Our Education team at the British Council organised a symposium at the InterContinental Dhaka on 29 March 2022 to explore different issues related to the country’s higher education scenario. 

The symposium was an attempt to find answer to the question - how do you improve the quality of Higher education and make it more relevant to Labour market demands? The event brought together a range of senior representatives from University Grants Commission, senior officials from public and private universities across Bangladesh, corporate leaders and entrepreneurs and development agencies working in the higher education sector in Bangladesh. 

Professor Dr Biswajit Chanda from University Grants Commission (UGC) graced the event as the Guest of Honour. The UK Trade Envoy to Bangladesh, Rushanara Ali MP also spoke at the event and was joined by Dr Mokhlesur Rahman from the World Bank. The symposium was presided over by Tom Miscioscia, Director, British Council Bangladesh.

The day-long symposium of talks, presentations and panel discussions focused on issues and challenges prevalent in higher education in Bangladesh as well as some potential solutions for improving quality and relevance. The symposium also shed light on the employability and skills gaps that currently exist for graduates and employers in Bangladesh. It looked at how curriculum and faculty development linked with greater industry-academia collaborations can play a part in narrowing the gap between graduate skills and employer requirements. Greater international collaboration between universities in Bangladesh and abroad was also highlighted as a path to higher quality and more relevance in education. 

Dr Biswajit Chanda, UGC said, ‘To ensure quality and relevance in higher education, employability modular industry-academia linkage, 4IR technology, good governance and extensive training for faculties are required.’ He requested the government of Bangladesh to create more scope for national and international collaboration and for more funded opportunities for higher education institutions.

Tom Miscioscia, Director, British Council Bangladesh said, “With the Government’s plans for Bangladesh to graduate to developed country status by 2041, education, and particularly Higher and Vocational education, will need to play a key role in this development. Internationalising Higher Education is a way of improving standards and rankings and a useful tool as Bangladesh seeks to attain International Standards in Higher Education. An international approach will bring substantial benefits for the institutions, faculties and ultimately students.”

The Education team at the British Council will compile a summary of topics and recommendations over the coming weeks to present to the Ministry of Education, UGC, and development partners so that concrete actions can be taken in regard to improving the quality of education.