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 remains a challenge due to skill gaps among the industry’s mid-level managers. At the same time, several tragic incidents; such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory, reveal the general work deficits in the textile and garment industry of the country. The Government of Bangladesh has highlighted the need for skilled mid-level managers in the National Education Policy 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 hence, for the improvement of precarious working conditions in the industry. 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 are not offering courses and training opportunities tailored to the specific needs of the textile and garment sector and lack international university partnerships and peer to peer learning opportunities. Currently, the potential of university-industry cooperation and collaboration to actively contribute to academic teaching, as well as research and training aligned with specific needs of the industry remains largely unused.
The HEST project has improved the capacities of public and private universities through the university networks of Germany and Bangladesh and have narrowed the skill gap of mid-level managers in line with the requirements of the industry and the 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/curricula 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.
- The project aims at improving the capacity of the mid-level managers in the textile and garment sector with regards to social and environmental standards. 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:
- Technische Universität Chemnitz, BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology and University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh
- Technische Universität Dresden, 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.