A brief Tête-à-tête with Dr. Abul L. Haque
Shamma M. Raghib
DR. Abul L. Haque is presently the Chairman for department of Computer Science and Engineering in North South University. After completing his Honors in Mathematics and M. Sc. in Applied Mathematics from prestigious Dhaka University, Dr. Abul Al Haque moved on to Canada, Ontario to study Computer Science. “ I always had this affinity towards computer science,” he said, “and I was really looking forward to University of Western Ontario in 1980.” After graduating from the University, Dr. Haque came back to Bangladesh, but unfortunately, there were no Computer Science courses in Dhaka at that time and so he had to end up teaching Mathematics again in Dhaka University. Unfortunately, I really wanted to build my career in Computer Science and so I joined as an Instructor in Yarmouk University in Jordan around 1981. After working there for four years, Dr. Haque went back to University of Oklahoma to obtain a PhD in Computer Science.
So after a series of career changes and professional teaching in several Universiities home and abroad, Dr. Haque was invited to teach in North South University and has been a professor here since 1994. Fortunately, I managed to grab an opportunity to ask some questions to the new Chairman of Computer Science and Engineering in North South University, just before Maghreb time. After being greeted vividly, without further ado, I started my interview…
Q: Why do you think there are so many students in Telecommunications Engineering and so few in Computer Science subjects in North South University? We have heard that some courses are even shut down because of unavailability of CSC or CEG students.
Dr. ALH: The main reason for the sudden increase in telecommunications students is because of both the parents, and the students themselves. Parents have this preconceived notion that since the telecom sector is a booming market, it will probably be the best for the kids to learn this subject. Unfortunately, at the end of three years or so, there will be plenty of graduates, but not many posts for the Telecom students. On the other hand, CSC and CEG students' demands will be on the rise and still is…but it has only diminished in Bangladesh. We find that there are no good CSC students applying for the Teaching Assistant position in the department. There are wonderful software developing companies here like Therap, who are hiring CSC students from North South University and they are dealing with good software export deals. What we need is to put the peoples trust back that there is / will be a very high demand for Computer Science majors again in the near future.
Q: How appealing do you think Engineering is in Bangladesh?
Dr. ALH: It has been traditionally thought of that Engineering degree is superior to all other fields of careers except for maybe medicine. From the socities perspective, the Engineering subject is thought of superior still because it is technical matter and requires a lot of hard work and analytical ability to complete and compete in it. So preferably Engineering is assumed to be more appealing in terms of knowledge and variety.
Q: What do you think about the present trend in our Telecom sector? Where is telecom in Bangladesh heading towards?
Dr. ALH: It is evident now that three or four years down the line, call charges will come down to as low as 30 paisa per minute. With the entrance of new telecom companies in the market, there will be plenty of competition to provide the best service and the best value to us the consumers. I have heard that a new company ready to start soon is here with a very aggressive marketing plan than the existing companies. So let's see what we have in store for us.
Q: In North South University, the students do teacher assessment survey. How much consideration is given to such assessment papers?
Dr. ALH: That's a good question. Today, I was sitting down with my colleague about this issue a while ago, and I differed in my opinion that this assessment should not be put much into consideration. Unfortunately, there is a certain form of biasness in commenting or assessing a teacher and so other forms of assessment should be done. I personally request the authorities to consider teacher assessment, where more weight is put in the research and publications of a faculty rather than the student-filled questionnaires. There should also be incentives to faculties for further research but unfortunately the present circumstances in the industry do not allow us for that.
This was the end of brief teatime meet that I had with this amazing professor. Nonetheless it had been quite enlightening and I do hope it answers the query of some North South University students regarding how much weight is put in their teacher assessments. I do hope that this term is quite a successful one for Dr. Haque as a Chairman, Department of Computer Science and Engineering in North South University. Wishing him all the best on behalf of Star Campus.