Tuesday, 16 August, 2022

Why Industry-Academy Linkage Significant?

Md. Shafiqul Islam, PhD

Why Industry-Academy Linkage Significant?
Md. Shafiqul Islam, PhD

According to a survey by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, there are 2.7 million unemployed people in the country, putting Bangladesh's economy at risk. Even then, skilled workers in various sectors, including industry, must be brought from other countries. More than two lakh foreign workers are working in various industries in Bangladesh. These foreign employees employed in the country raise 6 billion US dollars in annual salaries, which is not desirable for a country like ours. This is due to the country's lack of quality and skilled workforce. Therefore, we need to take various steps to make the young, educated society more efficient and qualified in domestic and foreign industrial establishments, increasing the demand for our workers in the world market.

One study found that many foreigners are working in the export-oriented garment industry. Foreigners usually work in the garment industry as merchandisers, technicians, research and development, sample development, production level, quality control, and maintenance. About 48 percent are from India, 25 percent from Sri Lanka, 13 percent from China, and 8 percent from South Korea. If local workers had the necessary experience, they might not have hired so many foreign workers. Foreigners are hired because clothing owners have no choice. There is also a need for skilled people in the garment industry. It is questionable whether the course curriculum is created in our higher education institutions accordingly. So, our students must be given degrees according to the needs of the job market. This requires industry-academy linkages. Occasionally there should be an opportunity for high-level professionals from the corporate label to take classes so that students can acquire knowledge according to the needs of the real job market.

There are 71 training centers across the country under the Ministry of Labor and Employment. These centers provide language and other needs-based training and skills to get a job abroad. According to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training, 68,000 young people received training from these training centers in 2018. Although the number seems large, it is not enough according to the population of Bangladesh. Many analysts think that the education system in Bangladesh is not job-oriented because there is no joint research between universities and industrial institutes. At present, there are more than 50 government universities in the country. Of these, ten or more are specialized universities. Even specialized universities offer all kinds of courses like general universities. Our university course curriculum should be designed according to the needs of the industry because industrial establishments are not getting skilled human resources in many cases. So, skilled workers must be recruited from abroad. Again, the number of unemployed is not less. There is a gap between the two sides. So, the university has to take the initiative. It is time to create a workforce according to the needs of the industry. Industry-University linkage is significant for this. 

Achieving Vision 2041, the goal of sustainable development and meeting the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution requires linkages in university-industrial institutions. So, it is important to take a long-term plan very seriously. Universities are an important field of advanced and technical research. The creation of knowledge through research, and the development of innovative thinking consciousness take place mainly through the university. Industry-University Linkage has many advantages, such as social benefits, societies benefit from innovative products and technologies from joint research of university-industrial institutions.

Industrial Institution-Sponsored University Research always emphasizes the practical aspect, which helps the society to get good quality products or services. Through this joint research, it is possible to create new advanced medical devices, techniques, efficient energy development, and innovative electrical technologies such as computers and modern equipment. Indirectly, the university-industry linkage can create new products that will make it easier for the industry to survive in a competitive world market and play an important role in the country's economic development.

Commercialization of academic research through this linkage has the potential to result in potential financial rewards for patents and licenses. For this reason, many universities are looking for partnerships with industrial organizations. It is a means by which universities can reduce their dependence on government funding. Patents generated through industry-sponsored research are sometimes shared between industrial organizations and universities. Also, scientific equipment that is not available in university labs can be easily used by teachers through industry-academy linkages. These tools create additional scope for teachers' research, which ultimately contributes to the productivity of researchers. The university enhances the field of future employment for undergraduate and graduate students through this linkage. Students can be trained in highly skilled industry applications. They create a workforce that is relevant to national and industry interests that will have an impact on the economy. Through corporate partners, universities receive more resources, which are conducive to research and enable them to diversify their research areas.

Industry-academia linkage collaboration stimulates the company's internal research and development program. University researchers can identify the weaknesses of current research by industrial scientists, which may be effective for designing and developing innovative processes and potential products. This reduces the time it takes to transport potential products from the laboratory to the market and strengthens the dynamics of economic competition in the international market. Among the company sponsors in the university, it can enhance the reputation of the industrial organization or company. Researchers at universities and industrial organizations often describe and publish research results in journals so that the company's publications are used to increase their organization's reputation as a tool in the relationship with the buyer. Finally, the industry-academy linkage is crucial to further strengthening research and development. University researchers assist industrial institute scientists in designing and solving technical problems. Employees of industrial establishments or companies also get the opportunity to learn new research techniques through university teachers. Innovative products developed from joint research can be more profitable, positively affecting research and development.


The writer is an Associate Professor, Department of Accounting and Information Systems, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Mymensingh