Interest in technical education grows

The interest of parents and students towards technical education is increasing day by day. In the last five years alone over 400 thousand students have opted to choose technical education over the conventional curriculum. Now, over 1.2 million students are studying in the technical line when just five years ago the numbers were around 925 thousand.

Sources with the education ministry and technical education board said that the government is also focusing on this work-based education. Besides the conventional education curriculum, there are prospects of including one technical subject in the regular curriculum from class six to eight. The actions for realizing this endeavour is set to start from 2021.

Those concerned with the technical sector are saying that the demand for skilled professionals is unavoidable. As the private sector is increasing, the need for skilled workers both at home and abroad is also high. Parents and students are getting interested in technical education with the possibility of getting jobs or becoming entrepreneurs in this highly competitive world as there is a high demand for skilled labour worldwide.

However, various types of problems are looming over the technical education providing institutions. The problems are most prominent at private institutes and there are also allegations against the quality of education that is provided there. According to the technical education board, there are 8 thousand 675 technical education institutes where technical education is provided in various trades.

Sources said that the government has set a goal to take the enrolment rate of technical and vocational education (among the secondary and higher secondary students) up by 20 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030 respectively. The work to realise this is going on. The percentage of technical education students is 16 now whereas ten years ago it was only 2.

Technical and Madrasa Department Secretary Md Alamgir says, “People now understand that trade-based education gets jobs. This is the main reason that the number of students in the technical education sector is increasing.” The admission for 2019 is going on at the polytechnic institutes and the interest of students is clearly visible. Sources from the Technical Education Board say that there is a total of 48 thousand students in two shifts---morning and day (each shift with 24 thousand students) among 49 government polytechnic institutes across the country.

Last year, the number of applicants was around 1 lakh 60 thousand. This year, so far, 1 lakh 30 thousand have applied. The applications can be submitted until June 8 and as a result, this number is bound to increase. A four year diploma in engineering is provided at the polytechnic institutes along with this, institutes providing HSC BM and HSC vocational are also taking admissions.

 Technical subject to become compulsory 

According to sources, alongside the technical educational institutes, schools and madrasas have to start vocational education compulsorily. The technical and madrasa department has already started work and also are in process of budget procurement. According to plans, a technical subject will be subsequently added to the curriculum of class six in 2021, class seven in 2022 and class eight in 2023 as part of pre-vocational education. On the other hand, a technical subject will be made compulsory for class nine and ten in 2021.

At present, there are 28 thousand 109 educational institutes including schools and madrasas in the secondary level. To start technical education effectively there is need for a diploma engineer and a lab assistant in all these institutes. Moreover, there is need of laboratories, syllabus, books and other ancillaries which require a huge sum of money.

Secretary Md Alamgir added that efforts are being given as to how this sum can be procured by staying within the rational limits. National education policy formulation committee member and former professor of education and research institute of Dhaka University Siddiqur Rahman says, the increase of students in technical education is good, but, along with increasing the number of students it is important to note the quality of education being provided.