President Md. Abdul Hamid on Wednesday (Dec 1) opened the centenary celebrations of premier Dhaka University (DU), recalling its magnificent role in Bangladesh’s political history alongside academic arena in the past one century, and called for upholding its aura in global stage through enhanced education quality.
“Dhaka University is a spirited lighthouse for the Bengali nation’s education, culture, research and innovation, history and heritage, exercise for free thoughts, progressive ideas, nation building and patriotic conscience,” he said inaugurating the celebrations at the University’s Central Playground.
The President said Dhaka University was established against the backdrop of an “historic” political turning point backdrop of the region while in subsequent periods it lit a chain of bacons to shape the Bengalis hopes and aspirations alongside appearing as a hub of knowledge of generations in the global academic arena.
He said Dhaka University’s centenary celebrations appeared more significant as it coincided with Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Birth Centenary and Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Bangladesh’s Independence.
The President, who is also the chancellor of the university, said the course of time expanded Dhaka University’s academic activities and infrastructures while simultaneously it must enhance the education quality so its students could achieve the international standard in their respective fields.
President Hamid, addressed the function virtually platform while parliamentary Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, Education Minister Dipu Moni, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Mome and University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Professor Dr Kazi Shahidullah were among those who took part at the inauguration.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman moderated the event, local media reported.
The President asked as well the authorities of other universities and higher educational institutions to enhance the quality of education and boost the ability of students, considering the demand and requirements of the national and international job markets.
He said Bangladesh recently graduated to a developing country from the list of least developed nations which undoubtedly was a good news but there was no scope for self-complacency as the ongoing fourth industrial revolution and the upcoming the fifth one exposed the country and particularly the higher education sector to newer challenges.
President Abdul Hamid said one of prime considerations of the education today was to address the digital divide and graduation from "capital and labour-dependent" economy to "knowledge-based" economy to minimize an existing gap with the developed world.
He said it appeared imperative to create skilled and talented manpower capable to cope with the demand of time to materialize the "Vision 2041" under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's dynamic leadership.
"I hope Dhaka University will play a leading role in this journey," the University Chancellor said.
Referring to the tremendous success of spreading the information technology (IT) globally, he said the students need to be developed in such a way so that they can successfully advance in all branches of knowledge and science, including IT.
"As the number of Dhaka University students has increased over time, so the scope of its infrastructure and educational activities have also expanded... Competition has also become internationalized for the benefit of modern science and IT also," he added.
Therefore, President Hamid said a student has to attain international standards as well as get a degree.
He also urged the university authorities to take into account in maintaining the world standard in setting in time-befitting curriculum and teaching method.
"The Fourth Industrial Revolution is moving forward... We have to prepare for the upcoming Fifth Industrial Revolution by taking advantage of the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the President said adding that the universities need to play a pioneering role in this regard.
Mentioning that parents, guardians, the country and its people have sufficient investment for the students, he said the students need to be able to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of family, country and people.
The President urged all concerned to consider the necessity of higher education in the developing world at the present century, the digital division created by globalization and IT, bridging the gap between developed and developing world, and transition the capital and labor-dependent economy into knowledge-based economy.
In this situation, Abdul Hamid said, the university's aim should be to combine individual and collective consciousness with cosmology.
Terming the DU as a shining beacon of education, culture, history-tradition, research-innovation, free-thinking practice, progressive thinking, nation-building and patriotism, the President said it (DU) is a unique simple of hope and aspiration for Bangalees.
President Hamid said the university started its official journey on July 1, 1921 based on 'the Dhaka University Act 1920', on the recommendation of the Calcutta University Commission constituted in 1918.
The historical journey of the DU, started with 877 students in 12 departments and now as many as 36 thousand students are studying in 84 departments, he mentioned.
Noting that the DU is the birthplace of various democratic movements including the 1952 Language Movement and the 1971 Freedom Struggle, women's empowerment and free-thinking practices, Abdul Hamid said the Dhaka University is a glorious institution of non-communal and unique features.
"Even though the university started with two female students, now this number rose over 40 percent... It is a huge achievement for the empowerment of women in the country," the President said.
Referring to the contribution of Dhaka University in the 1952 Language Movement, Abdul Hamid said Ekushey February is being celebrated internationally today as Mother Language Day to preserve the language and culture of all nationalities across the world.
About country's graduation to a developing country from a least developed country (LDC), the head of the state said, "It is undoubtedly a good news... But we have to start work from now on to materialize the vision 2041 in days to come."
At the very outset of the address, the President paid rich tribute to country's founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, heroic martyrs who sacrificed their lives in Liberation War, Liberation War organizers-supporters, foreign friends, war wounded and family members.
The President also paid deep respects to the teachers, students, officials and employees of Dhaka University who had faced martyrdom in different democratic movements, including the Great War of Liberation War.
Parliament Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, MP, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni, MP, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, MP, University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Prof Dr Kazi Shahidullah, DU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman, Pro-VC Chancellor (administration) Prof Dr Muhammad Samad, Prof Dr ASM Maksud Kamal and Dhaka University Alumni Association (DUAA) president, AK Azad, among others, spoke there.