adv-06

Present trend of textile education in Bangladesh and a proposal of establishing combined textile research center

adv-07

Toufique Ahmed,

Asst. Professor, National Institute of Textile Engineering and Research

PhD Student, Çukurova University,Turkey

Bangladesh is the world 2nd largest apparel exporters. Our economy is largely dependent on the textile and RMG sector. For meeting the huge demand of manpower in textile and RMG sector the textile educational institute is raising at an alarming rate. However, unfortunately it is true that there are many foreigners from India, Pakistan, Srilanka working in our county and we have to pay a lot to them. If you visit the international textile job portals you may find how Bangladesh is a lucrative place for the Indians and Pakistanis! It is a misfortune for us that our largest contributing sector on GDP is largely dependent on the foreign experts. In some extent the factory management are bound to recruit foreign expert and also in some cases they recruit just for adding value and making the factory attractive to the buyers. Now, it is a demand of time to produce international standard experts in textile fields. Here international quality experts do not means to be sound only in technical aspects. It is true that the factory management recruits textile engineering not to make technical experts but to make a very good manager. And after a certain period the engineers are need not to solve the technical problems any more but he must has a very transparent knowledge on the products costing, manufacturing plan, product quality, time management and most importantly profit of the factory. This is why in textile sectors textile experts are badly needed. So from the above discussion we learnt that our main problems is in lacking of international standard textile experts. Now if we thing that we will solve the problems by producing graduates as many as we can then only it will decrease their value in job market and the demands of international standard textile experts will not mitigate any longer.

Niter

Students at National Institute of Textile Engineering and Research doing practical class at their laboratory.

Our present government has a very good target of achieving 50 million USD from textile and apparel sector by 2021. For this reason they are planning to establish textile engineering college in every greater district and textile institute in every district. So in near future we may get around 80 new textile educational institutes. At present there are more than28 public and private textile educational institutes. These institutes are producing tens of thousands of graduate each year.Let’s see the following list collected form the department of Clothing (now Textile Directorate):29196832_10215447733129160_2535654142148345856_n

screenshot-15When graduates from these newly established institutes will be added to the graduates of existing public and private institutes then the job market may be saturated. We should think thatwill our factories be able to accommodate all textile graduates form the over 110 textile educational institutions. But the big question is related to the quality. Still now no educational institute offer standard quality textile education in Bangladesh. According to the Columbia University,the standard ratio of students to Faculty is 6:1. Now think about our educational institutes. It is well known that in almost all textile colleges there are huge shortage of faculty members and in some cases they do not have even assistant professor ranked faculty member. The existing textile colleges are now conducting their academic activities by recruiting part time teachers. The part time teacher often give their time in afternoon or weekends. As a result the continuity of learning is severely hampered. The students only get some stuffs which are necessary for their exams. The things get worse when every year the institutes (both public and private) increase their seats without thinking about the ratio of teacher and students, class room capacity etc.

It is an established truth that research is an essential part of universities. But till now can we claim that we creates a standard environment for conductingresearch in textile? The answer is certainly no. Why? Many argue that we are a poor nation and we are not capable for conducting research. Yes, we are poor and are not capable of establishing world class lab and maintaining the cost of the laboratory. But if we take a look at the 2016-2017 budget of the then Department of Textiles (now Textile Directorate) then we will see, our present government are going to allocate a budget of 124964.13 core taka for establishing and upgrading 12 more Textile College and Institutes in 2016-17 economic year. But there are already 05 textile colleges and a new one is starting their journey in this academic year. The colleges are in huge problems especially teachers crisis. Before establishing new textile colleges we need to improve the present textile colleges. Another problem is for political reason the lawmakers are intended to establish new colleges in their areas. But these areas are far away from the industrial area as a result there are huge problems in building relationship to the factories.The present initiative of establishing more textile institutes will just be a motivator of creating unemployment in textile sectors. Here I am not interested to talk about the salary structure of textile engineers who work in the factory which is really a shameful amount for a textile graduate.

Laboratory set up:

In order to develop the laboratory facilities each textile college and institute first think to set up conventional laboratory machine. E.g industrial scale machines with a high volume of budgets. The maintenance of these machine is really an impossible matter for the educational institutes. The industrial scale machines need expert operators, technicians, and uninterrupted power supply with a standard voltage (about 380v and about 7kW). Most importantly all the machines are highly needed to be in running conditions and for running these machine raw materials will be needed. Moreover the sound of these machine creates an unhealthy noise (upto 100dB) which will damage the environment of the institute. Now think, I can challenge that no educational institute can do these things in whole over the world let alone Bangladesh. So eventually the machines are turned to just show pieces within few years and the students have to be satisfied only by watching the machines as a dummy butnot in running conditions. But if here the institutes buy lab scale machine probably they can set up a full lab by the cost of 1 or 2 industrial scale machines.

screenshot-16

For example, in the 1st figure there is an industrial scale roving frame the machine need a lots of money, energy, manpower and lots of sliver(input materials of the machine) to run the machine but in case of lab scale roving frame (shown in 2nd figure) low money, energy, and sliver and the laboratory persons will able to run it. But unfortunately as far as I know all the textile engineering universities, colleges and institutes have an infatuation to buy the industrial scale machines and even the new textile institutes have a plan to set up these types of industrial line. It is a matter of regret that our institutions have set up their laboratory spending tens of thousands crore taka but students are not able to do even a single simple test using these machines. For this reason a major portions of the undergrad students have got an excellent excuse to show their high level negligence to do a fruitful project work. Some motivated student try to do their best to do the research work but they have to face a huge challenge to do the research work. Because they need to find a factory or 3rd party textile laboratory to do research workwhere the personnel of the factory will show thousands of excuses. After a continuous effort of long days eventually some students are able to manage permission to do their research work there but then the students see that they have a little time in their hand. So they submit the report with incomplete, fabricated data. And the faculty members also have to overlook the matter knowing all the factors.Besides, there are huge difficulties to go the factory which may be very very far from the students’institute. They have to spend a lots of money as transportation cost and also spend several hours in the roads to get there. These are the real factors of not getting fruitful thesis work from the bachelor level students.

Combined Textile Research Center:

It is true that we are incapable to establish world class laboratory for each institute or universities. But we are not incapable for establishing a center laboratory with all modern facilities. Because we are planning to expend 148575.03core taka for establishing new textile institutes.With an investment of less than 1000 core taka we can build a modern textile laboratory in any university or institute form where all institutes (either public or private)of the country can conduct their research work. With this type of laboratory our students of all level from bachelor to doctoral can easily find a reliable place to do research and also our faculty members from different educational institutes can be able to contribute in textile sectors with new innovation. But only buying some machines do not mean a research laboratory. Here all the machines must be maintained according to the standard maintenance schedule. Obviously maintenance of the laboratory machineries are very tough, challenging and costly matter. But the research center can be self-dependent as a 3rd party testing authority. Which will be very beneficial to the factory owners and also the buyer. Because we know the buyer always want to be sure about the quality of the product but often they do not trust the 3rd party testing laboratories. so if the government take an initiative to set up a modern textile laboratory and research Centre with enough man power and facilities instead of establishing more 30 textile institutes then certainly it will be a milestone in terms of textile education and research in Bangladesh. Bangladesh will certainly go far ahead in high tech textile products. A field of invention may be created form the beloved soil of Bangladesh. The researchers from all over the world would join in the research center. The research center will also be helpful for the students of other filed like materials sciences, chemistry, applied chemistry etc. Our thousands of teacher and students will see dream to do something from inside the country. The high impact factor journals would be filled up with the articles of Bangladeshi scientists.

: Beautiful structural design of Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois

Fig: Beautiful structural design of Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois

Instead of establishing thousands of unproductive educational institute a lab like The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois will far far better. How beautiful it would be, if we got Dr. Wazed Miah Textile Research laboratory instead of Dr. Wazed Miah Textile Engineering College. By this we can pay our homage to a great scientist in an effective manner.

 References:

  1. Official website of the department of textiles (Textile Directorate)
  2. National dailies
  3. Varioussources from the internet
  4. Official forum of university of Columbia
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