Dhaka, Bangladesh
'PPP model can expand higher edn in Bangladesh'

'PPP model can expand higher edn in Bangladesh'

News Report: In views of resource constraints, the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model in setting up universities in Bangladesh can help expand and improve quality of higher education, opined educationists, teachers, scholars and industrialists. Bangladesh needs to invest heavily in primary and secondary education as the country will become a member of middle-income group by 2021 and a member of rich countries by 2041. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has forecast 8 per cent GDP growth, the highest in Asia, for Bangladesh for the current fiscal year as against the government's 8.2 per cent projection based on buoyant exports and domestic consumption. According to a report of University Grants Commission (UGC), only 0.2 per cent of gross domestic products (GDP) is spent in the higher education of the country. With steady economic development of the country over the years, an increasing number of students are pursuing higher education. But public universities (except National University, Open University of Bangladesh) have a capacity of enrolling some 50,000 students a year in honours courses, whereas a total of 9,88,172 candidates passed in the HSC and its equivalent examinations this year. National Institute of Textile Engineering and Research (NITER) is the first education institute running as a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) organization under the Ministry of Textiles & Jute. It is located in its own campus at Nayarhat, Savar, Dhaka adjacent to the Dhaka-Aricha highway and enjoys excellent communication facilities connecting among important cities of the country. The Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) is a national policy initiated to accelerate the subsector's growth to meet the Vision 2021 Goal of the country. In August 2010, the government of Bangladesh issued the Policy and Strategy for Public Private Partnership (PPP) to facilitate the development of core sector public infrastructure and services vital for the people of Bangladesh. Meanwhile, a former professor of Dhaka University while talking to The News Today said students from countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Thailand, Malaysia and north-east India can come to Bangladesh if the country can set up quality universities with standard residential dormitories. A good number of foreign students can come to Bangladesh if the country can set up higher educational institutions maintaining quality, opined educationists, policy-makers and members of the civil society. The economy has been growing at the rate of around 8.00 per cent, second highest in Asia, and the size of gross domestic product (GDP) of Bangladesh is now over 300 billion US dollars. Bangladesh has now dreams of becoming an upper-middleclass economy in 2041, fuelled by vision 2021 and achieving SDGs 2030 Some leading businessman of the country over the years set up some reputed universities like North South University, Ahsanullah Science and Technology University, Independent University, American International University of Bangladesh, BRAC, International University of Business, Agriculture and Technology, International Islami University, Chattogram, East West University, Bangladesh University of Business and Technology and the University of Asia Pacific . A UGC member while talking to the News Today said that strict monitoring of the trustee board of the private universities is important in upgrading curriculums of the higher education. At present some 400 foreign students are pursuing higher education in private universities and this number can easily be raised to 10,000 within five years, provided existing curriculums, faculty members and environment are improvised with residential dormitories. The government can mull over allocating lands in and around Dhaka city to entrepreneurs in setting residential dormitories that can cater to foreign students, said a trustee board of North South University. The price of land is too high in Dhaka and the government can give plots in and around Dhaka city to set up dormitories. He said the authorities can give plots at Tejgaon, Keraniganj and Savar to set up international standard dormitories. According to University Grants Commission (UGC) report, students are being enrolled in 37 public and 86 private universities. A total of 9,88,172 candidates among 13,36,629 students cleared the tests. This year, 47,286 students achieved highest grade GPA 5 against last year's 29,262. Among the successful students, 41,807 achieved the highest grade GPA 5 under eight general education boards while 2,243 under the Madrassah Education Board and 3,236 under the Technical and Vocational Education Board. University Grants Com-mission (UGC) in its annual report has suggested to examine the introduction of double-shift in public universities against backdrop of acute admission crisis in the higher education institutions. University Grants Commission in its latest annual report expressed concern at the growing expenditure of higher education in private universities. Country's private universities have a capacity of over 300,000 seats. But only 120,000 students are admitted to private universities against the backdrop of high tuition fees. However, only 120,000 students got themselves admitted to private universities as cost of the education in that educational institutions is extremely high and more than 50 per cent of the private universities lack skilled, experienced, qualified teachers, proper environment and poor academic atmosphere. The number of students in public and private universities has been increasing over the years putting pressure on Dhaka city. Out of 117 public and private universities, 12 government and 45 private universities have been set up in Dhaka city and surrounding areas that are regionally discriminatory and a barrier to sound and healthy expansion of higher education, said 40th annual report of University Grants Commission (UGC). UGC in its latest report also proposed to rationalize the tuition fess of private universities in accordance with country's socio-economic conditions. Tuition fees at most private universities are higher and sometimes beyond means of middle class families. Over 80 private universities have been set up in Dhaka city, most of those on unhealthy conditions and violating the UGC rules. The construction of universities with full residential facilities in the divisional headquarters will also expand wings of the higher education outside capital, said a town planner. The present government has taken a decision to set up at least one university in each district to expand higher education.

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