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BRAC survey: 72pc of youths use internet, with only 28pc looking for technical and vocational education Featured

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BRAC survey: 72pc of youths use internet, with only 28pc looking for technical and vocational education

Among the youths of Bangladesh, 86 per cent have access to smartphones, overall 72 percent use the internet, while 28.3 percent have recently searched for materials and training related information on technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

A baseline survey on the youth perception about skills development training and post-training employment recently conducted by BRAC reveals this picture. Most (65 per cent) of the young people who have participated as respondents in the survey, identified facebook as the most effective digital platform for raising public awareness TVET.

This information and observations came at a national-level exchange-of-view event titled “Changing perspectives of youths regarding vocational education in Bangladesh” organised by BRAC today on Thursday (9 September).

KM Tariqul Islam, director general (Grade-1), NGO Affairs Bureau under the Prime Minister’s Office, Dulal Krishna Saha, executive chairman (secretary), National Skills Development Authority (NSDA), and Selima Ahmad, lawmaker and president, Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BWCCI), attended the event as special guests, arranged at a hotel in the capital.

Winnie Estrup Petersen, ambassador of Denmark to Bangladesh, spoke at the event as the guest of honour. Chaired by Asif Saleh, executive director, BRAC, the event was also attended by a number of high officials from government and non-governmental agencies.

Guests present at the event dwelt on the issue of employment generation and achieving economic prosperity through transforming the people, particularly the youths of this country into effective human resources through TVET and other kinds of skills development.

In his welcome speech, KAM Morshed, senior director, BRAC, said, stigma is associated with skills and vocational training in the society and we must partner with communities at large and fight together against this.

While presenting the keynote speech, Tasmiah Tabassum Rahman, current in-charge of BRAC Skills Development Programme, said jobs related to technical and vocational education in Bangladesh are still considered as blue collar jobs, and this is why it is very important to create awareness and tell the society about the importance of TVET and its prospects.

Speakers at the programme pointed out that despite the government has undertaken a number of measures to popularise TVET, the public perception has yet to change sufficiently in Bangladesh. Non-governmental organisations can play an important role, complementing the government efforts, in effectively changing perceptions at the community level, including in the communities living in the hard-to-reach areas. The NGO Affairs Bureau, as the regulatory body and as the custodian of the NGOs working in Bangladesh, can guide those organisations that are particularly registered for working in the skills development sector in playing a more effective role in raising public awareness. The Bureau can also work for widening the scope for Go-NGO collaboration in the sector.

NGO Affairs Bureau DG KM Tariqul Islam said, “Despite there are government run training centres in all the districts, bringing change in mindset should be the first task. Here the private and voluntary organisations have a role to play. This BRAC survey report (presented at the event) will be helpful for the government and other private sector organisations in offering training programmes. We expect that private sector stakeholders will build infrastructures and provide training to youths in the areas where the government training centres do not have wide coverage of services.”

NSDA executive chairman Dulal Krishna Saha said, “We have to maintain the productivity of our labour force to maintain the growth we have achieved in different sectors. Without skills we won’t be able to sustain ourselves in the fourth industrial revolution. We do, therefore, need an intensive awareness campaign both to attract foreign investment and build a vast pool of skilled manpower.”

Winnie Estrup Petersen, ambassador of Denmark to Bangladesh, said “We need to listen to the young voices and enter into a dialogue with them under an inclusive approach. Stakeholders form the public private sector and partners need to think about how to change the mindsets of young people. This can be done through adequate campaigns and ultimately the youths need to be prepared with the right skills and right mindset for the changing world.”

BWCCI president Selima Ahmad said “Providing training to the young population is not enough, we also need to create work opportunities for them as well. It needs a media campaign, engaging community leaders and public representatives so that they can encourage their communities to take technical and vocational training. Also, organisations like BRAC can introduce programmes on public awareness and training in areas with higher trends of manpower export.”

In his concluding remarks BRAC executive director Asif Saleh said, “It’s never enough to erect only the buildings of training centres. We have to focus on the training itself so that by utilising that skills training they can secure jobs for themselves, or become entrepreneurs, or can engage in income generating activities and improve their living standard eventually. We need to change the role of how we approach skills development and youth employment. We are ready to support the Bangladesh government and scale up new innovative solutions for TVET.”

While carrying out its different initiatives BRAC’s Skills Development Programme (SDP) came to realise that skills development of the mass of young people will open the door to an infinite opportunity for realising their potential leading to the country’s robust socio-economic development.

In this context BRAC SDP has undertaken this pilot project with funding from the Danish Embassy to increase people’s awareness and knowledge about the importance of TVET and the resulting potential employment opportunities. The pilot is under implementation in three divisions, namely Dhaka, Chattagram and Sylhet.

As part of the pilot, a baseline survey was conducted to know about the perception of young people regarding skills training and employment, an excerpt of which is below.

  • The respondents believe that the most important reason for choosing TVET is to get jobs soon as possible. Of the respondents 43.7% said the idea of such training just did not occur to them.
  • Women should have more opportunities for taking TVET particularly in the unconventional occupations such as light engineering and mechanical and other kinds of repair work.
  • Of the respondents, 65% identified facebook as the most effective digital platform to raise awareness on TVET.

Study: click here.

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