More than 34,000 technical institute graduates are not getting jobs as employment notices don't seek their set of educational qualifications, said a specialist of the Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB) yesterday.
The graduates have acquired different skills from 43 of the 206 registered training institutes under the BTEB since 2012, but neither government organisations nor private businesses recruited them, said Md Shah Alam Majumder.
“In any recruitment advertisement their qualifications are not mentioned although they are already qualified with sector specific training,” he said.
Maybe employers lack an understanding of their skills and hence set general educational qualifications as employment criteria, said Majumder.
He was addressing a workshop on “strengthening skills system for achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on decent work” at the Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka.
The government and private technical educational institutes are merely spending money every year as the trained graduates are just passing time without getting any fruitful outcome from the training, said Majumder.
The technical graduates receive training for three months to six months on different sectors like IT support, plumbing, electrical work, welding, food processing, graphics design and garment sewing operations, the expert said.
The minimum educational qualification for receiving technical education is passing class VIII and the maximum is a master's degree, he said.
Of the 206 public and private registered technical educational institutions, 43 are running now and the remaining is preparing to impart the same education across the country, said Majumder.
Of the technical educational institutions, 11 have trained 5,000 graduates on technical subjects of the garment sector like sewing and cutting.
In future, Bangladeshis with technical education focusing on the garment sector can replace foreigners as the institutions are giving sound technical education on the subjects.
A Bangladesh Bank estimate says that nearly $5 billion exit the country every year in the form of salaries and allowances given to foreigners employed especially in the garment sector.
In absence of local expertise, Bangladeshi garment entrepreneurs have recruited many foreigners from countries like India, Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Turkey, Sri Lanka, the UK and the Philippines.
The government will set up 23 more polytechnic institutes, including four for women, by 2020, said Majumder. The government has 49 polytechnic institutes.
Commenting on the observations, ABM Khorshed Alam, chief executive officer of the National Skills Development Council (NSDC) Secretariat, said apart from the polytechnic institutes, the government would also set up 100 more technical schools in the next three to four years.
There are 450 private polytechnic institutes producing skilled human resources, which are necessary to achieve the SDGs, he said. The government has a target to produce one lakh graduates from polytechnic institutes, Alam said.
Every year 2.1 million people enter Bangladesh's job markets but not all can be recruited due to a lack of opportunities and skills. The public and private technical education institutes are filling the skills gap of job expectants, Alam added.
“The government has taken a number of steps to meet the SDGs in line with the 7th Five Year Plan. Skills development will play a vital role in helping us attain inclusive economic growth and create job opportunities,” said Abul Kalam Azad, principal coordinator for SDG Affairs at the Prime Minister's Office.
The NSDC in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation's Canada-funded B-SEP project and the European Union-funded Skills 21 project jointly organised the workshop.