Prof. Dr. Engr. Ayub Nabi Khan, Pro-Vice Chancellor, BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology and Executive Editor, Bangladesh Textile Today, recently visited the UK for a month long fellowship program for professional development. Textile Today talks with him on the research culture and structure of the UK and how Bangladesh can learn from that. Prof. Khan is also Chairman of The Textile Institute Bangladesh Section. During his visit to the UK he took part different TI activities. The interview covered some of those areas as well. Here is the glimpse of the discussion.
Textile Today: What was about your tour to the UK?
Prof. Khan: The program aimed to enhance and extend the professional skill of the fellowship holder. This Program enabled to gain advance knowledge on technical textiles, advance research, administration system of UK Universities. I was under the supervision of world renowned textile scientist Prof. Dr. Subhas Anand MBE, University of Bolton. Under the program I visited 8 UK Universities like Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan, Huddersfield, Cambridge, London College of Fashion, University of Arts London, University of Bolton and University of Southwales. There was an opportunity to look around the world class education & research facilities. It was a golden opportunity to have experience in university administration as well.
Textile Today: How is the research culture in the UK?
Prof. Khan: High priority is given to research within the school. The school’s activities include building research habit from most junior to senior staff. There are numerous Government & Universities financial supports in setting up standard research facilities. Private partnership also plays a key role in doing these activities. Very good governance system exists for proper implementation of the research projects.
The research culture is the structure that gives significance in research and that allow us to understand and evaluate the research activity. Therefore an institution’s culture of research is not simply scholars who see the importance of research. A culture of research provides a supportive context in which research is uniformly expected, discussed, produced and valued. These practices are very much present in every university of the UK. There is also a huge financial support from Government and private sector. In Bangladesh this concept is absent. There should be a clear guideline for teaching and research activities to faculty members.
Textile Today: What are the gaps in research culture you see between Bangladesh and the UK? And you as a University Pro-VC can do to change?
Prof. Khan: In public university there are practices for doing good research in case of developing countries like Bangladesh. In private university the research culture is very much absent. We, the BUFT, as a new university in private sector are trying hard to build appropriate research culture for the development of industry. We have already set up a research centre named Research & Testing for Textile services with an initial fund of Tk. 10 million which has a detailed policy. In this case we are putting importance in building close partnership with industries and as such few important research works are going on yarn spinning, dying, finishing. We are also focusing to do research on new areas of textiles like technical textiles especially nonwoven, composite textiles etc.
Textile Today: You have visited The Textile Institute headquarters. What are you doing here as section chief?
Prof. Khan: I have visited TI headquarters and met with CEO Ms. Stephanie, Rebecca and others. There was a fruitful discussion on strengthening of TI Bangladesh section and for this necessary support from TI headquarter. As a section head we organize meeting, seminar, workshop, social gathering, research award for new researches and trying to build good network with the textile professionals. We also attend different TI World Conferences. During the visit I had the opportunity to attend parliament lunch meeting organized by TI hosted by Lord Haskel in House of Commons, UK. There was a meeting with important personality of Textile organizations of the UK. I had a chance to deliver presentation on Bangladesh RMG Sector in Student Conference organised by Association of Suppliers of British Clothing Industry (ASBCI), Manchester Metropolitan University and Huddersfield University.
Textile Today: You have visited Center for Textile Research in the UK. Do you think Bangladesh needs one like this? And how it should look like?
Prof. Khan: I have visited Textile Centre of Excellence (TCOE) which was set up for the skill development of industry professionals working in industry based in Huddersfield where mainly wool industries are based. More over they invite young population of UK for the purpose of training which initially prepared them for the Job Market. They have full setup of equipments, machines, infrastructures needed for imparting good training. The institution is fully supported by the owners of the different factories. UK government also gives them financial support. There is a scope of setting up such kind of facilities under the financial supports of business associations like BGMEA, BKMEA and BTMA.
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