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Private universities have their role to play

Holiday Report

Sayed Shahidul Bari

What is important in promoting higher education in Bangladesh is to keep the standard of education at par with the global level. Both public and private universities should be involved in the process. There should not be any specialty for the public universities only. The private universities also have their role to play, as they are now well recognised, said Sayed Shahidul Bari, Director of Planning and Development of Bangladesh Islami University (BIU).
   Mr. Bari, a member of the Board of Trustees of Majlis Umana which planned and established the BIU, made the observation while talking to this correspondent in an interview with the weekly Holiday.
   Talking about the BIU, the faculty member of its General Education Department said, "Many private universities are contributing to the country's higher education. As a Muslim, we believe Islam is a religion of peace and the Al-Quran is the solution to all problems faced by the human beings on the earth. But there is a shortage of subjects and syllabuses reflecting the spirit of Islam at the higher education level. Against this backdrop, Sayed Kamaluddin Zafree and some of his nearest colleagues, including Dr Abdullah Abdul Aziz Al-Mosleh and Dr Abdullah Omer Nasif who is also an Islamic thinker and educationist known worldwide planned to establish the university in Bangladesh to promote the values of Islam."
   Talking about the process of launching the BIU, Mr Sayed Shahidul Bari said, "In 2003, we applied for setting up the university. At that time the government put all applications for new private universities on hold. Then we decided to re-organise the Green University. Because, Green University discontinued its functioning due to financial and administrative problems at that time. Later on an occasion, Mr. Sayed Kamaluddin Zafree met former honorable Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia. Mr. Zafree requested her to give the permission of restarting Green University. It was a great pleasure for us that she gave permission to start Bangladesh Islami University. Then we launched the BIU in February 2006."
   About the vision and mission of the BIU, Mr Bari said, "The University authorities firmly aim to disseminate holistic education through integrated learning and state-of-the-art training methods. The authorities strive to produce professionals with self-confidence, versatile skills and ethical standards to meet the challenges of the contemporary legal and corporate world."

Islami University

   The BIU is a modern and innovative academy which provides knowledge in every branch of education. The BIU is dedicated to a value-based integrated educational philosophy. "We welcome students to join us in creating human resources imbued with the Islamic ethical and moral values. We have the vision to produce a new generation of professionals, researchers and leaders needed for our country as well as for the Islamic Ummah," he added.
   Talking about the negative impact of education abroad, Mr Bari said, "Private universities are saving the foreign exchanges by enrolling a large number of Bangladeshi students, who otherwise would spend their money outside the country. We are also aware that not all these students of Bangladesh could get admitted to even the 'B' grade foreign universities, not to speak of top universities.""There 52 or more private universities and these institutions also created job opportunities for a sizable number of highly qualified faculties, executives and other personnel."
   Mr. Bari said, "The private universities should be considered as non-profit educational organisations, therefore, requiring all kinds of state support. Private universities should be run with the mentality of contributing to the society, the nation and the country."
   About the freedom to design courses and curriculum, Mr Bari said, "The government-approved private universities should be left to do it through their respective statutory bodies or councils. The University Grants Commission or any Higher Education Commission, however, may have a second look and if any major flaws and lapses are noticed, those can be referred back to the concerned university within a reasonable period, for eaxample, 30 days or 60 days."
   Highlighting the necessity of government grants for research work in private universities, he said, "The government should provide research grants, subsidies, scholarships, fellowships and other incentives to the students and researchers from private universities. This will encourage them to concentrate on research-based studies in the areas of Science, Arts and Business."
   "The above steps are needed to be taken on a reciprocal basis involving both the government and the private universities. When it comes to capacity-building or human resource development, nothing can be achieved by adopting a one-way measure. It has to be a two-way approach," he observed. The university has already a research centre and it plans to publish annual and other periodicals.


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