As we are saying goodbye to the horrible yr of 2020 and enter not only a new yr in 2021 however a brand new decade to 2030, it’s time to look forward with some sense of optimism for our nation over the approaching decade.
Bangladesh has the chance and potential for turning into a major knowledge-based economic system by 2030 if we make the suitable selections and investments going ahead. Sadly, in the intervening time we’re in a poor place, as was demonstrated by the publication of this yr’s International Data Index by UNDP, wherein Bangladesh ranked 112th out of 138 international locations—we have been the bottom ranked in South Asia, with India rating highest in our area. We have to make a acutely aware choice to boost our rank yearly over the following 10 years and make the requisite investments to attain that as a matter of excessive nationwide precedence.
What steps could possibly be taken on this regard? The primary level to make is that what I’m advocating for won’t value any extra money, so finance shouldn’t be a major constraint. Quite, the main choice we have to collectively take as a rustic is to acknowledge that we’re not headed in the suitable course, and therefore, we want a serious paradigm shift to alter our course of journey. This must be a collective choice not solely by our political leaders however by each mother or father and younger one who desires to be higher educated, in a way befitting the brand new paradigm reasonably than business-as-usual.
We have to begin with the tertiary training system, the place Bangladesh now has over 100 universities, counting each public in addition to personal universities. Whereas that is certainly a major achievement when it comes to amount, most are very poor when it comes to high quality. Certainly, in international rankings of the world’s prime most universities, even Bangladesh’s foremost College of Dhaka has been dropping down the rating over the previous couple of years.
Therefore, we have to deal with altering the schools from being easy certificate-issuing factories to precise locations of studying with an emphasis on instructing expertise, and the power to suppose and resolve issues, reasonably than merely move exams via rote memorisation of knowledge and regurgitation.
This can want a serious shift in giving incentives to our academics, who’ve the power to alter if the reward system for them was modified. A technique this could possibly be completed is for the college authorities to reward analysis and innovation from college, and likewise for the nationwide authorities to supply rewards, together with funding for analysis. For real data era, not less than two and even three p.c of the nationwide finances needs to be allotted to supporting nationally helpful analysis that addresses the issues and alternatives of Bangladesh. This will likely be a serious indicator of whether or not we genuinely graduate out of Least Developed Nation (LDC) standing over the following few years. We can not graduate so long as we stay depending on worldwide consultants to fly in and provides us data. We should generate our personal data or we are going to stay dependent endlessly.
The second main change in funding alternatives needs to be in making funding from the banking sector out there for younger entrepreneurs, with a deal with inexperienced enterprise alternatives. Whereas this has certainly began, it must be scaled up very quickly as a part of the worldwide economic system and never solely confined to the Bangladesh economic system alone. The Covid-19 pandemic has already led to many hundreds of Bangladeshi labourers returning residence whereas on the identical time, the world economic system and training has shifted on-line, in order that we do not have to journey to a different nation to interact in offering companies globally. The largest uncooked materials for profiting from this chance is younger folks, each ladies in addition to boys, of which we’ve many thousands and thousands. Nonetheless, we will solely achieve the advantages if we put money into educating our shiny and keen youth to study the capability to make use of the web to connect with the worldwide economic system on a serious scale.
The third main step we might want to take is to allow the Bangladesh economic system to hyperlink extra successfully and effectively with the worldwide economic system, and a method this could possibly be completed can be to make the Bangladesh Taka right into a freely convertible forex. The time has certainly come for Bangladesh to permit this step to be deliberate and carried out within the subsequent few years. Will probably be an enormous step ahead for our economic system.
Lastly, we should change the sample of our training, together with simpler vocational coaching in addition to higher high quality secondary training, and certainly even main training, for our youngsters. None of it will require new funding, however it would require us to alter the best way we do issues and the way we incentivise academics in any respect ranges. If these coverage steps are taken and carried out sincerely, we may certainly change the face of our nation by the top of the approaching decade.
I imagine that our single best nationwide asset are our younger ladies and boys, and if we’re capable of put money into educating them higher, we will certainly transition to a major knowledge-based economic system inside a decade. Nonetheless, it would require a nationwide consensus for us to make the mandatory paradigm shift wanted.
Dr Saleemul Huq is Director of the Worldwide Centre for Local weather Change and Improvement on the Unbiased College Bangladesh.