Young changemakers shared their ideas with policymakers about the post-COVID rebounding strategies through Let's Talk. They were promised that the points they placed across will be considered and their efforts towards the transformation of their communities will be complemented. Alongside new commitments, the policymakers also brought forth recommendations for the youths, for their idea implementations. Young Bangla, the youth platform of Centre for Research & Information (CRI), organised the seven-episode Let's Talk through webinars, spanning three days, to gather insights from youths about how the nation can rebound in the post-pandemic period.
At the end of the three-day event, they presented those ideas for the policymakers. Saima Wazed Hossain, the vice-chairman of CRI and daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, delivered the concluding speech. She thanked Young Bangla for the initiative and appreciated the youths for their innovative solutions to the crisis.
Some of those recommendations for art and culture include the formation of a 'cultural council' under the ministry of cultural affairs and ministry of foreign affairs, encouraging private patrons to come forward to support cultural activities, creation of a digital database of the creative youths, decentralisation of cultural events and implementation of royalty and copyright laws. The youth-led response includes increasing youth participation in the National Youth Council and reviewing and setting a 'Post COVID-19' two-year agenda for the National Youth Action Plan.
The speakers discussed the importance of a 'Challenge Fund' under the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) and Ministry of Social Welfare (MoSW), and National Database of Youth Organizations and volunteers, which will be accessible to all Bangladeshi citizens. The database will be prepared in support with different government agencies and the National Youth Council could be the custodian of the database, according to their recommendations. The National Youth Council can expand its sphere by creating a National Youth Cell under the Prime Minister's Office. They also suggested including youths in revenue earning projects such as social safety net management, and National Service Program (NSP). Youths are also willing to be involved in local infrastructure development such as 'Amar Bari, Amar Khamar', and the '40 days local development project.
They also suggested that health safety and hygiene guidelines for education and training institutions should be developed among the school authorities, teachers, students, their families, and other relevant stakeholders. They also said that the demand of the market and the skills mismatch was an issue in the past but has been oddly disrupted by the pandemic. A proper needs assessment must be conducted to find the skill gap and reskilling and upskilling requirements in the COVID-19 recovery phase. The speakers also said that reforming the General and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) curriculum to address market demand and other issues, in association with National Skills Development Authority, TMED, 12 Industry Councils, MoEWOE, and other stakeholders, is important. A separate high-powered 'Digital Education Division' can be formed under the Ministry of Education, to develop a digital infrastructure and quality management of digital education.
The youths suggested that Bangladesh could introduce student aid services such as loans for marginalised and vulnerable students. They also suggested introducing TVET for vulnerable students in their educational settings. The state-owned mobile operator could offer free internet packages to them for remote learning.
They also advised the policymakers to appoint a career counselor in every secondary school, to help students to evaluate their abilities and interests and develop new skills. The speakers noted that more budget allocation for TVET is required in a post-pandemic period. Young Bangla has been organising Let's Talk since 2014, to create a bridge between the country's policymakers and youths.