Prof. Dr. Mohammad Rafiqul Alam
Interview by Fazlul Kabir
Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology (CUET) is playing a pioneering role for higher education, research and development in the field of engineering and applied sciences since its inception through which it becomes is one of the leading public universities in Bangladesh, said Prof. Dr. Mohammad Rafiqul Alam, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, CUET, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian.
In this context, the Pro-VC further said that the university is committed to establish itself as a centre of excellence in creating and disseminating knowledge and to share the knowledge with others for betterment of the mankind; and accordingly CUET sets its guiding principle to foster the best professional competence by coupling pedagogy and research with relevance to the real-world problems.
The high-profile educationist Professor Alam mentioned that Chittagong is a fast growing city attracting enormous foreign as well as local investments, especially in industrial, tourism and infrastructural development sectors; so, for its planned growth, many qualified professional engineers and technologists are required.
He also added that the port city Chittagong as well as the country is in acute crisis of competent professionals in various fields; so, CUET has unique scope to introduce more new departments and research facilities. In this context, he said that the university, under its five faculties, has a vision to have a total of 20 Departments, 3 Research Centers, 3 Institutes, 4 Directorates, and 1 Central Research Lab by 2020.
The Pro-VC then informed that in order to create new opportunity of higher education and research, the university is going to introduce its City Campus in near future. He further informed that for this purpose, land allocation process through Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) has been completed.
Since to accomplish this mission, CUET needs adequate financial support, the Pro-VC is expecting extended patronizations and generous help and called upon the Government of Bangladesh, national and international organizations/agencies, philanthropists and alumni to come forward in this regard.
In an exclusive interview, the Pro-VC replied to number of questions, focusing on the academic, administrative, planning, development aspects, achievements, problems and potentials of CUET. His deliberations are outstanding, highly informative, interesting and educative as well. The excerpts of his valuable interview are presented here for The Guardian readers at home and abroad:
The Guardian: Keeping in mind the founding history of CUET, please comment about the present status of CUET.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology (CUET) is one of the leading public universities in Bangladesh. It is situated alongside the Chittagong-Kaptai road, 25km away from the city of Chittagong, the main sea port and the second largest city of Bangladesh. The university is taking shape in about 171 acres land of magnificent natural settings comprising pristine hills, plane lands and lakes with numerous species of plants. It is playing a pioneering role for higher education, research and development in the field of engineering and applied sciences since its inception as Engineering College, Chittagong in the year 1968. Its graduates are among the leaders in their respective fields.
To meet the increasing demand of professional engineers for the national development, the national economic council of the then Government on August 28, 1962 decided to establish the Engineering College, Chittagong and the college started functioning on December 28, 1968 by admitting 120 students in its first academic session under the faculty of Engineering, University of Chittagong. The Engineering College later on July 1, 1986 was declared as a self-degree awarding Institution and renamed as ‘Bangladesh Institute of Technology (BIT), Chittagong’ under the BIT Ordinance, 1986. On September 1, 2003, the Institute was converted into a university named as ‘Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology (CUET)’ under the CUET Act, 2003.
The country’s only hydroelectric power station, oil refinery and many other heavy industries are situated in Chittagong. The brisk industrialization of Chittagong, a city of about 4 million people, congruent with geographical advantage of the country’s premier sea-port has given CUET a locational advantage and opportunity for analyzing urban and industrial problems, exploring new areas of research in automation, coastal engineering and other applied fields. CUET sets its guiding principle to foster the best professional competence by coupling pedagogy and research with relevance to the real-world problems. Thus, the students of this university are enjoying unique and inimitable environment of learning and innovation.
The Guardian: In this context, would discuss the mission and objectives of CUET?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: The mission of CUET is to educate students in the field of engineering and applied sciences and to contribute to the advancement of knowledge that will best serve the nation and the world as well.
The university is committed to establish itself as a center of excellence in creating and disseminating knowledge, and to share the knowledge with others for betterment of the mankind.
And the objectives are as follows
Offering quality education in the field of engineering and applied sciences.
Fostering the best professional competence by integrating teaching and research with the real-world problems.
Developing international standard curricula and laboratories. Developing and conducting courses appropriate to the local requirement aimed at continuing professional development.
Developing close collaboration with industries and to undertake consultancy projects.
Establishing academic and research links with other universities/institutions/organizations both in and out of Bangladesh.
Anticipating the technological needs for Bangladesh and to contribute to the overall national development.
Developing the ability and passion in each member of the CUET family to best serve the humanity.
Ensuring close co-operation with the CUET alumni for further development of the university.
The Guardian: Please give us an idea about the administration system of CUET?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: The Vice-Chancellor is the chief executive officer of CUET. The Chancellor of the university, honorable President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, appoints the Vice-Chancellor for a four-year term. The administrative team comprises Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Deans of the Faculties, Directors of the institutes, Registrar, Heads of the academic departments, Librarian, Provosts of the residential halls, Director (Student-Welfare), Director (Planning & Development), Director (Research & Extension), Comptroller, Controller of the Examinations, Chief Engineer, the Chief Medical Officer and others.
The Syndicate is the principal executive body of the university and it consists of 16 members. The Academic Council, the Finance Committee (FC), the Planning & Development (P&D) Committee, the Committee for Higher Studies & Research (CHSR), etc. assist the Syndicate. The Academic Council, comprising the faculty of the university and other external expert members, is the apex educational body of the university.
The Guardian: Would you reflect the current academic scenario of CUET?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: The university is currently conducting undergraduate programs under the Ten departments namely Department of Civil Engineering (CE), Department of Civil and Water Resources Engineering,(CWRE) Mechanical Engineering (ME), Petroleum & Mining Engineering (PME), Department of Mechatronics and Industrial Engineering ,Electrical & Electronic Engineering (EEE), Computer Science & Engineering (CSE), Electronics and Tele-Communication Engineering (ETE), Architecture (Arch) and Urban & Regional Planning (URP). It also offers postgraduate degree in Civil Engineering (CE), Disaster & Environmental Engineering (DEE), Mechanical Engineering (ME), Electrical & Electronic Engineering (EEE), Computer Science & Engineering (CSE), Institute of Energy Technology (IET), Institute of Earthquake Engineering Research (IEER), Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.
There are five faculties in CUET. The Faculty of Civil Engineering consists of the departments of CE, DEE and CWRE; the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering includes the departments of ME, PME and (MIE); the Faculty of Electrical & Computer Engineering comprises the departments of EEE, CSE and ETE; the Faculty for Architecture & Planning consists of the department of Arch, URP and Humanities; the Faculty of Engineering & Technology combines the departments of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Humanities offer those courses, which are the basic requirements for a degree in engineering of various disciplines. It may be mentioned here that the department of Humanities includes faculty members from a range of disciplines such as Accounting, Management, Literature, Economics, Sociology, etc.
The Guardian: Would you discuss the campus scenario as well as physical infrastructural facilities currently available on the CUET Campus?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: CUET campus is situated on about 171 acres land of stunning natural beauty, 25km from Chittagong city, alongside the Chittagong-Kaptai road and it is near the northern bank of Karnaphuli River. The university has interconnected academic and administrative buildings having easy communication among the departments. At present, the campus has four academic buildings (Pre-Engineering, EME, CE, twelve storeyed new building) and one administrative building. The central library of aesthetically pleasing design is placed in between academic and administrative buildings. To meet the growing demand a new library building is under construction by using green technology. The auditorium is situated near to the academic buildings.
In addition to the academic and administrative setup, the campus is adorned with five residential halls for students of which one is for female students. There are residential quarters for teachers, officers and employees. A medical center, the CUET club for teachers & officers, the employees’ club, Computer club the mosques, a bank and a post-office provide essential and recreational facilities. There is a school and college inside the campus, where the family members of teachers, officers and employees could get quality education up to the higher secondary level (12 classes). Moreover, the constructions of new dormitories for teachers and officers as well as the student-welfare complex are in progress. A big playground, two large ponds, a lake, small hills and valleys have made the landscape attractive and an ideal place for study and staying.
The Guardian: Would you also discuss the medium of instruction and the admission system for undergraduate programme of CUET?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: CUET maintains its medium of instruction as well as evaluation process completely in English.
You know CUET is a coeducational institution and the admission to CUET is highly competitive. The students, after 12-class of schooling with science background, appear at the admission test for enrollment to the undergraduate programs of various engineering disciplines. The admission test is held once at the beginning of each academic year. The annual student intake to the undergraduate programs is as follows:
Department of Civil Engineering: 130, Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering : 130, Department of Mechanical Engineering: 130, Department of Computer Science & Engineering : 120, Department of URP : 30, Department of Architecture: 30, Department of Petroleum & Mining Engineering: 30, Department of Electronics & Tele-Communication Engineering: 30, Department of Civil and Water Resources Engineering : 30, Department of Mechatronics and Industrial Engineering : 30, It is to be noted that the university maintains special provisions to provide admission for the specific number of students from the country’s tribal community so as to encourage them in higher education and learning. Limited number of foreign students can also get admission under SAARC Scholarship.
The Guardian: Would you also tell us about the admission system for graduate programme of CUET?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Admission to the graduate programs (M. Sc. Engg.; M. Engg.; M.Sc.; M. Phil and Ph. D.) is subjected to the certain conditions set out by the Academic Ordinance. The applications for admission are called through regular means of advertisement. The number of students’ intake to the graduate programs depends on availability of resources. There are 240 students get admitted in the session of 2014-15.
The Guardian: Would you discuss the international collaboration of CUET in the field of research and others?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: One of the prime objectives of CUET is to develop research links, partnership and collaboration programs for finding optimum technological solutions of problems and promote higher education and research. Thus, the university signed agreements with the University of Kassel, University of Stutgart, Germany; the University of Ulsan, Korea; the Yamagata University and Saga University of Japan; Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand; National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET) and Harbin University of Science and Technology, Harbin, China; to accelerate the higher education and research activities. In addition, CUET joined with the International Forum of Strategic Technology (IFOST), a forum of 11 universities comprised of 8 nations and South East Asia Network for Disaster & Environmental Engineering (SEAN-DEE). More-over, the university has sent faculty members for higher education at IHE-UNESCO, Wageningen University, The Netherlands and AIT, under the NICHE Project.
Institute of Earthquake Engineering Research (IEER), CUET started joint collaboration and research programs with the Institute of Earthquake Engineering & Engineering Seismology (IZIIS) of University St. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje, Macedonia.
In addition to the above, the university undertakes research works sponsored by the organizations such as United Nations, World Bank, JICA, Commonwealth Foundation, University Grants Commission, local government organizations, etc. Moreover, research works at the graduate level of study are now among the primary objectives of the university. To this effect, all departments of the university are carrying out their own research programs and publishing research journals periodically.
The Guardian: In this context, would you discuss the role and cooperation of UGC with CUET?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: University Grants Commission (UGC) of Bangladesh, on behalf of the Ministry of Education (MoE), is currently implementing the Bangladesh Research and Education Network (BdREN) under HEQEP with assistance from World Bank. CUET also included this high-speed data-communications network. BdREN with its multi-gigabit capability aims to connect all universities, research institutions, libraries, laboratories, healthcare and agricultural institutions across the country and to support geographically dispersed academics, scientists and researchers with reliable access to high-end computing, simulation tools and datasets.
The Guardian: Would you focus on CUET Library system?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: The central library of CUET is well-connected with the academic and administrative buildings. The library has considerable collections of references and texts and has electronic subscription to the reputed international journals. The subscribed journals are available to the faculty and students electronically. The library is fully automated and the students as well as faculty get their service with ease of searching thousands of collections through the computer network.
The Guardian: Would you inform us what accommodation and medical facilities available at CUET for students, teachers and others?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Most undergraduate students live on campus with a few exceptions that commute from home. The CUET has five residential halls of which one is for female students. The residential halls are Bangabandhu Hall, Shaheed Mohammad Shah Hall, Shaheed Tareq Huda Hall, Dr. Qudrat-E-Khuda Hall and the only hall for female students is named as Sufia Kamal Hall. Each residential hall has indoor game facilities, Library, spacious TV room and necessary setup.
The university has considerable residential facilities for teachers, officers and employees in the campus. The university has a Medical Center and it provides primary health care services to the campus dwellers.
The Guardian: Would you give us an idea about the routes of transportation from different locations towards CUET?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: The Chitta-gong city can be reached from the capital Dhaka by train, bus and air. It needs about 6 hours by bus or train and around 45 minuts by air from Dhaka to Chittagong. It takes about 45 minutes to arrive at the CUET campus from Chittagong city through Chittagong-Kaptai road by car or taxi. Public bus is also available from Bhaddarhat Bus Terminal to the CUET campus. It is noted that traveling would be exciting to Chittagong in between the months of October and early March, as the most suitable weather condition prevails at that time while the months from April to July may be muggy due to torrid summer days and heavy monsoon rains.
The Guardian: Would you discuss sports, recreation and other activities of CUET?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: The University has physical education division and it provides the facilities for football, hockey, cricket, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, etc. The students play tennis, badminton and other games as well. Regular sports meet and games competitions are important features of the campus life. Cable TV connection is available in halls and residential quarters. The students frequently arrange debate, cultural program, film show, Robo Race, Robo Fight, indoor games competition, etc. Moreover there are several organizations such as Central Students’ Union, computer Club, cultural organization Joyadhani, nature conservation and pollution eradication organization Green for Peace, CUET Debating Society, CUET Journalist Association (CUETJA) ,CUET Photographic and Film Society, Robo Mechatonic Association(RMA), Andromeda Space and Robotic Research Organization (ASRRO) etc. for exercising various extracurricular activities in the campus.
The Guardian: Would you disclose the expansion plan of CUET?
Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Chittagong is a fast growing city attracting enormous foreign as well as local investments, especially in industrial, tourism and infrastructural development sectors. For its planned growth, many qualified professional engineers and technologists are required.
The port city Chittagong as well as the Country is in acute crisis of competent professionals in various fields. So, CUET has unique scope to introduce more new departments and research facilities. In this context, the university, under its five faculties, has a vision to have a total of 20 Departments, 3 Research Centers, 3 Institutes, 4 Directorates, and 1 Central Research Lab by 2020.
To create new opportunity of higher education and research, the university is going to introduce its City Campus in near future. For this purpose, land allocation process through Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) has been completed.
In order to accomplish the above mentioned mission, CUET is expecting extended patronizations and generous help from the Government of Bangladesh, national and international organizations/agencies, philanthropists and alumni.P
Profile of Dr. Rafiqul Alam
Prof. Dr. Engr. Mohammad Rafiqul Alam was born in 1958 in a respectable Muslim family at Mariam Nagar, Rangunia, Chittagong. He is a son of Late Mr. Abdul Hossian & Late Mrs. Khairunessa.
Dr. Mohammad Rafiqul Alam graduated from the then Chittagong Engineering College in 1979 from the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering with successfully and joined as lecturer in the same institution in 1982. Then he joined as Assistant Professor in 1986 and upgraded his position as Associate Professor in 2007. Later he upgraded his position as Professor in the same institution on 19 August, 2009. He has 33 years of teaching, professional and administrative experiences and has been serving 07 years as Professor in Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department at Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology (CUET).
Prof. Dr. Mohammad Rafiqul Alam worked as Dean, Controller of Exam (Additional Charge), Director of IET, Head of EEE, SPM of HEQEP Project, Course Coordinator at CUET. He also woked as Member and Expert member of different committees, Board and bodies. He is a Fellow of Bangladesh Institution of Engineers.
He has more than 16 publications in national and international journals and conferences. Prof. Dr. Mohammad Rafiqul Alam achieved his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) for his research on “Investigation on the In-flight Synthesis of Micro Particles in Thermal Plasma”. His major areas of research interest are Plasma Physics, Feedback System & Control Engineering and Modern Electronics.
Prof. Dr. Mohammad Rafiqul Alam is an Ex Vice Chairman (Academic & HRD) of Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh, Chittagong Centre for 2013-2015 and is also active member of Teacher Selection Committee, Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department, Southern University, Chittagong. He is traveled many countries like as UK, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, India and Saudi Arabia in his colorful lifestyle.
On 06 March, 2013 Prof. Dr. Mohammad Rafiqul Alam appointed as Pro Vice Chancellor of Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology (CUET).