| Shajjad Hossain |

Society of the twenty first century, with more complex social, economic and political systems, requires graduates with transferrable attributes that make them employable. Universities all over the world are continuously updating their course curricula based on learning outcomes that produce job-ready graduates who can make more effective contribution to the profession, the society and national development. These universities are aiming to provide a total educational experience leading to degrees with the specialist knowledge graduates will need for specific careers. The aim is to also develop key skills like communication, teamwork, problem-solving, initiative and enterprise, planning and organization, self-management, learning, and tech-savvy—the eight most highly employer-valued skills at present time.

Realizing the need and scope of shifting away from conventional teaching oriented content to student oriented learning in the curricula of public and private universities of Bangladesh, Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB) organized a well-timed day-long workshop on “Graduate Attributes and Developing Learning Outcomes”. The workshop, held at North South University (NSU) in Dhaka on 28 January 2016, was conducted by Dr. Mahbubur Rahman, currently the Dean of Engineering & Design at the Kingdom University of Bahrain. Dr. Rahman is a former Professor of NSU when he also served as the General Secretary of IAB. .

The interactive workshop introduced the ideas of Graduate Attributes, Missions, Goals and Objectives. It also forwarded the idea and way of setting curricula through the formulation of Learning Outcomes and integrating them into a comprehensive education through mapping. In connection to his experience of establishing and reviewing several Architecture Programs, and preparing others for accreditation, both at home and abroad, Dr. Rahman suggested re-orienting the approach to education to what students actually learn, rather than what topics are to be covered in a course and by extension in a program. This will lead to curricula design or revision based on learning components, demonstration of measurable outcome, and use of appropriate assessment tools to determine the achievements and capabilities of a graduate. He also emphasized on setting up mission, goal and objectives, and aligning all the courses, down even up to the level of a lecture or a particular topic, with those for comprehensive learning.

Photo Courtesy |  Tawfique Rahman
Photo Courtesy | Tawfique Rahman

Dr. Rahman presented different topics (program pillars), along with guidelines and tips on how to prepare them, while the participants in groups got involved in mock exercises on preparations of “Program Mission Statement” and “Program Learning Outcomes” by asking themselves—“what we want our graduates to be able to do with the knowledge, understanding, skills and values they acquire through an educational program that are demonstrable and measurable”. The highly successful event was attended by thirty three academics from sixteen different universities of Bangladesh offering B.Arch. programs, in addition to program managers, employers and representative of IAB. The participants, some of whom came from Khulna, Chittagong, Sylhet, Pabna and Gazipur, expressed their satisfaction in this timely workshop under IAB’s CPD program, and wished that more such workshops be organized in future.

The IAB education workshop was followed in the evening by a  launching and discussion program on the book Dhaka Urban Reader edited by Dr. Rahman and published by the University Press Ltd. (UPL) in the same venue. The Mayor of Dhaka North Annisul Haque graced the occasion as the chief guest while a panel of distinguished speakers deliberated on the book in particular and the problems of Dhaka city in general. We will soon publish another report on the well-attended program.

Dr. Rahman, a Commonwealth Scholar and McNamara Fellow who has taught architecture at various universities in 6 different countries since 1985, runs an educational consultancy in Canada. He is the author of more than 100 international publications and four other books in addition to the current one, including Society, Architects & Emerging Issues (Commonwealth, 2006), Old but New :: New but Old (UNESCO, 2009) and City of an Architect (DelVista, 2011). He was also involved with the preparations of National Building Code, Dhaka Structure Plan, National Housing Policy, Imarat Nirman Bidhimala, Urban Poverty Reduction Program, etc.