THOUGH astonishing but it is true, that the less educated segment of the population in Bangladesh contributes more to the national economy than the higher educated ones. A World Bank report, after having analyzed a survey of the country's labour force said on last Tuesday that the numbers of manual workers in the country's formal and informal sectors are around 56.7 million. Out of which 23.2 million, or 41%, have had no formal education at all; and13 million have not even completed primary level education. Only 0.2 percent of the total labour force is equipped with vocational diploma degrees. The manpower with university degrees constitutes some 3.7% and contributes little to the national economy, according to the WB analysis.
As an eminent economist pointed out, higher education may benefit the individual but not necessarily contribute in the overall growth of the national economy. What concerns us is: that compared to developed nations Bangladesh is still far behind in terms of investment or budgetary allocation for the education sector. Against the backdrop of World Bank's analysis of the labour market this must change and education sector must be at the top in the priority list of budgetary allocations.
We have a very large youth population. We can only reap demographic dividends through an effective blend of education and employment policies, and implementing them.