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. Given the committed leadership from the founders of UBC, the institution has continued to make rapid 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), and the progress has continued. Subsequently more Honours courses were added, now with 17 subjects in total, and also Masters courses in nine subjects.
Indeed, UUC has emerged as a major educational institution in the district, teachingHSC (A-level equiv.), Undergraduate (Pass & Honours) and Masters courses.
Honours coursesare taught in as many as 17 subjects: Accounting, BBA (Professional), Bengali, Botany, Economics, English, History, Islamic History & Culture, Management, Marketing, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Statistics and Zoology). And 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 are finding it extremely difficult to gain the necessary knowledge and skills.
Particularly 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, comprising Accounting, Secretarial Studies, Banking, and Entrepreneurship Development).
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 and help. 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.
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 2nd 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.
Indeed, 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 receivedthe status of a Model College (as designated by the National University on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh) – a rare and prestigious recognition.
Since its inception, UttarBangla University College (UUC) has continued to receive support from the Glasgow-based Charity Education International (CEI), a registered charity in Scotland. Indeed, thanks to the active involvement of CEI, a strong Scottish connection has been established. At an early stage, an International Youth Exchange Programme between Bangladesh and Scotland took place (1998 and 1999), in which some 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 encouragingits 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 during 2002-2013: 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 highly 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, we have now a "Volunteer Teachers-in-Residence" programme, under which Irene has just completed a UUC teaching visit covering a three-month period and a second visit is scheduled later in the year by another Scottish Volunteer, Ms Cathy Crawford.
Thanks especially to the CEI-connection, strong links have also developed with the Bangladesh High Commission in the UK, and many senior officials within Bangladesh who can be depended on to offer UUC benevolent support; this includes the former Foreign Minister of Bangladesh (Mr Mahmood Ali, MP) who in 2008 visited UUC.
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 helping the UUC Library with used books, donated mainly by colleagues from Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities. It has also helped to provide the College with two 50-bed hostels, each for male and female students. Currently, CEI is helping with the construction of an auditorium, 70% completed. CEI has also been supporting the UUCPhD Programme, under which some 20 UUC staff members are currently registered at Raiganj University (West Bengal, India).
As has been observed by the Principal of UUC, Professor Monowarul Islam: “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.”