BAU: Centre of excellence
BANGLADESH Agricultural University (BAU) is a center of academic excellence by its own right in South-East Asia. It has a track record that would make the former students and teachers feel extremely proud. The university campus, a place of breathtaking natural beauty, is located on the western bank of the old Brahmaputra River, some five kilometer away from the district town. It is about 120 kilometer away from the capital city Dhaka. The vast campus with a botanical garden, two monuments on Liberation War, an auditorium after the name of Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, Shaheed Minar in memory of the Language Martyrs and plantations of rare species of trees with gardens of various flower plants is the hub of academic and research works al throughout the year. It has also become a tour spot for the outsiders.
Established on a vast area covering 485 hectares of land, the BAU campus is randomly dotted with picturesque faculty buildings, administrative building, student dormitories and other structures. The campus has also various farms including dairy, poultry and hatchery. The campus also houses two national level institutes like Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA) and Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI).
BAU has a long history of contribution in producing national and international level scientists to enrich Agri-sector providing facilities for higher agricultural education and research. The East Pakistan Agricultural University formally came into being with the appointment of Dr. M. Osman Ghani as its first Vice-Chancellor on September 2, 1961 and its research programmes started functioning in the session 1961-1962 with Animal Husbandry and Veterinary College, Mymensingh.
On the basis of recommendations made by the Commission on National Education and the Food and Agriculture Commission, the East Pakistan Agricultural University Ordinance was promulgated that led to the establishment of the university to satisfy the long cherished desire of the people of the then East Pakistan. The name of the university was later changed to Bangladesh Agricultural University through promulgation of the Bangladesh Ordinance No. 1(Adoption of University Laws) of 1972 on January 3, 1972.
The university started its mission in 1961 with two faculties, namely Faculty of Agriculture and Faculty of Veterinary Science under 23 teaching departments and Faculty of Animal Husbandry was included in that year. Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology and Faculty of Fisheries were introduced in 1963-1964, 1964-1965 and 1967-1968 sessions respectively.
The BAU now runs six faculties.
The faculties are Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Animal Husbandry, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology and Faculty of Fisheries. A total of 43 subjects are taught in six faculties of the university.
At the Undergraduate Level, university offers a 4-year Post-HSC course ended with eight semesters under course-credit system leading to the degrees B.Sc honours in respective faculties. At the Postgraduate Level, a total of 40 teaching departments are engaged in conducting the courses with relevant research programmes in three consecutive semesters for MS Degree in specific disciplines.
Doctoral Programmes are of full-time three year duration, extendable up to maximum six years, of which staying two consecutive years at the university is mandatory for a researcher. Presently 38 departments offer Ph.D programmes on various subjects. The Coordination Committee for Advanced Studies and Research (CASR) is responsible for development, coordination and supervision of the postgraduate teaching and research.
In the last 45 years, BAU has produced hundreds of scientists who had great contributions in and outside the boundary of the country. Now some 4800 students including 900 female students and 26 overseas students study in six faculties of BAU. The number of female students is about 25 percent of the total enrollment. Since its establishment, a total of 28,077 students completed their graduation, post-graduation and Ph.D from BAU. The figure included 19,700 students completed graduation, 8,244 students for post-graduation while 133 students completed their Ph.D. Some 526 learned teachers including 266 full-fledged professors are engaged in teaching the students in six faculties of the university.
There are eleven student dormitories including two for the female students. They are Shaheed Nazmul Ahsan Hall, Shaheed Jamal Hossain Hall, Ashraful Haque Hall, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Hall, Shah Shaheed Shamsul Haque hall, Isha Khan Hall, Fazlul Haque Hall, ShahJalal Hall, Suhrawardi Hall and two halls for the female students are Sultana Razia Hall and Tapashi Rabeya Hall.
The Teachers Students Center (TSC) of the university has some organizations for extra-curricular activities. As it is a technical university, so the students have little time to take part in extra-curricular activities. The TSC has Recreation Society, Literary Society, Drama Society, Music Society and Debate Club. Seven students achieved President's Rover Scout Award and 20 students of the university visited foreign countries as Rover Scouts representatives of Bangladesh. Sports and games such as football, cricket, basketball, volleyball, handball competitions are arranged at intra-hall and intra-faculty levels on regular basis. Even some students have had the highest honour in essay writing, debate and music competitions obtaining gold medals.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university Prof. Dr. M Musharraf Hossain Mian who has been appointed recently as 18th VC of BAU told The Daily Star that the overall contributions of BAU at national and international levels can not be ignored.
“Our country is mainly depended on agriculture and this university has been playing a vital role in developing the cultivation methods in agriculture for our farmers as well as for our economy,” said Prof. Mian, a viliant freedom fighter and also a participant in mass upsurge in 1969.
Prof. Mian is the second graduate of BAU to obtain the post of Vice-Chancellor of the university. He told this corespondent that the academic atmosphere of the university is very congenial as it faces no closure for any untoward incidences in last five years.
The VC also informed that the university lacks some modern facilities to cope with the present competitive world. Modern facilities for research at the laboratories and modern Information technology system to gather updated information should be introduced to gear up the allout activities of the BAU, he urged.
To match with the world-class technical institutions, the process to update the courses is on, said the Vice-Chancellor adding that more financial assistance is needed to run the process.
Aminul Islam is Mymensingh
correspondent of The Daily Star