The British Council, in collaboration with the National Skills Development Council Secretariat, hosted a symposium on ‘Access Points & Progression Pathways – Routes to success in Education, Employment & Skills’ at the British Council Auditorium on October 19 and 20, 2015. It was a two-day Global Education Dialogue where sector experts and government representatives from Bangladesh and abroad gathered to exchange ideas on the possible ways to ensure access to quality education through multiple access points for the youth in Bangladesh and South Asia at large in order to develop them into a workforce with higher-order cognitive skills.
This year’s symposium is part of British Council’s wider South Asia Global Education Dialogues being held across the region throughout 2015. The Dialogues bring key policy makers and opinion formers to debate the challenges and opportunities facing international education and skills.
The aim of this symposium is to contribute to the development of favourable policies and skills development systems in Bangladesh and the wider region that facilitate enhanced inclusive and progressive employment and educational opportunities for young adults, and to stimulate discussion from a global perspective of skills development as a driver for economic and social growth and the nature of effective systems which underpin this.
These dialogues look in detail at all the main transition points in the learning life-cycle and explore ways to support young people into employment at different entry points and in achieving academic progression. The opening ceremony of this global event started with the welcome speech by Adrian Greer, Chief Operating Officer, British Council. Other distinguished guests were H. E. Robert W Gibson, CMG, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Salauddin Kasem Khan, President, Bangladesh Employers' Federation, and Managing Director, A K Khan and Co. Ltd., A B M Khorshed Alam, CEO (Additional Secretary), National Skills Development Council Secretariat of Bangladesh. Nurul Islam Nahid MP, Honourable Minister of Education, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh also attended the event and shared his valuable remarks on the wider perspectives in terms of vocational training and employability in Bangladesh.
The dialogue started with a presentation of key findings of a recent research on ‘Next Generation Bangladesh - voices, aspirations and perspectives of the youths’. In the Panel discussion of this research presentation, the panellists expressed that the necessity of quality education, proper trainings for teachers and a decentralised education system collaborated with organisations for practical learning can boost up the whole procedure if implemented properly. The panellists also expressed an urge of a new education system merged with recognised skills that are relevant for their career.
There were several other panel discussions and parallel sessions on quality education, employability and skills development, core skills learning and self-employment through public-public and public-private partnerships, and vocational training to cater to the market driven demands in national and international sectors. The two-day dialogue also focused on the recognition of TVET in terms of national and international standards and the partnerships between the industry and academia.
On an instant live polling system, 76.3% participants nominated ‘Access to education’ as the main focal agenda for the youths in Bangladesh. The audiences suggested that good governance in education system, nationally accredited youth led trainings for young people and accumulation of the fragmented vocational learners with the mainstreamed students and proper usage of skills are also needed for the young people of this country.
The final day of this symposium focused on the relationship between the policy makers, academia, employer engagement, and modular qualifications. The dialogue concluded with a summation of overall discussions and recommendation for next steps.
Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid, Honourable Minister of the Ministry of Education said, “The outcome of the Global Education Dialogue conference by the British Council in partnership with NSDC will contribute to the development of favourable policies and skills development systems in Bangladesh that facilitate enhanced employment and educational opportunities for the youth. This Dialogue has highlighted critical access points, laid out possible career progression processes, and mapped out connecting pathways between non formal and traditional forms of education and training. The recommendations are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal and the priorities of Bangladesh government”.