The Bangladesh Railway (BR) has initiated to establish a railway engineering university under public-private partnership (PPP) amid a dearth of experts to support traditional and modern train transportation.
But some rail officials and experts criticise it, citing that railway engineering is rather a subject than a discipline which does not allow setting up a specialised university.
There is no such university in the world, they argued.
But Prof Shamsul Hoque of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) said specialisation in railway engineering is done more at post-graduation level than at graduation level.
Since 2009, the BR has undertaken Tk 496.70 billion worth of projects, but progress in most projects poor for a lack of adequate manpower, including engineers.
Under the urban-based transit system, Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited is set to introduce five mass rapid transit lines (MRTs) by 2030.
But adequate human resources are yet to be readied for manning the infrastructure.
An estimated 200 staffers have been recruited to back four MRT projects which are under implementation with a staggering Tk 1.5 trillion.
Sources said the BR has already sent a proposal to establish the railway engineering university to the PPP Authority for approval from the cabinet committee on economic affairs.
They, however, said before winning approval, BR officials recently sat internally to gauge the viability of such a specialised university here.
Some officials rather proposed setting up a department in engineering universities like BUET and private universities.
Even transport experts also opposed the move as railway engineering is studied as a branch of civil engineering at graduation level globally.
Civil engineering department of BUET imparts railway engineering in third year during graduation.
As the BUET curriculum is more or less followed by other engineering universities, railway engineering remains as a branch of transportation there.
Prof Hoque said the common practice globally is that engineers get master's degree based on their joining in the arena of engineering.
They also get some training on railway to learn more on train based commuter system, he added.
Prof Haque, who teaches at civil engineering department, said BUET also follows the system of developing foundation on railway engineering among students.
He, however, admitted that BUET and others have vast scope to update their curricula as lots of changes have taken place in railways all over.
Conventional rail service aside, hyperloop, Maglev (magnetic levitation) and bullet trains are most popular for intercity or interstate train services.
MRT, light rapid transit, mono rail and tilted train are popular in the urban train services.
Many said China has such a university where studies and research on modern train services are going on to make experts from locomotive to design level.
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