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KOICA offers $10m to create skilled manpower

South Korea to offer infrastructure, academia to boost manpower export
Md Samiur Rahman Sazzad
07 Jul 2024 18:49:04 | Update: 07 Jul 2024 23:33:25
KOICA offers $10m to create skilled manpower
— Courtesy Photo

South Korea, a major development and trading partner, is aiming to enhance infrastructure and academic collaboration with Bangladesh to create more skilled manpower.

In this effort, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has offered $10 million to develop skilled workers, with a focus on improving performance and generating employment.

State Minister for Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Shofiqur Rahman Choudhury shared the development after a meeting with a KOICA delegation team at the ministry in Dhaka on Sunday.

Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training Director General Saleh Ahmed Mujaffor, Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Additional Secretary Khairul Alam were also present among others.

KOICA has proposed a signature Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project to renovate the Bangladesh-Korea Technical Training Centre (BKTTC), Chittagong, develop curriculum, provide training, and collaborate with private sectors, private and national universities to create skilled workers for Bangladesh and South Korea.

They want to start the project in August or September and urged active cooperation from the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, Economic Relations Division (ERD) and all other government-related entities.

KOICA Country Director Taeyoung Kim said, “The feasibility study of the project ends in 2022 and today is the feedback meeting. We visited the BKTTC Chittagong and talked with the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other stakeholders.”

“We want to start this project as soon as possible to provide infrastructure renovation, curriculum creation, and training facilities. By this we want to create skilled workers to offer them jobs in shipbuilding, welding and painting industries in both South Korea and Bangladesh,” he added.

“Half of the trainees will be trained in South Korea and after finishing the training they will get the certificates,” he added. “All programmes under the project will be done in Bangladesh at BKTTC Chittagong.”

Taeyoung emphasised the need for increased government collaboration and expressed a desire to take on more projects.

"We need active cooperation from the government and want to work on more projects like this," Taeyoung stated. "This week, KOICA plans to communicate with related ministries and start the work soon."

Sources confirmed that KOICA will talk with the ERD regarding project financing and plans to submit a written proposal detailing the project to ERD, with the memorandum of understanding (MoU) scheduled to be signed on Wednesday.

Shofiqur said, “KOICA has proposed to provide financial assistance to modernise and develop demand-driven skilled manpower at the BKTTC, Chittagong. We are supportive of this proposal. Therefore, we have instructed all concerned to work towards its speedy implementation.”

He said that Korea's proposal for cooperation in developing skilled manpower will make the technical training centres more modern which will play an effective role in developing our manpower efficiently.

“This is for overseas employment and this will be a model. If necessary I will talk to the prime minister and education minister,” he added.

He stated that the prime minister aims to develop a skilled workforce and boost remittance earnings. "All work will start soon, and there will be no delay," he assured.

He mentioned that the project will be proposed to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) as early as possible.

Principal Mohammad Nuruzzaman of the BKTTC, Chittagong told The Business Post, "KOICA has worked with us for more than a decade. The new project they are interested in is to renovate the outdated building of the institute as the building is more than 65 years old"

“Apart from the infrastructure, KOICA is also interested in capacity building. They need skilled workers in five sectors: welding, information technology, mechatronics, industrial automation, and painting (ship/car). So they will prepare the curriculum according to the international standard,” he added.

“As they make the academic curriculum, our institute will validate it and start the training programme,” he added. “Upon completing the programme, the skilled workers will get the opportunity to work in South Korea. KOICA also provides necessary training for the teachers as well.”

The KOICA delegation team already talked with the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) last week.

CCCI President Omar Hazzaz said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for us that KOICA wants to invest to create skilled manpower. They want to work collaboratively with industry and academia, that’s why they not only contact the government but also other related stakeholders like us.”

“There are lots of constraints in the sector. Proper research and development are needed to comply with the international standard. The focus should be on where and what amount of workers needed and proper management needed. That is, KOICA wants to help us,” he added.