Research and our education
Research and education are related to each other in case of universities of a country. Creativity and intellectual ability of a person can be enriched only by the quality of education and research. The broad-minded concept can only be developed by the research and education. Especially, research is a very crucial indicator to the real development of a country. The USA, Australia, the UK, Japan, Canada, China, Malaysia, Russia, Germany and India are the examples of some countries that have considered research as their one of the main concerning issues. But in the perspective of Bangladesh, the scenario is completely different. Most academicians are not involved directly for conducting research works. In fact, the research-oriented environment and mentality haven't built up among the academicians in university level of our country.
Research is a part of a culture of a country and the culture is not built in a day. Pahela Baishakh, Pahela Falgun, Nabanna, folk songs, Rabindra Shongeet , Nazrul Geeti, the bamboo flute (bashi), drums (dhol), a single stringed instrument named ektara, a four-stringed instrument called dotara, and a pair of metal bawls used for rhythm effect called mandira are some important symbols Bangladeshi culture. These have a great significance in the life of the people of Bangladesh. In the same way, if the research were treated as a culture or tradition of everyday life of the people, opportunities for practising research as a culture could be ensured. The mental revolution or changes of vision are required for the academicians of Bangladesh to adapt themselves to the multidimensional research in different areas of science and engineering.
Whenever 'Change' is the point, stability and adaptability can be correlated with each other. But stability, however, does not mean rigidity. It only needs to maintain a balance between adaptability and change. Actually, stability is a gradually building-up process in a person to adapt to the changes with a high level of motivation and confidence. Therefore, to create research-oriented mentality, some developments or preparation periods should be kept in mind. The preparation periods can be arranged by signing memorandum of understanding (MoU) between foreign and local universities. The research, education, faculty and student exchange programmes can be taken into account in the form of MoU. The education and research policy can be enhanced in such a way that every faculty of different public universities is encouraged to organise international conferences throughout the years. But a reasonable budgetary allocation should be ensured by the government.
On this subject, the responsibilities of different industries are not ignored. The linkage programmes between industries and engineering universities should be established by law. Both sides can draw benefit from these programmes. In a broad sense, research can be classified as basic and applied. To inspire the academicians and students in basic and applied research, smooth accessibility to the researched articles from international journals and e-book of reputed publishers should be made available. The UGC has taken some initiatives for easy access to e-books and journals but those are very limited.
Research is not only a science but also an art. This means that publication of papers, practical problem solving strategies, patents and development of new concept can be regarded as the combination of science and art. The renowned personalities of Bangladesh are honoured every year for worthy contributions in their particular fields or society through Independence Day Award, Ekushey Padak, Bangla Academy Award, Begum Rokeya Padak, National Film Awards, National Sports Awards, President's Award for Industrial Development and hundreds alike. But there is no national award for the researchers. This is the time to recognise the contributions of researchers in the field of science, engineering and other related areas. National Research Award should be given every year to the real personalities for their research achievements. The present government can get the credit to form Institute of Quality Assurance Cell in every university of Bangladesh. The main theme of this Institute will be to ensure the quality of education and research throughout the country.
In developed countries, the academicians as well as researchers write the project proposals to the concerned authorities. The main purposes of these projects are to develop patents, publication of researched articles in ISI indexed journals and to take students with full scholarship for PhD and MSc programme. The reasonable amount of money is allocated for smooth running of research works and projects. This process can be implemented in our country for proper nursing of research as a culture. The globally renowned researchers have mentioned that research is a global business. In our country, the academicians need to have an attitudinal change about the limitations of resources or capitals for carrying out research. Instead, they should think of continuing their worthy research works within these limited resources and budget.
There are several alternatives for research methodologies, and academicians as well as researchers should find out the cheapest way without compromising with the quality of research. Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose, Satyendra Nath Bose, Qazi Motahar Hossain, M A Wazed Miah, Qudrat-i-Khuda, Dwijen Sharma, Prafulla Chandra Ray, Maqsudul Alam are some famous researchers of Bangladesh as well as of the world. In reality, they have not enough money to carry out world level research activities but have done great jobs. This is because of their research oriented mentality. Only can't money motivate the persons towards research. It is the creative mentality that can bring about a revolution in doing research without any personal interests.r
Professor Dr Mohammad Asaduzzaman Chowdhury is Departmental Head of Mechanical Engineering, Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology, Gazipur