They also emphasized the use of information technology (IT) to make the workforce skilled and prepare them for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR)
Modernization of the educational curriculum is crucial for Bangladesh in order to make it more demand-based, as well as revive skills and raise skills of the country’s workers to tackle the unemployment situation in the post-Covid world, the nation’s business community observed on Saturday.
Additionally, the community has also emphasised the use of information technology (IT) to make the workforce skilled and prepare them for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
Industry people, government officials and experts came up with the call at a virtual discussion, titled “Post-Covid-19 Bangladesh Industry Readiness: Investment and Skills”, organized by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Bangladesh has experienced a slower export growth, while a lack of working capital and a shrunken international export market have led to job losses, said discussants on the programme.
“We have to develop an internationally accredited skill development training module to meet the demand for a skilled workforce in the post-pandemic world,” said DCCI president Shams Mahmud.
"On the other hand, to integrate the young generation into a digital economy and ensure their access to this market, we have to develop an inclusive digital infrastructure. For this to be done, there is a strong need for a reform of the education curriculum at the higher secondary levels," said the business leader.
On top of that, the government has to identify the skill demands for industries, and modernize the curriculum emphasizing the needs for vocational and employment-driven training, he also remarked.
There is a strong need for up-skilling and re-skilling to create a skilled manpower that can take on the 4IR, as well as rehabilitate unemployed people, said Mahmud.
To take advantage of investment relocation, the government would have to increase investment in infrastructure and human resources development, he added.
Responding to the business community’s call for skills development, Deputy Education Minister Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury emphasized the need for vocational training.
“In the past the rate of enrolment of TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) was 0.1%, which is now over 17%. The government is working to increase it to 50%. We have to change our mindset,” he said.
“We have to concentrate on re-skilling and job-driven skill training to meet industrial demands as well as be ready for the post-Covid situation,” said the junior minister.
"Universities should focus on creating industrial demand-based skilled graduates. About 2.8 million students are being enrolled in our colleges under the National University," said Mohibul.
He also emphasized quality technical education, structural change of education system and maximum utilization of ICT and 4 IR.
Advisory for returning migrant workers demanded
“Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, business closures in the Middle East, Western Europe and in the ASEAN region will result in a sudden increase in the number of returning migrant workers. Creating sufficient employment opportunities will be a big challenge for us,” said Shaquib Quoreshi, a DCCI consultant who presented the keynote paper.
Of them, a good number will try to be self-employed. So, for the large numbers of returning migrant workers there must be an advisory so that they could engage themselves in business or get jobs, said Shaquib.
In this regard, the government has to re-skill or up-skill them so that they are able to get jobs as per demands of the industries.
Talking about the returning migrant workers, Mohibul said: “Considering the return of migrant workers, the government has decided to withdraw the age barrier for the young to help them acquire technical education.”
On the other hand, Md Sakawat Ali, a director of the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), said that through 70 training institutes of BMET, training will be provided to the returning skilled migrants to help them become entrepreneurs.
Based on their occupational capability, a database will be made and less skilled migrants would be provided training so that they can find suitable jobs again in the international market, he added.
Meanwhile, Md Shahidul Alam, additional secretary of the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, said that for returning migrants the government had allocated a revolving fund of Tk700 crores to facilitate their rehabilitation.