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

-    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.

- 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

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

Skills 21 project highlights (March-October 2020)

TVET COVID-19 Response plan: DTE, with technical support from the Skills 21 team, developed a COVID-19 TVET response plan. After mapping the effect of the pandemic in technical education, capacity of blended learning method, opportunities and challenges in online learning - the project structured the response plan with recommendations.

Online platform trains 120 potential entrepreneurs: The Start and Improve Your Business Foundation (SIYB) conducted online Entrepreneurship Development Training for 120 entrepreneurs. SIYB aims to train 3,500 potential entrepreneurs across the country.

Centres for Skills Excellence (CSEs): Online teacher training 60 teachers completed online training for distance learning and online material development. 30 video lectures have been produced and used in this training. All content will be available on e-campus and the BTEB YouTube page.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): 355 workers assessed During COVID-19, 355 (327 Male, 28 Female) took part in Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessments. In total, 238 (222 Male, 16 Female) obtained BTEB certificates.

E-Campus: 45 online training materials A team of TVET teachers produced and uploaded 45 video materials on the TVET e-campus, Facebook and YouTube. Over 40 teachers have been trained to deliver distance learning programmes and develop online materials.

COVID-19: 500 youth complete skills training Online skills training in Welding, Graphic Design, Electrical Installation and Maintenance, Plumbing, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Wood Working Machine Operation and Sewing Machine Operation has been ongoing throughout the pandemic in: BS Polytechnic Institute Kaptai; Feni Polytechnic Institute; Gaibandha TTC; IMT Bagerhat; Khulna Mahila Polytechnic Institute and Sylhet TSC.

Online skills policy review workshop: To facilitate the policy review process, the Skills 21 project reached out to partner TVET Institutes across the country to conduct online policy dialogues. The objective of the dialogues is to integrate the perspectives /inputs of the direct implementer (TVET institutes) of the NSDP into the upgraded policy.