Seminar on “Industry-Academia Linkage: Employability of Graduates in the changing global context”

In the changing global context and in order to accommodate our graduates to their desired job sector as per the demand of industries, there are no alternatives but to ensure better collaboration, coordination and synchronization between the industry and academia to secure our future economic development as well as to reduce the existing skill mismatch, told Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar, President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) while he was chairing a seminar on “Industry-Academia Linkage: Employability of Graduates in the Changing Global Context” organized by DCCI on 8th July, 2023. Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni, MP was present on the occasion as the chief guest while Executive Chairman (Secretary), National Skills Development Authority (NSDA) Nasreen Afroz was present as guest of honour.

Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar also said that Industry-Academia linkage is instrumental in creating a skilled and industry-oriented workforce. It ensures a workforce - ready with a specialized skills set for the relevant industries but the linkage has still not been fully developed due to our conventional educational system. The absence of an academia-industry harmony results in an increasing skills gap in the workforce, he added. So, it is very important to focus on industry-academia linkage in order to take full advantage of Bangladesh’s demographic dividend. He later urged for conducting joint research and development activities, developing education infrastructure, creating a national employment database, arranging need-based curriculum design and skills trainings as well as strengthening technical and vocational education system (TVET). According to a statement, every year USD 8-10 billion has been remitted from Bangladesh as salary paid to foreign workers, he pointed out. Therefore he stressed on creating skilled manpower in the country so that we can save this valuable outward remittance.

Dr. Dipu Moni, MP, Education Minister, Government of Bangladesh stressed for commercialization of research and development initiatives. She told that a transformation in our national curriculum system is already visible. In her speech, she reiterated for bringing in soft skills, re-skilling and up-skilling, team-work development, technology adaptation, changing mindset, demand mapping and expediting TVET education. At present enrollment rate in the TVET is 17%, she informed. She said diversification of education is more important, it will not be the right decision to attract our students only to medical or engineering education system. Rather, she said our students should have a mentality to come into nursing, modern farming, freelancing and other jobs since these sectors have also created huge demand at present. In this regard, she urged to change our mindset because no occupation is superior to the others though we have seen a slight change of mindset among the people now a days.

Nasreen Afroz, Executive Chairman (Secretary), National Skills Development Authority (NSDA) said that the NSDA is keen to create skilled manpower to export. She also informed that a ‘Skills Qualification Framework’ has been formed under the Chairmanship of the Education Minister. Fourteen (14) skills development councils have already been formed already, she informed. She expressed her hope that in future the relation between industry and academia will be more expedited. She also requested industry leaders to arrange such workshops and seminars incorporating relevant stakeholders. NSDA has been arranging funding from the Human Resource Development Fund of the Ministry of Finance for those who are involved in conducting skills development training, she informed.

Dr. Sayema Haque Bidisha, Professor of Economics, University of Dhaka and Research Director, SANEM presented the keynote paper. She highlighted that one of the challenges of the labor market of Bangladesh is absence of strong linkage between the supply and demand sides- primarily between the academia and the industry. To address the skills mismatch, strong Industry-Academia linkage is needed, she said. By the year 2027 analytical thinking, creative thinking, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data will have more demand. In future technology will create more jobs, she added.

In the panel discussion session, Professor of Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Mohammad Abdul Momen stressed on need-based curriculum development, development of IT infrastructure, skills training and adopting industry-specific programmes. Female participation in our industry is very low, he added. Moreover, he urged to reduce dependency on foreign workers working in different companies in Bangladesh. Managing Director of Apex Footwear Limited Syed Nasim Manzur said requested for private sector representation in the development process of curriculum to ensure quality education. Vice Chancellor of BUET Prof. Satya Prasad Majumder underscored the importance of having joint collaboration and cooperation between industry and academia. Industries should come forward with more research and development with their own investment, he also added. Besides, he requested to develop a 4IR policy. Member of University Grants Commission (Commission) Prof. Dr. Md. Sazzad Hossain said that UGC is going to establish an industry-academia platform soon. Former CFO of Snapchat Inc. Imran Khan said that ICT, innovation, digital marketing and IT outsourcing will create a huge job opportunity for the graduates. Country Director of ILO Tuomo Poutiainen and Shafquat Haider, Member, Governing Board, NSDA also spoke on the occasion.

DCCI Senior Vice President SM Golam Faruk Alamgir (Arman), members of the Board of Directors among others were present during the seminar.

Published on: 2023-07-08

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