Unskilled manpower put brake on exports

Reza Mahmud

‘While vast chances are knocking on your door, you are ignoring them and sleeping,’ experts said, pointing to the acute shortage of skilled manpower for export. They mentioned the huge scope of earning remittances, alongside the ill-facilities of concerned agencies to produce a skilled workforce. They said, the training facilities at the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) are nearly paralyzed due to acute shortages of teachers and instructors in its institutes across the country.

Labor businesses and experts worry about such insufficiency of BMET training facilities when the second highest foreign currency-earning sector for overseas employment has become vulnerable. Experts and manpower exporters said, the skilled workforce market in the world is increasing, but Bangladesh has failed to cope up with it.

Countries like India, Pakistan and the Philippines are making cash with the scope of sending skilled labourers abroad. The World Bank’s April 2019 Migration and Development Report showed that the Philippines earned $33.8 billion in remittance from its 2.3 million diasporas. In the same report, the WB disclosed that Bangladesh received $15.5 billion remittance in the same year, while Bangladesh has nearly double the workforce.

According to the BMET, about one crore Bangladeshi workers are working abroad. Acute shortage of training instructors and teachers in BMET’s training institutes has hit the manpower-exporting sector hard with the huge crisis of trained manpower. Those training institutes provide very little manpower compared to the demands of the labour markets. In addition the produced manpower is also not skilled enough, because they have trained with shortages of instructors.

Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) Secretary General, Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, told Bangladesh Post, “When the market is demanding skilled manpower, we have failed to get that. The manpower exporters are suffering seriously from tremendous shortages of trained labour.”

Japan, Korea, Malaysia and other countries in the Middle East as well as different regions have huge demand for Bangladeshi skilled workforce now, he added.
The BAIRA leader said, due to short supply from Bangladesh, the recruiters are choosing other countries to recruit workforce. Noman said, when the country highly needs foreign currency, and the scope also exists to that end, poor training facilities are hampering the opportunity.

Sources from the training centers of the BMETdisclosed that the TTCs and IMTs are suffering from huge instructor and teachers crisis. “There are 24 teachers and instructors posts in the organogram of the Institute of Marine Technology, Faridpur, but we have only 12. We are in acute suffering from shortages of teachers to maintain classes,” said KhorshedAlam, Acting Principal of the institute, to Bangladesh Post on telephone.

The similar bitter experience was also expressed by Lutfar Rahman, the Principal of Rangpur Technical Training Center. He said that there are 40 teachers and instructor posts in his institute, but it has only 24 since long. “Can anyone imagine how we are managing classes here with such a shortage of teachers,” he asked. The principal said that there are about 1800 students in four trades. DU Professor Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Chairman of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) expressed worry over the issue. She said, the authority should give priority to sending a skilled workforce abroad. She suggested the government appoint skilled teachers in those centers to produce a meaningful manpower.

BRAC Migration Programme Chief Shariful Hasan told Bangladesh Post, “If the government wants to realise the opportunities of earning enormous remittance, it must address the crisis of training facilities, including teacher shortages.” When contacted Nurul Islam, Director of BMET (Training) said, “There are shortages of teachers in BMET’s training institutes. The training facilities are really hampered for the crisis.” Imran Ahmad, State Minister of Expatriate Welfare and Employment Overseas Ministry, did not receive a phone call from this correspondent for comment in this regard.

Selim Reza, Secretary of the ministry, also failed to receive the call several times. when contacted, Rownak Jahan, former Secretary of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry, told Bangladesh Post that the government is trying to minimize the crisis. During her working period at the ministry, in the last year, about 100 teachers were recruited through the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Officials of the ministry said that the ministry will introduce a database on their produced workforce soon so that the recruiting agencies can pick the necessary workforce from there.

Training institutes (64 TTC and 6 IMT) 70 Teachers and instructor as per organogram 1850 Vacant posts 929 In 2018 TTCs and IMTs produced manpower a total 61,753 TTCs also trained female housekeepers 44,352 In the year, workers were sent abroad 7.33 lakh