BYLC roundtable on World Youth Skills Day: Creating jobs for new entrants the largest challenge

16 Jul 2020 10:26 AM
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As Covid-19 has effectively been a grand reset for most aspects of modern life, speakers at a vitual roundtable discuss the need to concentrate on the employment of new entrants to the job market and the changing needs of employers

On World Youth Skills Day, speakers at a virtual roundtable discussed the need to reassess employment in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the expanding skillset essential to meet up with the changing needs of employers.

The virtual roundtable of industry experts was arranged by the Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) on Tuesday evening. This program was moderated by Ejaj Ahmed, founder and president of BYLC, and Dhaka Tribune Editor and Governing BYLC Board Member BYLC Zafar Sobhan. 

Delivering the opening speech, Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan said: “The largest challenge Bangladesh will face in the 21st century is finding jobs for teenagers and women. We have 2 million new entrants to the work market every year, which is a major challenge even without the Covid-19 crisis."

“There's been massive economical advancement, massive social advancement and massive educational attainment by young Bangladeshis. We've a lot to be pleased with and few could have predicted our improvement during the last 50 years. Nevertheless, what spent some time working for days gone by 50 years might not work for another 50 years,” he added.

“The easy fact remains that for a country of 160 million persons with a tiny land area, creating jobs for folks coming out of school through universities remains an enormous challenge. There is talk of how Covid-19 can serve as grand reset, letting us reassess how we look at conducting business, along with priorities both inside Bangladesh and the world generally. As we make an effort to reset, perhaps among the focuses ought to be employment,” the editor further said.

Newcomer to the work market Maisoon Binte Tariq, merchandising executive at Unilever, said: “Since the beginning of my studies at North South University, I focused on preparing myself with the abilities necessary for my career and not just academics. My first target was aligning my courses with my career ambitions."

“Leadership quality is vital, whether it's in the work description or not. I did many things to get ready, built experience through an internship in Grameenphone and then joined Unilever,” she added.

Munzareen Shahid, head of Human Resource at Robi 10minute School, said: “If we think for next few years, organizations will be looking for those persons who can run the business even if the economy shutdown, those who have skills such as for example digital marketing, web developing and graphics design.” 

‘Skill set is changing very quickly’

Yasir Azman, ceo (CEO) of Grameenphone, said: “The expertise necessary for the work market is changing rapidly. We are observing a predicament with an increase of unemployment. From the telecom market, we have learned that we have to learn digital marketing, data analysis, AI, ML, block chain etc. There is a new skill developed every 90 days.  If you fail to learn these skills and how to use technology, you can't ever sustain in the job market.”

Maliha Qadir, founding managing director at Shohoz, said: “Learning to use the technology is the  most significant skill which we need to develop. Technology is changing across the whole world, it really is not merely tech start-ups or telcos.  Every industry is adapting to technology. It is a big revolution most of us are facing. One must be really flexible in the form of being able to navigate ambiguity.”

“The world is establishing more numerical data as goals - understanding numbers is becoming an increasing number of important. Moreover, programming ought to be learnt through the childhood because after some age people are frightened and think that it'll be hard for them to learn or math becomes difficult,” Maliha added.

She also said: “ We really need those that want to build a technological product or work for a company. However, persons are not understanding how to the depth of the items. Software architects are incredibly difficult to acquire in Bangladesh.”

Maliha also discussed the challenges in managing cloud based servers, lack of good web designers, difficulty to find product managers in Bangladesh. She also said that that they had bitter experience regarding lack of communication skills amongst their hired resources.

Sylvana Quader Sinha, the founder, chairman and chief operating officer (CEO) at Praava Health, discussed many challenges in the country’s health sector.

She said in almost all of the countries of the world, resources are distributed pyramidically -- technicians are in underneath of the pyramid, then nurses and at the very top, smalls numbers, will be the doctors. However, in Bangladesh it's the opposite - doctors will be the most in numbers, then nurses and technicians -- which she think is one of the major challenges the united states face.

“Unfortunately inside our country, culturally in many cases we treat nurses like maid. But in fact they have very important skills, what they are able to do oftentimes is better than a doctor does,” Sylvana added.

Dr Syed Farhat Anwar, director and professor at the Institute of Business Administration at the University of Dhaka, said: “Most of us have to emerge from the mediocrity mentality. We have to come out of the thought of doing the job in any way."

"We are providing foundation training at the university. It is difficult to understand another level practicality if anyone doesn't have the building blocks training. From my perspective, right now Bangladeshis need to achieve four skills -- technological, communication including English language, human values and the skill of cooperation running a business. Somethings need to be learned through the self-learning system, not absolutely all will be taught at the university.”

The professor also said: “Not merely in medical or technological sector however in other sectors like garments, many foreigners are working because they have the required skills much better than us. Who is accountable for this failure? The answer is the academia. We must stop just how of gathering knowledge by memorising at all stages of educational level.”

Md Aminul Islam Khan, secretary of the Technical and Madrasha Education Division at Ministry of Education, said: “We are reviewing and revising our curriculum of technical education. Online technical education continues to be continuing in a restricted manner, as our facility isn't much developed and we can not reach all our students with the existing infrastructure."

“However, we are trying to use cable tv to broadcast the recorded version but laboratory based practical education has turned into a challenge now.”

Nahim Razzak, person in parliament for Shariatpur-3 constituency, said: “During the last eight years we've adapted a three tier education system, replicating the machine which exist in Singapore. But of course we've n not had the opportunity to replicate regarding the quality that we were provided.”

“Because the education reform in 2012, it really is high time we should be flexible when it comes to reviewing and adapting different trades. So whenever we talk about the whole tier system, it has to start from the principal education completely up to the bigger education. We must promote the trades in all the tiers,” he added.

Nahim also said: “We must create an image that the positions with the trades could be of quality value. Our existing education system is quite complicated -- we have too many authorities, segmented approaches and there is no coordination.”

“We have a talent pool of people and the youth but however we aren't fast enough to guide them in the right direction,” he added.