German-Bangladesh Higher Education Network for Sustainable Textiles (HEST)
Title: German-Bangladesh Higher Education Network for Sustainable Textiles (HEST)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Education, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Overall term: 2017 to 2019
The textile and garment sector is vital for Bangladesh’s economy and social development. While the industry has been enjoying an impressive growth rate over the last two decades, further growth and sustainable development remain a challenge due to the skill gap of the industry’s mid-level managers. At the same time, several tragic incidents, such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory, revealed the shortcomings of the decent work deficits in the textile and garment industry throughout the country. The Government of Bangladesh has highlighted the need for skilled mid-level managers in the National Education Policy from 2010, as well as in the seventh Five-Year Plan. According to these strategies, skilled mid-level managers are a prerequisite for robust and sustainable economic growth in the country’s most important manufacturing sector. The higher education institutions of Bangladesh are crucial for the education of the mid-level managers and therefore, for the improvement of the precarious working conditions in the industry. Linking higher education with the demand-oriented skills framework of the industry and establishing international university partnerships in order to keep up with latest research on international social and environmental standards are recognised as the two essential elements for improving the quality of higher education. However, the development of effective mechanisms for cooperation with businesses and international universities are still a challenge for higher education institutions in Bangladesh. At the moment, universities do not offer training opportunities tailored to the specific needs of the textile and garment sector and lack international university partnerships and peer to peer learning opportunities. Therefore, the potential of university-industry cooperation and collaboration needs to be bolstered.
The HEST project has improved the capacities of public and private universities through the German-Bangladeshi university network and has narrowed down the skill gap of the mid-level managers in line with the requirements of the industry and responsible corporate management practices.
The project follows a holistic approach of three levels of interventions in close cooperation with the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD):
- The universities of Germany and Bangladesh will work together to improve the quality of the study programmes at selected universities of Bangladesh by embedding social and environmental aspects into the curricula and integrating practice-oriented teaching methods.
- In cooperation with the industry, the university partnerships are working jointly to intensify applied research in response to the needs of the textile and garment sector
- Based on a systematic analysis of the needs in the textile and garment enterprises, the project will support universities to develop training modules on responsible corporate management for the mid-level managers at factory level.
To achieve the project’s objective, four university partnerships have been formed involving five universities in Germany and nine universities in Bangladesh. The four university partnerships are:
- Chemnitz University of Technology, BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology and University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh
- Dresden University of Technology, Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology and Notre Dame University Bangladesh
- University of Stuttgart, Hof University of Applied Sciences, Bangladesh University of Textiles, North South University, Asian University for Women and Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology
- University of Kassel and University of Dhaka
Complementary to these main activities, the project will support exchange forums between the universities and the private sector to make recommendations for demand-driven tertiary education in the textile and garment sector.