Developing skilled workers  

Dhaka,  Sat,  23 September 2017
Published : 15 Jul 2017, 18:52:04

Developing skilled workers  

Holding an international conference mainly on skill development is indeed a rare event. And such a rare event is going to take place in the capital from July 27 to July 29. The scheduled participation of as many as 16 countries points to the fact that nations with spare manpower have taken renewed interests in the issue of skill development. Several international developments are responsible for this. The global demography has undergone a radical change of late. If countries like Bangladesh are teeming with working hands with hardly any employment opportunity for many, developed countries are short of labour. The latter's aging population and standard of living have left a big void for employment at the low level of industry and manufacture. Much as the automation may have reduced the need for human labour, there are still jobs that cannot be accomplished by machines or robots. 

Countries like Bangladesh heavily depend on remittance from their migrant workers. But there is a surfeit of workers at the bottom level of demand in the Middle East. In developed countries unskilled workers are a misfit. In countries like Germany, Japan and West Europe, there is a need for a certain level of skill for any job. Those countries have already started recruiting foreign workers. Within a few years, they will need more workers for their factories and industries. This is an opportunity countries like Bangladesh will like to grab. In the list of the countries to participate in the conference, most are manpower exporter except those of Malaysia and Singapore. No Western country will be there to express their views on the matter. Had there been a representation of a few of the known aging nations, the deliberations would have received wider dynamics. 

Still the representation of some of the South-east Asian nations is expected to take care of some irritants like illegal migration. That Malaysian authorities are now swooping on valid work permit holders from Bangladesh is worrying. A worker arrived newly in a foreign country is not supposed to speak the native language fluently and will find it hard to express what s/he really wants or does not want. Allegedly, employers in Malaysia take advantage of this shortcoming on the part of Bangladeshi workers. So along with skill training, there is a need for imparting lessons on language of the host country. 

The real test, though, should be the familiarity with job to be accomplished. Depending on the categories of employment, the environment is likely to be different in the Asian and European countries. But so far as industries and the machines are concerned, those are now more or less at an advanced stage everywhere. Yet in case of the most advanced version of means of production, the Western countries certainly enjoy an edge. The aim ought to take opportunity of the upscale labour market. Bangladesh has not focused enough on this so far. With the holding of the conference, it is likely to break the barrier and hopefully take further step towards formulating a policy and guidelines on developing skilled manpower capable of taking up the challenges ahead.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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