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Unemployment the biggest challenge in Bangladesh

Publication Date : 11-07-2014


Nearly one-third of Bangladeshi youths are either unemployed or underemployed, leaving a large chunk of potential labour of the developing country unutilised or underutilised.

The situation is worse in the case of female youths having a higher rate of unemployment than their male counterparts, in spite of their educational achievement.

But youths, aged between 15 and 29, who constitute over one-fourth of the total population, can be made into assets for the country if they are educated and trained well, experts said.

Amid this scenario, Bangladesh, along with the rest of the world, is set to observe the World Population Day with the theme “Invest in youth for a good future for all.”'

“Bangladesh enjoys a very youthful population,” said Argentina Matavel Piccin, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative in Bangladesh.

“If equipped with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to take informed actions at the individual, household, community and national levels, the young people of today could spearhead unprecedented, inclusive and sustainable development,” she added.

According to the World Population Prospects, 2012 Revision by the UN Population Division, the youth population of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) was 24.8 per cent in 1970, 28.4 per cent in 1990 and it would be 28.7 per cent in 2015.

However, the proportion of youths will go down to 18.1 per cent in 2055, according to the UNFPA's prediction.

According to the 2011 census of population and housing, 32 per cent of youths in the potential labour force are either unemployed or underemployed.

Of all groups in the labour force, youths aged 15 to 19 years have the highest rate of unemployment, more than four times the rate of unemployed people aged 35 and over, as per the census.

While Bangladesh's total unemployment rate is 4.53 per cent, youth unemployment rate for males is 6.8 per cent and the female 8.5 per cent.

Rushidan Islam Rahman, research director of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, said mostly school dropouts remained unemployed.

“Various types of skilled training can be useful to utilise these young people who have dropped out of school and are not employed.

“This can be done through investment in public-private partnership programmes and in collaboration with prospective employers, who will generate demand,” she said, adding that investment in skills training can be made targeting young people who aspire to get jobs overseas.


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