Very recently, we have observed the students’ movement in the street demanding the reform of existing quota system in public sector jobs. Here, if we analyse, we will find several dimensions of the root cause of this student movement.
Firstly, it has been clear that majority of the educated youths have become encouraged to get a job in public sector which brings their job security, post-retirement benefits, housing benefits, transportation benefit as well as dignity in society etc. Secondly, there is no enough alternative sources of employment opportunities for educated youths in the country. Thirdly, there is a significant gap in mindset and career mapping among the students and educated unemployed youths. Fourthly, the quality of our education system is not up to the mark. And last but not the least, is that both public and private sector jobs are not expanding in comparison with the ever increasing employment demand in the country.
Our education system is not being able to produce graduates with skills and efficiencies which are required to compete with global job market. The graduates find the government jobs as more secured comparing to other private sector jobs. The other points can also be explored, such as private sector employment generation is also not increasing in such way to meet the demand of total number of unemployed youths and on the other hand, after declaring the national pay scale-2015, the salary and other financial and non-financial benefits of government employees have become very much attractive in comparison with most of the jobs in private sector. Hence, a good number of educated youths are striving to enter into the public sector jobs which can be termed as ‘dream job’.
Recently, Bangladesh has set its footprint or first step to graduate itself towards developing country from LDC status. Bangladesh has been able to meet all the three criteria (Per Capita GNI, Human Asset Index (HAI) and Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI)) for being graduated from LDC to Developing country set by The UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP). Now, we must face newer forms of challenges for sustainable development to achieve ‘developed country’ status by the year 2041 as targeted by the present government of Bangladesh. To achieve that target, we need to build a knowledge and skills-based society to tackle the competitive global environment. There is no alternative to ensuring quality of education in this regard. The quality of education of the country must be enhanced so that graduates can achieve required level of skills and efficiencies during their graduation or academic part which they can utilise in their career development in diversified sectors both at home and abroad rather than waiting for only public sector jobs.
About 60 percent of our total population is young which is bigger than the total population of many developed countries. Young people remain unemployed though they have capability to work. We can see that many countries are solving this problem by creating new entrepreneurs. So, Bangladesh cannot lag behind in this respect. About 2.2 million people enter into the job market each year in Bangladesh and among them only one million are employed both at home and abroad and rest of the people remain unemployed. As a result, the unemployment situation of the country is being deteriorated day by day. If we can employ these unemployed youths, the overall development of the country will be expedited. Our people have uniqueness in innovation and business; we have to utilize it fully.
So, we need to prioritise on skills development as well as encouraging educated unemployed to become self-employed on parallel basis. It is high time, the government should emphasise on policy formulation to encourage educated youths in entrepreneurship development. Entrepreneurs can create own employment along with employment for others which impacts positively on employment generation and economic development of the country. Here, the government should facilitate development of the alternative sources of funding for assisting and guiding the educated youths in alternative sources of employment. The government should groom the venture capital companies, seed funding opportunities, angel investment etc. It should also create enabling environment by formulating facilitatory policies along with providing fiscal incentives. We need to encourage entrepreneurship development in the higher education institutions (HEIs) as well.
private sector has been doing some tremendous jobs in encouraging entrepreneurship development in the country, for example: DCCI initiated a project for creating 2000 young entrepreneurs; Daffodil International University established a separate Department on Entrepreneurship which offers four-year bachelor degree along with encouraging the students to become self-employed through providing business incubation facilities, managing alternative sources of funding, mentoring etc.; FBCCI, BRAC and some others are also doing entrepreneurship development activities on a piecemeal basis.
Government has not yet been able to ensure any sustainable alternative source of employment generation for the educated unemployed youths. That is why, the educated youths only find government jobs more attractive for having a secured and a life with dignity. It is the responsibility of the government to make the students feel that other forms of employment are also dignified jobs and those should be recognised as well. Government should also take initiatives to assist and facilitate private sector to encourage and institutionalise entrepreneurship development and facilitate ensuring self-employment opportunities for higher educated youths of the society.
Writer: Mohammad Monir Hossan, Assistant Director (Research) at Daffodil International University