The 11th Convocation of BRAC University held at International Convention City Bashundhara, Dhaka, Bangladesh on December 5, 2016.
Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid, MP, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Education, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, was present as the Chief Guest and presides over the Convocation Ceremony on behalf of President and BRACU Chancellor Abdul Hamid. Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor, BRACU, delivered the welcome address.
Renowned actor and social activist Shabana Azmi presented a speech as the Convocation Speaker. The Convocation Ceremony was addressed by Chairperson of BRACU the Board of Trustees Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG, and by Professor Abdul Mannan, Chairman, University Grants Commission of Bangladesh, as the Honourable Guest.
A total of 1,283 students were awarded certificates, among them the Chancellor's Gold medals were given to two students while 27 others received the Vice Chancellor's Gold medals.
Bangladesh Economists’ Forum (BEF) – a non-political group of independent economic professionals of Bangladesh origin residing at home and abroad – organized its 3rd annual conference on “Institutions for Development -Urbanization & Land Issues” on 31December, 2016 in Dhaka. BIGD co-sponsored the conference which was acknowledged by the organizers. Advocate Anisul Huq MP, Hon’ble, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs was the Chief Guest in the Inaugural Session. Country’s leading economists, development thinkers, current and former civil servants, civil society members and media people participated in the day-long conference.
After the inaugural session there were two academic sessions on “Urbanization in Bangladesh” and “Land Management in Bangladesh”. BIGD’s Senior Research Associate Mr. Mohammad Sirajul Islam presented a paper titled “Institutions of Urban Governance: Issues and challenges” in the First Session (Urbanization in Bangladesh). Dr. Atiur Rahman, Former Governor, Bangladesh Bank was the keynote speaker (Financial Inclusion and Managing Urbanization) and Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, Executive Chairman, Power and Participation Research Centre and Dr. Sadik Ahmed, Vice Chairman, Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh presented papers on “Political Economy of Urbanization in Bangladesh” and “Urbanization and Development: Addressing the Core Challenges” respectively. BIGD’s Executive Director Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman discussed all papers presented in this session. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) was the moderator.
Five papers were presented under the theme of “Land Management in Bangladesh” in the second session. BIGD’s Research Fellow and Head of Governance and Politics Cluster Dr. Wahid Abdallah presented a paper titled “Digitalization of Land Registration in Bangladesh”. The keynote speech on “Land Use Planning in Bangladesh: Balancing Equity and Efficiency” was delivered by Dr. Mohiuddin Alamgir, Former Director, UNIFAD, Rome. Among others, Professor Wahiduddin Mahmud, Dr. Mustafa K Mujeri, Dr. Khurshid Alam, and Dr. Ashikur Rahman presented papers on political aspects of land acquisition and land management, rural land market, land policy, and state of land disputes in Bangladesh. Dr. KAS Murshid, Director General, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies was the discussant and Dr. Salehuddin Ahmed, Former Governor, Bangladesh Bank was the moderator in this session.
An approval and accreditation team from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council (BNMC) visited the Diploma in Midwifery Education centres at Shimantik and FIVDB in Sylhet on 31 December 2016. This was supported by the Midwifery Education programme of JPGSPH, BRAC University. The team consisted of Md. Abdul Malek, Joint Secretary (Nursing), MoHFW; Md Lutfor Rahman, Senior Assistant Secretary (Nursing), MoHFW; Shuriya Begum, Registrar, (BNMC); and Nasima Parvin, Director, Directorate General of Nursing and Midwifery. Recently, the Developing Midwives Project (DMP) made an application to the BNMC and MoHFW for an additional ten seats at each academic site 2017-2018 session. Thus, the team from MoHFW and BNMC visited these two academic sites to assess its feasibility and capacity.
Meanwhile all seven academic sites of DMP received approval and accreditation from MoHFW and BNMC. Given that a Diploma in Midwifery Education is not offered from any private institution in Bangladesh, the approval and accreditation authority from MoHFW and BNMC visited all academic sites, observing the curriculum, quality, standard and capacity of each site to conduct midwifery education. Currently all the academic sites are maintaining necessary regulations and instructions from the Government of Bangladesh.
BRAC University Chess Club (BUCHC) participated in 1st Advocate Enayet Peer Khan Memorial International Rating Chess Tournament held in Barisal City from 26 December to 31 December 2016.
Among the 9 participants, six students achieved international rating from the tournament and their rating will be published on World Chess Federation website soon. They are: Saif Ahmed (EEE), Hasan Rakib (EEE), Md. Sabbir Hossain (BBS), Saadi Shadman Abedin (BBS), Mohammad Shihab Shahriar (BBS) and Galib Ashraf (CSE). It is also worth mentioning that all the non-rating category prizes (altogether 4) of the tournament have been won by chess club students. Ejaz Husain, a blind MA in TESOL student, secured the 10th position in the open category.
Md. Shams Ud Duha, Advisor of BRAC University Chess Club and a Lecturer of BRAC Institute of Languages (BIL), delivered speech at the closing ceremony of the event. He covered the history of BRACU chess club, significance of chess as an educational tool and value of chess in general.
The event was chaired by Mr. Manabendra Batobayal, President, Barisal Chess Club. Besides, Mr. Talukder Md. Yunus, honorable MP of Barisal-2 was present as the Chief Guest. Mr. Sri Bijoy Krishna De, Managing Director, Amrito Lal Dey Co; Mr. Amir Ali Rana, Chairman, Golden Sporting Club and Ms. Masuda Begum, National Women Chess Player were present as special guests. The program was hosted by Mr. Sailful Islam Omi, Secretary, Tournament Organization Committee.
CAMPE has taken an initiative to prepare a Framework on “Reaching Education 2030: 7th Five Year Plan and Beyond”. The main objective of this initiative is to raise voice for achieving the “Education 2030” Agenda in Bangladesh with a view to influencing decision making. In order to share the draft framework with stakeholders at the national level a sharing meeting was held on 28 December 2016, Wednesday at 10.30 am at the CICC Auditorium, CIRDAP.
Mr. M A Mannan, Hon’ble State Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, Executive Chairman, PPRC and Former Advisor to the Caretaker Government and Dr. Shamsul Alam, Member, Planning Commission (GED), Government of Bangladesh, Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya, Convener, Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh and Dr. Manzoor Ahmed, Professor Emeritus of BRAC University were among the prominent speakers in the programme. From BRAC University Professional Development Centre, Ms Sabrina Syed and Muhammad Foysal Mubarak attended that seminar.
Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) supported by Christian Aid, UK organized a workshop titled Learning- Sharing Workshop on SDG 5: Promote Gender Equality and Gender Responsive Adaptation on 28th December 2016 at Spectra Convention Centre, Gulshan. The workshop was chaired by Dr. Atiq Rahman, Executive Director, BCAS and as a special Guest Mr. Sanjib Biswas Sonjoy, Acting Country Director, Christian Aid Dhaka Office was present. Participants from Different Government, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), International Non-Government Organizations INGOs, Donors and others were also present. Participants were divided into three groups and worked on the following issues such as (1) how do we integrate gender responsive adaptation into policies and strategies? (2) role of government to promote gender responsive adaptation (3) role of NGOs and civil societies etc. Ms. Sharmin Nahar Nipa, Lecturer, C3ER, BRAC University participated and presented in the workshop as a part of group work.
BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University launched one of its annual flagship research reports titled The State of Cities 2016: Traffic Congestion in Dhaka City - Governance Perspective on 27 December 2016 at a hotel in Dhaka.
Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb, Vice Chancellor, BRAC University and Professor Nazrul Islam, Chairman, Centre for Urban Studies (CUS), attended the event as the Guests of Honour. Mr. Naim Ahmed, Former Commissioner, Dhaka Metropolitan Police, discussed the report, while Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director of BIGD chaired the event. Dr. Shanawez Hossain, Research Fellow of BIGD presented the findings and recommendations of the research report at the event.
Learned participants and professionals participated in a Q/A session which followed the formal launching. The event was also attended by relevant professionals, academics, experts and media who discussed the report and shared their opinions.
This is the fifth report of its kind, this time focusing on the problem of traffic congestion in Dhaka city. The study's main objective was to examine the governance and institutional issues underlying traffic congestion in Dhaka, and develop proposals to tackle the issues and strengthen the institutions responsible for Dhaka's transport management.
The study focused on the Dhaka Metropolitan area and six key government agencies in particular – Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) and RAJUK . Based on 'governance perspectives' the investigation was conducted adopting a 'political economy framework'. Data was collected from both primary and secondary sources through key informant interviews, a 'score-card' survey of the six institutions, case studies and site observations. A major questionnaire survey of 774 transport users was also carried out to obtain people's views of the main traffic issues and priorities for action.
The survey of transport users found that most people identified management issues as the main causes of traffic congestion. Therefore effective traffic management, including restraining the demand for private transport, is crucial for reducing Dhaka's congestion.
The report also examined the institutional arrangements and coordination mechanisms for transport in Dhaka. There are over 30 agencies involved in transport in the metropolitan area, which makes coordination very difficult. The main transport coordinating authority (DTCA) is significantly under-staffed and lacking authority and similarly, most of the key institutions are internally challenged due to limited human capacity, limited equipment, poor internal accountability mechanisms and lack of transparency; and externally challenged in their co-ordination with other organisations as they are all responsible to different ministries. This diffusion of responsibility together with DTCA's weakness is considered the single most important challenge for improving transport co-ordination in Dhaka.
The study found that despite many laws and much activity by the enforcement agencies, drivers frequently break the rules and likewise, pedestrians. A high proportion of road users admitted they sometimes broke the traffic laws, and bus drivers were considered more likely to break the laws than private drivers. However, people identified the main causes of traffic law violations as competitive pressures on bus operators, and poor police enforcement.
The study examined institutional issues relating to enforcement. Regarding BRTA, it was noted that the driver and vehicle license system is dominated by 'brokers' who charge substantial fees and can even arrange a license without a test. In 2015 there were nearly 2 million fake licenses issued, according to the High Court.
The report also found that entry to the bus sector in Dhaka was very difficult due to informal payments and the need for political connections, which tended to reduce healthy competition. Although government officials deny it, bus operators allege that standard monthly informal payments are paid, as well as random on-the-spot daily payments. Both types of payment are facilitated by weak guidelines and processes from the enforcing agencies. Bus operators considered informal transactions constituting as one-half of their monthly operating costs, reducing their profitability which was further reduced by Dhaka's increasing congestion. As a result, bus service quality was compromised since the operator's survival depended on management of informalities and their focus was shifted from passengers to patrons.
Management of hawkers and sidewalks presented a similar picture: Dhaka's 2.6 lac hawkers are actually highly regulated and pay significant sums to the authorities for the privilege of trading on the streets. The system is well-organised, with informal daily payments to 'line-men' as well as monthly informal rents. The funds are passed on to the enforcing authorities as well as local political parties, and the total sums are quite remarkable. However, this informal management of Dhaka's footways has negative consequences for almost everyone: for the general public, who suffer from crowded footways and increased traffic congestion; for the hawkers, who pay high rents yet face daily insecurity; and for the city authorities, who lose substantial revenue income.
The report also examined the costs and impacts of traffic congestion on Dhaka's citizens, particularly the economic and the social costs. With a case study of a particular route of Dhaka of 26km, the average off-peak journey speed for motor vehicles was measured at around 22 kph, while the peak period average speed fell to around 9 kph. The economic cost of this delay was estimated at around Tk. 227 crore per month ($28.4m per month), or roughly Tk.53 for each passenger trip, most of which was due to lost time rather than vehicle operating costs. If other components of Dhaka's traffic congestion are taken into account, such as environmental and social costs, the results are even more alarming. The study also identified that the impact was heavily clustered among service holders, who had a higher willingness-to-pay to avoid or reduce congestion.
- Maheen Sultan, Visiting Fellow of BIGD attended the stakeholder meeting of Global Forum on Migration and Development held on December 09, 2016 at a hotel in the capital.
- Farhana Razzaque, Research Associate of BIGD attended the UNCRC General Comments on Public Budgeting for the Realization of Child Rights and Bangladesh’s progress on December 26, 2016 organised by Save the Children Bangladesh.
- On December 10-11, Nazneen Ahmed, Program Associate and Mohammad Ashikur Rahman, Research Associate of BIGD attended the two-day long "International Seminar towards Effective, Accountable and Inclusive LGIs (Local Government Institutions): learning from South Asia and beyond". The seminar was organized by UNDP marking the successful completion of their two flagship projects e.g. Upazila Governance Project (UZGP) and Union Parishad Governance Project (UPGP).
A team of 40 BRAC University students trained and led by Md. Shamsuddoha, a faculty of Bangladesh Studies and instructor of recitation & articulation course offered in Residential Semester under BRAC Institute of Languages (BIL), recited poems at a programme titled “Pongtimalay Muktijuddher Itihash”.
An arrangement of Victory Week-2016 starting from 10 December 2016 in Liberation War Museum, the program was telecast in TV channels and covered by the print media.
Lady Syeda Sarwat Abed, Director, BIL; OCSAR Director Shafaat Bari Ivan and BRACU Savar Campus CS Rehan Ahmed provided guideline and support.
The video of the recitation can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jggZsuu0KPg
Students of the BBA Program are instructed to meet their respective advisors during their scheduled time (see attachment). Students having their USIS accounts blocked should get those unblocked before meeting the advisers. Those who intend to drop Spring 17 are instructed to meet the coordinators during the advising week.
Students of the CSE Program are instructed to meet their respective advisors during their scheduled time (see attachment).
As an integral part of the First Year Advising Team (FYAT) program for Spring 2017 semester, the faculty advisers and peer student mentors took part in a “Briefing Session” on December, 2017 at the UB-1 Auditorium where they were introduced to the objectives and activities to be undertaken throughout the next two semesters. Mr. Ivan Shafaat Bari, Director of the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) inaugurated the session. The faculty member of OSA and FYAT coordinator Solaiman Jony gave detailed explanations on the developmental advising procedures and schedules to the advisers and mentors and responded to the queries from the participants regarding the program. Ms. Farrah Jabeen, Sr. Lecturer of BIL and also a FYAT adviser shared her experience with all the advisers and encouraged the new advisers and mentors to guide the freshers for better university life. Ms. Tanjia Afrin Turin and Ms. Fatema Israt Jahan, both faculty members and FYAT advisers, attended the briefing session with new advisers and mentors. The FYAT team also introduced Google Online Advising Form for both the mentors and advisers to make the advising process more convenient and easier. Finally the Director of OSA distributed certificates among the mentors who were responsible for mentoring Summer’16 and Fall’16 Cohort.
In December 2016, final exam of Fall 2016 semester was taking place. Probation students (both first timer and last chance) were advised to strengthen their last-minute preparation and were advised to perform better in their upcoming final exam.
After publication of results, probation advisers from OSA collected and analyzed the results of probation students of Fall 2016 semester. From analysis it has been found that after attending PASS program (i.e. individual advising, group advising, tutorial sessions and PASS workshops) 63.04% last chance probation students successfully overcame academic probation status. Moreover, in case of the first time probation 68.42% students survived from being into academic probation for two consecutive semesters.
03 December: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the chief guest at a seminar on corporate governance organized by online business portal Orthoshuchak. The discussants included a Commissioner of Bangladesh Securities And Exchange Commission, a member of Insurance Development and Regulation Authority and Secretary General of Bangladesh Economic Association. The present state of corporate governance in Bangladesh, challenges to better governance and actions needed for improvement were discussed.
07 December: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the only discussant at a business program broadcast by Jamuna TV. The discussion dealt with latest information available in public domain regarding heist of reserves from Bangladesh Bank. The likelihood of recovery was explored in light of the information.
11 December: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam appeared on a television program along with Mr. Farook Ahmed Siddique, former Chairman of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission. The discussions focused on recent developments in key macroeconomic indicators and their implications for the stock market.
14 December: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam was the lone discussant in a TV program broadcast by channel NEWS 24. The subject matter of the discussion was the prospect of Bangladesh Economy in 2017 in light of developments in various macroeconomic indicators during 2016.
17 December: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam chaired the Jury Board constituted by Institute of Chartered Secretaries of Bangladesh to select nominees for the award of companies having best corporate governance. The Board reviewed the recommendations submitted by technical evaluation committees and made the final selection of the awardees.
24 December: Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam spoke at the award giving ceremony for companies with best corporate governance. Dr. Moshiur Rahman, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister was the Chief Guest. The discussions prior to distribution of awards focused on the basic principles of sound corporate governance and highlighted the progress in implementation of these principles as well as the need for greater improvement in this regard.
In December, Marzana Monefa, a student of the Department of Pharmacy was selected as one of the youth delegates at 100 member Bangladeshi youth delegation visit to India 2016. It was an 8-day trip where they were invited by the President of India to enjoy their culture and heritage. They visited Delhi where they were taken to National Museum of India, Red Fort, Jaam-e-Masjid, India Gate, Metro experience and Kutub Minar.
On the second day of the trip, they were invited to the Rastrapati Bhawan and the President gave a speech where he encouraged the youth of Bangladesh to work for the betterment of their nation and to strengthen the bond between India and Bangladesh. It was a very inspiring moment for all of them as representatives of Bangladesh.
On the third day they were taken to Agra where they visited the famous Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. On the fourth, fifth and sixth day they were taken to Gujrat where they visited two institutions and interacted with the brilliant students there. A culture exchange program was arranged there where both groups represented their countries through folk dances, songs, poems, painting and drama. They were taken to Dandi Kutir Museum and Gandhi’s ashram where they discovered the lifestyle of the celebrated leader Mahatma Gandhi’s life. Afterwards, they went to Tata Nano, Adalaj stepwell and one of the famous theatres of India.
The delegates spent their last two days at Kolkata where they visited Swami Vivekananda’s Ancestral House, Victorial Memorial, Eden Garden Cricket Stadium, Prince Ghat and Torashankho Thakurbari, the house of Rabindranath Tagore. It was a lifetime achievement for them. They learned a lot about the history of their neighboring country India. The hundred strangers became one family after the trip. The way the Indians are presenting their history and working for technological advancement are praiseworthy. This initiative, taken by the Indian Government for strengthening bonds globally is really commendable and other countries could also follow their footsteps.
G. M. Shafayet Ullah, Senior Lecturer of BRAC Business School, joined the 1st International Conference on Business Management, Economics & Social Sciences (ICBMESS 2016) on December 21-23, 2016 held at The Westin, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The conference was organized by Association of Management Development Institutions in South Asia- AMDISA (A SAARC Recognized Body), Uttara University (Bangladesh) and Global Business and Management Forum- GBMF (USA).
Over 250 scholars and participants attended in this 3-Day long conference where more than 150 papers from 96 national & international universities and organizations were presented. These papers were presented in 26 concurrent technical sessions which were chaired by 26 renowned scholars and academicians of home and abroad. All the papers were presented on 22 December, 2016 in the School of Business, Uttara University, NZ Center, House 5, Road 12, Sector 6, Uttara, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Mr. Shafayet presented his paper on “Undergraduate University Student’s Attitude Towards Social Networking Sites: An Empirical Model on the Most Influencing Factors”. His well executed presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session with the participants from many countries, particularly USA, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, India, South Korea, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Maldives, Latvia and Bangladesh. During the conference, Mr. Shafayet discussed with distinguished renowned professors, famous researchers and economists from all over the world about the activities & achievements of BRAC Business School & BRAC University.
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