Preparing young people for the job market

Md Ashequl Islam | Published: February 26, 2019 21:40:36 | Updated: March 01, 2019 22:36:24

With regard to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Bangladesh is lagging behind on a number of core SDG indicators--including revenue generation and foreign direct investment, according to the latest SDG progress report of the country. 

Revenue generation is there in Goal 17 ('Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development') which is explained to 'Strengthen domestic resource mobilisation, including through international support to developing countries, to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection'. Revenue generation has much to do with creating employment opportunities for the people. If people earn, they will pay taxes and that will contribute to revenue generation.

Foreign direct investment is there in Goal 10 ('Reduce inequality within and among countries') which says: 'Encourage official development assistance and financial flows, including foreign direct investment, to States where the need is greatest, in particular least developed countries, African countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries, in accordance with their national plans and programmes'. Foreign direct investment is related with making business environment of the country more congenial and availability of raw materials and efficient human resources.

With regard to revenue generation, youths are probably the most potential group of the country at the moment.  It is unfortunate that the country enjoys limited service of the youths because of growing unemployment. Recent Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) study says that despite increasing pattern of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country over the years, there remains two major concerns about the economy. Higher growth could not ensure adequate employment, and the benefits of growth are not equally distributed among all. From 2013 to 2023, every year around 2.1 million youths are supposed to enter into the job market. Out of them, only 1.3 million enter the job market every year. The remaining 0.8 million youth, on average, are adding to the unemployed people each year which is alarming indeed.  The CPD study stressed the need for quality education and health care and higher coverage of social protection for all in order to ensure inclusive growth.

Many think that educational institutes have miserably failed to equip students for job market. Students at university level have little knowledge about professional life. Their learning, in most cases, has little link with the industries. How many of them get the opportunity or are keen to visit various offices, industries, houses, workplaces? Very few. Only those who sometimes work as interns with organisations get the opportunity. Rare are the cases when the departments/institutes arrange students' visit to the organisations/industries to enhance their real-life orientation.

Youths claim they are not getting jobs, the employers complain they are not getting competent candidates to work for their organisations. The gap between the expectations of the employers and the qualifications of the job seekers is thus a problem that needs to be addressed. A continuous needs assessment study can be of great help in this regard.

Students, the future employees of the organisations, or even those who want to be entrepreneurs, need to have mastery over the subjects, develop communication skills, proficiency both in Bangla and English and better IT skills.

Lack of seriousness of the youths plays a key role for unemployment. Students, especially at the tertiary level, think that it is their main job to obtain good grades in the exams. So crossing the hurdles of the examinations become the main target and they do everything to obtain good marks -- collecting notes of seniors, taking suggestions from teachers, finding short-cut ways to perform well in the exam. While they pass and complete their education, they are not fully prepared for the professional life. Therefore, the focus of the learners should be on gaining knowledge of the subjects. 

Youths need to know as much as possible about the type of the job they are going to do.  Those who are already in the job, and need to develop themselves further should also spend time for self-development.

If parents and educational institutes help the youths fix their aims in reaching that goal, they will be better prepared for their professional life. In addition, policymakers need to design a comprehensive plan on increasing jobs for youths-- both at home and abroad, and accordingly communicate with the stakeholders so that right kinds of professionals are created for the job market.


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