'Technical education to get priority during post-COVID period'

Education minister Dipu Moni
Education minister Dipu Moni BSS

Education minister Dipu Moni and expatriates' welfare and overseas employment minister Imran Ahmad have laid emphasis on technical education during the post-COVID period by updating the current method of imparting education, reports UNB.

The first episode of the webinar of 'Let's Talk' organised by Young Bangla on Friday shed light on how youths' skills can be harnessed during the post-COVID period to turn the crisis around and how these skills can be enhanced through education.

Dipu Moni said they have to keep their eyes on the fourth industrial revolution to achieve SDGs and demographic dividend.


"We have to adapt to big data, blockchain, trans-genetic technology. We have to be equipped. There will be a total transformation in technology. Our new challenge is to align ourselves with that transformation. Our biggest weapon to that goal is technical education," she said.

Dipu Moni said the education act will be finalised in addition to modernising the national perspective plan formulated in 2010.

"We are trying to fully transform general education. We realised that we have to constantly update our curriculum because the world is going through a paradigm shift. We are bringing in significant changes to curricula as well," she said.

As divulged by the education minister, the textbooks based on the new curriculum, previously supposed to be distributed among schools in 2021, will be distributed in 2022 instead as the Coronavirus outbreak delayed the process.

Focusing on how the new format of technical education will be like, the education minister said at least two trades will be compulsory in the 9th and 10th grades in all educational institutions.

"It is up to them what two courses they will opt for depending on which trades are popular in their regions. It was supposed to be introduced in all educational institutions in 2021. But we have already introduced that in 640 institutions."

She said they are also trying to incorporate soft skills into the curricula.

The minister recommended taking the market economy into account while formulating the new curricula.

"The updating must be done at a fast pace. That is why market research is a must. Market demand has already been mentioned. I believe the curricula that we have today will turn redundant tomorrow. That is why we have to keep a continuous education system. So, we are talking about modular education over and over again. The online education for reskilling and upskilling will not go away following the post-COVID period. We just have to update that."

The education ministry will dedicate itself to featuring skilled teachers in addition to formulating the curriculum, as observed by Dipu Moni.


102,000 returned home

Overseas employment minister Imran Ahmad said as many as 102,000 people have returned home till Thursday last due to the COVID crisis.

Airing optimism that these huge numbers of workers will be trained and sent back abroad again, he said, "I feel wherever they receive training from we will train and send them back abroad again because we cannot create so many employment scopes in a short term."

He said the earlier they can be sent back, the greater success the government will have. "But we need research on which country requires what. There are labour consulates in 30 countries. I told them to update me on which particular skills those countries demand."

There are 64 Technical Training Centers or TTCs in the country. Forty more TTCs will be introduced by December or January. DPP will be submitted for 71 TTCs within the next one or two weeks.

"We will introduce one TTC in every upazila. Our goal is to train at least 1,000 people and send them abroad from each upazila."

Stressing the need for a market study in formulating the TTC curriculum, he said, "We have to revise the trades that we already have so that these will be accepted in foreign countries. We have to ensure that the certifications we introduced have validity in those countries. There must be mutual recognition. If we can accept their certificates, why will not they accept ours?"

The webinar, conducted by World Bank policy procurement consultant Faruk Hossain, was attended by Aminul Islam Khan, secretary, technical and madrasa division, Sonia Bashir Kabir, founder of SBK Tech Ventures and SBK Foundation, Tanjilut Tasnuba, national program officer at ILO, Ejaj Ahmad of Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center, Habibur Rahman, coordinator at Young Bangla, and Imran Mridha, a Joy Bangla Youth awardee.