Universities in Bangladesh need to be good at teaching and research: LSE Professor David Lewis


October 23, 2020


Universities in Bangladesh need to be good at teaching and research: LSE Professor David Lewis

British Scholar Prof. David Lewis.

DHAKA: An eminent British Scholar Professor David Lewis had joined a conversation with a young South Asian Scholar Dr. Mohammad Tarikul Islam.

Dr. Islam, Founder and Administrator of Local Government- Centre for Social Harmony and Development has recently won the Best Writer Award for his outstanding scholarly works for the Khabarhub, Nepal’s popular English news portal.

Inspired by the relentless support of around 1500 valued members, the Centre has recently launched a monthly conversation where an enlightened person is invited to share his/her contribution to the state society.

At the outset, Dr. Islam who is the Associate Professor of Government and Politics at Jahangirnagar University expressed his gratitude to Professor David for joining the inaugural episode.

Professor David Lewis is a Professor of Social Policy and Development in the Department of Social Policy at LSE, UK.

David is also a Faculty Advisory Group member in the LSE South Asia Centre. David had studied at the University of Cambridge and Bath respectively.

An anthropologist by training, most of his work has tried to draw on the relationship between anthropology and development studies.

His fieldwork has been primarily in South and South East Asia, mainly Bangladesh but also including India, Nepal.

Sri Lanka and the Philippines. However, he has also done a little work in Russia, Albania, Nigeria, Uganda, Palestine and the UK.

He has authored several books, including 3 specifically on Bangladesh (Trading the Silver Seed, 1996, Technologies and Transactions 1991, and Bangladesh: Politics, Economy and Civil Society, 2012) and academic articles.

He has presented his work at many universities around the world including Harvard, Yale, Oxford and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

‘Bangladesh: Politics, Economy and Civil Society’ is the most popular book among the students of Political Science, Development Studies, Public Administration and Anthropology at different universities in Bangladesh.

Dr. Mohammad Tarikul Islam.

In his conversation with Dr. Islam, David shed light on illuminating discussion covering different emerging issues like higher education amid the COVID pandemic, research-based universities in Bangladesh, and strategies for encountering COVID, motivation for the young faculty members and his four decades of research in Bangladesh.

Professor David also emphasized on expanding social protection scheme by the government of Bangladesh to ramp up action to curb the health emergency, protect their people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and set the stage now for fast economic recovery in partnership with different stakeholders.

“We are currently working hard to make sure that, teaching continuity is maintained using a core set of tools adopted by LSE amid COVID pandemic,” he said adding, “As part of this effort, LSE has taken a hybrid approach to learn in pandemic where in-class learning is taking place maintaining social distance.”

Hybrid teaching, he said, is a blend of digital and on-campus activities, where students may be able to attend on-campus sessions, digital sessions in the same time zone, or digital sessions in a different time zone.

David said universities in Bangladesh need to be good at both teaching and research, and that there are useful synergies between them.

London School of Economics and Political Sciences, for example, it tries to promote an ethos of “research-led teaching”, meaning that those who perform research also incorporate their study into their teaching lessons, to make the learning process more hands-on and exciting for students.

It is also important to value both “pure” and “applied” types of research because they often support each other. Funding is required to support a full range of research types.

According to Dr. Tarik, David has a kind of second small-scale career as a singer-songwriter and folk/rock musician, recording extensively with college friend John Wesley Harding, touring in Europe and the USA, and releasing five albums of original songs. In July 2020 his new album ‘Among Friends’ was released. Professor David Lewis is currently working on a co-edited book (with D. Rodgers and M. Woolcock) called ‘New Mediums, Better Messages? How Innovations in Translation, Engagement, and Advocacy Are Changing International Development’, Oxford University Press, 2021 forthcoming).

In his concluding remarks, Professor David appreciated Dr. Tarik for his persistent academic endeavor and gave special thanks for winning the prestigious Best Writer award from Nepal.