The government has begun introducing changes to the education sector to generate skilled manpower for industrial units, and the education ministry and the industrial sector have been working hand in hand in this, said Education Minister Dipu Moni.
To create the necessary manpower, owners of the industries and educational institutions will have to forge a connection between them. Both sides have to understand their needs, she said at a webinar titled "Industry-academia linkage: The new frontier" and organised by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI).
The minister stressed that a mapping of skills required and changes in the curriculum was important.
"Not everyone has to complete BM, MA or BBA and MBA. It is only a waste of resources. Technical education should get the emphasis to meet the manpower demand of the country," Dipu Moni said.
Those, who have already been employed, need to improve their skills, and the universities should open up educational opportunities for them, she added.
As the special guest, Chairman of University Grants Commission (UGC) Prof Kazi Shahidullah said industry owners had to contribute more to education in terms of corporate social responsibility.
They can extend support to the fellowships provided by the UGC, in pharmaceutical, leather and garments sectors in particular where new researches can bring innovations, he said.
"We are in favour of changes in the curriculum but universities themselves will have to make it happen."
Syed Nasim Manzur, former president of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said funds provided by entrepreneurs to researches and the development sector should be free of tax.
"The government can also increase its allocations for research purpose," he said, insisting on ensuring freedom of thoughts and giving importance to commercial aspects of research.
Presenting the keynote paper, former DCCI chairman and trustee board member of Daffodil University Sabur Khan said, "We are creating graduates but are not equipping them with skills to find jobs."
He asked the DCCI to work in coordination with the universities to change the scenario.
Sabur Khan also suggested recruiting meritorious graduates at the top levels of the private sector.
Prof Muhammad Anisuzzaman Talukder who joined the discussion from the USA said attention should be paid to sustainable researches. For that, infrastructure has to be set up. Researches that will not bear any fruit for the economy should not be funded, Anisuzzaman said.
DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said Bangladeshi economy was having a turnaround in lockstep with the fourth industrial revolution. "The existing educational system cannot produce skilled manpower for that."