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Education linked to need


FOR labour markets to work effectively, workers have to be occupationally mobile and possess the skills in demand. To achieve this a certain level of education and training is required. The private sector will tend to underprovide both education and training. But a better-educated and better-trained workforce provides benefits to society or country in the form of a more productive and adaptive workforce. Firms tend to underprovide education or training, in part because they fail to appreciate all the long-term benefits of the same, but also because they expect that some of the benefits will go to other firms if workers leave the firm.
Parents and children may also take a short-term view of education, being more concerned with the current rather than the future earning potential of teenagers. So, the government should promote education and training in a variety of ways including making attendance at school compulsory between certain ages, subsidising the provision of education and training so that it is free at the point of receiving those.
A recent study by a multilateral capital donor agency on the state of education in Bangladesh came up with the finding that in the quantitative sense facilities for education continue to expand in this country but it was not impressed by the quality of that education. Perhaps the study under mention considered education at the primary and secondary level while commenting positively about the expansion of educational facilities. For it is obvious and as anyone familiar with the situation knows it, the supply of diverse higher education and technical and job-oriented education in particular, plus the quality of such education, is rather poor in Bangladesh.
The challenges in the education sphere appear to be improving the quality of education at all levels and substantially expanding the scope for higher education or life-oriented technical, managerial and vocational education in the public sector.
The governments round the world are allocating greater resources for education as a cornerstone of their policies towards building human resources for economic growth and development. Bangladesh has been no exception to this trend but there are reasons for misgivings about the allocative efficiency of resources being spent for education in the context of Bangladesh.
Md Shahidullah
Tejgaon, Dhaka