Highly trained manpower not only contributes to human resource development of a country through providing teachers, instructors, researchers and scholars in the schools, colleges, and universities. They are also instrumental in bringing about technological revolution in the field of agriculture, industry, business, and commerce, medicine, engineering, transport, and communication etc. Bangladesh is one of the most thickly inhabited countries in the world and the status of the country is developing. The development of a country largely depends on the standard of higher education. Moreover, the higher education has enormous potential to promote prosperity in the developing nations.
Global competence is a term that refers to the knowledge, skills, and other capacities used to examine, appreciate, understand, and use local, national, and international elements to navigate the world successfully.
The capacities one must possess include: Critical thinking skills • Problem-solving skills • The desire to learn new things • Insight into the perspectives of others • The ability to appreciate the differences between people Comfort among ambiguity.
Global Competence & Education
We are, after all, living in a very interconnected world. As a result, it's important for students to develop global competence in school in order to learn how to live well with other local, national, and international communities. For instance, today's students may find themselves studying abroad or even working with another culture within the same country. The students can also adapt to an ever-changing, ever-globalized job market that can leave globally incompetent individuals in the dust.
Higher Education in Bangladesh
Higher education in the public sector is a legacy of the British colonial education system. At present there are 160 universities in Bangladesh of which 52 are public and 108 private universities. Among the Universities, five are engineering, twelve science and technological, seven agricultural and five medical universities. Out of the public universities there are 108 private universities. It's nearly 2 million students studying at higher education level in the country. The students are enrolled in around 1,700 government and non-government colleges affiliated under the National University.
Public Universities in Bangladesh
The area comprising the present Bangladesh was to have no university for a long time during the British rule. A teaching cum residential university was set up first in Dhaka in 1921. The second university was set up in Rajshahi in 1953. In total 'there had been 6 public universities in the country before 1971. After the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, higher education scenario has greatly been transformed. The number of public universities has increased significantly. These universities offer wide range of subjects in Science, Commerce, Liberal Arts, Humanities, Engineering and Technology, Law, Education and Medicine disciplines. Second, public universities attract the best brains and researchers as teachers although monetary compensation for them is anything far from attractive. Moreover, residential, and boarding facilities at low cost/subsidized rates are available in these public universities.
Financing Public Universities
Most of the public universities are dependent on government for funding. The university has been allocated the fourth highest budget from the sum of Tk 10,444.04 crore allocated for 51 public universities in the country for 2022-23 FY. The University Grants Commission (UGC) allocated the highest budget of Tk 922.48 crore to University of Dhaka and the lowest budget of Tk 3.83 crore for Sheikh Hasina Medical University, Khulna. From the UGC approved budget, Tk 6,023.60 crore has been allocated as the operating expenses of the universities. The universities will get a development budget of Tk 4,420.44 crore in favor of 40 projects. The universities will formulate the central budget of their respective institutions by adding their own income to the allocation given by UGC.
Problems in Higher Education
There are many problems in higher education in Bangladesh. We will touch upon some of the major areas.
Access: The growth of enrolment at the secondary level and large number of outputs from HSC examination put a pressure for admission in the higher educational institutions. In 2022,13,06,718 students passed H.S.C., but around 100,000 could be admitted in the universities and most among the rest got admitted into the National University colleges or dropped out. For the remaining vast number, the need is to open alternative choices such as vocational education, correspondence course, and open university programs.
Quality: Assurance of quality, rather than scoring just quantity, is a critical issue in higher education. It is a general perception that the quality of higher education in Bangladesh is low and that the standard has fallen over time. Quality of higher education is usually measured by employability of the products.
Governance: The greatest challenge to higher education in Bangladesh today is definitely in establishing the principles of good governance, which includes, authority, autonomy, transparency, 'accountability, participation, responsiveness, coordination, efficiency, capacity building, equity and sustainability.
Relevance: One common criticism of higher education is that it is characterized by traditionalism without having any significant relevance to the national needs and problems of rural economy of the country. The output from seats of higher learning that could have made great impact on the economic life of the people by sparking off the green revolution is lacking.
Efficiency: The efficiency of higher education is proved by the usability of their products and their contribution to society. The contribution to efficiency of education system is also of the researchers, personnel and scholars working in the institutions. Brain drain is another indicator of measuring efficiency of the education system.
Teaching Method: The present method of teaching the basic subjects, particularly teaching science at all levels, have been made ineffective by outmoded method and lack of broader aspects of disciplines. The growth of quality education needs to be supported with required infrastructure and facilities. Such a situation is very much lacking which needs upgradation.
The annual report data of the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 2020 shows that out of 46 public universities, 38 universities have spent a total of Tk 72.97 crore in the research sector and out of 107 private universities, 77 universities have spent 111.73 crore on research. In the 2019-20 fiscal year, placing priority on the research sector, the government allocated funds for public universities teachers for purposes of research in science and technology, arts and humanities, social sciences, business studies and science and technology. However, a total of 35 Universities did not spend any amount on research, while 125 public and private universities altogether spent only Tk 153 crore of the total expenditures. Around 50 universities did not bring out any publications throughout 2020, according to the commission report.
Improving Higher Education
The problems of tertiary education will have to be tackled with a robust set of institutional reforms and policy directives. Some constructive suggestions to improve the conditions of higher education need to be followed. First of all, introducing modern teaching methods to universities. Secondly, using more productive teaching methods that encourage problem-solving and critical thinking will go a long way towards making graduates employable. Moreover, increasing collaboration with the private sector and invest in better facilities such as ICT. By providing incentives to the private sector. For example, in the form of tax exemptions-university-industry collaboration can facilitate greater knowledge output as well as compensate for a lack of public funding to universities. Finally, creating partnerships with foreign universities. This will facilitate knowledge transfers that will also result in local TEIs being introduced to better teaching methods.
In the age of globalization, the world is getting highly competitive as well a country needs highly skilled workforce to compete with the other nations in the competitive market of the world. Now the development of human capital through quality higher education and training is a must for Bangladesh if it wants to ensure sustainable development and growth of its economy. In this context, the present study strives to provide a brief scenario of higher education systems.
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