Bangladesh: Elevating higher education
There will have to be a concerted and focused effort by all
With news that Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023 — which included 1,799 universities across 104 countries and regions — placed Dhaka University and North South University between 601 and 800 amongst all education institutions worldwide, we must ask: When will our higher education institutes be of a globally recognized standard?
While rankings may be dismissed as arbitrary by many, there is little doubt that when it comes to Bangladeshi universities, and education overall in the country, we have stagnated.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the abnormally high unemployment rate that persists in the country for graduates, informing us that our higher education is failing our students in preparing them for the job market.
Beyond this, however, our lack of prioritization on research coupled with outdated curricula that is simply not fit for a country in the 21st century looking to make its mark as a globally-recognized economy remain some of the most concerning issues holding us back.
Make no mistake about it: We risk further stagnation if we are unable to address these issues as soon as possible. It starts from the top, and while the authorities in recent times have spoken of the need to improve our rankings, it is time to back their words with actions.
Despite the increased allocated amount for the education sector in the national budget this year by almost Tk10,000 crore from the previous fiscal year, our education expenditure as a percentage of our GDP is still woefully low, signaling a gross lack of prioritization for what could be, for a developing nation such as Bangladesh, its most important sector.
Moving forward, if we are to indeed elevate not just our higher institutions but the quality of education in Bangladesh overall, there will have to be a concerted and focused effort by all. Failure to do so will not just be embarrassing, but also hold us back from becoming the advanced economy we wish to be.
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