Skills 21 – Empowering citizens for inclusive and sustainable growth

Skills 21 project is a joint initiative of the Government of Bangladesh and the International Labour Organization (ILO), funded by the European Union. The project seeks to increase productivity and employment opportunities through an environmentally conscious, inclusive, demand-driven, and interlinked skills development system responding to the needs of the labour market.

Some two million people enter the Bangladesh workforce each year, however the capacity to provide skills training is limited. There is therefore a pressing need to help the country provide equitable and quality technical education capable of skilling and up skiiling large numbers of people to meet market demands.

This requires qualified teachers and assessors, up-to-date institutional facilities and a market driven competency-based inclusive skills system. These steps are crucial for enhancing labour productivity as well as facilitating industrialization, trade and inclusive economic growth.

The EU-funded ILO - implemented Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Reform Project successfully implemented the reforms in the formal TVET system and set the foundation for the nascent National Skills Development System (NSDS) in Bangladesh. However, to successfully address the needs of the country’s growing workforce, the system needs strengthening, promotion, adoption/adaption, and replication by stakeholders.
The Project will take forward the achievements of the ongoing projects and address the next priority areas, in particular:

-    Continuous strengthening and improving the quality of the TVET/skills development system, including development of a National Qualification Framework (NQF) that would ensure harmonization of qualification pathways across primary, secondary, technical and higher education

-    Establishing a more conducive legislative, regulatory and institutional environment through improved governance and management of the TVET/skills development system including, inter-alia, developing the mechanisms and elements for a Sector Wide Approach (SWAP) in the TVET/skills development sector

-    Improving access to and equity within the TVET/skills development system including through expanding the number of model TVET institutions for inclusive, environmentally conscious, quality and labour market-responsive skills development.

The project also aims to support collaboration between companies and relevant training providers to develop and implement demand-driven education and training programs.