Dhaka,  Sunday
21 July 2024

PATUAKHALI SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY

Advanced talent dev centre in 24 years

Abu Hasnat Thuhin, PSTU

Published: 08:25, 8 July 2024

Advanced talent dev centre in 24 years

Photo : Messenger

Patuakhali Science and Technology University (PSTU) is a renowned educational institution in the southern part of Bangladesh. Monday, July 8th, marks the 24th University Day of PSTU. Since its establishment, the university has gained global recognition as a center for advanced talent development. This achievement is due to the relentless dedication and hard work of its teachers, officials, and staff. Continuous infrastructural development is bringing a touch of modernity to the university. To maintain the university's momentum, the current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dr. Swadesh Chandra Samanta, is working tirelessly with all university components. As a result, students can now complete their degrees on time, and teachers, officials, and staff receive their deserved promotions promptly. His liberal policies have resulted in no negative comments from any university employee. Additionally, everyone at the university contributes to their respective fields.

Foundation of the university

The primary purpose of establishing PSTU was to make higher education accessible to the neglected population of the southern region. The university has a long history. Initially, it started as a private institution named Janata College, then became a private agricultural college under the administrative framework of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute and academic affiliation of an agricultural university. It later evolved into Patuakhali Agricultural College, a prestigious institution in the southern region offering B.Sc. Ag. (Hons) degrees. During her visit to the southern region on October 22, 1994, as the Leader of the Opposition, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pledged at a public meeting in Lebukhali to upgrade Patuakhali Agricultural College to a university. She reiterated this promise on March 15, 1998, during a public meeting in Patuakhali as the Prime Minister. The foundation stone of Patuakhali Science and Technology University was laid on July 8, 2000, by then-Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The PSTU Act was passed in the National Parliament on July 12, 2001, and the university came into existence through a government gazette on February 26, 2002.

Location and area of campus

The main campus of PSTU is located at the heart of Dumki Upazila in Patuakhali, 15 km north of Patuakhali district town and 28 km south of Barisal divisional city. The external campus is located in Khanpura, Babuganj, Barisal. The total area of the university is 109.97 acres, with 97.00 acres for the main campus and 12.97 acres for the external campus.

Important structures and their identification

PSTU boasts a vast, scenic campus. In the northwest part of the campus, there are modern student dormitories. Adjacent to these are the central mosque and the health care centre. Opposite the health care centre is the library building, and the western part of the campus features extensive sports fields. Several beautiful ponds, such as Lalkamal, Nilkamal, and Tarangtonu, are spread across the campus. A beautiful bridge spans over Nilkamal. A shaded road called "Paris Road" runs between Lalkamal and the sports fields. A wide road connects the eastern Piratala to the western highway. To the south of this road are residential buildings for teachers and officials. East of the main campus, beyond Piratala market, lies the 57-acre agricultural research farm and student dormitories.

Current status

Since gaining university status, PSTU has successfully conducted its academic programs. Currently, it has 8 faculties and a total of 4,330 students (undergraduate, master's, and PhD), 267 teachers, 195 officers, and 482 staff members. Starting with only the Faculty of Agriculture, the university now offers degrees in 8 faculties to meet the contemporary demands of the nation. PSTU is one of the best residential universities in the country, with 6 dormitories for students and 2 more at the Babuganj external campus. The university has a rich digital library with over 55,000 books, internet facilities, international volumes, and journals. It provides transportation facilities, including buses, minibuses, and microbuses, for students, teachers, and staff. Digital identity cards (electronic chips) are issued for everyone. High-speed Wi-Fi is available throughout the campus. The automation process is ongoing.

Infrastructure development

Under the advanced development project, construction work for various infrastructures is ongoing at a cost of around 450 crore BDT. This includes land development, horizontal expansion of the 4-story farm building, an additional 5-story staircase for the administrative building, a 10-story Sheikh Hasina Hall and Sheikh Russell Hall, a 10-story and a 6-story academic building, expansion of Kabi Begum Sufia Kamal Hall, a 2-story Ansar barrack building, a weather station building, a 2-story Vice-Chancellor's residence, expansion of the existing university school and college to 4 stories, a 10-story residential building for professors and equivalent officials, a 5-story building for assistant professors and equivalent officials, an open stage, a mini stadium, a modern gymnasium, and a green-belted boundary wall.

Research activities

Research activities at PSTU are conducted through the Research and Training Centre. Since its inception, the centre has allocated funds for 801 research projects. Currently, 153 research projects are being conducted with own and government funding for the 2022-2023 period. PSTU has developed several advanced and high-yielding fruit varieties, including PSTU Bilatigab-1, PSTU Bilatigab-2, PSTU Dewa-1, PSTU Dewa-2, PSTU Batabi Lemon-1, PSTU Kamranga-1, PSTU Kamranga-2, PSTU Tamarind-1, and PSTU Baichi-1. Efforts are ongoing to develop advanced cropping systems and biochar technology for coastal areas, create a collection of over 500 varieties of 100 native rice, increase maize and sunflower yield by 22-25% using strip methods, and produce saline and flood-tolerant rice. Research is also being conducted on the rapid growth of fish, safe methods for making and preserving dried fish, and the preparation of the country's first and only hippopotamus skeleton. There are nearly 150 ongoing research projects involving plants and animals. Program-based research activities are also progressing.
Quality of education

PSTU has adopted the American course credit system, known for its modern teaching methods. There are 32 modern research laboratories for hands-on education, and a large central research laboratory equipped with advanced equipment. Alongside infrastructure development, the quality of education has improved. To address the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, extensive changes have been made to the course curriculum, and an outcome-based curriculum has been introduced. Efforts are underway to digitize academic and administrative activities 100%.

Co-curricular activities

PSTU places importance on co-curricular activities alongside academic education. Annual sports and inter-faculty tournaments are regularly organized. Several cultural organizations and bands promote cultural practices. There are nearly fifty social organizations managed by volunteer students, each with an office at the TSC.

Future plans

PSTU has not yet developed an academic master plan. The current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dr. Swadesh Chandra Samanta, has taken the initiative to create both an academic and a physical master plan. A DPP worth 600 crore BDT has been submitted for the establishment of a Marine Fisheries Research Institute in Kuakata for the proper use and research of marine resources. The work of preparing a DPP to create a physical master plan, including the main campus, ANSVM faculty at Babuganj, and the proposed Marine Fisheries Research Institute at Kuakata, is in the final stages. It will soon be submitted to the Ministry of Education. A project worth about 500 crore BDT will be undertaken to modernize the ANSVM faculty, including a central research laboratory and an Animal Research Institute. A DPP is also being prepared to establish a modern central research laboratory on the main campus. The central research laboratories will test the quality of all agricultural products imported through Payra Seaport. Establishing the Animal Research Institute at Babuganj will significantly enhance research on buffalo and duck farming in the southern region. There are also plans to open new, relevant departments, including EEE, Software Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, to meet the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Swadesh Chandra Samanta, wishing everyone on University Day, said, “The southern region, including Patuakhali, has made significant contributions to the history and culture of Bangladesh. The region has a rich history in education, culture, the liberation struggle, intellectualism, and modernity. I believe this university will further strengthen and enrich the past glory of this region. My expectation is for Patuakhali Science and Technology University to become the true 'lighthouse' of the southern region.”

Messenger/Fameema