After 17 years of glory, Sylhet Agricultural University (Sikribi) has entered 18 years. Sylhet Agricultural University was established with the aim of expanding agricultural education in Haor, plains and hilly Sylhet Division located in the north-eastern corner of Bangladesh. In the beginning, it started with three faculties, but gradually seven faculties were opened. Through these faculties, in various fields of agricultural science, to maintain coherence and achieve parity with the advanced world and create opportunities for higher education and research at the national level and conduct research.
The main campus of the university is built on 50 acres of land surrounded by hills in the divisional city of Sylhet. Apart from the university’s faculty building, administrative building and residential building, there is a central auditorium here. A second campus and research ground of the university has been built on 12.29 acres of land on the northern side of Tamabil Bypass Road. This university has seven faculties, 47 departments, field-research centers and advanced laboratories. There is also a veterinary teaching hospital.
As a token of respect to the martyrs of language and freedom, the central Shahid Minar, which is the most beautiful Shahid Minar of Bangladesh, named ‘Suryaloke Varnamala’, has been constructed in this campus. Besides, there are five student halls and two female halls.
In addition to teaching in the university, research activities are going on with the help of various national and international organizations, in recognition of which more than 100 research articles of teachers in the university have been published in the international Scopus indexed journal even during the global pandemic (Covid-19).
The researchers here are working to improve the quality of life in Haure through integrated farm management. In the Boro crop-dependent lowlands, field after field was once fallow even in winter. Sikribi has taken various steps to improve the quality of life of marginal farmers of Sunamganj including Haor. Intensive research on spice crops is going on. Sikribi developed protein-rich ‘Sikribi Shim-1’ and ‘Sikribi Shim-2’ varieties are expected to meet the year-round protein demand in the Sylhet region.
Automated Agrometeorological Stations have been set up to capture agrometeorological data of Sylhet region. The teachers and students of this university have shown surprise by new innovations and researches in the field of agriculture. Many teachers and students of the university have won national and international awards for this.
522 research projects have already been successfully completed through the Sylhet Agricultural University Research System (SAURES) established in 2008. Besides, 187 research projects are ongoing in the fiscal year 2023-2024. To support research work, laboratories with modern facilities have been set up in 41 departments at a cost of Rs. 11 crores.
MoUs have been signed with national and international institutions for the purpose of promoting research activities and sharing education and research information. The notable institutions that have signed an agreement with Sikribi are Department of Integrative Evolutionary Biology at Max Planck Institute for Biology Tübigen in Germany, Kobe University in Japan, one of the best institutes for international agriculture and science education, Oslo International Rotary Club in Norway, The Nutia University in West Bengal, Habiganj Agricultural University, Dhaka University, BCSIR , Cotton Development Board, Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, International Rice Research Institute.
According to the recently published ranking on the Spain-based Simago Institution Ranking website, Sikribi has been ranked number one in the country in terms of innovation, competing with 41 institutions in Bangladesh. Also, Sylhet Agricultural University has won the first place among the 11 aquatic science institutions of the country. In 2023, among a total of 8,433 institutions around the world, this ranking has been determined by checking the issues of education, research, social, social, health, innovative technology etc. In the overall ranking, Sylhet Agricultural University is at the fifth position among the higher education institutions of Bangladesh.
Soon after joining as the 6th Vice-Chancellor of Sylhet Agricultural University established in the North-Eastern corner of the country, various initiatives have been taken to establish a chain of command by eliminating existing problems in administrative work besides emphasizing on education, research and extension work. A fair environment has been brought back for the development of education including the smooth management of education programs, elimination of the problems of the education department and the distress of the classrooms. As a result, the university was not closed indefinitely even for a day. Adequate initiatives have been taken to identify and remove obstacles to fair and timely teaching. The curriculum has been tailored to the needs of the 21st century to meet the challenges of food security and climate change. A great improvement has been made in the educational system by revising the traditional academic rules; New dimensions have been added to research fields. In this regard, MoUs have been signed with domestic and foreign renowned universities and research institutes. In order to make students proficient in research, an initiative has been taken to give importance to field research in order to properly apply the knowledge acquired at the field level in addition to creating an international quality laboratory. Priority has been given to all issues conducive to creating a fair environment for education. Internet facility has been increased in the university to maintain communication with all concerned quarters; Which is playing an important role in education, research and extension.
Major plans have been undertaken to develop the Sylhet Agricultural University into a modern university of international standards. A fair environment for education has been restored by ensuring fair pay and promotion of teachers. Besides, effective steps have been taken to solve various problems including development at the level of officials and employees. Apart from maintaining the learning environment in the university, various activities have been undertaken to make the students equally proficient in sports, literature and cultural activities. Above all, we are working to improve the rules of the university including establishing justice, transparency and rule of law in the university.
Despite various adversities and financial constraints, we have continued to make significant progress in various aspects of agriculture. This university is working to make an important contribution to the various development plans of the Government of Bangladesh. We have actively contributed to the development of agriculture at local, national and international levels through extension programmes, information exchange and cooperative projects. Our partnership with government agencies, stakeholders and other institutions has been strengthened.
There was a time when the farmer could barely survive by farming. Such a scene is no longer seen. The current government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working tirelessly to make agriculture modern and profitable. After independence, war-torn Bangladesh was dismissed as a bottomless basket. That Bangladesh is on the highway of development today. In the 52 years of independence, the biggest success in the country has come in agriculture. Despite four decades of food shortages, the country is now self-sufficient in this sector, with Sylhet Agricultural University as its proud partner.
the writer: Vice Chancellor, Sylhet Agricultural University