STEP: An effective initiative for the development of TVET in Bangladesh

A B M Azad ndc , Joint Secretary & Project Director, STEP

To face the challenges of 21st century the Government of Bangladesh has undertaken a series of actions and reform programs in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector. As a part of the initiative, the Directorate of Technical Education of Technical and Madrasah Education Division under the Ministry of Education has been implementing “Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP)” since 2010. The project aims to improve the quality, relevance and efficiency of TVET in view of increasing employability of technical graduates at home and abroad with special focus to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of the general mass, in particular.

 

The specific objectives of the project are:

  1. To enhance the quality and relevance of TVET as a part of meeting the strategic options of the poverty reduction agenda of the government;
  2. To strengthen the overall TVET system through (a) direct start-up and operational support to Industry Skills Councils (ISC) and the National Skills Development Council and (b) support to SSC (Vocational) Schools;
  3. To strengthen the capacity of key institutions i.e., Directorate of Technical Education (DTE), Bangladesh  Technical Education  Board  (BTEB) and Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET).
  4. To  establish  a   project   management  and   implementation  structure, implement communication strategy and undertake monitoring and evaluation.

 

Estimated cost of the project, jointly funded by the Government of Bangladesh, Canada (CIDA) and the World Bank, amounts to BDT 17,820 million. Activities of the project are divided into four components. Component-wise major activities and implementation progress till the date are given below:

Component 1: Improving the Quality and Relevance of Training

Implementation Grant: Main activity of the component is to provide financial support as implementation grant to selected public and private polytechnic institutions for institutional development. Specific eligibility and selection criteria have been used to select the institutions and sanction has been determined on the basis of their respective Institutional Development Plans (IDPs). The grant has been used for infrastructure rehabilitation and refurbishment, modernization of equipment and teaching-learning instruments, capacity development through training, cost of study tours, and exposure visits, contractual hiring and remuneration of guest faculty from industry, students’ training materials and industry visits, improvements of institutional administration, outreach, communications and placement etc. All these would help to develop the quality of the institute as well as the TEVT in Bangladesh.

Stipend for Diploma Students: Stipend has been being provided to socio- economically disadvantaged students of selected public and private polytechnic institute. Each selected student receives Taka 800.00 per month. Selection of students for stipend has been determined on PMT system and more or less 50% of  the  interested applicants  became  awarded  following  specific  terms  and conditions. However, all (100%) interested female diploma students are getting stipend.

In addition, full teaching strength has been provided to all public polytechnic institutions, level playing field for competition and equity among public and private institutions has been ensured and linkage between institute and industry has been strengthened.

Short Term Training: Short term (six months/360 hours) training has been provided to  132,093 youth  through 71  selected public and  private  training providers of the country. Interested institutions had to submit a development proposal after meeting basic eligibility and certain selection criteria. Selected institutions have been provided a grant of Taka 21,500 against its every trainee enrolled in a course. This amount has been used to cover: (a) tuition costs to the institution, (b) Taka 700 per month as stipend to each trainee and (c) rest of the amount would be used for institutional development as per their approved IDPs.

Moreover, 7,635 semi-skilled laborers and officials involved in labor management have been trained in collaboration with BGMEA and other relevant organizations.

Progress of the component:

 

  • 162 diploma level polytechnic institutes (53 Public, 109 Private) selected on competitive basis as ‘eligible’ for stipend. Provided stipend to 2,40,118 (5,81,074 SY) students @ BDT 800 per month;
  • 56  diploma  level  polytechnics  (37  Public,  19  Private)  selected  for implementation grant;
  • 80 short course training providing institutes (51 Public, 29 Private) selected and getting grants;
  • 1,32,093 trainees received short course training and stipend @ BDT 700 per month;
  • 34% intake increased at selected polytechnic institutes;
  • 49% short term trainees are being employed within six months of passing out;
  • Interactive database for short course trainees established centrally and locally;
  • A total of 1,278 contractual Teachers recruited for all public polytechnics. 839 of them are now in service;
  • A  total  of  8,289  principals, teachers and  staff  of  selected polytechnic institutes and short training providers have been trained at home and abroad.

 

Component 2: Pilots in TVET

NSDC Secretariat: National Skills Development Council (NSDC) Secretariat has been assisting in strengthening the overall regulatory and legislative framework for the TVET in the country. The Secretariat has also been working to establish Industry Skills Councils (ISCs) to develop industry-led standards, training products and services. STEP would be providing all sorts of support to run the activities of NSDC and would ensure special focus in establishing ISCs in the country.

SSC (Voc) Piloting: Under this component, support would also be given to assess the quality of SSC (Voc) institutes and effective measures be taken to develop the quality on piloting basis.

RPL Certification: There are people in our society who have technical skills and work experience but have no institutional certificate. STEP would bring them under the umbrella and provide Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) certificates as per their standard.

 

Progress of the component:

 

  • Provided seed financing and partial operational cost to NSDC Secretariat;
  • Procurement plan, work plan, and governance and accountability action plan prepared by NSDCS and actions taken accordingly;
  • STEP/NSDCS team formed to implement NSDC/ISCs activities. Already 12 ISCs established;
  • Computer, furniture and office equipment/accessories supplied to NSDCS and ISCs;
  • Present situation of SSC (Voc) analyzed. Primarily 20 institutes have been selected and piloting for Industrial Apprenticeship has been running in 20 SSC (Voc) institutes.
  • A total of 31,330 persons have been provided Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) certificates through 20 selected RPL Centers.

 

Component 3: Institutional Capacity Development

This component aims to  strengthen the  DTE, BTEB and  BMET  –  the  key organizations responsible for management and quality assurance of the TVET sector. The project would help to strengthen the administrative, management, inspection and monitoring capacity of the organizations.

 

Progress of the component:

 

  • 8,289 principals, teachers and staff under DTE, BTEB, BMET and PMU has been trained on administrative, management, pedagogical, procurement, FM and M&E system;
  • Action plan for DTE, BTEB and BMET has been prepared and being implemented accordingly;
  • Equipment of MIS has been installed and commissioned at DTE, BTEB and BMET. Strengthening of HRMIS of the organizations is at final stage;
  • Digitalization of registration system of BTEB is in progress;
  • Effective measures have been taken to ensure free and fair examination and to make TVET popular in the country;
  • M&E unit in BTEB established and running in full swing;
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) System has been re-introduced with setting up of 20 RPL centers;
  • Upgradation of  affiliation, registration, certification etc.  of  BTEB is  in progress;
  • Registration system for new enrolled trainees under BMET introduced;
  • Examination and certification system of short course trainees has been ungraded with the commencement of central control;
  • Upgradation of immigration database of BMET is at final stage;
  • Technical  Teachers’  Training  Institute  (TTTI)  for  short  term  training providers has been established in Dhaka;
  • Vertical  extension  of  BMET  and  DTE  building  is  complete.  Further expansion of additional new three floors of DTE building is also in progress.

 

Component 4: Project Management and Communications, and Monitoring and Evaluation

Main activity of the component is to establish a project management unit (PMU), which would implement the above planned activities along with communication, and monitoring and evaluation activities to popularize TVET and ensure smooth implementation of the project.

 

Progress of the component:

  • PIU established at DET Building. Sufficient staff and consultants deployed;
  • Procurement and work plans for PIU and sub-projects prepared and are being implemented;
  • Provided almost all the support to stakeholders as described in DPP;
  • Various  training,  workshops,  seminars  and  conferences  have  been organized;
  • Communication materials like poster, leaflet, brochure, billboards, TV & Radio advertisements etc. have been developed to disseminate information;
  • Organized Skills Competition and Job Fair at local, regional and central levels;
  • M&E data collection format has been prepared and rigorous monitoring is going on using result based framework;
  • Governance and Accountability Action Plan (GAAP) is being implemented;
  • Accounting software for financial management has been introduced for smooth financial transaction;
  • Implementation progress of the project has consecutively been ranked ‘satisfactory’ by the development partners.

 

At this stage of implementation, STEP has created huge impact on TVET system in Bangladesh. Quality of the education has been remarkably developed, pass rate increased, female enrollment boosted, industry-institute linkage strengthened, employment rate increased and TVET became popular among the youth. Commencing from July 2010 the project was supposed to end in 2016. But its satisfactory implementation progress has inspired the Government and the development partners to extend the tenure till June 2019.

It is expected that on successful implementation, the project will result in with improving the quality, relevance and efficiency of the TVET education and training in the country with increased employability which will help a lot to build a better Bangladesh.