Young Bangladeshi engineer Chandradhar Prasad presently works for a US-based multinational engineering firm in Dubai. In 2017 he received the ‘Engineering Leader under 40’ award for his leadership qualities in the international market. Chandra is now determined to do something for the youth of Bangladesh. During a recent visit to Dhaka, he spoke to Prothom Alo about his struggle, his achievements and his dreams.
Prothom Alo: As a young man with big dreams for the future generations of Bangladesh, can you tell us something about your vision?
Chandradhar Prasad: My vision is to boost the morale of the Bangladeshi youth and help them realise the importance of skills and knowledge so that Bangladesh can be one of the top countries for skilled resources. I want to facilitate collaboration in terms of development of skills, entrepreneurship and awareness of trends in technologies.
I would like to establish a leadership camp which will host leadership talks, youth connect, students connect, counselling, etc. In the long run, I want to set-up a platform to facilitate collaboration among parents, students, professors, industry leaders, foreign investors, recruiters, as catalyst to develop leadership skills.
Prothom Alo: Your own story is quite inspiring, from Swandip to the sands of Dubai. Can you share your story with us?
Chandradhar Prasad: Anyone born in Sandwip has to survive with courage. This is a small island surrounded by the sea, under constant fear of natural calamities. Students from Sandwip struggle restlessly to establish themselves.
I completed my SSC from Sandwip and HSC from Mohsin College, Chittagong. I studied in the light of a kerosene lamp until SSC because there was no electricity there. I was fortunate to receive an ICCR scholarship from the Indian government to study engineering at the University of Pune. I completed my course in June 2010 and was hired by an MNC in Dubai from the campus during my 7th semester. That was one of my key achievements.
Dubai has taught me to be active, hardworking and collaborative. In the last 8 years being in Dubai, I learned many advanced systems and acquired valuable futuristic knowledge. I would like to thank Dubai to enable me to receive the “Engineering Leader under 40” award from the US, the biggest achievement in my career.
Prothom Alo: The large youth demographic in Bangladesh is being seen as an asset, but is beset with unemployment and other problems. What would you say about this?
Chandradhar Prasad: Skills, expertise and strength of human resources define the roadmap of economic development. And in developing countries like ours, youth play an important role in the infrastructure of the country’s economy and intellectual assets. However, there is need for a culture which breeds brilliant ideas and great innovations.
We are saturated with expectations of our parents, teachers, friends and family. We are not even given a chance to think about our strengths, skills and dreams. The large demographic of youth loses energy trying to fulfil the desires of others. The need is to create awareness of collaboration, leadership qualities and advancement of technologies.
A large part of the youth feel that they are more powerful if they are involved with a political party for the sake of muscle power, but when multinational companies survey the workforce of any country, our youth don’t fit the bill as they lack skills, innovative minds, entrepreneurship, collaborative approach and overall leadership qualities. A skilled work force can bring large amounts of remittance to the country or the country can be the home of multinational companies from around the globe.
Our education system is also responsible for this predicament. The university education curriculum should be reconstructed. Our professors don’t collaborate with industries and institutions of other countries to understand the gaps in skills and expertise of our students so that a strong and relevant curriculum can be drawn up.
Entrepreneurs are also responsible as they don’t collaborate with institutions to help strengthen skills and expertise.
Prothom Alo: How can these problems be resolved?
Chandradhar Prasad: We need to create awareness that there is a problem. The youth have to display skills, expertise and strength so that recruiting agencies, firms can see returns on their investment. Every stakeholder must change their outlook and collaborate to bring about change and equip youth to deliver. We need to collaborate with other countries to upskill our expertise and move up the value chain to be a developed country in the near future.
Prothom Alo: Do you have specific plans to do anything in Bangladesh?
Chandradhar Prasad: I have already started working to create awareness of leadership qualities, change in mindset. I want to develop a programme to host a series of leadership talks boosting the morale of youth, personal counselling and more. I am inspired by Prothom Alo’s tremendous contributions to this nation, especially for the development of youth.
The specific points I would like to make are:
• Accepting that we have an emergency to realise the need for action
• The youth need to feel the power of knowledge and skills to realise the importance of their strengths in developing their careers, economic growth etc.
• The youth of Bangladesh lack in skills and expertise needed for the industries
• Collaboration between industries and institutions is needed during the academic course to help students be assets of the organisations upon completing studies
• The youth must work in collaboration to develop innovative ideas and implement these for bigger change in society and the country.
• They must study trends in skills and expertise and acquire relevant certifications and training.
• There must be collaboration between students from other countries for knowledge transfer, support and recruitment
• Students must spend more time in laboratories and industries to understand technological trends and prepare for training and certifications.
• They need to be disciplined to achieve realistic goals
• They must be treated as leaders to boost their morale and equip them for complex tasks.
• They need to use the social media to connect with entrepreneurs, investors from other countries to help them in their start-ups and initiatives.
• The youth often move towards political parties, but it important for them firmly build their careers.