A staggering 66 per cent of National University graduates have remained unemployed, a survey found.
“The quality of education at colleges under NU is substandard. It is necessary to make students skilled in IT to prepare them for the modern age. Investment in these colleges needs to be increased,” Survey Coordinator and Researcher of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Minhaj Mahmud said.
Under NU, 54 colleges have the largest segment, about two-thirds, of tertiary-level students in Bangladesh. BIDS surveyed 1,639 students who completed graduation and post-graduation from these colleges in 2017. The survey also involved 202 heads of educational institutes and 233 of their employees.
Among the respondents, about 66 per cent said they were unemployed, while 21 per cent found jobs and 7 per cent were still attending post-graduation or vocational courses. Five per cent do not belong to the labour force, while the rest are self-employed.
The survey found that graduates in commerce-related subjects got more jobs and became entrepreneurs than those from other disciplines.
Department heads of the surveyed colleges admitted that their institutions had shortcomings in Information Technology (IT) and urged the government to pay more attention to this issue and increase investment.
The study highlighted some issues in NU affiliated colleges that require improvement in the overall teaching and learning environment. It suggested that the policy focus for these colleges should be towards digital education.
For this, the educational institutions need to collaborate with the private sector and digital industries to enhance the learning experience.
The usage of open educational resources is becoming increasingly important in facilitating education worldwide that embraces the global transformation through online platforms. Therefore, the universities and tertiary level colleges need to embrace digital solutions in education and learning, the study suggested.
On top of that, the report said teachers need to acquire knowledge in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) first to guide their students. Digital skill development courses or ICT training courses deserved priority, as reflected in graduates, current students, and employers’ opinions.
The course curriculum needs to be updated regularly to improve learning and increasing the job market relevance of education and short courses on various skills, including soft-skill development.
In addition, the report suggested organising job fairs every year, preferably at the district level, to facilitate industry collaboration. Funds should be made available for upgrading labs, research facilities, IT environments, wherever appropriate, to facilitate an online-based hybrid learning environment.