The British Council is working on a project to support the reform of the higher education system in Bangladesh that has been long due for several decades. There is a widespread recognition across Bangladesh of the urgent need for the reform of the higher education system in order to make it fit for the purpose in a competitive world.
However, there was no clear consensus on the major challenges required to be addressed and changes that might be achieved. As the scale of reforms envisaged a major challenge to the University Grants Commission (UGC), they required international partners to facilitate the process with the higher education bodies in the UK. In regards to that, the British Council used an external consultant from the UK to shape UGC’s reform agenda and plan for implementation phases.
On 10 and 11 January 2017, the British Council conducted a workshop on enabling reform in the higher education landscape for the country in Dhaka. The basic purpose of the workshop was to test the appetite for reform areas in higher education portfolio to gauge whether there is sufficient consensus to make such a project feasible.
The workshop enabled contribution of all senior academics in leadership positions. Participants interacted to determine their priorities and follow up action areas. Professor Abdul Mannan, UGC Chairman, Bangladesh and Barbara Wickham, Director, British Council, Bangladesh placed their opening remarks. Prominent participants graced their presence on both the days and their active participation had put more flesh on the bones based on the original findings of the situation study.
An overarching outcome of the two-day planning meeting was to achieve a road map implementation plan based on which the project will have its foundation.