Charity Education International ( CEI) & UttarBangla University College (UUC)
Since its inception, the Glasgow-based Charity Education International (CEI), has supported UttarBangla University College (UUC) and developed a strong partnership which has flourished over the years.
UttarBangla University College (UUC)
Also known as Uttar Bangla College, UttarBangla University College (UUC) was established in July 1994, with the sole objective of serving the educational needs of students in general, and of poor students, with a focus on female students, in particular. Thanks to the committed leadership from the founders of UBC, the institution has continued to make steady progress.
Initially, it started teaching only Higher Secondary courses (A-level equiv.) in Arts, Commerce and Science (under Rajshahi Education Board), but within a period of ten years, the college made two major moves:
(a) Introducing Business Management courses (under the Technical and Vocational Education Board of Bangladesh); and
(b) Degree courses in Humanities/Arts, Business Studies and Science (under the National University of Bangladesh).
In 2008, Honours teaching was introduced in four key subjects: English, Economics, Accountancy and Management (as duly authorised by the Government of Bangladesh). Subsequently more Honours courses were added, with 17 subjects and also Masters courses in nine subjects.
UUC has emerged as a major educational institution in the district, teaching HSC (A-level equiv.), Undergraduate (Pass & Honours) and Masters courses.
Honours courses are taught in 17 subjects: Accounting, BBA (Professional), Bengali, Botany, Economics, English, History, Islamic History & Culture, Management, Marketing, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Statistics and Zoology.
Masters course are taught in nine subjects: Accounting, Bengali, English, Economics, Management, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.
These educational opportunities, as available, are proving particularly helpful to the students (especially female students) of this poverty-stricken part of the country who, without UUC, would find it extremely difficult to gain necessary knowledge and skills.
Because of the teaching of the Honours and Masters courses, Uttar Bangla College is now also known as UttarBangla University College (UUC).
The various subjects taught belong to the following main faculties:
* Arts (Humanities): English, Bengali, Philosophy, and History.
* Social Science: Economics, Political Science, and Sociology
* Science: Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, Statistics, Psychology, and Maths
* Business Studies: Accounting, Management, Marketing, and Finance & Banking
* Business Management (a course at HSC-level, Accounting, Banking, Computer Operation, Entrepreneurship Development, and Human Resource Management).
The HSC general-studies courses (in Arts, Social Science, Science, and Business Studies) are conducted under the Dinajpur Secondary and Higher Secondary Board (previously under the Rajshahi Board), while Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate courses are under the National University of Bangladesh.
Currently, there are about 5,000 students pursuing HSC, Degree (Pass & Hons.) and Masters courses. The female students comprise about 40% of the total; at the HSC level, the figure is as high as 48%, while at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, the corresponding figure is less than 38%.
Under the classification followed in Bangladesh, UUC is a Non-Government College, with the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) offering some support. Of the total 180 academic teaching staff, the GoB provides salary support for 54 (30%), while 16 of the 26 non-academic staff (61.5%), receive salary support. The GoB has also contributed to the construction of a four-storey academic building, and also carries out regular monitoring, including financial auditing.
Some 20 UUC staff members are currently registered at Raiganj University (West Bengal, India). The first PhD was awarded in 2019 to the Head of the Bangla Department, Dr Abu Shahadot, known as Rubel and the second PhD was awarded to Dr Abtabuzzaman, Lecturer in Islamic History and Culture in February 2020. A third Phd was awarded to Dr Sirajul Islam, Lecturer in Philosophy in July 2020.
The College has two campuses: the main UUC Campus (with the Academic buildings, the Sports ground and the UUC Female Hostel) and the nearby second campus where the UUC Auditorium, Uttar Bangla Museum and the UUC Male Hostel are located.
The UUC Campuses, with the nearby Teesta river, are on the site of the 'Palace' ('Rajbari') of the famous Kakina zaminders, Raja Mahendra Ranjan Roy Chowdhury and his predecessors. Now with the opening of the second Teesta bridge (May 2018), the 18-km car journey between Kakina and the divisional town of Rangpur takes only 30 minutes. Access to the nearest airport (Saidpur) is only 22km away, via the Dwani bridge over the Teesta river.
UUC has now emerged as the best College of the district and also as the best Non-Government College of Greater Rangpur Division (with a population of over 10 million). Recently, it has also received the status of a Model College (as designated by the National University on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh) – a rare and prestigious recognition.
The Principal of UUC, Professor Monowarul Islam explains, “Our main aim is to help UUC establish itself as a model educational institution offering quality teaching in a range of disciplines, thus greatly helping the students of this poverty-stricken locality.”
CEI’s Involvement with UUC
At an early stage, an International Youth Exchange Programme between Bangladesh and Scotland took place (1998 and 1999), in which 30 students from Uttar Bangla College and Scotland took part. In the initial years, support received from the Lloyds-TSB Foundation for Scotland (now CORRA Foundation) was vital in laying a strong foundation. The relationship thus established proved instrumental in encouraging its Chief Executive Mr Andrew Muirhead to make a visit in 2006 to Uttar Bangla College.
A number of volunteer teaching visits to UUC, of up to two months’ duration, took place between 2002 and 2013. The volunteers were Ms Sallie Buchanan and Dr Gill Scharer (2002), Ms Mary Gilles and Ms Norma Smith (2005), Ms Liz Kristiansen (2008), Miss Helen Mostyn and Mr Thomas Scurfield (2011) and Mr Hugh Reilly (2013). Then, with support from the Scottish Government's Small Grants Programme, a successful three-year Scottish Volunteer Teaching Programme (2014-17) was completed. Fourteen Scottish volunteers took part, helping to improve IT skills and English language proficiency, of UUC staff members and students, directed by Ms Irene Graham, a Trustee of CEI. As a follow up of the above, a "Volunteer Teachers-in-Residence" programme was established which aims to provide an annual three month residency. To date there have been three residencies with a fourth underway. Irene Graham has undertaken three of these and Cathy Crawford one. For more information click on the Volunteers Menu.
Guru Nanak Library, Hostels and Auditorium
CEI also helped to lay the foundation of the Guru Nanak Library Building of the College, thanks to some initial support from the Glasgow Sikh community. CEI has also been supplying the UUC Library with used books, mainly donated by academic staff at Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities. CEI has also helped to provide the College with two 50-bed hostels, one for male and one for female students. Currently, CEI is helping with the construction of an auditorium which is almost complete.
CEI has also been supporting the UUC PhD Programme at Raiganj University (West Bengal, India).