Technical skills development
WHAT is now an established fact is that Bangladesh is a major supplier of labour in international markets. However, the country provides workers in the lower value segment of overseas labour market. Similarly, as the country moves away from agriculture and towards industry, the sheer dearth of skilled manpower has become all too apparent. Going by what has been reported in media, the garments sector alone employs thousands of expatriate 'white collar' employees since our manpower lacks adequate technical expertise. As pointed out in a study conducted recently by Brac University, Bangladesh would have the potential of capturing a greater share of the international labour markets if our workers were better equipped to meet the demands of employers. It would also put Bangladesh in an advantageous position vis-à-vis recipient nations to better bargain for labour rights and conditions.
Setting up vocational and technical schools would open up the possibility of getting financial assistance from non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) who could provide the requisite technology and knowhow. The curriculum in graduate and post graduate studies needs to be updated to equip tomorrow's educated young entrants with the right skills demanded by industry and business. Presently, we are unable to take advantage of the large young population, which if trained properly, would take the country forward, both domestically and internationally. These are all food for thought for policymakers. It requires forward thinking and planning and the first steps must come from the government. Only then can the private sector and other stakeholders step in.