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International Partnerships

Technical and vocational education and training reform in Bangladesh


Inequalities, stereotypes and conservative attitudes have for long defined the work market in Bangladesh, disadvantaging the employment of certain groups of the workforce (mainly women and young people) in modern high-wage jobs.

In this context, an 8-year project was launched in 2007 to reform the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system in Bangladesh, to make it more flexible and adapted to the modern-day market while giving a chance to underprivileged groups.

The project is an initiative of Bangladesh, assisted by the International Labour Organization (ILO). It ran until December 2015, with a total budget of €14,500,000, most of which was funded by the EU.


The project’s mission was to reform the TVET system, with the aim of harnessing the potential of young, female and other underprivileged groups, by giving them the necessary skills to compete for modern, fast-developing, and high-wage jobs.

The project supported the pro-poor growth agenda of Bangladesh’s Poverty reduction strategy paper by creating more employment opportunities for the poor and through overall capacity building.

It was divided into 5 main components:


TVET policies and legislation need to be reviewed and reinforced to ensure better governance, improved operational capacities, enhanced coordination and more decentralisation in the TVET sector.


To meet new labour demands and the need of disadvantaged groups for better training, the quality, responsiveness, and flexibility of the TVET system need to be enhanced.


Teachers need training to be able to understand and better respond to the need for alternative and more practical, competency-based training methods.


Relationships between TVET institutions and industry need to be developed, especially in economic sectors with high growth and export potentials, to ensure their competitiveness.


TVET needs to be accessible to all, including young people with low literacy, women, rural communities, disabled people etc., to improve everyone’s employability.


The project yielded concrete results:

  • The National skills development policy and action plan were approved in 2012. Extensive research was carried out and a new management structure for skills development was created.
  • The National technical and vocational qualification framework and the Monitoring information system were put in place, with the following outcomes:
    • more than 200 units of competence were developed in 12 occupations, with close to 50 qualifications
    • 120 competency-based learning materials were produced in 5 sectors
    • a quality assurance manual was created
  • An operational handbook for TVET institutions’ managers was produced and a new system for teachers’ training was launched. As a result:
    • more than 100 TVET institution managers and department heads received training
    • more than 400 teachers completed their certification
  • 5 industry skills councils were set up, as well as 2 centres of excellence, leading to:
    • 24 training programmes delivered in public institutions by industry instructors
    • more than 200 master assessors trained in 5 different sectors
    • the leather and transport sectors respectively taking on board 14,000 and 200 new apprentices
  • A model for informal apprenticeship was set up in more than 12 trades, 2,000 young people received a specific job training, and a system of recognition of prior learning (RPL) was created.
  • NGOs specialised in working with underprivileged young people offered training to more than 10,000 people, meeting the target of enrolling at least 25% of women, and a new strategy was designed specifically for disabled people in TVET.


TVET legal framework

The TVET legal and regulatory environment was improved, with a revision of the TVET policy. The TVET system gained in flexibility, quality, effectiveness and efficiency thanks to a revised structure and better governance, and monitoring and accountability were reinforced.

TVET-business linkages

In selected sectors, skills standards were updated, courses and curricula were reformed, learning at work was promoted, modern work practices were introduced, apprenticeships were developed and supported, and ties between TVET institutions and businesses were strengthened. Thanks to these measures, the employability of underprivileged groups improved, as they now have the opportunity to acquire the skills and qualifications demanded by employers from growing new sectors.

TVET access for all

Community-based training has been mainstreamed into the TVET system, better access to training and specific courses have been developed and offered to working children and people with low literacy, women’s access to training has been enhanced, and a better recognition system of prior learning is now in place.

International Labour Organization (ILO) – project page…

Funding instrument

Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI)

Implementing organisations

International Labour Organization (ILO)