A South African solution is being put to good use in Karachi, Pakistan to tackle the global challenge of skills development and training through a partnership formed between Johannesburg based education and training specialists, Media Works and Pakistan company Sim4Com.
Sim4Com provides training solutions to companies in Pakistan by identifying suitable, credible training solutions from around the world. It identified a national need for improved literacy levels in corporates.
“Pakistan has similar education and skills development challenges as South Africa. In addition, whilst English is the dominant language of the corporate world, we have a number of regional languages, which can be problematic,” explains Sim4Com CEO, Mohammed Ali Millwala.
Despite the Pakistan government’s 1998 to 2010 New National Education Policy which aims to double the literacy rate, Millwala describes the public school system as poor due, in part, to a lack of competent and qualified English teachers, particularly in public school.
“This, of course results, in the masses not knowing how to speak English properly, hence our mission to implement a multi-media ABET programme to rectify this situation.”
In 2004 Media Works visited Pakistan to assess the training needs identified by Sim4Com, resulting in a two year pilot project. Using the multimedia literacy materials developed by Media Works, Sim4Com currently services seven mostly larger companies such as United Bank Limited, The Dawood Group, Sui Southern Gas, EFU General and EFU Life. Nearly 200 learners have participated to date with over 100 completing and receiving certification from an independent ABET assessment agency.
“We visited Pakistan twice a year over the past three years, providing not only our materials but also project support to Sim4Com to help them establish a core team to expand their reach in Pakistan. For Media Works this relationship has reinforced our faith in our educational materials. A number of other countries face a similar challenge with education and skills development issues and we’re excited about the opportunities for our business to expand globally,” says Rob Rees, Media Works director.
The successes of the pilot phase will be used to help Sim4Com’s expansion plans to grow its panel of trained facilitators in order to reach a larger number of corporate clients in Pakistan.