Sunday, June 23, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Too many youths not in education, not in employment

  • Bangladesh aims at bringing down NEET rate to 3% by 2030
  • BBS survey finds current NEET rate over 39%
  • Govt takes World Bank loan to train 900,000 rural youths


Update : 07 Apr 2024, 09:30 AM

In Bangladesh, too many youths are still not engaged in education, employment, or any sorts of training, thereby making the country’s goal to bring down the rate of youth unemployment to 3% by 2030 increasingly elusive.

If the just-released official statistics are something to go by, the share of youth aged 15 to 24 years not in education, employment, and training (NEET) is currently as high as 39.88 percent. Bangladesh has an ambitious goal to attain 3% NEET by 2030, the terminal year for achieving the UN members’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

What the statistics say

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) released the final outcome of its latest sample vital statistics report late last month, showing the current NEET at 39.88%, over 10% higher than the baseline data of 28.9 (in FY 2016-17, as per Labour Force Survey).

Bangladesh’s NEET rate is nearly double the global average. Globally, 21.7% of the population were considered NEETs in 2023, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

According to the BBS, the share of youth ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)’ conveys the number of young people not in education, employment, or training as a percentage of the total youth population. It provides a measure of youth who are outside the educational system, not in training and not in employment, and thus serves as a broader measure of potential youth labor market entrants than youth unemployment since it also includes young people outside the labor force not in education or training.

A high NEET rate and a low youth employment rate may indicate significant discouragement for young people, notes BBS, adding that NEET youth can be either unemployed or inactive and not involved in education or training.

What the government is doing

To arrest the high NEET rate in the country, the government has many programs going on, the most recent one being a Bangladesh and World Bank initiative. The government struck a USD 300 million loan deal with the World Bank late last year to train 900,000 Bangladeshi rural youth with skills and alternative education to attain employment and create entrepreneurship.

The World Bank’s loan-funded Economic Acceleration and Resilience for NEET (EARN) project will establish vocational training centers to offer a range of skills development opportunities and provide online and offline training courses in market-driven and futuristic trades. Besides, it will also offer competitive financing and mentorship support for entrepreneurial activities and help decrease secondary school dropouts, particularly female students, to complete vocational secondary education.

Speaking at the loan signing ceremony, the then Secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD), Sharifa Khan, said, “The government placed high priority on economically engaging the youth, particularly female and disadvantaged ones, who are not in education or employment through skill development.”

She said the EARN project is aligned with the 8th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) and supports the country’s graduation from LDC status in 2026 and the vision for 2041. “It will support the government's plans and policies by establishing a comprehensive support mechanism for the economic engagement of rural NEET youth, including persons with disabilities, and segments of the population with special needs, which is essential.”

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