traditionally large Indian families and village communities offered no longer exists in urban situations. Young men and women move to the cities and find they have no one to turn to for succor in times of distress,” said Abhilasha Kumari, a sociology professor in New Delhi.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's WHO data on suicide rates in Asia:

Pakistan has the lowest estimated prevalence of less than 3 per 100,000, followed by Thailand at 7.3 per 100,000. Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore have low to medium rates of between 9.9 and 13.1 per
100,000. Higher rates of above 15 per 100,000 are seen in China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong SAR), and India and still higher rates of above 20 per 100,000 are seen in China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Sri Lanka.

Zach said...

I link to you fairly regularly at Brown Pundits since you are probably the only internet resource that is able to give a "correct" (neither optimistic or pessimistic) analysis of South Asia and its constituent economies.

In a way I think the unduly "negative" attitude of Pakistan, particularly vis a vis all its South Asian neighbours, is perhaps a good thing because that means we relentless focus on the failures of our nation.

Paradoxically I have great hope for Pakistan and Pakistanis because we indulge in so much "self-flagellation" when as you show that so much of it is unjustified. Pakistan will motor on and will redeem the Pakistani people.

MJ Akbar said the idea of India is stronger than the Indian but that the Pakistani is stronger than the idea of Pakistan. I disagree with this entirely I think the idea of Pakistan is our saving grace (if properly understood as a progressive, intellectual & secular concept and free from its jingoistic nationalistic elements that it is often hijacked too.)

Ashmit (India) said...

"India lags behind its neighbors, Pakistan and Bangladesh, on basic human development indices"

How then do you explian the superior ranking of India as compared to Pak. Let me guess - propaganda?!

"the report said life expectancy at birth in India is 64.4 years, while in Pakistan it is 67.2 years...And India lags behind Pakistan on such basics as nutrition"

Let's not miss the fine print here Mr Haq. Life expectancy might be higher but so is the under 5 mortality rate (india - 69, pak - 89). Moreover, your talk of wide spread undernoursishment in India betrays the numbers. 22 percent of india qualifies as undernourished, as compared to 23% for pak. And need i mention, a greater allocation of the indian budget to health when compared to pak (1.1% vs 0.8)

"mean years of schooling in India is 4.4 years while in Pakistan and Bangladesh it is 4.9 and 4.8 years respectively."

Again, let us not mask the details to suit your hypothesis. Pak does only marginally better in mean years of schooling for adults. However, on most other indices such as adult literacy rate, combined gross enrolment ratio, expenditure on edu and expected years of schooling for children - India stands head and shoulders above its neighbour. So much for your wild fantasies of demographic dividend. BTW - the unemloyment remains to be continually high in pak. Quite apprently, the fragile pak economy just cannot absorb the young (un educated) workforce.

"And in the last decade, Pakistan has graduated more people from schools and colleges (Barro & Lee of Harvard U) and created more jobs (World Bank Jobs report)"

Created more jobs?! Is that not supposed to arrest the unemployment rate? India might not have created as many jobs on a per million basis, but it's india that has lower unemployment.

And lets not forget the composite HDI index. While india has consistently outperformed the average for south asia, pak on the other hand has struggled to keep pace, underperforming the south asian average. India is also closer to the world average, when compared to pak.

Your wholesale dismisal of india is clearly not backed by data. India is not a perfect country. Far from it, there are deep seated misconceptions that the priviliged indian middle class needs to challenge. But, let's not kid ourselves into believing fairy tales about Pak.

PS - data sourced from following links.




Riaz Haq said...

Zachary: "Pakistan will motor on and will redeem the Pakistani people."

I share your optimism.

While many of the critics I berate see Pakistan's glass completely empty, I prefer to see it half full. And I believe Pakistanis' focus should be on how to fill it up to the rim.

It's better to light a candle than to curse darkness.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: "How then do you explian the superior ranking of India as compared to Pak"

It just shows the inadequacy of HDI index in accurately assessing human development when it puts India ahead of Pakistan, in spite of India's shorter life expectancy (UNDP), greater multidimensional poverty (Oxford), greater hunger (IFPRI), worse hygiene (UNICEF), better gender parity (UNDP) higher disease burdens(WHO) and shorter time in school and lower graduation rates (Harvard's Barro & Lee).

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some of the findings of a recent paper by Durre-e-Nayab of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) titled "Estimating the Middle Class in Pakistan":

Depending on the definition applied, it is found that the size of the middle class ranges drastically in the country, as can be seen from Table 2. Applying the definitions having solely an economic rationale, we find the middle class to range from 60 per cent of the population (Table 2, Definition One) to being totally non-existent (Table 2, Definition Five). Translating it in number of people, using the population base of 187 million as it stands on mid-year 2011 (USCB, 2011 and UN, 2009), the size of the middle class ranges from a huge 112 million to no one. This variability, as stressed earlier, reflects the complexities and
arbitrariness associated with defining and measuring the middle class.

Among all the definitions given above, Definition Eight and Definition Thirteen, based on gradation of income and expenditure per person per day, respectively, are currently the most
extensively used measure employed to estimate the middle class (as also used by Chun (2010) and Bhandari (2010) among others)3. This definition too, however, suffers from the same drawback of relying solely on one criterion. As also pointed out by Eisenhauer (2008), Atkinson and Bourguignon (1982), Kolm (1977), Bourguignon and Chakravarty (2003) and Gilbert (2003), being a part of the middle class should be ascertained by a person’s socio-economic attributes holistically. Income is an important aspect but other qualities like level of health, wealth,
education and specialised knowledge are also significant factors for constituting a class. Technically speaking too, most of the definitions suffer from serious drawbacks. For instance, the ‘quintile approach’ can be useful in measuring or comparing income or expenditure growth but cannot be used as a method to estimate the middle class as the size cannot shrink or expand and by definition would permenantly remain at 60 percent. Any denomination of the median income should also be used with caution in low income countries like Pakistan. Taking 75 per cent of the median income might lead to the inclusion of people below the poverty line in countries with very low income levels. In the above-stated definitions and resulting estimates there are issues with the lower bounds
set for inclusion in the middle class. While some of the definitions (like Definition Three and Five) set the limit too high4, resulting in a very small middle class or in the absence of a middle class altogether, there are other definitions that set the limit too low, like those that set the lower
bound at $2 per person per day. Does the middle class begin where poverty ends? Ravallion (2010: 446) supports, “the premise that middle class living standards begin when poverty ends”.
This paper, however, supports the argument forwarded by Horrigan and Haugen (1988:5) when they posit, “to ensure that the lower endpoint of the middle class represents an income
significantly above the poverty line”. The middle class should, hence, include only those households that do not face the risk of experiencing poverty at all, and are not just those who
are outside the the realm of poverty at a particular time.

Ashmit (India) said...

Typical of you, Mr Haq - misdirection. Firstly, why shoot the messenger (HDI). Secondly, there is little to sugggest that you have anything to contest my claims of pathetic performnace by pak on several indicators than i enlisted in my last comment. Moving ahead.

"better gender parity (UNDP)"

Do have a careful look at the statistics put forth by UNICEF, especially in the segment tiled "women".


It's amusing of you to boast of "better gender parity" when on every unicef indicator (for "women") pakistan fares poorly when compared to its much larger neighbour. The indicators such as life expectancy of females, literacy rates and different enrolment ratios, use of contraceptives, antenatal care, delivery care, maternal mortality rates do manage to puncture you flailing attempts of putting forth shameless rhetoric as fact.

"higher disease burdens(WHO)"


Meanwhile, here are some more statistics to add a different perspective. "Higher disease burden" in India? Data clearly shows that pak has higher infant moratlity rate, higher under 5 mortality rate, higher incidence, prevalence and deaths due to TB, higher maternal mortality rates, lower public expenditure on a per capita basis and as %age of GDP, higher years of life lost due to communicable diseases, lower number of hospital beds per 10,000 people. How in your right mind do you see pak as being the better of the two?

"India's shorter life expectancy"

Really?! You would want that, but WHO thinks differently. WHO stats reveal that life expectancy at birth for India is 65 years, while for Pak is stands at 63 years.

"greater hunger (IFPRI)"

Yet, the notoriously high undernourishment levels in Pak appear to be appaling when taken in context with your almost self congratulatory tone. Undernourishment in Pak stands at 23% of population, which is higher than "hungry" india.

And outside of these social indicators, lets also not forget that as opposed to the pak economy, limping forward on crutches of high inflation, high interest, high unemplyment, low investment, fiscal indiscipline - India is the 2nd fastest growing country amongst the large economies.

Moreover, if analysts at E&Y are to be believed, the Indian eco will begin outperforming China as soon as 2013.


Both countries are a long way from achieving the MDGs. Therefore, to claim unquestionable superiority with unabashed arrogance doesn't seem either objective or mature.


Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: "Yet, the notoriously high undernourishment levels in Pak appear to be appaling when taken in context with your almost self congratulatory tone."

Pakistan has not done well relative to many other nations. Hunger is rising in Pakistan.

World hunger data collected from 2006 to 2009 shows that Pakistan's hunger index score has worsened this year to 20.7 (based on 2009 data and reported in 2011) after three prior consecutive years of improvement. International Food Research Institute's GHI (Global Hunger Index) score for Pakistan improved from 21.7 in 2008 to 21.0 in 2009 to 19.1 in 2010, and its world ranking has dropped to 59 in 2011 from 52 in 2010. It was ranked 61 in 2008 and 58 in 2009 on a list of 81+ nations.

Among other South Asian nations, India's GHI score improved to 23.7 in 2011 to where it was in three years earlier in 2008 after worsening from 23.7 (2008) to 23.9 (2009) to 24.1 (2010). India's ranking remained at 67 in 2011, the same as it was in 2010 but worse than 66 in 2008 and 65 in 2009.

Now let me draw your attention to what Syeda Hameed of Indian Planning Commission has to say on this subject:

'India worse than Pakistan, Bangladesh on nourishment'

'I should not compare. But countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are better,' she said. The conference was organised Monday by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region.

According to India's National Family Health Survey, almost 46 percent of children under the age of three are undernourished - an improvement of just one percent in the last seven years. This is only a shade better than Sub-Saharan Africa where about 35 percent of children are malnourished.

Hameed said the government's Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme, which is a flagship programme to improve the health of women and children, had not shown results despite a lot of money being spent on it in the past few years.

'We have not been successful in improving the status of health of our women and children,' she added.

Ashmit (India) said...

"Now let me draw your attention to what Syeda Hameed of Indian Planning Commission has to say on this subject"

"Has to say"?! She HAD said this over three years back. Might be a litttle outdated in the current context, as databases of UNDP, UNICEF, WHO and FAO all clearly point towards higher undernourishment levels in pak.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: ""Has to say"?! She HAD said this over three years back. Might be a litttle outdated in the current context, as databases of UNDP, UNICEF, WHO and FAO all clearly point towards higher undernourishment levels in pak. "

Read what IFPRI said....India's GHI score improved to 23.7 in 2011 to where it was three years earlier in 2008 after worsening from 23.7 (2008) to 23.9 (2009) to 24.1 (2010). India's ranking remained at 67 in 2011, the same as it was in 2010 but worse than 66 in 2008 and 65 in 2009.

Unlike the UN agencies you quote, IFPRI is more reliable because it specializes in the area of food and hunger, and publishes its scores and rankings every year.

Ashmit (India) said...

"IFPRI is more reliable because it specializes in the area of food and hunger"

Absolutely. But wouldn't you also agree that that WHO and FAO would know a thing or two about undernourishment.

And speaking of which, I think its important to appreciate that hunger and undernourishment, though associated, are not quite the same.

Hunger, as IFPRI indicates, is acute in India. However, there is also no denying that a greater percentage of people in pak suffer from undernourishment.

Therefore, despite pak, technically, qualfying as "less hungry" - given that undernourishment levels are high (and higher than India), there is little room for perverse jingoism in celebrating the IFPRI data as pak scoring one over india.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: "given that undernourishment levels are high (and higher than India), there is little room for perverse jingoism in celebrating the IFPRI data as pak scoring one over india."

I see little to celebrate about 22% vs 23% under nutrition.

Riaz Haq said...

Karachi's HDI is about 0.799, much higher than Pakistan's national human development index and comparable to European nations of Portugal and Poland, and higher than Malaysia's.

Here's a brief UNDP description of human dev in Pakistan:

According the Human Development Report 2010, Pakistan’s HDI value increased from 0.311 to 0.490 during 1980 to 2010, an increase of 58% or average annual increase of about 1.5% which ranked it 10 in terms of HDI improvement in comparison to the average progress of other countries. Pakistan’s life expectancy at birth increased by more than 9 years, mean years of schooling increased by about 3 years and expected years of schooling increased by almost 4 years. Pakistan’s GNI per capita increased by 92 per cent during the same period.
Pakistan’s 2010 HDI of 0.490 is below the average of 0.516 for countries in South Asia. It is also below the average of 0.592 for medium human development countries. From South Asia, Pakistan’s 2010 “HDI neighbours”, i.e. countries which are close in HDI rank and population size, are India and Bangladesh, which had HDIs ranked 119 and 129 respectively. Pakistan is also compared to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a high human development country.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a description of Pakistan as an outsourcing destination by

Pakistan is rapidly emerging as a leading sourcing nation, and currently ranks eighth among top outsourcing countries in 2010. It is becoming a key destination for software development and information technology services, such as medical transcription and call centers.

Pakistan’s strengths lie in its English speaking workforce; complete repatriation of foreign companies' profit; equity ownership; and tax exemption on software until the year 2016. The most popular BPO sub-sectors in Pakistan are call centers, particularly in the areas of accountancy, medical transcription, animation development, and data entry.

Companies that have invested within the borders include Google, GE, Citi Group, and Bank of America. High-end IT services are also growing, with IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco expanding their operations in the country as well.

In the past, the government has spent nearly USD $70 million in order to promote Pakistan's software industry. To do this, PSEB (Pakistan Software Export Board) has constructed IT parks and leases 750,000 square feet to IT companies. The government hopes to increase the IT sector to USD $11 billion by the end of 2011, achieving more is less than a decade than what other countries in the technology scene have achieved in 15-20 years. Pakistan has also started developing start-ups for domain expertise, idea content and intellectual property for graduates who plan to start companies in IT. Another trend is the industry's shift from the "volume driven low-margin voice-based business” into higher values, such as functional BPO.

Ashmit (India) said...

"I see little to celebrate about 22% vs 23% under nutrition."

A few points here. Firstly, according to FAO the gap is much wider. FAO stats record undernourishment in india at 21% as opposed to 26% in pak. Secondly, celebrating?! far from it, I am only driving home the point that the shambolic performance of pak on several indicies that I have listed, really does not warrant your unfounded confidence in dismissing India and celebrating pak as outperformer in south asia. Despite your tall talk, stats clearly reveal that pak is ailing, on both economoic an social indicators.

"Karachi's HDI is about 0.799, much higher than Pakistan's national human development index and comparable to European nations of Portugal and Poland, and higher than Malaysia's"

Now you boast of Karachi as per the HDI. However, if you recall - you had claimed earlier - "It just shows the inadequacy of HDI index in accurately assessing human development". Contradictions galore, Mr. Haq.

Secondly, to add to your criticism of HDI as a barometer of human development - the inability of the index to accomodate the social, psychological and the physical impact of crime does render the index useless especially in the context of a city such as karachi. Would you still be able to claim superiority over portugal, poland and malaysia if the gun slinging in Karachi was accounted for?

Thirdly, India too has its own pockets of smart development. Chandigarh has an HDI score of 0.860 - much higher than the trio of portugal, poland and malaysia, but also higher than Greece, Italy, UK, Luxembourg, UAE, Singapore and Hungary.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: "FAO stats record undernourishment in india at 21% as opposed to 26% in pak."

FAO data is not only inconsistent with IFRPI and India's own planning commission, it's also internally inconsistent with FAO's other reports which show per capita consumption of almost all food groups, particularly milk and dairy, is much higher in Pakistan than India, and inequality in Pakistan is much less than in India.

According to the FAO, the average dairy consumption of the developing countries is still very low (45 kg of all dairy products in liquid milk equivalent), compared with the average of 220 kg in the industrial countries. Few developing countries have per capita consumption exceeding 150 kg (Argentina, Uruguay and some pastoral countries in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of Africa). Among the most populous countries, only Pakistan, at 153 kg per capita, has such a level. In South Asia, where milk and dairy products are preferred foods, India has only 64 kg and Bangladesh 14 kg. East Asia has only 10 kg.

Milk and milk products is what nations like Bangladesh resort to reduce malnutrition.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: "Chandigarh has an HDI score of 0.860"

Chandigarh has a population of only a million, 1/18th of Karachi's population. Karachi is very big and very diverse with people of all ethnic groups migrating from all nooks and corners of Pakistan. Karachi is mini-Pakistan, a much more representative sample of Pakistan than Chadiharh is of India.

Suraj Joshi said...

The link says:
Pakistan’s economic competitiveness, according to the World Economic Forum, scores low with a GCI index of 3.5, especially when compared to the US (5.4), China (4.8), and Egypt (4.0). Similarly, Pakistan's macroeconomic stability is also low. Its GCI score is 3.2 percent compared to China (4.8), Chile (4.7), and Thailand (4.9). According to the World Bank, Pakistan’s primary problem is maintaining its macroeconomic stability, which has always been difficult. The Bank is working with Pakistan’s government to improve its administration and service delivery, particularly in the areas of civil service reform and financial management recovery."

Furthermore, the same source gives India a better rating:
"Business & economic environment index: 4.2 Rank: 32". Although, India has a long way to go. As I have said Pakistan is not the yardstick and never should be.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on Pakistan's progress in human development since 1980:

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has been ranked 10th among the countries in term of human development improvement by the United Nations Development Programme’s 20th Human Development Report 2010.

Those among the 135 countries that improved most in Human Development Index (HDI) terms over the past 30 years were led by Oman, which invested energy earnings over the decades in education and public health.

The other nine “Top Movers” are China, Nepal, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Laos, Tunisia, South Korea, Algeria and Morocco. Remarkably, China was the only country that made the “Top 10” list due solely to income performance; the main drivers of HDI achievement were in health and education.

The UNDP report said that in Pakistan, between 1980 and 2010, the HDI value increased by 58 per cent (average annual increase of about 1.5 per cent).

“With such an increase Pakistan is ranked 10 in terms of HDI improvement, which measures progress in comparison to the average progress of countries with a similar initial HDI level”, it added.

Pakistan’s life expectancy at birth increased by more than nine years, mean years of schooling increased by about nine years and expected years of schooling increased by almost 4 years.

Pakistan’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita increased by 92 per cent during the same period. The relative to other countries in the region, in 1980, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh had close HDI values for countries in South Asia.

However, during the period between 1980 and 2010 the three countries experienced different degrees of progress toward increasing their HDIs states the Report.

The Report introduces the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which identifies multiple deprivations in the same households in education, health and standard of living.

The average percentage of deprivation experienced by people in multidimensional poverty is 54 per cent.

The MPI, which is the share of the population that is multi-dimensionally poor, adjusted by the intensity of the deprivations, is 0.275.Pakistan’s “HDI neighbors”, India and Bangladesh, have MPIs of 0.296 and 0.291, respectively.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Times of India story on "Aalu Anday", a satirical music video gone viral on Youtube:

NEW DELHI: When the music video of "Aalu Anday", an unsparing song that lampoons Pakistan's top politicians and generals from Ashfaq Kayani to Zia-ul-Haq, from Nawaz Sharif to Imran Khan, was released last month, it immediately became an internet sensation.

But the bitingly satirical number was merely the latest in a long chain of similar popular anti-establishment tracks by other well-known Pakistan singers and groups such as Shehzad Roy, Junoon and Laal who have laughed at and lambasted the high and mighty across the border.

"We are the silent majority of Pakistan who are speaking up now. We are not trying to give solutions, but only trying to create an environment where things can be discussed openly," says 27-year-old Ali Aftab Saeed, a band member of Beygairat Brigade, the Lahore-based 'political rock' band who created Aalu Anday. Incidentally, the three band members (Daniyal Malik and 15-year-old guitarist Hamza Malik being the other two) are self-confessedly 'hardcore' RD Burman fans and Anurag Kashyap admirers.

A little courage in the heart and a guitar in hand go a long way in expressing notes of dissent across the border. The Beygairat Brigade's act is the latest in a tradition where singers and satirists have routinely ridiculed and castigated politicians in their music and lyrics. In 2008, singer Shehzad Roy courted controversy with Laga Reh, a hard-hitting track attacking the establishment.

Earlier Sufi-rock band Junoon faced censorship for songs like Ehtesaab, which hit out at political corruption and was banned by the Pakistani state TV. Now, bands such as Laal have joined the party providing music to the fiery protest poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Habib Jalib, known for producing art out of defiance. TV channels refused to play their song, Jhooth ka uncha sar, said to be "too anti-army" in sentiment.

"In the beginning Pakistani bands used music to express dissent because other avenues of communication were closed to them. When you are in a repressive environment you naturally find other ways to communicate and music became that outlet. Nowadays things are much more open, but I think the association between music and free speech remains," says satirist and stand-up comic Saad Haroon.

In a country racked by terrorist violence and extreme disillusionment with the state, humour not only works as a form of subversion but also as relief and release.

The identity of Beygairat Brigade is constructed as an antithesis to what they call the "ghairat brigade" (honor brigade): political analysts and TV show hosts who have taken it upon themselves to uphold the honor of the Pakistani state as they understand it.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an AP story about a Pakistani rapper Adil Omar:

...That was four years ago, and Omar has now recorded songs with several other American rappers, including Everlast from House of Pain, Xzibit and one of the members of Limp Bizkit.

He plans to release his first album next year and has established himself as Pakistan's biggest - and perhaps only - rap star. His rise illustrates a side of Pakistan that is often obscured by the steady stream of news about the Taliban and Al Qaida that comes out of the country.

Many Pakistani cities have thriving subcultures that get little attention in the West. Pakistan has a rich musical tradition, including the performance of Urdu-language love poems called ghazals and mystical Sufi music called Qawwali.

Pakistani rock bands have long been popular, as have songs from Bollywood movies. But hard-core rap like Omar's laced with profanity and sexual innuendo is almost unheard of, and could even be dangerous in a society plagued by militants.

"Violence seems to be totally acceptable in this culture, but sex and bad language in music and art seems to be totally unacceptable," said Omar, a clean-cut looking 20-year-old with short black hair who favors black sunglasses and T-shirts with half-naked women.

Omar, who sings in English, insists he is not a political rapper, but his latest song, Paki Rambo, is about a vigilante who hunts the Taliban. "Ambush your camp, my inglorious crew. Straight bastards, brawny and stronger than you," sang Omar. "Take classes, learn how we got em on wax. Hit the base with a bag full of Taliban scalps."
"It's the P to the A to the K to the I. Armed to the teeth till the day that I die," sang Omar. "R to the A to the M B O. Paki Rambo in the place." The song is part of the soundtrack for an upcoming Pakistani movie, Gol Chakkar, and the directors helped Omar produce a slick music video that has been released on YouTube.
A young boy walks around with a mink stole around his neck. The market for Omar's music in Pakistan is small, limited mainly to elite Pakistani kids like himself who speak English and live lifestyles closer to their Western counterparts than the country's conservative majority.

Extremists who believe music is a violation of Islamic law have bombed CD shops in some parts of Pakistan. The upmarket crowd was on display at a rare concert Omar held this past weekend at the Marriott hotel in Islamabad.

Well-coiffed women in tight jeans and young hipsters in velour jackets held up iPhones and Blackberries to record the show. "We really enjoy Adil's music because it represents the young generation," said Faizaan Bomassy, a 23-year engineer wearing a white Playboy hoody.

Even among Omar's friends and fans, some were surprised by the swearing and sexual references that flow through his music. "I think it's a little explicit sometimes, but I think it's good music," said Waleed Ali Khan, a 20-year-old student. "I think he is breaking new ground and paving the way for new artists."

Omar was born in London but moved to Islamabad when he was very young. He began writing lyrics at the age of 10 when his father died and his mother was bedridden for several years with a serious illness.
Paki Rambo and Omar's collaborations with American rap stars will appear on the album he plans to release next year, The Mushroom Cloud Effect. About a third of the songs were recorded in Los Angeles, and the rest in Omar's bedroom in his mother's house in Islamabad...........

Majumdar said...

Prof Riaz ul Haq sb,

I have some good news for you. India has been ranked 134 on UNDP HDI index- Medium Development Country. Pakistan has been ranked 145 Low Development Country.


Majumdar (yr old frnd from chowk)

Riaz Haq said...

Majumdar: "I have some good news for you. India has been ranked 134 on UNDP HDI index- Medium Development Country. Pakistan has been ranked 145 Low Development Country."

Majumdar sahib, nice to hear from you. Hope you are well.

I agree that Pakistan is doing poorly on human development measures by UNDP, and Pakistanis have lot of work to do. But looking at the sub-indices, it doesn't seem quite as bad as it appears from the composite ranking. Here is what Hindustan Times is reporting:

India has been ranked lower than its neighbour Pakistan in the United Nation’s multi-dimensional poverty index (MDI) and gender equality index even though it has been able to maintain its 134 rank in overall Human Development Index (HDI). The MDI evaluates deprivations in education,
health and standard of living and the households with score of more than one-third of the weighted indicators are listed as multi-dimensionally poor.

The UN Development Programme’s HDI report says that 53.7% of Indians suffer from multi-dimensional poverty as compared to 49.4 % in Pakistan and 57.8% in Bangladesh.

Even in absolute poverty terms, measured for those earning less than $1.25 a day, Pakistan fares better than India. Around 41.6% of Indians in 2005 were earning less than $1.25 a day as compared to 22.6% Pakistanis.

When it comes to gender equality, India has been ranked lower than most of its neighbouring countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is primarily on account of India’s adolescent fertility rate, lesser number of women in Parliament and poor participation of women in workforce.

In addition, Pakistan is doing a bit better in terms of mean years of schooling with 4.9 yrs for Pakistan vs India's 4.4 years.

Majumdar said...

Prof Riaz ul Haq sb,

I am doing quite fine, sir. And as I can see now, you are going great guns too. Why dont you join us on Desibukbuk where most chowkies have migrated to.

But looking at the sub-indices, it doesn't seem quite as bad as it appears from the composite ranking.

No, no, not at all. I was only pointing out that Pakistan isnt outsripping India as fast as readers on your blog wud think.

53.7% of Indians suffer from multi-dimensional poverty as compared to 49.4 %

I suggest you inspect this info more closely. Pakistan's data is more recent based on 2007 numbers, while India's is a tad older 2005 based. India has been growing reasonably well since 2005 (about 7-8% generally) while Pak has stagnated since 2007 (presumably due to the unfortunate incursion of democracy in 2008). So as on date, I am not sure diff in MPI wud be very different. Hopefully, of course Pak's rightful rulers- the Fauj will be back in saddle and restore the normal superiority that Pakistan has had over India.


Anonymous said...


What is there to be proud off Pakistan being lower than us is to be expected with a certain zardari in charge,a full scale civil war,floods,pitiably low tax collections etc.

My question is why the f*** are we so low given that we are fully solvent with a proper industrial base!Truly pathetic!! we are the unofficial sick man of the G-20!!

Riaz Haq said...

Mazumdar Sahib,

Here's more on India-Pak HDI comp from London's Telegraph:

The report also finds more 'gender equality' in conservative Pakistan than in 'tolerant' India.

Its findings amount to a wake-up call for a nation which has taken great pride in its rapid economic growth and the increasing clout of its billionaire business leaders but has failed to share the spoils with its poor. Britain's Department for Internmational Development has pointed to this chequered progress to justify its continuing aid to India.

The Human Development Report reveals that while India ranks slightly above Pakistan in its level of 'human development' – based on life expectancy, schooling and per capita income – its wider poverty level is worse than Pakistan's.

In absolute terms, 41.6 per cent of India's 1.1 billion people earned less than 78 pence per day compared with 22.6 per cent of Pakistan's 173 million.

The report quotes its 'multi-dimensional poverty index' which includes measures of schooling, child mortality, nutrition, access to electricity, toilets, drinking water, and hygienic living conditions, and reveals India is poorer.

It found 53.7 per cent of Indians suffering from this broader kind of poverty, compared with 49 per cent of Pakistanis.

More surprisingly, India is ranked below Pakistan and Bangladesh on gender equality which reflects maternal death rates, teenage pregnancies, access to education, and the number of women parliamentarians and in the workplace.

India's rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said the report highlighted the prevalence of poverty in the midst of economic growth and the possibility that "actually economic development may lead to retrogression of social indices." Priya Subramanian of Save the Children said India's poor ranking reflected a lack of political will to tackle poverty.

"It is things like healthcare and education which have India lagging behind Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. These countries are well on track and India, with its fast growing economy, has still not got its act together," she said.

"While we have a new band of millionaires, on the other side people continue to suffer endlessly. Millions still live below the poverty line and go to sleep hungry. The [economic] growth has not flowed towards them," she added.

Anonymous said...

whatever riaz the chickens will come home to roost in 2015 the millenium development goals are really still believe PAkistan will be ahead of India in 2015 based on current trends and the fact that US is not leaving Afghanistan till 2014....

mehul sagar said...

Riaz, you have misquoted or misrepresented the HDI data.

The mean years of schooling is for adults 25 and over who are literate. That equates to post high school education. The numbers to follow is the Education Index and the Expected Years of Schooling of children under 7 years;

India 0.45 EI and 10.3 years
Pakistan 0.386 and 7

Loss due to Overall Inequality in Pakistan is greater;

0.504 to 0.346 = 0.158 loss Pakistan

0.547 to 0.392 = 0.155

Maternal mortality came down from 450 to 230 for India whereas Pakistan came down from 300 to 260!

Since 1980 Pakistan, which was 20% ahead (bangladesh partition dividend) of India in HDI terms, is today approximately 8% behind India!!

Riaz Haq said...

Mehul: "Riaz, you have misquoted or misrepresented the HDI data.The mean years of schooling is for adults 25 and over who are literate."

I think you are mistaken.

Read page 129 of the full human dev report 2011. It says nothing about a particular age group. It simply states mean years of schooling in Pakistan is 4.9 vs 4.4 in India for the population.

Mehul said...

Riaz, the above link clearly indicates " adults age 25 and over". You may need to click the heading to get that detail.

Suraj said...

You are wrong Mr Haq. I looked at definitions below page 129 as you indicated and it clearly states the age 25.

Riaz Haq said...

Suraj: "I looked at definitions below page 129 as you indicated and it clearly states the age 25."

Yes, it does. But it also cites Barro & Lee as source, and Barro & Lee both have concluded in their 2010 paper that Pakistan's graduation rates at all levels (Prim, Sec & Ter) are higher than India's:

Education Level.......India........Pakistan

Primary (Total)........20.9..........21.8

Primary (Completed)....18.9..........19.3





Suraj said...

Once again you have looked at the data superficially on the Barro-Lee article. I am hoping that was not by choice.

Data are presented in desegregated form and the numbers DO NOT indicate graduation rates as you have indicated. For example, you do not have a graduation rate at the primary or secondary level. One way to analyze the data would be to think of it in percentages. Of the entire population considered functionally literate 21.8%[Pak] and 20.9%[Ind] total have primary schooling. The completion data is exclusive from the total data. Look at the data for India at the secondary completion and total % 0.9 & 40.7 respectively. This indicates that most Indians in this category go on further to high school or college and only 0.9% just complete secondary school.

This methodology is statistical; however, Education Index and the years of schooling is a tool that UN uses to gauge progress in education.

Poonam said...


" also cites Barro & Lee as source, and Barro & Lee both have concluded in their 2010 paper that Pakistan's graduation rates at all levels (Prim, Sec & Ter) are higher than India's"

That is your conclusion NOT Barro-Lee's and is also faulty and misconstrued.

The data breakdown is within the country and not across the country:

Education Attainment for Total Population

India Pakistan
No school(total) 32.7 38.0
Primary (total) 20.9 21.8
Secondary (total) 40.7 34.6
Tertiary (total) 5.8 5.5
Total~ Total~ =100 =100

You have analyzed the data incorrectly. You have made a gross error by looking at the data horizontally! The data are to be analyzed vertically and within the specific country.

Riaz Haq said...

Poonam & Suraj:

Data from Harvard scholars Barro & Lee speaks clearly with no need for arguments or ambiguity unless you are in denial.

It reports percentages of population for each country in 15+ age group at various levels of education in terms of total (enrolled) and completed (graduated).

As to educational attainment in South Asia, it shows that the percentage of population enrolled in sec and ter level is a bit larger in India, but the percentage of population that completed (graduated) each level is higher in Pakistan.

In other words, slightly fewer Pakistanis enroll in secondary and tertiary schools, but more of them graduate than their counterparts in India as percentage of each age group's populations in each country.

Bottom Line: Pakistanis stay in schools longer and graduate more often than Indians of the same age group.

Riaz Haq said...

A big donor is giving $50 million to Stanford to help promote innovation and entrepreneurship for alleviating poverty in the developing world. Here are some excerpts from a Mercury News story:

A Silicon Valley venture capitalist has donated $100 million to Stanford University's Graduate School of Business to establish a new institute to promote entrepreneurship in developing countries and eventually alleviate poverty.

Robert King, along with his wife, Dorothy, also gave a second gift to the entire university, $50 million in matching funds to encourage more donations to Stanford. The couple's gift is the second-largest publicly disclosed single donation to the school, behind a $400 million donation in 2001 by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


"The institute will be about sponsoring and creating entrepreneurial activity in developing economies," said Robert King, 76, who founded Peninsula Capital in Menlo Park. "Stanford is in an absolutely leading position to do that."

The Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies will be devoted to research, education and on-the-ground support to help entrepreneurs innovate and grow their businesses. Students and faculty will travel abroad to help businesses overcome obstacles to growth. The institute also will provide formal courses for entrepreneurs and nonprofit employees overseas.


The Kings say the inspiration for their philanthropy grew from hosting foreign students while they attended Stanford, a more than four-decade experience that underscored the importance of the link between education and entrepreneurship. It also led to a successful investment by Robert King, who provided seed money for China's giant search engine, Baidu, after he met the company's co-founders, Eric Xu and Robin Li, through one of the couple's home-stay students more than a decade ago.

"If anyone knows the value of encouraging entrepreneurship in the developing world, it's Bob King," Li said in an email statement. "Bob took a big chance on Baidu in our earliest days, investing in a Chinese search engine at a time when China's Internet was still in its infancy. I'm sure that this generous endowment will help create some great business leaders in the developing world."

The institute will build on work Stanford students and faculty already are engaged in through a collaboration of the business school and the university's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design in which products and business models are created for the developing world.

One venture to emerge from this work is d.light, a company creating products for people without access to reliable electricity. The institute will dispatch students and faculty members to work with overseas businesses and NGOs, or nongovernment organizations, identified as having great promise by other organizations.


"If their research is focused on Guatemala, we will send them there," Lee said.

The university is beginning the process to hire three tenure-track professors to fill research positions in the institute. They will join four current Stanford professors, Saloner said.

The Kings, who are active philanthropists, also founded the Thrive Foundation for Youth, which supports research on youth development and organizations that work with young people.


Poonam said...

Riaz said:

"Bottom Line: Pakistanis stay in schools longer and graduate more often than Indians of the same age group."

"Data from Harvard scholars Barro & Lee speaks clearly with no need for arguments or ambiguity unless you are in denial."

Those are YOUR conclusions. I have digested the same statistics and I definitely do not draw those conclusions. Completion rates are percentages of the total population meaning how many have completed primary ed only or percentage of population that have completed secondary ed only and so on within the country that is if such data are collected.

Please look up the definitions. Check out other countries as well

Riaz Haq said...

Poonam: "Please look up the definitions. Check out other countries as well"

I have downloaded and read the Barro & Lee paper and complete dataset. And I stand by my comments and conclusions that I have shared here.

Poonam said...


I am following the discussion taking place on your blog.

You are trying to sell everyone a house of cards here. You claim to have read the entire Barro-Lee dataset yet you denied the existence of 25 year and above definition even after being told so. How could you have drawn dramatic conclusions without knowing the dataset definition.

Second, it appears that you're in denial because you are emotionally and patriotically vested here. It is your blog and you seem to filter out info that you disagree with.

Third, look at completion data of other countries as well. It tends to be all over the place based on the given country's school system and data collection.

Fourth, let us assume that I am still in denial as you have said. Explain to me if only 0.9% complete secondary school then why are 5% of the literate completing tertiary schooling!?

Care to respond or are you the one who is in denial?

Riaz Haq said...

Poonam: "Explain to me if only 0.9% complete secondary school then why are 5% of the literate completing tertiary schooling!?"

The 0.9% represents a narrower age group of high schoolers while 5% represents a much wider age group beyond high-school age who could be in tertiary, vocational, etc.

The rest of your comment does not deserve a response.

Mehul said...

Pakistan has 3.6 times better secondary graduation rate than UK and 7.5 times better primary graduation rate than USA!
(Pakistan primary completion 14.3 & secondary completion 19.0, UK secondary 5.2, USA primary 1.9)

Using Riaz's analysis of the Barro-Lee paper, Pakistan has topped at least two advanced economies and there could be more.

Riaz, am I right?

Riaz Haq said...

Mehul: "Riaz, am I right?"

No, you are not.

With half the population below 20 years and 60 per cent below 30 years, Pakistan has a much younger population than the advanced economies you refer to. It has a lot bigger percentage of its population in the high-school age group than Britain or the United States. So it makes sense that it should have more of its population enrolled and graduating from high schools.

Mehul said...


"With half the population below 20 years and 60 per cent below 30 years, Pakistan has a much younger population than the advanced economies you refer to. It has a lot bigger percentage of its population in the high-school age group than Britain or the United States. So it makes sense that it should have more of its population enrolled and graduating from high schools."

Well, then let's look at the other numbers. UK has primary "graduation" rate of 21.0 and Pakistan has 14.3. According to your analysis of Barro-Lee paper UK is better than Pakistan or UK has a much larger younger population; however, according to you Pakistan has a much higher younger population. Can you explain that?

Moreover, the primary completion rate for USA is 1.9 because USA has a smaller younger population, yet USA and UK are similar demographically! Can you explain that as well?

Riaz, the Barro-Lee paper in this case is about level of education attained or completed of the total population not "graduation" rates.

In my small city in India, I still remember the census (1991) worker asking me "highest level attained" questions for my family.
My mother was 7th pass and my father was matric (matriculation) pass. I don't remember or know of "secondary" pass question ever.

Maybe you need to go back to your analysis.

Mehul said...


I'm also involved in a NGO called "Pratham" which delivers at the grassroots level to increase literacy in India. We take UN data very seriously; however, I was perplexed by your interpretations regarding the Barro-Lee paper which Pratham uses as well.

The secondary attainment or completion rate is never used in India. In fact post independence, the rate has and still is below 1%. We regard it as a fudge number when a person doesn't fit any of the two categories.

Riaz Haq said...

Mehul: "According to your analysis of Barro-Lee paper UK is better than Pakistan or UK has a much larger younger population; however, according to you Pakistan has a much higher younger population. Can you explain that? "

Pakistan has a much larger younger population than UK but more than a third of it is not in school. If it were in school, the percentage for Pakistan would be much higher than UK.

Mehul said...

Riaz says:

"With half the population below 20 years and 60 per cent below 30 years, Pakistan has a much younger population than the advanced economies you refer to. It has a lot bigger percentage of its population in the high-school age group than Britain or the United States"

But Riaz also says:

"Pakistan has a much larger younger population than UK but more than a third of it is not in school. If it were in school, the percentage for Pakistan would be much higher than UK"

Yet Pakistan has 3.6 times better SECONDARY "graduation" rate than UK and 7.5 times better PRIMARY "graduation" rate than USA!
(Pakistan PRIMARY "graduation" 14.3 & SECONDARY "graduation" 18.7, UK SECONDARY = 5.2, USA PRIMARY = 1.9)

Mehul said...

Also, according to your analysis Pakistan has a larger younger population % so secondary "graduation" is 3.6 times that of UK (19.0 & 5.2). However, if Pakistan has a larger younger population % why is secondary "graduation" rate only 0.5 times USA (19.0 & 36.2)?

Riaz Haq said...


I don't understand why it is such a surprise to you that Pakistan with its much younger population than aging western societies should have higher percentage of it attending and completing prim and sec schools.

To me, the only consternation is why is not not even higher than that reported by Barro & Lee...and the answer is Pakistan has lower enrollment rates because of the failure of its public education system to provide access to more of its young people who should be in school.

Mehul said...

Why is Yemen's secondary "graduation" rate of 6.7 and Afghanistan secondary "graduation" rate of 6.4 only marginally higher than UK (5.2) even though both poor nations have near the world's highest young population yet Pakistan's secondary "graduation" rate is 2.8 times higher than Yemen and 3.0 times higher than Afghanistan?

Now here is the opposite question.
Kenya has 80% literacy rate and a demographically much higher % young population than UK. Why does UK (5.2) have a secondary "graduation" rate 8.7 times higher than that of Kenya (0.6)?

Norway has a primary "graduation" rate of 0.5. According to your analysis then, only one Norwegian "graduates" primary school out of 200! In other words primary "graduation" rates of Pakistan (14.3) is 28.6 times that of Norway (0.5)!

Something is inherently amiss in your Barro-Lee paper interpretations and conclusions which, you have blogged numerous times as I have found out.

Mehul said...

Riaz said:

"... and Barro & Lee both have concluded in their 2010 paper that Pakistan's graduation rates at all levels (Prim, Sec & Ter) are higher than India's"

Barro-Lee have NEVER offered that conclusion. No other source, publication or newspaper online or print have made that conclusion beside Mr. Riaz Haq of course.

The "completed" numbers that you call "graduation rates" is wrong.
The completed numbers reflect the percentage of literate population (25 years and above) who has "attained" at least that level of

In my 1991 survey in India:
Father completed "matric pass"
Mother completed "7th pass"
Wife completed "BCom"
Myself completed "PhD"

Corresponding percentage of highest levels attained in my family (no secondary exists):

primary 25%
secondary 0%
tertiary 75%

That is the essence of the Barro-Lee dataset.
(secondary still't exist

Riaz Haq said...

Mehul: "The completed numbers reflect the percentage of literate population (25 years and above) who has "attained" at least that level of

I disagree. All of the data and tables in Barro-Lee clearly state it is based on 15+ years population in each country.

Riaz Haq said...

Mehul: "According to your analysis then, only one Norwegian "graduates" primary school out of 200! "

No, 0.1% represents a percent of the Norwegian population that completes prim education, not percentage of those who enter prim school. With a rapidly aging population, Norway has one of the smallest populations of children in the country.

Mehul said...

Riaz said:
".. 0.1% represents a percent of the Norwegian population that completes prim education, not percentage of those who enter prim school."

So, the 0.9% secondary completion for India versus 22.5 for Pakistan represents 0.9% of the population complete secondary school in India and 22.5% of the population complete in Pakistan!

Or for the UK (21.0), which is somewhat demographically similar to Norway (0.5), an astoundingly 21.0 % of the population complete primary education. I was not aware UK had 21 % of its population that young!!!

Mehul said...

Riaz said:

"0.1% represents a percent of the Norwegian population that completes prim education, not percentage of those who enter prim school."

Then, why do you call it "graduation rate" in your India-Pakistan blogs?

Riaz Haq said...

Mehul: "Then, why do you call it "graduation rate" in your India-Pakistan blogs?"

You can call it completion rate.

Mehul said...

Riaz said:

"You can call it completion rate."

Okay agreed. Let us apply the RIAZ analysis.

Norway has primary "completion rate" of 0.1% of the total population?
(Norway has a very small young population)


UK has a primary "completion rate" of 21.0% of the population which is 210 times higher than Norway?
( but UK has a very small young population as well)


India has a secondary "completion rate" of 0.9% of the population which is 21 times less than Pakistan?
(but India and Pakistan both have a large young population)


UK has a secondary "completion rate" of 5.2% of the population which is 6 times that of India?
(but India has a larger young population)

Doesn't rate usually implies a ratio of in/out or similar.

Your analysis STILL baffles me.

Riaz Haq said...

Mehul: "UK has a primary "completion rate" of 21.0% of the population which is 210 times higher than Norway?
( but UK has a very small young population as well)"

UK has a significant immigrant population with high birth rates.

Mehul: "India has a secondary "completion rate" of 0.9% of the population which is 21 times less than Pakistan?
(but India and Pakistan both have a large young population)"

India's secondary enrollment rate of 40.7% is higher than Pakistan's secondary enrollment rate of 34.6%. It just shows India has a huge drop out problem....also reflected in fewer mean years of schooling in India.

mehul said...

Riaz said:

"UK has a significant immigrant population with high birth rates (compared to Norway)."


According to UN data 2005-2010 per 1000
Norway = 12.0
UK = 12.0

According to CIA fact book, 2009
Norway = 10.99
UK = 10.65

UK may actually have a similar if not smaller birth rate!

Total population of UK is 58 million of which 5.3 million is immigrant
or 9.1%

Total population of Norway is 5 million of which 550k is immigrant or 11%.


Riaz your knee jerk response above was without merit.

Again let us try to apply the RIAZ analysis then.

Norway has primary "completion rate" of 0.1% of the total population?
(Norway has a very small young population)


UK has a primary "completion rate" of 21.0% of the population which is 210 times higher than Norway?
( but UK has a very small young population as well)


ASHRAFUL said...


mehul said...

Here is the brief Methodology of Barre-Lee paper.

Please pay attention to the word 'attainment' and how that information is collected - survey of people and note you will not find "graduation rate"


We fill in most of missing observations by forward and backward extrapolation of the census/survey observations on attainment. The estimation procedure extrapolates the census/survey observations on attainment by 5-year age groups at five-year intervals fill in missing observations with an appropriate time lag.

We assume that an individual's educational attainment remains unchanged from age 25 to 64 and that mortality is uniform across all individuals, regardless of educational attainment. Hence, for age groups between 25 and 64, we fill the missing attainment data using the attainment of the younger age group from the previous period (forward) as benchmark or the attainment of the older age group from the succeeding period (backward).

Since direct backward or forward extrapolation is not applicable for the two youngest age groups (age 15-19 and 20-24), we use attainment and enrollment data to estimate missing attainment data. We assume that the change in enrollment leads to a proportional change in attainment over time with time lag. Hence, for these age groups, we use estimates for the same age group from the previous (or in the next) period as benchmark and adjust this benchmark figure by the change in enrollment over time or the enrollment adjustment factor.


Riaz Haq said...

Mehul: "Norway has primary "completion rate" of 0.1% of the total population?"

You are misquoting Barro-Lee data. In 2010, the data shows Norway had a total 2.7% and completed 2.7% at primary level...100% grad rate.

Mehul: "UK has a primary "completion rate" of 21.0% of the population which is 210 times higher than Norway?
( but UK has a very small young population as well)"

UK had total 24.1% and completion 18.8% in 2010...78% grad rate, and UK's birthrate is higher than Norway's.

Norway and UK are very different in terms of immigrant demographics....Norway immigrants are mostly from other low birth rate European nations while UK's immigrants are from higher birthrate countries, its former colonies....and it's quite probable that the prim students in UK are older than in Norway, and take longer to finish.

Mayraj said...

"Literacy, as defined in Census operations, is the ability to read and write with understanding in any language. A person who can merely read but cannot write is not classified as literate. Any formal education or minimum educational standard is not necessary to be considered literate. Adopting these definitions, the literacy level of the country as a whole was only 29.45 per cent with male literacy at 39.45 per cent and female literacy at 18.69 per cent. "

Mayraj said...

"China has absorbed an additional 40 crore in its cities since 1980 compared to India's 20 crore. Over the next three decades it is now India's turn to gainfully employ 40 crore people that will flock to its cities. But given the state of Indian cities, such pressure is likely to cause them to implode.
The situation is grim, is there a solution? Well, send the migrant from Jhumri Talayya straight to Tokyo!"

Mayraj said...

Curbing unemployment: New push to find overseas jobs for Pakistan’s jobless


In a bid to curb unemployment in the country, the government has decided to give fillip to efforts for export of human resources to Arab states and European countries.

While the administration is busy evolving a policy on human resources, foreign missions are being engaged in the process, whereas the ministry of foreign affairs has been asked to submit its response regarding the issue, an official told The Express Tribune.

Unemployment isn’t just claiming innocent lives, but it is also forcing people to resort to desperate measures (often petty crime) to feed their families.

While the government remains concerned about the growing rate of unemployment in the country, overseas employment agents complain that Pakistani embassies abroad are very “non-cooperative” in the matter.

The human resource development (HRD) ministry will approach countries such as Australia and Canada, the official said, adding that delegations from the ministry have already visited Turkey, Kuwait and China to broaden the employment base.

Riaz Haq said...

South Korea's Posco (PKX, 005490.SE) is looking to invest in steelmaking projects in Africa and Pakistan to capture the growing demand in those parts of the world, an executive told MarketWatch:

Posco Executive Vice President Sung-Kwan Baek told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of a business conference in Bali Friday the company hasn't decided on the location of the planned project in Africa, but he mentioned some possible countries such as Ghana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe because those countries hold abundant iron ore reserves, the basic steel raw material.

Baek said that the African plant will also serve the Middle Eastern market.

"At the same time we are thinking about Pakistan and India because of their big population," Baek added.

In India, the company has started to build downstream production facilities such as coating lines, cold-rolling mills and silicon-steel lines in the Maharashtra state, he said.

Meanwhile, for the upstream projects, Posco is planning three projects, one of which is expected to come through next year. The projects will be located in Karnataka state with six-million tons of annual production capacity, in Orissa, which will have eight million tons capacity. The other one will be developed with India's state-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd., which will have three million tons in production capacity.

The company's offshore investment is part of the plan to boost its total production capacity to 70 million tons by 2020, with 40 million will be produced by its plants in South Korea.

Posco is currently also developing a plant in Indonesia, which will have a six-million-ton annual capacity and a similar project in Brazil.

"Outside the two countries, we need 20 million tons in production capacity. Our goal is in 2020, we have 30 million tons [in production capacities] in foreign countries," the official said.

He added that the company will try to finance future projects with its own cash, but it doesn't rule out any fundraising activities if necessary.

Baek said that the company will closely watch how the global economy will affect China in determining its offshore investment for next year.

"If China survives, we will still have room to invest in foreign countries," Baek said.

China currently produces half of the global steel supply. Baek said that if China's economy slows down the country will likely boost its steel exports, making competition tougher.

Riaz Haq said...

KARACHI: The German parliament has ratified the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) signed by Germany and Pakistan in the year 2009 and has sent it to the European Commission for its final approval, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Germany Shahid Kamal told PPI.

Under the Bilateral Investment Treaty, investors of both the countries will be given protection and there will be more German investment in Pakistan in next 3 to 5 years, Kamal added.

Pakistan’s exports to Germany during 2011 calendar years will be around $1.5 billion, with the balance of trade in favour of Pakistan, as against $700 million in the last year.

Quoting official German statistics, Kamal said the trade between the two countries from January to July 2011, was $800 million, 45 percent more than in 2010.

Germany - the largest economy in Europe - was the fifth largest investor in Pakistan in the years 2009 and 2010.

“We are trying to set up German Pakistan Chambers of Commerce, which will enhance connectivity between the private sectors of both the countries,” Kamal stated.

He spoke of immense prospects to export rice, fruits, and vegetables to Germany, where prices of these items were rising. He said Germany was supporting Pakistan for greater market access to EU member states.

He said under an agreement signed recently, German government will provide economic assistance of $58 million for training in electronics, mechanics to Pakistanis over five years.

Shahid Kamal said another $85 million worth of German economic cooperation was underway in renewable wind and solar energy, which will help overcome load shedding in the country. He also said that 340 PhD Pakistanis were working in German universities. German Consul General in Karachi Dr Tilo Klinner, who was also present during the discussion, said that under German economic cooperation program, people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces will get Pakistanis will get vocational training under the Public Private Partnership. Dr Klinner said German government will co-host an International Conference on Afghanistan in Bonn on December 5, 2011.

Riaz Haq said...

British Council Pakistan is organising the Education UK virtual exhibition in Pakistan from 21 November to 30 November 2011.

Pakistan remains an important and rewarding market for the UK but it is equally a challenging environment in which to operate. Virtual exhibitions, as an appropriate remote method of recruitment, have a role in developing a flexible, sustainable approach to service provision that is appropriate to the unique operating context in Pakistan.

With a rapid increase in the number of Internet users and Internet Service Providers, and a large English-speaking population, Pakistani society has seen an unparalleled revolution in communications. Internet access has been available in Pakistan since the mid-1990s. Pakistan is reported as the most connected country in South Asia, with the highest teledensity. Today there are over 20 million frequent internet users in Pakistan.

The core objectives of developing our virtual exhibitions’ offering are to:

To provide an opportunity to showcase UK education to the public and key influencers via an interactive on-line platform
Provide a cost-effective means of outreach in the current economic climate
Offer an alternative to the traditional exhibition format in a market where delivery of a standard exhibition is not viable

Riaz Haq said...

Online News: Half of Pakistan’s population may live in cities by 2030

ISLAMABAD: More than half of Pakistan’s population is estimated to be living in cities by the year 2030. Both natural increase and net migration are major contributory factors to urban growth.

These views were expressed by participants of a seminar on “Business and the Middle Class in Pakistan organized by the Planning Commission of Pakistan which was held here on Wednesday.

The seminar included speakers and discussants from some of the largest companies and businesses in Pakistan, coming together to discuss the importance of the evolving middle class in Pakistan.

The participants said that current urban growth rate was approximately 3.5 per cent as compare to 2 per cent nationally. More rural people are migrating to urban centers for higher-paying jobs. Upward social mobility creating and expanding the middle class.

Given the low median age, Pakistan’s middle class is unusually young as compared to developed economies, meaning that younger population will have the most disposable incomes.The expanding middle class consumers will aim for first world aspirations and greater focus will be on branded retail products. The middle class has been growing in number as well as in importance all over the world, which is why businesses strategize targeting this specific class.

The participants said that the middle class is conceptually defined as the class between the rich and the poor; however its boundaries are usually made arbitrarily. It is also important to note the multi-dimensionality of an adequate definition; a person belonging to the middle class needs to be evaluated not only on a monetary basis, other aspects of quality of life and available opportunities need to be encapsulated to arrive at a well rounded definition.

They said that studies show a positive relationship between the higher share of income for the middle class and economic growth as well as political aspects like democracy. Other studies indicate the emergence of entrepreneurs from the middle class. It is the middle class that was the driver of success in India and China.

They said that the biggest opportunity of the rising middle class, at present and future will be for companies selling mass-consumer goods and services. As incomes rise spending patterns will incorporate discretionary and small luxury items while proportionate expenditure on food, clothing and other necessities tend to shrink.

While the basics may decline as a share of consumption, in absolute terms they will continue to grow. Housing, healthcare and educational expenses are expected to register a greater share of the wallet – this spending will be driven by the strong link between education and higher salaries, as well as growing number of options for both higher and vocational education.

Mayraj said...

The United States of Aging: 1 in 8 Americans now ‘senior’ as growth rate of the old skyrockets

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on the airing of the first episode of Sim Sim Humara in Pakistan:

The first episode of the Pakistan Children Television’s programme “Sim Sim Hamara”, an educational and capacity-building TV series for children, will be aired on Dec 10 at national TV.

The TV series will be a high-quality early education resource for a large number of children who lack access to formal education opportunities.

“Sim Sim Hamara” is the Pakistani adaptation of the engaging programme “Sesame Street”, created by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop in collaboration with Sesame Workshop, New York, and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The theatre group will create a total of 130 episodes of the “Sim Sim Hamra” broadcast on PTV Home.

Seventy-eight of these episodes will be produced in Urdu and 52 in national languages. The first episode will be aired at 5:30pm on Dec 10 and the repeat telecast will be at 9:30am next day. The moving spirit behind the project, Faizan Pirzada told Dawn that “along with language and numeracy skills, this new educational show will promote basic life skills, healthy habits, mutual respect and love for learning. The show’s locally-developed puppet stars include Rani, a six-year old school girl with a keen interest in natural sciences and a love of reading, Munna, a five-year old boy with big dreams and a flair for mathematics and numbers, Baily, a fluffy, hardworking donkey who aspires to be a pop star, Baji, a colourful, spirited woman with a passion for food, family, fun and tradition, and Haseen-o-Jameel, a crocodile who has a wonderful way with words, rhymes and songs.”

Throwing light on the background of the project, one of the heads of the PC TV, Faizan Pirzada said Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, in collaboration with Sesame Workshop, held a national content seminar and four provincial workshops to gather educational advisers from various fields to provide direction for the educational framework for the Pakistan Children’s Television project.

He said the participants included representatives from both regional and federal government entities, academicians, performing artists, civil society members working with children, representatives from Sesame Workshop, USAID and the federal education secretary.

He said there’s a need to impress upon children and families the fact that learning happens in both formal and non-formal environments. PC television is using authentic examples from the real world, such as observing a family member count change at the grocery store, weighing produce on scales at the vegetable market, reading prayers from the Holy Quran and other holy texts, and measuring ingredients for ‘roti’ as a basis for storylines and materials that promote a lifelong love of learning.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune story of a Pakistani young man of humble origins helping terror victims after studying Emergency Medicine at Yale:

.Today, Razzak is a renowned emergency medicine expert and the executive director of the Aman Foundation. He started his schooling at a humble primary school in Lyari, completing his secondary education from Nasira School in Depot Lines. Not one to be held back, the hard-working student subsequently attended Adamjee Science College where his impressive grades and unbounded enthusiasm won him a scholarship at the prestigious Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), the top private medical institution in the country.
In collaboration with the Edhi Ambulance Service, an arm of the philanthropic Edhi organisation and the largest volunteer ambulance network in the world, he researched and analysed road traffic injuries and emergency cases. Edhi had a mountain of documentation for every call and every case it had handled in the last two decades. The downside? None of it was digitised, so he spent days sifting through it manually.

The experience stayed with him, and the data revealed a disturbing pattern. Gruesome injuries, often suffered by the poorest members of society, were often improperly handled by well-meaning doctors, simply because of a lack of know-how. These mistakes frequently, and literally, led to the loss of life and limb.

Yet, Razzak soon realised that he needed more professional training and specialisation courses before he could progress further. He sat for the US Medical Licensing Exams (MLE) and had observations at the Beth Israel Medical Centre, New York, and the Yale-New Haven Hospital, Connecticut. In 1996, his residency and training programme at Yale University’s School of Medicine started and in 1999, he was given the ‘Best Trainee’ award by the State of Connecticut.

On the personal front, Yale was also important for the doctor since he met his future wife there. Following graduation, the two stayed in the US for a few years, always looking forward to the time when they would return home. “The plan was always to come back,” says Razzak. “That’s why we never bought a house, never completely settled in.”

Before they could come back, Razzak did his PhD in Public Health at the world-renowned Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, where he focused on the use of ambulance data for monitoring road traffic accidents. Finally, in 2005, the studious boy from Kharadar returned to Pakistan as a successful, qualified expert in emergency medicine.

He joined his alma mater, AKUH as a faculty member and went on to successfully found Pakistan’s first emergency medicine service (EMS) training programme at the university. “There were many doctors who were awarded their degrees without ever administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as it wasn’t a requirement,” he reveals.

This changed when his EMS programme became a mandatory rotation that all students had to serve. Subsequently, Razzak went on to build and head a new emergency department. Yet, the battle was just half won. Students in the new department faced a dilemma, similar to the one Razzak had as a student. They were required to go to the United Kingdom to sit for their exam, otherwise they would not be considered qualified.
Determined to remove, for others, the hurdles that he himself had crossed only after many toils, Razzak collaborated with the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) to organise a curriculum for the specialised field. The first batch for this course was enrolled last year. Now students wanting to specialise in emergency medicine will be able to obtain certification in their chosen field, without having to travel abroad....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune story on the state of higher education in Pakistan:

....“To create a knowledge capital, particularly in an emerging economy, a country has to invest heavily in the education sector,” said Dr Laghari, citing examples of South Korea, Singapore and more recently of Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey and Indonesia, who invested in education and made significant progress. Sadly, he said, Pakistan invests only 0.7% of its Gross Domestic Product in education, “which is too meagre to achieve its future goals”.

Dr Laghari said we need at least 15,000 PhDs in the next decade, which is only possible if more than 1,000 PhDs are produced every year. However, he said within the available budget we are hardly producing 600 PhDs annually.
Dr Laghari said that at least 20 to 30% of the population aged 17 to 23 should have accessibility to the higher education, but in Pakistan only 7.8% have this facility. In the Muslim world, 27% population in the given age group in Indonesia has access to higher education, in Malaysia it’s 30% and in Turkey it is 37%, he added. He cited that Brazil has invested $26 billion on its higher education and is expected to produce 75,000 PhDs in the next ten years.
But despite outlining the issues marring education in Pakistan, Dr Laghari dispelled the impression that the higher education sector is stagnant.

He said that in spite of the financial crunch, HEC has succeeded in improving the quality of education and research. He said that rate of enrolment in higher education is growing by 15 to 20% annually, and published research is increasing 20 to 25% annually.

He said that 10 offices of research innovation have already been set up and another 12 are in the pipeline. Moveover, three centres of advanced studies focusing on water, agriculture and energy are currently being established at different universities, which are priority areas for developing countries like Pakistan, he added.

HEC is focusing on promoting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in universities and has defined their roles in building economies, communities and leadership, said Dr Laghari. As a result, he said research output has increased significantly in the last few years and so has as the number of PhD graduates. He said although the commission could not send a single person abroad for PhD last year, this year it managed to send abroad 600 to 700 scholars.

“The biggest challenge for higher education is improving both the quality of education and research, which is only possible if the sector gets appropriate funding,” he maintained. The HEC chief said the commission has gotten some financial respite from the World Bank, which recently loaned it $300 million, in addition to funds from USAID and the British Council.

He said funds allocated to the HEC last year were insufficient, and warned of massive protests by employees across the country if they are not paid their raised salaries.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune story on a new business school in Karachi:

Sitting in the corporate office of the Karachi School for Business and Leadership (KSBL), an upcoming graduate management school being established in the financial capital of Pakistan in collaboration with Judge Business School of the University of Cambridge, Dean Robert Wheeler III spoke at length as to why Karachi needed yet another business school.

“No doubt, IBA and LUMS are outstanding business schools. But the academia isn’t like a corporation, it’s not about winning or losing,” Wheeler told The Express Tribune in an interview. “Pakistan needs more top-level business schools, it needs more leaders.”

Having served at the Pennsylvania State University, University of Texas at Austin and Georgetown University in key positions like assistant dean and director of MBA programmes, Wheeler has been associated with KSBL for the past two years. Spread over three acres, a dedicated campus of KSBL is currently under construction on main Stadium Road in Karachi. The construction phase will be over in July 2012 and the first intake of students will be in September. Initially, KSBL will offer a full-time, 21-month MBA programme in general management only.

“Our emphasis is on ethical leadership. It’s not about being right or wrong. It’s about making difficult choices,” he said, adding that KSBL would make an extra effort to infuse students with social responsibility. “We’ll work with students to help them stay here in Pakistan after they graduate, to make them realise that they owe something to this society.”

The MBA curriculum has been designed in collaboration with Judge Business School. Besides conventional teaching methods involving lectures and case studies, KSBL will use videoconferencing to let its students attend live lectures from American and British universities.

“We’re wiring the entire building for videoconferencing so that CEOs from London, Singapore and the US could show up on videoconferencing,” he said, adding that the campus would benefit from natural light optimisation, as more than 70% of the rooms would have natural lighting.

Wheeler said the core faculty of KSBL would be of Pakistani origin with PhD degrees from foreign universities. “We’ll cut back on the administrative work that faculty is often required to do in Pakistan and encourage them to do applied research that could be used in the industry, government and business.” In many classes, especially those on entrepreneurship, Wheeler said more than one person would co-teach students via videoconferencing to provide them with a combination of academic and professional perspectives.


Referring to corporate entrepreneurship, or intrapreneurship meaning working like an entrepreneur within an organisation, Wheeler said the traditional role of an entrepreneur was changing, as big corporations were now looking for business graduates with entrepreneurial mindset.

As for the admission process at KSBL, he said prospective students would be judged on their GMAT scores, GPAs, essays and interview performance. “We’ll have a holistic approach. We want to produce team players, people who can get along with others. You need to fulfil certain requirements, but high scores only shouldn’t guarantee your admission.”

Rejecting the idea that working with the bureaucracy is particularly difficult in Pakistan, Wheeler said the United States was equally bureaucratic. “We’re right on track. Things are going well. The construction phase will be over in July.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from a piece by Lan Pritchett of Harvard University on India's poor performance on PISA:

Compared to the economic superstars India is almost unfathomably far behind. The TN/HP average 15 year old is over 200 points behind. If a typical grade gain is 40 points a year Indian eighth graders are at the level of Korea third graders in their mathematics mastery. In fact the average TN/HP child is 40 to 50 points behind the worst students in the economic superstars. Equally worrisome is that the best performers in TN/HP - the top 5 percent who India will need in science and technology to complete globally - were almost 100 points behind the average child in Singapore and 83 points behind the average Korean - and a staggering 250 points behind the best in the best.

As the current superpowers are behind the East Asian economic superstars in learning performance the distance to India is not quite as far, but still the average TN/HP child is right at the level of the worst OECD or American students (only 1.5 or 7.5 points ahead). Indians often deride America's schools but the average child placed in an American school would be among the weakest students. Indians might have believed, with President Obama, that American schools were under threat from India but the best TN/HP students are 24 points behind the average American 15 year old.

Even among other "developing" nations that make up the BRICs India lags - from Russia by almost as much as the USA and only for Brazil, which like the rest of Latin America is infamous for lagging education performance does India even come close - and then not even that close.

To put these results in perspective, in the USA there has been huge and continuous concern that has caused seismic shifts in the discourse about education driven, in part, by the fact that the USA is lagging the economic superstars like Korea. But the average US 15 year old is 59 points behind Koreans. TN/HP students are 41.5 points behind Brazil, and twice as far behind Russia (123.5 points) as the US is Korea, and almost four times further behind Singapore (217.5 vs 59) that the US is behind Korea. Yet so far this disastrous performance has yet to occasion a ripple in the education establishment.
These PISA 2009+ results are the end of the beginning. The debate is over. No one can still deny there is a deep crisis in the ability of the existing education system to produce child learning. India's education system is undermining India's legitimate aspirations to be at the global forefront as a prosperous economy, as a global great power, as an emulated polity, and as a fair and just society. As the beginning ends, the question now is: what is to be done?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an uplifting story in Express Tribune about a Pakistani with 28 A's in O Level exams:

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has presented a cheque of Rs1 million as a token of appreciation to a student from Taxila who had set a world record in the O-level examinations.

Zohaib Asad, a student of Beaconhouse, earned 28 As in the University of Cambridge International O-Level Examinations in 2011. He overtook a record of 23 As, also set by a Pakistani student from Islamabad Ibrahim Shahid.

Gilani invited Asad to the Prime Minister House on Thursday and lauded him for making Pakistan’s youth proud. He said that Asad’s achievement will inspire other young students to excel in life through sheer hard work.

Asad is currently enrolled at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he is pursuing an undergraduate degree in economics and international development.

Speaking to the prime minister, he said that he was determined to return to Pakistan after completion of his education to serve the country that has given so much in life at an early age.

Gilani appreciated Asad’s sense of devotion to the country the country and said that young people like him were Pakistan’s hope for a brighter future.

Asad’s family members were also present in the meeting.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from Malaysia's Bernama news agency report:

..for Pakistan, the education sector is also a priority. Apart from increase in trade during the year, the number of Pakistani students studying in Malaysia increased to over 3,000 students.

"This was due to more linkages established between the universities of both countries," Pakistani High Commissioner to Malaysia Masood Khalid told Bernama.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a story published in Fast Company about an "Education Revolution" in Pakistan:

TED Fellow, social entrepreneur and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is on a mission to foment Pakistan's education revolution.

The province of Sindh, where Obaid-Chinoy is based, decided less than two months ago to completely revamp public school textbooks, and the government enlisted Obaid-Chinoy to help. "There needs to be an overhaul," Obaid-Chinoy tells Fast Company. "Textbooks are outdated and I've been working with the government on how to encourage critical thinking and move away from rote memorization....It's tough, because the mindset is not there. The teachers are essentially products of the same system. We have to break the culture, which takes a long time."

Sindh's teachers now spend extensive time in professional training with education experts to try and reform the instruction of English, math, and social studies. "We're really making this a movement for education for social change," Obaid-Chinoy says.

"People are excited by it. Everyone's getting into it, rolling up their sleeves. We're trying to bridge the divide between the public and private school systems," which, she says, is at the heart of Pakistan's education challenges. The poorer schools are under-resourced and are often recruiting grounds for young terrorists. By improving the public education system, the less-fortunate children have a better shot at a solid future, away from terrorist groups, and local leaders hope to accomplish improvements by focusing on textbooks and teacher trainings.

"Pakistan also feels it needs to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of education and that was the genesis for the education overhaul," says Obaid-Chinoy. "Terrorism defines us today," but, she says, there was a time when the country was known for its vibrancy and sense of hope.

Obaid-Chinoy is doing her part in other ways to revamp Pakistan's education system. In 2007 she started, the country's first digital archive documenting its oral history with interviews, rare photos, and other online collections. The initiative allows students in schools throughout Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India to better understand Pakistan and its history and Obaid-Chinoy was able to interview several notable figures who have since passed away, such as Deena Mistri, one of the country's first female educators. And students around South Asia are now engaged in learning exchanges with students in Pakistan, to help the countries build bridges.

And throughout her education work, Obaid-Chinoy's medium is often filmmaking. She makes about one film per year and has covered a range of topics from jihadi schools to female victims of acid attacks. Her next film will look at 9/11 through the eyes of different figures, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary this year.

"My mother gave up her dream of becoming a journalist when she got married and I think she always wanted to make sure that her six children pursued their dreams. I have four sisters and all of us work in male-dominated professions in Pakistan." And Obaid-Chinoy now brings that same sense of passion and justice to her work and thanks to her, her country may soon become a bright spot for global-minded education.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a private-public partnership initiative for education in Sindh, as reported in The Express Tribune:

The Sindh Education Foundation has handed over the management of 1,200 schools across Sindh to entrepreneurs under its private-public partnership programme, Integrated Education Learning Programme (IELP).

The SEF asked entrepreneurs to apply for school adoption by submitting proposals and they received a staggering 9,600 applications. Each proposal was strictly assessed. There should be no other primary school within a one-kilometre radius of the new one or already established school as this would affect enrolment. No other secondary school should exist within a two-kilometre radius. At least 40 children should be enrolled in primary schools and 30 in elementary and secondary classes. The programme requires the student-teacher ratio to be at least 1:4. Teachers should be paid a minimum of Rs5,000 while at least Rs2,500 should be paid to the support staff. Drinking water and clean toilets are other prerequisites for the IELP selection.

Out of the total applications received, 4,500 were initially shortlisted and 1,500 were finally randomly selected, informed Sadaf Junaid Zuberi, the SEF senior manager.

The final contract signing ceremony was held at the SEF headquarters on Monday where the remaining 300 of the 1,500 selected entrepreneurs sealed their school adoption deal in the presence of Senior Minister for Education and Literacy Pir Mazharul Haq.

Prof Anita Ghulam Ali, the SEF managing director, welcomed the guests and school entrepreneurs and called for operators to take up this opportunity with full honesty and commitment. “You can change the future of thousands of children,” she said.

Lauding the efforts of the SEF, the education minister said that it has been promoting lasting public-private partnerships in the education sector. The government plans to open more schools under this agreement and people who adopt them will be strictly monitored.

The programme was launched in 2009 and was designed to give financial and technical support to new and existing private, community and trust-owned schools throughout the province. Three hundred schools were already working successfully. The project directly reaches 450,000 children.

Each entrepreneur will get a 350-rupee subsidy per child from the Sindh government via the SEF. They will be responsible for the school’s management, monitoring, enrolment, building capacity, community and parent mobilisation and student assessment.

As the project is fully funded IELP students do not pay any fees. SEF will provide textbooks and classroom aides and will also work on teacher training.

IELP follows the SEF’s Promoting Private Schooling in Rural Sindh (PPRS) programme. It is different from the PPRS as it involves both primary and secondary schools.

SEF director of programmes, operations and research, Aziz Kabani, said the aim was to “establish public-private partnership to increase access to and improve the quality of educational services to children in marginalised areas of the province”.

Riaz Haq said...

In a recent speech President Obama exaggerated the competitive threat from India and China. He said,"when global firms were asked a few years back where they planned on building new research and development facilities, nearly 80 per cent said either China or India – because those countries are focused on math and science, and they're focused on training and educating their workforce".

Based on the recent PISA test results, Obama may be right about threat from China. But India? I don't agree.

Here's why:

The average Indian child taking part in PISA2009+ is 40 to 50 points behind the worst students in the economic superstars. Even the best performers in Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh - the top 5 percent who India will need in science and technology to complete globally - were almost 100 points behind the average child in Singapore and 83 points behind the average Korean - and a staggering 250 points behind the best in the best.

The average child in HP & TN is right at the level of the worst OECD or American students (only 1.5 or 7.5 points ahead). Contrary to President Obama's oft-expressed concerns about American students ability to compete with their Indian counterparts, the average 15-year-old Indian placed in an American school would be among the weakest students in the classroom. Even the best TN/HP students are 24 points behind the average American 15 year old.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of a BBC report on Arfa's death:

Arfa's short life mirrors Pakistan's burgeoning engagement with information technology, an industry which holds out hope for youth embittered by unemployment and a lack of opportunities.

Her father, Col Amjad Karim, says she was particularly concerned to use her skills to help the young, those under-served by IT and those from villages.

"It is generally understood that computers are for very hi-fi people or rich schools but nowadays one can be purchased for a few thousand rupees by the poorest of poorest," he told the BBC.

"Arfa's centre of gravity was wanting to improve human resource development by focusing on education."

Col Karim retired from the army to be his daughter's manager. He says her mother and two younger brothers are in shock after her death.

Arfa had been in intensive care in a Lahore hospital since late December.

Senior politicians joined relatives at her funeral in the city on Sunday - she has already had a technology park named after her in Lahore.

Her loss is also being felt by Pakistan's IT world.

Shoaib Malik, country manager for games company Mindstorm, said: "It's really sad. What was amazing about her was that she had a clear vision, she literally wanted to set up the industry.

"One thinks only kids who have studied from abroad would have a vision but it was remarkable. I think whatever God does, does for the better but had she been alive she could have played an important role in the IT industry."

Mindstorm is one of a number of small Pakistani start-ups tapping into the global IT boom - a side to the country often overlooked amid bombings, natural disasters and never-ending political crisis.

The company, set up by self-taught techies, developed a game which ended being selected as the ICC World Cup 2011 official game, Cricket Power.
Internet effect

According to Pakistan Software Houses Association president Jehan Ara, Arfa was "intelligent beyond her years".

"In addition to achieving a professional certification at the tender age of nine, it is also notable that she set up and ran a computer training institute for a poor community.

"Her passion for technology, coupled with her vision to use her talent to do something significant for Pakistan and its people, was truly amazing for someone so young."

Ms Ara feels the IT industry offers a way out of unemployment for young Pakistanis, many of whom she says are starting their own companies. One Karachi firm is even developing software for the stock exchange in the UK.
Around 1996 - the year when Arfa was born - the IT industry really took off in Pakistan, according to Shakir Hussain, CEO of software company Creative Chaos.

As the millennium approached, the fear of a mass technical apocalypse also motivated people to pay more attention to IT ventures.

"Suddenly there were hiring and migration opportunities for software engineers," he recalls.

But techies in Pakistan had been putting their creative minds to work even earlier than that, with far-reaching and destructive results.

In 1986, two brothers from Lahore created the world's first computer virus, "Brain".

They insist the virus was friendly and not intended to damage information, but it still ricocheted through the tech world and was developed by others, spawning viruses used to exploit operating systems.

That, however, is not what Pakistan's IT industry wants to be known for.

Shakir Hussain thinks it offers bright young people a good chance to earn a few thousand dollars working from home through various websites.

"The internet has been a great leveller," he says.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a story of China's recent decline in workforce:

Due to an ageing population and a decline in the fertility rate, China's labor force in 2011 registered the first decline in its numbers in 10 years, with its population aged between 15 and 64 accounting for 74.4% of the total, a slight drop of 0.1 percentage point, according to data released by the country's National Bureau of Statistics.

The figures send out a warning signal since the supply of labor in China can impact economic growth momentum, the Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post reports.

According to the data released on the bureau's website, China's labor population experienced its first fall since 2002, while the proportion of urban population surpassed 50% for the first time last year, following rapid urbanization caused by a rise in living standards and the launch of a large number of public construction projects.

The data showed that urban population had reached 51.27% of the total in 2011, up 1.32 percentage points from the previous year. Urban population increased 21 million to 609.08 million, while the rural population was reduced by 14.56 million to 656.56 million.

Li Shi, a professor at Beijing Normal University, said many are concerned that China will lose its "demographic dividend" in the labor force, though it is uncertain how many years it may take for such a complete loss of advantage to occur.

The key for China to maintain its labor force advantage hinges on changes within its existing systems, such as retirement age, Li said. He added that if the country's retirement age could be extended, China could hold its labor force advantage for a longer time.

Li further said that many statistics do not accurately reflect the country's real situation. For instance, the number of migrant workers who registered their households in rural areas was not available.

Echoing Li's view, Ren Yuan, a professor at Fudan University's School of Social Development and Public Policy in Shanghai, also said the level of urbanization was overestimated because a large number of migrant workers in cities were included in the statistics of urban residents. He described the situation as being not fully urbanized.

Since urbanization was a necessary consequence of economic development, the biggest concern is whether the supply of labor can meet the needs of economic development.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Toronto Star story of a Pakistani and Chinese Canadian kids space flight using a lego man with a balloon:

Two Canadian teenagers have sent a Lego man into space using a home-stitched parachute and spare parts found on Craigslist.

Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad, both 17, attached the two-inch astronaut clutching a Canadian flag to a helium weather balloon, which they sent 80,000 feet into the air - three times the height of a commercial jet's cruising altitude.

The pair managed to capture the entire 97 minute journey which began on a football pitch in Toronto using four cameras set to take photos every 20 seconds, reports the Toronto Star.

They were left with astonishing footage from an estimated 24 kilometres above sea level which showed the toy floating above the curvature of our planet before beginning a 32 minute descent back to earth.

The personal project cost the boys $400 and took four months of free Saturdays, reports the Star.

Having attached a GPS receiver to the styrofoam box carrying the cameras and Lego man, the teens were able to recover their Lego man which landed 122km from the launch site.

When the teens got home and uploaded the two videos and 1,500 photos onto a computer, they told the Star that they started screaming with joy.

Their footage shows the Lego man spinning at an altitude three times higher than the peak of Mount Everest, before the balloon bursts and he starts to plummet.

“We never knew it would be this good,” Ho told the Star.

According to the report, the two students met in middle school after Muhammad's family had just emigrated from Pakistan.

Muhammad, who spoke no English, was soon befriended by Ho and they began working on the project at Ho's house last September.

"People would walk into the house and see us building this fantastical thing with a parachute from scratch, and they would be like, 'What are you doing?', We'd be like, 'We're sending cameras to space.' They'd be like, 'Oh, okayyyyy …' Ho told the Star.

Astrophysics professor Dr Michael Reid, from the University of Toronto, praised the boys' work, telling the Star: "It shows a tremendous degree of resourcefulness. For two 17-year-olds to accomplish this on their own is pretty impressive."

Read more:

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on 2012-2013 Fulbright scholar program in Pakistan:

Amid strained ties and mutual mistrust, the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan has announced the world’s largest Fulbright programme in Pakistan for the 2013.

The US government’s flagship scholarship programme awards deserving Pakistani students full scholarships that cover tuition, textbooks, airfare, a stipend, and health insurance to complete their Master’s or PhD degrees in a field of their choice in universities across the US. Currently, approximately 369 students are studying in the US on Fulbright awards and another 200 will be departing in the fall of 2012.

According to Ambassador Richard Hoagland, deputy chief of mission, Pakistan’s Fulbright programme is also one of the oldest in the world. “Our agreement initiating the programme was signed on September 23, 1950 – and the first Pakistanis and Americans travelled each way in the same year. It was one of the very first agreements of its kind and has since been extended to 155 countries around the world.”

Since then, nearly 4,000 Pakistanis and over 800 Americans have participated in USEFP-administered exchange programmes.

The deadline to apply for the 2013 programme is May 16, 2012, and the application form can be downloaded from the USEFP’s website

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of David Brooks Op Ed in NY Times:

Usually, high religious observance and low income go along with high birthrates. But, according to the United States Census Bureau, Iran now has a similar birth rate to New England — which is the least fertile region in the U.S.

The speed of the change is breathtaking. A woman in Oman today has 5.6 fewer babies than a woman in Oman 30 years ago. Morocco, Syria and Saudi Arabia have seen fertility-rate declines of nearly 60 percent, and in Iran it’s more than 70 percent. These are among the fastest declines in recorded history.

The Iranian regime is aware of how the rapidly aging population and the lack of young people entering the work force could lead to long-term decline. But there’s not much they have been able to do about it. Maybe Iranians are pessimistic about the future. Maybe Iranian parents just want smaller families.
If you look around the world, you see many other nations facing demographic headwinds. If the 20th century was the century of the population explosion, the 21st century, as Eberstadt notes, is looking like the century of the fertility implosion.

Already, nearly half the world’s population lives in countries with birthrates below the replacement level. According to the Census Bureau, the total increase in global manpower between 2010 and 2030 will be just half the increase we experienced in the two decades that just ended. At the same time, according to work by the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, the growth in educational attainment around the world is slowing.

This leads to what the writer Philip Longman has called the gray tsunami — a situation in which huge shares of the population are over 60 and small shares are under 30.
Rapidly aging Japan has one of the worst demographic profiles, and most European profiles are famously grim. In China, long-term economic growth could face serious demographic restraints. The number of Chinese senior citizens is soaring by 3.7 percent year after year. By 2030, as Eberstadt notes, there will be many more older workers (ages 50-64) than younger workers (15-29). In 2010, there were almost twice as many younger ones. In a culture where there is low social trust outside the family, a generation of only children is giving birth to another generation of only children, which is bound to lead to deep social change.

Even the countries with healthier demographics are facing problems. India, for example, will continue to produce plenty of young workers. By 2030, according to the Vienna Institute of Demography, India will have 100 million relatively educated young men, compared with fewer than 75 million in China.

But India faces a regional challenge. Population growth is high in the northern parts of the country, where people tend to be poorer and less educated. Meanwhile, fertility rates in the southern parts of the country, where people are richer and better educated, are already below replacement levels.

The U.S. has long had higher birthrates than Japan and most European nations. The U.S. population is increasing at every age level, thanks in part to immigration. America is aging, but not as fast as other countries.

But even that is looking fragile. The 2010 census suggested that U.S. population growth is decelerating faster than many expected.....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on a conference on technical & vocational training (TVET)as published in The Nation:

For the first time in Pakistan, the British Council on Monday held an International Conference on Employer Engagement and Entrepreneurship for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector for South Asia.

Held under the Skills for Employability programme, the conference focused on the benefits of employers’ engagement in the curriculum development and policy-making process in the TVET sector and how it can be encouraged, says a press release issued here.

The participants agreed that the engagement will result in enabling policy makers to develop demand-driven curriculum that will not only produce workforce with industry-need expertise and knowledge but will also pave ways to promote entrepreneurship amongst the young TVET graduates.

TVET experts from Pakistan, United Kingdom, Bangladesh and Nepal participated in the conference besides principals, teachers and students of TVET colleges from across Pakistan.

Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Federal Minister for Professional and Technical Training, was the chief guest at the conference. In his speech, he highlighted the role of TVET education for the development of a country’s economy particularly for a country like Pakistan.

There was an overall consensus in amongst the participants of the conference that there is always a consistent demand of skilled workforce from the developing world to the developed countries as well as within their own countries. But there was also a general agreement on the challenges that countries like Pakistan face to meet those demands. One of the major challenges that were highlighted in the conference was how to equip our manpower with the expertise and skills that are in demand in the global market.
Adam Thompson, the British High Commissioner in Pakistan was the guest of honour at the event and he talked about how TVET education in the UK is contributing to the economy by producing demand-driven workforce.

The conference also had an impressive exhibition setup by enterprising young students from the TVET colleges across Pakistan. There were separate panel discussions on Employer Engagement and Entrepreneurship, where experts from different countries discussed the importance of these two elements in TVET sector followed by a Q & A session by an enthusiastic audience.

The findings of the two sessions on Employer Engagement and Entrepreurship were shared with the participants in the concluding session of the Conference.

Salman Shehzad, Regional Manager for Skills for Employability programme concluded the Conference with his closing remarks. Salman said, “Having the treasure of approx. 65% youth population in Pakistan; TVET reforms can be instrumental in creating dynamic opportunities for young people which would certainly support the government’s agenda of engaging youth in skill development activities.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on a traveling exhibit to promote chemistry learning in Pakistan:

The International Traveling Expo ‘It’s all about Chemistry’ opened at Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) on Wednesday.

Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) in collaboration with the embassy of France in Islamabad and Scientific, Technical, Industrial and Cultural Centre (CCSTI), France has arranged the Expo, prepared by Centre Sciences-France, UNESCO and partners, for providing a first-hand picture of the role of chemistry in daily life to students and general public.

The Expo is aimed at increasing the interest of young people in Chemistry and to generate enthusiasm among students for take chemistry as a subject of their studies.

The expo started its journey in Pakistan from Karachi in January and after travelling through Tandojam, Khairpur, DG Khan, Multan, Lahore, Mansehra, Peshawar and Swat has reached Islamabad from where it would travel to Sibbi and conclude in Quetta.

Study of Chemistry is critical in addressing challenges such as global climate change, in providing sustainable sources of clean water, food energy and in well-being of people.

The science of chemistry and its applications produce medicines, fuels, metals and virtually all other manufactured products.

PSF Chairman Prof Dr Manzoor Soomro inaugurated the 3-day Expo while French Attache for Cooperation Gilles Angles, AIOU Faculty of Sciences Dean Prof Dr Noshad Khan and AIOU Chemistry Department’s Chairperson Prof Dr Naghmana Rashid were also present on this occasion.

The displays of the expo include Black and White Chemistry, Molecules in Action, Nature Returns with a bang, Intelligent Textiles-Dress Intelligently, Dress Usefully, Materials that Heal Automatically, Oil-bases or Water-based paint, Pure air at home, What’s Going on in my saucepan, Town Water or field Water, Experts against Fraud, When Art and Science Meet, Molecular Motors, Bio-fuels for Green Driving and Responsible Farming etc.

Dr Manzoor Soomro highlighted the PSF programmes and activities for promotion of science in the country for mental developmental of the nation and socio-economic development of the country.

He said PSF’s subsidiary organisation Pakistan Museum of Natural History is playing an important role in imparting education on natural sciences through informal means.

He appreciated French embassy for its cooperation to PSF in its different programmes as well as providing opportunity of higher education to students of far flung areas of Pakistan through its scholarships programme...\03\29\story_29-3-2012_pg5_5

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a Dawn Op Ed by economist Sakib Sherani:

The estimates of the size of Pakistan’s middle class are truly astounding. Amongst the first to take a stab at this nearly a decade ago, as part of a request from a large fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) client, I estimated the cohort to be at around 35 to 40 million, using a global definition of ‘middle class’ taking into account just one parameter — income. Later, eminent economic historian and commentator Shahid Javed Burki published his estimate in the context of the expansion of the middle class in the Musharraf years, and also arrived at a figure of around 40 million.

More recently, while preparing my presentation on ‘The Pakistan Opportunity’ for the Marketing Association of Pakistan’s flagship event MARCON 2012, I updated the figures arrived at earlier, making one crucial adjustment: for the estimated size of Pakistan’s undocumented (or, ‘black’) economy. The adjusted figure for the middle class is a staggering 70 million people, or 40 per cent of the population.
To put this number in perspective, Pakistan’s middle class is larger in size than the individual population of UK, France and Italy — and is a shade smaller than the total population of Germany. In absolute terms, it is the fourth largest middle class cohort in Asia, behind China, India and Indonesia. Affluent, educated, urbanised, and increasingly ‘globalised’, Pakistan’s middle class is not only growing, but is already a voracious consumer. The ADB report estimated total consumption spending by this group at $75bn.

This can be gauged by the furious pace of sales nationwide of cars, motorcycles, cellphones and durable goods over the past few years. Over 1.5 million motorcycles and nearly half a million cars have been sold in the country since 2008 (based on registration data), while the number of cellular subscribers has crossed over 100 million. True, despite such ‘glamorous’ numbers, Pakistan is a two-speed economy where the vulnerability of too many people has increased. Successive shocks to the economy — a severe energy crisis, unprecedented floods for two consecutive years, a fight against militancy which has gone on for several years — have all taken their toll on jobs and incomes.

However, despite these challenges, what amazes observers and commentators alike is the sheer resilience of the Pakistani nation.

Over the past few years, this resilience has come to a large extent from the performance of the rural economy, which has drawn strength from bumper crops and booming prices. The government’s intervention in the market for wheat has poured an additional several hundred billion rupees into the rural economy, propelling demand for cars, motorcycles, tractors, durable goods as well as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). In fact, the FMCG sector has witnessed an unprecedented boom in sales since 2008, which has defied expectations — and gravity.

Additional support for consumption has come from remittances from the Pakistani diaspora, and, in part, from the fiscal behaviour of the government which has injected several hundred billion rupees into the economy via borrowing from the central bank. From the foregoing, it is clear that the Pakistani consumerism story is not cyclical, but has structural underpinnings. Rapid urbanisation, a young, mobile and spirited population entering the work force, global connectivity via the Internet, social media and cable TV are all driving aspirations — and conspicuous consumption...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's TED blog on Peter Diamandis, the author of "Abundance":

Diamandis starts off his talk with some fast-cut clips of “crisis! Death! Disaster!” he’s collected from the last six months. The news media, he says, preferentially presents us with negative stories, because that’s what we pay attention to. And there’s a reason for that: since nothing is more important than survival, the first stop for all this awful information is the amygdala, the human early warning detection system that looks out for things that might harm us. In other words, we’re hard-wired to pay attention to the negative, dark side.

“So it’s no wonder that we’re pessimistic. it’s no wonder that people think the world is getting worse.” But Diamandis didn’t co-found Singularity University on a mere whim. From here, he swings into his more usual, optimistic mode: “We have the potential in the next three decades to create a world of abundance [the theme of Diamandis' recent book.] I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems; we surely do,” he says. “As humans we’re far better at seeing the problems way in advance. Ultimately, we knock them down.”

Diamandis runs through some stats from the last century to show how things have improved for humankind. And he outlines some of the extraordinary advances made, particularly within the technological realm. After all: ”The rate at which technology is getting faster is itself getting faster.” And based on the likes of Moore’s Law ride some incredibly powerful technologies, not least robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and nanomaterials.

Now, some stories:


Napoleon III once invited the King of Siam to dinner. Napoleon’s troops ate with silver utensils; Napoleon ate with gold utensils; the King of Siam used aluminum utensils–precisely because at that time, aluminum was the most valuable metal on the planet. It was only with electrolysis that the metal became cheap. Similar moves are happening in energy in our current times; solar energy, for instance, is now 50% of the cost of diesel in India.


We talk about water wars. And yet we fight over 0.5% of the water on the planet. Diamandis talks of Dean Kamen’s Slingshot device, which can generate 100 liters clean water from any source. Coca Cola is apparently going to test this in the field soon–with a view to deploying it globally. Given how much water that company consumes, this is a big deal. Or, as Diamandis puts it, “this is the kind of innovation empowered by this technology that exists today.”


Diamandis talks of the recently-announced Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, challenging teams to incorporate medical diagnostic tools into a mobile device. “Imagine this device in the middle of the developing world,” he says, starrily. What of the potential of someone swabbing an unrecognized disease, calling it into the CDC and preventing a pandemic? Heady stuff.


“The biggest protection against the population explosion is making the world educated and healthy,” says Diamandis, detailing that 5 billion people will be connected online by 2020. “What will these people want and desire?” And why wouldn’t that cause an economic injection rather than an economic shutdown? Why won’t they be healthier through the use of the Tricorder, better educated because of the likes of Khan Academy or using 3d printing to be more productive than ever before?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Pak Observer story on UK-Pakistan trade:

British Deputy High Commissioner, Alison Blake says relations between her country and Pakistan have always been cordial and continued to grow.

In an exclusive interview with Pakistan Observer she said trade between the two countries will double in three years. More than 100 British companies are operating in Pakistan and more intend to join them.

She said “the hall-mark of our foreign policy for Pakistan is ‘people to people’ approach. “This is the way to deepen relations between the two nations,” she observed.

Blake said: “The UK and Pakistan are deeply connected. Yet not many people know about the connections in terms of people, trade, culture, education and development that form our unbreakable partnership”.

She spoke of key facts regarding Pakistan-UK relations: The UK is home to the largest overseas Pakistani community, approximately 1.2 million today. There are 30,000 Pakistanis studying in the UK at any one time. British Pakistanis are heavily involved in all levels of British politics. From MPs in the House of Commons to Peers in the House of Lords including Baron Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Warsi.

On bilateral trade she said: UK & Pakistan have an ambitious target to boost bilateral trade in goods and services from the 2010 level of £2.0 billion to at least £2.5 billion by 2015. The UK is the top destination in Europe for exports from Pakistan. Pakistan’s exports to the UK rose by 17% from Jan to Oct 2011, with particularly strong growth in textiles. UK is the largest European investor in Pakistan. UK is Pakistan’s strongest advocate for market access to the EU. UK is the 3rd largest overseas investor in Pakistan with 13.46% market share (FY 2009-10). Over 100 British Companies operate in Pakistan with major interests in the Pharmaceutical, Financial Services, Energy and Retail sectors. On education, the British Deputy High Commissioner said: There are 30,000 Pakistanis studying in the UK at any one time. There are more people studying for O and A levels in Pakistan – some 170,000 of them - more than anywhere else outside of the UK. Pakistan is British Council’s largest overseas market for exams. UKaid will spend £650 million on education in Pakistan over the next 4 years. The UKaid funds will help to get more than four million children into school. UKaid will recruit and train an additional 90,000 teachers in Pakistan. UKaid will supply more than six million textbooks sets. UKaid will construct or rehabilitate more than 43,000 classrooms in Pakistan. Alison Blake said that the United Kingdom is home to the largest overseas Pakistani community. The population of British Pakistanis has grown from about 10,000 in 1951 to approximately 1.2 million today. She said: British Pakistanis are heavily involved in all levels of British politics. From MPs in the House of Commons including Sadiq Khan (MP for Tooting) Khalid Mahmood (MP for Birmingham Perry Barr) and Mohammad Sarwar (MP for Glasgow Central) to Peers in the House of Lords including Baron Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Warsi. Baroness Warsi is also a current Cabinet member”.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Business Recorder report on rising population of seniors as life expectancy increases in Pakistan:

World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said that in line with the global trends of declining death rates and increasing life spans, Pakistan, is experiencing a steady rise in its elderly population.

According to WHO, at present, 4.2% of the total population is over 65 years of age with the strong likelihood of doubling this percentage by 2025.

Similarly, the current life expectancy of 65.99 years at birth will reach about 72 years by 2023.

Other emerging social and cultural transformations of declining traditional family values and extended family systems will not only further compromise the status of the older people but also pose significant health and socio-economic implications on the country as a whole, it said.

There are some medical and psychosocial aspects exclusive to the older population; however, the predominant health conditions increasingly suffered by the elderly relate to the higher disease burden including hypertension (36% in elderly), diabetes, musculoskeletal problems, disabilities and cancers; along with significant infectious diseases and their sequelae.

Likewise 60% deaths due to diabetes, 59% due to cardio-vascular diseases and 29% due to cancers occur among old people above 60 years.

WHO said, in Pakistan 54% of men and 20% of women use different forms of tobacco. With limited physical exercise and unhealthy behaviors can lead to serious diseases such as hypertension, cancers etc..

It said that there is an immediate need to recognize and take comprehensive timely action to address population ageing through systematic integrated health care and social services complemented with continued family support, love and respect.

Simple preventive measures and healthy life style changes such as walking, physical activities good balanced diet and refraining from risky habits including smoking and other tobacco substances can save hundreds of lives, prevent disability and improve quality of life of old people.

The theme of the World Health Day signifies that a productive dignified existence is possible in old age provided a healthy life style is adopted through out life; with steps taken to prevent and control chronic health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancers....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times on plans to expand open schooling in Pakistan:

Canada-based Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) have agreed on a draft plan to launch open-schooling system in Pakistan for achieving millennium goals, ensuring universal education by the year 2015.

The main features of the draft plan were explained at a presentation given by COL consultant Dr Tony Dodds at the AIOU’s headquarters. The COL was created by commonwealth heads of governments to encourage development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. Core funding comes from voluntary contributions from member governments in which Canada is the largest contributor. Under the proposed plan, an Institute of Open Schooling and Lifelong Learning will be established at the AIOU to impart education at primary, middle and higher secondary levels throughout Pakistan through distance and open-learning system. The system has already been successfully tested in many other countries, including the UK, India, Namibia and Tanzania, to successful overcome illiteracy. AIOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi, on the occasion, said that open schooling system would be a milestone in achieving the millennium goals. The plan, he said, will be implemented in consultation and cooperation of provincial governments and other federal government institutions. The AIOU was looking forward to act as facilitator and coordinator in fighting illiteracy at all levels.

He said the university had the required capacity and academic potential for developing necessary curriculum and other parameters to implement the plan in its true spirit. Mukhtar Hussain Talpur, AIOU Bureau of University Extension and Special Programmes director, said the proposed plan would provide a roadmap for upgrading literacy at all levels in the country, particularly in the far-flung and less-developed regions.

He said the AIOU would be seeking support from relevant institutions from home and abroad to achieve the desired objectives. An NGO, Plan International, has already provided Rs 18.4 million to the AIOU to promote primary and post-primary education in the country. Dr Dodds explained that through the open and distance learning millions of Pakistanis, currently outside the formal educational system, would have access to opportunities to undertake organised educational activities at pre-tertiary level which would improve the quality of their lives.

The AIOU will develop a wide-range of educational courses at post-literary pre-tertiary level and set up effective open learning structures and system for those young and adult people who are currently outside the formal and non-formal education system...\04\06\story_6-4-2012_pg11_3

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on UNICEF's Every Child in School campaign:

Around 20 million children in Pakistan, including an estimated 7.3 million of primary school age, are not in school, said a statement issued by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Friday.

“Investing in children and their education is vital due to the positive impacts it has on so many socio-economic dimensions. It is therefore imperative that all children in Pakistan, both boys and girls, have the opportunity to attend and complete their schooling,” the statement said.

About the efforts of the fund for promoting education for children across the country, the statement said, “UNICEF is supporting the nationwide ‘Every Child in School’ campaign, which encourages parents and communities to ensure that all primary school-age children are enrolled for the new school year. A special focus is being placed on enrolling girls, who represent 57 percent of primary school-age children who are not attending school. Girls from poor families in rural areas, for example, receive just over one year of education, on average.”

“The disparities in educational opportunities are influenced by multiple factors, like wealth, gender, ethnicity, geographic location, early learning opportunities, access and quality of learning – and it is therefore critical that all who can positively influence children’s learning opportunities should come forward to ensure that this school-year is more successful than ever,” said UNICEF Pakistan Representative Dan Rohrmann.

“We must ensure that all children are in school. Free and quality education for all children, especially the most vulnerable, is essential to Pakistan’s economic and social development. An investment in children is an investment in Pakistan’s future,” Rohrmann said, adding, “The realisation of Pakistan’s vision for social and economic development depends on success of its education system.”

The right of a child to receive education is enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The 18th Amendment of the Constitution of Pakistan provides an added opportunity to realise this right, as Article 25A requires the state to provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of five and 16, as determined by the law.\04\07\story_7-4-2012_pg7_3

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times on USAID project on education in Pakistan:

Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Dr Rajiv Shah and Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq launched the USAID-funded ‘National Reading Programme’ at Government Girls Primary/Secondary School, Sultanabad.

The programme consists of three projects - two national and one focused on Sindh - that will help train teachers, improve reading skills and numeracy, and mobilise communities to support school management. It will also increase enrollment of students and ensure student retention, especially of girls.

The programme aims at improving literacy and numeracy for nearly seven million children, provide training to over 90,000 teachers in teaching and assessment, and support the development of 3.2 million new readers–including 700,000 children in Sindh. USAID will be supporting the school with a reading programme under the Sindh Basic Education Programme (SBEP). USAID SBEP was started in 2011 and will span until 2016, with a budget of $ 155 million. “This is good because it supplements your education budget, a budget that is woefully under-funded. But more importantly, it establishes the need for accountability in school administration and management. We are both now accountable to citizens who look to us to be stewards of these resources.\04\13\story_13-4-2012_pg7_17

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times on USAID project on education in Pakistan:

Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Dr Rajiv Shah and Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq launched the USAID-funded ‘National Reading Programme’ at Government Girls Primary/Secondary School, Sultanabad.

The programme consists of three projects - two national and one focused on Sindh - that will help train teachers, improve reading skills and numeracy, and mobilise communities to support school management. It will also increase enrollment of students and ensure student retention, especially of girls.

The programme aims at improving literacy and numeracy for nearly seven million children, provide training to over 90,000 teachers in teaching and assessment, and support the development of 3.2 million new readers–including 700,000 children in Sindh. USAID will be supporting the school with a reading programme under the Sindh Basic Education Programme (SBEP). USAID SBEP was started in 2011 and will span until 2016, with a budget of $ 155 million. “This is good because it supplements your education budget, a budget that is woefully under-funded. But more importantly, it establishes the need for accountability in school administration and management. We are both now accountable to citizens who look to us to be stewards of these resources.\04\13\story_13-4-2012_pg7_17

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News report on US assistance for higher education & research in Pakistan:

Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dr. Javaid Laghari, Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to create three Centers for Advanced Studies at Pakistani universities.

With US support, these centers will promote the development of Pakistan's water, energy, and agriculture sectors through applied research, training for specialists, university linkages, and the contributions towards policy formulation, said in a press statement issued by US Embassy here on Friday.

"US-Pakistan cooperation in higher education spans more than six decades. This new program presents a new milestone in our joint efforts to strengthen Pakistan's university system to support the growth of the country's economy," said Dr. Rajiv Shah at the signing ceremony.

The Centers for Advanced Studies is a five-year $127 million program sponsored by USAID. The Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security will be established with US support at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Punjab.

The Center for Advanced Studies in Water will be created at the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology in Jamshoro. Meanwhile, the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad will open the Center for Advanced Studies in Energy.

A satellite center for energy will be established at the University of Engineering and Technology in Peshawar.

A key component of the Center for Advanced Studies Program is linking Pakistani universities to universities in the United States.

These linkages will help engender, support, and fund joint applied research, student and faculty exchanges, pedagogical improvement, and development of new courses according to the needs of industry. It is expected that other universities will use these centers as a model for future growth and improvements.

The signing ceremony for the launch of the Centers for Advanced Studies Program was attended by the Vice Chancellors from the four participating universities, representatives from the Higher Education Commission, members of the Ministry of Science and Technology, other officials, and students.,-HEC-sign-MoU-for-advanced-studies

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Nation report on Pak young scientists in Beijing:

BEIJING - A group of young scientists from Pakistan is arriving here Monday to take part in the first-ever China-Pakistan Young Scientists Forum, focused on energy.

Prominent among them who will address the opening ceremony are leaders of the China People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), and the diplomats from Pakistan Embassy.

The Forum will be kicked off on Tuesday morning with the opening address from Mr. Xu Yanhao, Secretary of the Party Committee of CAST. It will be followed by speech from Zahoor Ahmed, Minister/Deputy Chief of Mission of Pakistan Embassy.

At the first Academic Presentations Dr. Zawar Hussain Shah, assistant instructor, National University of Science and Technology of Pakistan address on “Wireless network of computer”, while Professor Zhang, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications on Internet of Things and Liu Chongru, North China Electric Power University on ‘New Energy’.

The second academic presentation session papers will be read by Dr. Zahid Anwar, assistant instructor, National University of Science and Technology of Pakistan on Security in Smart Grids, Abdul Hadi, senior researcher, National Electricity Institute on Computer Engineering.

Huang Xiaohong, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications Network Security;Ghulam Ali, academic researcher of University of Information Technology on Solar Cell and Smart Grids, Lu Qiang, North China Electric Power University on Biomass Power Generation.

In the evening there will be presentation by representatives of Pakistani students in China.

The visitors will also be taken to Power University and the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications. The young scientists delegating will leave for Pakistan on April 20.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' report Pakistani efforts to de-radicalize the Tliban:

Hazrat Gul spent two years in detention for allegedly aiding the Pakistani Taliban when they publicly flogged and beheaded people during a reign of terror in the scenic Swat Valley.

Now he wiles away his time in pristine classrooms, a Pakistani flag pin on his crisp uniform, learning about word processing, carpentry and car repairs at the Mashal de-radicalisation centre run by the army.

Part of a carrot and stick approach to battling militancy in the strategic U.S. ally, the aim is to cleanse minds of extremist thoughts through vocational training, and turn men like Gul into productive citizens who support the state.

The success of the programme will ultimately hinge, however, on the the ability of the government, widely seen as incompetent and corrupt, to help the de-radicalisation graduates find jobs.

“If a sincere leadership comes to this country, that will solve the problems,” said Gul, 42, one of the Mashal students. “Today the leadership is not sincere. The same problems will be there.”

Pakistan’s military drove militants out of Swat in 2009. Mashal is in the building which used to be the headquarters of the militants from where they imposed there austere version of Islam.

Eventually, the army realised it couldn’t secure long-term peace with bullets alone.

So military officers, trainers, moderate clerics and psychologists were chosen to run three-month courses designed to erase “radical thoughts” of those accused of aiding the Taliban.

Students like Mohammad Inam, 28, a former assistant engineer, give the school a good report card.

“The environment is very good. Our teachers work very hard with us. They talk to us about peace, about terrorism and how that is not right,” said Inam, in the presence of a military officer. “God willing, we will go out and serve our country and our nation.”

School officials say about 1,000 people have graduated since the initiative began two years ago, and that only 10 percent were not cleared for release.

Officials concede that their “students” are not hardened militants who killed. Mostly, they provided the Taliban with water, food or shelter, or beat people.
Outside Mashal’s classroom, there are signs that not everyone is embracing the new approach.

Soldiers led a hooded man into a truck while three others looked on through the barred windows of what appeared to be a cell at the compound.

Conditions still seem ripe for Fazlulah and his lieutenants, who have vowed to make a comeback, to recruit people.

Pakistani officials estimated after the army operation expelled the Taliban that over $1 billion would be needed to revive the local economy and rebuild infrastructure.

Residents like Ajab Noor, 61, who sent two of his sons abroad to work, doubt the population of about 1.3 million will ever benefit from those funds.

“People have no options. They either go outside the country to work, or they join militants who promise them many things,” he said at a street market in Swat’s capital, Mingora.

A member of a state-backed anti-Taliban militia believes two boys in his village had graduated from a de-radicalisation centre and ran away to rejoin the Taliban.

“I told the military, ‘you are nurturing the offspring of snakes’. But they did not listen,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a special CNN report on a Pakistani village by Wajahat Ali:

This is a story affecting millions of Pakistanis — and it does not involve suicide bombings, honor killings, extremism or President Zardari's mustache.

"What would you like to be when you grow up?" I asked Sakafat, a boisterous 12-year-old girl, while visiting a remote Pakistani village in the Sindh province.

"A scientist!" she immediately replied. "Why can't we be scientists? Why not us?"

The confident Sakafat lives in Abdul Qadir Lashari village, which is home to 500 people in Mirpur Sakro. It is in one of the most impoverished regions of Pakistan.

There was a characteristic resilience and optimism in this particular village. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about Pakistan's often dysfunctional, surreal yet endearing daily existence.

The 500 villagers live in 48 small huts, except for the one "wealthy" family who recently built a home made of concrete. The village chief, Abdul Qadir Lashari, proudly showed off his village's brand-new community toilets, paved roads, and water pump that brings fresh water to the village.

These simple, critical amenities, taken for granted by most of us in the West, resulted from the direct assistance of the Rural Support Programmes Network, Pakistan's largest nongovernmental organization. RSPN has worked with thousands of similar Pakistani villages to help them achieve economic self-sufficiency.

I visited the Sindh village with RSPN to witness the results of using community organizing to alleviate poverty. The staff told me its goal was to teach villagers to "fish for themselves."

Every household in the Abdul Qadir Lashari village was able to reach a profit by the end of 2011 as a result of professional skills training, financial management, community leadership workshops and microloans.

Specifically, a middle-aged, illiterate woman proudly told me how she learned sewing and financial management and was thus able to increase her household revenue, manage her bills, and use a small profit to purchase an extra cow for the family. She was excited to introduce me to her cow, but sadly due to lack of time I was unable to make the bovine acquaintance.
Asked what single thing she felt was most important most for her village, she replied education. Upon asking another elderly lady what she wishes for Pakistan, she repeated one word three times: "sukoon," which means peace.

When it was time to depart, the people of the village presented me with a beautiful handmade Sindhi shawl, an example of the craftwork the villagers are now able to sell for profit.

As I left the village with the dark red, traditional Sindhi shawl adorned around my neck, my thoughts returned to the 12-year-old girl, Sakafat, who passionately asked why she couldn't become a scientist.

I looked in her eyes and could only respond with the following: "You're right. You can be anything you want to be. And I have every confidence you will, inshallah ("God willing"), reach your manzil ("desired destination").

By focusing on education and local empowerment to lift the next generation out of poverty, Sakafat's dream could indeed one day become a reality for all of Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET story on Pakistani winners of Intel Science Competition:

If you are looking for inspiration, look no further than Pakistan’s finalists at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Isef) held in Pittsburgh from May 13 to May 18.

“I want to be the greatest scientist in the world,” proclaimed finalist Syed Shahzeb Zarrar.

“When you’re surrounded by so much talent, and thousands of innovations, it’s hard not to believe it could happen for any one of the students at Isef.”

Zarrar, along with two other finalists, arrived in Pittsburgh last week. Five finalists were named in Pakistan, but only three obtained a visa.

Finalists received an all expenses paid trip to the Intel Isef conference. It was Zarrar’s first trip to the US, and he said he enjoyed the city of Pittsburgh because it was peaceful and not very large or crowded.

“Every Pakistani should know about Isef. Everyone has a hidden talent. Because of Isef, I was able to discover mine,” said the finalist.

It took him approximately eight months to complete his project. It is titled ‘Production of Artificial Magnetic Domains in Non-Metals’. He explained that electricity could be produced cheaply if non metals were employed. He added that his project was cost efficient and could easily be used in Pakistan. Zarrar attends Iqra Army Public School and College in Quetta.

“I’ve made friends from India, Japan, and even New Mexico thanks to this conference. It is amazing.”

Asked about entertainment provided for students prior to the judging and ceremonies, he smiled and said, “At one of the events, they were giving us free fast food! When does that ever happen back home?”

Energy square idea

A team of three girls were also named finalists in the competition, but only two made it stateside. Mahnoor Hassan, Shiza Ghulab and Bushra Shahed from the Institute of Computer and Management Sciences in Peshawar had a project titled ‘Energy Square for Cattle’. Hassan and Ghulab were present to describe their experiences. Their goal, Hassan put it, was to provide something for animals when faced with unfavourable conditions or natural disasters.

“People think of themselves in times of disaster before animals,” said Ghulab. She provided the example of recent floods in Pakistan. “This square makes it easier to look out for the well-being of livestock also,” she added.

The girls said that just a few licks of their energy square controlled diseases, increased milk production and increased weight in the cattle they conducted tests on after just 28 days.

They provided signed documents, pictorial evidence, and test results to anyone who wanted more information.

The squares are a dry mix of a variety of ingredients, such as mulberry, urea and calcium, that provide vitamins and protein to your animal...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times story on higher education growth in Pakistan:

Shaikh also highlighted the performance and achievements of government during last 10 years. He said that there are 71 universities in Pakistan in 2002, but in last 10 years, 66 new universities have been added in Pakistan. Previously, female enrolment was 37 percent, now it is 45 percent. Previously, numbers of PhDs were 1,500, now 10,000 new students have been enrolled in PhD, added the minister. He also mentioned that federal government has spent Rs 160 billion on promotion of higher education in the country. The federal minister said that federal government has transferred additional Rs 800 billion to provinces during the last four years to enable the provinces to provide their population best social services like health education. He also advised students to be proud and loyal Pakistanis. Shaikh said that it is a great day for the degree holding students, so they must thank their parents and teachers. He also assured that the government is doing every effort for the promotion of education sector in Pakistan.\05\20\story_20-5-2012_pg5_1

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Japan Today report on Japan's rapidly aging population:

Japanese researchers on Friday unveiled a population clock that showed the nation’s people could theoretically become extinct in 1,000 years because of declining birth rates.

Academics in Sendai said that Japan’s population of children aged up to 14, which now stands at 16.6 million, is shrinking at the rate of one every 100 seconds.

Their extrapolations pointed to a Japan with no children left within a millennium.

“If the rate of decline continues, we will be able to celebrate the Children’s Day public holiday on May 5, 3011 as there will be one child,” said Hiroshi Yoshida, an economics professor at Tohoku University.

“But 100 seconds later there will be no children left,” he said. “The overall trend is towards extinction, which started in 1975 when Japan’s fertility rate fell below two.”

Yoshida said he created the population clock to encourage “urgent” discussion of the issue.

Another study released earlier this year showed Japan’s population is expected to shrink to a third of its current 127.7 million over the next century.

Government projections show the birth rate will hit just 1.35 children per woman within 50 years, well below the replacement rate.

Meanwhile, life expectancy—already one of the highest in the world—is expected to rise from 86.39 years in 2010 to 90.93 years in 2060 for women and from 79.64 years to 84.19 years for men.

More than 20 percent of Japan’s people are aged 65 or over, one of the highest proportions of elderly in the world.

Japan has very little immigration and any suggestion of opening the borders to young workers who could help plug the population gap provokes strong reactions among the public.

The greying population is a headache for policymakers who are faced with trying to ensure an ever-dwindling pool of workers can pay for a growing number of pensioners.

But for some Japanese companies the inverting of the traditional aging pyramid provides commercial opportunities.

Unicharm said Friday that sales of its adult diapers had “slightly surpassed” those for babies in the financial year to March, for the first time since the company moved into the seniors market.

Unicharm started selling diapers for babies in 1981 and those for adults in 1987, said spokesman Kazuya Kondo, who declined to give specific figures on the sales.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET piece on Pak Youth Parliament's charter of demands:

More than 150 members of the Youth Parliament of Pakistan on Monday shared a 42-point Charter of Demands (CoD) for “mainstreaming human rights education and democratic citizenship” with representatives of the main political parties.

The charter was presented at the National Human Rights Education Forum, organised by the Youth Parliament of Pakistan in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Rights.

The youth declared the lack of education and women and child rights issues as the biggest human rights violations. The charter demanded that minorities and transgenders be given equal rights and protection, karo kari and wani be abolished and that human rights be included as a subject in the curriculum (in schools and madrassas). It also called for setting up human rights cells in all educational institutes and urged stricter checks on parliamentarians if they commit a human rights violation.

The charter, according to the organisers, was formulated after holding over a 100 workshops under the banner of Know Your Rights campaign.

People from 53 districts across the country attended the workshops and gave suggestions.
The parliament’s chairman Abrarul Haq – who is also PTI’s Youth Wing president – said that youth who make up a large fraction of the population should have a say in policy making.

Amjad Zafar, the YPP national programme officer for human rights, said the workshops had been conducted over a year and had targeted the 18 to 35 age group. “We demand that all political parties make the CoD content a part their manifestos’, said Zafar, who also oversees the Punjab chapter.

Andeel Ali, the district programme manager in Sindh said that even if one of their demands were included in a party’s manifesto, they would consider it an achievement.

Adnan Khan from Peshawar said that the youth in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa wanted a bigger say in legislation. He identified the lack of education, child labour and social deprivation of women as the biggest human rights violations in the province.

Sarmad Yasin, the programme’s regional project manager in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, said child rights violations are a problem in his area.

“The youth in Balochistan – who drop out of school – are exploited by political and religious leaders,” said Azmat Baloch, a YPP facilitator in Quetta.

He said that this deprived them of opportunities. The rising number of ‘missing persons’ had also created a sense of deprivation in the youth, he said, and was increasing frustration among them.

Riaz Haq said...

Using Siddharth Vij's interpretation, here's how BL data looks for Pakistan:

1. No Schooling 38% vs 32.7% India

2. Prim Total 21.8% vs 20.9% India

3. Prim Complete 19.3% vs 18.9% Ind

4. Sec Total 34.6% vs 40.7% India

5. Sec Complete 22.5% vs 1.3% India

6. Ter Total 5.5% vs 5.8% India

7. Ter Complete 3.9% vs 3.1% India

If you add up serial numbers 1, 2, 4 and 6, you reach 100%. This is the entire universe – each and every Pakistani above the age of 15 is assigned to one and only one of these buckets. 38 out of every 100 Pakistanis (vs 32% of Indians) above the age of 15 in 2010 have had no formal schooling. 22 have been only to primary school, 35 reached as far as secondary school while the rest made it all the way to college...... All that BL tells us is that for 34.6% of Pakistanis (vs 40.7% of Indians) above the age of 15, the highest level of educational attainment is secondary schooling. If to this 34.6% you add the 5.5% who have some tertiary education, you come up with a figure of 40.1% Pakistanis (vs 46.5% of Indians) above the age of 15 having had some secondary schooling during their life time.

Another important point to note in Barro-Lee data is that Pakistan has been enrolling students in schools at a faster rate since 1990 than India. In 1990, there were 66.2% of Pakistanis vs 51.6% of Indians who had no schooling. In 2000, there were 60.2% Pakistanis vs 43% Indians with no schooling. In 2010, Pakistan reduced it to 38% vs India's 32.7%.

Hopewins said...

Dr. Haq,

SO you say that according to Barro-Lee, which merely published data that National Governments provide, the "no schooling" percentages were as follows:

1990 Pakistan 66% India 52%
2000 Pakistan 60% Inbia 43%
2010 Pakistan 38% India 33%

Dr. Haq, how was this possible? How did we manage to achieve a decadal improvement of 22%, especially when the population increased by 31% during the same decade?

I can accept a 6-8-10% decadal increase as possible. But outside of the Totalitarian States, I find it hard to imagine a 20-25% decadal improvement in a regular developing country, especially one like ours that has a high TFR and a high population-growth rate.

What was the secret behind our SPECTACULAR success?

Was it the Sheer Brilliance of General Mush? Or was it because of the efforts of our Active Civil Society? Or perhaps it has something to do with US Assistance for Education during the post 2001 War on Terror?

Would you please clarify the MECHANISM behind this great accomplishment?

Thank you.

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Would you please clarify the MECHANISM behind this great accomplishment?"

It's combination of increase in private and public spending.

Nationalization of education by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto devastated private education in 1970s. It rebounded in 1980s and has grown dramatically in recent years. For example the number of private schools grew 10 fold from about 3000 in 1983 to over 30,000 in 2000.

The rate of private school formation far exceeds the rate of population growth. Using numbers for primary school enrollment in 1983 from Jimenez (578,330 students in the four provinces of Pakistan) and our latest numbers we get an overall increase of 937%, far greater than the 57% population increase (in the same four provinces) between 1981 and 1998. Thus the growth in private school enrollment, even after controlling for population growth, is enormous.

Then Musharraf years saw doubling of pubic education spending along with rapid growth in private funding.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR-APP report on development challenges discussed at UN:

Pakistan urged a major UN panel to help the international community respond to the challenges of development -- promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work -- so as to eradicate poverty.

"At a time when the world economy is facing multiple crises, the UN Economic and Social Council must play a robust role as the central mechanism for coordination of the activities of the UN system in the economic, social and related fields," Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar told a high-level session of 54-member ECOSOC, the economic arm of the United Nations.

The United Nations should be in the driving seat and not the spectators gallery," he said in the course of the annual ministerial review on economic issues affecting UN member states.

The Pakistani envoy said there was no gainsaying the fact that business as usual was no longer an option and we need to reset our economic model to promote sustained, strong and inclusive economic growth, as well as sustainable development.

"About 68 per cent of Pakistans population was under the age of 30, he said, adding, the labour force grew at 3 per cent annually. Like other member states, Ambassador Tarar said, the Pakistan Government faced the formidable task of creating jobs and decent working conditions amid multiple crises.

Two policy initiatives were particularly notable among the measures taken by the Government to promote productive capacity, employment and decent work.

1. Pakistan had made youth development and community engagement one of the pillars of economic growth, he said. Steps had been taken to harness the capacities of youth through vocational and technical training programmes. It was also promoting public-private partnership in this area.

2. The Benazir Income Programme (BISP) was a cash-transfer programme focusing on empowerment of women, the Pakistani envoy said. Through this programme, female members of beneficiary families were given monthly income supplement assistance in cash.

Positive policies, he said, did not make Pakistan immune to direct impact of natural and man-made disasters and global economic conditions, as well as difficulties faced by skilled and employable Pakistanis in securing productive employment abroad. Pakistan believed that enhanced employment opportunities abroad for skilled and semi-skilled labour dovetailed into poverty eradication.

Ambassador Tarar stressed the need to increase investments in productive capacities and address infrastructure gaps. Improving agricultural productivity and rural non-farm income opportunities were among Pakistans priorities, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR report on Pakistan's growing labor force:

The labour force is expected to grow by 3.5 percent during the ongoing fiscal year (2012-13) according to the projections of the government that have been made keeping in view the past average population growth and increase in the labour force participation rate.

The labour force growth indicates that approximately 2 million new jobs would be demanded during the fiscal year 2012-13.

As prevailing employment elasticity is 0.5, approximately 7 percent GDP growth would be required to absorb the growing labour force and to maintain the unemployment level of 2011-12, official document revealed.

The federal government has initiated a number of programmes to increase the employment through an effective human resource development, according to the document.

These programs include National Internship Program, President's Rozgar Program; Credit for Self Employment by National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Enhancement of Residential Facilities by Construction of One Million Housing Units, Doubling of Lady Health Workers to cover Kachi Abadis, Raising of Minimum Wage from Rs. 6,000 to Rs 7,000 and Pension of workers, Establishment of National Vocational Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC), Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) and Restoration of Trade Unions.

The government together with Employers' and Workers' representatives with technical support of ILO is implementing a "Decent Work Country Program (DWCP)" in all provinces.

The main objectives of the programs include promoting decent employment in which international labour standards and workers' fundamental rights go hand in hand with job creation.

The program is also aimed to place employment at the center of economic and social policies at the global, regional and national level, improve the lives of millions of people who are either unemployed or whose remuneration from work is inadequate, and provide them opportunity and their families to escape poverty through the creation of productive employment.

Improve earnings, productivity and living standards of working women and men, especially of the working poor; and ensure that the benefits of economic growth reaches those sectors where poverty is most concentrated, urban informal economy and the rural areas, especially landless labour and small tenant farmers.

It is pertinent to mention here that an amount of Rs 2,880 million has been allocated to fund 10 proposed projects of Ministry of Professional and Technical Training for PSDP 2012-13 including Rs 300 million allocated to National Vocational &Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) to fund 134 development projects including 90 ongoing programs at estimated cost of Rs 3,993 million costs.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of PakistanToday's interview with Pepsico Asia chief Qasim Khan:

.. In a recently-conducted detailed interview with Pakistan Today (PT), Qasim Khan, a US-educated Pakistani who is PepsiCo’sgeneral manager and president for the North and South Asia Business Unit that, in its scope, ranges from Japan to Mongolia, talked at length about the immense potential as well as challenges the MNCs like his own are presently facing in Pakistan.
What is the current size
and scope of your business in Pakistan?

Qasim Khan: PepsiCo International is intricately linked towards the development of the corporate sector in Pakistan as we were one of the first multinationals to start operations in Pakistan in 1967. Now we are the biggest Food and Beverage Company in terms of the retail turnover in Pakistan having seven beverages franchises across the country. We also brought in Foreign Direct Investment in the shape of a concentrate plant set up in Hattar. Today, Pakistan is the 6th largest market for PI worldwide and we have three brands; Pepsi, Dew and 7-UP which are bigger than our rivals in terms of volume contribution. Pepsi is ingrained as a household brand while our contributions towards the development of sport, specifically cricket and music industry is unparalleled. We have been the pioneers of developing both these industries while strengthening our beverages brands over the past many decades. Since 2006 we also introduced the famous Lay’s potato chips brand in Pakistan by investing in a state-of-the-art plant which employs over a 1000 people. We have made strong investments in the agricultural sector of Punjab by introducing latest technologies for potato growers and are looking to expand potato growing into the country’s northern areas. We also plan to export potatoes to other countries around the world. Our snacks portfolio consists of leading global brands like Lays, Cheetos, Kurkure and Wavy.
PT: OK, now tell us what made PepsiCo invest in Pakistan?
Qasim Khan: Pakistan’s opportunity is driven from the following facts:
Large Market: It’s the 6th most populace country in the world with approximately 70 percent population under the age of 30.
Trained Workforce: A large trained and productive population represents a big opportunity to Pakistan to benefit from its demographic dividends.
Investment Policies: Pakistan’s policy trends have been consistent with liberalization, de-regulation, privatization and facilitation being the cornerstones of its policy.
Large Agro Base: The strong agriculture base presents a great opportunity for our food business to expand in the future. We realize that Pakistan is the 11th largest wheat producer, 12th largest rice producer and the 5th largest milk producer in the world.
Geo-Strategic Location: It can be a gateway between the energy rich Central Asian states, the financially-liquid Gulf states and technologically-advanced Far Eastern countries. This alone makes Pakistan a market teeming with possibilities.
Incomes on F&B: A significant amount of individual incomes (as high as 40 percent) are spent on food and beverage representing a huge opportunity for the industry.
Financial Markets: The capital markets are being modernized, and reforms have resulted in development of improved infrastructure in the stock exchanges of the country. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan has improved the regulatory environment of the stock exchanges, corporate bond market and the leasing sector....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News report on Pakistan's published scientific research output:

Pakistan is expected to have second highest increase in research output ranking in the world, increasing from its current position of 43 to 27 in 2018. An encouraging news for higher education sector in Pakistan, the ranking is announced by the Scopus, world’s largest abstract, citation database of research literature and analytical tool similar to Web of Science (Impact Factor).

The Scopus initiated a forecasting exercise on predicting in April 2011 under the topic, “How World Scientific Output will be in 2018”. According to the results of this mega exercise based on the research output from 2003-2010, Pakistan is expected to have the second highest increase in research output ranking in the world.

Commenting on this development, HEC Executive Director Professor Dr. Sohail H. Naqvi said this ranking recognises the tremendous growth in research in higher education sector of Pakistan over the past ten years and it also predicts the a bright future for research in Pakistan.” The HEC has accomplished more in nine years since its establishment than was achieved in the first 55 years of Pakistan’s existence. Recently, six Pakistani universities have been ranked among the top 300 Asian universities.

Research output has grown eight-folds since 2002 (from 815 in 2002 to 6,200 in 2011). Around 80 per cent of these research publications from Pakistan are coming from higher education institutions. Output has more than doubled just in the last 3 years and is expected to double again in the next 3 years.

More than 5,000 Pakistani scholars have been facilitated to present their research work in leading conferences of the world. The HEC Video Conference Network is established in all public sector universities by covering 31 cities. The network is recognised one of the mega interactive network by having total 79 purpose built e-classroom based videoconference set-up.

Access to 140 plus free software provided to over 1 million students in higher education sector and there has been more than 80,000 downloads from 68 universities during 2011-12. During 2011-12, a total of 447 accredited lectures/ lecture series have been conducted by both Local and Foreign Speakers under the Virtual Education Programme, totalling to 1,043 lectures since commencement of programme.

The academic circles have termed the Scopus ranking as great success and honour for the county in particular and higher education sector in general. They believe that if the continuous support may be given to this sector and the faculty continues their work with same zeal and vigour, Pakistani higher education sector can win more laurels for the country.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's PakistanToday on young Pakistanis participating and winning at various international science competitions:

Four teams of talented Pakistani students represented Pakistan in the 23rd International Biology Olympiad (IBO) in Singapore, 44th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in United States, 53rd International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in Argentina and 43rd International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) in Estonia.
This year all the four teams showed excellent performance altogether winning One Silver, Four Bronze Medals and Two Honorable Mentions in these events. The International Science Olympiads are unique competitions organized to discover and encourage young talented students from all over the world, says a press release issued here by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan Sunday.
These young talented Pakistani students were facilitated under Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Careers Programme, a joint innovative venture of Higher Education Commission HEC and Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences PIEAS, for grooming talented students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The main objective of this program is to inspire the Pakistani youth to opt for careers in science, mathematics and engineering and preparing them for participation in the annual International Olympiad in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. The program also encourages Pakistani students to come up with innovative solutions to problems of national interest. Pakistan has been participating in these international competitions since 2001.
According to the details, The 23rd International Biology Olympiad (IBO) was hosted by Singapore from July 8 to July 15, 2012. About 236 students from 59 countries participated in the event. Of the three students who participated from Pakistan in the event, two won Bronze Medals and one got Honorable Mention The bronze medalists include Mr. Usama Tahir from Lahore Grammar School Lahore, Ms. Hafsa Shahab from Lahore Grammar School Islamabad, and Mr. Hassan Mirza (Honorable Mention) from Lahore Grammar School Lahore. The IBO team was led by Dr Zahid Mukhtar.
The 43rd International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) was hosted by Estonia from July 15 to July 24, 2012. Total 400 students from 88 countries participated in the Olympiad. Of the five students who participated from Pakistan in the event, one of them won Bronze Medal. The awards winner is Mr. Muhammad Taimoor Iftikhar (Bronze Medal) from Rangers Public School & College Mandi Bahauddin. The IPhO team was led by Dr Shahid Qamar and Dr Aftab Rafiq of PIEAS, Islamabad.
The 44th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) was hosted by United States, from July 21 to July 30, 2012. About 270 students from 70 countries participated in the event. Of the four students who participated from Pakistan in the event, one of them won Bronze Medal. The award winners is Mr. Armughan Ahmad Khan from Lahore Grammar School Lahore. The IChO team was led by Prof Dr. Khalid M Khan and Dr Muhammad Raza Shah of HEJ Research Institute, Karachi.
The 53rd International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) was hosted by Argentina from July 8 to July 16, 2012. About 600 students from 100 countries participated in the event. Waqar Ali Syed of Beacon House School Karachi won Silver Medal while Ms. Huma Sibghat from Hamza Army Public School & College Rawalpindi won Honorable Mention. The IMO team was led by Prof Dr Barbu Berceanu and Dr Ahmed Mahmood Qureshi from Government College University Lahore...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET story on recognition of a Pak high school kid for his work on water filtration:

A hot sweet cup of tea will solve most problems. But it appears that more and more research is proving that tea can help clean water for human consumption.

For one, Shadab Rasool Buriro, a tenth grade student of the Pak-Turk International School in Khairpur, won silver at the GENIUS (Global Environmental Issues-US) Olympiad, for his project: The removal of harmful pollutants from industrial waste water by the use of tea waste. He defended it in front of seven impartial judges at the international competition that was jointly organised by the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego and the Terra Science and Education Foundation. Buriro collected used tea, washed it with boiled water till it had lost all its colour, and then dried it. He then made mixtures of substances commonly found in industrial waste, like cadmium, lead, nickel and phenol, and then mixed them with the dried tea. “After waiting for 60 minutes, I analysed different filtrates obtained by a spectrophotometer and recorded the concentration of each pollutant separately,” he told The Express Tribune. “The results proved that used tea waste can remove [pollutants].”

Buriro’s project was initially sent to the Pak-Turk School’s head office in Islamabad, from where it was forwarded to the US. “I read about the kinds of pollutants that affect our agriculture sector, and decided to work on this particular project,” he said. “I was not expecting to get any position as other students were so confident and well-prepared.”

The Turkish government has recognised Buriro’s achievement and sponsored him for a 15-day visit to Turkey, where he was officially introduced as the boy who competed against students from 50 countries.

His father, Ghulam Rasool Buriro, is a retired deputy district officer (education), while his mother, Kaneez Panjtan, was the district officer (education) elementary. “My parents encouraged me. They helped me wherever it was possible for them to,” he said.

MPA Nusrat Sehar Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional told Sindh Express at an event to honour Buriro that she would bring it up at the next session and recommend his achievement be acknowledged. Buriro is not the only person to have used this particular method to clean water. In the Journal of International Environmental Application & Science published a paper on how used tea waste helped remove phenol from industrial waste water in Kosovo. In 2010, a group of researchers in South Africa developed a high-tech tea bag filter filled with active carbon molecules that can be fitted on top of a bottle to purify water as it is poured on a cup. Closer to home, chemical engineers at the Mehran University of Engineering and technology, Jamshoro published a paper last year in the Sindh University Research Journal on how they used tea waste to remove arsenic from aqueous solutions. They referenced similar work done by four researchers who published their findings in the Iranian Journal of Environmental Health Science & Engineering in 2007.

A cursory search with the terms ‘adsorption of heavy metals with tea waste’ on Google Scholar revealed 10 hits per page.

Riaz Haq said...

Demand for Food Science graduates rising in Pakistan, reports Express Tribune:

As the food processing sector in Pakistan expands, the job opportunities – and starting salaries – for graduates in food science, nutrition and dietetics are increasing substantially.

The University of Agriculture Faisalabad reports that its graduates are finding jobs faster, with higher starting salaries and rapid career progression for many of its graduates. According to Tahir Zahoor, a professor in the food science department, the top graduates of the university’s food science programmes command salaries of Rs45,000 or higher, and get employed by such brand name employers as Nestle Pakistan, Engro Foods and Unilever Pakistan.

These starting salaries are comparable to those earned by graduates of the country’s leading business schools when they join the largest banks on Karachi’s McLeod Road. And it is not just the starting salaries that are high. Many graduates report earning more than Rs100,000 per month within five years of graduation, though admittedly these are some of the best performing students.

Not all graduates get these packages, of course. But according to the university’s professors, no graduate has gotten a job offer with a starting salary of less than Rs25,000 per month, with Rs30,000 per month being the median salary package. The middle-tier of students typically go to some of the smaller names in food production, such as Dawn Foods (a leading bread manufacturer), Shan Foods (a spice manufacturer), etc.

Revenues and profits at food production firms have been soaring. Between 2005 and 2010 (the latest year for which figures are available), revenues at food companies listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange have grown by an average of more than 18.2% per year. Profits have expanded even faster, by more than 21.2% per year.

This blowout growth has caused many to invest heavily into expanding production capacity. Both Engro Foods and Nestle Pakistan invest upwards of Rs8 billion every year in increasing their production facilities. Engro Foods – started only in 2006 – has been particularly aggressive in broadening its product line-up.

These two companies, however, are not alone. K&N Foods has become the nation’s largest supplier of processed chicken, tempting other food companies to enter into the fray. Dawn Foods, long a manufacturer of just bread and baked products, is now entering meat products. Quetta Textile Mills is setting up a processed chicken facility. And Shan Foods is trying to expand its presence overseas by acquiring a brand in the United Kingdom.

This expansion in the food sector is pushed by a change in the underlying consumer behaviour when it comes to buying food. Consumer spending on processed food appears to be expanding. The average Pakistani household spent almost Rs500 per month on processed food in 2011, over two and half times more than a decade ago, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, representing a rate of increase faster than inflation....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from an NBC report on Pakistan's Gen Y women:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Khalida Brohi's new life began when another girl's life ended.

Born and raised in Pakistan's remote, conservative province of Balochistan, Brohi was 16 years old when the community's traditions collided with her own personal beliefs.

"I found out about a girl who was murdered in the name of honor," she recalls. "I knew her and why she was killed. She wanted to marry someone she liked and she was killed just for that. When I found out about this girl, I knew that was the turning point in my life."

While still a teenager, Brohi founded Sughar Women's Program, a nonprofit organization with the mission of educating women about their basic rights. In many conservative communities across Pakistan, a woman's world extends only so far as the walls of her home. Their social interactions are restricted to family members and opportunities are defined by husbands, fathers and elder brothers.

But training and micro-loans provided by Brohi's group have resulted in CDs, books and embroidered handbags the women produce being sold across the country as well as at a flagship Sughar store in Karachi.

Now 23, Brohi is somewhat of a veteran in her field, and she's not alone.

All over Pakistan, where the majority of the 180-million-strong population is under the age of 30, members of Brohi's generation are striking out on their own to work toward change in their country, at an age when most are still finding their footing in life.

These social innovators, "change-makers" and "new radicals," as they've been called, represent an increasingly influential segment of civil society, in a country where the decision-making power has always been confined to limited circles....

Anonymous said...

Riaz Haq: "While many of the critics I berate see Pakistan's glass completely empty, I prefer to see it half full. And I believe Pakistanis' focus should be on how to fill it up to the rim"

"Glass is Half-full, Glass is Half-empty"

What Glass?

While you were philosophizing on your blog, Zardari sold the Glass to the Oil-Sheikhs and used the proceeds to buy himself a beautiful 15th century castle-estate in Switzerland.

The Army Top-Brass have been all buying houses in Dubai.

The Sharif-Brothers entourage have all been guying houses in Kuwait.

The Zardari-Bhutto courtiers have all been buying houses in England.

The Feudal Families Associates have all been buying houses in Saudia.

The high-level CSS/CSP/SBP officials all have been buying houses in Doha.

If key company insiders are selling stock, what does it tell you about the state of the company?

Karachi Rickshawallahs are saying, "sub chor mulk chhod bhag rahen hain; ab aur chori karnay kay liyay kuch nahin bacha"

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on Pakistani student winning International Computer Olympiad:

A Pakistani student from Balochistan has bagged gold medal in an international contest held in Turkmenistan leaving all the countries like Germany, Canada, Russia, England, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka behind.

M. Ubaidullah son of Haji Talib Din, a rice trader, is a class ninth student of Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges, has brought home a gold medal from the International Computer Project Olympiad (ICPO) held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

The competition was held on September 14 and 15 among students from 45 countries who presented 150 projects in the Olympiad.

Ubaidullah’s project that caught attention of participants, organisers and judges was regarding plant automation system; subsequently he was awarded 1st position in the hardware category.

His project P-Bot aims at saving plants in cold-flame or greenhouse setting, especially when someone wants to protect the plants at home in all the seasons. P-Bot automates the round-the-year tasks of plant care by means of its full-automatic cold flame and greenhouse routines.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a PakistanToday report on US AID training Pak youth in dairy management:

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director for Punjab Jeff Bakken on Friday awarded graduation certificates to 22 trainees who successfully completed a one-month farm manager training program under USAID Dairy Project. This innovative management training teaches Punjabi youth pursuing a career in dairy farm management to enhance milk production and increase their incomes.
Mr Bakken emphasized U.S. support for improving livelihood for rural communities in the Punjab and Pakistan. He remarked, “today’s event highlights the importance that the United States places on deepening the impact of development assistance to the people of Pakistan and improving the lives of those in rural communities. Your dedication is critical to pave the way for long-term economic gains in the dairy sector.”
Dairy Project Director Jack Moser also congratulated the graduates. “We celebrate the success of farm managers who will make a difference in the livestock sector by offering their services to the commercial dairy farm enterprises in the Punjab. The USAID Dairy Project will continue to mobilize and support farmers in the Punjab by training 400 individuals in dairy farm management,” he said.
USAID’s three-year, $14 million Dairy Project is designed to impact the lives of 9,000 small dairy farmers by enhancing their productivity by at least 10 percent, resulting in at least 10 percent increase in their incomes. The project provides training on the best dairy farm management techniques, including artificial insemination, and provides women livestock workers training in entrepreneurship.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET story of German firms establishing vocational training in Karachi:

KARACHI: Eight German multinational corporations and the German Consulate in Karachi have joined hands to tackle the need for skilled labour in the country. German Consul General Dr Tilo Klinner and representatives of the Aman Foundation’s AmanTech and Habib University Foundation’s Institute for Advancing Careers and Talents (iACT) launched the “Germany-Pakistan Training Initiative” during a ceremony on Monday.

The German federal ministry of economic cooperation and development is supporting the programme which will be spearheaded by Dr Stefan Oswald.

Dr Klinner said that a country where nearly 63 per cent of the population was under 25 years has a tremendous opportunity to progress. According to the German expert, an increasing number of youngsters were graduating from universities, “but they were mostly equipped with theoretical knowledge”.

German multinational giants such as Siemens, BASF, Linde, Mercedes-Benz, Merck, Lufthansa Cargo, DB Schenker and DHL have decided to act as partners in the programme that aims to generate a regular stream of dedicated workers. Metro, a retail chain in Pakistan, will also be part of the project. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (the German Agency for International Cooperation, or GIZ) will be assisting the German government in the programme. GIZ has had an office in Pakistan since 1990.

The programme will be based on the dual training system, which will combine theoretical lessons at schools with apprenticeships at a company. Theory classes will be taught at iACT’s offices in Saudabad, Malir, and AmanTech’s offices in Korangi Town. Matric graduates will be eligible to apply for an entrance test that is a perquisite for entrance into the programme. The first group of trainees are expected to enroll by April 2013. Vocational training for the commercial sector will span one year, while that for the industrial sector will extend over two years. Officials also hope to extend the programme to other multinational companies later on. The government’s technical education and vocational training authority is also expected to extend it to Pakistani companies.

“The dual training system combines theory and practice via vocational education at schools and apprenticeships at a company for a specific course,” GIZ’s principal education advisor Dr Julie Reviere told The Express Tribune. He added that meeting the need of skilled manpower was a challenge. “Well-trained [workers] who are tailored for particular skills are extremely difficult to recruit. Our multinational partners would love to hire skilled manpower from Pakistan,” she said.

Dr Oswald said that the principle objective of the project was to produce a productive workforce that would be equipped to handle the challenges presented by modern industries. It also aims to contribute to capacity building of vocational training institutes in Pakistan. He added that Germany was spending around €50 million on different programmes in Pakistan.

“We want to focus on the bottom of the pyramid, which is the largest, but poorest socio-economic group that has very little opportunity to move forward,” said Aman Foundation chief executive Ahsan Jamil. “he AmanTech vocational training institute targets male matriculates and equip them with a mix of vocational and soft skills training so that they could meet with the job market requirements.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR report on training workers to boost renewable energy sector:

Technology Upgradation and Skill Development Company (TUSDEC) has joined hands with GIZ, Pakistan to foster the renewable energy sector in the country by developing skilled force in various disciplines of solar technologies. The programme is being implemented under the implications of FIT (Funds for Innovative Training), Green Skills initiative.

A company spokesman said on Wednesday that TUSDEC will enroll 125 candidates in 5 batches to be trained in various areas of Photovoltaic and Solar Water Heating Systems. The overall programme duration is stretched over one year where each course will be for a span of three months.

The spokesman further shared that state-of-the-art facilities of NIDA Lahore centre will be utilised to administer the theoretical as well as practical trainings sessions, while on-site demonstrations will be organised specifically in the disciplines of Water Pumping and Solar Dryer where proficient master trainers will deliver the lectures, employing the originally deployed infrastructure.

According to him, TUSDEC has conducted an acute baseline analysis comprised of rigorous focus groups with major enterprises (Suppliers, Manufacturers and Assemblers) of solar power equipment and solar heating systems that has divulged huge dearth of trained manpower in the industry.

TUSDEC experts' panel has contrived market-oriented and internationally accredited training curricula, which will enable the trainees to serve productively in the approaching industry. TUSDEC further aims to nurture the diverse areas of renewable energy sector in Pakistan with the provision of immensely adroit and skilled manpower. Pakistan is experiencing approx 12 percent increase in its energy consumption with each passing year. The prevalent situation suggests a dire need of infrastructure investment as well as manpower cultivation in various alternate energy sources to effectively impede the resultant economic revolt, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Financial Times Op Ed on Pakistan:

Pity the people of Pakistan, trapped between self-serving, complacent elites who preside over a crumbling state, and a rich array of violent extremists who seem determined to tear the same state apart....

The military, the country’s most meritocratic and efficient institution, is widely regarded as the only force that can break this grim cycle. Yet there are other, largely hidden forces at work in Pakistan that hold it together and offer it a better future:

adaptability and resilience, entrepreneurship and shared coping.

These forces can be found in the very new – widespread mobile banking services – and the very old – Islam’s traditions of charity, justice and learning. When government and donors work creatively with these forces, amazing things can happen.

Pakistan has one of the best regulatory environments in the world for microfinance and one of the fastest-growing microfinance sectors, with 3m borrowers. It is also one of the most innovative places in the world for mobile banking services, partly due to the State Bank of Pakistan’s moves to encourage the market. About 1.5m customers make about 30m transactions a quarter through their mobiles, using a network of 20,000 agents, mainly local shops, to collect their cash.

A wave of charitable giving by individuals has helped to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by floods in 2010 are not still living in tents. A guerrilla army of more than 100,000 Lady Health Workers, funded by government, has helped to reduce markedly the number of women and babies who die in child birth, according to studies by the World Bank.

Too many children are still out of school and many government schools are woeful. Yet Pakistani parents go to enormous lengths to give their children, girls and boys, a chance at an education.

Low-cost private sector schools, charging perhaps $2 a week, are booming in slums and villages. Wherever girls receive a secondary level education, small private schools run in the homes of their owners start popping up, as they put their education to use to improve their standing in society. Even the government’s conservative figures suggest that a third of children in Pakistan and half in Karachi, many of them from poor households, attend such schools.

Indeed, Pakistan has a record in picking up new approaches to learning. The Allama Iqbal university in Islamabad, the first open university outside the UK, is the second largest in the world with 1.8m students. Start-ups such as Tele Taleem, tucked away on a dusty industrial estate on the outskirts of Islamabad, are pioneering ways to take learning to schools in the remoter regions, through satellite links and cheap tablet computers.

Donors are playing a vital role in promoting social innovation. The UK’s Department for International Development has pioneered a new road map for school improvement in Punjab, which Sir Michael Barber, the education reform expert, says is delivering one of the world’s fastest improvements in school performance. In Karachi, tens of thousands of poorer families will next year receive vouchers to send their children to low-cost private schools.

In agriculture, social venture capitalists such as Indus Basin Holdings are leading efforts to link groups of small-scale rice farmers to multinational companies.

Pakistan’s institutions may seem frozen, its elites worried that taking on the extremists will provoke even more violence in the run-up to next year’s elections. Yet, at the grassroots, Pakistan is in perpetual motion, with ceaseless creativity as people find affordable solutions to their basic needs. These largely hidden forces of resilience offer the best hope for the country’s future. In Pakistan, the state may be fragile but society is far stronger than many think.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times story on Pakistan's Malala Day celebration marking the launch of Waseela-e-Taleem program for children's education:

ISLAMABAD: United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown on Saturday said Pakistan could achieve more progress during next three years than any other country as the whole nation has consensus for promoting education as basic right of every child.

“This is a breakthrough moment for Pakistan’s five million out-of-school children as result of Malala’s courage,” Brown said addressing a news conference after his two-day visit to Pakistan that also coincided with Malala Day observed worldwide. He believed that the silent majority is speaking and that there is now national consensus that the country can delay no longer in ensuring girls and boys have schools to go and teachers to teach them.”

“Country after country is adopting Malala as their symbol for a girls’ right to school,” Brown commented. Brown who also telephoned Malala’s two friends Kainat and Shazia, both injured in attack, said not only in Asia but Malala Day was being observed from Latin America and Europe to Africa and several cities in the United States. “Today, we can say with certainty that as long as there are girls out of school anywhere in the world, Malala will be their beacon of hope. Visiting Pakistan and everywhere I go, the message I have received is the same: we are all with Malala,” Brown said.

Brown also praised Pakistan’s creation of four new Malala schools, a Malala Centre for women’s studies and a Malala postgraduate institute. He also expressed pleasure over the plan to provide financial support to poor families for sending their children to schools.

Mentioning to his telephonic interaction with Malala’s friends, he said both were courageous young women and wanted to become doctors. During his meetings with ministers of education from every province, he said everyone expressed their commitment to delivering educational opportunities for girls and boys.

Particularly, he said all of them have emphasised that they would work ceaselessly to ensure that three million girls who are denied schooling are no longer discriminated against anywhere in the country,” he said.

Brown also quoted that education minister is committed to expand community schools including 900 in the Swat Valley and FATA that provide route into the schooling for children who have never gone to school.

He also referred to a plan launched by Benazir Income Support Programme to expand a conditional cash transfer to families choosing to send their children to school what he said aims to enrol three million children into school over the next four years.

“So action is already underway this week to move further and faster to meeting the Millennium Development Goal for education,” he commented, adding that one million people have now signed worldwide petitions.\11\11\story_11-11-2012_pg7_12

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a PakistanToday story on US aid for education:

MANSEHRA - Over the next two years, USAID will provide $15 million for the construction and rehabilitation of seven Faculties of Education buildings across Pakistan.
More than 2,000 students and 100 faculty members will use these buildings every year, including the recipients of the new ADE and B.Ed. degrees.
The United States reinforced its long-term commitment to advancing education in Pakistan through the groundbreaking for a new, $1.5 million Faculty of Education building at Hazara University in Mansehra.
“This new faculty of education building will go a long way toward helping Pakistan improve the quality of education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”, this was stated by the Vice Chancellor of Hazara University, Prof. Dr. Syed Skhawat Shah while he led the groundbreaking ceremony on Monday in Hazara University.
While addressing the gathering State Minister for Technical and Professional Education Shahjhan Yousaf said that there is need to concentrate more on education. We have educated and results oriented teachers but don’t have strong education policy. “there is a need to work over it and to introduce good policy to facilitate new generation in their further studies,” he added.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Syed Skhawat Shah awarded degrees to 49 students from the Regional Institute of Teacher Education in Abbottabad who have been awarded Associate Degrees in Education after successfully completing two years of studies. “These two-year degrees were introduced to Pakistan by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) with USAID support, along with a four-year Bachelor’s Degree in Education. USAID helped design and introduce these degrees in order to increase the quality of teacher preparation at universities throughout Pakistan,” he added.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Jock Conly congratulated the graduates through a special message saying, “The United States government is deeply committed to helping Pakistan develop strong educational institutions. Together with the Government of Pakistan, the United States is working to improve the quality of education throughout the country.”
Chief of Party for the USAID Pakistan Reconstruction Program (PRP) Tarek Selim said that the faculty of education building being constructed at the Hazara University will have 16000 square feet covered area, having six class rooms, multi-purpose hall for hundred people, learning resource center, two laboratories, a seminar room and ten rooms for faculty.
He said that building will also have twenty postgraduate rooms besides a dean office, administration room and faculty lounge. “This building, to be completed by end of the coming year, will accommodate three hundred students and has been designed to resist earthquakes besides being environmentally sustainable and energy efficient.” Tarek told the journalists.
He said that teachers will also receive continuing education in the new, U.S.-funded facilities that will help train teachers working in some of the nearly 500 schools that the U.S. has helped build in Pakistan since October 2009.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on Real Madrid's plans to open a soccer school in Pakistan:

The Real Madrid Foundation (FRM), an NGO established by Spanish football giants Real Madrid, signed an MoU with a Pakistani NGO yesterday at the Santiago Bernabeu which will see FRM establish their social sports school model in Pakistan.

The project will kick off with two schools in Karachi that will comprise 400 boys and girls aged six to 17. Foreign coaches from Spain will also visit Pakistan to train local coaches. In addition, students with disabilities will receive specialised care.

“We are excited about the implementation of our FRM model in Pakistan for the betterment of children through the power of sport,” said Real Madrid’s Sporting Director Miguel Pardeza.

FRM was established in 1997 to service the disadvantaged through the power of sport.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's PakistanToday on ADB assistance for TeleTaleem online education:

ISLAMABAD - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a technical assistance (TA) grant of US$ 1.1 million to Pakistan’s TeleTaleem (Pvt.) Limited to boost access to quality education and vocational training in Pakistan using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
“This project will open new vistas of online learning opportunities for students and teachers, currently without access to quality educational and training resources. With a click of a button, students will be able to avail quality educational services regardless of their geographic location. The project will hugely benefit students and teachers, particularly girls in remote parts of the country who seek access to good educational opportunities,” said Philip Erquiaga, Director General of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department.
Leveraging Pakistan’s fast growing ICT sector, TeleTaleem will provide ICT-assisted advanced learning environment to service basic education and technical education and vocational training (TEVT) segments. The company plans to setup 500 learning centers/points-of-access over the next 5 years, reaching out to 100,000 students and 10,000 teachers across the country.
Werner E. Liepach, ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan, and Asad Karim, Chief Executive Officer of the TeleTaleem (Pvt.) Limited, today signed the TA implementation agreement. This is ADB’s first-ever private-sector led investment in an education project.
Pakistan has made impressive gains over the last decade with spectacular ICT growth through the use of mobile phones, Internet and personal computers in the urban, semi-urban and the rural areas.
TeleTaleem will be using this widespread ICT footprint to deliver exciting and engaging teaching-learning practices and content to students and teachers, with the objective of enhancing student achievement and teacher competency.
ADB’s TA grant will also study gaps, issues and opportunities to expand the use of ICT for education by defining appropriate strategies frameworks and financially self-sustaining development and marketing plans, to achieve large scale adaptation.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2011, ADB approvals including cofinancing totaled $21.7 billion.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's PakObserver on growing number of people with doctorate degrees i Pakistan:

Saturday, November 24, 2012 - Islamabad—The Pakistani universities are now able to produce more PhDs in the next 3 years as compared to last 10 years. The total number of PhDs in Pakistan has reached the figure of 8,142. According to the available statistics, the number of PhDs has increased from 348 (1947 to 2002) to 679 in 2012 in agriculture and veterinary sciences, from 586 to 1,096 in biological sciences, from 14 to 123 in business education, from merely 21 to 262 in engineering and technology and from 709 to 1,071 in physical sciences, Technology Times Reported.

In social sciences, the number increased to 887 from 108 during last ten years. The figures also indicate that during the last decade, special emphasis has been paid to the disciplines of agriculture and veterinary science, biological, physical and social sciences, business education, engineering and technology. “HEC has so far introduced various indigenous scholarship schemes to create a critical mass of highly qualified human resources in all fields of studies who conduct research on issues of importance to Pakistan.

Hopewins said...

Dr. Haq,

Can you work with me on this calculation and let me know if I make any errors?

The graph you have published shows workforce sizes--

The GDP PPP sizes are available here--

A) China
Workforce: 800 Million
GDP PPP$ 2011: 11,300 Billion
GDP Per worker PPP$: 14,125$

B) India
Workforce: 480 Million
GDP PPP$ 2011: 4,500 Billion
GDP Per worker PPP$: 9,375$

C) Pakistan
Workforce: 60 Million
GDP PPP$ 2011: 488 Billion
GDP Per worker PPP$: 8,133$

So in terms of output **PER WORKER** on a PPP basis, it looks like we are almost neck to neck with India. And both South-Asian countries are trailing China by about 35-40% lower output per worker.

Does this sound about right? Do you see any flaws? What are your thoughts?

Thank you.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET piece by Shahid Burki on women i the work force:

Pakistan has one of the world’s youngest populations in the world with a median age of about 22 years. This means that one-half of the population, or 90.5 million, is below that age. A much larger share of this population should be in the workforce. If this were the case, the country would be benefiting from what the economists call the demographic window of opportunity, when the proportion of the working population is much greater than those who are dependent on it. This would be realised if both men and women of working age were able to work. This is not the case in Pakistan. The proportion of men in the workforce is relatively high; 68.6 per cent. That of women is very low; only 31.4 per cent. This means that while 63.5 million men are in the workforce, the number of working women is only 29 million.

This does not mean that millions of women are sitting idly in their homes. In fact, most of them are doing a great deal of housework looking after their children, preparing food for the family, and in the countryside, often tending farm animals. Would getting them out of the house and into the workforce add to the country’s gross output? The answer is, probably yes, if the marginal return to their work in the marketplace is higher than what would be paid to those who would be called in to provide help in the house. This will be the case certainly among the middle-income households in the urban areas. By stepping outside their homes, middle-income women will create opportunities for those women lower down on the income scale. This will produce a ripple effect in the economy or in the language of economics a ‘multiplier’ will get to work.

This brings me to one of the ‘what ifs… ?’ questions about the situation in Pakistan. What would be the impact on the economy — to its size and the rate of growth — if the proportion of women in the workforce reached, not quite the level attained by men, but close to it, say 50 per cent. This would mean an addition of 25 million women to the labour force. This addition to the workforce will have the capacity to add $85 billion to the gross domestic product of $200 billion — an increase of 42.5 per cent. With this increase in the country’s GDP, income per capita will increase from the current $1,100 to $1,575. In other words, women could make a larger contribution to the economy if they are allowed to be part of the workforce. But for that to happen, the society will have to lift the many burdens that weigh down women and prevent them from contributing to the economy.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET story on top jobs for IBA grads:

KARACHI: If a high number of students receiving multiple job offers even before they graduate is the chief yardstick to measure a business school’s performance, the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) is certainly in a league of its own.

“Some of our students receive as many as six job offers before they had graduated,” IBA Dean and Director Dr Ishrat Husain said while speaking to The Express Tribune on Friday.

Out of the 196 IBA BBAs, who actively looked for jobs in 2012, as many as 170 – or 86.7% – managed to find employment of their liking, according to the IBA’s employment survey released earlier this month. The average monthly starting salary for BBA graduates in 2012 was Rs43,200, compared to last year’s Rs36,700, reflecting an increase of 18%.

The banking sector has been the chief employer of IBA graduates in recent years. But the percentage of BBAs joining the banking sector was 18.8% this year, compared to 39% two years ago. Although the banking sector offered a salary of salary of Rs36,900 a month on average in 2012 – which is Rs6,300 less than the overall average salary this year – it still remains the single largest employer of IBA BBAs.

Husain says the fact that the number of IBA graduates entering the banking field has come down by almost 50% in just a couple of years should be attributed to slower expansion in the banks’ branch network.Dr Ishrat Husain

The education sector remained the second-largest employer of IBA BBAs this year with 13.5% graduates entering the field at an average salary of Rs36,000 per month. About 78.3% graduates joining the education field were female, according to the employment survey.

Many of the BBAs entering the education field return to IBA after getting the mandatory work experience required for the MBA programme, according to Husain.

Financial institutions were also a less preferred employer for IBA BBAs in 2012, as only 5.9% of graduates joined them at an average salary of Rs39,700 a month. Unlike the education sector, which attracted more than twice the number of BBAs this year compared to 2011, the number of IBA graduates joining the financial sector actually decreased from 14% to 5.9% over the same period.

IBA BBAs received the highest average monthly salaries in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), telecommunications and manufacturing sectors with Rs70,000, Rs67,000 and Rs35,000, respectively, according to the employment survey.

Commenting about the low level of interest among IBA graduates in joining the textile sector, Husain says it was due to the “seth mentality” prevailing in the industry. “We have taught our students professional management, so they do not want to become part of the textile industry for obvious reasons,” he said.

The employment survey says 90.5% of the fresh MBAs who actively sought jobs this year found employment of their liking. The average monthly salary for IBA MBAs in 2012 was Rs66,400, which is almost 24% higher than the last year’s average.

Sales and distribution, FMCG and IT sectors attracted 26.3%, 18.4% and 15.8%, respectively, of IBA MBAs in 2012, the survey said.

“While the general impression is that there are few jobs because of the sluggish economic growth in recent years, the truth is that there are ample employment opportunities for graduates of quality educational institutions,” Husain said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times on industry-driven technical and vocational training in Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD: Active involvement of the industry in imparting technical and vocational training is inevitable for provision of required demand-driven skills to Pakistanis as 1.5 million new youth enters the labour market annually.
This was the crux of deliberations at a national seminar entitled ‘Involving Enterprises into Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)’, jointly organised by National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) and TVET Reform Support Programme at a local hotel on Friday, which is co-funded by the European Union, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany.
TVET experts, officials, employers and training providers participated in the seminar from all over the country. The main purpose of the seminar was to deliberate upon various local and international models of involving the private sector into TVET system and seeking a way forward to replicate them in Pakistan.
NAVTTC Executive Director Tariq Shafi Chak opened the seminar and underlined the need for involving the industry into TVET system. He said Pakistan has the biggest potential of youth, which needs to be equipped with demand-driven skills and that cannot be possible without participation of the industry. He invited the private sector to come forward and be part of the TVET delivery system.
Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC) Chairman Faisal Ijaz Khan gave a presentation on involvement of industry into training delivery mechanism being applied by his organisation. He explained that PVTC is a body run on public private partnership basis, as out of 14 council members, 11 comes from the private sector. Similarly, the industry is involved in curricula designing, management of training institutes, on the job training and placement of trainees after finishing their training.
Former Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Vice President Dr Shahid Raza briefed the participants about the internship scheme that the LCCI had been undertaking for the last couple of years.
An expert from United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) Mehran Gul shared the experiences of an internship programme that UNIDO had conducted in 2007 in a selected trade. He opined that success of any internship programme lies on the active involvement of the industry in terms of sharing cost, contribution to the Terms of Reference of the interns and assessment of the interns.
Operations Sindh Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (STEVTA) Director Nazar Ali gave a presentation about the apprenticeship law, being reviewed by the Sindh government. He underlined the need for more active involvement of industry for producing skilled workforce through an effective apprenticeship system.
NAVTTC Regional Director Lahore Hasan Nasir Jamy gave a presentation of involvement of enterprises in training of rice production and processing. A related need was also identified for providing support in the standardised indigenous development and production of rice processing based machinery and equipment. According to Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), 2,500 rice producing, processing and manufacturing units are located in Punjab. Approximately 25,000 semi-skilled workforce was engaged in the industry and 4.6 million tonnes of rice was exported annually with estimated export earnings of $2.04 billion. ...\12\22\story_22-12-2012_pg5_14

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Gulf News on a planned model village named after Arfa Karim:

Islamabad: Authorities in Pakistan are planning to build a model village in honour of late Arfa Karim, an information technology genius who at nine years became the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional.

Arfa’s ancestral village in Punjab, Ramdewali Chak No 4, will be soon developed into a model village at a cost of Rs140 million (Dh52 million) the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

A monument will be built at her grave, and a library and a museum will also be established within the model village.

“She deserves to be honoured by the entire nation forever,” the APP quoted a government spokesman as saying.

The village will have a girls’ degree college, a technical training centre, a basic health unit, a playground, improved drainage scheme, paved streets, provision of portable water and agriculture equipment.

Arfa died in January 2012, aged 16, after complications resulting from an epileptic stroke and cardiac arrest.

She rose to international fame when she became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) at the age of nine in 2005. She was subsequently invited to visit the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, by founder Bill Gates.

She received the Fatimah Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of science and technology in 2005, and was also the recipient of the President’s Award for Pride of Performance.

In 2006, she was invited by Microsoft to be a part of a conference in Barcelona. She was the only Pakistani among over 5,000 developers in that conference, the Daily Mail reported.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Nation newspaper story on solar tech training in Peshawar:

National Institute of Design and Analysis (NIDA) Peshawar centre has concluded the technical training course of solar panels installation for 16 trainees. The candidates were registered community members of Sarhad Rural Support Program. To impart the short training course, NIDA Peshawar Centre facilitated with the provision of 2400 Watt hi-tech training set-up as well as arranged for proficient trainers to apprise the trainees with the astutely developed course curricula. Trainees were brought to rehearse the techniques imparted in the classrooms sessions, thereby were enabled to effectively deploy the acquired skills set for their livelihood prospects.

At the course culmination, the successful candidates were certified by NIDA Peshawar and were also facilitated in finding employment opportunities for them. NIDA Peshawar Centre is committed to enhance the manpower capacity in various employable technical trades so that the local community at KPK could be effectively mobilized to reduce poverty and resource litter in the area. NIDA Peshawar being a subsidiary concern to TUSDEC is pursuing to train manpower as well as extend infrastructural support to facilitate the renewable energy sector in Pakistan.

According to a company spokesperson, NIDA Peshawar has implemented various successful programs in collaboration with Sarhad Rural Support Program and both organizations deem to work further together to maximize their efforts for the sustainable development of the area inhabitants.

Riaz Haq said...

In his piece for The Nation newspaper, author Kamal Monnoo worries about future declines in overseas remittances to Pakistan from Pak diaspora.

The author is focusing too much on the cyclical economic factors and not enough on the longer term demographic trends.

Western nations are going to need more, not fewer, workers from developing nations like Pakistan because the populations in the OECD nations are aging and shrinking.

Kerala example is not relevant either because Kerala itself has sub-replacement TFR of just 1.7 which is worse than some of the European nations.

Pakistan, with its total fertility rate of 3.5, has the world’s sixth largest population, seventh largest diaspora and the ninth largest labor force. With rapidly declining fertility and aging populations in the industrialized world, Pakistan's growing talent pool is likely to play a much bigger role to satisfy global demand for workers in the 21st century and contribute to the well-being of Pakistan as well as other parts of the world.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's PakistanToday on German help for vocational training in Pakistan:

KARACHI - The Government of Germany is launching a joint initiative with eight German firms to impart vocational training for mechanical professionals in Pakistan. To be formally started in spring this year, the Germany-Pakistan Training Initiative (GPATI) was supported by the German Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation through Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
GPATI was a joint initiative of the German Consulate General in Karachi and eight German companies based in the metropolis.
On Monday, Robert Bosch GmbH of Germany donated some tool sets consisting of over 10 top of the line power tools for the vocational institutes in Pakistan through their local principals, Adamjee Trading Corporation, a part of the Adamjee Group.
The German Consul General Dr Tilo Klinner and Adpower Group Executive Director Hisham Adamjee presented the first set of the tool kits to AmanTech, one of the two vocational training institutes participating in the GPATI.
The donated sets included tools for woodworking, metalworking, stone working and concrete drilling and breaking.
The tools would enable trainees at the selected vocational training institutes to work with quality tools and according to international standards and to promote the German quality concept regarding products in Pakistan.
Moreover, it would also allow the trainees to learn new skills which would help them compete and work in the international market.
Bosch, one of the largest portable power tools manufacturers in the world, had recently launched their power tools in the Pakistani market which have proved its worth in the local market.
GPATI was founded on the renowned concept of Dual Training System that was implemented effectively throughout Germany and was also successfully applied internationally.
The objective of this unique training initiative was to produce a workforce that was immediately productive and ready to take on the existing and emerging challenges of the industry.
The participants of this programme would have a good balance of knowledge, skills and a positive work attitude. On the Job Training (OJT) was an essential element of this concept.
The two vocational training institutes participating in this programme were AmanTech and iACT.

Riaz Haq said...

British secretary of DfID in Pakistan, reports Asian Age:

Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for International Development, Justine Greening, is in Pakistan.

She confirmed confirmed the UK’s commitment to help support four million of Pakistan’s children in school during a visit to two schools in Rawalpindi.

Justine Greening said: “Education is the single most important factor that can transform Pakistan’s future.

"Education helps to increase economic growth and will give the next generation of Pakistanis the chance to build a better future for themselves and their families.

"That’s why education is the UK’s number one priority in Pakistan. We will continue to work with Pakistan, as a partner, to help support four million children in school by 2015.”

Over the next six years alone, UK support for the planned Punjab Education Sector Programme, working with government and other donors, will help an additional 2.9 million children gain access to education, 71 per cent of whom will be girls.

Progress by the Government of Punjab has seen the primary enrolment rate for girls rise to 68 per cent (from 59 per cent) across the province, and to 64 per cent (from 55 per cent) in rural areas, between 2006 and 2010.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the UK’s education programme is focusing on tackling the educational disadvantages faced by girls, providing monthly ‘stipends’ so that poor families can send their girls to school and helping them to stay longer by investing in secondary education facilities for girls schools. 400,000 girls received vouchers this year.

And a new Education Fund for Sindh will educate 200,000 children through vouchers for low cost private sector schools, by working with organisations educating the poor and by supporting public private education partnerships. In its first year, the Education Fund for Sindh is already supporting the education of over 11,600 children.

She also met with Minister of Finance Hafeez Shaikh.

Justine Greening said: “I am pleased to be in Pakistan to see for myself the results that UK aid is helping to deliver in transforming people’s lives and to reiterate the close and enduring bond that our two countries share.

“The elections are a crucial milestone in Pakistan’s democratic history. We look forward to the peaceful transition of power with elections that are credible and support economic reforms that will help Pakistan thrive in the future providing basic services for a fast growing population. The UK stands ready to support Pakistan’s effort to deal with these critical issues.”

The UK’s aid programme is linked to the Government of Pakistan’s progress on results and reform at both the federal and provincial levels, particularly following the upcoming elections.

Discussions between the British Development Secretary and Minister of Finance focused on steps being taken to build a more dynamic economy, strengthen the country’s tax base and tackle corruption.

Riaz Haq said...

It takes at least 500 scientists and 1300 engineers with relevant training and skills to have a nuclear weapons program, according to a 1968 UN study...."a United Nations study conservatively estimates that at least 500 scientists and 1300 engineers are needed to develop and maintain warhead production facilities, and an additional 19,000 personnel (more than 5000 of them scientists and engineers) are required to produce delivery vehicles of the intermediate ballistic missile variety"

There's a recent book titled "Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb" by Feroz Khan to understand the basic fact that Pak nuclear weapons program has been a great catalyst for building national human capital and industrial base in the country.

Since 1990s, Pak has built two indigenous nuclear reactors at Khushab entirely on its own. Two more are under construction now.

As to nuclear power plants, Pakistan will find a way to generate more energy from various sources...the current PAEC plan is to build 8,800 MW nuclear power plants capacity by 2030.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times on US-Pak cooperation in human capital development:

* Grant to help researchers turn their research into commercially viable projects with private sector partners

* Symposium on ‘Economic Growth through Technology Transfer’ kicks off

ISLAMABAD: US Ambassador Richard Olson has announced new funding for Pakistani researchers during the first Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Programme Symposium on “Economic Growth through Technology Transfer”, which started at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) on Thursday.

The two-day symposium is being jointly organised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), US Department of State, US Agency for International Development and US National Academy of Sciences. The main objective of this academic activity was to introduce concepts of technology transfer and foster new interactions between research projects and the private sector, enhancing translation of research across these domains.

The participants included principal investigators, private sector, government representatives and universities. Delivering the keynote address, Ambassador Olson said that international science and technology cooperation is essential in addressing global challenges. Examples of research cooperation that can improve lives include more efficient water treatment to conserve and reuse wastewater; systems that rapidly detect deadly, drug-resistant tuberculosis; and solar water-heating systems for remote, rural areas, he said.

Ambassador Olson explained several other ways that the United States promotes scientific cooperation with Pakistan. He also announced new funding for Pakistani researchers to turn their research into commercially viable projects with private sector partners. This year’s Pakistan-US Science and Technology Symposium mark the 10-year anniversary of the Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement and highlights a new focus on economic growth through scientific cooperation.

The two-day symposium brings together American and Pakistani researchers, universities, research institutions, government officials, and entrepreneurs to help build partnerships between researchers and private sector. The sessions include hands-on workshops on establishing private sector partnerships, intellectual property, and how to “sell” a business idea to potential investors. Earlier in the inauguration session, HEC Member Dr Nasser Ali Khan informed that over the last decade, the United States and Pakistan have jointly contributed $38 million to fund 73 Pakistani-US scientist-led research projects among 40 different institutes and universities in both countries. He also shed light over the decade-long achievements of higher education sector.

The Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Programme will sponsor two competitive seed grant programmes in 2013: “Innovate! and Collaborate”. Under these programmes, researchers can apply for seed grants of up to $15,000 starting in summer 2013. Application details will be available in summer 2013. HEC chairperson Dr Javaid R Laghari, Ministry of Science and Technology Secretary Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar, National University of Science and Technology Islamabad Rector Engr Muhammad Asghar and University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan were also present on the occasion.\02\01\story_1-2-2013_pg11_1

Riaz Haq said...

Indian commentators have pounced upon Feroz Khan's erudite work on "Eating Grass-The Making of the Pakistani Bomb" by citing what they claim is an error regarding Indira Gandhi's triumphant speech to Indian parliament after the fall of Dacca in 1971.

Such self-serving reviews of things Pakistan by Indian commentators are not surprising. They are meant to sustain the Indian narrative of demonization of Pakistan.

Brig Feroz Khan's book is a scholarly work that offers the first authentic account of the making of Pakistani bomb.

It details a story of spectacular scientific and strategic achievement by a nation dismissed as a temporary "tent" and a "nissen hut" by Mountbatten in 1947. That same "nissen hut" is now a nuclear power about which Brookings' Stephen Cohen has said as follows:

“One of the most important puzzles of India-Pakistan relations is not why the smaller Pakistan feels encircled and threatened, but why the larger India does. It would seem that India, seven times more populous than Pakistan and five times its size, and which defeated Pakistan in 1971, would feel more secure. This has not been the case and Pakistan remains deeply embedded in Indian thinking. There are historical, strategic, ideological, and domestic reasons why Pakistan remains the central obsession of much of the Indian strategic community, just as India remains Pakistan’s.”,+but+why+the+larger+India+does.+It+would+seem+that+India,+seven+times+more+populous+than+Pakistan+and+five+times+its+size,+and+which+defeated+Pakistan+in+1971,+would+feel+more+secure.+This+has+not+been+the+case+and+Pakistan+remains+deeply+embedded+in+Indian+thinking.+There+are+historical,+strategic,+ideological,+and+domestic+reasons+why+Pakistan+remains+the+central+obsession+of+much+of+the+Indian+strategic+community,+just+as+India+remains+Pakistan%E2%80%99s.%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=fpjjb4H5Cs&sig=C-gS4adMQFbkv-7h4PqbaTPZj9I&hl=en&sa=X&ei=goIQUYKVBcfXigLR8IC4Dw&ved=0CEQQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Cohen&f=false

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on AI and Robotics education in Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD: Robotics as a discipline of science and technology is being taught at the graduate and post-graduate levels by more than 60 universities of Engineering Science and Technology in Pakistan, official sources told Daily Times here on Saturday.

The research and development (R&D) in advanced fields of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence has also been undertaken by some of laboratories established in the R&D institutes and universities in Pakistan. The official in the Ministry of Science and Technology claimed that there is a technical group engaged in development of automation of industrial processes at the National Institute of Electronics (NIE), Islamabad. The group has developed Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), which are used in automatic industrial controls.

The Centre for Intelligent Machines and Robotics (IMR) at the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology has a Research Group, which is undertaking research related to robotics, computer vision and machine learning. The IMR Research Group is conducting basic and applied research in robotics technologies relevant to industrial and societal tasks; the robotics technology in Pakistan has the potential role in boosting the productivity and competitiveness. The researchers at CIIT are working for projects on visual guided robotic systems for use in surgery, navigation control, mapping and geometric representation of environmental parameters.

National Engineering Robotics Contest (NERC) is an inter universities robotics competition held annually since 2005 at the NUST. The contest is organised by HEC, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Careers Project with more than 60 Pakistani universities participating in the event, and aims to train individuals for engineering services in Pakistan, and cash prizes are awarded to the winners.

NERC 2011 held at the College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME), Rawalpindi from June 28 to July 2. Many universities like FAST, GIKI, LUMS, CASE and UET Lahore participated in the event, where students were encouraged to design, develop and programme their respective robots.

R&D projects on Tele-Surgical Training Robot and Simulators and Development of Intelligent Robotic Wheelchairs are being undertaken by NUST funded by ICT R&D Fund.

International workshops and seminars for knowledge sharing and events at national level for talent hunt among youth in the fields of robotics have been organised regularly at NUST. Specialisation in robotics is a popular choice for students going abroad to study under various scholarships schemes for research and PhD. This field offers job opportunities, and robotics engineers can apply their mastery in diverse fields like modern warfare, surgery, nano-technology and space-exploration.

The official claimed that developing a robot comes with the goal of finding a solution to the problem. Along with the technical know-how, interest in research is essential. This field has promising opportunities, with no boundaries and will continue to grow with the advancement of science and technology in the near future.\02\10\story_10-2-2013_pg5_12

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece by Stephen Mosher on fertility decline in Europe published by Population Research Institute:

It’s happened before.

Writing a century and a half before the birth of Christ, the Greek historian Polybius observed “nowadays all over Greece such a diminution in natality and in general manner such depopulation that the towns are deserted and the fields lie fallow. Although this country has not been ravaged by wars or epidemics, the cause of the harm is evident: by avarice or cowardice the people, if they marry, will not bring up the children they ought to have. At most they bring up one or two. It is in this way that the scourge before it is noticed is rapidly developed.”

He concluded by urging his fellow Greeks to return to their historic love of family and children. “The remedy is in ourselves,” he wrote. “We have but to change our morals.” His advice, unfortunately, went largely unheeded.

The demographic winter of the Greek city-states led to economic stagnation and military weakness, which in turn invited invasion and conquest. After a century of increasing dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean, Rome finally annexed the Greek city-states in 146 B.C.

Will a Europe in the grip of a similar demographic winter come to a similar unhappy end? Certainly Europeans of today, like the Greeks of old, are barely having children. The birthrate across the entire continent is far below the replacement level of 2.1 children per couple. Italy, Spain, Austria, and Germany have total fertility rates, or TFRs, of only 1.4 or so, while Poland and Russia languish at 1.32 and 1.2 respectively. The more or less generous child allowances these countries pay the prolific has scarcely caused these numbers to budge. The birth dearth continues to widen.


Most Muslim countries in North Africa and the Middle East have fertility rates two or three times as high as Europe. Afghanistan and Somalia, whose fertility rates are above 6 children (6.62 and 6.4 respectively), may be outliers. But other Middle Eastern countries with above-replacement TFRs include Iraq at 4.86, Pakistan at 3.65, and Saudi Arabia at 3.03. Even immigrants from the most Westernized Muslim countries such as Turkey and Tunisia average nearly twice as many children as the extant populations of most European countries.

While falling fertility may be humanity’s general fate, it is this differential fertility that will determine Europe’s destiny. Although the birthrates of Muslim immigrants to Europe are far lower than they were just a generation ago, they are still far more open to life than highly secularized Europeans. Moreover, these immigrants, once in place in Germany, Italy, Spain, etc., tend to maintain their relatively high fertility for a generation.

If, on the other hand, the second- and third-generation Muslims are largely secularized, then the Christian minority will be, presumably, treated somewhat better, though still subject to some level of discrimination. As everyone knows by now, the Secular Left preaches a tolerance that it generally does not practice.

Either way, believers in once-Christian Europe will probably find themselves living in what might be called a pre-Constantine moment. In others words, they will be living under regimes that punish, even persecute, them for their beliefs.

At the present moment, Europeans still control their own destiny. As Polybius, were he alive today, would surely remind them: “The remedy is in yourselves. You have but to change your morals.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece by David Ignatius of Washington Post on declining fertility among Muslims:

Something startling is happening in the Muslim world — and no, I don’t mean the Arab Spring or the growth of Islamic fundamentalism. According to a leading demographer, a “sea change” is producing a sharp decline in Muslim fertility rates and a “flight from marriage” among Arab women.

Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, documented these findings in two recent papers. They tell a story that contradicts the usual picture of a continuing population explosion in Muslim lands. Population is indeed rising, but if current trends continue, the bulge won’t last long.

Eberstadt’s first paper was expressively titled “Fertility Decline in the Muslim World: A Veritable Sea-Change, Still Curiously Unnoticed.” Using data for 49 Muslim-majority countries and territories, he found that fertility rates declined an average of 41 percent between 1975-80 and 2005-10, a deeper drop than the 33 percent decline for the world as a whole.

Twenty-two Muslim countries and territories had fertility declines of 50 percent or more. The sharpest drops were in Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Libya, Albania, Qatar and Kuwait, which all recorded declines of 60 percent or more over three decades.

Fertility in Iran declined an astonishing 70 percent over the 30-year period, which Eberstadt says was “one of the most rapid and pronounced fertility declines ever recorded in human history.” By 2000, Iran’s fertility rate had fallen to two births per woman, below the level necessary to replace current population, according to Eberstadt and his co-author, Apoorva Shah.

A July 2012 Financial Times story placed the Iranian fertility rate even lower and cited a U.N. report warning that Iran’s population will begin to shrink in two decades and will decline by more than 50 percent by the end of the century if current trends continue.

Big cities in the Muslim world have seen especially sharp drops. Eberstadt notes that only six states in the United States have lower rates than Istanbul. In Tehran and Isfahan, Iran, fertility rates are lower than those of any state in the United States.

Eberstadt argues that the fertility decline isn’t just a result of rising incomes and economic development, though these certainly played a role: “Fertility decline over the past generation has been more rapid in the Arab states than virtually anywhere else on earth.”

The decline of marriage in Europe is well-known but still striking: The female marriage rate fell in Germany from 0.98 to 0.59 from 1965 to 2000; it fell in France over that period from 0.99 to 0.61; in Sweden from 0.98 to 0.49; in Britain, from 1 to 0.54.

Marriage is also plummeting in Asia: In Japan, the percentage of women between 30 and 34 who have never married rose from 7.2 percent in 1970 to 26.6 percent in 2000; in Burma, it rose from 9.3 percent to 25.9 percent; in Thailand, from 8.1 percent to 16.1 percent; in South Korea, from 1.4 percent to 10.7 percent.

Marriage rates in the Arab world are higher, but they’re moving fast in the same direction. What’s “astonishing,” says Eberstadt in an e-mail explaining his findings, is that in the Arab world, this move away from marriage “is by many measures already as far along as was Europe’s in the 1980s — and it is taking place at a vastly lower level of development than the corresponding flights in Europe and developed East Asia....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece by David Ignatius of Washington Post on declining fertility among Muslims:

Something startling is happening in the Muslim world — and no, I don’t mean the Arab Spring or the growth of Islamic fundamentalism. According to a leading demographer, a “sea change” is producing a sharp decline in Muslim fertility rates and a “flight from marriage” among Arab women.

Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, documented these findings in two recent papers. They tell a story that contradicts the usual picture of a continuing population explosion in Muslim lands. Population is indeed rising, but if current trends continue, the bulge won’t last long.

Eberstadt’s first paper was expressively titled “Fertility Decline in the Muslim World: A Veritable Sea-Change, Still Curiously Unnoticed.” Using data for 49 Muslim-majority countries and territories, he found that fertility rates declined an average of 41 percent between 1975-80 and 2005-10, a deeper drop than the 33 percent decline for the world as a whole.

Twenty-two Muslim countries and territories had fertility declines of 50 percent or more. The sharpest drops were in Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Libya, Albania, Qatar and Kuwait, which all recorded declines of 60 percent or more over three decades.

Fertility in Iran declined an astonishing 70 percent over the 30-year period, which Eberstadt says was “one of the most rapid and pronounced fertility declines ever recorded in human history.” By 2000, Iran’s fertility rate had fallen to two births per woman, below the level necessary to replace current population, according to Eberstadt and his co-author, Apoorva Shah.

A July 2012 Financial Times story placed the Iranian fertility rate even lower and cited a U.N. report warning that Iran’s population will begin to shrink in two decades and will decline by more than 50 percent by the end of the century if current trends continue.

Big cities in the Muslim world have seen especially sharp drops. Eberstadt notes that only six states in the United States have lower rates than Istanbul. In Tehran and Isfahan, Iran, fertility rates are lower than those of any state in the United States.

Eberstadt argues that the fertility decline isn’t just a result of rising incomes and economic development, though these certainly played a role: “Fertility decline over the past generation has been more rapid in the Arab states than virtually anywhere else on earth.”

The decline of marriage in Europe is well-known but still striking: The female marriage rate fell in Germany from 0.98 to 0.59 from 1965 to 2000; it fell in France over that period from 0.99 to 0.61; in Sweden from 0.98 to 0.49; in Britain, from 1 to 0.54.

Marriage is also plummeting in Asia: In Japan, the percentage of women between 30 and 34 who have never married rose from 7.2 percent in 1970 to 26.6 percent in 2000; in Burma, it rose from 9.3 percent to 25.9 percent; in Thailand, from 8.1 percent to 16.1 percent; in South Korea, from 1.4 percent to 10.7 percent.

Marriage rates in the Arab world are higher, but they’re moving fast in the same direction. What’s “astonishing,” says Eberstadt in an e-mail explaining his findings, is that in the Arab world, this move away from marriage “is by many measures already as far along as was Europe’s in the 1980s — and it is taking place at a vastly lower level of development than the corresponding flights in Europe and developed East Asia....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's PakObserver on Junior Achievement Program in Pakistan:

Saturday, February 23, 2013 - Karachi—Indus Motor Company (IMC) has committed USD 50,000 per year for the next 3 years to INJAZ Pakistan to support youth entrepreneurship training in Pakistan.

The event that was held at the AMANTECH premises in Korangi today was attended by CEO IMC, Parvez Ghias, CEO Aman Foundation Ahsan Jamil, Executive Director INJAZ Pakistan Azra Maqsood, Manager Corporate Planning IMC Atif Ahmed, GM Marketing Aman Foundation Sukayna Sadik and Program Manager INJAZ Pakistan Sitvat Jamal.

Mr. Ahsan Jamil thanked Mr. Parvez Ghias for their generous contribution. Looking forward to more partnerships that involved community building, he asserted that sustainable development is a key to positive change which is exhilarated through such alliances.

Parvez Ghias, CEO, Indus Motor Company said that the idea behind this initiative was to promote self- employment by empowering youth so that they could build their careers towards a better future. INJAZ Pakistan, an initiative of the Aman Foundation, is a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide and has been established with the objective of fostering, promoting, encouraging and developing entrepreneurial and vocational skills (EVS) among students between the ages of 5 and 25 in Pakistan. It works closely and reports progress to INJAZ al Arab (, which ranks amongst the top 50 NGOs of the world.

Indus Motor Company (IMC) is playing a vital role in the development of the society with its advanced technical education programs and supporting various training initiatives for young students, generating skilled based manpower for the automobile industry along with career opportunities for diligent citizens.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's PakistanToday on German assistance for vocational training in Pakistan:

The German Consulate in Karachi is going to initiate the “Dual Training” system which is an internationally recognised concept related to vocational training and based on German skills of development.
Under the Germany-Pakistan Training Initiative (GPATI), this scheme would now be modified and developed into an appropriate model of cooperative training in Pakistan.
The training was demand-driven and focused on the development of an employable and highly skilled workforce. In collaboration with employers, such as BASF, Dewan Motors/BMW, DHL, Linde, Lufthansa Cargo, Merck, METRO, Schenker, Shanawaz/Daimler and Siemens and Vocational Training Institutes (VTIs) such as AMANTECH and iACT, this pilot scheme would now be implemented in Karachi. The VTIs would develop programmes according to the need of the employees and the employers would ensure the provision of technical/practical training under normal work conditions.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, a federal enterprise, supported the German government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development around the globe. Along with the European Union (EU) and the Embassy of Netherlands, the German Ministry of Economic Development and Technical Cooperation was funding an ambitious TVET Reform Support Programme in Pakistan and had commissioned the GIZ to assist the Government of Pakistan in the implementation thereof. Programme partners included the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC), the Technical and Vocational Training Authorities (TEVTAs) in provinces and regions, private sector organisations and a large number of other stakeholders.
A key theme of the reform programme was to give employers and industry/training experts of the business economy a central role in all aspects of TVET planning and policy development, quality assurance, monitoring and delivery.
GPATI united the underlying principles of the reform and was therefore highly significant as it could give valuable input into the implementation of the overall TVET sector reform. Once the pilot phase of GPATI was successful, the long term objective was to scale up this scheme in 2014 under the TVET Reform Support Programme by including other national and multi-national companies and reaching out into other parts of Pakistan.
The first project committee meeting of GPATI took place on February 26th this year. Besides presenting the outline of GPATI activities for the current year, the participating companies, training institutes and GIZ signed a Letter of Intent. The event was chaired by Consul General of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr Tilo Klinner and GIZ Principal Education Advisor Dr Julie Reviere.
The idea of the project was to make use of the presence and commitment of large German companies to develop a workable approach to cooperative training (modeled after the German dual training approach). The success of the project would also demonstrate that TVET was intrinsically driven and delivered by industry and had the chance to produce better results in skills development in terms of both quality and relevance.
The training was planned to commence in the first quarter of the current year in the following occupational groups: General electric (incl. motor winding), general mechanics (including bench fitting and machining), electronics, process controlling, pharmaceutical technician, motor vehicle service mechanic, customer service, supply chain, sales and operations. All courses would be complemented by “Life Skills”, “Computer Literacy” and “English Language” learning modules.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an NPR story on a mobile library in Pakistan:

On a cold, rainy morning, a van pulls up outside a rural elementary school on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan's capital. The fluorescent green vehicle provides a flash of color on this otherwise gray day. There's a picture of children reading books under a large apple tree, and the words "Reading is fun" are painted in English and Urdu, the national language in Pakistan.

This is the weekly visit of the Bright Star Mobile Library.

Volunteer Ameena Khan starts pulling books from shelves on either side of the van.

"One is called Faces and one's an Urdu book," she says. "We're doing Bears on Wheels, which is a nice counting book. Fourth grade is going to read their own books."

The younger children gather to hear Khan read. The girls, bright-eyed and engaged, sit cross-legged on the floor in neat rows.
In Pakistan, rarely a day goes by without news of a bombing or an attack by militants. Many young Pakistanis have grown up in the grip of religious extremism, and there's little sign that that is likely to change in the near future. But the founder of the Bright Star bookmobile is trying to reverse that trend, starting at the most basic level.
So Malik decided to take books to the children. He says the idea of creating a mobile library came to him after seeing a similar project at the San Francisco Public Library. But Malik says he soon encountered the type of bureaucracy that can choke the life out of a project — even from Pakistan's Education Department.

He waited six months just to get a single letter from the department, granting access to schools

"There was absolutely no earthly reason to delay it," he says.

Malik called in some contacts to help get the project going. The U.N. World Food Program donated Bright Star's two vans, which were used previously as ambulances in neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistan's national library, the Asia Foundation and the San Francisco Public Library donated books. There are no religious books.

Like most nascent nonprofits, funding is fragile. The project runs on a shoestring budget, and it relies on donations and volunteers like Ameena Khan. She says she has seen a positive change in the children since they've had access to books.

"You would think, how can you fix so much [that] is wrong with education in Pakistan? We don't have a very big establishment," she says. "But we're reaching out to that many children in just a few hours, it does make a difference."

At the moment, Bright Star Mobile Library reaches 2,500 kids in Pakistan. Malik says that number is set to double in the next few months.

Riaz Haq said...

Top four online outsourcing sites,,, and report that Pakistan ranks number 3, after US (#1)and India (#2), in terms of freelancers doing outsourced IT work on contract. Bangladesh ranks fourth.

It also shows US, Australia and the UK as the top hiring countries.

All of the above-mentioned websites work in a similar fashion: companies post job requirements on these sites. Next, freelancers or IT-companies offer their skills and price for the project listed on the website. Finally, the company chooses the best type of bid for its job requirements.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Bloomberg report on remittances helping the poor and keeping Pak economy afloat:

Living in poverty in a mud shack in Pakistan, Mazhar Ali dropped out of school, sold the family’s two buffalo and bought a visa to work in Dubai. The money he sends home is paying for a new house.

“We’re going to build three rooms with bricks and cement, plus a courtyard and a washroom,” said his younger brother Azhar in Larkana, home town of the ruling People’s Party about 300 kilometers north of Karachi. “We will then start marrying one by one, starting with Mazhar sometime this year.”

The family’s change in fortunes reflects a rising trend of rich nations with aging workers tapping poorer ones for labor -- total remittances to developing economies will rise 7.9 percent this year, and reach $534 billion by 2015, the World Bank says. For Pakistan, the income offers a source of stability, with the country poised for its first civilian handover of government in May even amid power shortages, bombings and a Taliban insurgency.

“This is our savior for keeping Pakistan out of the oxygen tent,” Farooq Sattar, former Minister for Overseas Pakistanis said in an interview in Karachi last month before his party quit the government alliance. “It has kept us from a complete economic collapse.”

Almost 10 million Pakistanis work overseas and the sum they’ve sent home has doubled in the four years through June, to a record $13 billion.

The rising tide of funds from overseas contrasts with a struggle by President Asif Ali Zardari’s administration to raise enough revenue to fund programs that would boost domestic growth. Pakistan owes the IMF $7.5 billion by 2015 and is evaluating a possible further loan from the fund as a buffer against shocks, Saleem H. Mandviwalla said in December as Finance Minister.
Falling Rupee

The local currency has fallen on concern loan repayments will erode foreign-exchange reserves, which fell to $7.5 billion in January from $11.8 billion a year earlier, according to the central bank. The rupee traded yesterday at 98.35 per dollar, near a record low, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Pakistan was among the 15 lowest revenue-gathering nations in the world as a percentage of GDP, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s World Fact Book 2012. The South Asian nation recorded the highest budget deficit in two decades in the fiscal year through June as it missed its tax target.

The nation’s fiscal deficit may be 7.5 percent of gross domestic product this year, wider than the government’s target of 4.7 percent, the IMF said in January.

Among the biggest challenges for the government is the need to add almost 4,000 megawatts of power generation to end a shortage that’s causing blackouts for as long as 18 hours a day, idling factories and swelling unemployment. The government said energy shortages cut economic growth last year by as much as 4 percentage points.

Keeping Afloat

“Extreme poverty has not risen as much as it would have without remittances,” Rashid Amjad, a professor at the Lahore School of Economics said in an e-mail. “Most of the remittances are flowing into consumption, real estate, housing and the stock market, and have played a critical role in keeping Pakistan’s economy afloat.”

Pakistan will hold parliamentary elections on May 11, after the outgoing government, led by Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party, became the first democratically elected administration in 65 years of independence to complete its term.
Remittances that fuel a thriving underground economy may rise further in the next few years as more Pakistanis seek employment overseas, said G.M. Arif, an economist at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in Islamabad.


Some Pakistanis also use the system to avoid paying tax..

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on graduation at Rawalpindi's Arid University which specializes in promoting in farming on rain-fed land:

1580 students were awarded degrees, while 39 were decorated with medals in the 14th convocation of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) here on Thursday.
28 graduates got gold medals, seven silver medals, four bronze medals, while 14 students got PhD degrees. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, Executive Director, Higher Education Commission was the guest of the day while His Excellency Choongjoo Choi, Ambassador of South Korea was the Guest of Honor. Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad, Vice Chancellor of PMAS-AAUR was the chief guest on the occasion.
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, Executive Director, Higher Education Commission, said in his address that the Universities’ faculties have great potential and HEC is trying its best to provide all opportunities to facilitate them. He said HEC would continuously support institutions of higher learning. Dr. Mukhtar congratulated the graduates and expressed the views that the students are the future of Pakistan and “can make Pakistan prosper through the art of education andtechnology. It is the dire need of the time to promote education at higher level in the country and universities are source of creation of new dimensions in the field of research &knowledge.” He emphasized that students must contribute for the development of country. He also lauded the efforts of the University administration for research based education.
Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, PMAS-AAUR in his address said that University stood 7th in HEC ranking out of a 116 universities of Pakistan whereas among agriculture universities PMAS-AAUR achieved 2nd position. He further said that last year the university started two new degree programs BS Forestry and Ph.D. Computer Science, in addition to this various short-term training courses were also arranged for the farmers of the area to strengthen the ties between the university and the community at large. Dr. Ahmad also asked the gathering to create favourable environment for research, brace cooperation with national and international R & D organisations. While sharing the future plan, Vice Chancellor said the university administration is going to establish a new Faculty of Agriculture Engineering and Pak-Korea Capacity Building Centre for Agriculture & Livestock Technology with the help of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The total cost of the project is US $ 3.5 million, he concluded.
His Excellency Choongjoo Choi, Ambassador of South Korea, offered assurances that the Korean Embassy would do its best to enhance the development of Pakistan. While discussing agriculture and livestock he said that these are the backbone of a country and students must play their role in the agricultural development of Pakistan.\03\29\story_29-3-2013_pg11_3

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story about a new industrial automation school in Pakistan:

LAHORE: Technology Upgradation and Skill Development Company (TUSDEC) aims at establishing Pakistan Institute of Industrial Automation (PIIA) in order to render a training platform to consummate the shortage of skilled manpower in the local automation industry.

A company spokesperson on Thursday said that a pervasive baseline assessment has revealed the dearth of formally trained workforce for equipment maintenance, troubleshooting, installation and programming of equipment.

The PIIA will not only act as an ordained institute for manpower training but will also steer the planning and implementation of programmable logical controller (PLC) and industrial automation projects in the country. The institute will extend consultation and advisory services acting as an adept solution provider for industrial automation problems faced by the industry. The spokesperson said that PIIA will also substantiate the concept of industrial incubation under which, infrastructural support and consultancy will be extended to the automation equipment manufacturers or suppliers for setting up or upgrade their own labs and production units.

Figures from Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reveal that the import of modern machinery and equipment during 2010-11 was worth $6,547 million, which then rose to $7,167 million in 2011-12.

The accelerating figures indicate that the mounting demand of PLC-based systems in Pakistani industry. Besides a large number of factories and the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in various sectors are shifting towards programmable logical controllers to manage their operations.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Gulf News report on new tech training center in FATA's Bajaur agency in Pakistan:

Islamabad: In keeping with the directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to provide assistance to the people of Pakistan and to support technical and vocational educational there, the UAE Project to Assist Pakistan (UPAP) has announced completion of the project to build a technical college at Bajaur in Pakistan at a total cost of $3.4 million (Dh12.4 million). The project was delivered to the local government in Bajaur following completion.

The official inauguration of the college was attended by Chief of Pakistan Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, UAE Ambassador to Pakistan Eisa Abdullah Al Basha Al Nuaimi, Abdullah Khalifa Al Gafli, Director of the UPAP, and senior Pakistani officials.

The college is built on a 34,000 square foot area. It will provide diploma-level technical education for up to 450 students in various disciplines of engineering such as electrical, mechanical, civil and mining.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story on Pak students participating in international robotics competition:

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Robotics team will leave for United States of America on April 23 to take part in First Lego League (FLL) international robotics competition to be held on April 24 in United States of America (USA).

According to details, the National Robotics Champions Team would be the first-ever Pakistani team to take part in World Festival. Pakistani team, out of 20 teams, won the regional championship title earlier in qualifying round held for the International competition.

It was also the winner team in the national robotics championship as it defeated 13 other teams.

It may be noted that out of 20,000 teams which took part in the competition worldwide, only 85 teams were declared successful as they cleared the national qualifying rounds. Now they would take part in the FLL World Festival to be held from April 24 to April 27 in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Three-member team comprising Vice Captain Muhammad Rafay Arshad, Abdullah Gulraiz and Umar Khalique along with coach Saeed Akhtar will leave on Tuesday.

The team members have expressed the hope that they will win the international title for Pakistan.

Earlier, the team comprised 7 members but now only three team members will participate in world festival along with their coach, said a statement. (PPI)

Riaz Haq said...

There are many misguided Pakistani writers who parrot nonsense about Pak population growth.

Larger population is in fact a blessing for Pakistan in terms of greater human capital and higher demographic dividend.

Pakistan has the world’s sixth largest population, seventh largest diaspora and the ninth largest labor force. With rapidly declining fertility and aging populations in the industrialized world, Pakistan's growing talent pool is likely to play a much bigger role to satisfy global demand for workers in the 21st century and contribute to the well-being of Pakistan as well as other parts of the world.

Dramatic declines in fertility are not necessarily good for society. In a book titled "The Empty Cradle", the author Philip Longman warns that the declining birth rates around the world will cause many social and economic problems. As a consequence of declining fertility, by 2050 the population of Europe will have fallen to what it was in 1950. Mr. Longman says this is happening all around the world: Women are having fewer children. It's happening in Brazil, it's happening in China, India and Japan. It's even happening in the Middle East. Wherever there is rapid urbanization, education for women and visions of urban affluence, birthrates are falling. Having and raising children is seen as an expense and a burden.

"So we have a "free rider" problem. You don't need to have children to provide for your old age -- but the pension systems need them." Says Longman, referring to the coming Social Security crunch as the number of retired people rises faster than the number of workers.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a few excerpts of a UN report on population released today:

World population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 with most
growth in developing regions, especially Africa – says UN
India expected to become world’s largest country, passing China around 2028,
while Nigeria could surpass the United States by 2050
New York, 13 June—The current world population of 7.2 billion is projected to
increase by almost one billion people within the next twelve years, reaching 8.1
billion in 2025 and 9.6 billion in 2050, according to a new United Nations report,
World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, launched today.
Most of the population growth will occur in developing regions, which are projected
to increase from 5.9 billion in 2013 to 8.2 billion in 2050...
At the country level, much of the overall increase between now and 2050 is projected
to take place in high-fertility countries, mainly in Africa, as well as countries with
large populations such as India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United
For example,
the population of India is expected to surpass that of China around 2028, when both
countries will have populations of around 1.45 billion. Thereafter, India’s population
will continue to grow for several decades to around 1.6 billion and then decline
slowly to 1.5 billion in 2100. The population of China, on the other hand, is expected
to start decreasing after 2030, possibly reaching 1.1 billion in 2100.
Nigeria’s population is expected to surpass that of the United States before the middle
of the century. By the end of the century, Nigeria could start to rival China as the
second most populous country in the world. By 2100 there could be several other
countries with populations over 200 million, namely Indonesia, the United Republic
of Tanzania, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda and
...Europe’s population projected to decline by
14 per cent. Fertility in almost all European countries is now below the level required
for full replacement of the population in the long run (around 2.1 children per woman
on average). Fertility for Europe, as a whole, is projected to increase from 1.5 children
per woman in 2005-2010 to 1.8 in 2045-2050, and to 1.9 by 2095-2100. Despite this
increase, childbearing in low-fertility countries is expected to remain below the
replacement level, leading to a likely contraction of total population size.
Longer lives around the world
Life expectancy is projected to increase in developed and developing countries in
future years, according to the report. ----
At the global level, it is projected to reach 76 years in 2045-2050 and 82 years in
2095-2100. By the end of the century, people in developed countries could live on
average around 89 years, compared to about 81 years in developing regions.
In terms of annual averages, the major net receivers of international migrants during 2010-2050 are
projected to be the United States of America (1,000,000 annually), Canada (205,000), the United
Kingdom (172,500), Australia (150,000), Italy (131,250), the Russian Federation (127,500), France
(106,250) and Spain (102,500). The major countries of net emigration are projected to be
Bangladesh (-331,000 annually), China (-300,000), India (-284,000), Mexico (-210,000), Pakistan
(-170,000), Indonesia (-140,000) and the Philippines (-92,500). Economic and demographic
asymmetries across countries that may persist are likely to remain powerful generators of
international migration within the medium-term future.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a couple of excerpts on stories about Lego stores in Pakistan:

1. Express Tribune June 10, 2013:

Lego has finally made its way to Karachi. Originated in Denmark, the toy line consists of colourful interlocking plastic bricks which come in an array of shapes, gears and figures. At the launch of its first store in Pakistan on Friday at The Forum, Lego fans — children and parents — were busy constructing plastic architecture and enjoying a family day out.
The huge turnover reflects two things: there is a die-hard Lego following in Karachi and it clearly appeals to people of all age groups, not just children. Lego bricks are playful and can be assembled in numerous ways — you can construct objects such as vehicles, building and robots, wherever your imagination takes you.
At the launch, the store was abuzz with children as young as three (along with their parents) who were busy deciding which toy to take home. Children above the age of 10 were seen huddled on small tables busy building castles and buildings.
Amongst many parents present, Chheena Chappra, a mother who was seen with her 11-year-old son Habib said, “I have literally grown up playing this game [Lego] and years later, I see my young son being so involved in it. I think I am more excited than my son that Lego has come to Pakistan,” she exclaimed.....The price range starts at Rs500 and can go up to Rs100,000 and above. The colourful boxes were labeled with price tags, which were much more expensive compared to other toys in Pakistan. However, Saleem feels that the price is competitive. “Keeping the Dubai market in view, we have Lego toys at a much cheaper price,” he said..

2. Daily Times Aug 27, 2013:

With only a few months since its first store opening in Karachi, the Danish toy brand LEGO is all set to expand its operations in all major cities in Pakistan.

The giant toy company, which is known all over the world for inspiring children and young people to develop into responsible members of society through fun, learning and high-quality creative play activities, also aims to implement its education programme for local schools across Pakistan.

Bilal Saleem, country head LEGO Pakistan, stated, “Children are our role models. They reinvent the world and themselves in it over and over again, surprising themselves and others in what they can create and do. In Pakistan, there is a great need to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals, especially within education. As we seek to expand our operations in Pakistan, we want to make our contribution by setting up educational institutes across the country. These institutes will deliver teacher-tested, classroom – ready solutions for engaging and inspiring young learners and combine the unique, inspiring qualities of LEGO bricks with subject-specific tools and curricula so classroom teachers can meet key learning objectives.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune story on US aid for skills development in Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has dedicated $33.9 million to continue the Training for Pakistan Project, which is being implemented by World Learning.
The project is designed to offer education opportunities to more than 6,000 Pakistani professionals over the next four years, says a statement issued by USAID here today.
The Project will support Pakistan’s development priorities in the key sectors of energy, economic growth, agriculture, health, and education by making these capacity building opportunities available locally, regionally, or internationally for Pakistani professionals and decision-makers.

This project stems out of US’s policy to focus on people-to-people engagement with Pakistan specially highlighted in the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act.
The USAID Training for Pakistan Project will provide a full range of training services including needs assessments, training program design and implementation, participant recruitment and selection, technical assistance, and monitoring and evaluation.
“This partnership with USAID will allow World Learning to empower Pakistani individuals and organisations to become more engaged stakeholders in their country’s development,” World Learning President and CEO, Donald Steinberg said.
“The programme will help equip Pakistan’s future leaders with the skills they need to advance peace, democracy and development,” he added.
The project will also facilitate the formation of an USAID alumni association of training participants for a discourse on country’s development issues and experience sharing.
After completing training programmes, the alumni will also have an opportunity to apply for small grants to fund development projects inspired by their training courses. The project will extend follow-on post-training support.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on youth business loans in Pakistan:

With his new financing scheme for the youth, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday unveiled a plan to enable budding entrepreneurs to run their business ventures.
The Youth Business Loans initiative is the government’s delivery of a promise made during the election campaign. “During the election campaign, I witnessed the vigour and enthusiasm that the youth showed, and promised that if voted to power, the PML-N would empower the youth of Pakistan so they can contribute effectively towards the development of the country,” he said at the launch of the scheme.
The chairperson of the prime minister’s Youth Business Loans scheme, Maryam Nawaz, said the aim was to convert young ‘dependents’ into ‘providers’.
The scheme is designed to provide subsidised financing at eight percent mark-up per annum for 100,000 beneficiaries through National Bank of Pakistan and First Women Bank.
The total mark up rate would be 15 per cent but the government would pay the remaining seven percent on behalf of the applicants.
Those falling in the age group of 21 and 45 years are eligible to apply for loans from Rs100,000 to Rs2,000,000.
Small business loans with a tenure of up to seven years plus one-year grace period and a debt-equity ratio of 90:10 will be disbursed across the country including Gilgit-Baltistan‚ Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Youth will have an eight-year payback period with the first year as a grace period for repayment.

Riaz Haq said...

The armed forces of Pakistan are the world’s largest recipient of $5 million funds the United States annually spends to impart technical education and training to foreign troops under its International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme.
Having reimbursed more than $11 billion as war expenditures to Pakistan over the past decade, Islamabad’s non-NATO allies in Washington have also extended over $ 4 billion in civilian aid under the Kerry-Lugar Bill (KLB) over last five years.
“The United States provides Pakistan’s military with training to promote regional stability, improve its counterterrorism and defense capabilities and enhance civilian-military relations,” said a fact sheet the US embassy shared on Monday with its local alumni on US Assistance to Pakistan.
The 10-page document details a range of areas in which the US has been cooperating with Pakistan to promote its partnership with the latter which, the embassy said, was vital to its shared interest in Pakistan’s economic growth and development, regional stability, and mutually determined measures to counterterrorism.
Since fiscal year 2009, the document said, the US had trained nearly 1,120 officials of the Pakistan Army, air force and navy.
“Pakistan is the largest recipient of… IMET funding in the world, with an annual budget of approximately $5 million for this program,” the fact sheet added.
The US also provides critical equipment, ranging from advanced communications gear to surveillance aircraft, to Pakistani troops conducting counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in the border region and to enhance Pakistan’s participation in international maritime security operations.
“In addition, the US has refurbished and upgraded military helicopters and maritime surveillance aircraft.”
Consequently, Pakistan has significantly increased the effectiveness of its operations against terrorist groups, the embassy said.
Unlike its past do-more attitude, the US embassy expressed satisfaction over the steps Pakistan had recently taken to check the production of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that are said to be used against the ISAF troops in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has taken positive steps over the past year to increase its controls and interdiction of the illicit supply of the materials used to produce IEDs,” the embassy viewed.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times Op Ed by Bina Shah on Karachi Literature Festival:

KARACHI, Pakistan — On the banks of the luminous China Creek, overlooking old mangrove swamps and the shipping cranes at the port, more than 50,000 people flocked to this year’s Karachi Literature Festival, held annually in February when the flowers bloom, the weather is temperate and the city feels alive with possibility.

The festival, featuring panel discussions, book promotions, debates, music and theatrical performances, has established itself as a safe space to discuss not just literature and the arts but also politics, history and society at a time when plurality of opinion is not always welcome in Pakistan.

A new Sindh Festival, also held in February, offered another approach to Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage. This extravaganza was a brainchild of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari; it included a concert, art show, film festival, fashion show and horse-and-cattle show. Its aim was to showcase Pakistan’s “softer image,” in the distinctly political hope that by stimulating cultural pride, Pakistanis, especially the young, could be persuaded to reject militancy and religious extremism.

Two wars are being fought in Pakistan: a military one against the violence of religious extremists, and a psychological and emotional one to resist a more insidious change in society itself — the growth of intolerance, a drift toward the right and a decline in room for cultural, religious, ethnic or social diversity. This shrinkage of public space, or Talibanization, as the social scientist Ayesha Siddiqa puts it, is not violence itself, but creates support for “ideas which eventually feed violence.”

Talibanization has spread virally, thanks to right-wing talk shows, newspaper columns and social media. It silences debate about the role of religion, branding anyone who advocates secular democracy an atheist. For example, it whipped up a campaign against the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage campaigner for education for girls who was severely wounded in an assassination attempt; earlier this year, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial government banned the book from private school curriculums. The proponents of Talibanization denigrate women’s rights activists as “NGO workers in tight jeans” and harass young men and women at universities who try to spend time together.
Some 60,000 schoolchildren attended the Karachi Children’s Literature Festival last month. They listened to storytellers, participated in interactive art and music sessions, and attended debuts of graphic novels that captured the lives of “azeem” (great) Pakistanis: Begum Raa’na Liaqat Ali Khan, who championed women’s rights; Faiz Ahmed Faiz, a poet and activist; Hakeem Said, a scholar and philanthropist assassinated in 1998.

The battle for Pakistanis’ hearts and minds will be as tough as the one for sovereignty and territory. But the message will spread best when it’s free from political manipulation or overt assertions of national or civic pride. The children at the festival weren’t asked to choose between extremism and peace; they were left to enjoy themselves, to clap and cheer, to sing and dance. Experiences like these, organic and unforced, will win the cultural wars in Pakistan — if they are encouraged to flourish on the strength of unifying, not divisive, narratives and values that we all share.

Aziz said...

Great Article and I really enjoy by the way you outflow the info.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a World Bank report on digital youth summit in Peshawar, Pakistan:

"In Peshawar?" was a common reaction by confused members of the Pakistani and international technology community when told about the location of the country's first Digital Youth Summit (DYS). The city's reputation is often unfairly dominated by insecurity, yet over 300 young men and women from across Pakistan showed up to the two-day conference this week, making it the largest youth tech conference in the country and marking Peshawar's emergence as a hub of innovation and technology.

More than 60% of Pakistanis are under the age of 30 and while unemployment is rising, it is not possible for the government to provide jobs in the public sector to this huge mass of youth. On the other hand, a youth-led national and organic movement is growing, changing perceptions about "secure" public sector jobs and creating an ecosystem for entrepreneurship, freelance jobs, and technology. Peshawar is at the helm of this change.

Starting with a civic hackathon in January 2014, 150 young techies from across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (KP) demonstrated their energy and creativity for solving prevalent civic issues through technology. Twelve winners of the hackathon became fellows at the government of KP’s Information Technology Board (KPITB) and began developing their own civic startups. Their prototypes from the hackathon are now turning into full-fledged apps. "Traditionally we wait for governments to solve citizens' problems. This helps citizens solve government’s problems, which hurt all of society," said Muhammad Ibraheem, one of the fellows. His team’s app, No Kunda, allows citizens to take pictures of electricity theft they see in their community and report them to authorities. Another, DocSeek, aims to be a “Yelp for government health facilities in KP”, enabling residents to easily find nearby government health facilities, complete with user reviews.

The fellows presented their apps and experiences at the Digital Youth Summit as one of the summit’s 28 sessions over two days. Over 66 speakers from across Pakistan and the world converged to engage with local youth on topics of fostering innovation, startups and freelancing jobs through the digital economy. The participants included innovators, entrepreneurs, and an exciting group from emerging startup communities. Youth interested in building digital livelihoods heard from investors on how to attract funding, practical tips on writing proposals, and the opportunities available to become part of a global digital economy, such as through micro-work. Along with the sessions, there was an expo of digital innovators showcasing their products. The attendees cherished the opportunity to meet successful entrepreneurs, with sessions consistently running out of time for questions, and speakers swamped after the sessions by aspiring young innovators.

Many of the attendees (as well as some speakers) were university students, and common questions touched on the practical tools and networks required to set up their own ventures, particularly in an environment where many people do not consider freelancing and digital work to be ‘real jobs’. One session, on enterprise planning proved so popular that it was repeated for those who could not attend the first time. In addition to youth meeting inspirational role models, they also met each other to share ideas. Madiha Hassan founder of Pakistan’s first ridesharing app, Savaree, and described as a local digital ‘rock star’, said, “I attend tech conferences around Pakistan where I see amazing people, but it’s always the same, established people.” The DYS she said, allowed her “to see entrepreneurs my age and connect with them.”

Riaz Haq said...

New Chief Executive Officer of the British Council Ciar?n Devane has visited Higher Education Commission (HEC), here to participate in the orientation event "The UK and Pakistan: Increasing Investment in Research for Higher Education."
The programme aimed to provide an opportunity to beneficiaries of the HEC-British Council collaborative education and research initiatives to meet the new CEO and benefit from his international experience and proficiency.
Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC, Peter Upton, Country Director, British Council Pakistan and Dr. Mansoor Akbar Kundi, Acting Executive Director were also present, besides senior and junior level researchers from Pakistan's higher education sector.
British Council has been working with HEC Pakistan since 2004 with the launch of joint Higher Education Links programme and later on with Phase II of the same programme in 2006.
The programme has been funded by the HEC and managed by the British Council in Pakistan. To date, the British Council has built 50 research and capacity-building links between higher education institutions of Pakistani and UK.
So far, over 160 partnerships under various schemes have been funded in Pakistani universities. Some of the programmes on which HEC and British Council have cooperated include Research Partnerships, Leadership, Knowledge Exchange, Capacity Building of Senior Management of Higher Education Sector in Strategic Management, Transnational Education, Quality Assurance for Pakistani HEIs, Scholarships, Policy Dialogues, Talented Research Exchange, Split-site PhDs, and Transforming English Language Skills for Higher Education.
Speaking at the occasion, Devane said,"I am delighted to meet the academic and researcher community of Pakistan. I am grateful to HEC for inviting me to speak and to meet so many partners doing such good work together to strengthen research and higher education in Pakistan.
Its really impressive to see the great work presented by senior researchers which shows how you are bringing together some most important sectors of the society, including academics, industry, students, media, and civil society."
He said that the universities can play a very important role in stimulating and contributing to innovation and social and economic growth of any country.
This role is in addition to core missions of teaching and research, complimenting and enhancing these. "It is very promising to see that the Government of Pakistan has expanding access to higher education and has worked substantially at policy level to improve scientific research activities in Pakistan.
It is not simply about commercialization of science through creation of spin offs, licenses etc. It is so encouraging to see how British Council Pakistan and HEC have worked together to make the Pakistani universities as 21st century universities."

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan gets remittances of $18.4b from diaspora in 2014-15, yearly increase 16.5% …

KARACHI: Overseas Pakistanis sent remittances amounting to $18.4 billion in 2014-15, which translates into a year-on-year increase of 16.5%, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday.

Remittances amounted to $15.8 billion in the preceding fiscal year. Pakistanis based in foreign countries sent home $1.8 billion in June, which is 9.5% higher than the remittances received in the preceding month of May.

Country-wise breakdown

Inflows from Saudi Arabia were the largest source of remittances in 2014-15. They amounted to over $5.6 billion in July-June, up 19% from the preceding 12 months.

Remittances received in July-June from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) increased 35.3% to $4.2 billion on a year-on-year basis. Inflows from the UAE registered the largest increase from any major remittance-sending country during 2014-15, SBP data shows.

Remittances from the United States and the United Kingdom remained $2.6 billion and $2.3 billion, respectively, in July-June. The year-on-year increase in remittances from the US and the UK has been 4.8% and 4.9%, respectively.

Remittances from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, excluding Saudi Arabia and the UAE, clocked up at $2.1 billion in July-June, which is 15.6% higher than the remittances received from these countries in the preceding fiscal year. Remittances from Kuwait in 2014-15 equalled $748.1 million while those from Oman, Bahrain and Qatar amounted to $666.8 million, $389 million and $347.5 million, respectively.

This means the overall share of the oil-rich GCC countries in Pakistan is almost 65%. Many analysts fear remittances from these countries may dwindle going forward as their governments begin to scale back infrastructure spending in the wake of a sharp fall in global oil prices.

Oil and Pakistan

Any major fallout of the oil price slump on the remittance inflows will be detrimental for the Pakistani economy. Absent remittances, a perennial balance of payment crisis would be inescapable, as they cover up usually around 90% of the country’s trade deficit.

“The good news is that despite the oil slump, the GCC is still spending on infrastructure … there are no short-term concerns for remittances inflows into Pakistan from this region,” the SBP said in its second quarterly report.

Saying that the GCC governments’ spending plans have not been affected by declining oil prices due to the large sovereign funds, the SBP noted the status quo may not continue “much longer”.

“A continuous depletion of these reserves would eventually start biting into their fiscal spending if oil prices fail to recover. The pace of Pakistan’s remittance growth cannot remain immune to the oil slump indefinitely,” the SBP said.

Remittances received from Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and ‘other countries’ during June amounted to $110.53 million, up 7.7% from the remittances received from these countries in the same month of 2013-14. The monthly average of remittances during 2014-15 remained $1.5 billion, up from the monthly average of remittances amounting to $1.3 billion received in July-June of 2013-14.

Remittances in the first six months of the current fiscal year increased regardless of the strong wave of political instability that began in August with sit-ins by opposition parties and fizzled out after the attack on Army Public School in December. Overseas Pakistanis sent remittances amounting to $8.98 billion in the first half of 2014-15, showing a year-on-year increase of 15.26%. Remittances had grown 13.7% in 2013-14, which means the year-on-year increase of 16.5% in 2014-15 was notably higher than preceding year.

Riaz Haq said...

There are over 3 million students enrolled in grades 13 through 16 in Pakistan's 1,086 degree colleges and 161 universities, according to Pakistan Higher Education Commission report for 2013-14. The 3 million enrollment is 15% of the 20 million Pakistanis in the eligible age group of 18-24 years. In addition, there are over 255,000 Pakistanis enrolled in vocational training schools, according to Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA).

Pakistani universities have been producing over half a million graduates every year since 2010, according to HEC data. The number of university graduates in Pakistan increased from 380,773 in 2005-6 to 493,993 in 2008-09. This figure is growing with rising enrollment and contributing to Pakistan's growing human capital.

Riaz Haq said...

How plunging birth rates spell disaster for economic growth? #China #Europe #US via @WSJ
Sept. 23, 2015 6:27 p.m. ET

News reports suggest that the world is overflowing with people. Politicians in the U.S. and Europe talk about migrants—whether from Latin America or the Middle East—as a threat: They’ll steal jobs, depress wages and upend local ways of life. The backlash plays on deep-seated fears about a “population bomb.” The latest United Nations forecasts suggest that the global population will rise to 9.7 billion over the next 35 years, an increase of 2.4 billion. Where will they live, and what will they eat?

This narrative is sorely out of date. For much of the post-World War II era the world’s population grew at an average annual rate of almost 2%. But growth started to plummet in 1990 and is now running at about 1%—the lowest level in the postwar era—according to U.N. data.

This collapse is seriously undermining potential economic growth—roughly calculated as the rate of growth in the working-age population added to the rate of growth in productivity, or output per worker—and goes a long way toward explaining the sluggish recovery from the crisis of 2008.

Global GDP growth has been trending lower this decade and now stands at just under 2.5% a year, a full percentage point below its long-term precrisis average of 3.5%. It is no coincidence that since 2005 the growth in the working-age population, ages 15 to 64, has slowed from about 1.8% to 1%.

Thanks to rising prosperity and increased urbanization, women around the world are having fewer children. Since 1960 the average number of births per woman has fallen to 2.5 from nearly 5. Yet the global fertility rate continues to slip toward 2.1—the figure required to keep the population from shrinking.

In 83 countries, which contain almost half the world’s population, the typical woman has fewer than two children, including the U.S., China, Russia, Brazil, South Korea and every major country in Europe.

Falling fertility rates typically affect the economy after a lag of 15 years, as babies grow into working-age adults. But oddly, anti-immigrant sentiment has erupted precisely as the economic fallout of the birthrate implosion has become clearly visible. This year, for the first time in the postwar era, China’s working-age population is expected to decline—and it is likely to continue falling in coming years. The emerging world is going to have many fewer people to export than the anti-immigrant populists in the developed world imagine.

The negative economic effect of falling birthrates is magnified by another trend: Since 1960 the average lifespan world-wide has climbed to 69 from 50. The overall global population is still rising, slowly, but a greater share of it is people over 50. As previous generations retire they will impose a larger burden, in health care and pensions, on working-age sons and daughters.

The aging squeeze will be felt much more sharply in the emerging world where life expectancy has risen, and fertility rates have fallen, faster. In India the fertility rate has plunged from more than 6 in 1960 to 2.5. Though India is still on track to become the world’s most populous country in 2022, the annual growth in its working-age population will fall from an average of 2.2% last decade to 1.1% next decade.

Many countries see the threat posed by an imbalance between workers and retirees. Some have offered women “baby bonuses” to have more children, but with spotty results so far. Others have focused on boosting the size of the active labor force by bringing mothers or elderly people back to work. Most European countries are raising their “retirement age”—a 20th-century concept—to prevent energetic 50-somethings from quitting work.


Only the countries that adapt early to the population implosion will thrive in the baby-bust era. Meanwhile, the controversies over immigrants “stealing jobs” are likely to fade in the coming years, and give way to a new war for talent.

Riaz Haq said...

Here (in Stuttgart, Germany), migration has long been an engine of growth, and integration the bedrock of civic pride. The problems Stuttgart faces are ones that prosperous cities around the globe now share, American ones included: a dearth of affordable housing and the kind of apartments that suit the evolving demographics of the people who occupy them.

A screenshot from the website of Norbert Baksa, a Hungarian photographer, showing a model playing a migrant taking a selfie.Open Source: Hungarian Fashion Photographer Defends ‘Migrant Chic’ SpreadOCT. 7, 2015
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on Monday in Brussels, where he said that the key to resolving the migration crisis was for Europe to do more to contain the war in Syria.Turkish Leader Says E.U. Should Do More About SyriaOCT. 5, 2015
A security officer near a fence on Saturday in Coquelles, France, that was damaged as migrants tried to enter the Channel Tunnel.Migrants Evade Security to Enter Tunnel in France OCT. 3, 2015
Open Source: Young Refugee Who Fled Syria in Wheelchair Thanks ‘Days of Our Lives’ Stars Who Reunited for HerOCT. 1, 2015
A family of migrants from Macedonia at a processing center on a former American military base in Bamberg, Germany.Defining Refugees Versus Migrants in GermanySEPT. 29, 2015
“Boomtowns are integration cities,” said Gari Pavkovic, the son of a Croatian guest worker who arrived here decades ago. Mr. Pavkovic now manages immigration for the city government.

He ticked off numbers. Forty percent of Stuttgart’s 600,000 residents (or 60 percent of people under the age of 18) come from abroad, twice the national average. After World War II, foreign laborers rebuilt local industry: first Italians, then Greeks, Spaniards, Yugoslavians, Turks. And they’re still coming. Some 20,000 newcomers arrive annually, not counting the current wave of Syrians and others. Immigrants account for one of every three start-ups.

The other day, Levent Gunes, who works for the city planning office, provided a tour of a disused tank engine factory, an industrial relic being converted into an arts complex. The man who bought it was born in Turkey and owns a bakery across the street, Mr. Gunes said, next to a big Turkish supermarket and mosque.

“The percentage of entrepreneurs in Stuttgart with migrant backgrounds is the highest in Germany,” Mr. Gunes, who teaches at Stuttgart University and is the son of Turkish migrants himself, elaborated over börek and yogurt at the bakery.

“We’re talking I.T. people, engineers, architects, artists,” he said. “You only see the greengrocer and the butcher at street level, not all the doctors and lawyers upstairs.”

Stuttgart’s big move was to avoid pushing migrants into poor, isolated suburbs as in Rome or Paris, he emphasized.

“The layout of the city has reinforced integration,” he said.

One can see what he means by what’s not here. Stuttgart doesn’t have ethnic enclaves. After World War II, Mercedes and Bosch erected hostels for guest workers. But by the 1970s, when Manfred Rommel became mayor, political and business leaders adopted a different tack, integrating migrants into existing communities in the city center. Stuttgart embraced a melting pot urbanism.

Wilfried Porth, a member of the Daimler board and director of the company’s labor relations, recalls Stuttgart as a dour place years ago.

Riaz Haq said...

Experts have underlined the importance of promoting creative and innovative entrepreneurship for harnessing the potential of over 65% young population of the country with an aim to make them job creators rather than job-seekers.

They expressed these views at the two-day ‘Annual Entrepreneurship Conference: Learn, Create and Lead’, organised by the Entrepreneurship Development Institute at the Convention Centre of Pakistan.

“Pakistan has more than 65% of youth population that is below 25 years of age; there is an urgent need for innovative use of modern technology and resources to harness this potential for constructive purposes,” said Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed.

He said there were 100 public-sector and 73 private-sector universities in the country and some of them have already introduced entrepreneurship courses in their curricula, but there is still a need for more in many other universities.

“HEC is planning to establish centres for entrepreneurship in universities to facilitate the youth; we also encourage universities to pursue applied research for innovative entrepreneurship,” Ahmed said and underlined the need for establishing maximum technology parks in universities for providing one-window opportunity to the youth to develop their entrepreneurship skills at the academic level.

“We have already established one such park in the National University of Science and Technology with the support of China.” National Commission for Human Development Director General Orya Maqbool Jan said, “Entrepreneurship is not a concept of the modern world; it was founded by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) centuries ago, who was the greatest innovative entrepreneur.”

He introduced justice, principle and ethics-based entrepreneurship, while the modern corporate culture compromises on these three points, Jan said.

Ace Consultant CEO Faez H Syel suggested that policy-makers and authorities should make traditional sectors like plumbing, farming, automobile and small mechanical works the focus of modern entrepreneurship training so that a large chunk of the population could benefit from it.

Neya Tel CEO Siraj Tahir said, “You cannot make a business a success without taking initiative. There is no need for higher education to be a good and creative entrepreneur or to have huge monetary resources. You only need ideas and commitment to accomplish them.”

Riaz Haq said...

Ever since the global financial crisis, economists have groped for reasons to explain why growth in the U.S. and abroad has repeatedly disappointed, citing everything from fiscal austerity to the euro meltdown. They are now coming to realize that one of the stiffest headwinds is also one of the hardest to overcome: demographics.
Next year, the world’s advanced economies will reach a critical milestone. For the first time since 1950, their combined working-age population will decline, according to United Nations projections, and by 2050 it will shrink 5%. The ranks of workers will also fall in key emerging markets, such as China and Russia. At the same time the share of these countries’ population over 65 will skyrocket.
Previous generations fretted about the world having too many people. Today’s problem is too few.
This reflects two long-established trends: lengthening lifespans and declining fertility. Yet many of the economic consequences are only now apparent. Simply put, companies are running out of workers, customers or both. In either case, economic growth suffers. As a population ages, what people buy also changes, shifting more demand toward services such as health care and away from durable goods such as cars.
Demographic forces are assumed to be slow-moving and predictable. By historical standards, though, these aren’t, says Amlan Roy, a demographics expert at Credit Suisse. They are “dramatic and unprecedented,” he says, noting it took 80 years for the U.S. median age to rise seven years, to 30, by 1980, and just 34 more to climb another eight, to 38.
There is no simple answer for how business and government should cope with these changes, since each country is aging at different rates, for different reasons and with different degrees of preparedness.
Automation can boost workers’ productivity and support the burgeoning ranks of the elderly. Assumptions about aging also need to change. The typical 65-year-old today is roughly as healthy as a 58-year-old was four decades ago and can thus work longer.
Older, richer countries can boost their immigrant intake from low-income economies primarily in Africa and Asia, which will make up a growing share of the world’s working-age population—if they can overcome political opposition.

Riaz Haq said...

In #Pakistan, cultivating young #entrepreneurs by specialized vocational training | Pakistan | UNICEF via @sharethis

A vocational training programme supported by Barclays and UNICEF gives a young motorcycle mechanic in Pakistan just the start he needed.

OKARA, Punjab Province, Pakistan, January 2015 – “I have my own motorcycle repair shop and am earning enough for my family to have a decent life,” says Mohammad Tanvir, 19. “Circumstances forced me to give up education after middle school. I started working in a motorcycle repair shop just to learn some skills. I did not get paid for my work since I was a novice and the owner of the shop was teaching me.”

Poverty, along with limited access to both quality education and employment opportunities, is often a major factor hindering young men and women from fulfilling their potential. Through learning demand-driven skills and getting guidance on employment or entrepreneurship opportunities, young people can have the opportunity to brighten their futures. This is precisely the objective of Building Young Futures, a project implemented by UNICEF Pakistan, with funds from Barclays UK.

While working in the shop, Mohammad heard about a course on motorbike mechanics for young people, offered at the Vocational Training Institute (VTI) in Okara. “I thought, Why not do it the proper way and be a certified motorbike mechanic from a reputable organization? I joined the course and am enjoying the benefits now.”

After completing a 14-month training course at the VTI Okara in 2013, Mohammad had enough confidence as a mechanic to start his own business, rather than work for someone else. On the basis of his certificate from the Institute and pledging the land of his modest family home, he secured a bank loan of PKR 80,000 (about US$760).

Hard work and confidence

With capital in hand, Mohammad rented a shop in one of the bazars in Okara and bought all the tools he needed. His hard work and confidence paid dividends, and in a little over 18 months, he managed to establish his shop as a reliable and professional repair point for all types of motorbikes.

“I earn between 20,000 and 25,000 rupees [$190 to $240] per month from my shop,” Mohammad says. “Sometimes I buy a motorcycle that needs major repairs and sell it at a good price after overhauling it. This helps me make additional money, which I invest in purchasing another bike or covering an unexpected family expense.”

In 2012 in selected districts of Punjab province, UNICEF initiated the second phase of the Building Young Futures project. Its goal is to improve income-generating opportunities for socially excluded and vulnerable adolescents by enabling them to access training in life skills, financial literacy and enterprise management. To support the implementation of the project, UNICEF partnered with the Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC) and the Department of Youth Affairs, Sports, Archaeology and Tourism.

At the VTI Okara, Mohammad was trained by Zahid Iqbal. For many years, Zahid worked at the Atlas Honda Motorcycle factory in Lahore, but with a passion for teaching, he switched jobs and joined VTI Okara.

“I always wanted to teach and transfer my knowledge about motorbikes to the younger generation,” Zahid says. “It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to help young people progress in life. Some of them become entrepreneurs; some move abroad. But whenever they return, they come to see me and pay a lot of respect. It is a wonderful feeling to see my students do well in life.”

Prosperity and encouragement

Around 850 students are enrolled in the VTI Okara at one time, receiving vocational training in two shifts. Nearly 40 per cent are girls and young women, who often take up embroidery, cutting and stitching, dress-making or beautician courses.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's population explosion will make or break its economy. Not enough jobs and huge skills gap #BJP via @CNNMoney

unless India makes big improvements in how it educates and trains students, this demographic boom could instead saddle the country with another generation of unskilled workers destined to languish in low-paying jobs.
The need to train workers up -- and quickly -- is paramount. Currently only 2% of India's workers have received formal skills training, according to Ernst & Young. That compares with 68% in the U.K., 75% in Germany and 96% in South Korea.
It's a problem spread across industries. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors estimates that in 2010, India needed nearly 4 million civil engineers, but only 509,000 professionals had the right skills for the jobs. By 2020, India will have only 778,000 civil engineers for 4.6 million slots.
There is a similar gap among architects. India will have only 17% of the 427,000 professionals it needs in 2020.

The problem? The RICS found that India's education and professional development system has not kept pace with economic growth and is in "dire need for reform."
In industry after industry, the same story is repeated. A recent survey by Aspiring Minds, which tracks workforce preparedness, found that more than 80% of India's engineering graduates in 2015 were "unemployable."
"The quality of training offered in most colleges is not at par with the high demands generated by tech industries," said Preet Rustagi, a labor economist at the Institute for Human Development. "There is no regulatory body that keep checks on the quality of education."

Critics say India's universities are too focused on rote memorization, leaving students without the critical thinking skills required to solve problems. Teachers are paid low salaries, leading to poor quality of instruction. When students are denied entry to prestigious state schools, they often turn to less rigorous private colleges.
"When IT industries boomed in India a few years ago, many below-the-mark private colleges emerged to cater to their needs," said Alakh N. Sharma, director at the Institute for Human Development.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is racing to provide workers with training. His government is recruiting skills instructors, and turning old schools into learning centers. Programs strewn across various government agencies are being consolidated. Companies in the private sector are pitching in to help provide training.
The most pressing need, however, might be in primary education. Pupils in India are expected to perform two-digit subtraction by the age of seven, but only 50% are able to correctly count up to 100. Only 30% of the same students are able to read a text designed for five-year-olds, according to education foundation Pathram.
If the country's unique demographics are to pay dividends, improvement is a lesson to be learned quickly.

Riaz Haq said...

#Microsoft launches http://Rozgar.Work , #Employability & #Entrepreneurship Platform for #Pakistan. #skillsgap

Microsoft has launched the first of its kind Employability and Entrepreneurship Platform, Rozgar.Work, in Pakistan, in collaboration with World Vision-Pakistan (via ProPakistani). The platform offers job-seekers with end-to-end career guidance, up skilling, job-matching and mentorship to address the ever growing issue of unemployment and underemployment. The new platform is powered by Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud, SQL, and SharePoint 2013.

The event was attended by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal as the chief guest, as well as Microsoft and World Vision executives.

Microsoft Pakistan’s General Manager Nadeem Malik said,

At Microsoft we believe in sharing our success with the communities, wherever we operate. Rozgar.Work is a robust platform which can enable revolutionary enrichments in the society, by empowering the youth, to find effective solutions for the various challenges faced by the society.

Entrepreneurship and skill-development are the solution to many of Pakistan’s economic issues. Microsoft is committed to create fresh opportunities for the youth, to play a key role in nation-building. We appreciate the valuable support from WVI-Pakistan to make this program successful.

Program Development Manager at WVI -Pakistan Rizwan ul Haq said,

We are really excited to be a part of this pioneering initiative with Microsoft. World Vision is an international humanitarian organization that works for poverty alleviation,

Social Development, Disaster-Relief, Education, Healthcare and Justice for the deprived segments. We would like to thank the leading enterprises like TIE, PASHA, that have joined today’s event to show their support for this initiative.

Career counselling is a big task, and if you don’t do your proper research, you may end up in a field which is not fit for you in the long run. With Rozgar.Work, job seekers can get in touch with people who are well informed about the careers and can help new graduates make the right choice. Additionally, the platform also boasts an Online & Mobile Job-Matching & Search-functionality allowing job seekers to search for the best possible job opportunities available.

The platform also has online courses to learn from, as well as online and offline training options for different skills, and to earn a diploma.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s Enormous Long-Term #Growth Potential. Young #demographics, expanding #economy, #CPEC … via @barronsonline

To Western eyes, building a business in Pakistan seems nearly impossible with the country’s history of political turmoil and bouts of deadly terrorism committed by Islamic extremists.

But there is a long-term growth story in the frontier market, where the economy is expanding at a roughly 4.5% annual pace. As part of a $6.6 billion loan package, the International Monetary Fund got the country to raise taxes and cut subsidies—notably for electric power. But the IMF program expires this year, a key risk. Still, the IMF noted in a recent review that Pakistan has shored up foreign reserves thanks to low oil prices, and it praised the creation of an independent monetary-policy committee. It also acknowledged that restructuring or privatizing ailing public enterprises has been disappointingly slow.

The key to long-term growth is Pakistan’s population. At roughly 190 million, it is the sixth largest in the world. Importantly, more than half of Pakistan’s citizens are under age 25, eager for education and interested in success, says Najeeb Ghauri, CEO and founder of NetSol Technologies (ticker: NTWK), a California software company with a Pakistani campus.

“Contrary to the negative headlines,” says T. Rowe Price frontier markets portfolio manager Oliver Bell, “Pakistan has been slowly progressing on a much more stable path; we saw successful elections and the peaceful handover of power in 2013, and the new government has shown a commitment to adhere to the IMF program.” Bell adds that Pakistan’s aggressive privatization of companies “is creating liquidity and buying opportunities” in its stock market.

ONE OF THE BEST WAYS for retail investors to access this growth—a decidedly long-term bet—is the Global X MSCI Pakistan exchange-traded fund (PAK). The year-old ETF’s total return is negative 11% since inception. But that’s better than the iShares MSCI Frontier Market ETF (FM) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM), which each fell 18%.

Financials account for a third of the Pakistan ETF, and Bell likes banks. A favorite is Pakistan’s largest lender, Habib Bank (HBL.Pakistan), which the government took public last year. A high percentage of Pakistan’s population don’t use banks, and Bell expects expanded loan growth. China’s investment in Pakistan’s infrastructure, especially power plants, should boost long-term growth. Earnings on Friday beat analysts’ expectations. Bell thinks the bank’s return on equity can expand to 25% in 2018 from 17% in 2013. But he doesn’t think the stock is expensive, at 1.4 times book value, given its growth and 8% yield.

Of note: Habib Bank’s New York branch got an enforcement order from U.S. authorities in December, after they found repeated “significant breakdowns” in anti-money-laundering efforts.

Multinationals are taking notice of Pakistan’s strides. Coca-Cola (KO) is expanding its Pakistan operations, which boasted double-digit growth in the latest quarter, says Curt Ferguson, president of Coke’s Middle East and North Africa business. He told Barron’s last week, “Pakistan is growing again. We just made a huge investment near the India-Pakistan border, in Mutan, which has a gorgeous new airport. Pakistan would really surprise people.”

Perhaps, but not everyone wants the risk. Paul Christopher, global strategist at Wells Fargo, told us that Pakistan is among the frontier markets whose volatility makes it “not investible.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan, #China discuss increased collaboration in #vocational #training & #education #CPEC

Pakistan and China have agreed to increase collaboration in the field of vocational education and teacher training programmes.

The agreement came during a meeting between a delegation from China’s Tianjin University of Technology and Education (TUTE) and National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) Executive Director Zulfiqar Ahmad Cheema here on Monday.

Cheema briefed the delegation about the working of NAVTTC and its recent initiatives such as establishment of job placement centres for its graduates.

He said the under-construction China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would open new vistas of prosperity and development and would create employment opportunities in Pakistan.

Cheema said the two countries should enhance their collaboration to reboot the TVET system in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan dominate World Youth #Scrabble Championship in #France …

Pakistani players were off to a rollicking start at the 11th World Youth Scrabble Championship which began at Lille, France, on Saturday.

According to information made available here, 10-year-old debutant Imaad Ali was surprisingly the early leader winning his first two matches by huge margins to climb to the No 1 spot.

Imaad lost his No 1 spot to the former world youth champion Jack Durand but another pre-teen Pakistani Hasham Hadi snatched the No 1 spot two matches later.

At the end of day one, 11-year-old Hasham was at second spot with seven wins out of eight with a spread of 644, his only defeat coming at the hands of compatriot Daniyal Sanaullah.

Daniyal was at third spot with seven wins and a spread of 602.

Sorawit Chucharoen of Thailand is the only unbeaten player so far.

Abbas Ali of Pakistan was at ninth position.

Pakistan was the only team with six players in the top 16 at the end of day one.

Nine-year-old Saim Usmani won four of his eight matches to top the under-10 age category.

Pakistan is currently No 1, followed by Sri Lanka and Thailand. Pakistan’s Abdullah Abbasi won six of his eight matches and was 13th. The championship ends on Monday (today).

Riaz Haq said...

Rana Faroohar's review Ruchir Sharma's Rise & Fall of Nations:

The first rule is that “people matter,” meaning more precisely that demographics matter. Economic growth is basically demographics plus productivity, and given that both have been falling for a while now, as the gains of the last tech boom have been tapped out and the new one isn’t showing up in the data yet, we’re more dependent on demographics to drive growth than ever before. Unfortunately, in most parts of the world, the birth rate is falling. Countries that can come up with ways to welcome immigrants without causing too much political backlash will have a leg up, as will those that figure out ways to employ more older workers and women. That will be easier in nations that elect political reformers (as Argentina recently did) rather than populists (by this logic, Latin America may be at a turning point since its already passed through the dark life cycle stage of populism that many parts of Europe and even the US are in now).

Of course, the populists have risen because inequality has grown. Sharma counts billionaires as a mark of that, but he says there are “good billionaires” (the Steve Jobs and Larry Pages of the world) that can actually point to higher productivity and prosperity in a country, versus bad billionaires (from extractive- or land-based industries like minerals, real estate, oil etc). Too many of those point to corruption and slower growth (on the Bad Billionaire metric, Russia is, not surprisingly, flashing red).

Other things to watch: Countries’ own investments (public and private) into their economies (when investment rises growth is much more likely to accelerate). Inflation following debt binges can be a growth killer too, as is a run up in debt itself. Sharma has been one of the prescient seers of the Chinese debt crisis. He pointed out early on that it now takes $4 of debt to create a dollar of growth in China following the 2008 financial crisis, whereas it was a one to one ratio before. He was right, China’s debt crisis has since led to market volatility and much slower growth.

By Sharma’s own admission, “there are precious few nations that would qualify as rising stars by the standards of the before crisis era. In 2007…the number of economies growing faster than 7% reached a postwar peak at more than sixty.” Today, there are only nine economies growing that fast. Slower growth has hit every region of the world, and this new math will require a mindset shift for investors.

But there are some (relatively) bright spots. Sharma is more bullish on the U.S., particularly relative to the rest of the world, than many American voters are, noting that the shale oil revolution and dominance of Silicon Valley are positive signs for the future. South Asia, home to recent economic laggards, may also be set to rise, mostly because of Sharma’s life cycle theory of boom and bust and boom. Germany is a bright spot in Europe, as are a number of Eastern European nations. And yes, as the author wisely reminds us, a lot can change in 100 years.

Riaz Haq said...

US-funded scholars vow to transform education in Pakistan

Twenty-four PhD scholars who received their degrees in the United States with US government’s assistance shared their experiences here at an event yesterday.

Upon graduation, the scholars returned to Pakistan to serve as faculty members at Pakistani universities.
In total, the US government through the US Agency for International Development funded 35 scholars to receive their PhD degrees in education, a US embassy statement said.

Two scholars reflected on their experiences during the event.
In their remarks, the scholars discussed the gap between traditional Pakistani teaching practices and internationally standardized teaching methodologies promoted in their PhD programs.

Both scholars expressed their commitment to using their training to improve the quality of education instruction and curriculum development in Pakistan.
They discussed the value of the “multiplier effect model” where academic leaders unleashed the genius of their students and colleagues.

The event was attended by USAID Pakistan Mission Director John Groarke and representatives from Higher Education Commission.
Groarke encouraged the graduates to think about their futures as educators.

“You have experienced firsthand some of the best teaching and educational resources the world has to offer,” he said.
“I encourage you to use your experiences as a launching pad to create meaningful change that will serve future generations.

The PhD scholarship program is one of several USAID initiatives that strengthen the quality of education and research in Pakistan.
Through the Training for Pakistan project, the USAID has committed $33.
9 million to provide training to Pakistani professionals across sectors, including education.
The program also serves other sectors, including economic growth, agriculture, health, energy, and governance.

Meanwhile yesterday, the USAID and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations hosted a joint event to commemorate the successful completion of a $32 million, USAID-funded Balochistan Agriculture Project that was implemented by the FAO.

The project encompassed agricultural development activities in eight districts of Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

Speaking at the closeout ceremony in Islamabad, the USAID Pakistan Mission Director John Groarke said, “USAID is very proud of the successful partnership we had in Balochistan with the government, with the local people and with FAO.
We are pleased with the tremendous progress the project made in improving livelihoods of the people in the project areas.

Through this project, the USAID established 826 community organizations, improving incomes for 16,000 households.
The project helped communities and individual farmers increase the production, sale, and revenues from crops and livestock.

The farmers learned about new approaches for farming, better breeds of livestock, better seeds, and more efficient water management techniques.
The project helped establish and train community organizations, farmers’ marketing collectives and mutual marketing organizations in grading, packaging, and helped them find better paying markets.

The project also increased the participation of women in income-earning activities, supported improvement in provincial agricultural policies and the legal and regulatory framework for market-led and community-driven investments.

Riaz Haq said...

Most Pakistani parents choose schools for their children with an eye to ensuring that they are competitive when it comes to applying for admission to U.S. or U.K. colleges. Many today are counting on the Swiss-based International Baccalaureate education program as the more holistic, and competitive, alternative to the British General Certificate of Education’s Ordinary and Advanced level pre-college qualifications.

Founded in 1968, the IB aims to develop the “intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.” There are 4,527 schools around the world—including 15 in Pakistan, where the program was introduced in 1996—that offer 5,865 IB programs, from primary school onward, to almost a million students in 147 countries.

Karachi’s International School was the first private school to offer the IB in Pakistan, and it took another 10 years for other schools to being adopting the program. The number of Pakistani schools that offer the IB is still small compared to those in India, where the IB took off in 1976 and is offered by 120 schools.

Awareness has been an obstacle. “We did not even have a relationship with the Ministry of Education until three years ago,” says Faizol Musa, regional development manager of the IB Board. Over the last three years, IB educators have organized workshops and seminars in Pakistan to create awareness of the program and its admissions-time advantages. But despite that, and its acceptance by the world’s top colleges and universities, many Pakistani universities still do not recognize the IB for admissions.

The schools which offer the program recognize its full value. “Parents have a habit of judging their children’s studies with the amount of homework they get,” says Misbah Rani of Lahore’s Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust. “Our program encourages students to really learn and absorb the information rather than just memorize a few lines.”

Offering the IB program requires certification and teacher training, requirements that few schools in Pakistan’s stressed and underserved education market are equipped to handle. Aitchison College recently withdrew its application for certification, while the Lahore Grammar School’s application is pending with the IB Board. (School-certification applications can take up to two years to get accepted.)

Costs also account for why Pakistan’s embrace of the IB has been slow in coming. Applications are expensive (the school-certification application carries a one-time fee of $4,383, and the IB Board charges the certified school between $7,192 and $9,846 on an annual basis.) To keep current with the prescribed standards, these certified schools are also required to undergo mandatory training programs for teachers twice a year. It also costs parents more: Rs. 40,000 per month, almost twice the price of the British GCE certification system. However, Sanjan Nagar, a school for underprivileged children with an enrollment of some 700, is managing to offer the IB for Rs. 1,500 per month.

“We hope that public schools will also be able to be part of the program as well,” says Musa. “Pakistan is one of the fastest growing regions and markets for IB. We are certain that in 10 years it will become one of the key countries for IB worldwide.”

Riaz Haq said...

ISLAMABAD: Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) announced O’ and A’ Level results on Thursday.

Schools in Pakistan made over 270,000 entries for Cambridge qualifications this year, an increase of seven per cent over last year. The names of high achievers across the world will be announced in January after detailed analysis of the results.

Students heave a sigh of relief as CIE announces results

“More students than ever before collected their CIE results today, as entries for Cambridge qualifications continue to grow in Pakistan and around the world,” said CIE Country Director Uzma Yousuf Zaka.

Entries for O’ Level increased by five per cent from 154,137 in 2014-15 to 162,208 in 2015-16 and entries for A’ Level increased by eight percent from 84,365 to 91,094, the CIE Pakistan office told The Express Tribune.

The popularity of Cambridge IGCSE is also growing in Pakistan, with entries increasing by 16 per cent this year, going up from 10,364 in 2014-15 to 12,019 this year.

Globally there has been 10 percent growth in entries across all Cambridge qualifications this year, including 11 per cent growth in entries for Cambridge International A Levels and 8 per cent for Cambridge IGCSE.

Schools in Islamabad offering O’ and A’ levels programmes said they were satisfied with the result.

KGS tops list of outstanding Cambridge learners

We had the best results this year, said Fahim Khan, Principal of Headstart, Senior Branch, F-8/4. About 330 students had appeared in the exam, and of them, over 100 were high achievers with more than three As. The students mostly secured As and A* in science subjects, economics and math, he said.

We have regular, foreign qualified and committed teaching staff, he said, and we try to create a positive relationship between students and teachers besides striking a balance between cocurricular and academic activities.

Natalia Ahsan, the best academic student who secured five straight As in A Level in the school said the best part was that the teachers were always available to them and she did not have to do extra efforts in the exams or go to tuition centers.

Roots IVY International Schools CEO Khadija Mushtaq said her students earned over 1,200 As in IGCSE, O’ Levels, and A’ Levels.

KGS, Lyceum win big at Harvard Model United Nations 2016

The most notable among the O Level/IGCSE high achiever was Rida Shahid of DHA campus with 5 A* and 5 As, which is a phenomenal achievement, she said.

Saifur Rehman and Babar Mushtaq from Roots IVY Chaklala Scheme III excelled by attaining 9 A*s in IGCSE. other notable IGCSE high achievers with 9 As include Babar Mustafa, Haiqa Kamran, Tallina Talle, Saifur Rehman, Umer Sadiq, Humna Rehman, Muhammad Hassan Malik, and Ali Mustafa Khatai.

Tallina Talle attributed her success to her teachers and parents who made her work hard and opined that “if you work hard, you don’t need any tuition academies”.

The A’ level results included Muhammad Afaaq, Muhammad Haisam Azhar and Arham Hameed from different campuses achieves 6 straight As.

Islamabad College of Arts and Sciences (ICAS) Principal Nusrat Tahir also said praised her students, noting that they achieved 46 A*s, 100 As, and 121 Bs in O’ Levels, and 5 A*s, 60 As, and 55 Bs in A-Levels.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan to start #University of #Technology & Skills Development with #Japan's help in 2017 … via @epakistantoday

The first National University of Technology and Skills Development to be established at a cost of Rs 700 million would start functioning by next year.

“The draft law for the establishment of the university would soon be tabled after approval,” Construction Technology Training Institute’s (CTTI) Director, Jamil Ahmed told participants of “Japan Official Development Assistance (ODA) press tour, organised by Embassy of Japan in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on Thursday.

He said the draft law was pending with ministry of science and technology after approval from the ministry of law.

Jamil Ahmed informed that the syllabus of the university has already been approved by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). He said, five degree courses in five disciplines would be taught to the students.

He said that CTTI is strictly following the quota, and 45 percent seats are reserved for Punjab, 20 percent for Sindh, 15 percent for KP, 10 percent for Baluchistan and 10 percent for AJK, FANA and FATA. However he said that people from Baluchistan and Sindh are not coming according to their quota, while Punjab and KP is utilizing their 100 percent quota.

Giving the briefing regarding CTTI established with financial assistance of JICA, he said, more than 28,000 students from across the country had been imparted training of different short and long-terms courses since 1986.

He informed that 265 students from 28 countries had also completed their training from this institute.

The Director said a large number of the students of this institute were working with domestic and international companies after completing their training.

Jamil Ahmed said, spreading over 53.36 acres, the institute offers diplomas in mechanical, civil, automobile and diesel, quantity surveyor to the students of all provinces.

So far, 1,910 students are being imparted training on the equipment provided by the Japanese government.

He said the institute has 86 different types of machinery including dozers, graders, wheel loaders, excavators, truck crane etc which were donated by Japan.

He said, three hostels accommodate around 600 students on nominal charges while a new hostel for 200 students is under construction, however, there is no female stundent in CTTI.

Rebate in fee is offered to the students of backward areas, he added.

He informed that Japan has assisted in expansion and enhancement of this centre in 1995 and 2006, which is worth US$ 50 million.

“It has also extended technical cooperation under which it has assisted with the modification of curriculum and textbook and with provision of latest equipment in order to match modern technology and requirement of the industrial sector,” he added.

He said CTTI has played a leading role among these kinds of institutes by training people, by producing useful engineers, and also by providing third country training program through inviting students from Asian and African countries.

Later, the participants of the tour were taken to different class rooms to meet with the teachers and students.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts of ADB Asia Economic Integration Report (AEIR) 2016 report:

In Asia and the Pacific, many economies could expand
their role as the source or host economy for migrant
workers. Labor supply is still growing in developing
economies—such as Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao
People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Myanmar, India,
Pakistan, and the Philippines—and they could export
labor across the region. In contrast, developed but aging
economies such as Hong Kong, China; the Republic of
Korea; Japan; and Singapore are unable to meet labor
demand with their dwindling workforce. Hence, these
economies would benefit from immigrant labor. Kang
and Magoncia (2016) further discuss the potential for
migration to reallocate labor from surplus to deficit
economies and offer a glimpse of how the demographic
shift will frame Asia’s future population structure,
particularly the future working age population. Among the
issues explored is the magnitude of labor force surpluses
and deficits within different economies in Asia


World populations are aging—with the speed and extent of the
demographic shift varying across developed and developing
economies. Asia and the Pacific is at the heart of this demographic
shift with the world’s largest share of people aged 60 or over—
estimated to reach 62% by 2050. With the high and growing
share of economically inactive retirees and declining fertility
rates, labor supply will suffer, ultimately undermining the region’s
economic output.
How will the demographic shift frame Asia’s future population
structure, particularly working-age population? Using population
accounting methodology, Kang and Magoncia (2016) show how
effective certain policies could address the challenges associated
with the demographic change of population aging. One of the
policies explored is the increase in regional migration to augment
labor force deficits in aging economies in the region.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Education Statistics 2015-16.pdf

In Pakistan, there are 3,746 technical and vocational institutions of which 1,123 (30%) are in public sector, whereas 2,623 (70%) are in private sector. The total enrolment in the technical and vocational institutions is 0.315 million, of which 0.137 million (44%) is in public sector, whereas, 0.177 million (56%) is in private sector. It has been seen that 30% of public technical & vocational institutions are serving 44% of total technical & vocational enrolment. While 70% of private institutes are serving for 56% of the private sector enrolment. The total male enrolment in the technical and vocational institutions is 0.203 million (64%), whereas, the female enrolment is 0.111 million (36%). The total teachers in the technical and vocational institutions are 18,157 out of those 9,139 (50%) are in public and 9,018 (50%) are in private sector. There are 13,773 (76%) male teachers and 4,384 (22%) female teachers.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Education Statistics 2015-16.pdf

In Pakistan, 1,418 degree colleges are
providing their services in education
system. Out of these 1,259 (89%) are in
public sector, whereas 159 (11%) are in
private sector.
The total enrolment at degree college
stage i.e. in grades 13 and 14, is 0.937
million. Out of these students at this
stage of education, 0.808 million (86%)
are completing their degrees from public
sector, whereas, rest of the 0.128 million
(14%) students are in private sector.
There are only 11% degree colleges are
running under private sector of
education, the reason is that these
colleges tend to be more expensive then
public colleges.


There are total 163 universities
providing their services in both public
and private sector of education. Out of
these universities 91 (56%) are working
under umbrella of public sector,
whereas 72 (44%) are working under the
supervision of private sector as
The total enrolment in the universities,
i.e., at post graduate stage, is 1.355
million. Out of this enrolment 1.141
million (84%) students are enrolled in
public universities, whereas, 0.214
million (16%) students are studying in
private universities. Despite the fact
that there are more universities in public
sector there are less students in these
universities as compare of private
The total male enrolment in the
universities is 0.753 million (56%),
whereas, the female enrolment is 0.602
million (44%).

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan (220 million incl #AJK) passes #Brazil (210 million) to become 5th-most populous nation via @SkyNewsAust

Pakistan has surpassed Brazil to become the fifth-most populous country on earth, as the southern Asian nation's population surges beyond 220 million people, the latest figures show.

In March, the South Asian nation conducted its first population census in two decades, which was possible thanks to improved security after years of violence linked to al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

The officials counted every individual and their housing unit in a countrywide door-to-door exercise that lasted for more than two months, said the Pakistan Bureau of Statistic, which conducted the census.

The government released the outcome on Friday. The figure came in much higher than the earlier estimate of around 200 million.

The population in the country's four provinces and the tribal regions near the Afghan border stood at 207.77 million, according to the bureau.

Another 15 million people live in the disputed regions of Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan in the north, near the country's border with China, a PBS official said.

But the population of these two regions are not included along with that of Pakistan's because of the disputes, although people from these areas are allowed to hold Pakistani passports.

Pakistan was previously the sixth-most populous country in the world, with an estimated population of around 200 million before the census, but it had now surpassed Brazil, which has a population of about 210 million.

Pakistan's population has been growing at an average rate of 2.4 per cent per year in the past two decades, despite efforts by the government to control the rapid increase in population, the data shows.

'This is a surprising factor. The rate is much higher than estimates,' said Shakeel Ahmed Ramay, a researcher with Islamabad-based Sustainable Development Policy Institute.

For a country like Pakistan with limited resources, such a huge population could become a burden if innovative policies are not made to turn the youth bulge into an asset, Ramay added.

'You got to have some policy framework to promote entrepreneurship to engage a sea of people ... Otherwise, more individuals means more consumption of resources,' he explained.

Riaz Haq said...

The 2030 Skills Scorecard
Bridging business, education, and the future of work

South Asia has experienced some of the fastest economic growth rates globally. If strong investments in skills development are made, the region is poised to maintain growth in the coming decades. Today, South Asia is home to the largest number of young people of any global region, with almost half of its population of 1.9 billion below the age of 24. Youth unemployment remains high (at 9.8% in 2018) because of changing labor market demands and over — or under — qualification of job candidates. In most South Asian countries, the projected proportion of children and youth completing secondary education and learning basic secondary skills is expected to more than double by 2030. Still, on current trends, fewer than half of the region’s projected 400 million primary and secondary school-age children in 2030 are estimated to be on track to complete secondary education and attain basic workforce skills.

More than half of South Asian youth are not on track to have the education and skills necessary for employment in 2030
South Asia has the largest youth labour force in the world with nearly 100,000 young people entering the labour market each day

With almost half of its population of 1.8 billion below the age of 24, led by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, South Asia will have the largest youth labour force in the world until 2040.This offers the region the potential to drive vibrant and productive economies. If strong investments in skills development are made, the region is poised to maintain strong economic growth as well as an expansion of opportunities in the education and skills sectors in the coming decades.

* These estimates were generated based on a 2019 update of the Education Commission’s original 2016 projections model for the Learning Generation report. Most recent national learning assessment data used for each country as follows: BCSE 2015 for Bhutan, GCE O Levels 2016 for Sri Lanka, LASI 2015 for Bangladesh, NAT 2016 for Pakistan, NCERT 2017 for India, Nepali country assessment 2017 for Nepal, O Level Exam 2016 for Maldives. Afghanistan is not included due to lack of recent learning assessment data at the secondary level.

Riaz Haq said...

China to provide $4m equipment for #vocational training institutes in #Pakistan for socio-economic uplift. Vocational training will support development of skilled #labor force for low cost #housing, #agriculture, #COVID mitigation, pest control, etc.

China would provide training equipment worth $4 million (approximately 650 million rupees) for the vocational training institutes/ schools around Pakistan through National Vocational and Technical Training Commission.

The signing ceremony for Letter of Exchange for provision of ‘Vocational School Equipment and Material’ was held at the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Yao Jing, Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Pakistan, and Dr. Wang Zhihua, Minister Counsellor, Embassy of China in Pakistan attended the ceremony and from Pakistan side Noor Ahmed, Federal Secretary of Economic Affairs Division, signed the LOE.

The ambassador reassured cooperation by government of China for socio-economic development in Pakistan. A number of projects under social welfare of the poor and vulnerable people are already under progress like cooperation in PM’s Low Cost Housing Scheme and boosting rural economy through agricultural support. Government of China has also supported Pakistan to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. Pesticide and equipment has been provided to control the locust spread in the southern parts of the country. The ambassador also appreciated the continuity of CPEC projects particularly establishment of export-based industry in Special Economic Zones under SEZs despite challenging conditions globally due to pandemic.

Secretary Economic Affairs reiterated strong commitment towards further strengthening and expanding of bilateral economic cooperation between China and Pakistan. Both sides agreed that all the ongoing initiatives will be pursued very closely to achieve the targeted completion so that people of Pakistan can benefit from the Chinese assistance in a more productive manner.

Riaz Haq said...

Falling Populations May Keep Poor Countries From Getting Rich - Bloomberg

New population estimates suggest the window for many big developing nations may be closing faster than they realized.

The United Nations currently predicts that by 2027, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country. Estimates suggest India and Nigeria will together add 470 million people in the next three decades — almost a quarter of the world’s population increase to 2050. According to a new study from the University of Washington, however, several developing nations may find their so-called demographic dividend much less of a boon than anticipated.

Published in the Lancet, the UW study has improved on the UN’s model by modelling fertility differently and making its decline more sensitive to the availability of contraception and the spread of education. In many parts of India, for instance, the total fertility rate — the expected average number of children born to each woman — is already well below the replacement rate of 2.1 and dropping faster than expected. The study, which also tries to account for the feedback loops between education, mortality and migration, concludes that populations around the world are going to start shrinking sooner and faster than projected.

South Asia, for example, would have 600 million fewer people in 2100 than previously predicted thanks to lower-than-expected levels of fertility. Instead of growing throughout, India’s population would peak in 2050 and then decline to 70% of that number by the end of the century. By that point, China’s population would be about half its current size. On the other hand, sub-Saharan Africa would continue to grow, with Nigeria entering the 22nd century as the world’s second-largest country, behind India and just ahead of China and Pakistan.

For policymakers in India and several other developing nations, this isn’t good news. As the authors of the UW study point out, a shrinking global population has “positive implications for the environment, climate change, and food production.” But it also means time is running out — indeed, may already have run out — on those nations’ development clocks.

China has been truly fortunate in its demographics; it peaked at the right time. Working-age Chinese people, both in total numbers and as a share of the population, crested just when world trade was most open. This made the possibilities for manufacturing-led growth easier to seize than they had been for centuries.

Those countries that come next — India and Pakistan in particular — will confront a more closed world. And, worse, they now know that it is people currently in the workforce, or children in school, who over their lifetimes will have to lift the country to prosperity. For countries whose populations will begin to decline in the 2040s, this generation of workers and the next is all there is: They must, like their Chinese counterparts in the last two decades, push their countries from farm to factory and beyond.


Even the most fortunate countries will need to be careful. By 2050, as expected, China will be the world’s largest economy. But the study authors predict that, as the Chinese population declines, immigration should in theory continue to bolster America’s workforce. The U.S. could again become the world’s largest economy in 2098 — if the country lives up to its ideals and continues to welcome the world’s migrants. There’s no better way to ensure America becomes great again.

Riaz Haq said...

Falling Populations May Keep Poor Countries From Getting Rich - Bloomberg

New population estimates suggest the window for many big developing nations may be closing faster than they realized.

The United Nations currently predicts that by 2027, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country. Estimates suggest India and Nigeria will together add 470 million people in the next three decades — almost a quarter of the world’s population increase to 2050. According to a new study from the University of Washington, however, several developing nations may find their so-called demographic dividend much less of a boon than anticipated.

Published in the Lancet, the UW study has improved on the UN’s model by modelling fertility differently and making its decline more sensitive to the availability of contraception and the spread of education. In many parts of India, for instance, the total fertility rate — the expected average number of children born to each woman — is already well below the replacement rate of 2.1 and dropping faster than expected. The study, which also tries to account for the feedback loops between education, mortality and migration, concludes that populations around the world are going to start shrinking sooner and faster than projected.

South Asia, for example, would have 600 million fewer people in 2100 than previously predicted thanks to lower-than-expected levels of fertility. Instead of growing throughout, India’s population would peak in 2050 and then decline to 70% of that number by the end of the century. By that point, China’s population would be about half its current size. On the other hand, sub-Saharan Africa would continue to grow, with Nigeria entering the 22nd century as the world’s second-largest country, behind India and just ahead of China and Pakistan.

For policymakers in India and several other developing nations, this isn’t good news. As the authors of the UW study point out, a shrinking global population has “positive implications for the environment, climate change, and food production.” But it also means time is running out — indeed, may already have run out — on those nations’ development clocks.

China has been truly fortunate in its demographics; it peaked at the right time. Working-age Chinese people, both in total numbers and as a share of the population, crested just when world trade was most open. This made the possibilities for manufacturing-led growth easier to seize than they had been for centuries.

Those countries that come next — India and Pakistan in particular — will confront a more closed world. And, worse, they now know that it is people currently in the workforce, or children in school, who over their lifetimes will have to lift the country to prosperity. For countries whose populations will begin to decline in the 2040s, this generation of workers and the next is all there is: They must, like their Chinese counterparts in the last two decades, push their countries from farm to factory and beyond.

Right now, India’s boosters tout the fact that its working-age population swells by a million people a month, propelling economic growth. If that demographic push runs out sooner than expected, growth will depend on individual productivity, not sheer numbers. That means education and healthcare and similar “soft” infrastructure no longer look like rich-country luxuries. Unless they are put into place within the next decade, indeed within the next few years, countries such as India, Indonesia and Brazil may never become rich.

Riaz Haq said...


A recent study by the IMF (Kock and Sun 2011), which examined the rapid increase in remittances over the past decade (from just over US$1 billion
in 2000–01 to an expected US$13 billion in 2011–12), finds for the period 1997–2008
that both the numbers of Pakistanis going overseas for work and the skill levels of these immigrants have increased. Since a large proportion of migrants are relatively young, one must ask whether better-educated and highly skilled young people are leaving the country in disproportionately high numbers.

Riaz Haq said...

These are the countries most affected by the decline in working age populations

Within the OECD, countries such as Korea, Japan, Germany and Italy have a declining working age population.
The OECD calculated that Japan is the country most heavily affected, as its working population is set to be just 60% of its original size by 2050.
Within the OECD, Korea, Japan, Germany and Italy are among the countries most heavily affected by a decline of their working age populations. Taking each country’s population between the ages of 20 and 64 in the year 2000 as a base, the OECD calculated that by 2050, that population would only be around 80 percent of its original size in Korea and Italy. In Japan, the country most heavily affected, that number would be just over 60 percent.

For the OECD in total, the size of the working age population is actually expected to increase and be at 111 percent of the 2000 figure in 2050. The growth is driven by countries with strong birth rates and large populations, like Australia, Turkey and the United States.

While Japan’s working age population has been in decline since the 1990s, Korea’s working age population was expected to start its decline in 2019. The country's statistics bureau just confirmed that the entire population of South Korea in fact declined by 0.04 percent in 2020.

For countries experiencing a decline of working age population, problems like underfunded social systems, tight labor markets and an overstretched medical and care sector are common.

Riaz Haq said...

#America's population is aging. We need learn to live with low fertility. #US is going to be living for a long time with slow population growth & low #GDP growth. And we need to start thinking about #economic policy with that reality in mind. #demographics

Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported much higher inflation than almost anyone predicted, and inflationistas — people who always predict runaway price rises, and have always been wrong — seized on the news as proof that this time the wolf is real.

Financial markets, however, took it in stride. Stocks fell on the report, but they soon made up most of the losses.

Bond yields rose only slightly on the news, then ended the week right where they started — namely, extremely low.

Why so little reaction to the inflation news? Part of the answer, presumably, was that once investors had time to digest the details they realized that there was little sign of a rise in underlying inflation; this was a blip reflecting what were probably one-time rises in the prices of used cars and hotel rooms.

Beyond that, however, is what I think is the realization that while we’re achieving dramatic, almost miraculous success in defeating Covid-19, once the pandemic subsides we’re likely to be in an environment of sustained low interest rates as a result of weak investment demand. And the biggest reason for that low-rate environment is plunging fertility, which implies slow or even negative growth in the number of Americans in their prime working years.

This isn’t a new issue. Last month’s census report showing the lowest U.S. population growth since the 1930s only confirmed what everyone studying the subject already knew. And America is relatively late to this party. Japan’s working-age population has been declining since the mid-1990s. The euro area has been on the downslope since 2009. Even China is starting to look like Japan, a legacy of its one-child policy.

Is stagnant or declining population a big economic problem? It doesn’t have to be. In fact, in a world of limited resources and major environmental problems there’s something to be said for a reduction in population pressure. But we need to think about policy differently in a flat-population economy than we did in the days when maturing baby boomers were rapidly swelling the potential work force.

OK, let me admit that there is one real issue: An aging population means fewer active workers per retiree, which raises some fiscal issues. But this problem is often exaggerated. Remember all the panic about how Social Security couldn’t survive the burden of retiring boomers? Well, many boomers have already retired; by 2025 most of the growth in the number of beneficiaries per worker caused by retiring baby boomers will already have occurred. Yet there’s no crisis.

There is, however, a different issue with low population growth. To maintain full employment, a market economy must persuade businesses to invest all the money households want to save. Yet a lot of investment demand is driven by population growth, as new families need newly built houses, new workers require the construction of new office buildings and factories, and so on.

So low population growth can cause persistent spending weakness, a phenomenon diagnosed in 1938 by the economist Alvin Hansen, who awkwardly dubbed it “secular stagnation.” The term and concept have been revived recently by Larry Summers, and on this issue I think he’s right.

Secular stagnation can be a problem, because if interest rates are very low even in good times there’s not much room for the Fed to cut rates during recessions. But a low-interest-rate world can also offer major policy opportunities — if we’re willing to think clearly.

Riaz Haq said...

In 1962, a landmark legislation laid the foundation of vocational training in Pakistan. The Apprenticeship Ordinance, 1962 was promulgated by the government of Gen Ayub Khan to feed the growing industries with skilled technicians and process operators.

This was followed by the Apprenticeship Rules in 1966, which quite comprehensively provided modalities of the training scheme, obligations of both the employers and apprentices and the latter’s terms and conditions of apprenticeship.

The Ordinance of 1962, has been made applicable to undertakings employing fifty or more persons, as are notified by the provincial government in the official gazette. The notified undertaking is obliged to introduce and operate an apprenticeship programme and get it registered with the Competent Authority defined in the Ordinance.

Such undertaking is required to train apprentices in the proportion of a minimum of twenty percent of the total number of persons employed in the ‘apprenticeable trade’. For instance, if an undertaking employs five electricians, it should have at least one apprentice in this trade. There are more than three hundred vocational professions to choose from, encompassing different areas.

The induction of the Ordinance met with immense success and all the notified undertakings established their apprenticeship centers in accordance with the law. The most notable among them was the remarkable apprenticeship training center established by the American corporate giant Exxon Chemical Pakistan Limited at its fertilizer plant in Daharki (Sindh).

In the late 1960s, the Exxon corporation was attracted to install a plant in Pakistan looking at its rapid pace of industrial development. The company not only imparted training to apprentices in mechanical and chemical trades for two to three years duration but also devised a competitive scheme for their career development in the post apprenticeship employment of the company. Exxon’s successor company Engro Fertilizer Limited continues to follow the scheme.

The federal government has promulgated the Apprenticeship Act, 2018 by repealing the Ordinance of 1962, which has become outdated. However, due to the 18th Amendment, provisions of the act of 2018 extend only to the Islamabad Capital Territory. The provinces should make and enforce their own apprenticeship acts, to revive the effectiveness of a most beneficial training scheme.

In order to supplement the apprenticeship scheme and boost vocational training in the country, the government promulgated the National Training Ordinance, 1980, which was amended through the Amendment Ordinance, 2002. The purpose of the ordinance was to constitute training boards in the respective provinces to regulate and promote vocational training facilities in various fields. By virtue of this ordinance, the scope of vocational training has widened beyond the confines of notified undertakings. While the apprenticeship training extends only to the apprentices enrolled with some undertaking, any person whether or not he/she is employed, can join the vocational training institutes established all over Pakistan, to learn the desired skill.

The National Board has 17 different functions relating to promotion of technical, vocational and in-plant training and skill development etc. The provincial boards have nine functions, which include: (a) registration and licensing of establishments, organizations or institutions, which are offering vocational training; and (b) conducting trade tests and certifying the skilled persons and trainers, who may have received vocational training through any source or acquired the skill through experience or informal system of Ustad-Shagird.

Most of Pakistan’s blue-collar workers learn their work informally and have little to no formal academic education. However, raw potential is not a substitute for proper industrial skills-based training.

Riaz Haq said...

Govt set to launch Kamyab Pakistan Programme this month

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said: “We have finalised every aspect of this programme, and it would be launched in mid-July.” — PID/File
• 4m households to be supported
• Minister says around Rs400bn worth of interest-free loans to be offered

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided in principle to launch ‘Kamyab Pakistan Progra­mme’ this month under which four million households would be assisted in various schemes.

The programme appears to be one of the major initiatives taken by the government for the poor segment of society ahead of next elections.

Talking to Dawn on Saturday, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said: “We have finalised every aspect of this programme, and it would be launched in mid-July.”

Detailing some of the features of the programme, he said it aimed at providing support to people in housing projects, skill development, health cards and interest-free loans for businesses and agri-services.

However, he made it clear that the targets would be achieved over a period of time and not in one year.

The minister said approximately Rs300 billion to Rs400bn interest-free loans would be given in the current fiscal year 2021-22, adding that the amount had also been budgeted to provide subsidy against interest-free loans.

The minister said ‘Kamyab Jawan’ would be a part of this programme.

About broadening of tax base, Mr Tarin said a strategy was being devised to bring 7.2 million people under the tax net. The strategy will be finalised soon, however, no taxpayer would be harassed, he added.

He said the point of sales programme would be extended to maximum traders in the current fiscal year.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC), Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin stressed the importance of long-term planning to achieve sustainable and all-inclusive economic growth.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had reconstituted the EAC after decades with an objective to draw up concrete proposals for sustainable economic growth through comprehensive and seamless planning and by taking all stakeholders on board.

During the third meeting of the EAC, four sub-groups gave their presentations on State-Owned Enterprises and Privatisation, Energy, Domestic Commerce and Price Stability.

Special Assistant on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood Khan gave a detailed presentation on price stability which included short-term, medium-term and long-term proposals to bring price stability in the country.

He drew a comparative analysis between prices prevailing in Pakistan and those in the entire region – both in current and historical perspectives.

Zaid Bashir, in his presentation on ‘Domestic Commerce Sector’, underlined the need to enrich and revive documented/integrated sectors and fully realise the true potential of e-commerce during the short term by bringing retailers into a more organised environment, ultimately benefitting the national exchequer.

Tax credit on enlistment of companies and to incentivise the induction of women in workforce were suggested as part of medium-term plans whereas financing facility for growth of the retailers and tax adjustability were suggested as part of a long-term strategy to promote domestic commerce sector.

In his presentation on energy (power) sector, Farooq Rehmatullah highlighted global, regional and local trends in the refining sectors.

The presentation also included recommendations for bringing in sustainable solutions to streamline operations from oil downstream to marketing sectors.

Mr Rehmatullah gave suggestions to deal with challenges faced by the LPG, exploration and production sectors and to explore renewable energy resources in Pakistan.

Sultan Ali Allana, meanwhile, spoke on ‘State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)’ while the privatisation secretary, Hassan Nasir Jamy, updated the EAC on privatisation.

Riaz Haq said...

UP's fertility rate nearly halved from 4.82 in 1993 to 2.7 in 2016 - and it's expected to touch 2.1 by 2025, according to a government projection.

Given the falling rates, "incentivising sterilisation is counterproductive", Ms Muttreja added, because "70% of India's increase in population is going to come from young people. So, what we need is non-permanent, spacing methods".

Fertility rates have dipped below replacement levels - 2.1 births per woman - in 19 out of India's 22 states and federally administered territories for which data has been released in the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS). Data from the remaining nine states, including UP, is not ready yet.


Increased awareness, government programmes, urbanisation, upward mobility and greater use of modern methods of contraception have all contributed to this.

Nearly half of the world's countries have seen an extraordinary decline in fertility rates. By 2070, the global fertility rate is expected to drop below replacement levels, according to the UN.

China's fertility rate had dropped to 1.3 in 2020, while India's was 2.2 at the last official count in 2016.

Will the world's 'first male birth control shot' work?
Why do Indian women go to sterilisation camps?
So, why implement this rule now?
One reason, according to demographers, is the differing rates across India.

Six states - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh - that are home to roughly 40% of India's population also have fertility rates higher than the replacement level, 2.1. This is in sharp contrast with Kerala (1.8), Karnataka (1.7), Andhra Pradesh (1.7) or Goa (1.3).

"Also, our cities are overcrowded and ill-planned. They convey an image of over-population," Dr KS James, director of International Institute of Population Sciences, said.

Political analysts also believe UP's chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, has an eye on state elections slated for next year. And, with such a drastic move, he hopes to signal a development agenda that is removed from his controversial image as a divisive right-wing Hindu nationalist.

This is not a new idea either. In 2018, more than 125 MPs wrote to the president asking for the implementation of a two-child norm. The same year the Supreme Court dismissed several petitions seeking population control measures as it could lead to a "civil war-like situation". In the last year, three MPs from Mr Adityanath's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) introduced bills in parliament to control population.

Since the early 1990s, 12 states have introduced some version of the two child-policy.

Did it work?
It's hard to say because different states implemented different versions of it - some left loopholes and others introduced financial incentives alongside the punitive measures.

There has been no independent evaluation either but a study in five of the states showed a rise in unsafe and sex-selective abortions, and men divorcing their wives or giving up their children for adoption so they could contest polls.

But the results are mixed - four states revoked the law; Bihar started in 2007 but still has the country's highest fertility rate (3.4); and Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have all seen a remarkable drop in fertility rates with no such norms in place.

"India is at a perfect stage as far as population distribution is concerned," Niranjan Saggurti, director of the Population Council's office in India said.

Experts say India has entered a demographic dividend - the ability of a young and active workforce to catapult economies out of poverty. How India can harness this, especially in populous states like Uttar Pradesh, remains to be seen.

Riaz Haq said...

The New Population Bomb

"A few years ago, we would get three times more recruits than we could accept," observed an employee with a staffing company in Vietnam that recruits workers for Japan's Technical Intern Training Program. "These days, we can barely get twice as many. Within five years, the number of people working away from home may start to drop."

Many Asian economies have experienced this phenomenon already, known in economics as the Lewis turning point, after British economist W. Arthur Lewis. Workers migrate from rural areas to cities, supporting economic growth by working for low wages. Eventually, growth stops because of rising wages and a shrinking labor force.

The answer, in many cases has been immigrants, which have contributed to growth in developed countries after population growth slowed. According to the U.N., there were 281 million international migrants in 2020, 1.6 times more than roughly 20 years earlier.

Border restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted how dependent some countries have become on foreign workers.

Without immigration, many advanced economies already cannot sustain their labor pool. In the U.K. after Brexit, the combination of immigration restrictions and the pandemic has led to a severe labor shortage. Before the pandemic, 12% of heavy truck drivers were from the European Union. However, drivers can no longer be hired from outside the country under the U.K.'s new standards. According to the British Road Haulage Association, the country faces a shortage of more than 100,000 commercial heavy truck drivers. Logistics companies are becoming desperate, raising hourly wages by 30%.

The lack of immigration may not be a temporary phenomenon. The countries with the most outbound immigrants are seeing their young populations decline. The number of Indians between the ages of 15 and 29 will peak in 2025. In China that cohort will drop by about 20% in the next 30 years.

The Philippines, one of the biggest labor-exporting countries in the world, where about 10% of the population is thought to work abroad, is also showing signs of reversing course to focus on domestic production. The country is increasing the amount of domestic contract work, such as call centers. The incoming amount of overseas remittances grew by over 7% year-on-year in the first half of the 2010s, but that slowed to 3% in 2018.

Some countries have already started trying to secure workers. Germany increased its acceptance of non-EU workers in 2020. In 2019, Australia increased the maximum length of working holidays from two years to three, on the condition that people work for a set period of time in sectors where there is a labor shortage, such as agriculture. Japan also is bringing in more foreign workers through the "specified skilled worker" system.

Economic forces may drive a new competition among nations for immigrants. One key is to become a "country of choice." "A policy of actively accepting immigrants means it is important to expand the options for foreign workers to settle and live in a country permanently," said Keizo Yamawaki, a professor at Meiji University in Tokyo who specializes in immigration policy.

Riaz Haq said...

Javed Hassan
“We design courses in collaboration with industry and play a very important role in terms of international linkages and accreditation in the skills area. Traditionally, these skills would include plumbing, electrical, welding, carpentry, etc; today they encompass high-tech areas”

“such as AI, coding and web design. To summarise, NAVTTC designs policy for the government, allocates resources and ensures that the standards meet the local market requirements and are internationally accepted as well.”


MAB: How receptive is the industry to this idea?
SJH: People in the industry always maintain that training is the critical need of the country and we should be investing much more in that direction. The reality is that they look to the government to provide all the training and the facilities; they don’t want to invest time and energy in a more involved collaboration. We have tried to work with the Chambers of Commerce, but so far, we have not seen the kind of enthusiasm that is needed. However, things are changing. For example, we are working closely with the Hashoo Group to train young people in the hospitality sector. We are also working with a few manufacturing companies that are providing training on the factory floor. Pakistan’s main problem is productivity and productivity is dependent on the capability of the labour force; unless industry is prepared to invest in them, it will not have a capable labour force.

MAB: From which educational stream do most trainees come from?
SJH: When we were just offering traditional skills, we were attracting young people from the Matric or FSC level from government schools; young people who probably were unable to get into a university. As a result, there was a stigma attached to vocational training, an unfair one in my view – and people preferred not to opt for vocational training, even though there are good jobs out there and with good earning potential. Under Hunarmand Pakistan’s Kamyab Jawan Scheme, we have introduced high-end technical skills that offer entrepreneurial or digital facing opportunities, and since then we have seen a very different kind of student body coming in. Many are graduates who have not found jobs because they lack industry experience (it makes you wonder what kind of graduates we are producing that the industry is unwilling to hire them) and have taken advantage of the courses we offer and almost immediately found jobs. In the first phase, we trained about 40% of our intake in traditional skills, and according to an internal survey, almost 65% found a job. In terms of the high-end technical skills, about 80 to 85% have either started their own companies, are freelancing or are in jobs. We are now seeing young people from different social stratas taking up the trainings we offer. We cannot know everything about the market and one of the best proxies to understand the market requirements is to find out what the young themselves want to learn; they better than anyone else know what kind of jobs are out there and we have persuaded the institutes to talk to industry as well as to the young people and design the courses accordingly. As a result, applications have been much higher compared to the previous ones, when NAVTTC as well as the vocational institutes had to run after people to persuade them to enrol; in fact, this time, the courses have been oversubscribed. We should not underestimate the wisdom of young people. Most of them want to find jobs and stand on their own feet; do not force them on to a certain path; instead, ask them what path they want to follow and enable it.