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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sunday, November 11, 2012
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Prioritise science action plan

Neglect to scientists, researchers lamented at The Daily Star roundtable

The government has to promote scientific research and popularise science studies by offering rewarding career to students to achieve faster economic growth, said leading scientists and researchers at a discussion yesterday.

The Daily Star organised the discussion at The Daily Star Centre on implementation of the recently-made National Science and Technology Action Plan.

The action plan, gazette-notified last month, contains 11 strategic areas and 246 actions for the development and advancement of science and technology while the National Science and Technology Policy of 1986 was updated last year.

In yesterday's discussion, Prof Ahmed Ismail Mustafa, chairman of Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR), said scientists had totally been neglected in Bangladesh although the country's poverty alleviation depended much on their financial wellbeing and autonomy of research institutes.

He said despite being an autonomous body and mandated to invent technologies for industrialisation, the BCSIR had to seek ministerial endorsement for all decisions, even for a scientist's visit abroad.

The interest in science education sharply declined in the country, as commerce studies had become much rewarding, said Prof Ahmed, adding that job assurance and financial recognition could attract brilliant students to science studies.

He emphasised scientific researches based on intellectual competence and not at all by the candidates taken under quota provision.

Referring to Malaysia and Ghana, he said Bangladesh must learn how they had developed through investment in science and technology.

Md Anwar Iqbal, a project implementation expert at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, said the council was actually a highly bureaucratic body and was dependent on the ministry for any decision.

Giving an instance, Prof Shamima Choudhury of Dhaka University said Taiwan between 2005 and 2010 had seen phenomenal economic progress with the development of computer chips.

Of the 11 strategic goals, popularising science and technology, and development of human resources for need-based researches were vital and the factors should be pursued on priority basis, she said.

Prof Mohammad Yousuf Ali Mollah, dean of Faculty of Science at Dhaka University, said South Korea without having natural resources had emerged as the world's third largest economy through investment in science and technology.

India is a significant next-door example of how to develop on science and technology, he said.

Science studies must be well-founded in the education system and it must continue uninterrupted despite political feuds and divisions, said Prof Ali.

Dilip Kumar Basak, additional secretary to the Ministry of Science and Technology, said although everybody admitted that science and technology was pivotal to the country's economic development, it is not reflected in the national planning.

Moderator of the discussion Prof Naiyyum Choudhury, former secretary of Bangladesh Academy of Sciences, said after 1998, the National Council for Science and Technology headed by the prime minister met only last year.

Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star, said the experience worldwide showed that economic progress was impossible without an integration of scientific research and industrial enterprises.

Lutfur Rahman, former professor of Bangladesh Agricultural University; M Nurul Islam, former professor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology; Prof Zeba Islam Seraj of Dhaka University; Prof Haseena Khan of Dhaka University; Minhaz Anwar, managing director of Better Stories Ltd; and Tahsina Farah Sanam, lecturer at Buet, among others, attended yesterday's discussion.

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We are becoming more and more like a consumer country rather inventing one. when a school going kid finds his next door business graduate senior leading a luxurious life than a typical science graduate, he will not prefer to study science! And that's happening now in our country. Despite having a pure science graduate degree, people are struggling to get another MBA degree because that will assure him a good paying job.

Although this story is true for most of the countries but the emerging countries showed a clear path against this and they invested most of there money on new invention and application of those. As long as we will not follow this rule we will remain in the same state or even worse.

: M H Uddin

They have missed one very important point. Create opportunities for Intellectual Property filings and Bangladesh should be a part of the PCT treaty. Scientists and industrial scientific work both should be in the agenda.

: Dr Samiul Haque, Cantab

Comments

  • AJ Khan
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 06:43 AM GMT+06:00 (102 weeks ago)

    Those who are at the helm of our country, how far educated they are? Alas, up to date we are not able to manufacture even bicycle to cater to our country. Now we have become a nation of scavengers - as we import cars, etc, scavenging junk yard of other countries instead of trying for manufacturing or at least assembling.

  • Saleh Tanveer
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 08:17 AM GMT+06:00 (102 weeks ago)

    Indeed, it is important that scientists are well-compensated for their research work. One way is to introduce three year research grants that pay extra-salaries. A pre-condition for renewal of the grant should be that the papers are published in top international journals, in accordance to rankings by the internationally known ISI Science Citation Index. This would allow quality research and at the same time ensure that quality of science is the criteria for choosing such scientists, instead of political connection and/or seniority. Scholars abroad could be part of review panels to ensure integrity of the process.

  • Shekhar Dev
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:07 PM GMT+06:00 (101 weeks ago)

    Research has not fruitful as researchers are unhappy.

  • Nimai
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 01:23 AM GMT+06:00 (102 weeks ago)

    In this context, i can just remember one article from Dr. Md. Zafor Iqbal sir in 2011 before budget session about the education budget in our country. It is my won example, after completing graduation & post graduation from department of applied physics & electronics i am doing job at bank. It is not my fault that i am become banker, it our countries failor that they unable to provide me enough facility for scientific research. This is not only example of one student, this is example of all science student.


 

 


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