Bangladesh- Now a Land of Rivers or A Land of Youths?
Bangladesh is a land of rivers. This is what we have known since we were young. But we didn’t see our rivers as we thought. We failed to use our rivers as our blessings like other developed countries used it in the world. I should add something that some studies show some countries got developed by using these rivers as their big blessings. But we failed completely!!! Now we should concentrate on saying that Bangladesh is a land of youths. Another big blessing from Almighty God. Now the big question in my mind is, are we missing out using or capitalizing this blessing the same way we missed out with rivers? Are we ready to use the punch line- A Land of skilled youths? We hope and believe that sooner or later Bangladesh will be called Skill Bangladesh and we will be showcasing skills globally.
Bangladesh is full of youths now and this blessing could change our economy by taking advantage of demographic dividends. Most of the parts of the world are having a shortage of youth pool / working age whereas Bangladesh has one third of its population under this youth pool. Now we need to convert these youths to skilled youths by equipping them with applicable skills. Need to advance our youths with technological advancement with the AI (Artificial Intelligence) era to embrace 4IR. In developing countries or middle income countries Tomorrow, day after tomorrow, time goes on with the course of action and then develop them, manage them and make them useful as global market demands is a long process. There will be a big shortage of skilled workforce / skill age and I believe it’s started showing in some countries. Some developed countries have already shown their demand for skilled & semi-skilled workforce to other countries. Even in south Asia Bangladesh could take extra advantages by introducing a comprehensive skill development plan along with integration of academic qualification and TVET together. Need knowledge to perform skills where academic and TVET can play together to fulfill this. Most of the countries with a youth pool concentrating on skills training and piloting them in all academic institutions to take the lead. Question arises: Where do we stand? Are we late or still planning for it?
Government took so many initiatives and running skill development projects to fulfill the future skill gap locally and internationally but the numbers or outputs from most of it are on piece of paper only. Practically those got training on different skills sets way below global standards and they are not equipped for market demand. Recently some new initiatives of government agencies show some positive and planned approaches. The Skills Development Authority of Bangladesh ( NSDA ), SEIP ( Skills for Employment Investment Program ) took some big initiative to equip youth with global standards skills and they are working on it. Their success will be national success and it is a big challenge.
What should we do now? As we know, the private sector always plays an important role for skill development and training youths with right skills as industry demand Government should extend hands to equip them with the right tools and techniques. Same time offer them what they need to train more to meet future demand. If we see developed countries and their development phases we will see they are developed by developing the private sector and establishing a cooperative relationship instead of ruling them with compliances.
In Bangladesh there are loads of private education and training institutes (As exam- LCBS Dhaka, Coder Trust, Creative IT, Leads, BTM etc ) developing high skilled workforce ( Digital Skills) and placing them in the global market. They are successful in their own field. Need to encourage them and follow them to develop more global standard training institutes nation wide. If needed use them or their skills. Privately grown training institutes with global affiliation and using global syllabus are very common in Bangladesh but they are not under the government skill development umbrella. If we study the fact we will find they are not interested in it because government agencies usually put loads of restrictions/compliance which is costly for them. Once they are already affiliated and accredited by top global organizations they don’t want to go through local ones. In this case they should have all facilities and support from the government without going through all these by showing their portfolios. I believe and I trust digital Bangladesh is no more a dream it is a reality now. And the public & private sector should work together in harmony to use this blessing ( Land of Youths) in a maximum capacity and Embrace 4IR ( Fourth Industrial revolution) with pride and Declare Bangladesh- A Land of Skilled Youths. Government should waive all types of VAT/Tax on training for next 10 years and make the private sector more engaged to fulfill the demand coming in future and so on.