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9 March, 2021 04:31:34 PM
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Prioritize development of skills

Why is our education system not working to mitigate unemployment though it is universally acknowledged that education creates empowerment and skilled manpower? Why are our universities unable to produce quality graduates? Is our education system an obstacle to developing quality manpower?
Alaul Alam
Prioritize development of skills

Knowledge or skills which should be addressed the most important is a long debate. It is universal that knowledge is power but how knowledge works unless the individual is equipped with skills? It is true that skill is the practical form of knowledge. We can compare knowledge with soul and skill with body. Can we think of a soul without body? Exactly, it cannot be. So knowledge and skill are the two inseparable parts in our life.
But general education in these days is completely concentrated on theoretical discussions which hardly develop skills of the individuals. In the developed countries need-based education is highly appreciated as it not only fills up students’ necessity but also contributes to skills development. Undoubtedly, education cannot be thought in a complete shape when it does nothing to skills development.
Can we address skill-based knowledge following the traditional lecture-based education? Another thing is that, despite many more efforts to modify education, have we been able to come out of the culture of memorization? Obviously, the answers will be negative. But to have the employable eligibility in the labour market, theoretical and practical knowledge are the most important factors students should entail.
Things become tougher in case of students completing graduation from madrasah education. They face discriminatory treatment in the job market as their knowledge is confined to religion- based profession with hardly any learning to basic and soft skills required for mainstream job. Along with these, the tendency of receiving technical education has not been as flourished as it is in many developed and developing countries.
Again mostly, students in these days hardly show any interest to skill-based knowledge, rather they are more concentrated on getting GPA-5. Another thing is that most of the subjects in social science correspond to theory-based knowledge. It is obvious that theory-based education does not develop skills of the learners. The number of GPA -5 holders has increased many times but this does not guarantee that students are equipped with necessary skills to address the challenges in life.
Evidence shows that the unemployment rate is more escalating among the educated youth than the ones uneducated or little educated. According to a latest Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) study, more than one-third of the total youth labour force in Bangladesh with higher education is unemployed. More than 7 lakh fresh graduates come out of universities for competing with the existing others in the labour market. In most cases they are denied job opportunities due to lack of skills.
Even those who have already entered the job, hardly have any job security, rather many more are denied mainstream job employment. So it is obvious that merely producing a huge number of graduates and post graduates is barely enough unless they turn into skilled manpower.
Again we know that the majority of Bangladeshi migrant workers are working in the Middle East countries. In most cases they are ill-paid as they have hardly developed any skills before joining the workforce. But if they were highly skilled, they could have handsome salary with respect in the work place. For example, Indian, Egyptians and Chinese are holding the prestigious ranks in those countries than our migrant labours due to skill constraints. Even the educated people like engineers, doctors and so on do not see enough scopes in other migrated countries due to soft skills constraints.
Truly, there is a significant gap between the demand for skilled workers by the local industries and international job markets and the supply ensured by education and training centers as skill-based paradigm is hardly ensured in the field of education.
Why is our education system not working to mitigate unemployment though it is universally acknowledged that education creates empowerment and skilled manpower? Why are our universities unable to produce quality graduates? Is our education system an obstacle to developing quality manpower?  
In most cases, it is commonly found that universities are not worried at all regarding the employability of the graduates, rather they are busy with awarding degrees to their students and hardly maintain liaison with the outgoing students in regard to creating scopes for them. On top of that, our university scholars often blame that job opportunity is still scanty, what the job employers do not think so; rather they seem worried about the scanty number of skilled candidates.
However, in digitizing the country, the government has more emphasized on equipping the manpower with ICT knowledge. A great number of science and technology universities have already been established amid the country to address the gap in technological education. Apart from increasing the number of ICT training centers amid the country, the present government has taken some praiseworthy initiatives to digitalize education sectors.
Of the initiatives, as per the report of 2019, 23000 multimedia classrooms were set up and at the same time 61000 teachers were trained on the ICT with a motto to accelerate ICT based education throughout the country. To equip students with ICT knowledge, a substantial number of teachers have been recruited at secondary and higher secondary education to address the challenges in case of skills development.
Along with government technical institutes, private organizations are running many activities to develop skills for people. You may see many computer training centres on both sides of the roads in the urban areas. Another thing is that it has been an earning source for many. Computer-based skills help them to be self-reliant. Studies reveal that the income of the trained labour increases by eight times than those of the unskilled.
Finally, it is time to address skill-based education that will not only focus on knowledge but also on skills required to survive on earth. In this regard, education should be modified enough to address all the challenges. It is imperative to realize that getting a degree from a reputed university does not guarantee someone that they will deserve job opportunity unless they are well -equipped with necessary skills.
It is proved that the advancement of a nation is not seen as much with its education as it is with skill development. So, to attain sustainable goals in the country, there is no alternative to developing skills of the youths.
The writer teaches at Prime University. Email: [email protected]

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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