The priority lies in re-skilling and up-skilling our existing workers
Bangladesh has done many things right in its developmental journey. However, the issue of employment has always been a worry, and there have long been calls for making changes so that the people of Bangladesh have the appropriate skills for the workforce.
To that end, Bangladesh has more reason to be wary of the future. The fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is set to bring about radical changes to the workforce, and it is imperative that Bangladesh pro-actively prepare for this inevitable change.
The predictions of the World Economic Forum appear extremely grim; about 800 million people worldwide may lose their jobs by 2030, which also includes 5.7 million unskilled Bangladeshis. This is the reality that awaits the world in less than a decade, and there is not much time for preparation.
On the part of Bangladesh, the priority lies in re-skilling and up-skilling our existing workers; it will be the low-skilled jobs that are most at risk of losing out due to automation and if Bangladeshi workers are to retain their livelihood, there must be a concerted effort from both the government and all relevant parties to offer support.
This effort cannot be short-term, and our policy changes, education curricula, infrastructure development, and future collaboration across industries and academia must all happen keeping future development and how the world shapes itself in the wake of 4IR in mind.
Bangladesh is at a crucial point in its development journey, and the world is changing before our very eyes during this pandemic. It is important that Bangladesh exists at the forefront of this change, or it risks being left behind, casting the lives and livelihoods of our people, and the strength of our economy, into doubt.