No capability can uplift a country's manpower if its students from the first grade to the university level fail to use digital technology, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar has said.
Therefore, he suggested that digital education be made compulsory from elementary to higher levels of education in the existing system.
Besides, digitally unskilled graduates, who are becoming a big threat in the job market, should be given special care in this regard, he opined.
Jabbar made the statement while inaugurating telecom giant Grameenphone's new initiative titled "GP Explorer," a platform for young people to enhance their digital skills, on occasion of the National Youth Day on Sunday.
Some 300 students from selected universities will receive a three-month online skill development training by experts from Grameenphone and relevant industry sectors under this initiative.
The GP Explorer platform will focus on developing digital, entrepreneurship, and communications skills.
Akhter Hossain, secretary to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Abul Kalam Azad, former principal secretary to the prime minister and principal coordinator of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Yasir Azman, chief executive officer of Grameenphone, spoke at the programme.
Talking about the importance of skilled manpower, Jabbar urged the secretary to the youth and sports ministry to change their training curricula to develop manpower competent for the fourth industrial revolution.
"The training that we are providing the youth we send to the Middle East will not work in the future. If we fail to provide them suitable training, we would not be able to use them either at home or abroad," he said.
In response to Jabbar's comment, Secretary to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Akhter Hossain said his ministry is emphasising the content of the training that suits national and international standards.
"The ministry is always focusing on updating the training curricula. We have launched some innovative programmes online during the Covid-19 pandemic. Training on outsourcing is one of them," he said.
He urged Grameenphone and other mobile phone operators to come up with technical assistance to implement these programmes.
Azad, former principal secretary to the prime minister, talked about the necessity of a research-based society rather than a knowledge-based one.
"During the eight-month fight against Covid-19, the main problem was the lack of information. We need to know who has what and who needs what," he said.
He urged Grameenphone to come forward to develop a big information platform.
Grameenphone's CEO Yasir said there is a gap between qualified manpower and employment.
"There are many positions in different organisations that remain vacant due to a lack of qualified manpower. At the same time, we have millions of youths who have to be employed. A coordinated plan and direction can bridge this gap," he said.
He said a youth gets freedom in his life once he develops the right skills.
"A skilled youth never has to depend on others as his skills help him be self-dependent by his innovation," said Yasir.
Khairul Basher, head of communication at Grameenphone, moderated the event while Farhana Islam, head of innovation, presented the GP Explorer module.