Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid has claimed that the Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB) has seen a significant 13% rise in students in the last ten years, creating a skilled young workforce.
Correspondingly, the number of students under the BTEB has surged by 30 times over the period, he said.
“When we assumed office back in 2009 during our previous tenure, only 1% of the country’s students used to pursue technical and vocational education. Now the figure has risen to 14%,” he said.
The minister was addressing the launching program of Skills 21 – a joint initiative of Bangladesh government, International Labour Organisation (ILO), and the European Union (EU), organized at a hotel in Dhaka on Monday - as chief guest.
Hoping that BTEB will account for 20% of the country’s total students by 2020, Nahid urged parents to encourage their children to pursue technical and vocational education as it will help them face the ever-growing challenges in the job market.
Currently, 581 teachers and 350 students are receiving training in China, while another 1,000 students are awaiting their turn, he revealed.
The project, implemented under the Technical and Madrasa Education Division (TMED), aims to increase productivity and employment opportunities through an environmentally conscious, inclusive, demand-driven, and interlinked skill development system that responds to the needs of the labour market.
The EU is providing €19.5 million while the other €500,000 will be contributed by the government. The ILO has been tasked with implementing the project, which is expected to end in 2020.
As part of the project that has engaged at least seven ministries and government agencies, model technical and vocational education institutions will be established in Gaibandha, Jamalpur, Sylhet, Feni, Kaptai, Bagerhat, and Khulna.
Doerte Bosse, the acting head of cooperation of the EU delegation in Bangladesh, said the project will help the country greatly in building a skilled labour force to ensure the sustainability of its economic growth.
“Every year almost two million people, mostly youth, enter the Bangladesh workforce. Therefore, projects like Skills 21 will be extremely handy for the country,” she added, urging Bangladesh’s development partners and the stakeholders concerned to step forward with such initiatives.
The program was addressed by Skills 21 Chief Technical Advisor Snehal V Soneji, TMED Secretary Md. Alamgir, Director General of the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) Ashok Kumar Bishwas and DTE Director (Administration), Monjurul Kader.