Higher education and economic productivity in Bangladesh

Prof   Muhammad Mahboob Ali, PhD

Bangladesh is gradually progressing in higher education. Let me here quote Confucius:  “He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.” For last five and eight months , lot of initiatives have been taken by the Government of Bangladesh .The most pertaining  questions  are contribution of higher education in last five and eight months in the country and  whether  rise of golden GPA 5 in SSC and HSC level creates  any sort of debacle in the education sector? In search of these research questions the study has been taken by the center of Break through thinking in Bangladesh. An opinion pool has been conducted by the Center for Breakthrough thinking in Bangladesh on “Role of Higher education in Bangladesh to raise economic productivity”. An opinion survey was conducted in following cities Dhaka, Comilla, Chittagong, Sylhet ,Rajshah i,Barisal, Khulna  and Rangpur. Random sampling technique was applied and time period of the study is 1January 2009 to 31 August, 2014.

m ali1203 questionnaires were received September, 2014.Total number of questionnaires were distributed among  1600  person out of which 1203 questionnaires were received. Among the respondents the study has chosen medical students, engineering students, agriculture university students of both public and private educational institutes, teachers from above types  of institutes ,guardians of existing students ,bankers of public and private sectors, journalists ,politicians  both present govt. supporter and opposition party supporter of the parliament .In the category of others respondents we have taken sample form Lawyers, agricultural scientists, job seekers, industrialists ,women entrepreneur ,non- resident Bangladeshis and business men. However, from received questionnaires, 89 questionnaires were not duly filled up for which these were rejected. Remaining questionnaires are valid and the results of these 1114 responses as well as some other relevant information’s are reported in the following series of Tables:

  1. Impression about the recent steps on Higher education:

(In percentage)

Type Positive Negative
Students 393 141
Guardians 103 19
Academicians 133 24
Bankers 54 27
Journalists 46 22
Politicians 54 21
Others 62 15

(Source: Survey Conducted by Center for Breakthrough thinking in Bangladesh)

Figure:1 Impression about the recent steps on Higher education

Comment: Most of the respondents think that positive impacts on recent steps on higher educations have been taken.

Table:2 Positive  Impact on Bangladesh economy  due to spread of  Higher Education

Type Strongly Agreed Moderately Agreed Neutral Moderately Disagreed StronglyDisagreed
Quality Education 25% 25% 21%  9% 20%
Accessibility of Education 42%  15% 10% 8% 25%
Governmental help is sufficient 27% 14% 18% 16% 25%
Proper monitoring by UGC 18% 11% 15% 32% 24%
Industry Need based education 12% 24% 17% 21% 26%

Source :Ibid

Comment: From table;2 we observe that  about quality education,20% strongly agree while moderately agreed ,25%.Accessiblity of education has been agreed strongly by 42% while moderately agreed 15%.Governmet help is sufficient has been agreed strongly by 27% while moderately agreed 14%.Proper monitoring of UGC has been agreed strongly by 18% while 11% moderately agreed. Regarding the question, industry need based education has been agreed strongly by 12% while moderately agreed by 24%.

Figure:2 Comment on positive  Impact on Bangladesh economy  due to spread of  Higher Education

Comment: From table;2 we observe that  about quality education,20% strongly agree while moderately agreed ,25%.Accessiblity of education has been agreed strongly by 42% while moderately agreed 15%.Governmet help is sufficient has been agreed strongly by 27% while moderately agreed 14%.Proper monitoring of UGC has been agreed strongly by 18% while 11% moderately agreed. Regarding the question, industry need based education has been agreed strongly by 12% while moderately agreed by 24%.

Table: 3:Existing Higher education  Situation

Type Strongly Agreed Moderately agreed Neutral Moderately disagreed Strongly disagreed
Excellence in Public Universities(General Education) 25% 22% 34% 12% 7%
 Excellence in Public Universities(Technical Education) 15% 21% 32% 15% 17%
Excellence in Private Universities (Both general and technical Education) 10% 22% 19% 23% 26%
Excellence  in Medical Education at Public Colleges and BSMMU 21% 32% 18% 21% 8%
Excellence in Medical Education at Private colleges 9% 17% 23% 39% 12%

Figure:3 Existing Higher education  Situation

Comment: From table,3 we observe that in case of Public universities(General education) excellence of education was strongly agreed 25% while moderately agreed 22% while for the  technical education 15% strongly agreed about excellence and 21% agreed  moderately. Regarding the question of excellence in Private universities both general and technical education only 10% strongly agreed while moderately agreed 22%.Excelence in medical education at colleges and BSMMU 21% strongly agreed while 32% moderately agreed. Excellence in medical education at private colleges only 9% strongly agreed while moderately agreed 17%.

Table4: Innovations in Higher Education

Type Strongly Agreed Moderately Agreed Neutral Moderately Disagreed Strongly
Disagreed
Innovation occurred through use of  ICT 15% 31% 21% 24% 9%
Innovation occurred through use of  Interaction, participation and doing things  based  modern class room situation 9% 28% 27% 21% 15%
Giving more stress on Concept building rather than memorizing and proper communication skill development at higher education level 14% 22% 31% 22% 11%
Attention  is given to develop knowledge and Skills 12% 14% 40% 27% 7%
Case studies ,presentations, assignments  , real life experiences , group studies, mobile apps use positively 19% 38% 19% 15% 9%
Test-Teach-Test method 7% 12% 31% 31% 19%
Problem Based learning 14% 14% 23% 31% 18%
Concept mapping 10% 14% 28% 29% 19%
Computer aided Instruction 16% 25% 36% 15% 8%
Teacher act as guided discovery 11% 21% 29% 24% 15%

Figure:4 : Innovations in Higher Education

Comment: Innovation occurred through use of ICT has been strongly agreed by 15% while moderately agreed by 31%. Innovation occurred through use of Interaction, participation and doing things based  modern class room situation was agreed by 9% while moderately agreed by 28%.Giving more stress on Concept building rather than memorizing and proper communication skill development at higher education level was strongly supported by 14% while 22% moderately supported.12% strongly supported to  the question about attention  is given to develop knowledge and Skills   while moderately agrees 14%.  . Case studies, presentations, assignments, real life experiences, group studies, mobile apps use positively agreed strongly and moderately  by 19% and 38% respectively. Test-Teach-Test method has been agreed by strongly by 7% and moderately 12%. In case of Problem Based learning, both strongly and moderately agreed. Concept mapping has been agreed by 10% strongly and 14% moderately. Computer aided instruction was agreed by 16% and 25% strongly and moderately respectively. Teacher acted as guided discovery was supported by 11% and 21% strongly and moderately respectively.

Table:5 Impact of Innovations in Higher Education’s in the Socio-Economic Conditions

Type Strongly Agreed Moderately Agreed Neutral Moderately Disagreed StronglyDisagreed
Self employment rises 16% 21% 26% 19% 18%
Social unrest declines 11% 32% 24% 23% 10%
Economic welfare rises 22% 29% 32% 11% 6%
Unemployment declines s and purchasing power rises 24% 37% 18% 12% 9%
Gender Inequality declines 10% 24% 31% 21% 14%

Figure:5 Impact of Innovations in Higher Education’s in the Socio-Economic Conditions

Comment: Due to innovations in Higher education’s Self employment rises was strongly supported by 16% while moderately agreed 21%. Social unrest declines was strongly agreed 21% while moderately agreed 32%.Economic welfare rises were strongly agreed by 22% while moderately  agreed 29%. .24% and 37% agreed strongly and moderately agreed respectively  regarding Unemployment declines s and purchasing power rises. Gender Inequality declines was agreed by 10% and 24% strongly and moderately respectively.

Overall Observations:

Despite some limitations and problems are associated but higher education in the last five and eight months. Quality assurance is the key factor. Definitely spread of education has been raised for with education ministry play key role. Teacher student relationship should be friendlier .Besides basic knowledge; out book knowledge should be raised. Existing English language education system should be replaced by reading more English literatures and creating quality English teacher. In the globalised world we have to create core competent human capital for which govt. is taking lot of steps. However, in the private sector some greedy business magnet thinks that education is source on making super normal profit. Coaching business should be stopped for which not only govt. but also needs of the guardians’ active support are very much required. During the admission test in the undergraduate level question should   set on the basis of previous course curricula of the admission seekers. Otherwise it will have negative impact on the admission seekers. National university should monitor its colleges/institutes for proving good quality education. Private University who does not comply with UGC and education ministry’s  rules and regulations bold steps should be taken to lose down. Recently UGC  closed 12 private universities outer campus which is good decision. But strong regulatory measures are needed against other non-compliance universities. Like Malaysia, China and India, Govt. can give permission to set up outer campuses of World ranking and country ranking higher educational institute in the country. Vision of education has to make the students to become global standard benchmarking within 2021 when the nation will celebrate 50 years of independence.  To reach this goal, the country needs to plan to expand research and training facilities and academic programs at higher level. Education is a tool that enriches students’ minds with the skills necessary to compete and succeed in a challenging world, and also with the knowledge to maintain peace and justice in the society. Graduating students of the country should turn to   very best ambassadors of liberality toward society free from the fetters of colors and castes, of faith, of non-communalism, of gender, and of nationality, as Khalil Gibran says “Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.” Teacher should pursue students for co-curricular activities. Concept building with patriotism is the important factor for students to give future leadership of the country.

 (*The author is Professor of Dept. of Business administration, Daffodil International University and Chairman, Center for Breakthrough thinking in Bangladesh. Earlier he was Vice Chancellor of Presidency University. He is Macro and financial economist. His email no. is pipulbd@gmail.com)

 


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