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Upskilling Opportunities for Pakistani Youth Self-paced Learning

Written by Fiza Bibi Ameen 8:17 pm Articles, Pakistan, Published Content

6 Free Upskilling Opportunities for Pakistani Youth: Self-paced Learning

A nation that started its journey with a literacy rate of about 14% still has a long way to go before it reaches the literacy rate of other developing countries. However, Pakistani youth has been making progress in leaps and bounds since its independence, and this is in large part due to the wide variety of self-paced courses, freelance jobs, and upskilling opportunities that a multitude of platforms offer. Fiza Bibi Ameen emphasizes the importance of such platforms including EdX, Udemy, Coursera, Digiskills and more.
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About the Author(s)
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Fiza Bibi Ameen is a gold medal qualifier in BS Physics from Riphah International University, Islamabad. She also contributed a prize-winning submission to the HEC inter-university essay writing competition held in 2022. She enjoys researching and writing about science, technology, and informative topics in various niches. She is a freelance writer and may be contacted at [email protected].

Pakistan’s economy is currently in an abyss, particularly because of low foreign reserves, currency crises, and inflation, according to World Bank reports. In this age of digital technology, however, Pakistan can receive some shade from the harsh realities through a wide variety of freelancing and upskilling opportunities.

Freelancing Aptitude and Potential in Pakistan

A nation that started its journey with a literacy rate of about 14% still has a long way to go before it reaches the literacy rate of other developing countries. However, Pakistan’s comparison with its past self begs us to acknowledge that today’s Pakistanis are better-equipped citizens of the country. 

According to the 2019 Payoneer survey, for example, Pakistani male freelancers make about as much as a global freelancer’s earnings on average, however, Pakistani female freelancers make more than the average income for freelancers worldwide. Pakistan’s propensity for remote, independent employment options is rising as a result of latitude in time, lack of place restrictions, and prospects for equality for both men and women. People who live inside Pakistan’s borders are now receiving international remittances, which promise to positively alter the country’s economic landscape.

Submissions 2023

Government’s Timely Initiatives and Offerings of the Digital Age

The Government of Pakistan took the right steps to upskill as many young minds as possible after realizing the potential in its youth and wanting to capitalize on it. It assists those who were unable to pursue further education and even those who wish to change careers due to a lack of passion in their majors or pressing needs and priorities.

Moreover, because of the global village that the internet and social media have created, knowledge and skills now beckon Pakistani youth from all around the world.

Free Upskilling Opportunities for Pakistani Youth

Growth through upskilling and personal development

Some upskilling opportunities for Pakistani youth are as follows:

1. Digiskills Training Program

The Digiskills Training Program is the largest in Pakistan. Virtual University and ignite-issued electronic certificates are also provided to the learners at Digiskills in addition to the free online courses. In addition to upskilling youth, Digiskills also envisions empowering women so they earn at their convenience.  

The offered video courses are updated as per the recent changes that take place in our world and algorithms through ongoing market research. They also include hands-on assignments and quizzes to make sure the message is absorbed.  Additionally, the discussion portal pertinent to that week’s course material opens up each week so students can discuss their queries and issues with the instructors. This extension of compassion and understanding by the instructors especially helps beginners in battling the frustrations that come with the upskilling and job-searching process.

Free courses  

Digiskills provides training in the following courses:

  • Freelancing
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Video Editing, Animation and Vlogging
  • Data Analytics and Business Intelligence
  • Communication and Soft Skills
  • Virtual Assistant
  • E-Commerce Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Digital Literacy
  • QuickBooks
  • AutoCAD
  • WordPress
  • Graphic Design
  • Creative Writing
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

To learn more about courses, please refer to this link.

How to Enroll

The first step is signing up at Digiskills.pk, then, while providing the necessary personal information and academic background, the trainee is asked to complete their profile. A student can enroll in any two certifications that they aspire for in one batch. In each trainee’s first batch, one other course may be taken along with a compulsory course in Freelancing.

The learner receives an E-certification following the completion of video lectures, exams, and assignments. Click here for additional information regarding the enrollment procedure.

Digiskills has awarded over 1 Million E-certificates since it was first founded. Up till now, over 3.6 Million trainers are enrolled at Digiskills. The E-certificate grantees’ success stories on the website speak volumes about how Digiskills is assisting Pakistani youth in realizing their potential.

2. Coursera

An online education company called Coursera offers a wide range of courses from reputable universities. It aims to support personal skill development and offer organizational solutions. At this moment in time, it is collaborating with over 300 leading universities and educational organizations. 

Data science, business, computer science, personal development, information technology, languages, mathematics, logic, physical science and engineering, health and social sciences, arts, and humanities are among the fields in which it provides degrees and courses. It provides students with over 5,400 courses from prestigious colleges and businesses including Stanford, Princeton, HEC Paris, IBM, and Google. Here is more information on Coursera’s courses.

Additionally, it provides resources like global skills trend studies, webinars created to maximize learning from the Coursera platform, and a vast selection of E-books and reports that are intended to speed up learning and extend curricula.

Free Courses

It offers a variety of free courses, which can be found with a quick search in Coursera’s search bar. These courses can then be filtered by subject, skills, level, duration, etc.

Some of the free courses include:

  • Indigenous Canada
  • Financial Markets
  • Introduction to Psychology 
  • The Science of Well-being
  • Introduction to statistics
  • Writing in the Sciences
  • Business Analytics with Excel: from Beginner to Advanced 
  • Organizational Analysis
  • Stanford Introduction to Food and Health
  • Introduction to Generative AI
  • Private Equity and Venture Capital
  • Successful Negotiations: Essential Strategies and Skills

These free courses span a range of subjects, including professional, academic, and personal growth. Coursera does not provide free certifications; however, students can apply for financial aid. Students can also assess paid course material by auditing it.

Accessing Paid Courses

Auditing a course means assessing all the course content without being permitted to take its tests or get its certificates. Without certification, the skills gained from these courses are nevertheless valuable for enhancing one’s academic and professional abilities.

The first step required for auditing the course is to search for the relevant theme in the Coursera search bar. When the student chooses the “enroll for free” option, he must enter the amount of time he needs to finish the course. The option to audit a course is then chosen. The course is audited after completing the customized information.

At Coursera, it is also possible to enroll in a full course without a certificate. As the name implies, the ‘Full course, no certificate’ opportunity enables access to the whole course, including the assessments, and provides a grade without certification. However, all courses do not offer these two opportunities.

Recognizing the potential of Coursera courses, universities and even the Higher Education Commission in Pakistan collaborate with Coursera to develop their students’ talents. This attests to how, in the current digital era, Pakistanis may enhance their knowledge and skills through this eminent education company.

3. Udemy

Another educational and training organization is Udemy, which offers around 210,000 online video courses in the fields of design and development, marketing, IT and software, personal and professional growth, small business, photography, and music. Every month, more additions are made to the course. 

Free courses

The first step in finding the right free course is searching for the keyword free in the Udemy search bar. One can also see the courses in the Udemy menu. Then the aspiring learner chooses from several free available courses. After selecting the enroll now option, the user has to provide the required personal details and finally sign up to get started with the courses.

Some of the free programs at Udemy include:

  • Web Design for Web Developers: Build Beautiful Websites!
  • Introduction To Python Programming
  • Useful Excel for Beginners
  • Java Tutorial for Complete Beginners
  • C++ Tutorial for Complete Beginners
  • Introduction to Cloud Computing
  • SEO Tutorial for Beginners
  • Secret Sauce of Great Writing
  • Photoshop Fundamentals
  • Photoshop Fundamentals
  • Statistics and data literacy for non-statisticians
  • Best Practices for Working Remotely
  • Introductory Aromatherapy Course For Natural Living
  • Hyper-thinking: improve your day-to-day learning & creativity
  • Powerful Self-Healing in 5 Simple Steps – Self-Help Course

For more about free Udemy courses, see this.

Accessing Paid Courses

While the free courses only provide video content, the paid courses also offer the opportunity to earn certifications, get involved in discussions, and get queries answered via direct messaging to instructors along with video content. However, Udemy offers new learner offers that provide beneficial courses at cheaper rates.

Through a step-by-step procedure, Udemy courses and tutorials assist both beginners and specialized learners in upskilling. For National youth to hone their skills, this is such a pertinent opportunity.

4. Alison

Alison aims to facilitate universally standardized learning across all disciplines and levels all across the world. With over 30 Million Learners, 6 Million Graduates, and over 4,000 Free Online Courses available to 195 Countries, Alison is realizing its dream of making knowledge and skills available to all, regardless of their nationality or location.

Free courses

At Alison, all courses are untimed and cost-free. Around 1,047 courses in IT, 741 in health, 301 in language, 1,491 in business, 891 in management, 1,096 in personal development, 358 in sales & marketing, 725 in engineering & construction, and 1,301 in teaching & academics are offered.

A student at Alison can choose a course based on whether they wish to expand their skill set, choose a profession, or discover new interests. Along with these classes, Alison also provides free workplace personality tests, mental health tests, webinars on how to create courses on the platform, an affiliate program, a free LMS program, and SEO training for publishing on the platform.

Additionally, it provides a free evaluation of English proficiency for pupils, the results provide an approximate accuracy. It also clarifies why people study Alison courses and how these courses are worthwhile. For more information about Alison’s courses, check this link.

Accessing Free Courses

The learner searches for the keyword of any course after entering into the Alison website. The learning process begins immediately.

Certifications

At Alison, learners must pay for certificates in order to purchase them. However, using the information to learn is free. Student can post their finished course after evaluation on their LinkedIn page even without certification. Additionally, the Learner record, which contains total learning time and personal information at Alison, is available for viewing and downloading.

Additionally, it offers learner verification for the course, which includes data on the final grade, study time, certification number, and particular course material and modules. Alison also offers special discounts on certificates, the free learning possibilities offered, however, are more than sufficient for upgrading one’s skills.

Thus, Alison is one such sunny aspect of our digital age where one can learn anything for free.

5. edX

Another online education portal dedicated to outstanding learning and skill development is edX. It has approximately 4,300 online programs, over 78 million learners on its network, and 250 content partners. It provides classes in subjects including data science, math, computer science, architecture, education & teacher preparation, business & management, engineering, law, etc.

Free Courses

Popular free courses include:

  • Harvard University: Building Personal Resilience: Managing Anxiety and Mental Health
  • Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills
  • IBM: Python Basics for Data Science
  • Inter-American Development Bank: Project Management for Development
  • edX: Try It: Intro to Spreadsheets
  • University of California, Berkeley: The Science of Happiness
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks: The Craft of Storytelling
  • Harvard University: Introduction to Digital Humanities
  • edX: Try It: Finance Fundamentals
  • Raspberry Pi Foundation: Introduction to Machine Learning and AI
  • Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II: Democracy and Autocracy: Theories and Empirical Findings
  • Stanford University: The Threat of Nuclear Terrorism

Accessing Free Courses

A plethora of free available courses can be found by searching the edX search bar with the keyword free. More information about edX can be found by referring to this link.

In a nutshell, edX beckons students with promising free and paid courses to explore the depth of potential, as other remote, self-paced opportunities such as learning a new language or skill, step-by-step guides, graduate and undergraduate programs, etc.

6. Meaningful Networking  

Social Media promises to soak user’s life with information. At times, the information is opinionated and even lacks credibility, but at other times, through social media, the nation drinks from the milk of true information and thus connectivity.

LinkedIn’s Free learning paths, for example, include pertinent courses for small firms, remote employees, managers and leaders, stress reduction, educators, and talent acquisition specialists. Moreover, it provides customers with premium courses to aid in their professional growth.

Additionally, LinkedIn’s talent assessments are designed to demonstrate users’ knowledge and skills so that, following completion, they may add them to their profiles. The questions posed by experts in certain fields in these assessments relate to the accuracy and applicability of LinkedIn evaluations. Users who complete an exam and rank in the top 30% when compared to a pre-curated list are awarded a skill badge to show off their high level of proficiency.

Moreover, social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and others provide a platform for discovering colleagues who share your professional interests. They provide a forum for pertinent discussion and help one build a community, which is significantly important amid the frustrations of a newly pursued journey.

Medium, a website for writing and blogging, is one such example. Both accomplished and novice writers, as well as those who wish to share their passions with the world, can pursue their ambitions and write there for free. At this platform, they learn to present themselves and their work in front of renowned corporations and acclaimed authorities as well as to enhance their talents and craft through the platform’s relevant and meaningful connections.

How To Learn Upskilling From Social Media

To get the most out of the social media experience, an aspiring learner must purposefully schedule the time. This ensures feeding focus and securing the direction of the day.

Then the learner must find the right communities that provide reliable, up-to-date information pertinent to the field they intend to upskill. The next step is to build meaningful connections. One can ask relevant questions to learn more about someone’s first-hand experience in a field. The gleaned information must be verified for the most efficient use.

Above all, staying curious and self-disciplined is the key to upskilling through social networking.

Conclusion

There is no doubt about Pakistan’s high inflation rate, currency crises, and economic instability. A lot of citizens are making lifestyle sacrifices in the face of these difficulties. In the fields of tourism, health, and education, among others, people are making concessions. However, as Pakistan’s literacy rate has increased significantly compared to the numbers at its independence, there is a tangible opportunity to educate young minds in the proper fields. Youth can develop their talents through free self-paced learning at sites like Digiskills, Coursera, Udemy, Alison, and edX, etc., and begin their freelance journeys. There is the opportunity for personal and professional growth in spare time and more savings due to flexibility of space and time, in addition to earning as foreign remittances (which are significant compared to the per capita income of an employee in Pakistan). All in all, free learning and upskilling opportunities are glimpses of sun rays from behind the dark curtains of economic instability.


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The views and opinions expressed in this article/paper are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Paradigm Shift.

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