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       Volume 7 | Issue 04| January 27, 2013 |


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Connecting Classrooms

Skills for the Future – A British Council Initiative

Sareka Jahan
Project Coordinator- Connecting Classrooms and Skills
British Council, Bangladesh

Guests at the event.

Over the last 3 months the British Council Bangladesh, in association with the Bangladesh Technical Education Board and the Directorate of Technical Education, has been organising a nationwide Enterprise Challenge Award. This competition is part of the British Council's 'Skills for Employability' programme and included training sessions on social entrepreneurship, marketing and presentational skills. The finals of this competition took place on 29th December 2012 in the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka. Dr. Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Secretary, Ministry of Education graced the event as the Chief Guest. Professor Md. Abul Kashem, Chairmen, Bangladesh Technical Education Board and Mr. Aftab ul Islam, FCA, President, American Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh were also present.

Dividing the country into 10 clusters, the British Council facilitated creative competitions among different Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutes over the period Nov - Dec 2012. This competition offered rare opportunities for young students to showcase their innovative ideas, motivation and enthusiasm. More than 1,150 students from 230 TVET institutions took part in the workshops which developed and demonstrated the benefits of social entrepreneurship and the theoretical and practical guidelines of developing project plans.

The panel of judges were faced with the difficult challenge of selecting only 20 finalists from the 230 participating institutions across Bangladesh. These 20 creative teams were awarded the opportunity to compete in the finals event in Dhaka. A national panel of judges selected the Champion team and the Runners up for 2012.

The Champion team, Bangladesh Survey Institute, Comilla was awarded first prize of BDT 100,000 and the Runner Up team, Tangail Polytechnic Institute, was presented with BDT 75,000. To further enhance their skills on social entrepreneurship, these teams will receive further training in the end of January at the British Council. The champion team will receive an additional learning and competitive opportunity - to represent Bangladesh at the “International Virtual Enterprise Challenge Award” in March 2013 and compete against the winning teams from South Africa, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Vietnam and Egypt in a global competition.

The British Council 'Skills for Employability' project gives young people ample opportunities to showcase their innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial skills. Its aim is to inspire young people aged between 16 and 21 to embrace creativity and get involved in entrepreneurship programmes through motivation and skills development. They are encouraged to come up with practical business plans to address common social problems like waste management and energy conservation using the skills they acquire from the training sessions provided by the British Council. This, in turn, helps them to become aware, responsible citizens with a global perspective as well as developing team work, problem solving, effective communication, financial management and leadership skills.

Given the national priorities and requirements for skills development, the British Council will expand their intervention in this area and continue to devote resources and energy to prepare the next generation - the future leaders of the nation. British Council's initiative, 'Enterprise Challenge Award' was highly appreciated by all the participants and the guests who attended the final national event. It is hoped that this initiative will go some way to improving national entrepreneurship capacity, unemployment and eventually introducing a more skilled younger generation to the world of social entrepreneurship.

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