Wasting our time on the internet
A Dubai-based bank announced a job opening for South Asian applicants, where copious Pakistani applications exceeded expectations, while the number of Indian applicants was… well, it did not exist. There was not a single Indian that wanted to work at that ‘bling-bling’ Dubai job.
Why? Because the Indian youth does not need to make a living in Dubai anymore. They don’t need ‘bling-bling’ jobs in Dubai as they already have them in India. This abysmal contrast between the two neighbouring countries that we see today is partly because India was able to optimise solutions for its youth bulge and made staggering progress as a result. Pakistan, today, stands precisely at that tipping point.
With nearly 50 per cent of the total Pakistani population of 179 million individuals below the age of 20, Pakistan is currently home to its largest cohort of youth that could prove to be an asset to the country, the benefits of which could be reaped in the next four to five decades.
Social vulnerabilities, including unemployment and frustrations of this youth will ultimately cause plight to the economic welfare of the country. The mere fact that there are so many educated and aware jobseekers in the country indicates how much talent is out there and how little of that talent is being utilised. The future development goals of Pakistan can only be achieved by actively engaging our youth. This explains why the government and other development organisations are executing and funding various projects to empower these individuals as to utilise their talents to make social changes.
Why isn’t then the youth of Pakistan building their career on the internet, or learning online or writing publications? This is because the average Pakistani spends over two-thirds of his/her overall time online playing games or using social media sites. Instead of the positivity that can be created, the internet is currently pandering to the students addicted to social media which is thus having an unfortunate deleterious impact on vision, innovation, speech and exposure. It is actually damaging to a large sector of the gullible population.
Using the internet entirely for these virtues would ultimately result in it becoming a self-destructive device, rendering it impossible for any Pakistani to make use of the positive it can bring. Pakistan has a bottomless supply of young, ambitious artists and intellectuals, who would be thrilled at the prospect of learning incredible courses online, free of cost. All that it requires is the motivation and drive to stand out.
The internet is a free cornucopia of knowledge, skills and learning where the content is literally on our fingertips. It is unfortunate that this free and perhaps, the most vital resource of knowledge, which can foster creativity among the underprivileged citizens, is being taken for granted.
It is important to recognise that the internet is the most cost-effective vehicle of gaining knowledge which can add ‘experience’ to jobseekers’ portfolios, may it be while they are in schools, employed or while they are in their job-seeking sabbatical. Various websites on the internet offer free online courses that can facilitate in capacity building and skill strengthening. When compared to the cost of building vocational training centres, there is a stark difference with respect to cost, time and efficiency. In this era of self-learning, the internet serves as a unique resource for keeping us updated with the latest worldwide.
While it would benefit the urban population, its self-learning and virtual training tools would work exceptionally well in the rural settings where there aren’t enough human resources to spread the message. This is also where the development funding must also be directed. Exposure to the open infrastructure of the internet would be an important step in empowering these individuals who seek urban jobs. It saddens me to see that there is so much talent and passion in this country that is going unrecognised. The most accessible way to make most of the talent would be by utilising the greatest resource that’s at their fingertips — the internet. While the government is launching its youth schemes, the youth must also find ways of standing out at their individual level.
All that it requires is a click.