Prof. M.Rezwan Khan completed his B.Sc. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 1980 from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and subsequently his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from University College London in 1982 and 1986 respectively. Prof. Khan has been working in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energy for a long time. Right from the beginning of the Solar Home System micro financing project (REREDP), initially funded by World Bank, Prof. Khan served as the Chairman of the Technical Standard Committee contributing significantly in designing the solar home systems, setting the stvandards and monitoring the technical aspects of the dissemination process. Today Solar Home System Program of Bangladesh is the largest in the world with more than 3.5 million system already installed. Prof. Khan leads a number of national and international projects on renewable energy and is involved in designing nanogrids as an inexpensive solution for energy access to the off grid rural communities, development of low cost improved cooking stoves and low cost irrigation systems. He is a proponent of DC based power system in contrast to the existing AC systems. His research activities in this field have been recognized by IEEE Industry Application Society by selecting him as a Distinguished Lecturer for the years 2017-18. He has published nearly 100 research papers in international journals and conferences.
You have been VC for how many years now. What can you tell us about your experience about the University?
I have been the Vice Chancellor (VC) of United International University (UIU) for almost eleven years. I took over as the VC of the university during its initial years, one year after it was founded so you can say that I have been here the whole time and have witnessed the journey of the university. My experience with UIU has been very satisfying. The teachers and staff members of the university are very supportive. We have a very friendly educational environment here. The teachers and other staff members of the university, all together, built the foundation on which the university stands today. I thank them for their support. I woudl like to give my special thanks to the Board of Trustees of the university which is very supportive and non-interfering.
Vice-Chancellor, what do you consider to be the main challenges facing your university?
We want to attract the best and brightest students and academics at our university. We want to tell them that UIU can provide what you are looking for. To build an infrastructure and academic image that will attract good students is always a challenge for any global standard university and UIU is also facing such challenge. Since the university began its journey we have been trying our best to provide a very good quality educational environment with quality facilities and faculty members. We understand that it takes time for the guardians and students to realise how good a university really is. Our students have achieved success in different countries abroad. Each success drives us forward as we continue to build our image as a leading university of the country. A challenge for us is to continue our success stories and establish ourselves as a leading university of South Asia.
What is your experience with the teachers and students here?
The teachers at UIU are very cooperative and open minded. They are very responsible and caring when it comes to their students. At UIU we try our best to instil good behaviour among students. In the twelve year history of our university we do not have even a single incident of student violence, which is very rare for any university of our country. So my overall experience of teachers and students at UIU is very pleasant.
Can you tell us the reforms introduced after you assumed the post of VC?
At UIU we have a very transparent environment. Anyone can seek an audience with me regarding any problem whenever they need. If I am not busy I see them right away and try to offer my help to solve the issue. I believe that the main way to portray ourselves is through promoting our achievements. We have been trying to introduce research among the faculty members of UIU and I am very proud to tell you that over the last few years we have attracted about 3 mil US dollars of international funds and at least BDT 3-4 crore of local funds for research and from this year we have introduced university funded research programmes for our faculty members. This year we are giving about BDT 1.5 crore as research funds, which we plan to raise to BDT 5 crore in future. This is indeed an innovative step when it comes to private universities of our country.
It is the era of globalization, your university planning any collaboration with the foreign universities?
Till date we have sent nearly 100 students and faculty members to different universities in the European Union (EU). We also have MOU with a number of American and European universities for exchange of credits and exchange of students. During the last five years we have received six Erasmus Mundus awards from the European Union (EU), each of them ranging from 3-5 million Euros and the total amount stands close to 20 million Euros.
What initiatives your university has taken to ensure the employment of its graduates?
We have very strong career counselling centre. The task of the career counselling centre is to bring in the employers in different forms of seminars and workshops. By attending such events the students get a good idea regarding what the employers want. The employers express their opinion regarding the education standards and give us their feedback according to which we try to include and upgrade different courses in our syllabus. We train the students for good CV writing, corporate behaviour, interview facing sessions and so on.
The interest of the students towards the traditional subjects is lacking, especially courses like History, Sociology, etc... Your views?
It is a job driven market. We can not deny the hardcore fact that if a subject does not have a good job market then the students will not be interested to study the subject. If the job market of a subject is large then the students will be interested to study those subjects. It is the reality today.
Please explain the vision of your university and future plans of the university.
We have a plan to become the number one university in Bangladesh and hopefully within the next few years we will try to become a top regional university in South and South East Asia. We plan to attract students from abroad, especially from developed countries. I am optimistic that with regular research works the educational standard of UIU will be recognised and we will ultimately reach our goal.
How your university plans to contribute to the society and nation in future?
Every institute must have a motto for that. The ultimate goal should be to produce professionals who will take the nation forward. However, today we live in a global village. At UIU we try to produce professionals who are suitable for both national and international job market. We always keep in touch with national and international needs and modify our syllabus accordingly. We groom our students through different leadership programmes and co curricular activities to prepare them to face different challenges of the twenty first century.