EU-ILO ‘Skills 21’ initiative to boost capacity of Bangladesh skills system

The ‘Skills 21 – Empowering citizens for inclusive and sustainable growth’ project which is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) is formally launched at a ceremony held in Dhaka on 28 May 2018

News | 29 May 2018
A new skills initiative that seeks to build a comprehensive and coherent Technical and Vocational Education system will help Bangladesh achieve its goals of becoming a developing country by 2021 and middle income country by 2041.

Skills 21 team
Speaking at the launch, the Honourable Minister of Education Nurul Islam Nahid said, “An effective Technical and Vocational Education and Training system can play an important role in helping Bangladesh meet many of the social and economic challenges it faces. Skills 21 will make a valuable contribution to national efforts to put in place a system that helps transform our population into a skilled resource and meet our development goals.”

Skills 21 will built on the achievements of earlier EU/ILO initiatives to modernise the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system in Bangladesh. Key priorities include strengthening the National Skills Development System by continuing earlier reforms and by developing a Bangladesh Qualifications Framework (BQF). It will work with the government to improve the governance aspects within the skills development sector, and directly with TVET institutions to introduce the entire reform package of new quality assured programmes, trained instructors and management as well as services for career guidance and job placement.

Speaking at the launch event Acting Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh Doerte Bosse said, “Bangladesh needs a skilled labour force to ensure the sustainability of its economic growth. The European Union’s continued support to skills sector development through the Skills 21 project is testament to our commitment to help build a skills system which will benefit individual workers, companies and the nation alike.”

Md. Alamgir Secretary of TMED highlighted many of problems facing the skills sector. “The EU-funded ILO-supported Skills 21 project will help us meet many of the challenges facing the TVET system. These include a mismatch in supply-demand linkages, lack of quality training as well as the high disparity in participation in terms of gender, geographical location and ethnicity.

Seven model TVET institutes will be developed which are able to offer the full reform package of new quality assured programmes, trained instructors and management as well as services for career guidance and job placement introduced by Skills 21. These will be located in Gaibandha, Jamalpur, Sylhet, Feni, Kaptai, Bagerhat, and Khulna.

In addition, the initiative will seek to introduce SWAp. Which will allow development partners (DPs) to work together in partnership with government by pooling resources into common basket to support sector/subsector-wide development in an integrated manner under the government’s common policy framework.

Skills 21 Chief Technical Advisor Snehal V Soneji said, “A modern and inclusive skills system will provide a solid base for the future development of Bangladesh. The Skills 21 initiative will provide greater access to quality vocational training for men and women alike.”

The total budget for the initiative is 20 million euro of which the EU will contribute 19.5 million. The project will be implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry Of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs, National Skills Development Council Secretariat, Directorate of Technical Education, Bangladesh Technical Education Board and Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training.

Also taking part in the event were Director General of DTE Mr. Ashoke Kumar Biswas, Director (Administration) of DTE Mr. Monjurul Kader and representative from other development partners, and government agencies.