UGC plans new syllabus to help get foreign jobs

05 Dec 2019 10:09 PM
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The government has taken an initiative to incorporate new syllabus for the Information Technology Engineers Examination (ITEE) at several universities to help graduates land lucrative jobs abroad, especially in Japan.

The new syllabus would be incorporated in courses related to computer sciences and information and technology (IT), according to University Grants Commission (UGC) officials. Widely accepted in the Asia region, the international ITEE certification allows Bangladeshi students to get hired in many foreign countries. Mohammad Maksudur Rahman Bhuiyan, UGC additional director (Information Management, Communication, and Training Division), told The Independent: “We are preparing a resolution for the incorporation of the ITEE syllabus and it is likely to be completed by this month. The UGC will then issue a circular so that the universities can take initiatives for it with the commission’s cooperation.”

He said that at least 10-12 universities, both public and private, would be brought under the incorporation of syllabus at the initial stage on a pilot basis. “Following the ITEE syllabus, the universities would modify their own syllabus for creating an enabling environment for the students so that they can do better in the exam,” he added. “At present, around 150 Bangladeshi IT-related students have got jobs in Japanese industries. But this figure is still poor. We want to send around 500 graduates to Japan each year at the initial stage,” he said.

ITEE is widely accepted in the Asian region, and its certification is mutually recognised in China, Chinese Taipei, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, sources said.

Bangladesh had joined it as an Information Technology Professional Examination Council (ITPEC) member country on September 1, 2014. At present, there are two levels of ITEE exams—Level-1 is IT Passport Exam (IP), which is suitable for IT and non-IT professionals and graduates, and Level-2 is FE, which is suitable for IT professionals and graduates and fourth-year computer science and engineering/IT students.

Sources said most Bangladeshi IT students fail the ITEE exams because the curriculum of Bangladeshi universities does not match with the required standards of the job industries in Japan and other countries.

On the other hand, the students from other Asian countries are doing well because they have coped with the curriculum required by the world ICT job markets. Considering all these issues, the UGC, in collaboration with the Information and Communication Technology Division and the Japanese government, has taken the initiative to incorporate the new syllabus for ITEE.

Recently, the UGC held a workshop with the vice chancellors and authorities of different public and private universities to get their opinions in this regard. UGC sources said the varsity authorities attending the workshop had shown keen interest to incorporate the syllabus of ITEE to help their students.

Following the workshop, the UGC has found that the management and strategy areas do not sufficiently cover the current curriculum of IT-related undergraduate courses in most of the universities. It is well-informed about the opportunities in the Japan ICT industry for job placement and business and understands the importance of Japanese language and ITEE for huge job opportunities abroad.

Based on the workshop findings, the UGC has requested the universities to adopt the ITEE syllabus, saying it would assist them in this regard. The commission has told the universities to focus on the Japan ICT industry and motivate students to learn Japanese to enter the IT industry in that country.

The commission said the participants have agreed to continue this process and would take action for future collaborative works. UGC member Prof. Md Sazzad Hossain told The Independent recently: “A number of public and private universities have shown interest to incorporate the ITEE syllabus. We would provide necessary support to upgrade their course curriculum.”

“Japan is a big market for us. We want to enable our students to get jobs in Japanese industries with better salaries,” he added. In addition to upgrading the syllabus, the UGC said it would get various types of support, especially financial, from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It will also provide support in Japanese language learning, which is mandatory to get jobs in Japan and to pass ITEE.

Md Golam Sarwar, the ITEE project director (PD), said: “We want to assist the UGC in this regard so that the universities can synchronise their syllabus with the demand of Japanese industries.” “We have taken an initiative to provide intensive training for 500 students of 25 universities from January next year by master trainers. We would prepare the students for the next ITEE examinations in April 2020,” he continued.

He said Japan is the third largest world economy and Bangladesh has a great opportunity to catch the job market there. “We need the collaboration of all, especially universities, to achieve our goals in this arena to reap the benefits of demographic dividends,” UGC member Sazzad Hossain said.