UGC switching to OBE system for universities

Md Solamain Salman

12th June, 2021 10:33:32 PM printer

UGC switching to OBE system for universities

The University Grants Commission (UGC) is gearing up their steps to introduce the Outcome-Based Education (OBE) system for all universities in the country with a view to producing skilled graduates as per demands of job markets.

The UGC is considering the OBE system to introduce as it is crucial to producing graduates who must be creative, highly skilled, flexible, innovative, a critical thinker and possess the entrepreneurial spirit to face the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.

In short, an OBE curriculum means starting with a clear picture of what is important for students, then organising the syllabus, instruction and assessment to ensure such learning.

Although the OBE system was adopted by many countries of the world much ago, Bangladesh is yet to introduce the system for the higher educational institutions in the country.

The UGC has recently sent an OBE template to every university, asking them to restructure their curricula as soon as possible.

The UGC in the OBE template said Bangladesh has been witnessing an increasing demand for higher education and the wider access to higher education has become necessary to address the diversifying demands of local and global job markets.

There is a need for improving the quality of higher education involves improving the curriculum, faculty, resources, academic facilities and research opportunities.

The UGC also said the curriculum of higher education should be based on outcome, driven by the achievement of goals that bridge the gap between job market demand and supply of skilled graduates.

On the UGC’s instruction, a number of public and private universities are now working to restructure their traditional syllabi in line with the OBE.

UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah told the Daily Sun that if it is possible to introduce the OBE, the regular revision of curriculum and syllabus will create a scope for skills and outcome-oriented learning and research at our universities.”

“Although the concept of the OBE is relatively new in Bangladesh, it has been implemented in many countries of the world much ago. Implementation of the system at our universities is demand of time,” he said.

The UGC on Tuesday organised a day-long workshop on the template of the OBE where the officials of the commission’s Strategic Planning and Quality Assurance (SPQA) Division and private university division took part.

Earlier on February 6, the Outcome Based Education template was approved at the 157th full commission meeting of the UGC while an expert committee was formed to make suggestions for further revised the template and its evaluation system.

The expert committee on March 4 held a meeting where they finalised the revised version and evaluation part of the OBE template.

The UGC’s Institutional Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) will train at least five selected teachers from each public and private university on the OBE system. These teachers will later train at least two more teachers from each department, who will work on reconfiguring the syllabus.

East West University (EWU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr MM Shahidul Hassan told the Daily Sun that American sociologist William Spady first introduced the OBE system in 1994 and most US universities are following the system.

He said, “Not only western countries but also many African and Asian countries, including Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, India, and China, had adopted the OBE much ago and we also have to follow the OBE today or tomorrow to improve our higher education.”

About the challenges of implementation, Prof Shahidul said, “Initially, African countries failed to implement the OBE system as they introduced the process without having adequate training and knowledge.”

“Even in the USA, teachers and students took to the streets in protest against the OBE system when the country began implementing it. So, quality and proper training are a must before introduction of the system in the country.”

Prof Shahidul also said, “Bangladeshi universities impart knowledge through the traditional education system. Under this process, many students graduate unskilled. But the OBE system will create skilled graduates who will be able to fulfil the demands for their respective fields of education.”

Head of the IQAC and UGC member Prof Dr Biswajit Chanda said the UGC is switching to the OBE system with a view to enhancing the quality of education and research of the universities in the country.

The OBE will provide services both curricular and co-curricular of the highest quality, so that students could utilise their skills and serve industries and society equally well at a global level, he added.

As per plan, the UGC will provide necessary training on the OBE to all teachers gradually. The IQAC will establish nine Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, which will provide OBE training to the teachers of the universities.

There are 151 public and private universities with around 6 lakh students and over 30,000 teachers in the country.