[lg policy] Developing professional and language skills

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Wed May 30 10:36:47 EDT 2018

 Developing professional and language skills
Due to shortage of proper training our workers are unable to create a
strong position abroad
Md. Atikur Rahman
[image: Developing professional and language skills]

The country has been liberated for 47 years but now we are unable to work
in the education system. The three-level education system is yet to be
revised. Whose discretion is being offered to everyone now? There is no way
to prepare skilled manpower in time to take the country forward. We do not
have any time to think, so we should give the highest importance to our
young generation as well as developing professional and language skills.
Although they lack professional and language skills, Bangladeshi workers
abroad are making billions of dollars remittance every year. Whereas our
neighbour India earns around 500 million dollars. Bangladesh is losing
billions of dollars due to lack of skilled manpower. Industry insiders
claim that over 500,000 foreign nationals currently working in Bangladesh
take away around $5 billion every year. Most of these, they claim, are
working illegally.
Many foreign nationals are working in different multinational companies,
garment companies, pharmaceutical companies or other organizations in
Bangladesh. Indian and Sri Lankan citizens are among the top amid these
workers. Following suit are workers from Pakistan, the Philippines, Korea
and China. There is a substantial shortage of mid-level and top-level
professionals in the country. Employed individuals in the conventional
education system cannot meet the demand. As a result we are forced to
import these workers from abroad. This is the information presented on BBC
News recently.

According to BIDA data, in the past five years it has provided work permits
to 13,147 employees in the commercial and the industrial sector. BIDA also
renewed the work permits of 17,389 employees in the same time period.
However, there is no clear data about how many foreign workers are
currently working in the country.

On February 4, 2018, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal informed
parliament that a total of 85,486 foreign nationals are working in
different sectors in Bangladesh, of whom 67,853 foreigners were owners

of business enterprises.

Separately, a Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) study found that 16 percent
of all apparel factories in Bangladesh employ foreign individuals.
According to a recent study by the Centre for Policy Dialogue CPD, foreign
workers are employed in 24 percent of the garment factories in the country.
Two years ago, according to another study of CPD, remittances coming in
from different countries to Bangladesh can go to India amounting to 500
billion dollars. Basically, due to linguistic weakness and lack of skill,
the foreign workers are being driven to the country's money.

Currently, millions of students are coming out with degrees each year from
various government and private universities. According to the traders'
fear, lack of professional skills of our degree students, especially lack
of English language skills and professional tactics, our graduates have not
been able to fill the places of foreigners. As a result, millions of
dollars are being made by foreigners, which is not desirable.

The degree given to us here in universities is mostly not focused on our
industry. Their focus is elsewhere. As a result, graduates cannot be found.
It is being speculated that the kind of education currently being offered
in most educational institutions may not be compatible with the demand of
the industry. That's why our graduates have failed to show a lot of skills
in the industry. Concerned people/authorities will have to look into the
matter and take necessary measures to address the problem. It seems that it
is more urgent for the country's economy and unemployment problems.

One-third of the unemployed educated people in the country have finished
graduation, still foreigners are being chosen over them. Since progress
made in the readymade garment industry has come through the hands of
skilled workers, developing the lack of skill level at the management level
in our country has been neglected. It is considered most urgent to take
immediate measures to remedy the problem.

According to recently published news total employed population is 5.95
crore, among which formal employment is around 13 percent only, and
informal employment is around 86 percent.  As defined by the International
Labour Organisation, people who are out of work, want a job, have actively
sought work in the previous four weeks and are available to start work
within the next fortnight come under unemployed category.

In Bangladesh people who are underemployed work less than 40 hours a week
or earn less than the income required to meet basic needs or those who work
at a lower tier compared to their skills and expertise should be considered

The private sector creates more employment opportunities than the public
sector, but the investment in the private sector has been stalled for quite
a long time, one of the major reasons behind the high unemployment rate. An
estimated 18 lakh of those having jobs of less than 40 hours a week was
found looking for new or additional jobs. The latest survey also found 86.2
percent of the total employed population aged 15 or above are in informal

According to research reports published from Institute of Diploma
Engineers, Bangladesh (IDEB) Bangladesh workforce productivity in service
sector, in terms of GDP, were 23 percent of Thailand, 24 percent of Sri
Lanka, 29 percent of China, 45 percent of India and 65 percent of Vietnam.
According to the study, in agricultural sector the productivity of
Bangladesh were 18 percent of Malaysia, 13 percent of Japan and 8 percent
of Australia whereas in the industrial sector the productivity were 61
percent of India, 4 percent of Malaysia, 1.3 percent of Australia and 1
percent of Japan.

The study found the prime cause of the low-level efficiency is the
disconnection between the education qualifications with the occupational
demand of the employment market. It said at least 61 percent public
universities' students are enrolled in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
whereas 40 percent private universities' students are awarded higher degree
in Business Administration.

However in applied sectors like engineering, science, technology and ICT,
the ratios are 12 percent in public universities and 28 percent in private
universities. These huge numbers of graduates are not being able to
contribute in technical sectors for which Bangladesh was not getting enough
skilled manpower.  It estimated that the working age population in
Bangladesh will reach 128 million by 2030 and if the huge population is not
turned into skilled manpower it will bring economic burden.

According to analysis of population potential and challenges, it said,
after 2030 the working age population will start decreasing. It will lead
the country to 'demographic trap' which means economically dependent people
will increase than the working age people’. We also express our opining
with the published research report.

In an article written by Mr. Hassan Ahmed Kiron, `he considers this claim
to increase the allocation for immigration in the budget, because he
mentioned that after the budget was presented in the current fiscal year,
experts said that the allocation for the development of the migration
sector is absolutely negligible; to be properly spent. The main reason for
the high allocation of budget is to be an immigrant with the allocated
money and to increase the manpower market by increasing the competence of
workers associated with this sector; In order to fulfil our desired target
in labour market.

Our workers abroad are not being able to create strong positions for lack
of proper training, to overcome these weaknesses, budget of the immigration
sector should be increased and necessary steps should be taken to bring
appropriate trainers of language skills. We hope that the government will
increase the allocation for the training of skilled workers.

The ever-expanding manufacturing industry in Bangladesh makes it difficult
to reduce dependency on foreign expertise, but it can be lessened with some
initiatives. Public and private universities should introduce subjects such
as Merchandising, Fashion Technology, Production Engineering and Lean
Management, along with practical courses. The universities can also help
the students get in touch with the

industry they are interested in, and Bangladesh’s dependency on foreign
experts will gradually drop. At present, we are happy to know that work is
underway to create skilled human resources for the purpose of reducing the
dependency of foreigners in government and non-governmental universities
including the garment industry and other industries. The concerned ministry
and the UGC will have to come forward to give all the help to these
educational institutions.

At the end, it is high time the government should focus to eradicate
unemployment from the country, and to come up with measures to develop
professional skills of the youth.

All concerned people, such as political bodies, government and
non-government organizational sectors, national educational and skill
development authorities, research institutes, media personal and financial
support giving bodies will have to come forward to solve the ongoing
problems. We have to overcome the obstacles mentioned above to develop our
youth by skilfulness as soon as possible.

It is desirable that all of us will be sincere to implement this
expectation. In the end, I want to reduce the repatriation of foreigners in
our job market, and accomplish appropriate job skills and linguistic skills
to fill those places quickly, as well as to expect the country's money to
stay in the country.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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