Brac Founder and Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed said all institutions related to higher education should work towards improving the quality of education alongside the government and universities.
He said this while addressing as keynote speaker at a conference titled “Assembly on Higher Education” held at the Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate building on the Dhaka University (DU) campus on Sunday.
The Brac founder also said the current ratio of teacher-student and the lack of qualified teachers are the two main reasons behind the low quality of higher education in our country, adding that all the components and the educational sector as a whole must be developed for the country’s interest.
Department of International Relations and History of DU in association with Freidrich-Ebert-Stiftung Bangladesh (FES) based in Germany arranged the program to brainstorm ideas on challenges and opportunities faced by the higher education.
While presenting the keynote speech Abed said: “A research and development council in each university should work with the private sector to develop and support a research agenda and promote start-ups for linking research to application.”
“The prevailing teacher-student ratio is not sufficient to enable university teachers to engage in teaching, outside class advising and interaction with students, and to pursue research and professional development activities,” he added.
He held the lack of professionalism and skills responsible for the limited achievement of students and graduates not quite matching market needs.
“Professional development of university teachers is limited to obtaining an advanced degree in the respective discipline and they are seldom trained to acquire pedagogical skill and engage students in an active learning process,” said Abed.
In order to achieve global competitiveness he stressed the need of knowledge and skills to be effective teachers in order to accompany young learners in their journey to learn and grow.
Mentioning that no nation has reached a “developed country” status without building a decent higher education system including some top-notch institutions which could be described as “world class,” he said “we have a long way to go.”
At the conference, Assistant Professor of Economics at East West University Parvez Karim Abbasi marked some areas of improvement for the private universities during his presentation.
The areas he focused on are minimizing the high tuition fees, building permanent and residential campuses through subsidiary on land acquisition, establishing a common virtual and enriched library, scope for the teachers’ and students’ representation on issues affecting their interests and concerns.
German Ambassador to Bangladesh Dr Thomas Prinz, North South University VC Professor Atique Islam, Independent University Bangladesh VC Professor M Omar Rahman, Rajshahi University Pro-VC Professor Dr Ananda Kumar Saha were present as guest of honor among others. Professor Dr Nasreen Ahmad, Pro-Vice Chancellor of DU presided over the conference.
Professor Imtiaz Ahmed of Department of International Relations of DU conducted the program with over 1,000 students from different universities of the capital, researchers and teachers in attendance.