Md. Joynal Abdin
The Daily Sun on January 18, 2017
Bangladesh is home to about 163 million people. Steady economic growth of the country during last decade attracted attention of the regional and global investors. Bangladesh is second largest exporters of readymade garments. A number of other potential industrial and service sectors are waiting to take off.
With 2.19% of world population Bangladesh has a large domestic market itself and enjoying duty free and quota free market access to most of the European countries and Canadian market. Strategic geographic location of Bangladesh offers to reach to half of the world population within 24 hours by road from Bangladesh. It is one of the low cost locations for doing business (identified by JETRO) around the globe. Government is encouraging local and foreign investment for further economic growth and becoming a middle income country before celebrating the Golden Jubilee of its independence.
With all of the above potentials Bangladesh has few barriers toward development as well. The most significant barrier toward Bangladesh’s development at this moment is to develop its young force with professional skills. About 40% of total populations of Bangladesh are young. A recent study shows that there are about 11 million youths of Bangladesh doing nothing just seating idle. It is a big threat for the society as well as for the development of the country. With this 11 million unemployed youth another 2.2 million jobseekers are entering into job market every year. If one third of this 2.2 million get job than the unemployment list is enlarging with another 1.5 million youth every year.
A separate study shows that about 47% of Bangladeshi graduates are either unemployed or under employed. It is a very significant threat for the society that university degree holders are not getting job. Recent passing rate of higher secondary level is about 3 million per year. If two third of this higher secondary pass students got graduation than the rate of jobseekers will further go up. If a graduate does not get placement how drop out I mean non-educated or less educated population will manage a job? How long our society could afford this 11 million and growing idle youth?
Let’s try to analyze why graduates are not getting job? Is it like that there are no scopes for job placement in Bangladesh? Practical scenario is not like that.
A newspaper report stated recently that there are about half a million foreigners working in Bangladesh. They are sending about USD 5 billion to respective countries per year. On the other hand about 8 million Bangladeshi expatriate are earning about USD 15 billion per year. That means we are earning less but paying more. But why? The only reason is that our manpower is not skilled. Local entrepreneurs are recruiting foreigners with more payment due to their efficiency and skills. We could not develop those saleable skills among our graduates? We are not getting qualified manpower as per demand of the private sector due to the existing education curriculum in undergraduate and post graduate level.
Most of the cases, education institutes do not have any sort of linkage with the job providing organisations of Bangladesh. Let’s try to have a look what we are mostly teaching at universities of Bangladesh. We are teaching history, literature, philosophy, psychology, religion studies, drama, theater, sociology, political science, social work etc. so on and so forth. I am not here to undermine any of the above mentioned subjects. But I would like to know what the practical application of these subjects without teaching is? Where the graduates of these subjects will apply for a job? How many posts are vacant? What is the growth rate of demanding positions? How many graduates should be produced per year for proper placement?
On the other hand who are providing jobs? Job providers are mainly banks and other non-bank financial institutions, insurance companies, telecommunication companies, NGOs, electronic and print media, pharmaceuticals companies, garment factories and buying houses, logistics companies and manufacturing factories / companies of agro-processing, light engineering, plastic, leather, electrical and electronics, cosmetics, fashion designing etc. sectors. What is the application of those organisations? How much philosophical knowledge do they need to operate this daily business? How many historical events have direct reflection in theses factories? Therefor we are producing super result holder graduates but job placement is not happening.
Every field of knowledge have importance but up to a certain number per year. Therefore it is the time to estimate the required numbers and limiting those non-applied fields up to the requirement. On the other hand Bangladeshi garment and buying house sector is leading by Indian and Sri Lankan professionals due to lack of skilled professional available at home. We are consuming Indian or Chinese products starting from morning Indian tooth pest ending into mid-night Chinese magic pillow under the head to sleep.
Bangladesh has to create employment opportunity for existing unemployed and upcoming jobseekers youth. None will employ a single person if he/she could not contribute into the advancement of that organisation. To offer contribution one needs applied skill/technical and vocation knowledge. We do not need labour to carry foreign goods to the door step of our houses but we are in need of a manufacturer of those products beside our houses.
From the early morning we need tooth pest and tooth brush. In which university/institute/training center in Bangladesh one could get the skill of manufacturing these items? Then we are in need of soap and shampoo in the shower. Do we have enough skill to manufacture soap and shampoo? Which institute is teaching to manufacture soap and shampoo in Bangladesh? Then we are in need of bread and butter for breakfast. Similarly I need a bread maker and a butter producer. How many institute in Bangladesh training up a raw hand youth to prepare bread from flour or produce butter from milk or other vegetable fats. Then we used to dress up ourselves before going out of the house. How many trims and accessories used in our dress? How many of those trim and accessories could be produced beside our houses? To identify the trim and accessories used to produce our dresses starting from fabric, to threads, button, zipper, cutting knife, designing knowledge, sewing machine, finishing iron, and hander or packet etc. which one of the dress we do know to manufacture? Thus we could identify that, there are 163 million consumers in Bangladesh but skilled manpower to manufacture or serve those consumer items are very limited in amount. As a result we are becoming a nation free from applied knowledge or practical skills. It is resulting into the long list of unemployment every year.
Therefore we are in need of a serious revision in our educational system mainly in the curriculum. We are quarreling with unipolar, bipolar or tri-polar education system. But we are missing the point that school student, madrasha student, or maktab students are my brothers or sisters. I have to absorb everyone into my economy. So let’s train them up with a useful skill and let them perform the respective job. If every hand perform in respective position than the economic upliftment of Bangladesh will be a miracle for the entire world. The Bangladeshi miracle of development and prosperity will be identical and adoptable for rest of the globe. We are in need of a feed mill manufacturer rather than a scholar speaker or a robust leader.