On October 25, 2018, the Institutional Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) of North South University organised a roundtable discussion on the ‘Role of Quality Higher Education in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4 in Bangladesh’. LEAD, a leading organisation in sustainability analysis and leadership training was the strategic partner of this roundtable discussion whose major objective was to create substantial awareness on the role and impact of quality higher education in achieving SDG 4 in Bangladesh, and analyze the best practices, current initiatives and future challenges in achieving this goal.
Chairman of the Bangladesh Accreditation Council (BAC), Professor Dr Mesbah Uddin Ahmed was present as the chief guest while Professor Dr Yousuf Ali Mollah, member, University Grants Commission (UGC) of Bangladesh and Professor Dr Sanjoy Kumar Adhikary, Head, Quality Assurance Unit (QAU) of UGC were present as the guest of honor and special guest respectively. The programme was chaired by the Vice Chancellor of North South University Professor Atiqul Islam.
Among others, Professor Dr Yusuf M Islam, Vice Chancellor of Daffodil International University, Professor Dr Abdur Rab, Vice Chancellor of International University of Business, Agriculture and Technology and Professor Dr Chowdhury Mofizur Rahman, Vice Chancellor of United International University also participated at the sessions. The roundtable was also attended by the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Treasurer, Registrar, Deans, Department Chairs and Directors of various centers of NSU, IQAC directors of several public and private universities of the country, and representatives from LEAD, British Council, and Pearson (UK).
In the first session, Dr Sanjoy K Adhikary talked about the positive changes IQACs have brought in the higher education sector of Bangladesh in recent times. He underlined the importance of developing benchmarks for ensuring quality in the higher education sector. Dr Yusuf Ali Mollah emphasized on instilling humane qualities in our students so that they can become ethical and responsible citizens of the country. Dr Mesbah Uddin Ahmed discussed the codes of practice for programme accreditation and reiterated the importance of program accreditation in the global context. Professor Atiqul Islam explained the SDG 4 objectives and highlighted the importance of achieving them. The first session ended with valuable discussion by the Vice-Chancellors.
In the second session, Dr Nazmun Nahar, Director-IQAC of NSU initiated an open discussion regarding the challenges and opportunities of IQACs. The IQAC directors shared their experiences and brought up important issues including lack of resources, lack of expertise in outcome based teaching methodology, and poor student-teacher ratio.
In the third session, President of LEAD Ashfaq Zaman, CPA presented a keynote paper on the global best practices and industry/academia gap analysis. Towards the end of the session, there was an open moderation session focusing on relevant SDG issues related to quality education and the role of quality higher education in Bangladesh.
The roundtable session ended putting a positive impact on the participants who actively participated with a view towards attaining SDG 4 through mutual cooperation to make Bangladesh a developed country.
The outputs, recommendations and viewpoints of the event will be assembled into a working paper and journal which will be promoted at local ministries, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations Global Compact.