Prof. Dr.Md. Abu Taher, Pro Vice Chancellor, South East University

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Beating the Unemployment Slump

Curriculumsto bridge industry-academia gap

Although the unemployment rate in Bangladesh is 4.38%, the youth unemployment rate is very high. It was 11.4% in 2017. What do you think is the reason behind this?
Recently, I have been part of a project under UGC, a collaboration to enhance the quality of higher education in Bangladesh. With funding from the World Bank, UGC has undertaken a plan to improve the quality of higher education. Under the project, we held meeting with a lot of stakeholders including teachers, employers, and alumnae, we have observed, the quality of education is not meeting the demands of the employers. There is a significant skill gap between the required skills and ability of the graduates. As a result, Bangladesh adds 2.2 million HR graduates in the unemployment pool. But the scope of employment is minimal since an overwhelming number of graduates have poor technical and communication skills. Job-related knowledge, interpersonal skills, and employability traits are abysmal. We have to change our curriculum according to the demands of the industry. The need-based curriculum is critical. We have to redesign our curriculum by incorporating ideas from academics, employers, industry experts. Therefore, firstly our curriculum needs to be OBE (Outcome Based Curriculum). Also, UIC (University-Industry Collaboration) is essential. When I was working in South Korea and the U.S., there were specific spaces and facilities sponsored by a company or industry, on the other hand when the industry was faced with any technical difficulty, they came to the university for solutions. After joining South-East University, I have introduced a major in Supply Chain in both BBA and MBA courses to create skilled supply chain professionals for our country.

Is there an advantage of starting a career in the supply chain?
The consumer is the king of the market. You can only survive in the business if you can satisfy the consumers. Supply chain professionals are involved with consumers from the very beginning. The supply chain starts and ends with consumer satisfaction. Supply chain professionals know precisely the kind of raw materials that will satisfy the customers, and they can collect them at minimum price. To gain a competitive advantage, the supply chain of the company must be strong. Whether you are a player in the domestic or international market getting the best raw materials at the best price is a measure of your competitiveness. Therefore supply chain professionals are essential for the company.

How important is the position of a supply chain manager in the professional hierarchy?
It is very important, and the position is getting more crucial with time. Every department of the company has to be in constant communication with the supply chain to make sure the end product will satisfy the consumer because supply chain professionals have a clear idea about the quality of products customers expect. Every department including production, finance, marketing, MIS and R&D has made sure it has excellent communication with the supply chain so that it ends up with the right product and the right price. Once the supply chain was treated as part of the production department, now it is considered as a key decisional area. CEOs must be very knowledgeable about the supply chain. Supply chain professionals will in the CEO position very soon.

Which sector do you think will require highly skilled supply chain professionals in the future?
We will require highly skilled supply chain professionals in our RMG, Footwear, and FMCG. MNC and even international organizations such as the UN and ILO are currently looking for high skilled supply chain individuals.

How do you think technology is changing the supply chain?
The fourth industrial revolution is changing every professional dimension and the supply chain is no different. It will bring a shock in overall employment. According to Klaus Schwab, there are two ways we avoid any damage to society. First of all, we have to diversify our workforce. We have to create wealth and new industries that will drive demand and create employment.

You are an academic with degrees from all over the world (Texas, Korea, London). Now you are serving your country with your knowledge. Do you ever have second thoughts about your decision to move back to Bangladesh?
It is undoubtedly very lucrative to stay and work abroad. I have also worked in South Korea as a foreign professor with a very high salary. I believe, as a citizen of Bangladesh, you have a responsibility towards your country. We must be very patriotic and contribute to the development of our country.

It is true that if I stayed back in the U.S., there access to more opportunities. But ultimately, you are not valued equally as local professors there. Although it is a very highly educated society, some discrimination still exists. There are two types of universities in the U.S. – academic, and research. In my university (Texas A&M), you could do either. After completion of my course, I was offered a research position; I turned it down and came back to Bangladesh. I felt like my country needed me to produce some high skilled manpower in human resources. As a fulbright scholar, I learned a lot from Texas A&M, how to teach, strategize and get the best out of people, I enjoyed every minute of my time there. I published a paper on the condition of the fulbright scholarship, publishing a paper is mandatory for a scholar. It has to be a top-notch paper, otherwise, your funding may be halted in the middle of the programme. You are also expected to teach some courses and share your knowledge about the cross-cultural diversities. Getting selected for a fulbright scholarship is only the first step, awardees must perform in their respective institutions and contribute both academically and culturally.

Therefore, it depends on the individual mindset. Some want to come back and work for the betterment of their country as opposed to staying there. I have some friends who stayed back after their postdoc, they are not completely satisfied with their life in the United States. There is a vast cultural difference between the two societies. Their children were born and brought up in the U.S., obviously, they inherited everything from the American culture, my friends are not very happy about that because they often feel alienated. My wife was also not interested in bringing up our children in American society, so we moved back and have been very satisfied with our life in Bangladesh.

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
On Key

Related Posts

THE POWER OF LANGUAGE

Driven by innovation and a commitment to language inclusion, Zubair Hamed, CEO of Hishab, aims to bridge the digital divide in Bangladesh and position the

BUILDING TOMORROW’S LEADERS

An exclusive interview with Imran Kadir, Head of Sales & Marketing at The Daily Star, on his journey to becoming the 2024 National President of

LEADING TOGETHER, CHANGING TOGETHER

A comprehensive exposition of JCI Bangladesh and its role in empowering young professionals and entrepreneurs to become effective leaders and changemakers.     JCI Bangladesh

UNMASKING THE UNSEEN

With more than 18 years of experience, Chayan Rahman is one of the most well-reputed personalities in investigative journalism in Bangladesh. In a conversation with

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.