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Focus on skills development, need-based education must for Bangladesh

  • Published at 10:54 pm March 12th, 2019
Discussion on 4th Industrial Revolution
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, and other speakers, attend a discussion on the fourth Industrial Revolution and its implications on Bangladesh at a Dhaka hotel Courtesy

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in association with the World Economic Forum, organized the event in learning potential risks of the 4IR on Bangladesh labor market  

Bangladesh has to focus on skills development and modernize the education system to cope with the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to avert any potential job loss, experts said yesterday.

They stressed on industrial need-based curriculum and asked the students and job-aspirants to select subjects that match industry demands.

They came up with the remarks at a dialogue titled “Fourth Industrial Revolution: Future Jobs – Skills –Careers for Bangladeshi Youth” held in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in association with the World Economic Forum, organized the event in learning potential risks of the 4IR on Bangladesh labor market  and ways forward to create new employment for youth as well as to learn the demands of industry,

“Bangladesh’s GDP is today about $300 billion. It is the 48th largest economy of the world with an $1,800 per capita income. The journey to move people’s per capita income from $1,800 to $10,000 in next one and a half decade is the 4IR’s objective for the South Asian region, including Bangladesh,” said Samir Saran, president of India-based Overseas Research Foundation (ORF).

“How we increase wages, living standard and human development indices of our region are the core issue now ,” he also said.

“To enhance wage earning capabilities and productivity, as well as mainstreaming the economy in the global value chain, there is requirement of many inputs. The most important inputs are skill development and education, without which we will not be able to create value to improve people’s conditions,” he added.

He also said that Bangladesh has to invest $60 billion every year to educate and train its 60 million people, whose ages range between 18 to 24 to make them capable of participating in the job market.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said: “The good news is that unprecedented technological advances are opening new opportunities and potential for economies to improve productivity at a rate faster than our imagination.”

“However, the bad news is with the introduction of new and emerging technologies, many labor-intensive jobs are likely to be replaced or lost, while others may require re-skilling of workers to the new systems, “ added the minister.

“Now the most important question is; whether our education and skill development system, particularly those in the developing countries like Bangladesh, are capable of preparing the workforce with the adequate skills and knowledge to take advantage of new technologies in their workplaces or elsewhere,” Momen said.

Industry people opined that in making the people capable for latest technology, employers called for need- based education and trainings for industrial employment

“There are graduates but we cannot appoint them as they are not employable. This is because of the mismatch between the industry needs and education subjects,” said Rubana Huq, managing director of Muhammadi Group.

She asked students to become aspirants and groom themselves by selecting subjects based on the needs of industries.

“There is disconnection with the academia and if they cannot cope with the automation, people will miss the chance,” she added.