Innovative Policy 2017 on Employment and Vocational Education & Training

A target and a push for inclusive skills training and employment

With support from ILO, the European Union and Canada, the Directorate of Technical Education has initiated a reform to promote an inclusive skills system. It includes a 5 per cent enrolment target for persons with disabilities, the training of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) staff in disability inclusion, developing pilot training, and engaging potential employers. In 2016, it resulted already in 328 enrolees and 60 trainees gaining employment.

National Skills Development Policy, Draft National Strategy for Disability Inclusion in Skills Development
of origin
Responsible bodyDirectorate of Technical Education (DTE); International Labour Organisation


Based on the National Skills Development Policy of 2011, which sets out a framework for improving skills training for all while also establishing an overall enrolment target of 5 per cent for persons with disabilities, Bangladesh and ILO’s work for inclusion in skills and employment focuses on the Directorate of Technical Education’s (DTE) innovative practices and its departmental policy of a 5 per cent admission quota for persons with disabilities. As of 2016, 140 vice-principals of TVET Institutes were trained in disability inclusion, DTE enrolled 328 students with disabilities, and 80 per cent of the 80 trained persons with disabilities got a job.


To address the main barriers – negative attitudes and a lack of accessible infrastructure – that hinder persons with disabilities to be included in the skills system, the National Skills Development Policy (NSDP) was established. The NSDP is a major outcome of a skills reform project funded by the Government, European Union and the ILO, and underpinned by the Disabled Welfare Act of 2001. In 2009, a first draft of the policy was finalised and consultations were held, before it was then approved in 2012. In 2013, the NSDP Implementation Plan (2013-16) further clarified the responsibilities of all stakeholders. In 2015, Directorate of Technical Education issued a Circular to implement the 5 per cent admission quota for persons with disabilities.

A beneficiary of the Skills Development Policy at work  © International Labour Organisation

A beneficiary of the Skills Development Policy at work  © International Labour Organisation


Combining bottom-up & top-down
DTE’s approach is top-down in terms of the 5 per cent admission quota and national guidelines, while at the same time being bottom-up in terms of introducing disability in the TVET institutes’ annual action plans, budgets, performance appraisal, and monitoring.

Demand- and supply-focused
It is key to work on both demand and supply: with employers so employment opportunities are accessible, and with trainers so persons with disabilities are skilled.

Piloting effectiveness
The approach is tested in government, private and NGO-run training institutes to demonstrate the benefits of disability inclusion and to learn lessons that may be disseminated among stakeholders.


  • Initial year: 2012
  • Eleven pilot training courses in three sectors were established in five government department, non-governmental organizations and private TVET institutes.
  • Five TVET institutes are in the process of establishing partnerships with disabled people’s organizations.
  • 146 employers were warmed up about employing persons with disabilities.
  • An Employers’ Guide to Disability Inclusion in the Workplace & a Guideline for Disability Inclusion in TVET Institutes published.

«Bangladesh is showcased as the “gold standard”, in terms of breadth and depth of its skills work.»


Bangladesh’s National Skills Development Policy of 2012, implemented by the DTE and monitored by the National Skills Development Council with advice of the ILO, is reforming the vocational training sector to become more inclusive. NSDP recommends the creation of an implementation strategy to upgrade facilities, train instructors, provide accommodations, and enrol 5 per cent people with disabilities in skill programmes. In 2014, a Draft National Strategy for Disability Inclusion in Skills Development was produced, and three ministries have since developed such a plan. In 2015, DTE issued its own departmental policy for a 5 per cent admission quota for persons with disabilities; and it encouraged all TVET institutes to partner with disabled people’s organizations and to include disability in their plans, budgets, procurement, and appraisals. In 2016, the Bangladesh Business and Disability Network (BBDN) was launched. Until 2015, there was a five-year budget of US$20 million provided by the EU. Currently, Canada supports the reform efforts.


  • According to BBDN, employers were extremely satisfied with employees with disabilities.
  • ILO Headquarters has recognized Bangladesh’s efforts and plans to document its lessons.
  • DTE is implementing the 5 per cent admission quota to reach the target by 2018.
  • Pilot programmes will train 200 disabled people, and employers have indicated their intention to hire all of them. The 5 per cent admissions quota will lead to 25,000 trainees with disabilities.


The reform is a major outcome of the EU-funded project, and DTE is planning to disseminate their experience to 21 other ministries so these processes will be widely replicated. Further, the initiative’s success is likely to lead to disability inclusion in the programmes of other donors.


Mr. Ashoke Kumar BISWAS
Directorate of Technical Education, F-4/B. Agargaon Administrative Area, Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka 1207, Bangladesh
Phone: +88 0171 877 75 79

Mr. Kishore Kumar SINGH
International Labour Organization – Bangladesh, House-S.E(G) 2, Road-140, Gulshan-1
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Phone: +88 01727099191


National Skill Development Policy, 2012: ; ILO, 2007-2015: ILO, 2012-2018: ; ILO Approach to Disability, 2016: