New curriculum: NU mulls postgrad diploma courses in a dozen subjects

DhakaTribune || Shining BD

Published: 2/20/2024 6:37:13 AM

In a bid to align education with contemporary demands, National University (NU) is contemplating the introduction of postgraduate diploma courses across various disciplines.

The NU authorities have already taken steps to reform their testing system and formulate a skill-based and employment-oriented modern academic curriculum to evaluate the quality of education.

Recently, the National Strategic Plan for Higher Education in Colleges of Bangladesh 2023-30 was drafted by the College Education Development Project under the Ministry of Education and funded by the World Bank.

Under the plan, the University Grants Commission (UGC), Bangladesh Accreditation Council (BAC), and Bangladesh National Qualifications Framework (BNQF) are formulating a new syllabus, which will consist of at least 132 credits in each subject. Subjects such as the History of Bangladesh, English, ICT, and soft skills will be compulsory for students at all levels.

Around 20 short courses have been selected, of which two will be subject-specific.

Following the National Strategic Plan, the NU authorities said they plan to introduce postgraduate diploma courses in about a dozen subjects in the colleges of the capital.

The courses will include diplomas in languages, hospitality management, security management, and cybersecurity, an official of the university said, adding that the institute would introduce such courses outside the capital only after successful piloting.

Regarding this, National University Vice-Chancellor Prof Md Moshiur Rahman told Dhaka Tribune: "The long-standing desire of National University students will be fulfilled under the new curriculum.”

At the same time, initiatives have been taken to launch a separate Learning Management System (LMS), he added.

Sociologist Moshiur Rahman also said that initiatives have been taken to strengthen the interrelationship between industry and academia in this curriculum. The software and its content will be developed by a separate LMS based on the new curriculum.

“Students can easily access learning resources on various subjects online through their digital devices so that they can properly transition into the job market,” he added.

Govt to bring NU affiliates college under public university

Recently, in the wake of the Education Minister’s announcement regarding the monitoring of honours-masters based government colleges under the divisional public universities, concerns have been expressed by the students of the largest public university over how effective it will be in addressing the session jam problem and enhancing their opportunities in the job market.

Regarding these issues, the Education Ministry said, as part of the plan, all honours-level colleges of Chittagong and Rajshahi will soon come under Chittagong and Rajshahi University as a pilot.

NU authorities said they are going to change the current traditional curriculum to create a skill-based and employment-oriented curriculum in line with various developed countries.

The curriculum for the degree, honours, and master’s levels is being revised. The authorities have already started working on the field level to update the honours-level education system, according to sources at NU.

A survey conducted by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) in 2021 showed that about 66% of NU graduates remain unemployed because their subjects and skills often do not match the criteria set by private sector employers.

The survey found inadequate skills in information and communication technology among NU graduates.

NU current status

Despite being financially robust compared to other public universities in Bangladesh, NU faces challenges in resource utilization and infrastructure development. The institution relies heavily on student fees as its primary source of income, with a substantial capital fund.

However, mismanagement and lack of planning have hindered the effective utilization of these resources, according to Prof Mahbub Ullah, the university's first pro-VC. Insufficient teachers and classrooms remain significant issues, with a student-to-teacher ratio of 1:31, as per the latest report from the UGC.

Prof Mahbub Ullah emphasized the need to amend the National University Act to incorporate science, engineering, and technology-based courses, especially as the government plans to integrate colleges under public universities. He also urged the university to address the inadequate class days and syllabus completion, suggesting initiatives such as constructing independent examination and residential halls.

Shining BD