Recognition of prior learning (RPL) of migrant workers:
- Improves employment opportunities for migrant workers in the country of destinations as well in the country of origin after their return from abroad
- Reduces the cost and time for training and certification and eases the path for certification through credit transfer
- The demand for RPL is increasing amid the Covid-19 pandemic
- Speakers said raising awareness of the RPL and its benefits has to be a priority issue in Bangladesh
- Experts emphasised the use of technology to facilitate training
The recognition of skills gained abroad or in the country of origin is a key factor for the smooth transition to decent work for migrant workers.
However, migrant workers and expatriate returnees in Bangladesh are not very aware of the recognition of prior learning (RPL).
Speakers said this at a webinar on Monday. They added that raising awareness of the RPL and its benefits has to be a priority issue in the country.
The Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment of Bangladesh and the International Labour Organisations' (ILO) Skills 21 project jointly organised the webinar styled "Recognition of Prior Learning for Migrant Workers in Asia."
In the context of millions of migrant workers returning with a range of skills, the objective of the webinar was to strengthen the skills recognition system in Bangladesh to better accommodate the returnee migrants in the local job market during the global pandemic as well as for remigration in the future.
SM Shahjahan, deputy director of the Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB), said, "The RPL improves employment opportunities for migrant workers in the country of destinations as well in the country of origin after their return from abroad. It reduces the cost and time for training and certification, and eases the path for certification through credit transfer."
Dr Md Morad Hossain Mollah, chairman of the BTEB, said the BTEB presently continues the RPL through accredited assessment centres.
From the Sri Lankan perspective, Dasun Nalinda Kodituwakku of the Employer's Federation of Ceylon, Sri Lanka, said, "An unavailability of statistics, traditional approach and mindset, a lack of awareness and a high volume of returnee migrants are the challenges to the RPL in Sri Lanka."
Nazibul Islam, additional secretary of the expatriates' welfare ministry, said, "We have many migrant aspirants, but they are not aware of skill standard. The RPL will help them, and this can be a good strategy for Bangladesh."
Rahnuma Salam Khan, deputy chief of the ministry, said, "The demand for the RPL is increasing amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The mutual recognition process needs to start both in the countries of destination and origin.
"Most countries have data limitations for the RPL. Besides, there is a lack of willingness among migrant aspirants to get a certification."
She suggested arranging a countrywide campaign over the RPL.
Maria Susan P Dela Rama from the Philippines emphasised the use of technology to facilitate training.
The ILO with support from the European Union is implementing a project titled "Skills 21 – Empowering Citizens for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth Project" to promote reforms in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training system in Bangladesh.
One of the project's priority areas is the economic reintegration of returnee migrants through assessment and certification of their skills and qualifications using appropriate mechanisms such as the RPL, and skills recognition.
Among others, Abul Hasan, economic minister of the Bangladesh embassy in Saudi Arabia; Koen Nomden, director general for employment, European Commission; Mohammad N Al-Soub, National Employment and Training Company (NET), Jordan; Kishore Kumar Singh, OIC country director, ILO Bangladesh also spoke in the programme.
Christine Hofmann, skills and employability specialist of the ILO moderated the webinar.