Vocational training is the answer
Emran Hossain ›
A six-month course on cell phone repairing at a vocational training center has changed the life of Yasin Ali and his family hailing from a village about 120 km north of Dhaka. He was only an eighth grader, when his landless family migrated to Dhaka from Mymensingha’s Muktagachha in 2004.
For the next five years, Yasin, barely a teenager then, worked at roadside shops in exchange for two meals a day while his father pulled rickshaw.
In 2010 Yasin’s life was transformed with a six-month long training opportunity under a government scheme free of charge. At a vocational training center in the city he learnt repairing cellphones.
Yasin never looked back. He earned more and more as he became more adept at fixing software and hardware glitches in cell phones. He has turned 25 years this year, with a monthly income of around Tk 15000.
“Just after I secured my job my parents went back to our village and took a yearly lease of 30 decimals of land for cultivation,” said Yasin.
With over 2 million youths entering the job markets as fresher every year, Bangladesh could become a global repository for human resources. And proper training of this massive number of workforce could bring prosperity to millions. According to a survey on the country’s labor force conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in 2013, the working age population was found to be 106.3 million, almost half of it aged between 15 and 29 years.
Demand for such vocational training centers is extremely high in a country of 160 million people where dropout rate in general education — primary and secondary — has been about 50% and 65% respectively. Only 5% of these dropouts can reach one of the 1113 vocational centers scattered around the country, according to education ministry sources. The Bangladesh Technical Education Board with its partners offers more than 150 courses — their durations lasting from a month to a four-year-diploma.
“Most youths will make use of their skills anyway. It means they are entitled to better wages, both at home and abroad” said Md. Masud Hossain, a Centre Manager of Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM).
Only 31.1% of 7.6 million of our people working abroad are skilled, resulting in a lower remittance flow than countries sending skilled manpower.
Scarcity of skilled people is so high that 200, 000 foreigners are employed in this overpopulated country. Foreigners take home Tk 5 billion a year, revealed the finance division report.
On a global scale, countries applied vocational training for developing their status. Nearly one third of Singapore, half of Japan and Korea and almost half of Malaysia and Indonesia’s student population participated in vocational training.
Sadia Akter learned tailoring at a vocational center and changed her life entirely. Six years ago she passed Higher Secondary Certificate exam and could not continue her studies due to financial constraints. Sixth among 11 children of an unemployed father, Sadia has today made it to studying masters in political science.
“I wanted to get general education too. I have the means. Why not use it?” said Sadia.
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