A great leap in training

Mahmudur Rahman
Technical and vocational education and training has come a long way. Once the mere acquiring of basic skills was considered enough to address the demand for technical expertise. Times and demands have changed. But in an age when emphasis is placed on technical competencies, especially in blue-collar jobs, Bangladesh faces a challenge.
Parents, guardians and students are so wrapped up in the two general education streams of SSC and Madrasah that they do not view technical and vocational education as being worthy. Yet industrialists bemoan the dearth of adequately trained and competent employees. There is too much dependence on sending typically unskilled labourers abroad. More and more of these expatriates are finding out that they no longer have the competencies that are in demand in today’s world.
When it comes to equipping our workforce with the required competencies, the challenge is huge. The key is in ensuring the balance of three basic factors; developed in tandem, training and education can enhance work flexibility, quality and relevance. If anyone of these slips, the result will be a shortfall, either in the competencies acquired or in meeting demands of the employment market.
The lack of streamlined existing trade and technical qualifications has meant that there are no universally acknowledged standards against which workers and employees can be measured, nor a mechanism that takes into account their previous learning. Moreover, with 70 countries of the world already having a qualification framework — a number of which are destinations for the Bangladesh employment market — the time may come sooner than later for a synergy between these overseas qualifications and those of Bangladesh.
In recognition of this, the Bangladesh government’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) reform project, managed by ILO and with funding from the European Union, produced a National Technical and Vocational Qualifications Framework (NTVQF). It focuses on TVET institutions flexibly meeting the job market’s technical and vocational education and training needs and on the needs of the poorer and disadvantaged groups.
The newness of this system is breaking the myth that technical training and education is limited to classrooms or based on the requirements of big industry. Qualifications and curricula are reviewed and new ones proposed so that the training regime becomes demand-driven, modular, competency-based and suitable for both big and small businesses.
Industries benefit from better-trained graduates. But the approach also ensures that regular students and underprivileged groups (such as drop-outs, low-literate and/or poor men and women and physically challenged persons) also have access to recognised training. This innovative training aligns with an expansion of qualifications that better reflect the growing and changing occupational and competency profiles in both domestic and international employment markets.
The NTVQF, when approved, will replace a National Skills Standards (NSS) system that was established decades ago but never really caught on. The new system will provide five vocational qualifications and one diploma-level qualification. In addition, the NTVQF will have two pre-vocational levels that provide pathways for less educated and underprivileged groups to train for higher-level certificates.
Should someone not be able to finish all competencies required for an entire qualification, there will at least be a ‘statement of attainment’ for specific units of competency achieved. These latter documents are useful to employers as evidence of competence and can be “banked” for application later if a person wishes to complete the training towards a full qualification.
At the secondary school level, a dual certification system is to be introduced. Students who complete SSC (VOC), HSC (VOC) and HSC (BM) can try for an NTVQF qualification, in addition to their school qualification.
A new qualifications framework for TVET is a huge transition for Bangladesh. The current idea is to ease the process by first introducing the NTVQF in the three “thrust” industry sectors which are the focus of the TVET Reform project, and in four industry sectors which are supported by the Skills Development Project.
All government agencies engaged in skills training will eventually align their curricula with the NTVQF, and NGOs and private-sector training organisations will be encouraged to do the same. The Bangladesh Technical Education Board is expected to undergo restructuring and expansion and will be responsible for implementation and periodic review of the NTVQF implementation and other aspects of a quality assured TVET system.

Mahmudur Rahman is a corporate administrator and a sports commentator.

 

Original article on The Daily Star

Related News

Climate loss and damage are clearly visible in southwest Bangladesh

Views Ashish Barua, Sawkat Chowdhury The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) by Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that the sea level, over the last 120 years, has increased by 0.20 metres, and continues rising fast, caused by thermal expansion, glacier ice loss, ice sheet loss, etc. The sea level ... Read more

How can Dhaka solve its traffic problem?

Views Debra Efroymson If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that “traffic was particularly bad today,” I could have retired already. Over the years, people have hazarded various suggestions as to the cause of the terrible Dhaka traffic and its potential solutions. Causes include: not enough roads for all the cars; poor ... Read more

Celebrating 50 years of global environmental movement

Opinion Saleemul Huq The global environmental movement started in 1972, with the first global environment conference held in Stockholm, Sweden, hosted by then Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. Among the heads of governments who also attended was the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who famously declared that environment and poverty were two major global issues ... Read more

Saving earth from disasters

Opinion By Md Zillur Rahaman TODAY is World Earth Day. The day is celebrated worldwide each year to show support for the protection of the environment. It was first observed in 1970 and is now held globally by the Earth Day Network. The UN-sponsored conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 3 to June 14, ... Read more

Women for women

Opinion Faria Rashid PATRIARCHAL societies like to deceive women into thinking that women cannot get along, work together and stand in support of one another. Given the patriarchal history of society, it has mostly worked to keep women in their places and apart from each other. This is why we hear so much about women ... Read more

CSR and a new order of business

From being seen as mere philanthropy and ‘doing good’, corporate social responsibility is now at the heart of business sustainability and ethical and accountable corporate behaviour Bitopi Das Chowdhury CSR or corporate social responsibility has been a buzz phrase for quite some time now. Not a day goes by without it being mentioned, albeit in ... Read more

Harmful impacts of cartels on consumers

Munshi Abdul Ahad A cartel is an anti-competitive arrangement between two or more competing businesses. Anticompetitive agreements, particularly cartels, harm consumers in urbanised society, as well as in the emerging countries. In adding together, cartelised industrial sectors lack competition which certainly reduces competitiveness in the long run and may have a negative impact on the ... Read more

How to troubleshoot the economy

Sadiq Ahmed Bangladesh is facing serious macroeconomic challenges and I have written a lot explaining them in a series of articles published in The Daily Star and in The Financial Express. In this new article I am going to write specifically about how Bangladesh could address those challenges while also mobilising substantial external financing in ... Read more

Jute bag prospects in global arena

Md Rashedul Karim Munna Global consumer demand for eco-friendly products has increased in both developed markets (such as Western Europe, the United States and Australasia) as well as new markets with emerging opportunities (such as the Middle East) mainly because of heightened awareness of the ill effects of environmental pollution and global warming. Large chain ... Read more

Safeguarding citizen’s money

Sadiq Ahmed Banking is an entirely different ball game. When a licence is given to a bank to manage citizen’s money, the government is taking on a huge responsibility. By granting the licence, it is essentially certifying that it has confidence in the enterprise and trusts that the enterprise will safeguard the citizen’s money it ... Read more

Women entrepreneurship and our commitment

Tarique Afzal for The Daily Star “Entrepreneur” is a French word that means “undertake”. Women entrepreneurship is inherent as they are naturally endowed with the qualities of entrepreneurship. Instincts of a woman generate enormous strength and determination that drive the fear away from them. Entrepreneurship for a woman remains an innate quality and thus is ... Read more

Managing macroeconomy

Sadiq Ahmed for The Daily Star Bangladesh has achieved good economic performance over the past few years. It has successfully managed the transition from the global financial crisis of 2008-10 with relatively modest slowdown in economic activity. Economic growth has recovered and official data suggest that growth is on the upswing. While there is some ... Read more

Organisational culture

Mamun Rashid From an academic perspective, we can look at the way Edgar Schein, a former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, defines organisational culture as ‘a pattern of shared basic assumptions that was learned by a group as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well ... Read more

The organisational machine

Sarwar Ahmed What is an organisation? As you reach for Wikipedia in today’s digital world, you have access to a whole repertory of knowledge for free. An organisation is a social arrangement that pursues collective goals, controls its own performance, and has a boundary separating it from its environment. An organisation consists of people who ... Read more

Women and workplace dilemma

Mamun Rashid I recently wrote a piece for The Daily Star business section on our lady colleagues. As usual, I received a few e-mails and phone calls. One of them was from a younger friend of mine, working for a regional conglomerate. He thought I did not do enough justice to the male colleagues, while ... Read more

The black swan

Sarwar Ahmed It was a chilly April morning when Fakhruzaman, my Bangladeshi colleague who works for Syngenta in Europe, drove me for a sightseeing tour through the idyllic English countryside near Cambridge. We stopped over for some tea and muffins in a restaurant next to a small river. White swans floated on the cold water ... Read more

Chindia policy to boost domestic trade

Chindia policy to boost domestic trade Kingshuk Nag When the G7 was formed in 1976 as a major economic and political group of the seven largest industrialised nations, not even the optimistic of soothsayers would have predicted that 23 years later in Pittsburg, USA, the G20 would dethrone G8 as the primary council of wealthy ... Read more

Emotionally yours

Sarwar Ahmed Late at night, my mobile phone beeped with an SMS alert. I was startled and then enthused by the content: Sorry, my mom was around. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Please don’t get mad at me. Love you too. Poor thing. She must have been in a hurry to send this text and ... Read more

Our mothering colleagues

Mamun Rashid In the 1970s to 80s, teaching and nursing were the only largely female professions. Things have changed. Women are now also commonly lawyers, physicians, bankers, investment analysts, journalists, economists, doctors, psychologists, consultants, college/university professors, pilots, defence officials, IT professionals and scientists. Women have dramatically increased their numbers in professional and technical occupations for ... Read more

No room for complacency

Zillul Hye Razi The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) of the European Union (EU) is a preferential trade arrangement that allows reduced or zero import duties for imports from developing countries. It is a unilateral arrangement and includes the Everything But Arms (EBA) arrangement, which grants duty and quota-free access to all goods, except arms ... Read more