POST TIME: 14 October, 2020 10:27:35 PM
The crisis in quality research in Bangladesh
The quality of research hardly meets the standard in Bangladesh for diverse reasons. Furthermore, fake PhD holders, and the people who earned PhD by forgery are countless in numbers in our society who eventually defame our country’s image
Dr. Md. Enamul Hoque

The crisis in quality research in Bangladesh

Researchers create knowledge while the teachers disseminate it through classroom teaching. We know the very example of Isaac Newton when the apple falls on his head; he started the question with why and how? He searched for the truth, reasons to discover a new knowledge. He applied commonsense in his enquiry. The continuous search resulted in solving his problem. Finally, he built a theory entitled “the Theory of Gravitation Force”. A research is a systematic and organized way to find answers to queries that may lead to creation of new knowledge, development of theory, principles, and generalization.

Without standard research, no nation can improve its education and develop. If we look at the development of Japan, Korea, China and some other countries in Asia, we will find that the secret of their sustainable development is their quality education and research. It is a motto that “The more developed a country is in education and research, the more developed it is in economy”. If we look at the USA, Canada, Australia, England and European countries, we will find that their economy and educational standard are corresponding.

It is the opinion of experts that the quality of research hardly meets the standard in Bangladesh for diverse reasons. Furthermore, fake PhD holders, and the people who earned PhD by forgery are countless in numbers in our society who eventually defame our country’s image. In addition, a huge number of frauds purchases PhD certificates in the name of online or distance learning. Some foreign private universities including Indian private institutions are selling fake PhD certificates to Bangladeshi candidates. Those deceivers have been using the highly prestigious and dignified academic designation before their name with a view to cheating others and gaining unfair benefit.

The aim of any research is to solve the problems of education or specific sector. But, how far the objectives of the academic research are achieved in Bangladesh cannot be ascertained. There are huge debates and controversies in the academic field whether the minimum standard or quality are maintained in conducting any empirical study at individual or institutional levels. Still today, Bangladesh is not a fertile land for conducting standard research. Here, the quality research is hardly possible due to series of obstacles, for example, inefficiency of the researchers, unwillingness to working hard, lack of proper guidance from the supervisor, dishonesty, institutional incapability, lack of resources, disinterest of the participants/respondents, lack of incentive from the government, financial crisis of the researcher, non-cooperation from the authority are many of the few. In this article, a number of relevant issues will be highlighted in Bangladesh context. During the recent time, Bangladesh government has put huge emphasis on the development of quality education of the country. The government is allocating huge financial allocations in the national budget for implementing planned programmes and projects. But, it is extremely criticized by the stakeholders that the policies are undertaken and executed without adequate valid research.

In Bangladesh, many researchers cannot design their own research methodology. Instead of mixed-method approach, they prefer merely quantitative research based on the questionnaire survey. This type of research suffers from reliability and validity. Even, they lack the minimal level of knowledge of statistical analyses. The interpretation of descriptive and inferential statistics is beyond their research knowledge. It is because they do not study sufficient relevant literature to build up his/her foundation to carry out a quality research. As a result, many of our researchers follow the path of dishonesty, and apply the methods of plagiarism, flattery, cut- and-paste method, and mischievous strategies to achieve their goals. For the journal paper, it is usually seen that the most of the papers are not original works by nature these are the shadow or copy-and-paste of other’s work published home and abroad. In recent time, some teachers of Dhaka University are accused of direct plagiarism of pages after pages in their paper. In an enquiry, the probe body found the evidence of huge plagiarism of pages after pages in the work of those teachers. Recently, a teacher from Jagannath University (JnU) has been sacked from the service because of his plagiarism from a foreign paper. These are the few examples of plagiarism by the university teachers in Bangladesh. If it is investigated in wide range, hundreds of thousands of cases would be revealed.

For academic and certificate oriented research, such as MPhil and PhD, many researchers are found spending huge time by flattering their supervisor instead of concentrating their efforts to their study to explore the best outcome from their research. Being deeply connected with research and publication, I experienced the activities of a big number of researchers conducting academic research in different universities, and conducting research for journal publications. It is observed that many of them do not visit fields, but produce baseless fake data for their study. So, based on the bogus data, they come to conclusion of their findings. They use those publications for their promotion or upgradation in the service. But, can this type of research contribute to the development of our education or any other sectors?

Our researchers suffer from financial crises, adequate support of the supervisor, and non-cooperation from the research participants or respondents. Researcher’s hard work to study, strong monitoring and proper guidance from supervisors, financial incentives are the important catalysts that can cultivate a good research which may contribute to our society. Supervisors often complain that researchers do not want to study hard, rather they try to exploit them; ignore their guidance; consequently, they are lost in the middle of the research; and finally they blame the supervisor of non-cooperation.  We should not forget that the supervisors shoulder a big workload including taking classes, evaluation of scripts, attending meeting, and administrative jobs. So, they do not have inclusive time to guide their fellows. In addition, supervisors are not allocated any fund to spend for research; even they do not get any allowances to guide their research fellows. So, it is impractical to expect quality service from the supervisors. For the betterment of the nation, the government should consider the issues with positive gesture. Furthermore, plagiarism should be considered as a criminal offence; and action should be taken accordingly. 

The writer is a researcher and teacher trainer.