Tools in the hands of bad workman

November 27, 2016

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By Ayesha Zahid

‘Everyone knows his business well’, ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ and ‘A bad workman blames his tools’. These words of wisdom mean nothing to us. And the condition of our institutes very well explains it. How a country is expected to flourish when its deserving candidates are roaming around in search of jobs and those with lesser education are sitting on the bigger seats. From a local primary school to the national level news channels, we all have witnessed employees who were unsuitable to the post but were having sources good enough to get them this job.

The unemployment rate, according to various studies, increased to approximately 8.5% in the fiscal year 2015. It’s so easy for the officials to throw the blame on the economic condition of the country. It really is a big fact and there is no denial from it. But our concern over here is corruption and the recruitment process based on erroneous criteria. According to HEC over half a million graduates pass out every year. Interestingly figures produced by Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development in 2013, revealed that 2,765,789 citizens migrated abroad for employment opportunities in mere five years. This figure very well explains the entire scenario, if not, then let us go back to the newspapers of June 2016 that published about thousands of master’s degree holders who applied for the post of gardeners and door attendants in Department of Education in Chakwal. Bribery and links are no longer considered a sin in government jobs. But private institutes have also not left behind.

Those famous words of a former government official ‘a degree is a degree whether genuine or fake’ would have given a good heart ache to the scholars who give their life to their studies but can’t reach to those seats. Law by Mr. Musharraf of minimum bachelors’ degree to be held by the government official and its later developments are a one thing but it seems to be totally unjust to ignore the educated work force of the country at the expense of nepotism.

Let us take an example of the fourth pillar of the society; media. Can anyone defend the idea that you produce thousands of media students, educate them about media ethics, theories and norms and ultimately give jobs to political science and medicine experts? If yes! Then, the media teaching institutes must, at once, be shut down. What outcome a country will expect when it has doctors in media institutes, media students teaching science in schools, MA education students working in the banking sector, business experts working in political institutes and so on.

The button ‘apply here’ on the websites of the media, banking, educational or any other institute that hallucinate the experts about the equal and fair job opportunities seems to be an obsolete concept now.

If this underemployment is considered to be the root cause of all the problems then it must be resolved in a legal way. Countries have laws to facilitate the work force. For example in USA they have Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits any discrimination in the hiring process and The Civil Rights Act of 1991 forbids discrimination with the employee. Article 39(d) of Indian Constitution talks about equality in work force. Philippines, one of the fastest growing economies, according to one study has given all the rights to the work force in its Constitution of 1987. Germany has so much strong laws in favor of employees that they are even referred as the ‘Employee Protection Act’. Canada has Canadian Human Rights Act. UK has Equality Acts that keep employers from favoritism. In fact, making sound laws to facilitate the deserving work force has always been into practice throughout world.

Pakistan has its own history in this regard. Two first laws in the Subcontinent after the British East India Company’s rule were Employers and Workman Dispute Act 1860 and Indian Factories Act 1881. Some Trade Union Acts along with several others regarding wages, compensations etc. were produced in 1920s. Pakistan inherited four of such laws after its creation namely Trade Union Act 1926, Factories Act 1934, Industrial Employment Act 1946 & Industrial Disputes Act 1947. All such laws benefitted the work force in one way or the other. Now the Articles 11, 17, 18, 25, 27, 37(e) and 38 of the Constitution of Pakistan talk about the employee and employers rights and duties respectively. According to one study Pakistan has more than 70 labor laws. The actual irony is the paradox that we see in the practice.

Not just enforcing these laws but also introducing the laws that put the right person in the right job will bring betterment in the system.