POST TIME: 14 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 13 November, 2019 09:14:39 PM
Innovation, technology and competitiveness: Switzerland experience
Human capital formation and its development is the main focus in the 6th and 7th five year plans with a view to producing innovative technologically advanced manpower in the country

Innovation, technology and competitiveness: Switzerland experience

Switzerland is a rich country in the world.  We can learn many things from this country either of their education, industry, technology or about diversified knowledge from their socio-economic development efforts. Three of Switzerland’s strengths are firstly innovation, secondly technological development thirdly of their competitiveness. Switzerland is famous for its qualitative education, high degree of innovation supremely educated workforces. They prioritise their scientific education research so that their people can innovate new ideas and   products in industry or can render services to the nation. They have first class scientific research organisation, cutting edge technologies, a business-friendly climate which contributes to the country’s productivity development.

Switzerland invests nearly 3% of its GDP in research development, one of the highest percentages in the world.  More than 60 universities help to ensure the highest level professional work. They connect with the industry through the exchange of knowledge technology, the support of innovative start up. Switzerland attracts highly qualified foreign researchers where needed as an important centre of research in the native land in the world. They have world’s leading chemical pharmaceuticals firms, it encompasses medtech, biotech, nanotech companies in the industrial sector, they have also worldwide famous machinery, electrical engineering metal industry.

Many Swiss companies do business in Bangladesh. Switzerland is growing in importance as a centre of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the world. Many leading international corporations have set up their presence near Swiss universities research institutes. They believe in sound healthy competition in their productive industries for the sake of their nation. They have succeeded in their brand products in domestic market in the world market also. Bangladesh has stressed on quality education of its people for rapid socio-economic development within the shortest possible time.

Human capital formation, its development is the main focus in the 6th and 7th five year plan with a view to producing innovative  technologically advanced manpower in the country. Human development is a key input to the goals of inclusive shared economic growth poverty reduction. Recognizing the importance of education, Bangladesh is committed to bring significant achievements education sector. And that is why Bangladesh is opening up more schools, colleges and universities especially stressing on technical and   vocational colleges and universities.

There were a few public and private universities and colleges before and after independence. But now, many colleges and universities for agriculture, engineering and medical education have emerged in the country. Higher education used to be traditionally dominated by the public sector, but in recent years, private universities have proliferated, particularly in Dhaka. There are more than 117 universities in the country of which 37 are public, 80 are private universities. The Ministry of Education (MoE) has the overall responsibility for formulating policy, strategic leadership, preparing the national budget for public funding in higher education.  The University Grants Commission (UGC) is the regulatory body for both public and private universities. Four streams of higher education are offered in Bangladesh: General education, science, technology, engineering education,  agriculture and medical education. Students need tertiary education to get employment opportunities to be self-reliant.

Many Bangladeshi students are going abroad for education to earn expertise and knowledge needed for their respective professions. Development plans with education have been prioritized in public sector investments. Public spending on education is increasing day by day which is   15.2 per cent in current (FY2019-2020) fiscal year. It was 12.3 per cent in the FY2014-2015 2.3% of total GDP.

Development resource allocation in the 7th five year plan aimed at strengthening the human capital of Bangladesh  has been given the highest priority to ensure that  labour force is equipped with right skills, various training programmes and other capacity enhancing activities. Total ADP (Annual Development Programme) allocations for human development (education sector) in the 7th plan was 175.1 billion Tk (based on current price) in FY2018, whereas it was 206 billion Tk in FY 2019. It will be 242.1 billion Tk in FY 2020 (Source: Seventh Plan Projections). This data indicate that Bangladesh is increasing its budget size every financial year for human development which is vital for our economic development.

Switzerland is a glorious example of both rural-urban development, science and  technology and their competition with other countries. The relation between Bangladesh and Switzerland) is excellent based on mutual cooperation and development. Switzerland is a committed partner in our development decade; several Swiss companies are working in Bangladesh in different sectors of our economy. There is a great potential for Swiss Bangladeshi companies entering in collaboration to develop technological solutions jointly in the coming years.

They may be in chemical pharmaceuticals, Bio-Tech, Clean-Tech, ICT, Agriculture and Renewable Energy. We can learn many things from their development experience, expertise, research, methodology competitiveness which they have shown in their development history.

Md Muzibur Rahman writes on development

and economics issues and can be reached

at: E-mail: muzibur64@gmail.com