Students pursuing higher education are increasingly getting interested to study job-oriented subjects instead of basic subjects.
Most of the universities in the country are giving priority to imparting education on job-related subjets to meet the demand of the students.
Academics, however, say that there is no alternative to education on fundamental subjects like literature, history and phylosophy to make a knowledge-based nation.
Almost all the newly established universities, specially private ones are mainly teaching job-related subjects.
Nowadays, students are also becoming interested in pursuing education on the subjects considering job facilities. Besides, many guardians think that their children can easily manage jobs after completion of higher education if they study such demandable subjects.
It is learnt that among the students of higher education in the country, some 60 percent students are now studying at private universities. The number of private universities is now 95 while there are 40 public universities in the country.
Subjects like Bangla, history, political science, sociology, psychology, philosophy, physics, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, zoology, botany and geography are less important as many of the subjects have not been included in the academic list of a good number of private universities. Rather, special emphasis has been given on different engineering subjects, BBA, MBA, and English.
Among the private universities, the BRAC University has offered subjects such as applied physics and electronics, architecture, biotechnology, BBA, economics, computer science, law, pharmacy and physics.
The Stamford University has offered subjects such as BBA, pharmacy, environmental science, microbiology, English, film & media, journalism for electronic & print media, economics, public administration, law, computer science & engineering, computer science & information, civil engineering, electrical & electronic engineering as well as architecture.
The University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh has included English, media studies, computer science, BBA and MBA in their academic list.
Along with the private universities, many newly established public universities are giving emphasis to some selected subjects.
The Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University of Mymensingh has included engineering subjects. Students are not getting scope for studying subjects like physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, history, political science and psychology at the university.
Comilla University has offered many subjects, excluding history, political science, sociology and psychology.
English is the only subject of the faculty of arts and social science of Jessore University of Science and Technology.
Mostaq Alam, a private university graduate, said demand for basic subjects has declined compared to the past. The job market has been established in such a way that if a student completes BBA and MBA, he/she will get job at least in a business related organisation easily. Many local job providers, however, do not show interest in the subjects like political science, sociology and others. But those subjects have high demand abroad. Once the subject human resource management was not popular, but day by day it is becoming popular in the country. Many of our guardians think that the subjects like physics and chemistry will not bring any positive outcome in getting job.
“I got chance to study chemistry at a renowned public university but my father was not interested in the subject considering my future career. Later, I took admission in BBA in a private university. My father told me if you complete BBA and MBA, you will get a job in a bank. Besides, our job fields are not expanded for all. But the mindset has to be changed with global perspective,” he added.
Mostaq further said many BBA and MBA holders in the country are unemployed and seeking jobs. But nowadays, the professional degrees like CA and CIMA are very much important.
Against the backdrop, Prof Dr Md Abul Ehsan, former director of Institute of Education and Research (IER) at Dhaka University, said the meaning of university is to create new knowledge through new subjects. So, research is very important. But research is not being done in the private universities of the country.
Even research is not being taken place in public universities extensively, he said. He said most of the private universities are only providing education on job-oriented subjects. But it should not happen. The subjects like mathematics, English, Bangla, geography, history and political science must be included.
Besides, focus has to be given on research. A university cannot run on the subjects those have high demand in job market and a university would not be an institution that will do business. To ensure quality, variety of subjects should be included in the academic list of a university, he said.
Posing a question, he said, “Why our universities are lagging behind with other foreign universities. There should be proper rules and regulations for the universities and of course, the universities will follow those for ensuring quality education.”
Prof Dr Shah Ehsan Habib of Sociology Department at Dhaka University said the private universities are not opening basic subjects because of market economy. Their purpose is to provide education and at the same time to earn money. So the subjects like BBA, MBA and EEE are common in the private universities.
“We have approved universities in many ways. But we could not ensure quality education. Although basic subjects are taught in public universities, those are not available in all public universities. Newly established public universities have also started their journey with those subjects which have market value. There are many banks in the country where graduates from sociology, political science and international relations cannot apply for job. About 10 years back, such a system was not introduced. Many bank authorities now think that only BBA or MBA holders are fit for bank jobs. But students of different backgrounds have performed very well in the bank jobs. The authorities of Bangladesh Bank and the government have not cleared their stances in this regard. On many occasions, students who have got chances in public universities do not study many basic subjects, but they take admission to private universities selling their property or land.”
Prof Ehsan Habib thinks it is not necessary that all the universities will focus on all subjects. Universities may be specialised for some particular subjects like abroad. But some fundamental subjects should be included so that students can get scope to gather knowledge on different subjects like the history of the nation, its tradition and culture.
He pointed out that in many countries, medical students read medical sociology subject that helps them maintain better relations with patients.
He also lamented that there has not been enough field of jobs for the students of basic subjects except BCS or some others. And there is a perception in BCS that students who have studied good subjects do well in admission tests.