BAC in higher education in Bangladesh
To enhance the standard of higher education in colleges, universities, or other recognized educational institutions in the country, The Bangladesh Accreditation Council Act was passed by the government in the Parliament in 2017. By recognizing the changes that constantly take place in society demands new ideas and thoughts for coping with the global challenges.
To fulfill these needs and face the upcoming challenges, a nation needs to develop its human resources who will be technologically updated, innovative, well informed, knowledgeable, capable of facing upcoming challenges, and ultimately will be considered for the assets of the country. For ensuring these, quality education and improving the standard of level of education in higher educational institutions is a must. With a motto to fulfill these needs, a statutory autonomous body called The Bangladesh Accreditation Council (BAC) was formed for promoting and ensuring quality assurance in higher education.
As Bangladesh is going to be a part of the world's biggest economy and contribute to different global issues and challenges, skilled manpower is a prerequisite for social, economic, and political development which is interlinked with quality education. To fulfill these commitments, an internationally benchmarked instrument called National Qualifications Framework (BNQF) is being implemented by the BAC to promote quality assurance (QA) in higher education.
The main objectives of the BNQF are to provide the national definition for higher education qualifications, formulate national policy in developing human capital and graduate mobility, etc. According to the Accreditation Act, Accreditation Council will be responsible for assessing and accrediting the higher institutions in terms of their performance associated with the educational processes and outcomes, governance, transparency, curriculum, teaching-learning, availability of on-campus facilities and resources, research, faculty, monitoring, student service.
Along with accrediting institutions, based on following 10 prescribed qualifications standards with numbers of various criteria, Bangladesh Accreditation Council (BAC) also assesses the academic program of the institutions through following standards
1. Governance- Governance system must work in the planned way that helps achieve the mission, vision, and objectives of The Program offering Entity HEI/PoE
2. Leadership, Responsibility and Autonomy- Must have effective leadership skills and autonomy of HEI/PoE to cope with changes and needs, support innovative approaches for effective teaching-learning, research, and management of the academic program.
3. Institutional Integrity and Transparency- HEI/ PoE ensure institutional integrity and transparency to fulfill the need of the stakeholders
4. Curriculum- The curriculum of the PoE must be outcome-based and designed following the qualifications framework (QF) to the fulfillment of the mission and vision of the program.
5. Teaching Learning & Assessment- PoE must maintain systematic teaching-learning and assessment practices and also follow fair and reliable evaluation methods to measure students' progress.
6. Student Admission & Support Services- The HEI/PoE must fix up appropriate entry requirements, admission policy, and student support services for better outcomes following the nature of the discipline of the entity.
7. Faculty & Professional Staff- With a provision to maintaining reasonable teacher-student ratio, experienced faculty (10% Professor, 20% Associate Professor, 40% Assistant Professor and 30% Lecturer) standard salary structure with incentives, The HEI/PoE must have the policy to ensure above all mentioned criterion for quality education.
8. Facilities & Resources- For confirming effective teaching-learning, The HEI/PoE must ensure access to adequate resources and facilities based on students' enrollment for providing physical facilities such as appropriate class size and room, washroom, technology, equipment, as per the demand of the program and discipline.
9. Research & Scholarly Activities- To promote need-based research to forward the findings of the industry/community problems, The HEI/PoE must have a comprehensive policy on budgeting provision for quality research, innovation and publication for the sake of the greater interest of the stakeholders and society.
10. Monitoring, Evaluation & Continual Improvement- An existence of well-functioning Institutional Quality assurance Cell (IQAC) for assessing continual improvement, the HEI/PoE must have an inclusive system of monitoring, assessment, and review of the policy to find out strength, weakness, threats, and well-functioning Institutional Quality assurance Cell (IQAC) for assessing continual improvement.
In the case of the general policy of Bangladesh Accreditation Council Act, institutions and their programs have to be accredited and must be eligible for getting a Certificate of Accreditation by fulfilling all standards and criteria prescribed by BAC. Only after receiving the satisfactory outcomes of external quality assessment report from the Accreditation Committee and an Expert Committee, a Certificate of Accreditation is issued for 5 (five) years with a provision to monitor the performance of the accredited HEI/academic program through an academic audit.
The Accreditation Council Act permits BAC to revoke or cancel accreditation due to breach of any conditions or settings and also allows HEI/PoE to apply against any contrary accreditation decision for reconsideration. Thus, it is the responsibility of the HEI/PoE for maintaining proper documentation of all activities related to the institutions and their programs and submit all with evidence while an expert committee formed by the BAC will be in a physical visit at the institution.
Though it took many years to form an accreditation council after the independence of Bangladesh, it is believed that the well-functioning of The Bangladesh Accreditation Council (BAC) will enhance people's confidence in higher education in Bangladesh, attain international recognition, attract international students, and improve the competitiveness of the graduates in terms of innovative and creative human capital for meaningful contribution to continue the economic growth of the country.
To make all these happen, the government must take initiatives to set up BAC's own headquarter and extend funding and increase other resources and facilities from where BAC can perform, formulate, monitor its responsibilities linked to quality assurance and accreditation in higher education to improve competencies of graduates and make our graduates more competitive in the global arena.
Dr Rajib Chakraborty, Former Chairman Dept of Business Administration, Additional
Director (IQAC), Port City International University