Monday, July 15, marks the World Youth Skills Day proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in December 2014. The theme of the day this year, as declared by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), is: "Learning to Learn for Life and Work". The theme is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, which propose two goals on education and skills for employment:
Goal 4 of SDGs: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.
Goal 8 of SDGs: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
The World Youth Skills Day is very important for the youth worldwide. Young people today are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. In addition, they are exposed to low-skilled jobs. Greater inequality in the workforce market and greater insecurity also exist in the transition from school to work. Young women are more likely to remain unemployed and earn lower wages than men. Temporary jobs are also likely to be more widespread.
Of the 30 million youth between the ages of 18 and 25 in Bangladesh, roughly three million go on to pursue higher education. For the rest, it is a big challenge. This young population has great vitality, dream and aspirations as well as potentiality. All they need is an opportunity. The nation should create such opportunities for them. Skills Development Programmes are thus of great importance to social and economic development of the country and also to make good use of our demographic dividend.
Vision 2021 of the Government of Bangladesh gives high priority to building a large base of skilled workers in order to achieve poverty-free middle-income country. Skilled workforce is needed not only for the growth and structural transition of the domestic economy but also for workers migrating to the global economy.
Through promulgation of the National Skills Development Authority Act 2018, the Government of Bangladesh has established the "National Skills Development Authority" (NSDA) under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to coordinate, regulate and monitor the skills development training and certification.
The objectives of NSDA are to develop, reform, improve competency and coordination of skill development methods to accelerate the overall development of the economy of the country; to create skilled human resources to develop suitable skill development training methods, curriculum, monitoring and coordination of training; to improve the skill of the workforce; and to develop technical and vocational training standard.
In order to carry out its functions and achieve its objectives, NSDA will conduct mainly the following duties and responsibilities:
a) to make national skills development policy, strategy and plan of actions;
b) to fix Key Performance Indicator for government and non-government training institutes, to prepare uniform training manual and to coordinate the activities of their implementation, supervision and evaluation for the purpose of creating skilled human resources for the national and International labour market;
c) to publish the forecast of national and international labour market demand and establish sector wise skill data bank ;
d) to recognise, in applicable cases, the Recognition of Prior Learning of professions included under this Act;
e) to supervise and coordinate all projects and actions relating to skill development;
f) to take actions to develop standard of training, certification and mutual recognition;
g) to establish Industry Skills Council and to give necessary assistance;
h) to strengthen industry linkage;
i) to take any initiative by the Authority on its own considering for the creation of skilled human resources; and
j) to do any other act directed by the government or the Governing Board.
k) to make consultation with concern institutes and experts;
l) to assist to prepare special curriculum.
NSDA now needs to be operationalised with optimum human resources. It should build its in-house capacity through training and orientations at home and abroad; develop policies, guidelines, manuals, templates and toolkits required to manage skill training; establish linkage with industries to facilitate apprenticeship and recognition of prior learning ( RPL); create networking with global forums and associations.
Industry Skill Council (ISC) will help the NSDA to scale-up skill of new entrants and up-skilling of existing skills to increase productivity of workforce through involving them in exploration of the required skill in the industries, preparation of curriculum, standard , assessment, research and study. They are the key driving force of NSDA to establish the industry linkage which will help accelerate economic growth in priority sectors. At the moment 12 ISCs have been formed and working and they are:
Realising the importance of skills development as the driving force of economic growth and social development in the country, the government made this paradigm shift to consolidate, coordinate, facilitate quality assurance, monitoring and certification of skills training to rapidly scale up the skill development efforts in Bangladesh. So it's a mission for life-long learning, meaning every day is World Youth Skill Day.
Faruque Hossain is Executive Chairman (Secretary in-Charge), National Skills Development Authority, Prime Minister's Office.
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