Promote technical education
Bangladesh currently has the largest generation of young people in its history. This "youth bulge" provides unique challenges as well as opportunities for the country's social and economic progress. The country's vocational education and training system is facing multiple challenges including access, quality, equity and relevance to industry.
Even the graduates of vocational training institutes find it hard to get jobs because the training system is outdated and the quality of education is not up to the mark. This adversely impacts youth seeking meaningful employment and employers seeking competent employees.
There are some visible problems in the expansion of technical education, such as the acute crisis of teachers in polytechnics. If we want to make technical education more dynamic, we would have to utilize the skills and talents of experienced teachers.
Also, most of the equipment in the labs are completely unused. As a result, practice-based technical education has become class dependent, just like general education.
In this regard, Bangladesh should learn from developed countries like Japan and Germany. These two countries positively transformed their economies after World War-II through a laser-beam focus on technical and vocational education. Japan became a giant in the field of technology and one of the world's leading economies by developing a skilled and trained workforce.
The education system here is still too rigid and theoretical and, in many cases, failing to meet the demands of the recruitment sector. Often it is seen that graduates do not have the necessary knowhow needed for their jobs.
To address this, a thorough analysis of the nature of emerging jobs in the local and international markets and the skills required for that is important. The government has reportedly planned to introduce a technical education course for all students of general stream from class VI. This is a good initiative, if implemented. But more needs to be done to mainstream technical education. Among other barriers facing technical education are a lack of qualified teachers, lack of proper infrastructure, budget constraints and lack of oversight from the government.
The government has a vital role to play in all this. It must rise to the occasion and lead the way forward. The government should engage the private sector to boost the relevance and capacity of the technical education system. Big and small industries should be encouraged to collaborate with technical education institutes to define the curricular requirements and provide skill development and employment for students graduating from these institutes.