University education must be improved to achieve the SDGs: experts

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The quality of education in universities needs to be improved to develop people’s skills, which is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), experts said at a seminar.

“The quality of education must be given the utmost importance to advance the economy as a whole. Innovative initiatives should be encouraged in the overall curriculum, ”said Prof. Mustafizur Rahman, researcher at the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), at the seminar organized by the Center on Budget and Policy and the Department of development studies from Dhaka University on Sunday.

He said the link between the industry and the academy needs to be strengthened so that university graduates can be employed productively.

“In addition, to ensure inclusive development, we need to look at existing and emerging challenges. According to the SDG 2021 report, Bangladesh faces significant challenges at different levels in 15 of the 17 SDGs. He recommended including these targets in national planning strategies. to meet the challenges, ”continued the CPD fellow.

Quoting a report from the Department of Economic Relations, Mustafizur Rahman said the country will need around $ 928 billion by 2030 to achieve the SDGs. Of this amount, 5% ($ 48 billion) is expected to come from foreign sources. The rest has to be organized from internal sources, which is a major challenge.

This particular challenge must be met by changing the tax structure and tax collection, he said.

Mustafizur Rahman added: “The labor market urgently needs to be improved by creating productive employment opportunities to reduce national income inequality and reduce poverty”.

He also said that over 85% of the country’s workforce is engaged in the informal sector.

The private sector should be encouraged to create jobs for marginalized people, especially people with physical disabilities, he said.

In addition, the focus should be on improving quality in each sector as well as investing in important sectors like health and social security, he continued.

Efforts should also be made to address the challenges of gender inequality and gender-based violence as well as to create secure and decent employment opportunities for women, he suggested.

Professor Mustafizur Rahman also warned those affected that after graduating from Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Bangladesh will lose many of the facilities it currently enjoys. Many cannot develop further from this state if they cannot provide good governance and leadership for their people. This places these countries in a trap and Bangladesh needs to develop the skills and productivity of the people to avoid it.

“After graduation, many countries fall into such a trap. Bangladesh must therefore take a holistic and inclusive approach to education to avoid the trap,” added Professor Mustafizur Rahman.

Addressing the seminar as the main guest, Minister of State for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam said universities need to take responsibility for improving the quality of education as they have their own agenda. and the government is ready to help them.

“For development, research is crucial. We are therefore going to increase the research budget.

He also said that the challenges of the SDG targets are outlined in several national plans like the Eighth Five Year Plan, Plan 2041 and Delta 2100 Plan.

“There are 244 indicators that mark progress towards achieving the SDGs. We have made good progress in many of them. A distribution of responsibilities between ministries and departments has been defined. In addition, the SDG Tracker has been introduced, through which the movement towards goal achievement is visible, “he said.

“The eighth five-year plan emphasizes regional development. The government is already implementing some local projects. This strategy is called” localization of the SDGs “,” he added.

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