Encouraging need based education
The Minister for Education told an international workshop sometime ago that enlarging the sphere of vocational education to create human resources amply should be the thrust point in the educational sector of the country. He could not be more apt in his observation. But the same also invites the question of what is being done to increase government run centres for technical or vocational education.
Of course, the present government has to its credit the taking of steps to expand opportunities for technical and vocational education. It has done more compared to previous governments in the last two decades to increase facilities for technical and vocational education. But as it is, government run polytechnic institutes in Bangladesh are 77, technical schools and colleges 64, technical training centres 38, medical colleges 18, agricultural colleges 4, agricultural university 1, textile institute 6, agricultural institutes 13, forest institute 1, marine institute 1 and textile vocational institutes 40. The above figures clearly show that for a country with over 165 million people and a big part of them being teenagers or fast reaching the age to enter the labour market through some kind of need based education, the number of state run organizations to impart such education, is small compared to the need.
For example, when there should be at least two or three polytechnics in each of the country’s 64 districts, the total number of polys is 77. The same kind of insufficiency is noted in the other groups particularly in the areas of technical schools and colleges and technical training centres. It is also relevant to mention in this connection that the media often focuses on the poor state of whatever institutions are there in the state sector for vocational or technical education. In many cases, it is alleged that these do not have adequate number of teachers or trainers against sanctioned posts or equipment and machines for training are missing or remain dysfunctional.
The budget makers are seen spending money to pave the way for getting degrees by hundreds of thousands of youngsters in general, theoretical and religious education every year. But what good such generalists or potential prayer leaders–who pass out in hordes annually– can do to fill the ranks of skilled manpower needs to take the country to a higher level of economic existence ?
It is imperative from the highest levels of the government to realize that the priorities in education must be redefined at the fastest and remedial actions taken just as fast. Useless and redundant forms of education need to be discouraged and curtailed. Allocations must be much increased for creating centres for types of education that would create real human resources.