Monday, 24 June, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Our youths must be prepped thru TVET for job market

Published : Sunday, 21 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 563

Our youths must be prepped thru TVET for job market

Our youths must be prepped thru TVET for job market

In Bangladesh, it is an undeniable truth that a significant number of young, talented individuals, constituting 28% of the population, are eager to make a big difference. Recognizing their potential, the country is wholeheartedly committed to nurturing their education and skills, thereby paving the way for a prosperous future. However, many lack the necessary experience or industry-specific knowledge, making it challenging for employers to recruit skilled professionals. In this regard, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) can play a crucial role by empowering Bangladeshi youth with practical skills and knowledge relevant to the job market.

To address this skills gap, Bangladesh is working relentlessly to improve its educational system, with a keen focus on technical education. This emphasizes on technical education acts as a key catalyst for innovation, sparking creativity and entrepreneurial endeavours among the youth. By fostering an environment where individuals can learn by doing so, Bangladesh seeks to empower its talented youth to invent, innovate, and contribute to economic growth. This approach equips young Bangladeshis with the practical skills needed to thrive in the modern workforce. Through collaborative efforts, strategic investments, and the adoption of progressive teaching methodologies, Bangladesh aspires to position itself as a global hub for skilled professionals.

We know that ensuring the success of our nation largely depends on the empowerment of its youth. To prepare them adequately for facing the challenges of tomorrow, young people need proper education and training, with an emphasis on practical skills through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). This type of education is crucial for individuals to secure fulfilling careers, including entrepreneurship, no matter their background. Equipping students with diverse, market-relevant skills foster a skilled workforce, aligning with Bangladeshs "smart country" vision. To achieve this, our education system must move beyond traditional subjects and equip students with a diverse skillset relevant to todays job market.

The realm of technical education encompasses various specializations such as engineering, vocational training, and polytechnic programs. Polytechnic institutes offer diplomas in engineering and technology, while vocational training equips students with practical skills for particular professions. Engineering, an integral component of technical education, comprises diverse branches including civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering, presenting students with numerous technical specializations to explore.

In these circumstances, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is emerging as a game-changer for Bangladeshs sustainable development. By equipping individuals with relevant skills and knowledge craved by modern industries, TVET is tackling youth unemployment, boosting economic growth, and fostering a more skilled and empowered workforce.

TVET significantly enhances employment generation by providing individuals with employable skills and competencies, especially in countries like Bangladesh, where youth unemployment rates are high.
Despite substantial public investment over the past decade, Bangladeshs technical skill development remains weak, with only 0.81% of the educated population possessing technical skills, according to official data. The Population and Housing Census Report 2022 by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) reveals a mere 0.10 percentage point increase in technical education since 2011, contrasting with the significant investment. Economists expressed concern over this disparity, citing it as "definitely bad news" for skilled manpower development.

The BBS census underscores that general education dominates, with 89.26% pursuing it, followed by madrasa education at 7.19%, technical education at 0.81%, and others at 2.74%. Government expenditure on technical and madrasa education from FY2018 to FY2024 totaled Tk 555.50 billion, with Tk 106.02 billion allocated for the current fiscal year alone.

While madrasa education has expanded, technical education lags behind. Initiatives to bolster technical and vocational education and training (TVET) have been implemented alongside the general education system. However, the number of technical institutions remains insufficient, hindering progress. Dr. Zahid Hussain, a former World Bank lead economist, attributes this to high dropout rates post-secondary level, inadequate quality technical institutions, and low public awareness.

Technology is another game-changer. With rapid technological advancements, Bangladesh is strategizing to integrate tech education into curricula. However, hurdles persist, notably not enough technology for everyone, differences between boys and girls, and not everyone has the same access to education. Nonetheless, embracing opportunities like artificial intelligence and fostering entrepreneurship among the youth hold promise for a thriving future.
Bangladeshs Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system grapples with significant challenges in preparing its youth for the job market due to several limitations. Firstly, insufficient funding constrains the acquisition of modern equipment, maintenance of training facilities, and recruitment of qualified instructors, hindering graduates from acquiring up-to-date practical skills. Secondly, a curriculum mismatch with industry needs creates a skills gap. Graduates may possess knowledge irrelevant to real-world job requirements.  Furthermore, weak industry partnerships hinder curriculum updates and ensure graduates lack the most sought-after skills. Finally, social norms and limited female-friendly facilities create low female participation in TVET programs. These factors restrict Bangladeshi womens opportunities to gain valuable skills and enter the workforce.

Finally, to say, empowering Bangladeshi youth through a robust TVET system requires a multi-pronged approach. This includes a dynamic curriculum aligned with industry needs, alongside investment in trainer development to deliver contemporary knowledge and foster essential soft skills. Collaboration between public and private sectors ensures training reflects real-world demands and facilitates job placement. Furthermore, addressing social stigmas and promoting inclusivity will ensure all youth, including women and people with disabilities, can benefit from TVET programs. By implementing these initiatives, Bangladesh can unlock the full potential of its young workforce, propelling the nation towards a thriving knowledge-based economy.
The writer is an Asst. Deputy Secretary,  Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA)

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