The government has taken up various initiatives to expand technical education in the country with a view to developing skilled human resources in the pursuit of middle-income country status.
The move comes as part of the government ongoing efforts to address the skill gap among a large number of youths that is hindering industrial expansion.According to the Education Ministry, the government has taken initiative to introduce technical and vocational trade courses to sixth to eighth graders in all general schools and madrasas alongside general education from 2021.
A mega project was passed at Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on January 21 to set up 329 technical schools and colleges at upazila level spending as high as Tk205.25 billion by the next five years.
Some 3,55,320 students will get scope under the project while 24,017 teachers and employees will get job at the 329 technical schools and colleges.
The technical schools will be set up in every upazila and the scope of technical education will reach the doorsteps of the people under this mega project. Projects were also taken up to establish one technical school and college in each of 100 upazilas, one technical institute at each of 23 districts and another project was also taken up to set up four women polytechnic institutes in four divisions—Sylhet, Barishal, Rangpur and Mymensingh.
The government also approved the project to set up engineering colleges in four divisions—Chittagonj, Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur and it also took another project to establish survey institutes in Cumilla, Rajshahi, Jessore and Patuakhali districts to develop land survey education.
Projects were also taken up for infrastructural development in 49 polytechnic institutes and enhancing capability of the existing 64 technical schools and colleges across the country.Earlier, some 520 new technical educational institutions from across the country came under the monthly pay order (MPO) scheme last year and now the number of MPO-listed technical institutes stood at 2,174 while the non-MPO institutes are 7,585 across the country. Talking to daily sun, Bangladesh Technical Education board chairman Dr Md. Morad Hossain Mollah said, “Various projects are now going on to develop the technical education.”
He said, “The enrolment rate in technical education is 70 percent in Germany, 65 percent in Singapore while it now 17 percent in Bangladesh, so we have to increase the enrolment to make skilled workforce.”
There is no alternative to improving the quality of vocational, educational training to ensure Bangladesh’s competitiveness in the global market, he added. The ministry sources said the government has already increased the number of seats in polytechnic institutes to 57,780 from 25,000.
It also established engineering colleges in Faridpur, Sylhet and Mymensingh, where 540 students will get the scope to get technical education each year.
The government also took a project to gradually establish at least one technical school and one college in all upazilas of the country.
There will further be a technical research and training institute, “Bangladesh National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research” (BNITTR), to ensure modern research and training facilities. Furthermore, under the Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP), 64 organizations - 47 public and 17 private - are providing shortened training programmes (360 hours in six months) in 32 trades.
Currently, the student enrolment rate in technical education is 17%, having been as low as 1% in 2009. The government set a target to increase the enrolment to 20% by 2020, 30 percent enrolment by 2030 and 50 percent enrolment by 2040.
The data shows that the number of students is gradually increasing in technical education. The number of students was 12,62,761 in 2018 while it was 11,68,745 in 2017, 11,08,778 in 2016, 10,38,820 in 2015 and 9,14,717 in 2014.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Mani said the incumbent government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took various initiatives for the development of technical education to create skilled manpower in the country.
She said every year 26 lakh workers join the job market, but they fail to get jobs as they are not skilled enough as required for their employment while the country’s work force fails to attain global recognition.
To overcome the shortcomings, the government is working to effectively turn the large workforce into skilled manpower through technical education, said the minister.
Dipu Moni also said, “The fourth industrial revolution will approach soon, so we need to develop competent human resources to make them well-suited for facing the upcoming challenges.”
There are 10,452 technical educational institutes operating across the country.