DHAKA, March 21, 2012 — Skills development helps a country provide the rapidly changing labor market with the right skills and reduce the mismatch between supply and demand. Today, 45 public and private training institutes signed performance contracts to improve the skills of unskilled and semi-skilled laborers through the “Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP)”, a USD$ 79 million operation supported by the World Bank.
Bangladesh’s growing workforce supports key export industries and generates remittances that contribute a significant amount to the economy. In 2010, Bangladesh was ranked as the 7th manpower exporting country and migrant workers remitted nearly US$ 11.6 billion in FY 2011. Bangladesh has also emerged as an exporting power house and the country’s growth in Ready Made Garments and Knitwear exports has been impressive.
“An increasingly skilled labor force will be vital to accelerate economic growth in Bangladesh and maintain the country’s competitive edge in global markets,” said Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, World Bank Bangladesh. “Improving the skills of workers will help them command higher wages in international markets and lead to an increase in Bangladesh’s remittance earnings, while helping to enhance the productivity and diversity of the export sectors.”
Under this initiative, public and private training institutions will be strengthened to improve the skills of the workforce. The project will focus on improving the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system to develop high-quality workers who will be able to respond to the needs of both the domestic and international labor markets.
The project aims to strengthen the capacity of at least 30 polytechnic institutions and 50 short-term training providers to deliver high quality training. With this signing, already 22 polytechnic institutes and 45 short-term training providers have performance contracts to improve the quality of their services. The project will support about 160,000 student-years through “stipend for diploma” education and around 50,000 students will participate in short term training courses.
“The Government is looking forward to the implementation of this five-year project to provide Bangladesh with a growing cadre of skilled men and women,” said Honorable Minister, Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid, MP, Ministry of Education, Government of Bangladesh. “We hope this project will aid in helping Bangladeshi workers be accepted abroad as skilled manpower and contribute to the growth of the manufacturing and other sectors within the country.”
The Director General, Directorate of Technical Education and the Heads of the 45 Public-Private Institutes mutually signed the contracts. Honorable Minister Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid, MP, Ministry of Education, Government of Bangladesh graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Dr. Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ms. Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, The World Bank were the Special Guests of the ceremony.