Research Culture itself is the Liable to Dearth of Research -Abubakar Mohammad Safwan


Questions arise on existing research culture in Bangladeshi Universities where research work has been bounded within several institutions. Although research, what turns professor better academician, is considered a key benchmark in measuring university standards and ranking, university administrations are flunking out in creating a positive research culture without having individualistic and career-oriented research tendencies among the faculty members. Notwithstanding, no one talks about flourishing and nourishing a research culture, which indicates that the current research culture is not newsworthy. It claims that attaining the required qualifications for the next professional promotion has, in many cases, become the driving force for university research and their performance is reduced when they get promoted to the highest level. The after-effect of these worse episodes can immensely deteriorate the research culture in a university.

Research Culture, encompasses the expectations, values and norms of research community also includes a collaborative relationship among them, is a key component of enhancing a good research practice and provides support to conduct research. Without a healthy research culture, research cannot be promoted and without research, only reading books can be the sole process of finding the answer of queries but cannot explore new one and thus handicap the way of creating new knowledge. So, many universities in the world are working on how they can enrich the research cultures. A research article published by the University of Gloucestershire, UK, illustrates that the best way to develop research culture is to make students involve in the research project of academics.

But, in Bangladesh, how negligible the opportunity for the undergraduate students has been exposed in the latest report published by University Grand Commission (UGC). The report shows that there is no cost on research in 12 public and 11 private universities and only 1 percent of the total expenditure of all universities spent on research and, in last one year, fourteen universities do not conduct any research project. A journal reveals (in 2013) that six organizations contributed 89% of the total published articles in Bangladesh. Educationalists have also enunciated the lack of research projects and resources like e-library, lab, etc. as the most common problems related to the institutions.

Research articulated by Higher Education Research & Development, a leading journal in Australia, reflected that collaboration among academic researchers within and external to universities provides tangible outcomes for the university and benefits to the researchers involved. According to Dr. Shah M. Faruque, Professor of Microbiology at IUB, research cannot be possible in an isolated way, but a collaborative environment profoundly facilitates it. The meagerness of joint research approach from universities, industry, and government research agencies to solve social problems and enhancing human development has been alluded to the article composed by Dr. M. Tamim, dean of the Engineering Faculty at BUET, and many others. Moreover, most of our academic researchers are conducting research work on their own and have no involvement with the university and this are not being recorded in the university websites.

Faculty Training, support, and sharing research gaps between faculties and students are major and influential factors in the research culture of a university. But it is noticed that a significant number of public university professors get less time to monitor students’ research as they are engaged themselves in teaching at private universities and in politics. Workshop and seminars on research are hardly arranged in our university campuses and students’ participation is quite a few since they are spending a huge amount of time in politics. Whereas time managing for research activities and sharing ideas is counted as a basic feature of a good researcher in high ranked universities. A research paper presented EUA conference marked the stress of teaching workload as the main reason of low performance in university research.

For a successful research culture, research should get high priority or at least equal in a university as stated in a review by Mack t. Ruffin, professor, University of Michigan. It is also highly mentioned that building a rich research environment is quite illusive without research experienced and skilled faculty members. But the faculty recruiting process in public universities is still primitive and based on a bachelor’s degree without research experience while in our neighboring country, research experience and degree are required to be a teacher in degree-level college although it is the responsibility of a faculty member to continue teaching and research with equal importance.

Where fall in a dilemma. If someone thinks that our universities are focusing on education, teaching and quality graduates and not highlighting to have researchers, is that happening? Two types of universities appear in the Netherlands; one is Research University, completely research-oriented, and the other is the university of applied science focused on practical skills and professional competency. If we appraise from the perspective of the Netherlands, how can we tabulate our universities where research is being disregarded? Or, can we defined it as the university of applied science while researchers elucidated that near to 50 percent of employers are not satisfied with the credentials of fresh graduates and they, even government also, express interest to hire foreigners to meet their demand?

An excellent research culture should be maintained in our universities and not being just teaching-focused. Congenial relationship among faculties and students in discussing research experience and students’ involvement along with proper funding for research could bring a positive change in our research culture and universities will be on the way to achieve better rank.

The writer is a student of Institute of Education and Research (IER), University of Dhaka He can be reached