Among all the jobs in the market, teaching is one of the top most respected jobs all over the world. When it comes to getting the job of a university teacher, society tends to find it quite lucrative. In addition, a well-off social status comes in handy. Every year, around 0.3 to 0.4 million students join universities to have their graduation in Bangladesh, and a huge bulk of them dream to become teachers at a reputed university as their career goal. Often they feel lost about how they should prepare themselves to reach the goal of such a noble profession.
This writer discussed with Imran Hossain Bhuiyan, an assistant professor at the Department of Development Studies at the University of Dhaka, about ways how to become a university teacher.
Imran Hossain Bhuiyan did his master's in International Development from the University of Manchester and his bachelor’s and master's in Development Studies at the University of Dhaka. He spoke in a positive tone for the youth who are dreaming to be faculty members at a reputed university.
Why should one pick a faculty job as their career: University teaching is different from teaching at any other (e.g., primary and secondary) level of academic institutions. As the name suggests, university teaching is literally universal and requires a balanced amount of effort in both teachings as well as in research.
Imran Hossain Bhuiyan said, "Primarily, I chose the faculty position at the University of Dhaka to excel in my career in teaching and social research."
"Through solid research and publications, you can contribute to global academia and can place yourself firmly amongst the academicians around the world. In addition, learning is a two-way journey that a university teacher can enjoy being around the young minds of the nation," Imran added. So, if one intends to go for research and invest his time in academia, this type of job gives them a huge opportunity.
"Besides, I believe that this career gives me the needed space to work on my other engagements as a public speaker and as a development researcher contributing towards greater socio-economic wellbeing," Imran said. A relaxing job environment comes in handy if one is a teacher at a university, he commented.
Importance of higher studies: Imran mentioned, "Postgraduate degrees like Mphil and PhD degrees are globally considered as prerequisites to become a faculty member at any reputed university. Although having these postgraduate degrees are not a prerequisite for the entry position (i.e., as a lecturer) of the universities, it's now mandatory to have a PhD degree for the recruitment and promotions in upper positions like associate professor and professor."
It is a matter of choice whether one plans to have post-graduation or not, once they pass their undergraduate degrees. But when it comes to picking a career in a faculty job then one has to sign in for higher education to excel with higher promotion and status.
Interest in research activities as a beneficiary aspect: "Conducting research and publishing the research outputs is just as important as, if not more important than, classroom teaching for a faculty member of any university," he thinks.
After all, research works are the way that a university teacher can contribute towards creating new knowledge, reforming societies, and reforming policies at both national and international levels. The more the university faculties are into research, the more the ranking and value of the university get better worldwide.
Youth engagement in ECA: Having strong records in extra-curricular activities (ECAs) is not mandatory for the lecturer aspirants but obviously is highly appreciated by the recruiters. It adds extra value to any type of job, enhancing your overall profile even though CGPA and top-class positions are the most important things to be considered.
"Experience of debating, public speaking, writing, and other meaningful voluntary engagements is recognised as an added advantage in the recruitment boards. Hence, engaging in all these activities from the early years of university can be helpful," Imran Hossain stressed.
Tips and tricks for the youths who intend to become a university teacher: The first thing to do is, certainly, to prioritise the academic results in the bachelor’s and master's programmes. Even if you're not a class topper, you still have to have an excellent result both for becoming a private or public university teacher.
The next thing to do is to improve soft skills like reading, writing, and speaking in both Bangla and English. These types of skills will help a faculty member to have an excellent delivery system for their students.
Imran also advised, "Additional skills in ICT and experience of engagements in co-curricular activities are always plus points. Finally, having records of research and publications, either individually or under the supervision of senior faculty members, prior to the recruitment as a university lecturer can also be useful."
If one is ambitious to be a faculty member or a researcher at any reputed university with a relaxing job environment and delivering to the future youths of the country, one should buckle up to study pretty hard. Being a nerd would not hurt if someone is smart enough to ace the programme of one's bachelor's and master's like Imran Hossain Bhuiyan with an excellent result.
The writer is studying Development Studies at the University of Dhaka.