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Technical education in jeopardy as students lack interest

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26th-Jul-2020       
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STUDENTS are showing little interest in studying at the polytechnic institutes with an estimated 1.35 lakh seats remaining vacant at 624 public and private institutes offering diploma courses in the country. When the country is experiencing higher rate of graduate unemployment and the policymakers as well educationists put emphasis on technical education, the grim picture of the sector is really pathetic. The impact of Covid-19 in the job market will be the worst then the earlier projection as global economic slowdown would teardown many conglomerates and the technical knowledge is the striking force to rebound the economy.
Bangladesh Technical Education Board records show that 1,27,976 of the 1,85,055 seats at the 511 private polytechnic institutes went vacant in 2019-20 while 7,127 of the 56,170 seats at the 49 government institutes and 64 technical schools and colleges, which also offer diploma courses, were without students. Developed countries like Germany, Japan, China, and South Korea have developed their workforce giving special importance to technical education. On the other hand, technical graduates are in some cases socially humiliated in our country.
Moreover, students are reluctant for enrolling at polytechnic institutes as job opportunities did not increase proportionately a seats increase in the institutes every year. Private polytechnic institutes started operating in the mid-1990s and in the following two decades the number has crossed 500. Besides, all the government polytechnic institutes are struggling with huge shortages of qualified teachers, laboratories, and workshop facilities and thus could not produce quality graduates. In Dhaka Polytechnic Institute, the number of laboratories has remained the same as it was in the 1960s though student enrolment increased 20 times.
Insiders said the government put the polytechnic institutes in jeopardy by adopting the wrong policy of establishing more institutes without appointing required qualified teachers and improving the laboratory, library, and workshop facilities. Government should focus more on improving the quality of education for developing skilled workforce instead of increasing the number of institutions. Investing more in technical education, the country should create skilled labour force, reduce unemployment and thus can earn a huge amount of foreign remittance sending the skilled labours abroad.    

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