The education ministry has taken an initiative to introduce technical and vocational education in secondary school level (from class VIII) at all educational institutions from the next academic year.
As part of the initiative, the technical and madrasa education division of the ministry has started a process of forming a high-level committee which will determine the course to be included in the secondary level.Sources at the ministry said one or two vocational subjects of technical education will be made compulsory for students of class VIII from the next year. It will be included as subjects like physical education.
But the vocational course will not be made mandatory in public examinations like other subjects. Instead, it will be made mandatory in class tests.
The decision was taken at a meeting organised by the ministry on Sunday to devise plan for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Officials said the vocational course will also be introduced at the primary level in phases as per the recommendations of taskforce reports.
Five taskforces, which were formed to make Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) work plan, gave various recommendations, including formation of a commission for the appointment of teachers, training, curriculum modification and construction of infrastructure to tackle challenges during implementation of the plans.
Subodh Chandra Dhali, deputy secretary (technical) of the education ministry, said the process of forming a high-level committee has begun to introduce the vocational course from class-VIII.He said an additional secretary will be the convenor of the committee, which will scrutinise what type of courses will be introduced into the educational institutions.
The present government has given top priority to technical education to achieve the recognition of middle-income country and achieve the SDGs.
The ministry set a target of enrolling 20 percent students by 2020, 35 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2041 in technical education.
At present, the general growth rate of students is six percent. The target was set at 14 percent but it has not been achieved as per the survey of 2015.
Earlier, a long-term work plan was taken to achieve the target. A body led by an additional secretary of the education ministry identified 13 types of challenges while five taskforces were formed to combat the challenges.
The taskforce submitted separate reports to the ministry along with nine-point recommendations.
The ministry organised a workshop on Sunday to finalise the TVET work plan as per the taskforce’s recommendations where Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid announced that they will include vocational education in class-VIII from next year.
He also said, “We have so far ensured 14 percent admission in technical education. We are working relentlessly to turn it into 30 percent by the year 2030.”
The taskforce reports recommended launching technical education with general education from primary to higher secondary level while at least one technical course in the syllabus from class-VI to class-VIII.
As per the recommendation, the ministry took a policy-level decision to introduce at least one course of technical education into class-VIII from the next academic session.
The taskforce report proposed introduction of technical and vocational course in madrasah education.
The report stated that less than 20 percent women students are now studying technical education, saying that this rate will have to be increased to 40 percent by 2020. To achieve the target, women’s technical schools and colleges will have to be set up in eight divisional cities and new projects will be implemented.
Proposing establishment of a combined board at the divisional level by 2021, the taskforce report said currently, technical education is not evaluated and examined through combined process.
It recommended forming ‘Technical Teacher Recruitment Commission’ like the Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC) for appointment of qualified teachers.
Apart from giving stipend to the students at diploma, BSc and MSc levels, initiative should be taken to send students and teachers for higher education, it said.
Polytechnic institute, technical school and college, and engineering college will have to be established in every district to increase the enrolment of students to 20 percent, the report said.
Accommodation facilities will have to be ensured for students, said the taskforce report.
At present, the teacher-student ratio is 1:50. The ration should be 1:20 as per the policy to ensure quality education.
The taskforce recommended launching short-term technical training course for the autistic children and ensuring technical education for weavers of Sirajganj, Tangail, Narsingdi, Comilla and other areas to save the country’s heritage.
It also proposed introducing mobile technical schools for backward people.