Fri. Jun 14th, 2024
MD Bayazid Khan

Education is the most powerful driver of promoting employment through developing youths to workforces for the labour markets. In Bangladesh and other South Asian countries educated or low- to-high skilled workers are associated with the formal jobs while unskilled or uneducated or poorly educated workforces are associated with informal jobs. And more than eighty percent of workers are engaged in the informal economy of these countries.

Modern economies have been observing a technological revolution for more than half a century. Now, artificial intelligence, robotics, internet-of-things, block chain etc. are rapidly changing the economies, societies, and cultures. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is changing every spectrum of human life as well as the nature and movement of the labour markets. The most significant impact of 4IR will be felt in the labour market. Low-skilled and repetitive work will be carried out by machines. Machines will be able to work better and faster. Of course, new types of jobs will emerge with higher productivity and higher pay. New products and services will be in demand. So, new skills and new jobs will be required. But who will get those jobs and how the labour market will cope with the technological “disruption” or what will be the fate of unskilled workforces or informal job markets are important issues that should be explored.

The quality and productivity of tomorrow’s work environment hinges on the education, skills, creative capacity, and employability of today’s youth, especially on how well they are integrated into the rapidly evolving digital and artificial intelligence era representing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The massive challenge will be focused on preparing tomorrow’s youths for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). Virtually the 4IR may require a poor number of only high skilled workforces in the very competitive labour markets. So, it will also be the toughest challenge to develop a massive number of tomorrow’s workforces with the employability skills for ensuring their employment to sectors like agriculture, tourism, nursing, agro-based farming and other informal sectors of the economy. Considering the labour market implications of the 4IR, the governments needs to think differently for primary and secondary tiers of education with a view to build tomorrow’s youths as effective workforces for both formal and informal jobs. So, both primary and secondary tiers of education inevitably require revision of the curriculum for attaining career-developing skills by tomorrow’s youths beside attaining foundational skills in literacy and numeracy.

Both primary and secondary education must be introduced “Livelihood Education” aiming to develop skills such as workforce readiness, soft skills, technical skills and entrepreneurship among learners. Curriculum as well as class wise contents of the Livelihood Education should be developed on considering  building or development of aforesaid skills among tomorrow’s youths.  There should be the blended method of classroom  and laboratory based teaching-learning with field level practical learning opportunities for attaining aforesaid four skills of Livelihood Education at secondary schools. But primary schools should have the learning opportunities of knowing introductory conceptions of all four skills of Livelihood Education. Primary school students may have the opportunities of acquiring practical knowledge and attitude on above mentioned skills through keeping the provision of visiting concerned workplaces.

Livelihood Education must emphasise on developing the following four skills besides attaining functional learning skills in literacy and numeracy by learners at schools.

Workforce readiness is the basic skill which is the first step on the road to employability. The purpose of the skill is to support learners in finding and securing employment by instilling foundational skills on digital literacy, self-preservation, social norms, time management, professionalism, etiquette, resume writing etc.

Soft skills that include communication, critical & creative thinking, collaboration, adaptability, teamwork, empathy, self-confidence etc are the skills of supporting learners to integrate and collaborate with workplace stakeholders such as customers, co-workers and management.

Technical skills are the knowledge and capabilities that give learners technical expertise to perform job-specific tasks. This may help learners to develop both technology-based skills and other job-specific skills (nursing, farming etc).

Entrepreneurship skills will support learners in creating their own business as well as entry into freelance, contract work, gig work etc.

In addition to the development of four skills, Livelihood Education should also have the opportunity of inspiring learners to lifelong learning that help them to improve the level of skills fit for participating effectively in the continuously changing landscape of work because of 4IR. So, the teaching-learning process at schools should focus on fostering an atmosphere that encourages students to continue studying realising the importance of keeping their knowledge and abilities up-to-date.

The writer has been working for primary education in Bangladesh since 1997.

By Md Bayazid Khan - Bangladesh

The writer works for primary education in Bangladesh.

One thought on “Prepare tomorrow’s workforces for the Fourth Industrial Revolution”
  1. There’s no doubt that the curriculum being followed in our educational institutions is unable to address issue of unemployment of our country. Therefore preparing learners/students for rapidly changing world is a dire need for both formal and informal education. Significant efforts have been made in private sector but since education has become a business commodity a common man is not having access to quality education. Our neighboring countries especially Bangladesh has been investing in youth through their skill development programs, realizing the very fact that it will surely be contributing in their country economy and development.

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