Imperative is job-oriented education

Publish: 9:31 PM, November 30, 2021 | Update: 9:31:PM, November 30, 2021

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed the importance of building capacities for education that would cater to the needs of a growing economy -sometime ago –while inaugurating the campus of a college devoted to textile engineering. The Education Minister also stated to the same effect at a workshop on technical and vocational education. All these would suggest that the incumbent government realizes well the fact that appropriate education– mainly focusing on the job market– can turn the dream of making the country from a developing to a completely poverty free one by the expected date.

Notably, over the years the rhetoric of leaders of successive governments have not quite matched the real accomplishments in this vital sphere. Even common sense indicates that if faster human resources development in support of job creation was really the objective in Bangladesh , then in the public sector at least 30 general universities, 6 engineering universities, 30 engineering colleges, 30 agricultural colleges, 6 agricultural universities and 64 polytechnic institutes would have been set up by now.

The increase of these institutions by this number would be then considered as considerable and budgetary resources spent in bringing them into existence could be considered as exemplary of allocative efficiency. But what is seen in reality ? It is noted that when government cannot find funds for the establishment of these vital institutions for stepped up creation of human resources, it seems to have no difficulty in liberally increasing grants to religious institutions and satisfying the appetite for corruption and inefficiency in the realm of primary, secondary and mass education.

Any objective study would show up that if successive governments had gone for greater spending of resources on the specialised educational institutions such as for textile engineering, food processing, leather technology, agro-technologies, marine technology, etc., then the country would be so much the better off today to fill positions in the private and the public sector that require suitable education in vocational, technical, scientific and managerial fields.

The inadequate number of these specialised educational institutions in the public sector is giving rise to serious ill developments. First of all, increasing number of young people with promise are failing to pursue job-oriented education . In the past, there was a balance of sorts in the number of admission seekers to these institutions and the seats available. But this balance was snapped long ago. In the sphere of technical and vocational education, private institutions are not many in number but potentially good students to these are barred from access to them due to high costs of tuition and other charges .

In the developed countries , the provision of technical education and vocational education that contribute directly to the creation of a competent and productive workforce , is not left to market forces or the private sector. Private sector only has profit motive and leaving these forms of education to the private sector means that these specialised educational institutions would be created by the private sector only for the rich. Thus, many truly talented and promising students lacking in financial strength would be excluded ; they would miss out opportunities for such education.

The main casualty of this would be the goal of maximising the creation of human resources in the highest economic interest of the country. Thus, the developed countries today provide for higher education, technical education and vocational education at highly subsidised costs or at the state’s costs particularly with the aim of increasing or promoting the supply of technically trained and skilled manpower .

Bangladesh’s role model ought to be these developed countries. It must channel resources substantially toward higher education, technical education and vocational education. It should make available in much greater quantities these forms of education to its citizens at nominal or free of costs under state control to realise its objectives of a greater supply of skilled and trained manpower for attaining a higher level of economic growth.

Any objective study undertaken would show up that if the government had gone for greater spending of resources on the specialised educational institutions such as for textile engineering, food processing, leather technology, agro-technologies, marine technology, etc., then the country would be so much the better off today to fill positions in the private and the public sector that require suitable education in vocational, technical, scientific and managerial fields.