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Lack of skilled managerial hands costing the economy most

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EVERY year 2 lakh foreigners, mostly Indians, employed in Bangladesh received Tk 40 billion as salary and perks as the country has lack of technical and managerial skilled labour force necessary for the manufacturing and industry sector. When the country has been blessed with demographic dividends and more than 70 lakh migrant workers remit some Tk 120 billion annually, the trade off is pathetic and speaks of our apathy.

The low skilled or unskilled working age population is an obstacle towards attaining the potential economic growth that entrapped the economy in agriculture and service sectors instead of the industrial sector. To atain the potential growth, the country has to walk along the industrialization path for which it needs a skilled workforce, mostly managerial skills. To get the nectar from the demographic dividend, the government, universities, NGOs and all other platforms should coordinate to formulate vigorous action plans for producing a higher skilled workforce.

Horribly, the graduate unemployment rate is tremendously high at 47 percent in the country meaning the higher education failed to produce the skilled manpower necessary for fulfilling market demand. The entrepreneurship skills among the labour force is much lower than the global level. Over the years, the number of higher educational institutions mushroomed without proper strategy, diversity and without maintaining standard or quality. Thus, for many studying at higher educational institutions have become worthless and just a wastage of time. New higher education and vocational education strategies aligning the national interest and market-based economy and economic potentiality must be devised.

Some of the East and South-East Asian countries have invested heavily in human resource development, in particular, education and health, to achieve a higher economic growth rate during their time of demographic dividends. China, Japan, and many other countries developed their economies using the demographic dividend but we are not on the right track. Experts said the size of the working-age population of Bangladesh would start to decline and the country may not get this dividend again in the future. Economists said when the domestic job market is declining to cope with the larger unemployed and underemployed youths, many midrange jobs are gradually being occupied by foreigners as local university graduates fail to achieve the required level of skills under the faulty education system. Unless the country capitalizes on the opportunity, the window would not remain open forever. Developing a brand of highly proficient workforce, particularly with quality managerial ability is now a crying need for the country. Failure to do so would only open doors to the foreigners to be hired at a high costs.

To capitalize on the dividend, the government should take multifarious steps - by paying special attention to education and health for human development and investment in human capital by promoting technology dominating industries. Time has elapsed, but it is not too late to devise plans for capitalizing on the juvenile people for economic development. To get maximum dividends, we endorse the experts' suggestions --- invest more on skill, education and health, expand the private sector, and create opportunities for the entrepreneurship.

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