Md. Masum, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Textile Engineering Management,
Bangladesh University of Textiles
Professor M. A. Kashem has been appointed as the 3rd Vice Chancellor (VC) of Bangladesh University of Textiles (BUTEX). Before him, Professor Dr. Nitai Chandra Sutradhar was the 1stVC and Professor Engr. Md. Mashud Ahmed was the 2nd VC of BUTEX. As BUTEX is the only specialized public University focusing on textile education in Bangladesh, the nation demands a lot from the VC to support the 84% export earnings sector. Although the University has been providing competent fresh textile graduates for long to the industry, the University has many things to do to develop a strong research base and to provide expert support to the industry in terms of marketing, management, technology, and value addition. The innovative capacity of the University is also not up to mark and a huge scope of development and improvement is prevailing. Although a significant progress in infrastructure development, academic redesign and administrative operations have been done in the last four years, a huge gap is apparent in terms of developing the University as a strong knowledge and research base for the industry. In such circumstances, the new VC of the University will have to face challenges waiting for him. Following are some issues can be grouped as the priority concerns for the new VC of BUTEX.
- New development plans: The University should have a very strong planning and development team. The University is not yet successful to implement ‘the University establishment project’ even after almost one decade of establishment of the University. The role of the project director must be pro-actively redesigned to meet the development needs. New projects like University hall establishment, classroom modernization, land -for new campus, etc. are the main concerns to face.The former VC Prof. Engr. Mashud Ahmad was very active to implement the University establishment project in his tenure. The new VC should carry on the University establishment project at a priority basis. In addition to carry out the ongoing project, the VC should submit more projects to the government including establishment of halls, modern laboratory, modern library, etc. It is also important to separate the project team from planning team. The planning team designs new projects. The project team should be responsible to carry out the approved project.
- Separation of management from finance: It is the government principle to separate the finance from the administration. The administrative approval and financial approval are given by the same people in BUTEX. It is not a good practice for an office. It makes problem for the audit team to find any irregularities. The new administration should appoint finance director and treasurer along with disbursement policy. The financial transparency is important for any office. The roles of the account office should be restructured, e.g. every officer or teacher should have a separate account to know every transaction at any point of time. Yes, software may play good role to do this kind of job.
- Decentralization of academic decisions: The Departments of BUTEX are dependent on central decisions. The academic committee (the core committee of the University) is totally absent. As an initial step, the University should make the academic committees functional. Decisions of the academic committee should get priority in every academic aspect. Every Departmental decision in the academic council should be supported by academic committees’ resolution.For publishing results, every Department can publish their results by itself. The examinations committee is to be formed from the Departmental teachers in each Department. Two weeks back, the University published a result of a program of a Department which requires approval from all the deans of the University, the controller of examination, and the VC. It is too much centralization. Although the second VC has decentralized many decisions, the new VC should be change maker to establish a University culture.
- Extending research capabilities: The director (Research) position is still vacant. It is very important for any University to enhance research capability. The research office should be organized in such a way which can take the responsibility of real research on the textile sector. This office should be responsible for journal publication, conference organization, etc. Although textile sector is the prime sector for the economy of Bangladesh, this University fails to do any fruitful research from its inception in 2010. Moreover, the University should start higher education programs like PhD. PhD researches would bring out fruitful solutions to the existing problems of the billion dollar industry.
- IT infrastructure development: At present the University has no information technology (IT) infrastructure except a website and some computers with limited internet access. The present administration should think of integrated IT infrastructure. The planning department should make such plans on priority basis. IT infrastructure should be ranged from a student’s start of school to end, a teacher’s course start to final result publication, an officer’s joining to retirement, etc. All financial and academic transactions should be under purview of one click.
- Academic restructuring: When BUTEX was established in 2010, the University was offering two streams of education, i.e., B.Sc. in Textile Engineering and B.Sc. in Textile Management. But, unfortunately, one of the streams (Textile Management) has been abolished soon after up-gradation of the then College of Textile Technology to now Bangladesh University of Textiles. As a result, only one stream is continuing (Textile Engineering). Due to accommodate some senior academicians to some designated administrative posts like Dean, the restructuring was done within the ongoing one stream, e.g., B.Sc. in Textile Engineering (Major in Fabric), B.Sc. in Textile Engineering (Major in Yarn), B.Sc. in Textile Engineering (Major in Management), B.Sc. in Textile Engineering (Major in Fashion), B.Sc. in Textile Engineering (Major in Environment), etc. By nature, some of the majors do not possess the status of Textile Engineering like Fashion & Design, the students neither learning Textile Engineering nor capturing Fashion issues in full swing. Restructuring is important including inception of new programs like computer engineering, which is very important for the textile sector of Bangladesh.At the same, the University needs to support the textile business in addition to textile production. The current MBA program should also be restructured to meet the needs of the textile business.
- University standard specialization: In the University structure, every faculty should be specialist in his/her area. A management graduate should not deal with fabric issues. But, right now, it is very common of such non-specialist culture in BUTEX. The administration should give importance to specialist knowledge. A University will be a center of excellence when every specialist will be recognized.
- Getting jobs done by others: Doing one’s own job is enormously important part of one’s career. The employees are not doing their own job with respect, e.g., the cleaners are not doing their assigned duties, the lab attendants are not making the lab user friendly, etc. The washrooms are too dirty to use although we have sufficient cleaners. Everybody has tendency to avoid his/her own responsibility. As a manager of the University, it is one of the priorities to get the job done by respective people. Even some employees do not know how to behave with faculties and colleagues. Some training programs may be helpful.
- Internationalization and branding: Now the textile industry of Bangladesh is an international brand. The human resource supplier of this industry should also be internationally branded. The University can take initiatives to make the university a brand. The best way of creating BUTEX a brand is to invite international students. In the college period there were international students, but unfortunately, the University has no international students.
Institutionalization is the ultimate objective of the University, i.e., the University organs will run by proper rules and regulations. The above initiatives are the actions of institutionalization.As the Universitywasfollowing one-man’s command in almost all respects, the new VC should be the catalyst to bring changes. The above points are not the all issues for the new VC to take care. There are many issues need to be resolved like modernization of medical center, reshuffling the engineering section, strengthening the IT department, changing the exam control system, etc. Everybody in the University believes that Professor M. A. Kashemowns the capabilities to bring positive changes. We want to see the University in a new height as a center of excellence for the textile education and research under his leadership. We wish him great success in his every step for his new journey. We also expect everybody to support him in every respect for the betterment of this University rather than personal gains.