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Investing in research

  • Published at 12:04 am May 9th, 2019

Unfortunately, research has often been an afterthought in our country

It is disappointing that no Bangladeshi university made it to the list of the top universities in Asia, and serves as a reality check that, as far as our education is concerned, there is plenty of work to be done.

The list, titled “Asia University Rankings 2019” in the Times Higher Education (THE) magazine comprised of over 350 research-intensive colleges and universities in Asia, with Japan leading the way overall with 103 universities and India being the leader in South Asia with 49.

In assessing the rationale for the rankings, it is easy to see the principal shortcoming in higher institutions in Bangladesh -- a severe lack of research initiatives.

There is no doubt that all the best institutions in the world make research a priority -- without publications and initiatives, it is near impossible for any university to gain international recognition.

Unfortunately, research has often been an afterthought in our country; woefully limited facilities and research labs, a lack of investment into research projects, and overworked teachers too focused on meeting the myriad university guidelines and manoeuvering through endless bureaucracy are just a few of the barriers.

What is required is for the authorities involved to prioritize research in universities. This includes incentivizing raising research funds, reducing the bureaucracy and administrative bottle-necks, and hiring faculty members with vested interest in conducting research -- and then providing them with the appropriate facilities and environment to focus on their work.

Bangladesh has made significant strides in various sectors in recent times, and with the right mentality, there is no doubt that the same can also happen regarding its higher institutions.