Tuesday 22 June 2021 ,
Tuesday 22 June 2021 ,
Latest News
  • Stay on bail of Sheikh Hasina motorcade attack case convicts upheld
  • 102 Bangladeshis held in Malaysia
  • Germany to provide EUR 339.54 to Bangladesh under two deals
  • Bangladesh rolls out Pfizer vaccine at 3 Dhaka centers
  • 13 more die of Covid-19 at RMCH in 24 hrs
  • Lockdown in 7 districts from Tuesday as Covid cases soar
  • Covid-19: 78 more die, 4,636 new cases registered in 24 hours
  • Lockdown in 7 districts from Tuesday as Covid cases soar
11 May, 2021 05:14:22 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 11 May, 2021 05:17:21 PM
Print

Necessity of blended learning Bangladesh’s higher education institutions

Since the public universities are evidently vulnerable to the second criterion, and most students of them are dormitory based, the adult student vaccination policy framework of the government is rationally entitled to the public university students first.
Dr. Mohammad Rafiqul Islam Talukdar, Farheen Hasan and Dr Rezbin Nahar
Necessity of blended learning Bangladesh’s higher education institutions

Amid uncertainty over further supply shortly of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, Covishield, from the Serum Institute of India, the Government of Bangladesh has searched for vaccines from various global sources. Problem is that different countries around the globe approved different Covid-19 vaccines considering the accessibility, availability and contextual fit. Thus, all Covid vaccines approved in different parts of the world are not necessarily fit and relevant and operable in the context of Bangladesh.
It provides an impression that a major portion of 18+ young students are unlikely to be officially candidates soon for the vaccination programme against Covid-19 in the country. The current round of discussions of the authors on the issue would like to focus on how to start on-campus classes at Higher Education Institutions in Bangladesh in such midst fluctuation of the coronavirus pandemic that continues for a long-run in the country and the globe. It started in the country from the mid of the semester of Spring 2020. Already Spring 2021 semester has just been completed by some universities in Bangladesh with the live-online or real-time virtual platforms. But this is not the story for the whole higher education sector in Bangladesh. Few universities were able to go virtual at the onset of the closed down of the education institutions in Bangladesh in mid-March 2020. Especially public universities faced tough experiences to respond timely to the call for the emergence of a new business strategy or a strategic business model to encounter the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB) became the frontrunner in this journey. The lead author of this write-up in an early 2021 article published in a Scopus-indexed scholarly journal, pointed out that “while AIUB finished the online classes of the spring semester in 2020 on time, the University Grants Commission (UGC) of Bangladesh did not allow it to make the final assessment until the UGC made a new policy framework, and enabled standards and regulatory environment for higher education institutions in Bangladesh in sustaining the aspects of the new model evolved. Following the AIUB, some other leading private universities started the journey to go online and adapted the new strategic business model-frame with a little tailor-made approach. Almost all private universities in Bangladesh shifted online from the beginning of the summer semester in 2020. But the public universities in Bangladesh remained behind until mid of the summer semester in late August 2020. Since then, they gradually started to run online classes, and still, many of them are in the dry run stage.”
After passing a long-standing and challenging virtual journey, when the government scheduled to open universities from May 24, 2021, unexpectedly the coronavirus pandemic situation deteriorated significantly in the country. The government executed countrywide lockdown and extended several times the deadline of the lockdown period to encounter amid rise and fluctuated situation of the Covid-19pandemic. Still the situation is not under control in the country. In such a context, going on-campus mode with all public and private universities might not be feasible at this time. Particularly, without vaccination of all students, staff members, management, and faculty members of universities, it does not seem to be feasible to go on-campus mode for classes. In that case, what is supposed to be a context specific fit and relevant model for higher education institutions to go new-normal?
The government policy framework for higher education institutions to reach on-campus-based new normal stage is supposed to be criteria specific. The base criterion for a university to go on-campus-based new normal stage is expected to be total coverage of the vaccination to the university community. Second criterion could be the vulnerability level of the university in coping with the live-online classes and/or in going with the real time comprehensive virtual platforms in the Covid-19 pandemic situation. Since the public universities are evidently vulnerable to the second criterion, and most students of them are dormitory based, the adult student vaccination policy framework of the government is rationally entitled to the public university students first. Thus, the public universities at the first round, by fulfilling the first criterion, gradually could open for on-campus based classes. On the other side, as the private universities are less vulnerable to the second criterion, and students of the same are unlikely to get the vaccination coverage shortly, these are supposed to go on-campus based mode phase by phase at the second round once they meet the first criterion. In addition, private universities might require faculty and student transportation systems to be placed at different routes, while such facilities are already inbuilt in the public universities.
In such an evolving context in the new normal situation, a hybrid model of classes could be a good solution for higher education institutions. Proposed Model 1: Faculty members go to real classrooms, while students attend the live classes from their homes. Proposed Model 2: Both Realtime online and campus based traditional classes continue, while students get registered or enrolled by choice. While Model 2 is appreciated, lab classes must get the preferential treatment over other on-campus classes. Proposed Model 3: Only lab classes to start on-campus, while other classes could be virtual.
The problem would be how to keep the on-campus classes running. It is important to maintain a safe distance and take all appropriate precautions for attending the classes. The number of students will be determined by the size of the university classrooms and laboratory. As for example, for LAB classes there can be a roaster, the number of students will be less. It may be brought down to almost half of the regular size of the same to create breathing space in the LAB. By reducing class size of the lab students and increasing the number of classes at different times, the risk can be reduced to a certain extent.
In addition, AIUB Business School - Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)'s new-model for internships is notable. FBA-AIUB modified its strategy in this regard, for instance, it introduced an additional new format of report termed 'Term Report' for internship that is beneficial for 'work-life learning' or 'real life learning' for the students. Due to Covid situation, the students who did not have internship and were not able to go to the organization physically for internship, they had the 'Term Report' option.
Certainly, the model fitness would depend on the case-to-case situations and phase by phase operational developmental context of the institutions. We have no idea how long the Covid situation will last. As many countries including Bangladesh have already been implementing the vaccination programs, we need to get-ready to normalize the situation. For this new normal situation, it is time to be ready, get set, go, as well as agile and adaptive. 

The writers are associate professors at American International University Bangladesh (AIUB). E-mail: [email protected]

 

Comments

Video
More Opinion Stories
Non government teachers are in dire straits All educational institutions in the country have been closed for the last 15 months due to corona pandemic and non government teachers are in dire straits. Government and MPO enlisted teachers are getting regular salaries…

Copyright © All right reserved.

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.

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
....................................................
About Us
....................................................
Contact Us
....................................................
Advertisement
....................................................
Subscription

Powered by : Frog Hosting