Environment for researchers in Bangladesh

Environment for researchers in Bangladesh

Md. Joynal Abdin with symbolic name M.J.A KHAN

Daily Independent on November 26, 2010

The term research is always followed by development. Critics may ague that development facilitates resources to spend for research. If we take these two variables “Research” & “Development” then it is debatable that which one is cause and which one is effect. To be more specific we can say that  research is the cause of development or vice versa.  Lots of logics may come in favour of these two opposite statements. But what statistics says? Statistics says that the country that spends more in research develops more and grows quicker than others. Top fifteen countries that spend highest percentage of their GDP are the Israel, Sweden, Finland, Japan, Rep. of Korea, Iceland, United States, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Singapore, France, Canada, Belgium and United Kingdom.

From 1996 to 2007 they used to spend substantial amount of their GDP in research purpose as a result, their growth rate in these days as well as list of their patents and copyrights is too long for coming future. In 2007 they spent 4.74 per cent, 3.67 percent, 3.47 percent 3.44 per cent, 3.47 per cent, 2.80 per cent, 2.67 per cent, 2.55 per cent , 2.56 per cent , 2.52 per cent , 2.60 p1  and 1.84 per cent of their GDP respectively. Among 116 countries of this list I miss Bangladesh. This picture shows how much negligence is shown to research  in our country. Though we have largest supermarket in Asia, Longest sea beach of the world, eighth cricket team of the world, even some of our rich businessmen may come to top 116 richest men of the world (if their total asset value disclosed authentically). We are one of the developing nations and our economy is growing considerably during the last decade. But how many patents, copyrights, and industrial designs do we have? 

These questions seem to be irrelevant where major and foremost duty of the research cell members is to write up speeches of the top bosses. Here research cell people are treated as the most worthless group of people in an organization. Researchers are the most laymen persons who do not have the right to speak, right to plan even right to play their role regarding any financial matters. Research cell is treated as white elephants. We are very much efficient to spend millions of Dollars in paying World Bank, IMF consultants to enact our development strategy papers (who do not even come to Bangladesh earlier for a visit). But to listen to our laymen researchers is a shameful activity for the administrative and managerial bosses in this country.

Our cricket players are getting lacs of taka, plots of land, cars against a win in a ordinary game where our young mathematicians have to beg from door to door along with senior professors to manage a sponsor for an air ticket to participate in the International Olympiad. We feel sorry  when two or three cricket players go to IPL but we are observing our most meritorious BUET engineers and scholars are migrating into the western world after being annoyed by our local working environment in the country. We never think to own them rather spend billions to pay foreign players and coaches.

I saw many researchers  shedding tears by  being affected by illegal and immoral actions of managerial or administrative staffs or that organization. This is not a good sign for the future or this land. If special attention is not paid today,  then we may lose many more research fellows of the land. They will get money and dignity  abroad but the country will lose their valuable services.

There is a hope that some private research farms like CPD, ISS, D.Net, Unnayan Onneshan, Unnayan Somonoye, CDS etc., will come forward and produce qualified researchers and provide guidelines for future. But question is that how many recommendations of those researchers being implemented by the concern authorities? Implementation status is very poor.

Our nearest neighbor country India is raising from every parameters like science and technology, ICT, Economy, Export basket, Local Industrialization, Defense power and many more. This is only because researchers in India is getting honor, Past President Mr. Kalam is a vital example in this regard. Mr. Kalam was not supposed to be president of India but he gets this unique honor due to be a researcher. His counterparts in Bangladesh like Dr. Shamsher Ali, Late Wajed Mia (husband of current Prime Minister) and others are out of the syllabus here in Bangladesh. How this country will go ahead by neglecting its best talents.  

I know one Indian institute having more than five hundred economist as research staff to prepare strategic planning of that organization at the same time I know their Bangladesh counterpart with only two dedicated and one occasional research staffs. But they are not doing research here rather writing speeches of the bosses. They are suffering from institutional injustice and administrative harassments by their administrative colleagues. Writing article in the newspaper is prohibited for a research staff here in Bangladesh, but it may show us ways forward of too many problems without paying him a single penny. A researcher does not want money for his findings but to solution to a problem, he wand honor rather than power.

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Md. Joynal Abdin

Development Researcher, Columnist and Author

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