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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Youth workforces’ participation in economic development process demands skill-based education

Md Bayazid Khan

People are the real wealth of nations. Workforce is the key to economic development of a country. Sectors like agriculture, industry, tourism, IT, telecom, trade & commerce, communication badly need workforces for its expansion and development that tend to develop economy significantly. But rapid and sustainable economic development of a nation mostly depends on its productive workforces. More people’s involvement in work definitely keeps economic activities of the country moving by earning, saving and paying taxes. When countries have a greater share of people who can work, save, and pay taxes, they have the potential to transform their economies by stepping up growth and development. However, to utilize this opportunity, countries need to create not only more jobs but also better jobs ensuring higher wages and productivity.

Workforces’ existences in the form of unemployment, disguised unemployment and under employment are equally detrimental to sustainable economic development. Unemployment in any form is a drag on an economy and society. It undercuts productivity, spending and investment that may stunt national growth. It contributes to inequality and spurs social tension.

Without an income, millions of young people find themselves living in poverty. Initial low-paying jobs and delayed entry into the workforce limit lifetime earning potential. The inability to find gainful employment limits young people’s income and skill development. Unemployment at an early age can negatively affect future earnings. Jobless young people experience vulnerability to future or long-term unemployment, wage scarring and foregone earnings, wasted capacity, skills stagnation, and short and long-term detriment to physical or emotional health. On the contrary, greater number of aging population than young people mean burden of the economy as well as less productivity in all indicators of economic growth. An aging population needs to be supported that have fewer employment opportunities. With the rise in the aging population, a country will have to focus more on pension scheme, social security network scheme, health protecting scheme etc. Moreover, a country faces monetary losses from foregone tax revenue and payouts of benefits because of aging people. Economic growth is undermined by lost productivity of its working age population. Therefore, it is inevitable for the government of a country to utilize its entire youth workforces in the process of economic development.

According to estimates by the International Labor Organization, the world labor force currently numbers approximately 3 billion people, out of whom 23 to 30% are underemployed and about 140 million are fully unemployed. The severity and consistently high levels of youth unemployment worldwide are of special concern. The ILO estimates that there are about 60 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 who are presently in search of work but cannot find it.  Bangladesh has a huge young and productive workforce that will continue to increase until 2030 and can contribute to dramatic socio-economic development.

A number of factors make the jobs challenge more acute among youth. Constraints to youth employment may be borne on the individual level along with result from market or government failure. Inadequate skills and mismatches between education and skills have emerged as chief concerns. In Bangladesh, constraints to youth employment may be identified as workforce population have a lack of either education or vocational/technical training or necessary skills, shrunk labor market and inadequate job opportunities.

Youth workforce is the key to economic development of a country. Bangladesh has 19 percent of its population between 15 and 24 years, who hold immense potentials. To ensure their involvement as productive workforces the country needs to diversify its economy. Presently, employment in Bangladesh is concentrated mostly in agriculture, readymade garments and informal sector. In the informal sector, the payments that employees get are not enough to maintain a good living. Apart from that workforces involved in informal sector are victimizing of underemployment too. There are huge potentials in IT, banking, telecom, trade & commerce, tourism and power & energy sectors. But the country needs to have policies of promoting skill-based education to meet the market demand in the said sectors for accommodating youth workforces. Workforces with highest degree in general education can never satisfy employers of the said sectors to be employed them. Besides attaining requisite skills and qualifications by young workforces, foreign investments might be encouraged in these sectors rather than investing in readymade garments and other informal sectors. Moreover, youths have to be given incentives for entrepreneurship.

Therefore, action-oriented policies for creating quality jobs needed to utilize young workforces’ productivity. According to the UNDP report, Bangladesh needs to create 25 million jobs between 2016 and 2030, which means 16 lakh new jobs should be available every year.  To stimulate the job market, the government needs to improve the business environment to encourage new businesses as well as foreign investments. On the other hand, skill based education policy might be chalked out and henceforth curriculum in all three tiers of education might be revised. Our educationists those are responsible for designing curriculum forgot their weaknesses in some subjects when they were student. They might remember that a student can never strong in all subjects. Rather they should have the provision of selecting the area/wing of education that they feel comfort at the outset of secondary level. There could be different options for students at grade six like IT, telecom, energy, science, banking, trade & commerce, tourism, art & craft, sports, history (Bangladesh & International) etc. Subjects like Bangla, English, General Mathematics (arithmetic and simple geometry), Religion & Moral Education, General Science and History & culture of Bangladesh might be kept compulsory for all wings. There might have specialized subjects (maximum four) for respective wings/areas of education. Is it rational for all students at secondary level to learn calculus, trigonometry etc.? Rather they should learn to solve arithmetical and simple geometrical problems which are very much relevant to real life activities. In addition, educational institutions (school, college, madrasah, university) should be made as learning factories - the source of attaining skill based education. There should be the variation of learning in each wings of education at educational institutions like learning by doing (laboratories, workshops), learning from attachment/placement (field trip), theoretical learning (classroom) so that process of learning become comfortable and enjoyable to students. Moreover, this will help students to attain skill based education that will pave the way for getting jobs even they leave education at any tier. The above mentioned policy of education may compel young students to concentrate more on learning as well as develop them as skilled workforces rather protecting them to deviate from right track in life.

The writer is working for primary education sector in Bangladesh.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Missionary and Visionary Teachers and Officers - A Challenge to be Addressed in Primary Education in Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s miraculous and history making success in primary education is now an exemplary model for the world community to follow. The government was committed to providing basic education to all of its children and eventually this was achieved with the positive efforts and attitudes of GO-NGOs and concerned stakeholders. As the economic development of Bangladesh mostly depends on a productive workforce a youth workforce may lead the country’s future socio-economic development, therefore it is obligatory the government must make the country’s future generation a productive workforce. Only qualitative primary education may build our future generation to be a productive workforce.  Besides providing qualitative basic education, future generations also need to provide qualitative healthcare facilities to strengthen their journey to develop them as a productive workforce in the future. Productive workforces ensure earnings, savings and paying taxes which increase economic growth and ensure development.

Qualitative primary education not only depends on qualified and competent teachers but also depends on the commitment and positive attitude of those teachers. Developing teacher competencies among teachers is not a hard task and the government has developed competent primary school teachers by providing training to them. But developing commitment and bringing a positive attitude into the classroom are difficult and these are the crying needs for ensuring qualitative primary education.
Once, Bangladesh had bamboo built primary schools with poor infrastructural facilities, however the outcomes from schools was extraordinary. Nowadays, despite providing superb hardware (sophisticated child friendly infrastructural facilities) and software facilities (manifold training, multimedia classrooms etc.) outcomes are not satisfactory. The main reason behind deterioration of primary school achievement, regarding students’ performances, is that in the past teachers were missionaries as well as visionaries. Despite having inadequate educational qualifications and insufficient training, they had morality within themselves. At present teachers are receiving a range of training including C–in-Ed/DPEd, curriculum dissemination, subject based training, inclusive education, lesson study, leadership, academic supervision, pre-primary education, test item development, ECL (Each Child Learning) etc. However, the application of achieved knowledge, skills and attitude from training is very poor. The burning question is - why teachers are not utilising their achieved knowledge and skills in teaching-learning activities in the classrooms? Many teachers, especially in newly nationalised primary schools, struggle to adapt to the new training which is enriched with high standard content.

Primary school teachers experience a variety of training in order to achieve knowledge and skills. For the time being provide only DPEd (teachers having no professional training), curriculum dissemination, pre-primary education (only for pre-primary teachers) and induction/subject based training (only for newly appointed teachers) and suspend all other training. Rather teachers should be provided with frequent short term training for developing morality as well as possessing vision and mission within themselves. These sorts of motivational training need suitable manuals or modules. Besides providing the above mentioned motivational training, teachers might be given self-learning materials/manuals to be self-motivated. Self-learning materials must include efforts and contributions of missionaries/educationalists/teachers/social workers like William Carey, Begum Rokeya, Mother Teresa, Valerie Taylor, Md Nurul Alam (Ex. Head Teacher, Shibram Government Primary School, Sundargonj, Gaibandha), Md Shamsur Rahman (EX. Head Teacher, Kamal Bazar Government Primary School, Dakshin Surma, Sylhet), Mrs. Hosne Ara Akter (Head Teacher, Baimhati Government Primary School, Mirjapur, Tangail) etc. In addition, recent much discussed explored personalities, including Sada Moner Manosh (Man of the golden heart), who have significant experience in the expansion of education, might be included in the self-learning manuals for developing teachers as visionary and missionary. Supervisory officers should also be provided with these types of motivational training to strengthen their morality as they should also have vision and mission.

To ensure qualitative primary education, each and every primary school teacher should consider his/her school as a mission and his/her job like a missionary. Education officers should also think their job like missionaries. Existing content, mode and nature of training can never change their attitudes to become them as missionaries. Only motivational training can make them missionaries suitable for fulfilling the government’s vision of providing quality education to all children with a view to building a productive workforce for the socio-economic development of the country.

It is true that to pave a way towards developing missionaries and visionary teachers, there might be the provision of motivational incentives for teachers in addition to organising motivational training for them and supplying them with self-learning manuals. To remove monotony among teachers because of working in the remotest rural primary schools for a long time, there should be an auto transfer policy for them. Primary schools might be categorised into urban, rural and hard to reach area schools. By keeping provision of greater salary and benefits (conveyance allowance, food allowance, transport allowance etc.) for teachers of hard to reach and rural areas schools than teachers of urban schools, teachers might be transferred to a different categories school after a certain period. In addition, initial supervisory officer posts might be filled by giving promotion to head teachers. Moreover, there might be a ladder for teachers and officers to get promotion to the next higher post timely and regularly. This is the hard reality that primary education in Bangladesh needs professionalism for its rapid and qualitative development.

By developing primary school teachers and officers as missionaries, the government can bring massive success in the quality of primary education in regards to building a future generation as a productive workforce. Stakeholders concerned with primary education should extend their support and cooperation to make the initiative a success.

Md Bayazid Khan
The writer workings in primary education in Bangladesh.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Evaluating the effectiveness of discontinuing the school bell to strengthen students’ mental health - a pilot from Bangladesh

Following recent research which suggested that the mental health of students may be improved by discontinuing the use of the school bell Educate the World [UK] undertook a pilot in 10 schools in Bangladesh under the supervision of one of our volunteers Md Bayazid Khan who also works for the Education Department of the Bangladesh Government.  His report on the pilot is below.

Piloting Districts         :  Tangail & Sylhet
Number of Schools     :  10 (Urban-09, Rural-01)

Students Information:

Number of Students
Students with disabilities

Number of Teachers :    82                                  Male :     04                    Female : 78

Steps taken to launch the initiative:

  • Meeting with teachers
  • Without informing students functioning/operating bell was suspended for 2-3 days
  • Hanging class routine on classrooms’ wall
  • Using hand watch/wall clock/mobile phone clock by teachers to start and finish teaching-learning activities/lessons

Teachers’ Reaction:

  • 80-85% teachers faced difficulties to finish the lesson as well as enter into the next scheduled teaching-learning activities
  • 70-75% schools faced disturbances to start & finish daily assembly, to finish daily school activities and to maintain daily leisure time

Observations from teachers:

  • It is possible to run school activities smoothly having discontinued the school bell, but it will take time for both teachers and students to adapt
  • There should be a wall clock and a visible class routine with timetable in each classroom
  • In Bangladesh classrooms are overcrowded and both inside and outside classrooms there is a lot of noise. So, it could be a challenge for both teachers and students to perform their responsibilities smoothly without a functioning bell as the sound of the bell is the heart of running school activities.
  • School bell is the tradition of schools in Bangladesh. So, discontinuation of  school bell may loose schools’ tradition
  • It will  dispel sound pollution that may strengthen students’ mental health

Observations from students:

  • Students were curious to know the reason of not ringing bell
  • Students didn’t face any difficulties as they followed teachers’ commands

Number of students who gladly accepted the initiative: 105
Reasons for accepting: Appreciating the new approach

Number of students who had no comments on the initiative: 3056

Parents’ Reaction:
90-95% parents are against discontinuing the school bell as they think that the functioning of school bell means the school is running smoothly and teachers are performing their duties. They feel that there are sounds and noises everywhere at schools. So, the school bell is crucially important for the running of the school's activities.

Author's observations:

In our culture we have tendency of not appreciating any change to or to accept it at first, but after few days of commencement, we gladly accept the change. Although teachers admitted that the initiative did have a positive impact on development of students’ mental health, the challenges of managing larger number of students in a noisy environment they meant they declined to accept the change for the time being.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Exam Stress & Anxiety

Being a student isn’t without its stresses and strains. While of course it is also a wonderful time of self discovery and new experiences, there is no doubt about it but it does bring with it a lot of pressure for young people.

Students have to deal with consistent deadlines and imminent exam dates. This all requires a degree of composure but crucially it requires an element of organisation. Students need to be organised in order to keep on top of all of their course work in order to succeed.

This info-graphic from Study Medicine Europe gives a good indication about the stresses that students are prone to around the world. It also highlights some interesting statistics and pinpoints some possible causes of this stress. It also focuses on some possible solutions to this common problem. Check it out below.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Guest Post: Tips for a Successful Presentation

Presentation is very important in an academic and business setting. Business people are required to make effective presentation order to draw the attention of their audience. Students are often required to make presentations in seminars and for others functions as said by their respective professors. There is always a need to understand what and all elements are implemented to make your presentation successful. Keep in mind that boring and lifeless presentation can make your audience dejected. Whether you are a student, businessman, administrator or executive, you may very well be asked to make a presentation. If you find trouble to make an excellent presentation, the following tips can help you to produce a successful presentation.

Preparation is one of the most imperative parts of making a successful presentation. Preparation will help you to make presentation without strain and tension. There are no short-cuts to effective presentation but to prepare well for it. You should focus on starting preparation very early and don’t keep it for the last moment. Superior preparation not only makes sure that you have thought watchfully about the information that you would like to communicate in your presentation but it will also assist to enhance your confidence.

Do your research
It is essential for you to carry out research in order to make your presentation successful. You have got to know what you are talking about. It can in fact help you to give an engaging presentation. You should be able to answer every doubt of your audience and you should not leave them with doubts in their mind. No matter whether the occasion is formal or informal, you should always try to present a clear and well-structured delivery.  Effective and thorough research will aid you to give a clear and sound presentation.

Know Your Audience
Every successful presentation originates when the presenter knows his audience. When you know the audience, you will arrange your presentation in a way to persuade and convince them. Students, teachers, businessmen etc require different sorts of presentations. You cannot make your presentation to students that were actually intended for a group of businessmen. You should know about the size of the group and the audience anticipated.

Engage Your Audience
You have to get your audience involved to give an effective presentation. Ask questions with the audience and make them do something to demonstrate your point. Once the audience is engaged, they will listen to you and eventually understand what you are talking about. When you make your audience engaged, you will feel more comfortable to present your ideas.

Keep it relevant
You have to make your presentation relevant in order get the attention of your listeners. Audiences used to keep an eye on stories and ideas that are relevant to them. If you fail to make your presentation relevant, none of your audience will listen to what you are talking about. As a result, it is vital for you to sit back think about points you want to formulate. Once you get some points that are relevant to your audience and then, put together a proper case.

Smile at Your Audience
Remember that first impression is the best impression. So, Smile at your audience when you come to the stage for presentation. Keep on having a smiling face right through your presentation because it draws your audience into your presentation.  

Be Entertaining
The presentation has to be entertaining. It should also be informative. Keep in mind that if you focus on just narrating your key points with no humor or passion, audience will not listen to you and they feel bored. Hence, try to make your presentation entertaining through relevant humor and some other interesting activities.

Move Around
You have to make sure to move around during your presentation so that you catch the attention of audience every second. Don’t try to stand in once place until you complete your presentation. Focus on continually moving around, walk into the audience, walk on the stage, wave your hands etc to get your audience concentration.  

Author Bio:

Amelia Quinn is a blogger, marketer and an expert writer at best essay writing service. She loves creativity and enjoys experimenting with various new techniques in both print and web. She spends her spare time trying to catch up with new trends and technology.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

CVs & Résumés: Get Them Right to Get the Job

After a young person completes their education, whether that is immediately after high school or following extensive study at university, their primary ambition is to obtain full-time employment. Although opportunities for graduates have never been greater, competition for jobs has never been tougher, which makes it essential for any candidate to put their best foot forward when applying for work.

The first mission of any job applicant is to ensure that they have a CV that is up to date, accurate and word perfect. Shocking as it may seem, many applicants are closing the door to employment on themselves because of substandard CVs with needless mistakes such as incorrect spelling and poor grammar.

This was an issue that was recognised by Ayers (, an Australian payroll and contractor management company, who developed this infographic on how to write the perfect CV. It contains phrases to avoid, mistakes to look out for and the vital information to include, all within the one visually appealing graphic. Check it out below!