Dhaka (Bangladesh) : “Our aim or ambition is that the labour force of Bangladesh will no longer refer as a cheap labour, which also we believe is not very fair, but as trained labour. This is the key difference that we want to bring,” EU Ambassador in Dhaka Pierre Mayaudon said after the launching of the ‘Skills 21’ on Monday.
Built on the success of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) project, ended in December last year, the EU tied up with the UN labour agency, ILO, again to continue modernize the system in Bangladesh.
The main purpose of the new four-year project, which will start from January, is to help the government develop its own roadmap toward an “effective and efficient” vocational training model which as such does not exist in Bangladesh, said the ambassador.
The total budget for the initiative is 20 million Euros, of which the EU will contribute 19.5 million.
Education Secretary Md Sohorab Hossain, Ambassador Mayaudon and ILO Director-General Guy Ryder inked the agreement from their respective sides with the presence of Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid and State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu.
The education minister thanked the EU and the ILO for the initiative and said this would support “the government’s commitments to inclusive economic growth and full and productive employment for all”.
“The launch of the Skills 21 project will provide further assistance to our national efforts to create an effective, demand driven skills system that will meet the needs and aspirations of our people, especially the two million who enter the workforce every year,” he said.
The earlier EU-funded TVET Reform Project established the foundation for the new, demand-driven, competency-based system for skills development in Bangladesh including reforms in the formal TVET system, according to the ILO.
‘Skills 21’ will strengthen the National Skills Development System by continuing earlier reforms and by developing a National Qualifications Framework.
It will work with the government to improve the governance aspects within the skills development sector, and directly with TVET institutions to introduce the entire reform package of new quality assured programmes, trained instructors and management as well as services for career guidance and job placement.
The project also aims to support partnerships between private sector and relevant training providers to develop and implement effective professional education and training programmes.
Given the importance of labour migration in the Bangladesh economy, Skills 21 will also include actions for the integration of migration issues in the Skills Development System.
The programme will support the returning migrants as well as those aspiring to migrate so they are able to secure better paid work, according to the UN agency.
The ILO Director General said “a modern and inclusive skills system will provide a solid base for the future development of Bangladesh”.
“The Skills 21 initiative will build on past achievements and ultimately provide greater access to quality vocational training for men and women alike.”
Some two million people enter the Bangladesh workforce each year, however, the capacity to provide skills training is limited.
“To ensure the sustainability of its economic growth, Bangladesh is in need of a skilled labour force,” the EU Ambassador Mayaudon said, adding that education and skill development is one of the top priorities of the EU’s engagement with Bangladesh.
“You have examples (of skill development) in Germany, Switzerland that cannot be transferred as such to Bangladesh. They need to be customized by the Bangladesh reality. This is not a simple process at all,” he said, explaining the new project that he said would address those issues.
He said the new project would take a “very holistic approach” and at the end Bangladesh would have “its own sensible way to skill development”.
“We want Bangladesh to have better offer of talents for its own domestic market and overseas market we know how much it is competitive,” he said.
“With this project, they will be better equipped and certainly will have more chance to get better jobs, the effect of remittances will be quite significance”.
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