Curtains fell on the 18th Asian University Presidents Forum (AUPF) 2019 yesterday, with a vision to have stronger collaborations among Asian universities in mutual cooperation and technology transfers.
Some 40 Asian universities signed 64 memorandums of understanding (MoU) on exchange of students, faculties and PhD scholarships, on the concluding ceremony of the event.
The ceremony took place on the Daffodil International University (DIU) permanent campus at Ashulia in Savar. DIU, in collaboration with Association of Private Universities of Bangladesh, organised this year’s AUPF, for the first time in Bangladesh.
Participants, including presidents, rectors, and vice-chancellors of 15 Asian countries’ universities, joined the three-day conference with the theme “Future of Entrepreneurship Education and Experiential Learning: Determinants of Developing Successful Entrepreneurial Eco-System in Asian Economies”.
University Grants Commission Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah, while speaking as chief guest at yesterday’s programme said the theme was a time-befitting one for Bangladesh.
“Studying entrepreneurship benefits students and learners from different social and economic backgrounds, because it teaches people to cultivate unique skills and think outside the box,” he said.
The UGC chair said entrepreneurial education and training provides individuals with abilities to recognise commercial opportunities. It also leads to self-employment and creates job openings for others, and has an important role in the economic growth and development of the country.
He said DIU is contributing to create future entrepreneurs, by patronising start-ups through creating a sustainable eco-system. “Other universities can also take note and follow suit,” he added.
He also praised the DIU permanent campus, and urged authorities to shift all their activities there.
“I cannot understand why Daffoldil still continues to have classes in Dhanmondi, when they have such a beautiful campus here. I would urge them to move immediately with lock, stock, and barrel to this campus and create the opportunity for students to have real campus feeling which is a part and parcel of university education” Kazi Shahidullah said.
He said emergence of private universities in Bangladesh has given a new dimension to tertiary-level education of the country. Today, more students are studying in private universities than public universities, excluding National University.
At the ceremony, Chairman of DIU board of trustees Sabur Khan handed over the AUPF flag to G Viswanathan, founder and chancellor of Vellore Institute of Technology in India (VIT), the host university of AUPF 2020.
AUPF standing committee member Sabur Khan also said his university is proud to arrange the programme, and thanked all for joining it.
Earlier in the morning, Bangladesh National Cadet Corps members of DIU gave a guard of honour to the guests and students of the university, and performed in cultural programme showcasing Bangladeshi culture.
The AUPF was kicked off with a welcome dinner on November 22 and was officially inaugurated by Education Minister Dipu Moni on following day.
Originating from a friendly collaboration between institutions of higher education in China and Thailand, the AUPF was officially established in 2002 to include higher education institutions across Asia.
Since its inception, the AUPF has expanded throughout Asia and has congregated annually in different Asian countries. The last conference was held in Indonesia.