Businesses and government officials on Saturday emphasised collaboration of public and private sectors for skills development initiatives to cope with the artificial intelligence as nearly two in five employees were threatened with job losses in the country due to automation.
The country’s academic curriculum needed to be redesigned based on the market demands to face the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, they said at a seminar on ‘Future Skills Required for Bangladesh’ organised by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Sonargaon Hotel in the capital.
‘Nearly 30 per cent of the workers have been displaced from the sweater sub-sector of the readymade garment sector because of automation. We should impart skills training to them so that they can make themselves competent for advanced jobs,’ Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president Faisal Samad said.
He emphasised the coordination among the skills providing agencies of the government to impart training in an inclusive manner.
DCCI president Osama Taseer said that although the country’s graduates were not getting desired jobs, many foreigners were dominating the job market and filling the vacancies at the technical and managerial levels in several industries.
He recommended an increase in impact investment in education, skills development and research and development.
Taseer said that the government should emphasise technical and vocational education in line with the industry demand.
National Skills Development Authority member Mohammad Rezaul Karim said that nearly two in five workers might face job losses in the RMG and textile sectors in the country because of automation.
Citing a government study on future skills, he said that the occupations of sewing machine operator, floor supervisor, pattern maker, quality control and merchandiser were under threat of job cuts due to mechanisation.
Rezaul presented a keynote paper at the event that said automation could leave millions of people jobless in the RMG and textile, agro food, furniture, tourism and hospitality and leather and footwear sectors.
He, however, said that every industrial revolution brought about opportunities alongside challenges and the fourth industrial revolution would create new occupations for the industrial sectors.
‘We have to replace our labour force with the automated system to sustain in the global competition,’ Rezaul added.
State minister for labour Monnujan Sufian said that the government had taken a number of initiatives to develop skills across the sectors and the National Skills Development Authority had been founded to coordinate the skill development schemes.
‘We have to think seriously about the impact of the fourth industrial revolution and shrinking job market. We have to reduce the gap between academic degrees and applied learning for jobs.’ she said.
The state minister said that two million young people entered the job market every year with inadequate skills as the existing academic curriculum was insufficient to make them competent for the jobs.
Principal secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office Md Nojibur Rahman, Bangladesh Employers’ Federation president Kamran T Rahman and Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation chairman Md Mostaque Hasan, among others, spoke at the event.
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