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     Volume 2 Issue 31 | August 12 , 2007|


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Sixty years of engineering education in Bangladesh

Kamrul Hasan Khan

On July 28, Buet inaugurated the six-month long programme to celebrate 60 years of engineering education in Bangladesh from 1947 to 2007. Interestingly, along with several hundred alumni passing out during the period of 1947 to 2007

Dear Star Campus readers try to visualise a gala celebration of an education programme that spans over six decades in this country! Wondering what I am talking about? Well, I am talking about sixty years of engineering education in Bangladesh and how we all are going to celebration this magnificent achievement. The epicentre of the celebration will be the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).

On July 28, Buet inaugurated the six-month long programme to celebrate 60 years of engineering education in Bangladesh from 1947 to 2007. Interestingly, along with several hundred alumni passing out during the period of 1947 to 2007, six former vice chancellors (VC) out of total ten and the incumbent VC of the university were present at the inaugural session held at the central auditorium to share their experiences and views and wished the success of the ambitious programme.

The former VCs of Buet stressed on increasing the financial allocation in research sector, purchasing related equipment along with the use of modern facilities in classrooms so that Buet can become a centre of excellence in the 21st century.

They urged the Buet authorities to approach the University Grants Commission and the relevant ministry to increase the budget for strengthening research activities. Former VCs also requested the alumni to help in raising funds for overall development of the university.

As one of the finest seats of technical education, Buet started a humble journey as the Dacca Survey School in 1876. The survey school was upgraded to Ahsanullah Engineering College in 1947, which later turned into a university in 1962. Ahsanullah Engineering College from the year of its inception introduced engineering graduation in the country.

Last July (2007) graduation in engineering education in the country marked its 60th anniversary.

Buet Vice Chancellor Prof AMM Safiullah, extreme right, hands over a crest to former VC Prof Wahiduddin Ahmed at the inaugural session of the celebration of 60 years of engineering education in Bangladesh at Buet auditorium in the city yesterday.
On their right is Prof Abdul Matin Patwari. PHOTO: STAR

Presided over by the current VC Prof AMM Safiullah, the inaugural session was addressed by the 3rd VC Prof Dr Wahiduddin Ahmed, and former VCs Prof Abdul Matin Patwary, Prof Musharraf Hossain Khan, Prof Emeritus Iqbal Mahmud, Prof Dr Nuruddin Ahmed, Prof Dr Alee Murtuza and convener of celebration committee Prof Mazharul Haq.

Seven VCs out of total 10 were present on the occasion and shared their memories and experiences centring Buet and gave their valued suggestions on how to acquire competency to face the challenges of 21st century through upgrading the quality of education and research.

In the presence of several hundred alumni, prominent academicians also engaged in self-criticism saying that though it is the best in technical education in the country, Buet has yet to find a berth among the Asia-Pacific region's top hundred universities.

Prof Wahiduddin Ahmed, the third VC, who acted as VC during 1975 to 1983, also the oldest academic present on the occasion, said Buet, which is an outcome of a long struggle, is a milestone in the higher education and research in the country. “But rather being proud of what we achieved during this 60 years, we should now look behind to find out what goals we could not achieve so that we achieve those in the future. Have we managed to provide our students with modern library, laboratory and equipment and other facilities?” He asked. He at the same time called upon the young graduates of the university to become good citizens of the country besides being good engineers.

Prof Nuruddin Ahmed said the university has advanced a lot during the last 60 years, but it is still far behind other technical universities across the world. “Buet should have launched some more courses that could contribute to the country's development, but we failed in doing that. It is high time we began thinking on how we can improve the quality of research and how to provide our students with latest facilities. Examination system in Buet continues to haunt our students; we should address it carefully and immediately. We should encourage students to learn English better. On the other hand, I asked students to give more effort in learning English, as our students face criticism for being poor in English.” He stressed.

He further said, “Coaching centres are killing the creativity of our students, but we do not address the problem.” Referring to the controversy over the expenses of higher education at public universities, he said any decision regarding increasing the expenses of higher education should come from the national level, and not from someone outside.

Prof Emeritus Iqbal Mahmud said there is a need for a comprehensive policy to take forward country's higher education that will be designed on consideration of native interests, which will help fight the challenges of the 21st century. He said, “We need accreditation so that we can tell others that we have competence and efficiency to face those challenges.”

A large number of alumni, faculty members and current students attended the launching ceremony. The six-month long programme will focus on previous and current status of engineering education in the country and will seek direction to keep pace with the progress of engineering education worldwide.

(Kamrul Hasan Khan is DU Correspondent, The Daily Star]

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