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8 November, 2019 12:44:14 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 November, 2019 05:20:59 PM

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Weak IT curriculum deprives students of jobs abroad

Bangladeshis fail in IT Engineers' Exam which is accepted in China, Japan, Korea, Singapore
HARUN UR RASHID, Dhaka
Weak IT curriculum deprives students of jobs abroad

A weak curriculum in information and technology (IT)-related subjects at the tertiary level of education in the country is depriving students of lucrative international jobs, especially in Japan. University Grants Commission (UGC) sources said Japan is a big job market for Bangladeshi graduates having degrees in IT-related subjects.

But Japanese industries provide jobs to those international students who have knowledge and skills in multi-disciplinary subjects like business strategy management, business industry, and corporate and legal affairs, along with sound IT knowledge and proficiency in the Japanese language.

Sources said a large number of graduates are coming out of both public and private universities every year with IT-related certificates, but they do not have knowledge and skill in other multi-disciplinary subjects and the Japanese language.

As a result, when these students appear for the Information Technology Engineers' Examination (ITEE), a national level IT engineers' exam organised by the Information Technology Promotion Agency (IPA), Japan, many of them come out unsuccessful. The examinees have to obtain 60 per cent marks out of 100 to get a certificate for getting jobs in Japanese industries, UGC sources said.

There are currently two levels of ITEE exams in Bangladesh—Level-1 is IT Passport Exam (IP), which is suitable for IT and non-IT professionals and graduates, while Level-2 is FE, which is suitable for IT professionals and graduates and fourth-year computer science and engineering/IT-related students.

Sources said most of the Bangladeshi IT students fail the ITEE exams because the curriculum of Bangladeshi universities does not match  the required standards of the job industries in Japan and other countries.

On the other hand, the students of other Asian countries are doing well because they have coped with the curriculum required by global job markets.  

ITEE is widely accepted in the Asian region and its certification is mutually recognised in China, Chinese Taipei, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, sources said.

Bangladesh joined the Information Technology Professional Examination Council (ITPEC) as a member country on September 1, 2014. UGC sources said the Bangladesh government is conducting and implementing ITEE here by the Bangladesh IT-Engineers' Examination Centre (BD-ITEC) of the Bangladesh Computer Council under the ICT Division.

Sources said approximately 600,000 applicants around the world take part in this exam each year. The ITEE exams are conducted on the same date and time with the same set of questions among all ITPEC member countries. The exams are conducted twice a year, generally in April and October.

But sources in the UGC and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is assisting students obtain the ITEE certification, said the pass rate in the exams is not up to the mark.

JICA sources said they have been working from 2013 in this area through the B-JET programme. So far, 12 batches (each batch consists of 40 students) have obtained the training programme to develop skilled ICT engineers to work in Japanese companies till April 2019. A total of 2,592 students appeared for the ITEE exams, but only 188 passed.

At present, 121 graduates are working in different Japanese companies after obtaining B-JET training, JICA said.

UGC and JACA sources said though approximately 5,000 to 8,000 students take part in the ITEE exams in isolation, but only 8 to 10 per cent of them pass the exams. This is very poor compared to other countries.

They have identified that a time-befitting curriculum is necessary to grasp the huge job markets in Japan and other countries in the IT sector.  

Against this backdrop, the UGC is going to hold talks with the authorities, especially vice-chancellors of public and private universities, at a workshop titled "Skills Development of ICT Engineers on ITEE Targeting Japanese Market" at the UGC auditorium on 13 November .

UGC member Prof. Md Sazzad Hossain told The Independent yesterday: “We have talented students in the IT sector, but our graduates are not getting a large number of jobs in foreign countries, especially in Japan that offers opportunities for jobs in IT- related industries. For this, we need to incorporate some additional subjects along with an IT-related curriculum. Besides, our students need Japanese language proficiency.”

“If we want to tackle the fourth industrial revolution, we have to equip our IT students with multidisciplinary subjects which are required in other countries,” he said.

“Japan is a big market for us. We have fixed a target to send 10,000 graduates to Japan within three years. If we can send our graduates there, it will help us in technology transfer and knowledge-sharing. These students will become our assets,” he observed.

“We want to provide necessary support to universities so that they can upgrade or revise their curriculum to cope with world needs. During the upcoming workshop, we would make them aware of it,” he added.

“The UGC is ready to provide all sorts of support, including training of teachers for achieving this goal,” he stressed.

Sazzad Hossain said a multi-sectoral approach by all concerned is necessary to make Bangladeshi graduates more efficient for international jobs.

 

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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