National seminar highlights ways to link industry and TVET institutions

The ILO-supported seminar was held in the capital on 24 June as part of the Closing Ceremony for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Week 2014.

News | 25 August 2015
TVET Week is an annual initiative that involves a series of events held across the country to improve awareness of Technical and Vocational Education and Training, led by the Ministry of Education, Directorate of Technical Education and the Bangladesh Technical Education Board,

The national seminar, the last event of TVET Week, was a discussion attended by a number of high-level guests, with Mr Nurul Islam Nahid MP, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Education as the Chief Guest.

Md. Shahjahan Mian, Director General, Directorate of Technical Education, opened the event, saying that TVET is in the government’s priority list and through TVET, Bangladesh can advance as a technology based country like other Asian countries.

Mr Md. Abu Yousuf, Chairman, Furniture Industry Skills Council, said that the furniture industry has huge potential for skills development;

“There are two million workers in the industry and Bangladesh imports only 10% of its furniture, but investors are going to Vietnam and other countries. Technical education is absent. We all know that the price of labor is an important determinant of investment and we have cheap labor, but entrepreneurs are only able to meet the demand of the country,” he said.

Mr Yousuf suggested that for the furniture sector to reach global standards, proper skills education has to be provided to the workforce.

Mr Jibon Kumar Chowdhury, Joint Secretary and CEO, NSDC Secretariat, highlighted the cost of practical training as a primary reason why industry involvement in needed.

“If automobile companies for example can provide cars for practical education, the educational institutes can use them easily, provided the educational institutes are interested first, of course. Some equipment is too expensive to provide to education institutes though,” he said.

He pointed out that linkage needs effort from both sides; “Institutions also need to know from which courses are relevant in the market, so that the institutes can design courses accordingly”

Mr Chowdhury also discussed the importance of exchanging trainers. “If our trainers receive skills upgrading from industries directly, the whole nation will benefit because of the improvement in the trainer’s practical skills,” Mr Chowdhury said.

Mr A K M Bari, Chairman, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Skills Council, argued that without skill, development is not possible, and discussed progress towards developing pre-vocational qualifications.

“We developed a strategy paper in a previous workshop, which proclaimed that 12 pre-occupations were essential. So far, we have been able to work on 4 of them. The competency standards we created were impressive to everyone and people expressed hope that if they can be implemented, they will become international quality competency standards. It was possible because of the support of industry,” he said.

He discussed future potential for skills, saying “in other countries, students receive two months practical education in different industries where they are employed once they are finished with their education. We are introducing this practice in our country as well. Education needs to be demand-driven and curriculum has to change according to changes in technology”.

Mr Jafrul Hasan, Chairperson, National Coordination Committee for Workers Education said that people need skills, so they can access employment and negotiate their rights.

“Unskilled workers do not have negotiating power to demand better work environment and scope of work competition,” he said.

Mr Farooq Ahmed, Secretary General of Bangladesh Employers Federation, spoke about the reasons why skills gaps exist in Bangladesh;

"We see the interest for skilled workers at home and abroad. Concerningly, one of the reasons why not enough workers exist is because of perceptional barriers that stop good students opting for technical education. Our curriculum does not have contents proclaiming the usefulness of technical education. If textbooks inform children about TVET, they will be interested when it is time to choose between traditional and technical education,” he said.

In the open discussion, Dr Mohammad Sadique, Secretary, Ministry of Education, addressed the various demands and promised that the government would work towards making them a reality.

Chief Guest Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Education delivered the last speech, reminding the audience of the achievements in the technical sector.
Only 1% of our total students study technical education, but we have 7000 institutes now providing TVET and almost 600,000 students are benefitting from this service. We have increased the quota from 10% to 20% for women and we have a plan to establish a women’s technical institute in each division. We have planned for a technical university too, so that the students of technical education do not feel that they cannot pursue higher studies.