Round Table Discussion on “Strengthening Collaboration between the Private Sector & Academia: The Way Forward”

Research and development (R&D) should get more priority both in our public and private universities to get skilled graduates to meet the local demand as well as global market demand. Moreover, we need to focus on how we can mitigate the requirement and skill gap. Academicians and industry owners told these at a round table discussion titled “Strengthening Collaboration between the Private Sector & Academia: The Way Forward” organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry on July 6, 2024. Academicians from different renowned public and private universities took part in the discussion to identify the challenges of industry-academia collaboration.

DCCI President Ashraf Ahmed said that every year around 2 million graduates are coming into the job market, however we are unable to accommodate all of them. According to BIDS, unemployment among graduates in the country is 66%, he said. Furthermore, a World Bank survey reveals that 46% of employers struggle to find job seekers with the necessary skills, while 69% report shortages of skilled manpower for technical and managerial roles. Experts are being hired from outside for key positions to run the industry and billions of dollars are flowing out of the country. On the other hand, due to lack of skills our manpower is not getting high paying jobs abroad. Industry- Academia need to work together to develop both soft and hard skills of our graduates, he also added. Besides, shared efforts and contributions by universities and private sector on research of contemporary matters can enrich and create new learning on macroeconomic matters, he said. Besides, shared efforts and contributions by universities and private sector on research of contemporary matters can enrich and create new learning on macroeconomic matters, he mentioned.

Vice Chancellor of ULAB, Professor Imran Rahman said around 40 percent of youth graduates are still unemployed and for them we need to do something. He also said that in our country university students through their internship actually learn a little. He therefore suggested for apprenticeship for better learning out of the theoretical background. He said still many of our subjects or curricula studied in the universities do not have much demand even in the global market. He therefore urged for popularizing ICT and science based education more and more to compete with the rapidly moving world. Moreover, private funding in the university R&D or students’ project should get tax benefit, he recommended.

Dr. Muhammad Anisuzzaman Talukder, Professor, BUET said there should have been a strong trust between the industry and academia sector. He also said that in Bangladesh, our university curriculum is quite good but in some cases few good things can be included. But frequent changes in curriculum will not bring any good result for the students, he added.

Dr. AKM Waresul Karim, Professor, North South University, Brigadier General Mohammad Saadat Hossain, ndc,psc, Dean, Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP), Ltd. Col. Khondoker Zahirul alam, psc, G (Retd.), Director, international affairs, BUP, Dr. Mohammad Zahedul Alam, Professor, BUP, Md. Yeashir Arafat, Assistant Director, FBS, BUP, Professor Dr. Mohammed Masum Iqbal, Dean, Dhaka International University, Dr. Md. Abdur Rahman, Pro-Vice Chancellor, AIUB, Dr. Partha P. Chowdhury, Professor, AIUB, Dr. Salma Karim, Professor, UIU, Dr. Md. Quamruzzaman, Associate Professor, UIU, Professor Nazmul Ahsan Khan, Dean, NUB, Khairul Alam, Assistant Professor, NUB and Dr. Khaled Mahmud, Professor, IBA also took part in the discussion.

The speakers suggested to utilize corporate CSR fund for university research and development work. They also said that if we fail to ensure better salary for the skilled and meritorious graduates in the industry while they are in jobs, they might lose hope to work and will try to explore better opportunity abroad. Speakers also recommended for faster approval process of new curriculum by the university grants commission (UGC). At present, we do not have actual research based data of exact demand of skills required by the industry. At least we should know the demand of next ten years. They also requested the private sector to come forward for students’ project funding.

DCCI Vice President Md. Junaed Ibna Ali, Director Mohammad Saifur Rahman Saif and Convenor Ismet Zerin Khan were also present during the discussion.

Published on: 2024-07-06

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