Business Education is an important branch of entire education system. Business leads an immense potentiality in the country's economic development in the backdrop of market economy in the existing technology-based age of globalisation. With the change and development of social structure, the scope of business and commerce has been developed and expanded in many ways creating a demand for people having sound knowledge on business education. Earlier in our country, Business Education referred to a discipline, which caters knowledge to clerical, secretarial or book-keeping positions and operation of office appliances. Business Education is such a subject, which enriches a person's knowledge and skill to set off and run a business concern successfully. Business education deals with required knowledge on management, policy and techniques to run a trading house efficiently. Its scope is far broader than the common understanding. It enhances an individual's capacity to utilise limited resources properly for its investment in a most desired sector and to justify the usage of the profit earned. Business education is a process of developing an individual's knowledge, which creates and sharper a conducive business environment. After getting business education a young graduate is prepared accordingly to join in the profession as an internee.
Business education was introduced in Bangladesh during the British rule. However it got an institutional coverage with the setting up of the university of dhaka in 1921. After the partition of India in 1947, the government of Pakistan conducted a survey regarding the necessity of business education to assess the demand of human resources in developing the industrial sector. Specialist scholars suggested replacement of business education by management education.
At that time, business education meant the programme of BCom pass degree. The programme comprised of Economics, Finance and Banking, Insurance, Business Organisation, Transportation, Commercial Geography, Trade Law and Commercial English. As the 2-years MCom degree programme introduced in 1948, and the BCom programme proved inadequate, a 3-years BCom (Hons) course was introduced in the University of Dhaka in 1953. Then the course duration of MCom Programme was reduced to one year for honours graduates and for the BCom (Pass) students, the course duration of MCom remained unchanged. After completing a 10-year long secondary level programme, a student could study science, arts or commerce at Higher Secondary level at that time. Students completing a 2-year programme of higher secondary education in science and arts could seek admission into the university's several departments and faculties, but the commerce background students had the opportunity to get admitted into the commerce department only. Following this discrimination against the students of commerce and their very limited scope for getting admission in to the university, the end of 1969 to change the existing system raised a demand. Students having commerce background in the intermediate level raised their voices to increase their number of seats in the university. They also placed a demand to upgrade the Commerce Department of Dhaka University to a faculty. The demand was very timely and most desired as during the last few decades, Business education in developed countries expanded manifold and the demand for skilled managers in commercial and industrial enterprises increased many times. The movement for elevation of the Commerce Cepartment into a faculty of Dhaka University strengthened in early 1970. The university authority realised the necessity of expending Business education for the overall economic emancipation of the country and accepted the demand. The Commerce Faculty started functioning from July 1970 with two departments- Accounting and Management. Although the initial plan was to form the faculty with four departments including two new departments- Finance and Marketing, but those two departments were opened later on 1 July, 1974. Other public universities of Bangladesh started followed the step under took by the University of Dhaka. Two new departments- Banking and Management Information System (MIS) were opened under the Faculty of Business Studies of Dhaka University in 2004. Two more new departments- Tourism and Hospitality, and International Business were opened in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Meanwhile, the Faculty of Business Studies introduced an evening MBA course for the executives from 2000, which is considered as a milestone in the ongoing specialised process of professional business education in Bangladesh.
Earlier in 1966, the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Dhaka University introduced MBA course with a view to producing skilled managers in the growing trade sector with the support of Indiana University, USA. To enhance the capacity of the teachers of the IBA, some of them were sent to Indiana University to obtain MBA degree. A big vacuum was created after the liberation of war in the field of management with the departure of non-local entrepreneurs and their top executives in 1971. The dearth of management skill and knowledge of the executives increased the necessity of management education.
The university grants commission (UGC) with the financial support of World Bank took up a plan to train up concerned faculties of public universities, IBA and Management Development Centre in developed countries. The primary objective of the programme was to enhance the capability of the trainers engaged in management and business studies through curriculum development, overseas training of teachers, library development and deployment of consultants. Under this programme, many teachers of Business Faculty of different public universities obtained higher degree in Business Studies from the USA and the UK. They were also awarded Commonwealth and Full bright fellowships and scholarships offered by the governments of friendly countries like Russia, India, Japan, Belgium and the government of Bangladesh, beside the concerned University's stipend to learn higher Business Studies and Management. The programme opened up opportunities to the most of the Business Faculty members of both public and private universities to get higher foreign degrees, which was totally absurd in 1969.
Meanwhile, the structure of Business Studies has been changed with the improvement of its qualitative level, international standard syllabus and method of instruction. The University of Dhaka introduces the semester system from 1977-78 academic sessions. From 1994-1995 sessions, the names of BCom (Hons) and MCom degrees were changed as BBA (Hons) and MBA respectively. The duration of the Honours course was increased from 3 to 4 years from the same session. Under a World Bank supported project, Professors of Business Studies, American Business School and local academicians jointly updated and reorganised the syllabus of BBA, MBA, MPhil and PhD programmes. Other components of the project were: teachers training, development of libraries, and support for writing textbooks. At present (2011), many subjects are taught in the Faculty of Business Studies. These are: Business Communication, Statistics, Business Mathematics, Micro and Macro Economics, Business Policy and Organisations, Business Management, Banking and Insurance, Project Appraisal, Human Resources Management, Entrepreneurship, Micro-credit, Management Information System, Tourism and Hospitality, Computer and E-commerce etc. In addition, study tour and internship programme are also included in the syllabus. Modern techniques, technology and methods are used to make the classes more interactive, effective and attractive. New books and journals, computer labs and education materials procured from both home and abroad, have raised the overall standard of education.
The Business Studies graduates passing out from local universities are quite capable of discharging responsibilities of various section of business administration. Field trips specially visit to mills and factories, large institutions and meeting with top bosses there help the students in acquiring first hand knowledge about business management and administration. The faculty members also take part in this programme to identify the problems facing the concerned organisations. They also interact with the management and the students to find out the solutions to those problems categorically. But the scope of such interactive sessions is still very limited, which should be opened up further.
The Bureau of Business Research, a body under the Faculty of Business Studies, Dhaka University was set up in 1972 to conduct research on business and financial issues. The Bureau regularly publishes research monographs. The Faculty of Business Studies and departments under the faculty of all universities also conduct research programmes and the research findings are also published in specialised journals. Beside, most of the leading colleges of the country offer pre-graduate and post graduate courses in Business Education despite inadequate teachers, books and journal. Business Education is being taught in 52 private universities of the country having limitations like public colleges.
Business Studies is a professional and occupational education. Institute of Chartered Accountants and Institute of Cost and Management Accountants are engaged in producing professonal accountants. bangladesh institute of bank management and various training institutes of Bank are imparting Business Education to the bankers while the bangladesh insurance academy trains up insurance executives to increase their skill. Other organisations imparting knowledge on Business Education and Management include: Bangladesh Institute of Management, bangladesh open university and Bangladesh Technical Education Board.
The development of Business Education in Bangladesh can be considered from a different perspective. In the past, it was thought that meritorious students and wards of rich family were not interested to learn this discipline. But it has been observed during the past two decades that the conception was not accurate. At present, acquiring knowledge and degree in Business Studies is recognised as one of the best professions. Brilliant students and children from rich families are coming forward along with general students for studying Business Education. [AHM Habibur Rahman]