Higher Education Network for Sustainable Textiles (HEST)

Project description

Title: German-Bangladesh Higher Education Network for Sustainable Textiles (HEST)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Bangladesh
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Education, University Grants Commission (UGC)
Overall term: 2017 to 2019

University of Dhaka, Curzon Hall. © GIZ BD / Abir Abdullah

Context
The ready-made garments (RMG) sector in Bangladesh has experienced tremendous growth in recent years and looks set to continue along the same expansionary trajectory in future. Bangladesh is the world’s second largest apparel exporter. With a 13 per cent share of Gross National Product (GNP), it is the country’s most important industry and critical to economic development.

However, over the past ten years, precarious working conditions in Bangladesh’s RMG industry have brought it into disrepute. The challenges the industry now face include complying with social and environmental standards and mainstreaming responsible business practices within the managerial mindset. Taking all this into account, it makes sense to train future managers to think in terms of sustainability while still at university. By shaping the professional outlook of the county’s future management personnel, engineers and environmental scientists, HEST can help promote Bangladesh’s sustainable economic development and foster RMG sector compliance with environmental and labour standards.

Objective
University cooperation results in better qualified mid-level managers who understand the importance of social and environmental standards for a sustainable RMG sector.

Approach
The project aims to build the capacities of public and private universities by fostering close cooperation between tertiary-level institutions in Germany and Bangladesh. Key intervention areas include:

  • Strengthening study programmes relevant to the RMG sector by adding sustainability topics to the curriculum, for example, ethics, quality management and social dialogue. This includes the addition of practice-oriented courses designed to enhance university teaching skills and give students hands-on workplace experience.
  • Strengthening links between research at selected public and private universities and the RMG sector.
  • Improving the skills and competencies of mid-level managers in the RMG and textiles sectors through post-graduate courses on social and environmental sustainability.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is the partner institution.

RMG Factory floor, Bangladesh. © GIZ / Abir Abdullah