The ongoing Covid-19 is a lethal disease which has expedited unemployment for the educated youths in Bangladesh. Educated unemployment is an economic crisis when a large number of educated people are unable to secure job because of lack of employment opportunities.
This type of unemployment happens when government offices, private offices, banks, industries, factories, employment exchanges/ job centres, etc. cannot provide jobs for all the educated job seekers and the job seekers are large in number than that of the posts of jobs. In Bangladesh, graduate and post-graduate people are called educated youths.
A huge number of private service holders including several guardians of educated people were sent into forced retirement with some money or without money. In such cases, a large number of educated unemployed youths in Bangladesh have fallen below the poverty line since March last week due to some constraints like quarantine, isolation and even lockdown for saving lives.
In 2019, the youth unemployment rate was 11.9% and it is expected to go up to 20.5% of the population or 33 million people will plunge into poverty in this year in the case of a three-month short containment scenario and 24.8% in the case of a six-month-long containment a (BBS & ILO), total unemployment in Bangladesh is 4.37%. Therefore, the job market in Bangladesh, as in globally, is likely to shrink over fears of an imminent global recession due to existence of the coronavirus.
The limited job market will be run for indefinite period which creates agony for the educated unemployed youths along with their families. Besides, the closure of educational institutions is affecting approximately 37 million students across the country and it is assumed that it will sustain for a longer period which will be dangerous with far-reaching economic and social consequences. Already the scope for skills development has shrunk for the educated unemployed youths of the country due to closing of firms. It is a matter of great apprehension that the pandemic will accelerate the volume of educated unemployed people in the country.
In Bangladesh, the government has declared lockdown relaxation giving importance to the lives of common people alongside their subsistence. But consumers and investors are afraid of contacting as the virus remains active for indefinite period. So, the educated youths will fail to restore to the pre-coronavirus levels. Bangladesh is set to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and a developed country by 2041. The government has taken a few initiatives to support self-employment of educated youths through technical training centers all over the country by providing a start-up fund in this regard, but it is not being implemented well due to presence of the pandemic, according to economists.
Unplanned quota system is shrinking opportunities of the educated people and only a few percentage of educated job seekers can secure a government job. In this connection, meritorious youths are being deprived of government job. Lacking proficiency of special knowledge in specific area is also liable to make jobless for our educated people. As for example, a person with MBBS degree can apply for job in police service as per existing rule. The youths always consider the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) as the preferable job. On December 31, 2019, Bangladesh Public Service Commission (BPSC) circulated a notice for the appointment of 41st BCS, but the preliminary examination has remained postponed due to the pandemic.
Many prospective BCS applicants along with other government jobseekers will likely to cross the maximum age limit soon who will be deprived of getting government service. The government declared already age relaxation up to 6(six) months only for the upcoming BCS examination which is a positive development for the candidates. Meanwhile, the academic life of the students will be a prolonged one. Albeit educational institutions have started online classes, but acute session jam is waiting due to Covid-19.
Finally, it may be recommended that the government should have to ensure specialization and subject based job opportunities; fields and posts should be reshuffled proportionately based on subject and skilled specializations in this regard. As for example, MBBS passed candidate should not be allowed to apply for police service and in the same way a graduate or post-graduate on zoology will not become a banker.
Government should build up a large number of educated youths as human resources in a more effective manner. Quality education should be ensured with upgrading the curriculum at all levels. A separate ministry for human resources could be launched which will make a database for assessing the needs of the industry and the number of students attaining various kinds of education qualifications every year.
Educated unemployed youths should have to follow the directives of the prime minister. She has emphasized them to be self-employed. In this connection, they have options to innovate private job opportunities by self-initiatives.
Financial and medical supports should be ensured to the most vulnerable youths with the healthcare packages, education related assistance expansions, inclusion of unemployed youths in the social safety network, creation of employment retention schemes, tax relief or interest-free loans to SMEs operated by youths, motivation of youths in skill development programme. The government should formulate a two-year plan to face the challenges of the post-Covid-19.
Bangladesh’s economy has seen massive growth in the recent years and the remedial measures have been taken seriously by the government for the educated unemployed youths as well as common people of Bangladesh based on existing and post- pandemic impacts.
The writer is a retired professor of management and principal. Email: [email protected]