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8 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM

Postgraduate Studies

Postgraduate Studies

In an increasingly competitive job market, just a graduate degree is often not enough to secure one a good job. So many graduates opt for Master’s degrees, postgraduate diplomas or professional certificates to improve their job prospects, or just to change the subject they majored in at graduation level. In Bangladesh, there are many universities, medical and law colleges and professional institutions that offer various courses to students to pursue their postgraduate studies.

This week, Y&I staff writer Sheikh Iraj spoke with some students, teachers and experts about why many students are preferring postgraduate studies in different fields, how having an extra degree helps them career-wise and the present condition of  higher education in our country.

Just thinking about getting a higher degree is not good enough to earn one. In order to achieve a post-graduate degree, one must have good grades and certain qualifications to study the subject they want. Bangladesh’s economy is heading in a positive direction at a rapid speed and with it, our industries are developing as well. We are on our way to becoming a middle-income country and that requires skilled human resources. Nowadays, we can see many students doing their graduation in a particular subject and then opting for post graduation in completely another field.  

M Asad-Ur Rahman, 37, did his bachelor’s degree in computer science from University of Pune, India. He then returned to Bangladesh and decided to do his master’s degree in development studies and then an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from Dhaka University. “Right now, I am working as a consultant in a World Bank funded project. I always wanted to work in management and for that, one needs to have more managerial skills. The job market values those who have certain skill sets and I believe both my postgraduate degrees have helped me to achieve that,” he told Y&I.

Most public and private universities in Bangladesh offer students master’s programmes on diverse subjects, like law, development studies, business administration, journalism, population science, tourism and hospitality, and many more. Many postgraduate courses are also available online through websites like coursera.org, or distance learning programmes of various international universities.   

Akbar Hossain, deputy registrar of Chittagong University, said their students can do master’s in  subjects like modern languages and business administration (MBA) even if they have done their graduation in other subjects.  

Nahid Hasan, 28, recently did his MBA from Uttara University after completing his BA degree in English literature. He is now working at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB). “After completing my graduation in English literature, I wanted to work in the corporate world, and that is why I did an MBA,” he said.  

According to ICAB, anyone from any academic background can apply to study chartered accountancy (CA). Undergraduates must have an average of GPA 4 or 5 in their SSC (secondary school certificate) and HSC (higher secondary certificate) and the combined results of their exams will be counted. Students who want to do CA after their graduation can apply as well. However, those with a commerce background are given priority when they become chartered accountants pass and go to work.

Nahid Neazy, associate professor at private Stamford University, said: “Today we can see a gap between industry and academia. Many students are not getting jobs even after having one or two master’s degrees under their belt. This is happening because we are not able to produce better skilled human resources.”

AKM Nurun Nabi, professor and population scientist who helped to establish the Department of Population Science at Dhaka University in 1998, said: “Students from different academic backgrounds are coming to do their master’s degree in development studies, business administration, social welfare, criminology, population science and many other courses. Students must sit for a test and if they pass, only then they can take admission for master’s programmes. Like our university, many public and private universities of our country are offering such courses. I even have a 70-year-old student who is studying population science. Many advocates and army officers are coming to do such courses. They are doing it because after retiring from their jobs, they want to work in other sectors.”

There are several public and private medical colleges in our country. Dr Subrato Ghosh, a medical officer at Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College, said: “Today we do not have enough facilities for medical students. After passing HSC, students can apply for MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery). They must have a science background in both SSC and HSC. Now, when it comes to post graduation in medical studies, there are three courses on offer in our country. One is MS (Master of Science), and the other is MD (Master of Medicine). Then there is FCPS, which stands for Fellow of College of Physicians and Surgeons. These courses are supervised by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU). After these courses, there are not that many opportunities for higher medical degrees in our country. That is why many doctors go abroad. Overseas, there are many courses for specialists, for example, specialist on diabetic foot.”

Law is one subject that students can study regardless of their academic background. Zahid Ahmed, an advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, told Y&I: “In our country, there are two ways to study law. The first way is for students to take admission in a college or university that offers LLB (Bachelor of Laws). Of course, they have to do it after completing their HSC. After LLB, they can do LLM (Master of Laws). The private law colleges in our country are under the supervision National University (NU). They can admit students who have completed their graduation in some other subject. But that may change as students who want to do a two-year LLB (pass) course under National University will get time until 2020, as the court has declared all such courses of NU invalid after that period. Some private universities offer law courses as well. The bottom line is one cannot do LLM without doing LLB. In UK, there are distance learning courses on law, but Bangladeshi students who take those courses have to study English law.”

MA Chowdhury is a professor at Dhaka University of Engineering & Technology (DUET). He said students who want to study any type of engineering must have a science background. “I teach mechanical engineering. Now, the moment people hear mechanical engineer they think I work with cars and motors, but that is not the case. For my research, I have to study biomechanics, robotics, electrical mechanics, and even medical engineering. So, for research work we have to understand many subjects that may not seem related to each other. An engineering student cannot suddenly jump from one engineering course to another. I always encourage my students to study diverse subjects,” said Chowdhury, who believes after a certain point, one needs to study different subjects.

M Azizul Haque is director of Higher Education Quality Enhance Project under University Grants Commission. Besides this, he is also doing a doctorate degree from Bangladesh University of Professionals. “I teach English literature at a private university and I am doing my PhD to get better understanding of the subject, and I believe it will help me professionally. I am also working in the Higher Education Quality Enhance Project. We are reviewing the survey data we have. So far, I can see our higher education is going through a change. We are facing some difficulties, but we like to believe we are heading towards a positive direction.”

About the present state of higher education in our country, Abdul Mannan, chairman, University Grants Commission, said: “In our country, education is open for all. But who gets to study what depends on the merit and qualification of the student. Throughout the world, students apply for evening courses so they can work during the day, and many need two years of experience to get admission. In our country, unfortunately, this practice is not strictly followed. Also when it comes to doing doctorates and other postgraduate degrees, we are yet to give permission to the private universities. We are working on allowing private universities to allow their students to do PhD degrees and other related programmes.”

Photos: Internet.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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