The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Grameenphone Ltd collaborated to mark the World Youth Skills Day by organizing a virtual event titled “Get Future Ready: Need for Skills” on July 15 to raise nationwide awareness and take action to support the nation’s need for upskilling youth.
Under this programme, multiple online dialogues with youth and policymakers were organized to bridge the gap, focusing on the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills and find a lasting solution to transform the country’s massive youth population into a future-ready youth dividend.
Attending the “Get Future Ready: Need for Skills” webinar as the chief guest, Planning Minister MA Mannan said, “Relevant skills are necessary for today’s young generation to help the nation in fighting the pandemic.” He urged all the relevant authorities to spearhead the learning curve for the youth, embedding cutting edge skills in the process. The Minister also mentioned that the government is committed to the vision of transforming the country, collaborating with all.
Earlier, Yasir Azman, CEO, Grameenphone Ltd, presented the keynote paper on “Get Future Ready”, which highlighted the skills required for a resilient youth in the era of COVID 19 and beyond. He also shared how young people have been living through the health and socio-economic crisis brought by the pandemic. Azman said, “We are committed to unleashing the potential of our nation by ensuring a youth-first approach, enabling them to develop relevant competencies and expertise to become future leaders. Upskilling youth and accelerating the ongoing technological revolution will help us tackle challenges in a post COVID19 era, sustain growth momentum as LDC graduate and realize our country’s Vision 2041.” Grameenphone CEO also announced a series of Masterclass together with UNDP for empowering youth with soft skills.
Followed by the keynote presentation, a panel discussion was held, moderated by Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor of a2i. Taking part in the panel discussion, Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP, said, “There is an emergency need for social safety nets even if temporary to help the ones most suffering to weather the crisis and get back on their feet, especially in countries like Bangladesh where most are ‘hard-working’, and want to remain productive.” He further added, “If we don’t want to leave anyone behind, we need to opt for a data-driven approach. Understanding good analytics and getting good data is an area Grameenphone and UNDP partnership can definitely work on.”
Dulal Krishna Saha, Executive Chairman, NSDA (Secretary), Prime Minister’s Office, said, “On one hand, the modern manufacturing service sector is experiencing an acute shortage of skilled workers; on the other hand, there is high unemployment and joblessness rate among young educated people. There is a gap because training is not need-based and market-driven, the curriculum is not competency-based, and no connectivity between educational institutes and the industry. We need to address these, and we need demand-driven skill training.”
Among others, Md. Mashiur Rahman, Vice-Chancellor, National University, Rasheda K Choudhury, Executive Director, CAMPE, Lotte Kejser, Chief Technical Adviser, ILO Bangladesh, also spoke during the discussion.
Earlier that day, GP Accelerator, which has been at the forefront of empowering tech startups with the resources they need to build, grow, and Go Beyond hosted a webinar on “Impact of 4IR and skills-readiness of Bangladesh’s startup ecosystem” on behalf of Grameenphone and UNDP Bangladesh. Syed Almas Kabir, President, BASIS; Shameem Ahsan, President, Venture Capital & Private Equity Association of Bangladesh; Solaiman Alam, Chief Digital & Strategy Officer, Grameenphone; Cynthia Cheung, Youth Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Consultant, UNDP Asia-Pacific and Mohammad Oli Ahad, Founder, Intelligent Machines graced the webinar and shared their insights and directions to enable our startups to reap the benefits of digitalization. Md. Khairul Basher (Moderator), Head of Communications, Grameenphone moderated the session.