Country's technical literacy rate has marked a significant rise in recent years, but employment of the graduating students remains a matter of concern.
Insiders said the students after completing courses from the country's technical institutions are getting limited scope for entrance into the job market due mainly to factors like age-old academic curricular and dearth of industry-specific job openings.
According to them, a good number of diploma engineers are jobless these days, but the situation was totally different only a few years back when these engineers were used to getting job even before completion of their final year in study.
Official sources show that the technical literacy rate has marked a significant increase of around 11 per cent in recent years, which was only one per cent seven years ago.
Despite the notable success, students and teachers alike expressed frustration over the resulting effect of the existing academic arrangements.
When asked, the students observed that lack of quality teacher, absence of job-oriented and industry-specific courses, unavailability of modern equipment at the laboratories and dearth of practical scope for orientation during internship period, among other things, held them back from getting properly placed in the job market.
They, however, said that although some changes were brought in their academic curricula considering the changing demands of the time, lack of competent teachers to help the students learn the trends and techniques resulted in failure of the initiative at large.
Besides, the diploma engineers and vocational students have lamented pointing to the fact that their opportunity for higher education at home and abroad is few and far between.
Tamal Mondal, a recently-passed Diploma Engineer from Sylhet Polytechnic Institute, said the country has only one public university named Dhaka University of Engineering & Technology (DUET) in Gazipur for further study like B Sc, M Sc etc of the diploma engineers.
This is, he said, yet another reason for the graduating diploma engineers to feel disappointed and not to encourage the meritorious students to pursue education in the country's technical institutions.
A 3rd year student at the Shyamoli Ideal Polytechnic Institute in Dhaka, Chandni Akter shared an appalling reality, "In most of the cases at the technical and vocational institutes, mainly the diploma course completed graduates take classes even with their little knowledge about teaching, which is why we are not getting standard education."
Md. Abdul Latif Patwary, Principal of the Bangladesh-Sweden Polytechnic Institute, echoed the same sentiment.
He, however, said crisis of competent teachers compel them to appoint diploma engineers as teachers, mostly part-timers, at the institutes.
Many telecommunications, multinationals and ready-made garments (RMG) companies, he said, want qualified engineers for their organizations, but most of the diploma graduates fail to fulfill the set of their requirements during interview or the very first phase of scrutiny due to lack of technical and practical knowledge in appropriate field.
When contacted, educational expert Tapan Kumar Das, also a Deputy Director of Gono Shakshorota Ovijan, came up with a number of suggestions including revision of the country's vocational education curriculum and introduction of industry-oriented courses in the technical institutes to help address the existing despair among and unemployment problem of the diploma graduates.
The country's textiles and RMG sector is witnessing a boom, even they don't get sufficient skilled workers which sometimes forces them to hire workers from abroad to operate modern machineries available in their factories, he said.
He also stressed the need for providing the students with training so that they can become self-employed.
Besides, he said, appointing more teachers in technical institutes and increasing the training capacity of the country's vocational teachers training institutes are also important to ensure quality education in the field.
The Vocational Education Board must increase its monitoring and they can even facilitate exchanging teachers between different institutes as part of maintaining standard of education.