The Financial Express

Developing human resources

| Updated: November 04, 2022 22:01:57

Developing human resources

A panel discussion arranged by the German embassy in the city to mark 50 years of development cooperation between Bangladesh and Germany has shed light on the mismatch between growth and job creation in this country. As high as 10.6 per cent unemployment among the youth, the most productive segment of population, against the average national unemployment rate of 4.2 per cent is indeed a cause for concern. True, the modes of production are changing at a dizzying pace with digital transformation of communication, service and businesses. The traditional concept of automation has been undergoing a digitised version courtesy of artificial intelligence (AI) with the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) knocking at the door. If the current system of education based on learning subject matters more by rote than by practical classes either in the laboratory or on-field practice, the knowledge learnt will prove even more inadequate either for employment or for entrepreneurship.

As cited by one of the key discussants, women not educated enough had to leave their jobs with introduction of advanced technology for failing to adapt to it. Matching education and training have not been a problem for a segment of women alone, male workers and employees have also discovered their skills unsuitable for such advanced systems. In this context, educated youths should have an edge over the army of employees wanting in required education and skills. Unfortunately, myriads of manufacturing areas where specialised knowledge and skills are in high demands find few suitable candidates for recruitment from local stock. The readymade garment (RMG) sector made an uneasy revelation sometime back that factory owners have to hire services of foreign nationals for mid and managerial levels of their units. Other industries have not come up with similar disclosures but there is no doubt quite a few manufacturing and service sectors have to outsource such manpower.

Now the question is, how could Bangladesh maintain a steadily healthy growth of its economy? No, automation has yet to be highly extensive and its cheap labour has ever remained its engine of growth. Education has largely not been compatible but necessity has compelled many to learn the tricks of digital way of life. A closer look at one of the innumerable photocopy and computer shops doing brisk business all across the city bears witness to this compulsive learning process. Young boys with little education at the desk can have answers to almost all problems unlettered or digitally illiterate people bring to them for solution.

Well their skills may prove short of trouble-shooting in case of corporate administration or proper use of sophisticated apps but the indication is clear. If there were opportunities for them to learn advanced computer science or digital knowledge and undergo extensive training, they could master the cutting-edge application of those. The youths in this country are resourceful enough, what they needed is the right kind of background and facilities for acquiring the required knowledge and training. It is the imperfect system that has handicapped them not to realise their potential. Even in a country of modest growth, a pragmatic plan for development of human resources is crucial. Not only should they perform routine duty but also think out of the box to create and invent businesses and wonder implements to speed up growth --- a key to catapulting a country on a higher trajectory of development.

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