One on One
A Teacher with Panache
Saad Adnan Khan
Imran Rahman, who has been officially appointed as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) on May 22, 2012, believes that a teacher and a music performer have a lot in common. “A teacher and a musician, both have to perform in front of an audience and grab attention. If they fail to do so, the audience can 'switch' them off," he says. "The last thing that I want to see in my class is someone yawning.” Imran Rahman, one of the vocalists and guitarists of the evergreen band Renaissance, is a well-known cultural icon of the country. He has also been an influential person in the academic scene.
Rahman completed his Bachelors in Science from Economics at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), University of London. He later on did his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from University of Dhaka and Doctoral research on stock markets from Manchester Business School. He taught Finance at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) from 1984- 2009. He currently teaches Finance at ULAB.
“I do music more as a hobby. It is a way for me to relax. I perform with my son at times. I guess it makes me feel young.” He says that he gets to meet different people through music and jokingly points out that he tries not to mention that he is a vice chancellor at gigs, since there are very few singing VCs in the academic world!
Rahman asserts that education needs to be interactive. Sadly, in schools, colleges and universities in Bangladesh education is still very bookish and one-tracked. “Our traditional teaching is very passive. Our teachers walk in and talk and talk, and do not encourage students to challenge, ask questions and think out of the box. Students end up taking notes only, for which they utilise a very small percentage of their brains. Students should be given the space to think independently. We try our best to give hands on education here at ULAB with the use of latest instruments. We also put in a lot of effort behind teachers' training. The best thing about private universities is that we are very flexible. Of course we would like to do more collaborative projects with public universities. “
Something that bothers Rahman is the current trend of students going for Business studies for Bachelors. “The myth of doing BBA in order to get a good job needs to be debunked. I am a business teacher myself, but I like to see the bigger picture. Parents should not force their children to study BBA to ensure a better future. Young people should have the option of studying whatever they feel like. If they are bright, they will fit in with any job.“
With more teachers like Professor Imran Rahman, who creatively merge knowledge and talent to convey lessons, there can be a significant shift in the education norms. If students and teachers come together to create a healthy, safe environment for intellectual and creative growth, more and more students will start to dream big.
When it comes to the youth of Bangladesh, who have not given up the art of reading books, science fiction is one of the most beloved genres. Contributing successfully to the field, Naseem Shahanik has written 'Robopsychologist' for sci-fi lovers around the country. If you love reading about artificial intelligence, neural circuits, gene circuits and dream process, 'Robopsychologist' will definitely tickle your brain and keep your mind boggled. The elements really stand out in the book as it grasps the readers' attention and take them to a completely different planet created solely in their minds. 'Robopsychologist' is unique because, along with science-fiction, it highlights alternative history, for the first time, which is all the more reason to have this book as a part of your collection. 'Robopsychologist' was a big part of the Ekushey Grantha Mela, 2012, sold at Raatri publishing house, and is definitely worth a read!