Speakers at a discussion stressed the need for strengthening collaboration between university and industry to make the university graduates employable in the fast-changing job market.
The country has a large youth population, but they need to be equipped with a right set of skills to meet the growing demands of skilled graduates in the industrial firms especially in the IT sector, they said. They suggested modernising university curricula with incorporating industrial attachment programmes.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) in association with the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and DataSoft Systems Bangladesh Ltd organised the discussion titled, "University-Industry Collaboration for Skilful and Innovative Human Resource Development in IT Sector", in the UGC auditorium of the capital.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof Jamilur Reza Choudhury, vice chancellor of the University of Asia Pacific, said although the issue of collaboration has been widely discussed in the country, the progress is still not mentionable.
Citing examples of some countries, he said the top universities in the world, especially in the US, keep a continuous interaction with the industry. Many companies, on the other hand, set up IT parks or industries nearby the university campus so that the faculty members and students can work closely with them.
"Physical proximity is very important here," Prof Jamilur added.
Prof Muhammad Zafar Iqbal of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology said, "There are many universities in our country, but we cannot utilise all the graduates who are coming out of those. We need to address this."
He said the universities should be given the chance so that they not only help students acquire required skills and leadership qualities but also become proper human beings.
University-industry collaboration is a must, Prof Zafar said, urging the industries to ensure the facility for the universities outside Dhaka.
Although big industries are supposed to be built nearby the universities, the reality is different in Bangladesh, he said. "This must be ensured," he added.
Prof Saiful Islam, vice chancellor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, suggested creating a platform where universities will understand the need for industries and industries will find research and resources for further development.
Citing a survey report, UGC Chairman Prof Abdul Mannan emphasised equipping the country's young generation with updated knowledge and skills for enabling them in the job market.
He said the commission was relentlessly working to ensure quality education at tertiary level for producing quality graduates.
Professor Mohammad Yousuf Ali Mollah, member of UGC; Syed Almas Kabir, president of BASIS; Mahboob Zaman, managing director of DataSoft Systems Bangladesh Ltd; faculty members of different universities and representatives from a number of industries also spoke.