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Last modified on Monday, 02 March 2020 06:44

Skills development to create employment for the youth Featured

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Skills development to create employment for the youth

Technical education yet to get popularity among women

A significant portion of the youth currently has access to social media, especially Facebook, and this access can be used to empower the youth with skills and spread the knowledge of technical and vocational education and training (TVET). Besides, initiatives must be taken to involve women, who are found to be reluctant to get involved in technical education. They must be encouraged to participate in TVET.

These are some of the key findings of a study BRAC has conducted recently, under a project funded by the Embassy of Denmark, which aims at changing the youth’s perception of skills training. BRAC Institute of Educational Development (BIED) conducted the study.

To disseminate the findings of this study, BRAC Skills Development Programme organised an event at the conference room of National Skills Development Authority (NSDA) at the capital’s Tejgaon on Sunday, 01 March 2020.

The study aimed at identifying the perception of the youth, their guardians and the relevant stakeholders about technical and vocational education and training; and making the respondents aware of the importance of enhancing skills through technical, and information and communication technology training.

Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, addressed the event as chief guest. NSDA Executive Chairman, Golam Md Hashibul Alam attended the event as a special guest. Director of BRAC Skills Development Programme Brig Gen Aftab Uddin Ahmad (retd) presided over the event.

To explore and enhance public perception towards skills training and subsequent employment, BRAC conducted the study among a sizable number of youth, aged between 18 and 35 years, and having the minimum educational qualification of Secondary School Certificate, with their parents and other stakeholders to assess their understanding and perception of TVET. The survey was conducted at 22 subdistricts and police stations across 10 districts under three divisions.

The study found that 67 percent of the youth respondents and 54.2 percent of their parents perceive TVET as a way of preparing the youth for employment.

Eleven percent of the youth reported to the scope to study TVET in their own school at the secondary level but only 3.2 percent received such education. While the opportunity of getting a job promptly was the biggest motivation for 46.2 percent of those who studied technical education, TVET as a stream of education did not come to mind for 43.8 percent of the youth.

One of the key findings of the study is that the youth think TVET can help ‘to get a job quickly’ and it is more likely to be accepted by men than women as the former ‘are likely to take responsibility to run their families’. Other findings include that, access to the internet is essential for the spread of TVET and Facebook is the most effective digital platform to build awareness on technical and vocational education. TVET has a higher percentage of positive acceptance among the rural youth and urban parents rather than their respective counterparts.

Addressing the event, Dr Kaikaus said, “We will step cautiously towards our goal of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and shaping up skilled people, and creating jobs for them is crucial for that. There are misconceptions about skills itself and people need to understand that a skill is attainable irrespective of the demographic dividend.”

“The youth constitutes 67 percent of the labour force and they can work with the experienced demographic as long as both groups are eager. We need to reap the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution and a skilled youth demographic is a precondition for that,” he added.

Special guest Mr Hashibul Alam said, “Public private partnership is a crucial medium to harbour skills and it can play a huge role in transforming the nation. The government is committed to deploy its resources whenever and wherever necessary”, Alam added.

The former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and Senior Adviser to BRAC, Mr Abdul Karim, said “BRAC can work very hard for effective globalisation. Our participation in the fourth industrial revolution is extremely important and BRAC will keep an eye so that more and more skilled people can join the nation’s workforce,” he added.

Refika Hayta, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Denmark, said “It is more important to chase the youth who are not in education and not employed. It is a challenge to address the SDGs and we are making sure that no one is left behind”, she added.

“We feel there is a need for perception change and the youth are not ready for changes. They need to be influenced through better navigation. Experience in other countries shows that technical skills give more employment and we need to make the youth interested in attaining that,” she added.

The youth constitutes 27.5 percent of the total population in Bangladesh. Over two million young people enter into the labour force every year.

Enhancement of skills development, especially for the youth, has been a point of attention globally and technical and vocational education has been regarded as essential tools in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to meet the challenge of employment. The Government of Bangladesh also considers this as a national priority and accordingly treats TVET as a crucial component to address the issue of personal and economic development in the National Skills Development Policy.

To assist the government in creating skills-related opportunities for such a large number of youth, BRAC – the largest international development organisation, has prioritised skills training and employment for the youth in its development programmes.

To influence changes in the existing understanding and perception about technical and vocation study, the BRAC study emphasises on organising mass campaigns at the community and school levels along with branding and promotional initiatives.

Adopting special initiatives for enhancing female perception on TVET, organising training with special focus on ICT use, and ensuring a global standard of the TVET curriculum and training module are other priorities.

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