GSD Dhaka Symposium
The Chief Operating Officer of the British Council inaugrating the Global Education Dialogue Dhaka Symposium
Wednesday 11 November 2015 - 10:03
British Council, Fuller Road, Dhaka

Creating skilled workforce is a great concern for Bangladesh, addressed by Education Minister of Bangladesh, Nurul Islam Nahid MP to participants of the British Council Bangladesh’s recent GED Skills Symposium.  Held in the Auditorium of the British Council, Dhaka on 19 and 20 October 2015 in partnership with the National Skills Development Council Secretariat, having the theme of “Access Points and Progression Pathways - routes to success in education, employment and skills” addressed what Adrian Greer, Chief Operating Officer, British Council, described as 'one of the critical issues in Bangladesh'.

To set the scene, research findings were shared that indicate high levels of optimism among young people about the future of Bangladesh and achievement of their personal aspirations. Commissioned by the British Council, ActionAid Bangladesh and University of Liberal Arts, the research "Next Generation Bangladesh: Optimistic next generation to lead Bangladesh towards prosperity - 2015 and beyond"  sought the opinions of 5,000 young people aged between 15-30 years across Bangladesh via surveys and focus group discussions. A majority (60%) believe that Bangladesh is heading towards the right direction and 54% believe that Bangladesh will become more prosperous by 2030 in spite of a number of challenges which included, among others, lack of job opportunities and quality of education and its relevance to employment.  

The expansion of technical and vocational education and training for creating skilled individuals is a priority among all the priorities for the Government of Bangladesh right now." - Honourable Minister of Education, Bangladesh

Bringing together leading figures from both the public and private sector from both the national and international perspective, the symposium explored a number of themes which make a significant impact on the transition from education into employment throughout the learning life-cycle.  Participants considered ways to support young people into employment at different entry points and in achieving academic progression, reflecting on the quality of traditional education in Bangladesh and employability issues. The perception and recognition of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) was identified as a particular area requiring attention, together with the need to cater the market driven demands in national and international sectors. The development of skills through a range of partnerships needs to be taken forward: public-public; public-private; and between the ‘trinity’ of policy makers, academia and employers.

Through the two day long dialogue, key elements were prioritised to ensure occupation/work for all and to prepare the youth for the future. Access to high quality education along with TVET is a must, with its basis on the core principles of quality, recognition and transparency. In addition, a broader definition of skills emerged with the traditional technical skills being enhanced by entrepreneurship, management and core skills. An approach which includes modular based qualifications and competence-level based assessment can provide an alternative framework to education. 

As highlighted in a most lively debate, active collaboration between academia and industry and policy makers can upskill Bangladesh’s current  workforce and fully equip its future entrants in support of achievement of its 'Vision 2021'.

David Ruebain - Chief Executive of Equality Challenge Unit

David Ruebain

Chief Executive , Equality Challenge Unit

David is the Chief Executive of the Equality Challenge Unit since 2010, a policy & research agency funded to advance equality & diversity in universities in the UK and colleges in Scotland & England.  Prior to that, he was a practicing solicitor for 21 years; latterly as Director of Legal Policy at the Equality and Human Rights Commission of Great Britain and before that as a Partner and founder of the department of Education, Equality and Disability Law at Levenes Solicitors

Adrian Greer CMG, Chief Operating Officer

Adrian Greer, CMG

Chief Operating Officer, The British Council

After studying English at university Adrian Greer worked for the National Audit Office in Scotland where he qualified as an accountant. He joined the British Council in 1984 and has been Country Director in Lesotho and Swaziland, Zambia and Russia. He worked for four years in Manchester as geographical head in Development and Training Services (predecessor to Programme and Projects) and from 2004-2007 was a member of the Senior Management team, as Director of Learning, Creativity and Society.

Mr. Salahuddin Kasem Khan

Mr. Salahuddin Kasem Khan

Managing Director, A.K.Khan & Company Ltd

Mr. Salahuddin Kasem Khan is a Pioneer industrialist and development thinker in Bangladesh who is currently the Managing Director of A.K.Khan & Company Ltd.,Chairman of Coats (Bangladesh) Ltd. a joint venture with Coats U.K, Chairman of A.K.Khan Jute Mills and Director of Bengal Fisheries Ltd., joint ventures with Nichiro & Maruha of Japan. He is the Former Chairman of AKTEL, Bangladesh.

Maddalaine Ansell

Maddalaine Ansell

Chief Executive, University Alliance, London, United Kingdom Higher Education

Maddalaine is a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and a qualified solicitor. She has held a number of appointments including with the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Home Office and BIS. She worked on the HE White Paper for the then Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, and was appointed to the position of Deputy Director, International Knowledge and Innovation in 2011. She became Chief Executive for University Alliance in January 2015.