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Topics - Tamanna Sharmin Chowdhury

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Business & Entrepreneurship / 5 steps to a healthier you in 2019
« on: March 31, 2019, 03:25:48 PM »
Tried and true reaffirmations to get you on track for the year ahead

Almost two weeks into the new year, and some might be ready to throw their hands up in resignation when it comes to their diet or exercise resolutions. It’s worth remembering that just because the initial goal may seem daunting, doesn’t mean a healthy lifestyle is entirely unachievable.

A healthy lifestyle is essentially one that applies the practices of how we should live if we want to get the healthiest body, not just to look good but also to feel good. While most of us already know what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, sometimes we just need a reminder.

A healthy person doesn't smoke, maintains a healthy weight, eats good food with a lot of organic products, vegetables and fibre and, of course, exercises all the time. Additionally, a healthy person is an expert at managing stress, gets quality rest every night, doesn't drink excessively, doesn't sit for hours on end—fundamentally, does everything in moderation while maintaining a component of restraint. A tall order, it would seem. If we take a look at everything that goes into a fit way of life, we might find it difficult to close the gap between the ideal life and our current ones.

However, the great news is, we don't need to make a huge difference overnight. Truth be told, the secret to healthy living lies with the little accomplishments—walking more steps every day, adding honey and bananas to our oats instead of sugar, having an additional glass of water, or saying no to stress. One thing we can do presently to make our way of living better is to take little steps every day. Here are some pointers to get you started.

Maximizing meal potential

Adding fruits and vegetables is the perfect foundation for kick-starting a healthy routine. Vegetables, like leafy greens, and fruits contain plentiful amounts of nutrients such as vitamins and antioxidants that help boost your immune system and fight off disease-causing toxins. The World Health Organization recommends eating fruits and veggies as a regular part of our diet so that we can have a better chance of fighting heart disease, some types of cancer, and a number of other diseases. Ideally, the average person should be consuming five to nine servings of varied fruits and veggies daily.

Healthy doses of hydration

To become healthy, it is very important to drink water throughout the day. Doing so offers the benefits of hydration, nourishment, and improved well-being. Water can cleanse toxins from the body, improve brain function, energize muscles, control weight gain, and balance body temperature and fluids. It’s recommended to drink about eight glasses, or 64 ounces, of water per day.

Managing mental health

When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it's easy to become focused on the physical aspects of well-being and disregard the psychological upkeep. It is very important to keep in mind that our psychological wellness is a big component of our general well-being. It's essential to assess and regulate our emotions on an everyday basis. On the off chance that we feel negative towards others, we can cause more misery at work, school, or in our public activity. Some ways to enhance emotional wellness include exercising, interacting with loved ones, resting seven to nine hours consistently, and doing something creative or relaxing to calm our minds.

Also, it’s better to consult a doctor or converse with an expert about ways to maximize our psychological wellness.


Sometimes it's helpful to stop, take a deep breath, and unwind. We can help to keep up our physical and emotional well-being by unwinding after a long, upsetting school or work week. It’s always better to attempt a few light exercises to relax our bodies and minds. Listening to some soothing music, reading, watching a comedy, or working out—these are a few of many self-care practices that can help foster feelings of happiness and serenity.

Taking action

The body is the sanctuary of the spirit, and we don't want that sanctuary to go into disrepair. Exercise is an effective method to boost our well-being and studies have shown that physical movement enhances one’s lifespan and general well-being. Since it can be difficult to work out every single day, aiming for three days a week might do a better job of keeping you on track. All we need to do is to select a perfect time to do it. It takes only 30 minutes of exercise in the morning to set you up for the day. Also, it is very important to enjoy working out rather than feeling like it’s a daily chore.

Little improvements in our lifestyle may appear to be insignificant, but these manageable actions add up. We’re more likely to adapt to changes better when they don't require us to overhaul our entire lives. Simply put, we have to pick a certain task and work on that one thing consistently, keeping in mind that a healthy lifestyle can give us more energy, improved mental health, and can increase our chances of defeating illnesses.


Pathao insurance coverage provides protection to customers and riders

Working in a private company in Dhaka, A K M Arifuzzaman commutes to his work mostly using app-based rides. Last year, during a typical commute in the morning to his office, Arifuzzaman faced a terrible road accident just after crossing the Army camp area in Hatirjheel. He was so severely injured that he spent the next three months in bed, recovering. And to make things worse, he was left with a hefty medical bill for all the procedures, doctor visits, and medication.

As commuting becomes increasingly difficult for Dhaka residents because of a lack of convenient public transport, more people are relying on app-based services. Despite higher costs, it has become the most preferred mode of commuting for a wide section of people across different demographics because of the convenience. But, within the city, all commuters remain suceptible to road accidents, an unfortunate reality that a large number of people deal with every day.

Realizing the urgent need for it, Dotline Bangladesh and Pathao ride-sharing service have come together to launch a specialized insurance service for all riders and drivers of Pathao. Under the insurance umbrella of Carnival Assure, a customized insurance service of Dotlines, this solution caters to specific needs of ride sharing.

According to the conditions of the insurance contract, if an accident occurs to any rider or the driver during the ride, resulting in severe injury and restricted mobility, or if the person gets admitted to a hospital after the accident and or passes away, or in case of his/her accidental death, he/she will be provided with a certain insurance amount. The insurance payout amount starts from Tk5,000 to Tk100,000. More remarkably, there is no premium required to be eligible for this coverage.

Thanks to this, Arifuzzaman, who was riding on Pathao, directly benefitted with the insurance service of Carnival Assure. “Though the loss that one faces physically and mentally cannot be compensated, getting financial coverage really helps in a tough time like this. After the accident, the hospital bill was around fifty thousand taka which was impossible for my family to pay at that time. Because of the insurance, I didn’t have to pay a single penny for my hospital bill,” said Arifuzzaman, who was paid the insurance money within two weeks of the accident.

A number of Pathao customers have been able to avail this coverage. Borhan and his teenage daughter in Dhaka were involved in an accident while on a Pathao ride and got paid insurance money despite not sustaining any serious injuries.

‘We fully support our current government's manifesto of ensuring road safety, and Carnival Assure comes forward to make the pioneering step with a unique technology-enabled solution for Pathao. We are committed to creating more such moves to uphold that promise," said Mohiuddin Rasti Morshed, CEO of Carnival Assure.

Hussain M Elius - co-founder and CEO of Pathao Limited - said, “In keeping with the core idea of 'Moving Safely' slogan of Pathao, the idea of insurance service to both rider and driver struck us as very critical. We always give priority to the security of our riders as well as our drivers. Our goal is to get both to their next destination safely”.

 Carnival Assure’s insurance partner, Pragati Life Insurance’s Head of Innovation and Alternative Distribution Channel S M Ziaul Hoque said, “Broader use of digital technology, mixed with our insurance domain expertise has given Carnival Assure the edge to reach to the masses. I am sure - such a new form of micro-insurance from Carnival Assure will prove to be revolutionary.’’

They also urged the government to keep the 15% VAT on cigarettes unchanged in the budget for FY2019-20

An anti-tobacco platform on Saturday demanded banning the electronic cigarettes and increasing the health development surcharge on tobacco from 1% to 2% in the upcoming budget in a bid to discourage tobacco consumption in the country.

The platform that comprises of at least seven organizations including National Heart Foundation, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Young Power in Social Action and Progga raised their demands at a pre-budget discussion at the Sagar Runi Auditorium of Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU).

They also urged the government to keep the 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) on cigarettes unchanged in the budget for 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The organizers said the government should prohibit electronic cigarettes as it is spreading vastly among young generation including college and university goers.

“E-cigarettes are expanding fast in almost 26 countries including Bangladesh. Before it grows to an intolerable level, policy actions are needed to ban the e-cigarettes,” Md Hsan Shahriar, project coordinator, PROGGA, told the Dhaka Tribune.

Economist Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and Chairman, National Anti-Tobacco Platform was the chief guest at the event. The special guest was Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

The proposals for the upcoming budget were presented by Dr. Mahfuz Kabir, Research Director, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS). Dr. Nasiruddin Ahmed, Former Chairman of National Board of Revenues (NBR) was the main discussant at the program. The program was chaired by Former Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University  Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique. 

Mahfuz Kabir mentioned some proposals for the upcoming budget that include abolishing the four-segment price slabs for cigarettes with the introduction of two segments--high and low-, abolishing the filter and non-filter variation for Bidi, eliminating tariff value system for  smoke free tobacco products(gul, jarda etc) and imposing a 15% VAT on all tobacco products at retail level.

He also proposed 11 –point recommendations including bringing all manufacturers of smoke free tobacco products under the tax net and facilitating tobacco regulations for implementation.

He recommend formulation of a simple, effective, and long-term (5 years) tobacco tax policy that will ensure increased revenue and decrease tobacco use over the period. Imposing a ban on the production, importation, and marketing of E-cigarettes and other Heated Tobacco Products (IQOS) is another proposal.

Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said, ‘We have been pushing for an overhaul of tobacco taxation system for a long time. The National Board of Revenue and other policymakers often express their consent and solidarity with us. However, the reality often does not reflect their willingness.”

He also said, the price of cigarettes should be increased so that smokers feel financial pressure.

“We should increase awareness among people properly and alert youths.” he also said.

Nazneen Ahmed said, ‘An effective increase in the price of tobacco products will discourage anyone to start using tobacco.’ She also emphasized on working to bring a psychological change among the users of tobacco to end their addiction. She also proposed that excluding tobacco users from the government’s social safety net programme may also protect the poor from tobacco.

Dr Nasiruddin Ahmed, Former Chairman of National Board of Revenue (NBR) said that poor people do not care about health as long as they can afford low priced cigarettes.

Speakers at the press conference said that tobacco products are becoming cheaper and cheaper in Bangladesh over the time. Besides, the existing tobacco taxation structure is extremely complex. Due to multiple price slabs and opportunity to purchase tobacco products at different prices, tax and price measures are not working effectively in reducing the use of tobacco.

The press conference was organized with support from Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) on the initiative of PROGGA and Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) and in association with other anti-tobacco organizations including National Heart Foundation Bangladesh, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Association for Community Development (ACD), Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), Bangladesh Institute of Theatre Arts (BITA), SUPRO and Tamak Birodhi Nari Jote (TABINAJ).

Business & Entrepreneurship / The health of a nation
« on: March 31, 2019, 03:20:33 PM »
Most of the risk factors, when it comes to health care, can be manageable if proper initiatives are taken through multidisciplinary approaches. Simple changes in lifestyle behaviour can bring substantial changes in personal health care costs.

While formulating and strictly implementing anti-smoking regulations, ensuring healthy and fresh food for households in co-operation with public and private organisations at the top level, the government should work with urban planners, architects epidemiologists and mass-media agencies to plan and design a neighbourhood, encourage, make aware, and motivate the population at the bottom level.

Role of urban green spaces in promoting population health

There are a number of risk factors which can be prevented through the usage of urban green spaces. In its most basic form, the term “green space” is an outdoor, unbuilt environment.

Commonly recognised urban green spaces include urban parks, greenways, squares and plazas, botanical gardens, recreational parks, memorial grounds, and community open spaces.

The less commonly recognised urban green spaces are within neighbourhoods, vacant plots, and even less unofficial spaces boiling down to residential gardens or street trees.

• The benefits of urban green space is noticed in mainly three fundamental forms:

• Recreational (active or passive enjoyment)

• Ecological (eg water resource and quality protection, bio-diversity and species protection, storm and flood water control, air purification, natural resource conservation, and so on)

• Aesthetic (offers the value of “substituting gray infrastructure”)

Furthermore, urban green spaces fulfill many functions in an urban context that benefit residents’ quality of life and therefore, these play a crucial role in the health sector too.

There is scientific evidence that health benefits are there from using UGS. Here are some of these benefits:

Physical health

Urban parks and playgrounds provide local opportunities for different types of leisure pursuits and play an important role in encouraging physical activity among various sub-populations (ie, different age and socio-economic groups). And we already know that lack of physical activity is one of the major risk factors to NCDs.

Mental health and well-being

Access to green space improves our mental well-being, reduces stress, and helps psychological restoration. Urban green spaces may influence mental health both directly and indirectly.

It may directly impact mental health via the restorative benefits arising from contact with nature.

Alternatively, it can indirectly influence mental health by providing places for people to meet and socialise, which can yield social contact known to be protective of mental health.

A study conducted by BBC found that “living in an urban area with relatively high levels of green space can have a significantly positive impact on well-being, roughly equal to a third of the impact of being married.”

Access to green space improves our mental well-being, reduces stress, and helps psychological restoration. Urban green spaces may influence mental health both directly and indirectly

Quality of life

The provision and access to green space also positively affects reported stress and quality of life. A large epidemiological study in the Netherlands found a positive correlation between the quantity of urban green space and the perception of general health.

A study at the University of Washington shows quantitative evidence that some mental diseases like attention deficit disorder (ADD), Alzheimer’s, dementia, loss of concentration and distractibility, stress, and depression can be treated with a green touch in their neighbourhood.

Health inequalities

Exposure to green spaces also has an impact on urban socio-economic health inequalities. Several studies of Australia found that inner city and poor populations are less likely to participate in outdoor recreational activities.

Teenagers living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, for example, lack access to parks they considered safe and are therefore less likely to participate in physical activities than teens in more affluent neighbourhoods.

Quality matters too

Only quantitative supply of UGS will not ensure its usage; appropriate care should be taken to ensure the quality of those UGS. The benefits people desire can directly be linked to a particular recreational activity and to physical, social, and management setting characteristics.

UGSs have to be centred in such a way as to encourage people to stay and enjoy being there. So far, proximity and accessibility are considered to be the main determinants for park usage and physical activity, but now activities encouraging features of parks, safety, places for different age groups etc are also important factors. Viewing from a mental health perspective, the quality of green space within a neighbourhood is evidenced to be more significant.

Conditions and usage pattern of UGS in Dhaka

In Bangladesh, Dhaka is the most urbanised and dense city. Population living in Dhaka are consistently exposed to various kinds of risk factors for NCDs. In terms of UGS provisions and usage also, Dhaka has been acutely suffering. From the Dhaka structure plan (2016-35) report, it is revealed that 48% of the entire RAJUK area under urban use and 52% non-urban use.

Among these only 1142.42 acres (0.30%) of the land is used for recreational activities, which is substantially low (0.07 acre/1000 population) compared to other major cities.

The situation is worse for Dhaka, where even after an optimistic calculation, the area of urban green space per capita is found to be only 0.56 square metres, compared with the WHO recommendation of nine square metres per capita.

The situation  will be more critical in 2035 where the population will become 8.83 million in the core area, requiring 25.3% of the area (ie 135.67 sq-km) to be preserved as open space following DAP standards. There is also the WHO standard of accessibility to nearest urban green spaces, that is a 15-minute walking distance. However, there is no study found yet that could show the average walking distance to the nearest green space in Dhaka city.   

Apart from the quantitative inequity, the qualities are not in attractive situations either to pull the neighbouring population to use it. Newspapers have been regularly reporting on the dilapidated situations of parks/open spaces/playground around the city.

A number of studies (eg one recently published by Work for Better Bangladesh) can be found that has already adequately figured out the quantitative and qualitative deficiencies of urban green spaces within Dhaka.

This article does not aim to elaborate more on those issues. Rather, it leaves the urge to the concerned authorities to engage more in enhancing the accessibility and usability of urban green spaces in Dhaka.

Local government bodies should work in co-operation with higher educational institutes in this regard to get more research-based feedback into formulating and implementing policies.

Focusing on green space-health interrelationships

According to WHO, five of the 10 leading causes of worldwide disability and premature death are psychiatric conditions, while depression is predicted to be the second-leading cause of global disease burden by 2020.

To date, the research on UGS-health interrelationships is mainly found in developed and western societies.

One of the main reasons for this could be the prevalence of NCDs in those countries for several decades. To ensure rational usage of a limited resource, developing countries like Bangladesh only focus on fighting communicable diseases while ignoring the foreseeable epidemic of NCDs.

It is high time to reorient the focus on the use of UGS not only from recreational perspectives but also as a “population strategy” for preventing health risk factors.

Private investment in Bangladesh is largely financed by domestic savings.

Since domestic savings has remained constant at around 21-22% of GDP over the last decade, private investment as a share of GDP has changed little over the same period.

But the government is able to utilise foreign savings, mainly international remittance, to finance its public investment. So why can’t the private sector do the same?

Maybe there is a supply-side problem, after all.

The inability of businesses to access remittance savings to finance private investment is entirely a supply-side problem involving the banks.

Very little of the remittance sent by Bangladeshis working abroad is saved by recipients in banks.

Moreover, when remittance recipients do look to save, they tend to buy national savings certificates issued by the government.

In the fiscal year 2014-15, the government initially aimed to borrow Tk26,500 crore through the sale of national savings certificates, but ended up borrowing close to Tk35,000cr (approximately 2.5% of GDP).

National savings certificates are financial instruments that allow the government to access and borrow funds without going through the banking system.

Since there is no functional corporate bond market in Bangladesh, private businesses have no comparable avenue of bypassing the banking sector, other than the stock market.

This explains why the government is able to access remittance savings to finance its public investment while the private sector is limited to utilising domestic savings intermediated through the banking sector to finance its investment.

Bangladeshi banks are a one-trick pony

Even if remittance recipients saved their money in banks, private businesses would struggle to access those savings because banks do not lend without holding collateral against their loans.

Data from the Bangladesh Bank indicates that 57.5% of all loans provided by banks in 2015 were secured against real estate held as collateral.

Publicly available data on the Bangladeshi real estate industry is hard to find but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that real estate prices have fallen notably in recent years.

In the final analysis, it is not too difficult to conclude that Bangladeshi businesses face significant challenges in accessing adequate funds to invest. There are greater problems on the supply side than there are on the demand side

With real estate prices down, it should come as no surprise if banks are unwilling to lend to private businesses for long-term investment.

It is difficult for banks to justify higher lending when the value of the primary underlying asset used to securitise loans has depreciated significantly, and may continue to do so.

In situations like that, businesses face a credit crunch, similar to what was witnessed during the global financial crisis.

In the case of Bangladesh, the situation is made worse by the repeated occurrence of large lending fraud and default which has led banks to tighten credit standards significantly.

Even as lending interest rates have fallen markedly in recent years, tightening credit standards have made it difficult for businesses to borrow money from banks.

Developing a bond market can be a suitable supply-side solution

In the final analysis, it is not too difficult to conclude that Bangladeshi businesses face significant challenges in accessing adequate funds to invest. There are greater problems on the supply side than there are on the demand side.

An effective solution to this supply-side problem may involve the government taking policy and regulatory action to encourage the development of a corporate bond market.

This may require the government to enact strong bankruptcy laws, establish dispute resolution mechanisms, and develop regulations for liquidation of assets.

Such initiatives to develop a strong corporate bond market would enable businesses to borrow directly from savers without having to rely on the banking sector, while also providing adequate protection for creditors and investors.

An even simpler first step may involve enabling the secondary trading of government bonds, the national saving certificates mentioned earlier.

It would help to establish a transparent benchmark price for bonds which is essential to the development of a vibrant and liquid corporate bond market.

Complaining about the level of private investment and what it implies about the state of the economy has become a favourite pastime of Bangladeshi economists.

The narrative seems to be this: People are not investing, that’s why the banks are sitting on a lot of idle cash, and all of this means the economy is not in great shape.

That narrative may or may not be true in the final analysis. But linking bank liquidity with private investment may not be the best way of arriving at such a conclusion.

Generally speaking, it of course makes sense to link bank liquidity with private investment. After all, banks lend money to businesses to invest. Or to put it in another way, the supply of investable cash depends on the banks, while the demand for that cash comes from businesses.

While most pundits claim that there is no problem with the supply of cash, and that the problem is mostly on the demand-side, it is worth investigating the actual numbers on investment to reach a conclusion.

nofelwahid part 1 chart1

Investment growth is pretty good

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, total investment in Bangladesh in the fiscal year 2015 was Tk437,865 crore. The private sector accounted for 76% of that total investment, with the rest coming from the government.

Moreover, private investment has, on average, grown by 14% annually in the last 10 years, rising from Tk99,271 crore in 2006 to Tk334,472cr in 2015. Double digit growth in any economic indicator is impressive, and an average of 14% annual growth in private investment over a decade can hardly be dismissed as low or weak growth.

Nevertheless, when most economists complain about slow investment growth they tend to point to a different figure, which is the share of private investment in terms of GDP. Private investment as a share of GDP has hovered around 21-22% for the last 10 years.

If the government can use the remittance savings of overseas Bangladeshis to finance higher public investment, why can’t the private sector do the same?

More significantly, public investment as a share of GDP has grown from 5% to 7% over the same period, accounting for the overall increase in total investment share of GDP.

In other words, the government has accelerated its investment spending while private sector investment has kept pace with GDP growth. Chart 1 illustrates the trend in investment share of GDP over the last 10 years.

Why isn’t private investment as a share of GDP growing?

An accurate way of answering that question involves looking at how much of our total national savings is invested every year.

One simple theory in economics suggests that total investment in an economy depends on total savings and/or international debt, including development aid.

Total savings by all Bangladeshis, living at home and abroad, was equivalent to 39% of GDP in 2015. Domestic savings by Bangladeshis living at home was equivalent to 22% of GDP.

It is no coincidence that private sector investment and domestic savings as a share of GDP has been the same in recent years, as illustrated by Chart 2.

The chart demonstrates that private investment in Bangladesh has mostly depended on the level of domestic savings. It implies that under the status quo for private investment as a share of GDP to grow domestic savings has to be much higher.

nofelwahid part1 chart2

But that’s only half the story.

The other half of the story is that public investment by the government appears largely to be financed by foreign savings, mainly in the form of international remittance sent by Bangladeshis living abroad.

It begs the question -- if the government can use the remittance savings of overseas Bangladeshis to finance higher public investment, why can’t the private sector do the same?

We attempt to answer this question in part two of our series on private investment in Bangladesh.

Business & Entrepreneurship / Giving farmers a break
« on: March 31, 2019, 03:18:00 PM »
Thanks to farming technologies, Bangladesh’s vegetable output has increased threefold

From transportation to shopping to banking, we have seen technology transform every facet of life, for the better.

There is no reason for agriculture to be left behind.

For too long, farming in our part of the world has been associated with hard labour rather than technological innovation, but now, machinery for farm-use and production technologies are taking farming practices into the future.

For example, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute has developed a urea super granule (USG) applicator, which replaces the extremely laborious efforts of applying USG to the rice lands by hand -- and some 18,000 units have already been sold.

Other technologies, like simple hot water treatment tech can help give perishable fruits a better shelf life, which means that vendors will no longer have to rely on toxic chemicals to preserve food items like mangoes or bananas.

Thanks to farming technologies, Bangladesh’s vegetable output has increased threefold, and the output of maize has jumped to 38 lakh metric tons from 5 lakhs back in 2006.

Agriculture is the foundation upon which our economy was built, but its contribution to our overall GDP remains quite small still, and there is tremendous potential for farm incomes to contribute more if the right investments are made.

Ultimately, technology and efforts at modernization will mean little if we cannot make use of them fully, and to that end, the right kind of training on operating new machinery is crucial, and for that, the government could throw its weight behind the sector.

In the long run, farming technology is not just a boon for farmers alone, but for all of us, because it will help us achieve that holy grail of our development goals -- food security.

Business & Entrepreneurship / The hidden cost of inflation
« on: March 31, 2019, 03:17:00 PM »
What can we, as consumers, do to combat its effects?

A most surprising and interesting fact about life is that we are losing money every single day. It doesn’t matter whether someone is taking any false steps with their money or not. They will be losing their money regardless. Is this not a matter of concern?

We are doing nothing wrong with our money but, every day, it continues to go out from our hand and into someone else’s pocket.

How is this possible, you ask? For understanding this, it is not very important to learn economics or finance.

One just needs to be familiar with inflation. Yes, that confusing and frightening topic of inflation.

Inflation is an alarming issue for everyone in our country.

Whatever money people may end up saving every month for future use, we are unable to use or utilize that whole money in the future.

Due to inflation, we are losing the value of money every day. Most countries are fighting with this issue. At present, the inflation rate hovers at about 5% in Bangladesh.

So the question arises: What can we, as individuals and consumers, do to combat the threat of inflation?

The very first answer that comes to our head, perhaps, is that we can keep our money in the bank. Though this is a good way to save, it is certainly not the best.

Banks on an average provide interest rates of around 3% in Bangladesh.

So, subtract that from the inflation, and thus, we can see that we are still losing money. There has to be a better way to save more of our money.

While we cannot lower the inflation rate ourselves, maybe we can reduce our overall cost through other means. But before that, let’s see some of the factors which contribute to the increase in prices for the average consumer.

A particular point of focus in this conversation is the “middleman.”

For example, it is the middlemen who are taking goods from poor farmers at a very low price and selling them to buyers at a high price.

Farmers aren’t getting the full value of their products due to this vast gap between the seller and the eventual buyer.

And the middlemen continue to make money without doing anything of much significance.

The question arises: Is it possible, then, to reduce the gap between the buyer and seller and remove the middleman completely?

Maybe we can educate farmers so that they are more aware of market prices, so that they can sell their own goods to the buyers directly.

The buyers too need to know about the updated market prices, and perhaps using the power of digital media, through apps which provide updated prices, we can ensure a more efficient system which keeps costs to a minimum.

This could, potentially, eliminate the hidden cost of inflation which we have to pay

Business & Entrepreneurship / Stand out from the crowd
« on: March 31, 2019, 03:15:54 PM »
Boost your CV for a competitive job market

The employment market is saturated with graduates who have good degrees and the right qualifications. So the question on many recruiters’ minds is: What else can this candidate offer?

Employers have been reporting a “skills gap” in graduates for a few decades, and there is research to support its existence. Many employers feel there isn’t enough overlap between the contents of degree programs and the skills that transform recent graduates into successful employees.

So with the number of graduates steadily rising, and competition getting tougher, it’s more important than ever that students know how to improve their employability skills.

There is evidence that work-based learning can help to remove employers’ concerns and make graduates more employable. So the savvy student should be undertaking a number of opportunities to build up their CV through work experience. But of course, not all opportunities are created equal, so it is important students seek out the right sort of experience that recruiters will look favourably upon.

What employees look for

When it comes to employability, universities are keen to support student development beyond the classroom -- and research shows that a number of strategies can help to achieve this.

These range from career advice, networking, and mentor support, as well as internships, extra-curricular, off-campus work, or co-curricular activities (these tend to be on-campus work associated with degree programs). Then there is also paid work. But which is the best option for a busy student to pursue?

CVs are the main form of employability assessment used by recruiters and employers. And research suggests that academic qualifications and work experience are both important.

Existing research, for example, shows that internships can help students gain important insights into the workplace, including how to communicate effectively, but they can be highly competitive. Volunteering roles, on the other hand, are generally less competitive and can also help students to develop different skills, such as resilience and moral engagement, while extra-curricular activities can provide additional skills and experience, which can be closely related to an area of study or interest.

Certainly, good academic performance combined with extra-curricular activities has been shown to predict a high level of perceived employability. However, there is a lack of research directly comparing how different types of work experience might be evaluated.

What the research says

Our new research study investigated academic, employer, and student assessment of a series of fictional CV excerpts. Each excerpt was based on a social science student with a 2:1-degree classification, but varying work experience.

The CV excerpts allowed us to manipulate three key aspects of work experience: Duration (six months versus two years), type (internship versus volunteering), and location (extra-curricular versus co-curricular). Although previous research suggests that opinions of student employability can differ, our results found that students, academics, and employers were similar in their assessments.

We found that extra-curricular activities were viewed more positively than co-curricular activities overall. Internships were viewed more positively for graduate-level positions compared with volunteer experience. And duration did not have an impact on employability evaluations.

What this mean for students

When it comes to making yourself employable, you can’t be expected to do everything, so you need to be selective in your work experience. Based on our results, it seems extra-curricular activities that take place off campus are to be recommended above co-curricular activities.

So it might be better to work as a project assistant for a charity than spend time as a class rep. Internships may also prove more useful than volunteering, though it should be noted that internships are generally more difficult to get hold of than volunteer positions.

It’s also worth considering that a long term placement is not necessarily going to be better for your CV than a series of short term placements -- so worry less about how long the role will last, and more about what the role involves.

Ultimately though, as our study shows, employers view all work experience as important. So, if in doubt, some work experience (of any type) is always going to be better than no work experience at all.

Business & Entrepreneurship / Are Bangladeshis unhappy?
« on: March 31, 2019, 03:13:01 PM »
Why are we so stressed and miserable?

The United Nations Happiness Index has been published, and it looks like my country has slipped 10 notches to 125 out of 156 countries.

I’m always confused by this UN index. For example, Bhutan is at 95. I have visited Bhutan and seen its people, read their newspapers and literature, and I think it is the happiest country among the less developed countries of the world.

Let’s take Pakistan, for another example. It has achieved 67th position in the index, even ahead of Russia and many other near-developed countries. Why do Pakistanis sound so happy?

When I asked this question in a social media forum, a few thought that Pakistani people, by submitting themselves to God, sounded happy. Although I didn’t agree with the reasoning, it was an interesting point of view.

In fact, the definition for happiness varies from country to country, society to society, community to community. I believe the perception or definition of happiness cannot be surveyed with a single set of questionnaires. It has to be different for every individual or every country.

Now, having said that, I wondered what it takes to be happy for a Bangladeshi. What makes us happy? What makes us smile?

The first aspect that pops up in my mind is our traffic system and behaviour. If you have seen the stressed faces of those who sit inside the vehicles in standstill traffic, you’d know what happiness is all about. When the vehicles start moving, the stressed faces look happy.

Then again, when thousands of people are run over by vehicles, that’s certainly not happiness. Death is always a painful and unhappy element of our lives.

We have thousands of unnecessary death across Bangladesh, with people dying through no fault of their own.

If you ask the relatives of the deceased, they won’t tell you happy stories.

When you go to any office to get work done, being able to do it without bribery is certainly happiness to us. People these days are quite happy paying and getting the work done.

But, sometimes, when they cannot get the work done even with the money, there’s nothing else to do but be unhappy about this system.

When a woman gets molested while riding the bus, or when she is beaten up by her husband, or when she is harassed by a colleague, she is certainly unhappy about the society she lives in.

Our society is full of incidences which show repression against women; thousands of women are ill-treated and violated day in and day out.

When a child is ill-treated by his or her teacher in schools, he or she becomes unhappy. No matter how hard and wholeheartedly he or she tries, he or she can never be a good student in school.

This child will never feel happy about the way we teach in our schools. Sometimes, it looks like the entire teaching process is full of unhappy elements which the students strive to overcome with their efforts, but seldom are they happy as they go about it.

They need to prove that he or she is the best all the time. The burden they carry to be good students makes them unhappy. But little do we realize it, failing to see all too often what is going on in their minds.

Happiness, to us, is a sense of security -- both socially and financially. There are too many aspects in our daily life that contribute to our social and financial insecurities.

We are mired with thoughts of uncertainty about our future. About the future of our children. About our health care. About how we are going to carry the burden of the rising prices of essential goods.

We need to see whether the ongoing race for accumulating wealth is making us unhappy. We may think that wealth can wipe away all the unhappy moments from our lives, but we may also fail to see that the process of earning wealth may be full of issues which also contribute to our unhappiness.

I may not agree with the UN index on happiness and I think there are many happy elements in Bangladeshis’ lives, but at the same time, there are too many small unhappy occurrences taking place in our lives on a regular basis.

While we may not want to be like Bhutan, which encourages its citizens to focus on happiness, we can surely assess our own unhappy aspects and try to reduce them

Business & Entrepreneurship / Who needs human rights education?
« on: March 31, 2019, 03:10:46 PM »
Each and every human being

Human rights education (HRE) is generally undertaken with the objective of developing an acceptable human rights culture that will be of benefit to everyone, irrespective of colour, caste, or creed.

Analysts believe that HRE is one way of empowering people so that they can create skills and behaviour that would promote dignity and equality within the community and society. It is consequently believed that every human being has the right to receive both religious and worldly education from the various institutions of education and guidance, including the family, the school, the university, and the media, in an integrated and balanced manner so that it can help to develop one’s personality, strengthen one’s faith in God, and promote one’s respect for and defense of both rights and obligations.

What is happening in Yemen, Syria, and several other countries in Africa, Latin America, and Myanmar underlines the importance of the subject.

It may be recalled that history was made in Paris, France on December 10, 1948, when the newly created United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” 46 years later, the General Assembly, in its Resolution 49/184 of December 23, 1994, declared 1995-2004 as the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education.

These two declarations not only stressed the need for the protection of basic human rights, but also underlined that one of the ways of achieving this was through education. The 1994 declaration also encouraged member states of the United Nations to include the issue under discussion in the syllabus of their schools.

This effort, initiated in 1994, was acclaimed over the next 10 years. It was also generally recognized that if implemented properly, and with care, it could play a role in reducing abuses and violent conflicts and also promote respect for human dignity and equality. Consequently, the United Nations General Assembly, by Resolution 59/113A, made another proclamation on this subject on December 10, 2004, titled “World Program for Human Rights Education.”

This program is seeking to expand the scope of the 1994 resolution and “promote a common understanding of the basic principles and methodologies of human rights education, to provide a concrete framework for action, and to strengthen partnerships and cooperation from the international level down to the grassroots.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for the Promotion and Protection of all Human Rights functions as coordinator of the UN Education and Public Information Programs in the area of human rights. In addition, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) promotes human rights education by supporting national and local initiatives within the context of its technical cooperation

It is pertinent to recognize at this juncture the constructive role being played by some international institutions with regard to imparting human rights education. They include Unesco, Amnesty International and Human Rights Education Associates (HREA), and international organizations such as the European Union Ombudsman and the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Human rights education is also being taught in different educational institutions in various parts of the world by including this aspect in the syllabus of social science meant to be taught at the secondary and higher secondary levels. In Europe, several schools offer human rights education as part of their curriculum, linked to subjects like history, politics, and citizenship. In this regard, an emphasis is given on: Theory of human rights, practice of human rights, and contemporary human rights issues.

In general, the courses approach the subject of HRE through three different models.

The values and awareness model focuses on transmitting “basic knowledge of human rights issues and tries to foster its integration into public values” based on its philosophical-historical approach. This model has, as its target audience, the general public, and focuses on global human rights and more culturally based matters.

The accountability model is associated with the legal and political approach to human rights. This model is incorporated by means of training and networking, covering topics such as court cases, codes of ethics, and how to deal with the media.

The transformational model focuses on the psychological and sociological aspects of human rights pertaining particularly to women and minorities. The model aims to empower those who have been victims of abuse and trauma and is also geared towards preventing these abuses.

It is generally agreed by human rights activists that the benefits of HRE are as follows: It is the first step towards respecting, promoting, and defending human rights; it strengthens respect for the universal commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms; it enables one with the knowledge to be familiar with his/her rights and to not only avoid being abused, but also holds the abusers accountable for their actions; it promotes respect for human dignity and equality, regardless of race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, and language, as well as tolerance; it encourages participation in democratic decision making; it teaches the skills of negotiations, mediation, and consensus building; it combats extremism, terrorism, and violence based on race or religion.

Consequently, it is generally agreed that HRE should be studied by everyone -- particularly law enforcement personnel, lawyers, the armed forces, police, and prison officials.

This awareness about the need for HRE playing an important role in advancing human rights among member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has recently led the OIC-Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (OIC-IPHRC) to urge all members to actively pursue this process of HRE.

This has been undertaken to stress that the basic elements of the message of Islam to humanity are to emphasize on compassion and social justice. Several meetings in different parts of the world have urged member states to recognize that it is the collective responsibility of Muslims to protect the rights of all, irrespective of race, religion, language, or social status.

For this reason, each and every individual should be encouraged to engage in HRE. In fact, because of its importance, the OIC-IPHRC has strongly recommended that OIC member states should be inspired to make HRE compulsory in all their institutions of learning, starting from elementary levels.

Business & Entrepreneurship / In need of reform
« on: March 31, 2019, 03:09:37 PM »

How inheritance laws put women at a disadvantage

Recent figures show that in 34 countries, the inheritance rights of daughters are not equal to those of sons.

Women’s legal inability to inherit equal property as men can significantly undermine her economic security, independence, and economic opportunities, because inheritance remains one of the main channels through which women can acquire and control property.

According to the World Bank Gender Equality Report, “the most promising policies to increase women’s voices in households centre on reforming the legal framework […]: Land laws and aspects of family law that govern marriage, divorce, and disposal of property are particularly important.”

The importance of family law for household bargaining power has been illustrated in studies, which showed the intra-household distribution of power to be affected by outside opportunities which includes legislation on the assignment of property rights in the case of divorce and bequests.

Economists have been studying the impact of legal reforms of inheritance rights of women, and found it to be bestowing women with greater intra-household bargaining power and enhancing their welfare. The 1981 Kenyan reform of inheritance laws for women found that women were more likely to participate in family decisions due to the reform, providing evidence of increased bargaining power.

Studying the effect of gender-progressive changes in inheritance laws by the Indian Hindu Succession Amendment Act (2005), it was found that the reform increased female education, autonomy, labour supply, and bargaining power. Researchers also found robust increase in women’s age at the time of marriage relative to men, indicating a strong welfare-enhancing effect of inheritance rights on marriage market outcomes.

The reform also resulted in significant increases in female education, illustrating that legal barriers to equal inheritance by women often puts women at a strong disadvantage, and it may even be at the root of broader patterns of inequality.

Recent research even suggests that security and ownership of land through inheritance decreases the risk of domestic violence for some women, because economic independence means they are empowered to leave an abusive relationship.

If we take Bangladesh, although the statutory laws grant men and women equal rights to the purchase of land, women are at a huge disadvantage, because the country’s inheritance laws are governed by Shariah law, giving daughters half the inheritance rights of sons.

Legal reform of women’s inheritance rights can act as a powerful low-cost lever to reduce gender discrimination, and improve a wide range of socio-economic outcomes.

In 2011, the government of Bangladesh, in a courageous move, proposed equal inheritance rights regardless of gender as part of its National Women Development Policy. However, the policy was met with such strong protests by Islamic fundamentalists that the government had to give in to their demands.

Traditionally, most countries, even the US, have had gender-discriminatory inheritance laws, but they have reformed their laws with time. If we look at our neighbouring country India before 2005, most states, while giving equal share to daughter and sons, gave only sons the right to inherit joint family property.

In 2005, India passed the Hindu Succession Amendment Act, which gave daughters of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists equal rights of inheritance in all forms of property.

Muslim-majority countries have been fierce in resisting equal inheritance laws and reluctant to evolve with time. Taking the case of Kenya, the 1981 reform made inheritance a matter of statutory law and established equal inheritance rights for men and women regardless of religious affiliation.

However, this policy was met with such severe protests from fundamentalists that in 1990, only for Muslims, the inheritance laws had to be reverted back to gender discriminatory inheritance laws based on the Shariah.

Also, Muslims in India, just like Bangladeshi daughters, still face gender discriminatory inheritance rights according to Shariah principles, unlike their counterparts of other religious affiliations.

Proponents of Shariah law argue that gender discriminatory inheritance rights are fair because males often bear a larger share of household expenses. Going by this argument, unequal pay for the same work based on gender is also justified, since males are expected to bear a larger portion of household expenses.

Bangladesh does not follow Shariah law when it comes to criminal law, then why follow gender discriminatory Shariah laws in matters of inheritance, marriage, and divorce? It is the 21st century, and we must evolve with time and reform these discriminatory laws.

As the famous development economist Duflo says, equality between men and women in all aspects of life is not only desirable for equity, but also on economic efficiency grounds.

Business & Entrepreneurship / Do we really need more vehicles?
« on: March 31, 2019, 03:08:38 PM »
Why we may be misusing the Indian Line of Credit

Given that there are some 3.8 million vehicles on Bangladesh roads and some 43,000 registered trucks and buses, many of which clog up the Dhaka city roads at different times of the day, it is baffling why another 1,000 are being pressed into service.

These vehicles are all BRTC property, provided under the Indian Line of Credit supposedly to meet a shortfall of public transport, and will run both in-city and inter-city routes.

Dhaka is already wailing and creaking under the pressure of vehicles, and unless a similar number are to be taken off the streets, this addition of transportations makes little sense.

On the contrary, more commuter foot-over bridges are the crying need of the day, to stop the habit of jaywalking and provide a safer means of crossing roads by commuters that are still willing to take the risk of weaving through traffic in search of short-cuts.

The private sector has found ways to skirt fitness regimes, bus stops, and outdated transport in meeting public demand, and resisted fielding newer vehicles for reasons best known to themselves and the authorities.

Everything that is anything has been attempted to try to control the mayhem created by public transports. The Mumbai police came and gave their suggestions, Malaysian traffic signals were installed and studiously avoided, while we still depend on traffic sergeants to direct the traffic.

They too have almost given up on motorcycles, rickshaws, and the ominous return of the legunas sporting BRTA number plates, leaving only private cars paying whatever little heed to their manual instructions.

Inter-city transport is worse with public bus terminals -- a laugh for the Chittagong, Cox’s Bazaar bound buses that make road negotiation a joke at Kalabagan in late evenings.

In a country where nothing short of barriers work, more of the main roads’ adjoining footpaths need steel barriers to prevent jaywalking, junctions need monitoring to prevent people lining up for buses, and these vehicles need to be held accountable for picking passengers up from the junction.

The police are now depending on commuters to stop the practice, but the poor souls too, are tired and exhausted. The bus stops created a short while back are studiously avoided, causing them to become motorcycle parking slots without any tickets issued, and there is also the phenomenon of not enough cops on the road to enforce the law.

Ambulances jar the sound pollution peace as do VIP vehicles. While ambulances need free road space, VIP vehicles have no need to crash the party, and without doubt, it can be said that any act of parliament seeking to enforce this will be soundly voted down.

There have been improvements -- the management of traffic on Bijoy Sarani road has improved after the army came up with solutions to the prime minister and maybe, just maybe, one of the three public committees -- the strongest one headed by former minister and labour leader Shahjahan Khan -- can tackle the traffic malady caused by the impunity with which trucks and buses cut across lanes in a race to beat one another.

Improving public transportation through the new BRTC buses will work if they have space to move in, because they are more easily accountable. Removing unfit vehicles from roads will be a major factor, because inadequate maintenance of the BRTC vehicles make themselves guilty.

Outdated cars and vehicles must be taken off the roads and scrapped. Any new cars on the road must be in proportion with the ones taken off and kept off, and scrapped under government and NGO supervision.

Business & Entrepreneurship / Ten rules of email to stick to
« on: March 31, 2019, 03:08:01 PM »
Don’t let workplace communication govern how you live your life

Email and smartphones can be stressful. Academics are calling this constant work connection “techno-stress” and many European countries are now offering employees the “right to disconnect.”

The way email is used is complex, it cannot simply be labelled as “good” or “bad” and research shows that personality, the type of work people do, and their goals can influence the way they react to email.

Good practice with email use is not just about limiting the amount of emails sent, but improving the quality of communication.

Here are 10 tips to reduce the stress of email at work.

Get the subject line right

Use clear and actionable subject lines. The subject line should communicate exactly what the email is about in six to 10 words, to allow the recipient to prioritize the email without even opening it. On mobile devices, many people only see the first 30 characters of a subject line. So keep it short. But make it descriptive enough to give an idea of what the email is about from just the subject line.

Ask yourself: Is email the right medium?

Are you in the same office? Could you go and speak to the person? Could you call? Often these other forms of communication can avoid the inefficient back and forth of emailing.

Instant messaging and video calling platforms like Slack and Skype could be more appropriate for quick internal back and forth messaging. Also, remember that most of the advice below applies to all types of electronic communication.

Don’t email out of office hours
Research shows that out-of-hours emails make it harder for people to recover from work stress.

Try and influence your company culture by avoiding sending or replying to emails outside your normal working hours.

Management should lead by example and avoid contacting their staff outside of their normal working hours. Some workplaces even switch off email access to employees out of hours. Consider implementing this while keeping a backup phone system for emergency contact only.

New research has also shown that just the expectation of 24-hour contact can negatively affect employee health.

Use the delay delivery option
Some people like integrating their work and family lives and often continue working from home during their off-job time. If you are one of these people, or if you work across time zones, consider using the delay delivery option so your emails do not send until the next working day and do not interfere with other people’s off-job time.

Keep it positive
Think about the quality of email communication. Not just the quantity. Changes to email use should also focus on the quality of what is being sent and take into consideration the emotional reaction of the recipient.

Research suggests that conflicts are far easier to escalate and messages to be misinterpreted when communicated via email. Therefore, if it is bad news, think back to the second rule: Is email the right medium?

Try ‘no email Thursday’
In order to shift company culture and get people thinking about other methods of communication than email, try a “no email Thursday” on the first Thursday of every month, or maybe even every week. This is an initiative suggested by experts from the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work, and is being used by businesses around the globe.

Employees are encouraged to arrange face-to-face meetings or pick up the phone -- or just get on top of the many emails they already have in their inbox on that day.

Make your preferences known
Research has shown that not only too much but also too little email can cause stress due to a mismatch between the communication preferences of different people. Some people may like being emailed and cope much better with high email traffic than other means of communication. For these people, reducing the amount of emails they receive may cause more stress than it alleviates.

So consider people’s individual differences and make yours known. Add your preferred contact preferences to your email signature whether it is email, text, or instant messages or a phone call.

Consider a holiday ‘bounce back’
Having a backlog of emails that builds up over the week appears to be one of the most commonly mentioned sources of techno-stress for workers. Think about setting up a system where emails are bounced back to the sender when someone is on holiday, with an alternative contact email for urgent requests. This would let you come back to a manageable inbox.

Have a separate work phone
Make this the only mobile device you can access work emails on, which gives you the freedom to switch it off after work hours. Also consider turning off email “push” (this is where your email server sends each new email to your phone when it arrives at the server) and instead choose a regular schedule (such as once per hour) for emails to be delivered to your phone (this also increases battery life).

Avoid late night screen time
Research suggests that late night smartphone use reduces our ability to get to sleep and also leads to constant thoughts and stress about work. This in turn reduces your sleep quality. Make the bed a phone-free zone to improve your sleep hygiene.

Business & Entrepreneurship / When students can teach
« on: March 31, 2019, 03:07:13 PM »
It is time to re-think the educational model that is being used in our institutions

In Bangladesh, the universities (both public and private) are still following the traditional teacher-centred method, the same old-fashioned teaching style where the teacher stands in front of a large classroom and keeps lecturing most of the time.

In this traditional lecture method, the teacher is seen as “all-knowing” in the classroom, and the students are just passive learners of the lectures taking place.

However, a learner-centred pedagogy implies that students can learn from each other and not only from the teacher.

Student-centred learning (SCL), where students are the ones taking the responsibility of their learning, seems to be an alien term in both public and private universities of Bangladesh.

Students decide the method of learning in the classroom. Students in this process are blessed with the autonomy to decide what they need to learn, and also the method of learning. 

The teacher is more of a facilitator where SCL is followed, than of a teacher in the classroom.

When a student asks a question, the teacher redirects the question to the students in the class, which ensures that the learners possess a collective knowledge and also becomes intellectually active in the class.

Critical thinking is really important for students’ learning, as it gives us the opportunity to see the different sides of the coin of the elements of learning, and helps learners to make non-biased judgments about them.

No wonder Bangladeshi students fail to achieve a respectable score in foreign developed countries when they are pursuing their higher studies, as they are unfortunately not taught critical thinking in their home universities.

Unlike in SCL, critical thinking is ignored in a traditional lecture. In the meantime, rote learning (learning through memorization) is still in wide use in the traditional teacher-centred method in Bangladesh.

For example, English language is a subject which cannot be learned through memorization.

Rather, it is mastered through interaction between and amongst teachers and students. Presently, learners are not just passive listeners, but also content producers.

They should not just be sitting in the classrooms, listening to the lectures for hours. It should be a democratic process where students and teachers share the same boat of exchanging knowledge, with the understanding that knowledge can be reconstructed.

Meaningful learning comes into play when learners can use existing knowledge in a new situation and use existing knowledge in real life situations. Learning has no value if it does not aid real life learning.

What’s the point of having a higher grade if one does not understand the usability of the information into the practical world?

Unfortunately, breaks between long lectures is also an issue overlooked in the traditional lecture method classroom. Several studies have shown that a student’s brain does not process the information effectively, nor can it retain the information for long periods of time.

As the education system in the West turns towards student-centred learning involving active learning pedagogy, it is high time that Bangladeshi academics realize the need to change our methods.

Our collective mentalities and the Education Ministry and University Grants Commission’s unwillingness can no longer be allowed to act as barriers towards the implementation of student-centred classrooms in Bangladesh.

A true desire and a combined effort is necessary to change the laidback teaching scenario in Bangladeshi education. 

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