Introduction of technical and vocational courses at all general stream schools and madrasas for developing skilled and efficient human resources will be delayed by one year, due to the coronavirus situation.
The government primarily planned that they would make at least two technical and vocational trades mandatory for grades nine and ten from 2021. But now they are going to introduce the trades from 2022, education minister Dipu Moni said yesterday.
"We cannot complete the preparatory jobs due to prolonged coronavirus situation," she said while speaking at a webinar organised by Education Reporters Association, Bangladesh on technical and madrassa education.
Technical and Madrasah Education Division officials said they will also introduce a 100-mark compulsory technical course for all SSC students of science, humanities and business groups so that they have knowledge of at least one technical field.
Technical and vocational education would play an important role in creating more skilled manpower.
They said the country needs more skilled manpower, and technical education is important to meet that need. Many developed countries have over 50 percent students under technical education.
Madrasa and technical education officials have said that currently 17 percent students are availing technical and vocational education in the country; the ratio was one percent in 2009, said Dipu Moni.
She said that number of students in technical and vocational institution will increase significantly after technical institutions at each upazila are set up and teachers are appointed.
Dipu Moni said that linkage between industry and academia is a really important matter. She also emphasised on the need for up-to-date curriculum for technical education.
The government has set up a target to have 20 percent students under technical education by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050, said technical education board chairman Morad Hossain Mollah.
Many guardians are reluctant about their children receiving technical education as it was traditionally considered for academically weak students and there is a stigma associated with that.
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics, there are 11,00,177 students enrolled in 16 types of 7,052 technical and vocational institutes in 2019.
The numbers of such educational institutions and their students are increasing steadily. Total institutions were 1,137 in 2000; 2,317 in 2003; 5,790 in 2015 and 5,897 in 2017. Total students were 1,16,055 in 2000; 1,88,686 in 2003; 8,72,658 in 2015; 8,75,270 in 2016 and 8,91,964 in 2017.
An overwhelming 95 percent of the institutions are privately managed.
At the webinar, madrassa teachers' leaders demanded the government to bring independent Ebtedayee madrassas under monthly payment order (MPO) system as the teachers are facing hardship due to meagre amount of salary.
Dipu Moni said government is working on the issue.
Technical and Madrasah Education Division Secretary Aminul Islam Khan, Bangladesh University of Textiles Vice Chancellor Prof Abul Kashem; madrassa education board chairman Prof Kaiser Ahmed and Education Reporters Association leaders also spoke at the webinar.