The British Council, in strategic partnership with the University Grants Commission (UGC), has organised the International Higher Education Symposium on 24 February 2020, at The Westin Dhaka. 

The event brought together a range of senior representatives from the British High Commission, Ministry of Education, UGC, development agencies working in the higher education sector of Bangladesh, vice chancellors and senior professors of public and private universities across Bangladesh and education experts to talk about one of the more pressing matters in Bangladesh’s development – higher education. The day-long conference of talks, presentations and panel discussions focused on raising awareness and develop an understanding of the value of focusing on quality enhancement through the professional development of teachers in higher education and curriculum reform. 

To meet the growing needs for graduate-level employment in a knowledge-based society, the conference brought light to the need for the professional development opportunities of the university faculty members and the necessity to enhance the curriculum. It also highlighted the contribution of teaching and the learning process that can ensure the quality enhancement of the higher education sector in Bangladesh. Finally, it shed light on the impact of globalisation within the higher education sector and how the internationalisation of the universities of Bangladesh can significantly contribute to boosting the quality of the institutes. 

Md Mahbub Hossain, Secretary, Ministry of Education, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was present as the Chief Guest of the symposium while Professor Dr Kazi Shahidullah, Chairman, University Grants Commission, Bangladesh was present as the Guest of Honour. The symposium was presided over by Tom Miscioscia, Director Bangladesh, British Council. 

Md Mahbub Hossain stated, 'Although we have made substantial progress in all levels of education, quality of education is still a challenge. Several quality improvement reform programmes have now been initiated for all subsectors in Education - primary and secondary level as well as in the higher Education and Vocational sector. I am keen to know about the outcomes from discussion that took place over the day. I hope that the findings shared by the keynote speakers, presenters and the panel members will bring forward innovative ideas for the Ministry to include in the Higher Education reforms on the way to making higher education in Bangladesh of international standard.' 

'As the UK’s international agency for education we well understand the mutual benefits of having universities collaborate. Sharing programmes, courses, research and staff can bring substantial benefits for the institutions, faculty and ultimately the students. Internationalising higher education is also a way of improving standards and rankings and a useful tool as Bangladesh seeks to improve the international standards and recognition of its higher education institutions.' said Tom Miscioscia.

In his speech, Professor Dr Kazi Shahidullah said, 'While much progress has been achieved, there is still much to do, and we look forward to the day when higher education in Bangladesh is of international standards. To this end, the UGC and the Ministry of Education are keen to pick up on the learnings from this symposium and to capitalise on the international expertise here today. We also welcome greater involvement of foreign higher education institutions to work alongside Bangladeshi universities to raise standards and bring international perspectives to higher education.' 

HE Robert Chatterton Dickson, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Kanbar Hossein-Bor, UK Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh, were also present to support the cause of the symposium.