Reforming higher education in Bangladesh
Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed,Columnist & Researcher
The current education system is becoming outdated. Due to technological advances, traditional ways of doing business is also changing. This means students need to be creative and better at problem solving. In the past, a degree guaranteed a job, but that is no longer the case. Now young people with a degree are going home to play video games, because a job that previously needed a BA now needs an MA. With rising tuition and student loans, inflation in academic degrees and high unemployment rate, researchers are foreseeing a major disruption in the education sector.
Through Balaina declaration of Italy, an outline of higher education has been formulated which has been termed as a milestone in the era of education. With the changing of times & with the beginning of the new millennium, a very effective higher education policy has been introduced with the combined efforts of authority from govt. & non-govt. education sectors. Their objective was to meet the demand of changing labor markets & henceforth with these aims, a very cognizible education system and modern training methodology will be developed. The main focus of Balaina declaration was to formulate three types of higher education (Bachelor/Maters/Ph.D.). The second is to introduce quality assurance process. The third policy is the comprehensive & centripetal education system. Fourth one is the major inclusion of all methods. The most important agenda of the declaration was to enhance the capacity of employment. [Published in an article of The daily Ittefaque, date : 29 March, 2018]
The education system of 21th century directs the application of the methods which are in conformity with contents & capabilities. Without attaining skill the learners become an inactive machine to memorize things & finally their educational competence is proved futile. Again without contextual knowledge, it is impossible to find any solution of problems and to get the proper performance. The paradigm in higher education leads one to the interaction of contents, skill & create opportunity for innovation and research. To make the education system more congenial, it is necessary to be updated with new devices and techniques. With the changing of time, in the competitive world market there is no alternative of prudence and interpersonal communicative skill and analytical power. With this end in view, it has become obligatory to all authorities of the university to reform education. ICT right is being ensured & the social network has been maintained in the day to day activities.
The scope of joint digital types are being used now a days. In this context, the educationists by utilizing the maximum use of technology are creating an inclusive environment for new generation. Moreover the education system is in a process of reformation which may lead a student a life long learner. The theme of 21st century’s education system is that education must be technobased as well as practical oriented on equipments. The present education policy is not confined to acquiring knowledge in a particular area or subject. The topics studied must be relevant in regards to time & situation. Besides criticism and logic based knowledge must be inducted for enhancement of skill so that demand for new time are easily met.
The modern higher education policy is very much inquisitive and innovative. All past policies have become back dated today. Today new style and techniques are adopted with the changing pattern of time & to meet the global requirement. We are not an exception of Balaina process in Europe. Under the leadership of UGC a very comprehensive programs have been taken up to make education research oriented and qualitative. Measures are taken for quality assurance. For expansion of higher education, Bangladesh has taken a revolutionary step. Before independence, the number of varsity students was below 50 thousand, where as the present figure is almost 50 lacs. By the supervision of University Grant’s commission, various programs are going on under higher education quality enhancement project. Through institutional quality assurance cell, survey activities are carried on among the different stake holders. On the basis of the survey, self assessment reports are prepared. After that, review activities are conducted by a team.
The whole system is reviewed under a supervision of external expert. After the findings of the self assessment report and its supervision by the external team the necessary reformation will be brought in line of higher education curriculum and research. This would be a continuous process which will gradually enhance the quality of their degree given by the departments & enhance the capability of self employment. Moreover this peer review process will help to promote global acceptance of the quality of the degrees & degree holders. In our country, accreditation council has been set up by the approval of the parliament which functions to maintain the standard of higher education. This council acts in line with the functions of other countries in the world. This is undoubtedly a good achievement for our higher education.
We believe through this innovative ideas a sustainable knowledge based society will be built. We are expecting that our education ministry under the proper guidance of our honorable prime minister will prioritize the quality assurance mechanism of higher education. If the mechanism is developed the formal knowledge, and area of research will be more creative and innovative. Govt. is giving proper emphasis on this issue and allocating the maximum budget in education and research sectors. In Bangladesh, the education departments are very much vision and mission based and they are not lagging behind rather they are pro-active & pro-research.
We are very much sanguine of success. If a rational policy is established to fulfill the real purpose of education we would be able to make our citizen globally fit, who can compete in the global arena as a global citizen. Only through this, a strong foundation of a developed country will be built. When higher education will be purposeful, all sectoral development of nation will also be imperative & meaningful and finally nation will achieve the spontaneous success in journey to development.In this milieu, the traditional teachers need to develop professional competencies beyond subject matter. It is time to have a deeper dialogue on key two matters: what is the student of the future going to be like and how should academic institutions prepare to meet their needs.It will be important to involve, educators, employers, policy makers and students to work together and help shape the nation’s knowledge needs and build effective and relevant knowledge systems.With new thinking on the future university, a clearer role of higher education, continuous research, and technology integration, perhaps we will really begin to build world class knowledge systems.
Writer, Columnist & Researcher