Youth make a significant and diversified portion of the population in Bangladesh, a developing nation in South Asia. The fact that most of the population is under 30 gives the nation a considerable demographic edge. The youth of Bangladesh have the capacity to contribute significantly to the economic and social advancement of their country given the correct opportunity and resources. However for Bangladeshi youth to reach their full potential, they must get the necessary skills and knowledge. This young population has boundless potential, a tremendous deal of aspiration, and considerable vitality. If the country does not even offer them an opportunity, the results could be tragic and disastrous. Hence, skill development initiatives are crucial to Bangladesh’s social and economic development plans.
Bangladesh’s overall population is made up of about 34% of people under the age of 15, compared to only 5% of people 65 and above. Around 65.53% of the population of our nation is now between the ages of 15 and 64, which is the working age range. Also, by 2041, the population is projected to be 223.5 million, and by 2050, 230-240 million. In the demand-driven employment market, the majority of young people would want for greater chances and decent jobs for themselves. Therefore, the market ecosystem will need an experienced staff to provide young people with the required skills, increasing the likelihood of profiting from a demographic dividend.
Bangladesh has performed highly economically and developed a lot during the last decade under the progressive leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. But only gaining development is not enough, we need to sustain the development and need to fasten our journey towards further development. For that, we need skilled human resource, who can update themselves with the new technologies and advancement occurring around the globe. Without a skilled youth, our country cannot sustain the progress and the youth, which we are considering as asset today, will turn into burden for the society.
The importance of the educational system cannot be overstated. The 21st century abilities that teenagers need to develop in order to compete in the global context must be understood by teachers in all schools. Teachers in secondary schools have the potential to be change agents with the right recruitment strategy and commitment to continuous professional growth. The general education system is simply too low to improve youth welfare. According to a study conducted by the International Labor Organization with funding from the European Union, young people with technical education are more employable than those with general education. On their website, UNICEF made the case that Bangladesh urgently needs more scope for skill-based education. Hence, technical and vocational education and training can increase young people’s competitiveness.
According to the Bangladesh vocational education board, the government has made arrangements for only 721,000 pupils to receive vocational education each year, which is a very inadequate number. In order to give young people a genuine chance to enter the job market, technical and vocational education needs to be expanded for them in both public and private contexts. If so, a knowledgeable and skilled human resource can be developed.
The National Technical and Vocational Qualifications Framework was created in accordance with the National Skills Development Policy to raise the standard and caliber of credentials that are recognized nationally. Another noteworthy project is the Ministry of Finance’s Skills for Employment Investment Program, which has teamed up with a number of industry associations to provide vocational training and, when necessary, internationally recognized skills certifications. To support and strengthen technical and vocational education and training programs for madrassa students, the Technical and Madrassa Education Division has also created an integrated technical and vocational education and training development action plan. These are all very effective steps for ensuring global competitiveness for our youth.
Additionally, skill development among youths on information and communications technology is important. According to researchers, the IT sector would employ 150,000 ICT experts within five years and contribute 1% to Bangladesh’s overall GDP. Also, according to research, there are currently 0.22 million IT experts employed in Bangladesh, and by 2025, it is predicted that the requirement of IT professional in the country will be more than double. Yet, because of a skills gap in the sector, around 40% of the needed IT roles were vacant. In Bangladesh, the demand for ICT specialists is quite high. If due care is not taken to produce excellent ICT professionals, business growth and investment are likely to suffer in the near future.
It is crucial to offer short-term training to the underprivileged youth who would otherwise enter the job market without having any substantial marketable skills as the economy demands a greater range of skill sets. Finally, institutions must step forward to make learning relevant and goal-driven, and youngsters must be made aware of training opportunities. In addition to raising the level of skills in the potential industries, such skill development programs must also be carefully monitored. Hopefully, one will use the money they earn from having more talents on raising their quality of life. How one uses the skills to bring positive changes to one self and his or her community at large, especially whether it is sustainable or not, should also be addressed by these skill development programs.
Bangladesh, with a large pool of youngsters, can easily utilize the youth-force to escalate country’s growth by creating excellent skill development opportunities. If not, then this youth will turn into the biggest burden for the nation and the society. Moreover, they can also get engaged in anti-social and even terrorism activities. We have already observed few such cases and this is due to the lack of personal development opportunities for the youth. Hence, not only from the economic perspective, but also from social and security perspective also the government must focus on the skill development of the youth.
To ensure skilled young human resource, the Bangladesh government must implement their already taken plans to the full. Then, we need to build more international partnerships in this regard and need to allocate proper fund for the purpose. If required we should try to channelize international fund or donation in this area and we must ensure cent per cent utilization of the fund. Along with urban institutions, the rural ones should get similar priority with ensuring skilled trainers like the urban ones. The government should also utilize the local government authority and root level political leaders and activities to create community engagement for the cause. Moreover, adequate campaign is also required to reach the youth as well their guardians.
Bangladesh can achieve great things in the future if we put an emphasis on the development of their skills. With her visionary leadership, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has elevated Bangladesh to the status of a development role model. It is essential that our youth gain the skills necessary to maintain and advance this development. Our future generation, equipped with the necessary abilities, will definitely move the nation ahead with the correct attention from the pertinent stakeholders.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA) and Editor at Kishore Bangla