Recently a news has got viral that an educated youth in Bogura posted an advertisement seeking tuition in exchange of meals. The very advertisement by the youth is undeniably a message to the policy-makers in the country though debates have been raised over the issue of Alamgir Kabir, the tuition seeker. But it is obvious that when his all endeavors to manage a job were coming to an end, he found no other means to survive with tuition in exchange of meals two times a day.
However, the police finally investigated the matter whether any ill-intention the youth adopted by posting such an advertisement. The investigation claimed that the very youth was really needy. With considering this, District Superintendent of Police Sudip Kumar Chakraborty helped him to get the job at grocery chain shop Shwapno.
Certainly, this initiative by the police is worth appreciating, which has relieved the youth of his burning frustration. But across the country there are so many educated youths like Alamgir Kabir struggling with the growing frustration finding no scopes to get them employed.
It is obvious that Bangladesh is now regarded as a country with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Over the last some years the country has experienced landmark progress in many of its sectors including ICT, power generation, universal primary enrolment, women's empowerment, healthcare, etc.
Despite significant progress in various socio-economic metrics and growing advancement in different sectors, youth unemployment remains one of the major challenges in the country. However, the government has been concentrating on the burning unemployment issue over the years through creating more scopes for the youths.
Certainly, through adopting different policies along with their implementation, scopes are widening to address the unemployment frustration of the youths. But the youth unemployment rate is still high in the country. According to the source, in 2019 the youth unemployment rate was projected to 11.13 per cent. The ILO reported that the rate of youth unemployment was doubled between the years 2010 to 2017. Things get more frustrating to the educated youths as they are many times vulnerable to others with little or no education in case of employment opportunity.
According to Bangladesh Employment and Labor Market Watch 2018, youth unemployment rate in the country is the highest among graduates with a tertiary degree. Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) stated in its recent report that more than one-third of the total youth labor force in Bangladesh with higher education is unemployed. As per the report of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2018, Bangladesh was the second out of 28 countries in the Asia-Pacific region for having the highest level of educated unemployment rate.
Again, we see that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has not only deepened the existing unemployment problem but also made a blow to the youth community as they have hardly seen any opportunity to engage themselves in the labor market due to an uncertain standstill of the job market. It is predicted that the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to create two-fold rise in youth unemployment. Again, the prolonged job recruitment formalities have increased the frustration amid the youths.
Obviously, in the pre-pandemic time many educated youths used to see scopes to enter teaching profession in the private education sector, which has shrunk drastically amid the pandemic. It is estimated that many kindergartens, private schools and colleges are on the verge of extinction due to facing financial collapse. Some schools and private colleges have already been sold out as they have failed to survive in these hard days. Investment in private education sector has shrunk significantly in the time of pandemic.
On top of that, many educated youths who have expired the government age limit for jobs and many other nearing to the age limit have plunged into frustration with their life. It is estimated that around 2 lakhs unfortunate job seekers have lost their all hopes to work in the government job sectors. Since the Covid-19 pandemic students have been urging the government to increase the age limit from 30 to 32 for government jobs considering loss of two years. But the policy makers contradict to the claim of the students.
Again, it is alleged that corruption in job sectors is depriving the competent candidates of their rights to get the jobs, otherwise the underqualified are provided the opportunity in exchange of bribes. It is true that corruption has frustrated the job seekers severely but can we deny that there is no chance for all educated youths to enter the job market unless more scopes are open?
The mentality of our students receiving education for the jobs has overburdened the situation. To come out of this situation students should be equipped with multilayers skills and knowledge so that students will not think of only option to get jobs after education, rather with their skills and knowledge they will see scopes to reshape their expectation what they want to be.
In our country we see that education has been a cause of frustration for many though it is expected to remove the burden from society and country. The education with no pragmatic outcomes can hardly be helpful to the individuals and the society. Educationists criticize that the quantity has superseded the quality of education in the country.
The country sees a well-developed GPA factory. The number of GPA -5 holders has increased manifolds. Students have only concern to obtaining GPA-5 discarding the true purpose of education. Teachers teach students only some questions and encourage them to memorize those for the exams posing a dire threat on the true essence of education. For the last some years we have seen that many GPA 5 holders have not been able to secure pass marks in university admission test.
It is no denial that tertiary education of the country is expected to play a pivotal role to turn the graduates into human resources. But what we see in reality that in most cases tertiary education system is unable to meet the needs of the society and the state. Public universities are busy with opening many departments to teach subjects that hardly equip students with the skills required for job market.
Instability at tertiary education is also the cause of student frustration. Vice chancellors and professors are continuously doing many vices causing enormous academic loss for students. Their personal interests are being highly prioritized than the nation’s interest to turn the youths into resources. Universities are busy with awarding degrees to their students and hardly have any headache to skill development of the students.
Certainly, producing a huge number of graduates and post graduates is not enough, unless they turn into skilled manpower. There is a gap prevailing between education and employability. The existing education gives priority to the generalization of education which hardly addresses to equip students with skilled-based knowledge.
Many students completing education from universities experience difficulties to make any scope in the job market. There may be many who are fortunate enough to win jobs but in many cases their jobs hardly correspond to the subjects they have studied at the universities. Studies reveal that most educated youths bear much more hurdles than the uneducated or little educated that make them vulnerable and frustrated.
According to a recent survey of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), 66 per cent or two-thirds of the students who pass out from colleges affiliated to National University, remain unemployed. The causes may be many why most of the students of National University struggle to enter the job market. Educationists opine that what will we do with so many graduates if their education neither helps themselves nor the society?
However, it is time to review how the frustration of the educated youths could be removed. Priority should be given to need-based education which helps the individuals to shape up their life. Universities should come with a mission to produce efficient graduates who will be able to meet every challenge on the way to employability. Along with the government’s investment to widen job sectors in the country, the private investment should be encouraged. Without concerted efforts we can hardly contribute to mitigating the frustration of the educated youths in the country.
Writer: Alaul Alam teaches at Prime University. He is also research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]
BDST: 1414 HRS, FEB 07, 2022