You cannot expect a student who has gone abroad for higher education to come back to the country as the lifestyle that they can lead abroad is not available here. So, many of our skilled people are going abroad. As a result, there has been a crisis of skilled manpower in our domestic market.
Employers in Bangladesh say there is no lack of certificates, but there is a serious lack of skills. Everyone has GPA-5, BBA, MBA, MBBS degrees, but they are not qualified. On the other hand, what will we do with so many MBBSs if there are no skilled nurses?
Our parents need to consider that when their children will grow up not all of them will be doctors; some will become skilled nurses or electricians. Then the shortage of skilled people will be filled. We cannot send nurses abroad. If we could send them, instead of construction workers or cleaners, just imagine where our foreign exchange reserve would go.
It is not true that there is no job satisfaction in Bangladesh now. Policies of our companies are much better now, but there are no skilled workers. Those who want to stay here are not qualified. There are no skilled workers in the banking, insurance or any other sectors. I have not been able to find a chartered accountant for three months. That means there is a lack of skills in the market.
Now, let's talk about unemployment. Most of the graduates are coming out from the National University. But what will you get if you see the quality of their education? I do not want to call everyone a graduate.
One major problem is that there is a huge gap between our industry and academia, which I have been trying to work on for the past one-and-a-half years. In order to meet the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we have taken initiative to work jointly with the higher educational institutions to develop the skills of the graduates. We have signed MoUs with many institutions. Its purpose is to make a way for the industry to guide the academia.
But unfortunately, most of the initiatives are failing. In this case, we are very helpless, because we do not get much support from the academies. I am very disappointed about it.
What the academia says is, "give us money, we will do your job". But that is not the case. Since they do not do business, they do not have the field experience. They also have to listen to our propositions. The work of skill development is not going very well due to these.
The books that our teachers teach the students do not even cover the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a new topic and books on them are being written at Harvard or MIT.
We have no formal interaction with educational institutions. Most of the people on the board of the Skills Development Authority are academics. Teachers are not the only ones who develop skills. They teach theoretical knowledge, but industries can give practical education. Universities have now become money-making machines. We have to fix the universities first, then there will be collaboration.
To improve efficiency, the government needs to incentivise the R&D wings of various organisations. Jobs are being created gradually and the pay scale is increasing now. It will take time to introduce more changes. As the number of entrepreneurs increases, so will the number of jobs.
Rizwan Rahman is the President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry