On 28th March 2017 Mr. Ivan Shafaat Bari, Director, OSA, OCA and OCSAR along with Dr. Ansar Ahmed, Director, and Institutional Effectiveness BRAC University attended the Ashoka-U Exchange 2017 Miami Conference in Miami, USA.
Mr. Ivan had meetings with Bridget Fogarty Gramme, Assistant Administrative Director, Centre for Public Interest Law, Juan Carlos Rivas, MA, Assistant Director, Changemaker Hub and Peter Maribei, PhD Coordinator, Global Centre from University of San Diego for enforcing changemarker campus in BRAC University.
As Bangladesh is advancing fast in its efforts to ensure sustaining economic growth, the disparities between the income of workers and employers is also widening day by day. We are noticing the per capita income increasing as well as the economic development of our country, on the other side economic discrimination is also increasing. So, Economic growth should not be measured by Gross Domestic Production (GDP), said Prof. Dr. Wahiduddin Mahmud at the workshop on Formal-Informal Labour Nexus and Bangladesh’s Growth.
BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University and Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) organised the workshop at BIDS’s on March 28, 2017 in the capital. The workshop was organised in partnership with the Rand Corporation of the USA and was supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK and the Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA) of Germany.
Prof. Mahmud went on saying that the labourers are still deprived of a healthy work environment and the dues, benefits and allowances they deserve. He also called upon the government to come forward to take pragmatic steps to help the labour community improve their living standard. Though we often discuss the role of readymade garment sector, we have to formalise other sectors as well, he said.
He also said that the government needs to assist small entrepreneurs so that they can step into the formal sectors.
The outcome of the study suggests that although export-led growth increases employment levels, in terms of employment shares, sectoral growth causes a reallocation away from formal and informal employment towards self-employment, said Dr. Krishna Kumar of RAND Corporation where he was presenting his research paper titled ‘the Formal-Informal Labour Nexus and Growth in Bangladesh’ in the first session of the workshop.
Presided over by BIGD Executive Director Dr. Sultan Hafiz Rahman, the panelists at the workshop included CPD Distinguished Fellow Dr. Mustafizur Rahman, Economic Research Group Executive Director Dr. Sajjad Zohir, Professor at the Department of Economics of Dhaka University Dr. Selim Raihan, BIDS Research Director Dr. Kazi Ali Toufique and BIDS senior Research Fellow Dr. Nazneen Ahmed.
Dr. Shanti Nataraj of Rand Corporation presented the second paper titled ‘What Do Workers Value about Formal Employment- Results from a Worker Survey in Bangladesh’ in the second session of the workshop. "Our studies found that policies that encourage job stability are likely to be beneficial for workers," said Dr Nataraj, adding: "It is also critical for policymakers to pay close attention to poor working conditions, particularly for informal workers."
Dr. Minhaj Mahmud, Senior Research Fellow of BIDS said, It is also important to enforce existing regulations about overtime and pay in both formal and informal sectors, at his presentation of the paper titled ‘Employee and Employer Preferences for Worker benefits: Results from a Matched Survey in Bangladesh’ at the workshop.
The research team analysed existing secondary data and also conducted several surveys on employers and employees of small and medium enterprises to find the links between informality and growth while also examining worker transitions between different types of jobs and estimating the valuations of specific job benefits by workers and employers.
On Monday, March 27, under the “Capacity Building on Information Technology (IT) Engineers Examination (ITEE) Management” project, a meeting was held at 2nd floor conference room of Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) presided by Prof. Dr. Md Mahfuzul Islam, ex-chairperson, CSE, BUET. The project is under implementation by Bangladesh IT Engineers Examination Council (BDITEC), BCC, Information and Communication Technology Division (ICTD), Ministry of Posts, Telecommunication and IT (MoPTIT). To improve quality representation from Bangladesh for the international IT examination, the committee discussed ideas on question preparation, moderation, selection, revision and potential trainings. Participants included Annajiat Alim Rasel, Lecturer III and Undergraduate Course Coordinator, CSE, BRACU, Dr. Khondaker Abdullah Al Mamun, Associate Professor, CSE, United International University (UIU), Md. Golam Sarwar, System Analyst, BCC, Dr. Md. Nawab Yousuf Ali, Associate Professor and Chairperson, CSE, East West University, Dr. Mohammad Rashedur Rahman, Associate Professor, CSE, North South University (NSU), Dr. Shohrab Hossain, Associate Professor, CSE, BUET. Further details about ITEE can be found at http://itpec.org/ and at http://www.bditec.gov.bd/
Ms. Jebunnesa Chowdhury was nominated by the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences (BAS) to attend the above-mentioned meeting. It was attended by 110 doctoral students and young researchers from 22 Asia-Pacific and African countries and regions. Six Nobel Laureates gave presentations in the HOPE Meeting.
Prof. Makoto Kobayashi (Nobel Laureate in Physics 2008), Prof. Klaus von Klitzing (Nobel Laureate in Physics 1985), Prof. Takaaki Kajita (Nobel Laureate in Physics 2015), Prof. Ryoji Noyori (Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2001), Prof. Jean-Pierre Sauvage (Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2016), Prof. Edvard I. Moser (Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2014) and Prof. Gunnar Öquist (Former Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science. Professor Emeritus, Umeå University, Sweden) were the presenters and they discussed various topics with the participants during the group discussion session.
Ms. Jebunnesa Chowdhury gave a flash talk and presented a poster to introduce her research. She was actively involved in the preparation of multinational team presentation and took part on a creative play prepared by the team.
BRAC University (BRACU) celebrated Independence Day this year with due festivity and fervour organising a series of programmes.
An indoor football tournament titled “Independence Futsal Cup 2017” was organised by the Football Club of BRACU at the university auditorium on 25 March (Saturday), 2017.
The next day, some 50 BRACU students of BIZ BEE accompanied by administrative staff went to the National Martyrs’ Memorial in Savar and in a procession placed a wreath at the foot of the memorial to pay homage to the martyrs of the Liberation War.
Today a number of programs were organised including a “movie show” by BRACU Film Club, a “drama show” by BRACU Drama and Theatre Forum and a cultural program by BRACU Cultural Club where songs dedicated to the independence were rendered.
The day’s events ended with a performance by “SHUNNO”, a popular local band. The Office of Co-curricular Activities with support from Airtel coordinated these events.
Earlier on 21 March 2017 a cultural program, “BRAC University Bangla Gaaner Vabna O Poth Chola”, was organised at the auditorium with the theme “Songs of Patriotism and Independence”. Students and teachers rendered relevant Bangla songs and poems there.
BRAC University (BRACU) launched a new 15 day certificate course titled “THE IMMERSION IN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (IDP)”. BRACU Vice Chancellor Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb, Ph.D. inaugurated the website link of the course in the university’s Mohakhali campus in the capital recently (Thursday, 23 March 2017).
The programs views that knowledge of development management will remain inadequate until students involve themselves in real-life development programs. In light of that, IDP @ BRACU focuses on practical learning through fieldworks to experience development paradigms, strategies and governance.
The IDP includes modules of comprehensive and action-based learning focusing on ground realities of development and poverty alleviation processes, along with intensive exposure to the theory and critique of development.
The courses are designed to enhance knowledge and skills at an accelerated pace to give an exposure to managing development programs. It is expected that the program participants will attain an in-depth understanding of how development mana
gement processes effectively drive change under different social and cultural contexts.
The program also aims to formulate and manage public policy for future leadership roles in development administration and management as well as providing a significant upper-hand in development management professions to help demonstrate leadership and results much earlier in careers.
Eminent development academicians and successful practitioners drawn from relevant BRACU faculty and Brac project managers will moderate the course through classroom sessions, field immersion and exercise. Course modules include Microfinance, Public Health, Human Rights and Legal Aid Services, Early Childhood Development, and Gender Justice and Diversity.
It was also informed during the launching that international course participants would be received at the airport by BRACU personnel, who would remain assigned to the participants during the 15 day program.
Further details on IDP is available on http://www.bracu.ac.bd/bidp/
BRAC Business School (BBS) of BRAC University organized a study excursion on 25th March, 2017 to power plant of Baraka Power Limited in Fenchuganj, Sylhet. Students undertaking the courses of ‘Principles of Entrepreneurship (BUS321)’, ‘Business Strategy (MGT401)’ and ‘Introduction to Business (BUS101)’ joined the industry visit that was led by Ms. Humaira Naznin, Senior Lecturer of BRAC Business School.
Baraka Power Limited is one of the major power producing companies in Bangladesh, operating with a mission of supplying uninterrupted electricity throughout Bangladesh. A team of five managerial representatives of Baraka Power Limited gave a brief presentation to the group of students on their vision, mission, management team, current business strategies and future business plan. After the presentation, the students were guided to the control room and experienced a live demonstration on how nineteen of their engines produce 51MW electricity (capacity of 55MW) and supply it to BPDB (Bangladesh Power Development Board). The students not only got a chance to learn about their distribution channels and visit the production plant, but also received the opportunity to discover the challenges faced by the company, which is primarily the management of disasters and the rigid schedule for maintenance. This renowned company is certified by the Moonlight International from USA, has received several national and international awards and is now focusing on increasing their production capacity to 100MW.
The industry visit was indubitably a great learning experience for the business students. They had a practical experience of the management, operations, and supply chain and production activities of Baraka Power Limited which will contribute to their future endeavor of academic and professional career. They also acknowledged the importance of practical knowledge as an integral part of the theoretical studies. The two days excursion came to an end on 25th March, 2017 with a brief visit to the natural sights of Sylhet.
Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, ED of BIGD delivered his speech as the Guest of Honor at the Inaugural Session of the First Southern Social Science Congress on Social Science: New Paradigms Towards Sustainable and Prospective Future. The Institute of Public Enterprise (IPE) and Indian Council of Social Science Research Southern Regional (ICSSR) Centre organized the congress on 23-25 March, 2017 at Osmania University Campus, Hyderabad, India.
The Congress was inaugurated by Chairman of the ICSSR S. Thorat, and presidential address was given by Samar Verma, Senior Programme Officer for the Think Tank Initiative, IDRC’s Regional Office for South Asia, New Delhi. Professor S Ramachandram, Vice Chancellor of Osmania University attended the congress as the Chief Guest. The three-day event was a meeting place for a wide variety of disciplines and provides a forum for academicians, researchers, policy makers and practitioners.
Eminent social scientists and policy makers from reputed organisations and industry presented papers on major themes like Development models, Inclusive growth, Agriculture and Rural Development, Gender Issues, Corporate Social Responsibility, Health, Democracy and Development, Ecosystems and Sustainable Development, Social Justice and Equity and change, among others.
The James P Grant School of Public Health conducted the second photography course, “Documenting People on the Margins” from 12 – 23 March for keen photographers looking to enhance their skills in documentary photography and storytelling. The course was facilitated by noted documentary photographer Shehzad Noorani and focused on capturing the marginalised communities living under the shadows of discrimination including people with disabilities, those who suffer from tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, commercial sex workers, and hijra and Bede communities.
A book comprising of selected photos from the course will be published this year.
Forty five undergraduate students of biotechnology along with two teachers Ms. Jebunnesa Chowdhury and Ms. Kashmery Khan visited the BCSIR to have a practical idea about the microbiological and biotechnological research activities going on there. During the visit they explored different research aspects of plant biotechnology, microbiology, fibre and polymer sciences. This tour will help the students to understand various techniques that they are studying in several courses. The team came back enriched with experience and renewed hope for the advancement of biological research and development in the country.
Office of Career Services & Alumni Relations (OCSAR) in association with Marico Bangladesh organized a written test for the 2nd Phrase of the recruitment process for Management Trainee on Thursday 23rd March 2017.
Mr. Sidhartha Das, Director, Ms. Suzana Erfan, Assistant Manager, Corporate HR and Mr. S M Ahtashamul Hoque, Divisional Sales Head Marico Bangladesh Ltd. were the notable speakers in the session.
Ms. Samiha Nusrat from OCSAR coordinated the event.
Currently, tuberculosis is considered to be an epidemic affecting the world fatally. It is responsible for the death of nearly one-and-a-half million people each year, occurring mostly in the developing countries. Therefore, awareness is needed among the mass people to combat the disease. With the intention to create awareness on this global epidemic, BRAC University Pharma Society (BUPS) conducted a campaign on March 23, 2017, which is the day before the World Tuberculosis Day. In this occasion, they arranged an awareness booth at the BRAC University lobby. The booth was decorated with lots of posters on tuberculosis. The club members provided useful information to the visitors on the causes, symptoms, and treatment strategies of tuberculosis through presentations and videos.
The Counseling Unit of BRAC University organized an awareness campaign titled ‘Anti-Smoking Campaign’ at Residential Campus of BRAC University on March 23, 2017. This campaign was initiated by Mr. Rehan Ahmed, Campus Superintendent of the Residential Campus. The objectives of the campaign were to create awareness about the negative consequences of smoking and to encourage students to quit smoking and embrace a healthy life.
The day began with a rally against smoking where students of the current batch, faculty members, and administration and management staff participated. After the rally, a session was held at Anandapur, which was hosted entirely by the students. The session included motivational speeches from the students on the benefits of quitting the habit of smoking. In addition, a role-play activity was presented and a short film was screened to help the students realize how smoking can negatively impact their lives. Later on, a group song and a dance were also performed by the students. To celebrate this special day further, colourful posters containing encouraging messages were placed in different corners of the Residential Campus.
At the end of the session, the Counseling Unit conveyed their heartfelt thanks to all the students of Spring-2017, faculty members, and administration and management staff who supported them in organizing the ‘Anti-Smoking Campaign’ successfully.
A journal review session took place on March 23, 2017, at the Meeting Room of BRACU Savar Campus. Ms. Rifat Jahan, faculty member of Bangladesh Studies, discussed the article titled “Role of NGOs in rural poverty eradication: a Bangladesh observation” by Syeda Feroza Begum, Sawlat Hilmi and Mohammad Shahin Khan.
Ms. Jahan began with the writers’ evaluation of NGOs in poverty alleviation, especially in the rural area of Bangladesh. Therefore, the background of rural poverty, NGOs and the poverty situation in Bangladesh are discussed in details. The writers successfully point out how the NGOs are significantly contributing to eradication of rural poverty by their multidimensional projects and programs.
Furthermore, Ms. Jahan adds that a very important and effective innovation by NGOs is the strategy of teaching the poor people of rural areas about the benefits of forming groups and working cooperatively to ultimately make them more empowered. Although there are some limitations observed in the NGO’s effort to eradicate poverty, the writers are hopeful that if they overcome these limitations then they can continue working for the benefit of the people.
At the end of the discussion, the faculty members agreed on the importance of this article for their course on Bangladesh Studies and discussed how they could incorporate relevant parts of the article in the course.
A rapid chess match between the faculty members and the students was held at BRAC University Auditorium on March 23, 2017. The match served as a symbolic representation of the friendly teacher-student relationship at BRAC University.
VC of BRACU, Prof. Syed Saad Andaleeb, Ph.D., inaugurated the event and graced the occasion as the chief guest. Director of BRAC Institute of Languages, Lady Syeda Sarwat Abed and Grandmaster Reefat Bin Sattar were present as special guests. BRACU VC appreciated the initiative and congratulated the organisers of the event. He emphasised on having a vision and expected to see Bangladeshi chess players to bring success in world championships in near future.
Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Prof. Ansar Ahmed, Ph.D. led the faculty team. The other team members of the faculty team were the coordinator of MA in TESOL Programme Prof. Sayeedur Rahman, Ph.D, Instructor of Chess Activity of Savar Residential Semester Almasur Rahman, Ph.D, and Lecturer of BRAC Institute of Languages Md. Shams Ud Duha.
Shihab Shariar from BRAC Business School led the student team. The other team members of the student team were Bukenya Henry from Electrical and Communication Engineering (ECE), Mohammad Shakil from Electrical and Electronic Engineering and (EEE) and Galib Ashraf from Computer Science & Engineering (CSE). The game ended in a draw.
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