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Textile education on the table at its 100 years completion

An well discussed seminar on textile education organised by Textile Engineering division, Engineers Institution, Bangladesh (IEB) and “Bangladesh Textile Today” was held on 25 February evening, 2012 at seminar hall, old building of IEB, Ramna, Dhaka. The key note paper was titled “Textile Engineering Education in Bangladesh – Expectations and Achievements” and has been presented by veteran textile academic Prof. Dr. Engr. Md. Ayub Nabi khan, principal, NITTRAD. The seat of the chief guest was adorned by Mr. Abdul Latif Siddiqui, MP, Minister, Ministry of Textiles and Jute, GOB. The seminar turned into a very useful discussion table with vivid and lively idea sharing after an admirable presentation on the entire situation and expectations of textile education in Bangladesh given by the key note speaker. Honourable chief guest took the points raised by the key speaker and other discussants and delivered his illustration and view point with some immediate action while he promised for the development of textile industry and education of the country.

The key note paper was followed by another two presentations given by A.S.M Tareq Amin, Editor & Publisher, Bangladesh Textile Today and Mr. John T Smith, International Coordinator, BWTG-BEST Program, UNIDO on importance of knowledge dissemination and textile educational developments experiences in the UK respectively. Entire seminar was well participated by the audience and nicely took over by overwhelming response of the Minister to each and every important findings on the presentations and the speeches of the discussants.

President of IEB & Chairman of RAJUK, Engr. Md. Nurul Huda was present in that seminar as special guest. Engr. Shafiqur Rahman, Vice chairman, IEB Textile division, Engr. Mozaffar Hossain, member, IEB Textile division was among the discussants while the seminar was presided over by Engr. A K M Nurul Islam (Bhutul), Chairman, Textile Engineering division IEB.

Legendary discussants hailed the role of Textile Minister in his ministry for the betterment of the industry and the education sector. The speeches of Engr. Shafiqur Rahman, Engr. Mozaffar Hossain, Key Note speaker and the chair of the event echoed on various demands to minister and asked his further initiatives in further development. The demands were not only limited to the list in the letter handed over to the chief guest by Engr. A K M Nurul Islam (Bhutul) but also extended through the recommendations and expectations rose in the presentation of the key note speaker, other speakers and the discussants. The demands rose were well responded by the counterpart (minister) as well.

In a nut shell key demands and recommendations were as below:

  1. To convert the Department of Textiles into Directorate of Textiles and Department of Jute as well.
  2. To inaugurate “BCS Textile Cadre” service.
  3. To appoint senior and skilled textile engineers at the top most positions of Technical board, Standardisation  board, Handloom board, sericulture board, BTMC, BGMC and other textile correlated organizations.
  4. To build “Research Council” for welfare and advancement of textile education and research Inclusion of textile experts in national textile policy and other economic policy making body.
  5. To appoint professionals (engineers) in the foreign missions for proper promotion of the industry and the country.
  6. Appointment of textile experts in syndicate of university which has textile department
  7. To fill-up all the empty positions in the colleges under Department of Textiles.
  8. To inaugurate “Textile Award” at national stage.
  9. Internship allowance for the students.

Textile Engineering Education in Bangladesh: Expectations and Achievements

Prof. Dr. Engr. Ayub Nabi Khan C. Text. FTI, the key note speaker, presented his speech on the historical note of textile education in Bangladesh to reach to the current textile educational structure of the country. He depicted the structure of textile and garments industry to investigate research facilities, investment in the sector, and contribution in export and employment in the sector. He raised the demand and supply gap of engineers in table along with a list of weakness of the industry and finished following some expectations and recommendations regarding textile engineering education.

Chronology of textile education, a 100 year history:

  1. 1911 – 1929:(Textile education started in Indian subcontinent)

A. 9 District Weaving School (D.W.S.)
B. 25 Peripatetic Weaving Institute (P.W.I.)

  1. 1935-1947:(47-monotechnic institutes in united Bengal)

A. 1 year certificate course
B. 6 months artisan course

  1. After Partition (1947): (33 institutes in Bangladesh)

A. 6 District Weaving School (D.W.S.)
B. 27 Peripatetic Weaving Institute (P.W.I.)
Up gradation of Textile University:
The Dhaka weaving School is now the only dedicated Textile University of the Country.

  1. 1950: Dhaka weaving school transferred to Tejgaon industrial area from Narinda
  2. 1954: Dhaka weaving school turned into diploma institute (East Bengal Textile Institute)
  3. 1978: Diploma institute became country’s lone college of textile technology
  4. 2011: Textile College turned into Bangladesh University of Textiles

Modernization of textile education:
5 other weaving schools also went through developments to today’s level and offering B.Sc. degrees in textile engineering education.
1980: Two years certificate course introduced.

  1. A. 5 D.W.S. turned into District Textile Institute (D.T.I.)
  2. B. Set up a new D.T.I. in Barisal

1995: Introduction of diploma in textile engineering.

  1. D.T.I. renamed as Textile Institute

2007 – 2011: Introduction of B.Sc. in Textile Engineering

  1. 5 Textile Institute turned into textile engineering college

2005 – 2006: Two public universities ( DUET & MBSTU ) offered B.Sc. in textile engg.
2011: NITTRAD as first PPP education institute offered B.Sc. in textile engineering under Operational Mgt. of BTMA

  1. MBSTU as first university offered M.Sc. in textile engineering
  2. BUTex also offered M.Sc. in textile engineering

Through this historical developments Textile Education structure in Bangladesh reach to:

Above structure clearly shows how private sector has emerged in to textile education.

Dr. Khan focused to the available research facilities in Textile Industry depicting the necessity of it for a sustainable development. He ended up finding 3% of spinning units having research facilities or activities while only 1% among the knitting industries and 3% of existing dyeing factories 3% of RMG have their R&D section.

Employment in Textile & Apparel Industry:
It is the largest employment providing sector accommodating 6.1 million of employment where 80% of them are women. Alongside 15 million of people are involved in support industries dependent on this trade. The sector also create another 0.2 million jobs in waste recycling industry related to textiles.

Dr.Khan illustrates the opportunities for job in the profession. He also located the gaps and necessity of textile engineers in this sector. He also raised that Around 17,000 foreign textile expert now serving in Bangladesh.

Ph. D. M. Sc. B. Sc. Engineer Diploma Engr. Total
Existing 25 65 2034 3520 5644
Required 1087 4708 19996 44863 70654
Gap 1062 4643 14962 41343 65010

Attention needed in the areas of textile education:

  • Mechanical Engg. Electronics Engg. With textile background for maintenance & operation of textile machinery & utility services.
  • Production Engineering
  • Application of computer in textile production quality control, management, marketing & Merchandising
  • Environment science & pollution control
  • Industrial textile, medical textile, others specialized textiles.
  • Textile Machinery Design and Sustainable textile technology
  • Fashion Design development

Weakness of Industry to be addressed:
As per the key note speaker, “Our industries need to be modernized otherwise it will not be possible to cope with the competitive world.” He puts forward the following list asking attention on for modern and efficient industries:

  • Developing strategic action plan
  • Handling problems related to gender issues
  • Computer skills for production and management facilitation
  • Modern HRM
  • Evaluation and monitoring
  • Development of supply chain
  • Labor safeguard provisions
  • Firefighting and disaster management
  • Motivation

At the end of the speech the key note speaker presented some expectations to the honourable minister.

Knowledge dissemination is must for sustainable development

The editor & publisher of Bangladesh Textile Today (BTT), Mr. ASM Tareq Amin put a pleasant presentation concentrating on knowledge dissemination in the textile society which has long been the premier objective of  the magazine BTT and its mother organization Amin & Jahan Corporation Ltd. throughout the years.
He says, “As we don’t have enough resources and infrastructures for basic research and knowledge generation, we should emphasize on knowledge dissemination.”

He things that opening of separate Bangladesh sections and starting activities of international professional bodies like the The Textile Institute (TI), Society of Dyers and Colorists (SDC), American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists (AATCC) will surely help in this cause.  Regular exhibition, seminars and symposiums by BTMA, BGMEA, BKMEA, ITET, and IEB can create opportunities for knowledge sharing and analyzing. Publication like Bangladesh Textile Today is a great platform and more international journal and magazines should be made available for the readers.

For the greater benefit of the industry he proposed that the platform for knowledge sharing should integrate all institutional and non-institutional knowledge activities. The possible scopes can be writing, publishing and reading articles, brainstorming in round tables on recent issues, ensuring more involvement of students and awarding philanthropists.

He also put his thoughts about the present condition of the industry. He mentioned that, although Bangladesh is now the 2nd largest garment exporter, still the market is basically buyer driven. Product design and development is barely done. The production of technical textiles should have been started but it is still not there due to lack of proper infrastructure and technicians.

Mr. Tareq took the “who is going to be the second China” issue very seriously and illustrated the potentialities of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has a share of only 5% of the global market comprising 20 billion dollar, whereas China has a market share of 130 billion dollar. But China is losing its market share due to increase in their production cost. Chinese currency appreciates by 15% while Bangladeshi Taka depreciates by 15% against US dollar in the mean time making Bangladesh a cheaper garment producing country comparing with China. But it is only possible to grab the opportunity if the industry gets ready with adequate infrastructure and skilled manpower. For this, clarification about the power & gas situation by the government is a must, road and transport system must be developed rapidly. The productivity of the textile industry in Bangladesh is only 77% comparing with main competitors like India 88% and Pakistan 92%. The productivity in garments industry is even lower at 40-45%. So optimization is required between man and machines. Time has come to invest for productivity along with to increase production for sustainable growth, depicted Mr. Tareq

He ended his presentation emphasizing the uniform knowledge dissemination within the industry which is only way for value addition in the industry. Before concluding he demonstrated the activities of the research development of promotion service provider Amin & Jahan Corporation Ltd. It has been known that the organization is working towards formation of “Know ledge Based Textile Community” through its activities.

Understanding the past inspiring the future

Mr. John T. Smith from UNIDO was also present in the seminar. He conveyed his honour and gratitude to the country as it was a day in the month of February after the International mother language day. He said that he was over whelmed by the sight of throngs of people showing their respect at the Shaheed Minar with bouquets of flowers.

Progress of UK’s textile education:
He shared his views on the future of Textile Education in Bangladesh through the historical flash of the textile education in the UK. He believes that to look into the future, one must first look at the past. He pointed out the origin of the textile education which was first started in an industrialised country in the UK and Europe 150 years ago when UK was not much different from what Bangladesh is today in several aspects.

Mr. Smith informed that very young children, even from the age of at least 9 years working extremely long hours, even throughout the night. It was only during 1833 that the UK Government passed legislation that children under 9 years were restricted from working in factories. Formal education ensued soon after. For technology education ‘Mechanics Institutes’ were established in 1824, examples of which still exist today but under other titles around Manchester, Leeds, Galashiels etc. Most courses took place in the evening, after work. Certificates and Awards developed as establishments wished to show the quality of their teaching.

Children in one UK factory in 1983

Mr. Smith also depicted that Textile Engineering degree courses continued for many years up to around the 1950’s. He continued, At that time Engineering became an unfashionable word in UK in academic circles as it was associated with oily overalls. Courses changed to Textile Technology, Textile Chemistry, then in the 1980’s, more perceived attractive courses were developed, examples of which include, Textile Management, Textile Marketing, Fashion Design etc.

This was the evolution of textile education in the UK as per the speech of Mr. Smith.  He also accepts that a shortage of adequately trained personnel still exists. He informs, Major retail employers such as Tesco, M&S etc. sponsor courses to train graduates from other disciplines to understand Textile manufacture, Garment Making, Merchandising etc. To have sufficient high calibre students in textiles the education of the population needs significant investment applied.

Knowledge dissemination activities:
The UNIDO personnel also focused on knowledge dissemination activities stating, Textile Institute (TI) was formed in Manchester when academics and industrialists came together to promote the dissemination of knowledge in 1911. Their achievements were recognized at the highest level so in 1925 a Royal Charter was granted to the Textile Institute.  Over the years overseas sections were established and Bangladesh was one of those early sections.  The TI is now represented in over 80 countries. UK has many other knowledge dissemination platforms in the textile arena.

Industry to be tripled by 2020

Mr. Smith thinks that recently released McKinsey Report is very inspiring for Bangladesh. The report forecasts that Bangladesh is entering in a new era for Garments Manufacturing. Exports are expected to triple by the year 2020, with an export value of between 35- 42 billion USD. Buyers from around the world feel that Bangladesh is the place to be for the next 10 years.

But he warn saying, Bangladesh needs to keep in mind that the report has also outlined several obstacles that may hamper it reaching this target. Infrastructures such as road and port facility improvement; Compliance Issues; Supplier Performance and Workforce Supply are some of them. But the premier obstacle can be the lack of skilled manpower. Mr. Smith informs that UNIDO –BWTG project is here to help Bangladesh build the necessary skilled mid and upper level management at the institutional level. It has been estimated that, there will a shortage of approximately 65,000 employees by the year 2014-2015.

Bangladesh must enter in Nonwoven & Technical Textiles:
He pointed a very interesting issue that – more than 55% of fibre is not used in weaving and knitting processes but is consumed by the “non- woven” sector. This is a rapidly growing sector.  By non-woven sector he referred medical, industrial and technical sportswear uses, a sector that currently has a multi-billion dollar market in the world (22.4 Billion US$ in 2009) and is growing rapidly with increased living standards and health consciousness.

Mr. Smith depicts, Bangladesh does not have any non-woven equipment in any university and the topic is hardly covered.  This is one of the technologies of the future. There is virtually no non-woven industry in Bangladesh – that too is an additional industry for the future.

Jute & its prospect should be redefined:
Mr. Smith also mentioned about the jute sector. He thinks Jute – the Golden Fibre – is wasted in sacks, ropes etc. It can be and is used as a substitute for very expensive high tech fibres because it has unique properties, in particular the property of zero creep (the ability not to stretch under load over a period of time).  It is used as a substitute for aramid fibres costing thirty times as much as Jute. Each BMW series 7 car incorporates 12 kg of Jute in interior panels. He also mentioned other potentials of jute fibres which has turned it as one of the most valuable fibre of the world but Bangladesh is not utilizing it as it deserves.

BMW door panel with jute fibre inside

Market opportunities are at the door step:
Mr. Smith also mentioned that Bangladesh has a great potential to be the next China as China and India are more likely to be future consumers, rather than a competitor for Bangladesh. This leaves one big question for Bangladesh. With the increased demand for RMG coming its way, is Bangladesh ready to take on the extra load that this requires? Mr. Smith thinks Bangladesh needs inspiring people.

EU fellowship is introduced:
UNIDO – BWTG – BEST programme announced a Fellowship programme to send several suitable candidates to Europe (UK and Germany) to study for their Masters Degrees.  They will then be able to contribute to the further success of the Textile and Garment businesses in Bangladesh. Mr. Smith ended with the great news for the students, teachers & professionals and encouraged them to grab the opportunities of becoming prestigious EU fellow.

There is no point of investing without assurance of getting power & energy

Mr. Abdul Latif Siddiqui, the textile minister basically replied to the demands and expectations rose through the seminar. In his speech he hailed the key note speakers and other speakers for their nice presentations. He also hailed the speech of the Special Guest Engr. Md. Nurul Huda, President IEB. Engr. Nurul Huda at his speech also didn’t forget to congratulate key note speaker for his resourceful findings. He in fact echoed to the most of the demands of the textile professionals which let the minister mainly to focus to the key demands & expectations.

Textile education is a priority:
“I want to activate the textile institutions and colleges because still around 17000 foreign experts are working in textile industries who are taking away huge amount of money from our country. I want to replace them by local textile engineers” declared Mr. Siddiqui. He proudly explained that you all know that I have made NITTRAD to be run by PPP (Public Private Partnership) with BTMA which is the only PPP project in the country (educational institute) and this may be the last. I have done it by ignoring all the regulations and limitations. Today it has been turned into a success. Mr. Minister congratulated all as Bangladesh has completed its 100 years in textile education.

About the empty positions in the colleges:
Mr. Minister informed that teacher recruitment process is being delayed in the department of textiles though I would like to sign the appointment without any delay. Honourable minister regretted that we are not getting sufficient number of quality teachers as well. He encouraged qualified professionals to join in teaching. He declared that if you can give me 178 quality teachers from lecturers to professors, I will appoint them in one sitting. He further regretted that the people who are skilled and brilliant are not coming in teaching profession.

Appointing textile engineers in different boards & in foreign missions, setting up research council:
Textile minister has been termed as the admirer and facilitator of knowledgeable people and professional are always under his soft corner. He accepted the proposal of appointing the textile engineers in different top positions in the ministry and its departments. He instantly confirmed the appointment of such a person in the post of the chairman of handloom board and declared that in the seminar”.

Mr. Siddiqui also understood the necessity of appointing professionals in different important Bangladesh missions for better market exploration and promotion of Bangladeshi products. “I am giving the commitment to pass the “Research Council” with a single poke of my pen.” declared Mr. Siddiqui. He directed President of IEB to make outlines for both the matters and to send to him for further action.

Profit making attitude of the entrepreneurs:
“In the past, textile engineers were given internship allowance and at that time number of factories were less and students as well. But now the number of students is high and the factory owners are more canters to their profit only. They are not thinking about the country and social responsibility rather their only thinking is profit and profit. To give the internship allowance to the students is a matter of humanity and morality of the owners” regretted Mr. Siddiqui.

Mr. Siddiqui accused the entrepreneurs for their greediness and also for their investment without having confirmation about their utilities saying, “The industrialists should be concerned before investing about the availability of gas and electricity and other resources to run an industry. There is no point of investing without assurance of getting power and energy. I can do nothing to increase the production of gas and electricity”. He continued that he went to the concerned ministry several time for a better solution.

Big competitors:
Mr. Siddiqui warned all to be careful about the policies of the giant competitors like India. He pointed to last year’s case of cotton and spinning industry and explained how India sold cotton at higher price to Bangladeshi industries and followed yarn dumping to reduce the price of yarn in Bangladesh market which in fact dumped our industries to huge loss. He also noted “Indian govt is spending billion dollars as incentives for textile industries, but Bangladesh cannot give that. It will bring no welfare to the industry competing with such big power rather we should learn to play with them to survive by minimizing the profit limit”.

Mr. Minister informed that BJMC is doing very well now and already has turned in to profit making. He also informed “North Bengal Paper Mill is all set to run by jute pulp. Initially 50000 tones pulp will be produced as a test run and then 0.3million tones pulp will be used to produce paper which will give the farmer proper value of jute”.

Mr. Minister hailed the organizers to organize such a time worthy seminar and guided them to organize more in round table format.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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