Voice of the people – Pakistan Observer

Articles and letters may be edited for the purposes of clarity and space.
 
HEC GCF, a great initiative

The youth in Pakistan are the driving force of our nation and it is high time we tap into their incredible potential. They make up almost 67% of the total population in Pakistan. The Pakistani government has not yet formed any policy to harness their potential. Therefore, due to a lack of platforms and the inability of educational and cultural institutions, most of our youths get involved in wandering activities, destroying their future.
A recent initiative, “Shared Destiny: Harmony and Growth in Culture and Career,” a venture of the Higher Education Commission under Grand Challenge Fund GCF, has provided a game-changer platform for the youth of Balochistan to showcase their talents. Bringing the youth under the supervision of skilled trainers where they can unlock their true abilities, navigate intra- and inter-conflicts and choose a suitable career is a commendable practice.
The project conducts reflective workshops, community dialogues and social action projects to foster youth leadership and active citizenship approaches. In order to create social harmony, foster unity, tolerance, peaceful coexistence and acceptance in society, the government of Pakistan needs to follow this model and expand it to other provinces.

LUQMAN LAAYEQ
Quetta
Smog’s educational toll

I am writing to express my deep concern about the detrimental effects of smog on education in our community. The persistent presence of smog has not only jeopardized the health of our residents but has also begun to take a toll on the quality of education in our schools.
The hazardous air quality caused by smog has resulted in heightened respiratory issues among students and teachers like other individuals, causing frequent absenteeism and disruptions in the learning environment. Students find it challenging to focus and concentrate on their studies when the air they breathe is laden with pollutants. This situation is particularly alarming during peak smog seasons when outdoor activities, including physical education classes, are often cancelled to safeguard the health of students.
Furthermore, the limited visibility caused by thick smog hampers transportation, leading to delays and disruptions in school schedules. This, coupled with the strain on public transportation systems, has made it difficult for many students to reach schools on time, affecting their attendance and punctuality. In the light of these concerns, I urge our community leaders and policymakers to take immediate and decisive actions to address the root causes of smog and implement effective measures to improve air quality. Initiatives such as promoting public awareness, encouraging the use of cleaner transportation and enforcing stricter regulations on industrial emissions are crucial steps in mitigating the impact of smog on our education system.

NIMRA MALIK
Rawalpindi
Skill cultivation programmes

There is an ongoing debate about “Degrees or Skills?” but it’s clear that in today’s landscape, skills hold significant sway, particularly in the digital market. A 2020 report from the World Economic Forum forecasts that by 2025, job skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and self-management will be in high demand. Skill development spans beyond finance and professions, abilities like conflict resolution, negotiation, interpersonal communication and leadership are advantageous both personally and professionally.
Educational institutions, like universities, serve as ideal settings for idea development and learning. Introducing skill-building programs, specifically focusing on recognizing and nurturing these abilities, becomes crucial. While emphasis on academic areas is important, such alternatives allow students to explore new facets of themselves, unlock professional growth avenues and enhance adaptability in an ever-evolving job market.
The significant digital expansion, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, has created new opportunities and job roles. Digital skills like coding, data analytics, graphic designing, email/content marketing are in high demand. However, there’s also a need to underscore the teaching of manual skills such as crocheting, painting, sculpting and pottery.

It’s evident that due to our country’s economic challenges, individuals with once-prosperous careers are facing difficulties. Despite this, numerous opportunities still exist. Raising awareness about these issues and implementing skill development programs could greatly benefit individuals navigating these challenges.
RABIA QADEER
Rawalpindi

Box letter
Mental health
I want to take a moment to discuss something often overlooked but significantly impactful in our lives: mental health. Amidst the hustle and bustle of our daily routines, it’s easy to neglect our mental well-being. Just like our physical health, our mental health requires attention and care. It’s okay not to be okay sometimes, and it’s important to acknowledge and address it. If you ever find yourself overwhelmed, stressed or just in need of someone to talk to, reach out to friends, family or professionals who can lend a listening ear and support. Simple practices such as taking short breaks during the day, getting enough sleep and engaging in activities that bring joy can significantly contribute to our mental wellbeing.

MINAHIL MAQSOOD
Islamabad