Meeting with UGC Chairman regarding inclusion of ADR in the University Curriculum on 11 February 2020

Earlier today, BIAC team led by CEO Muhammad A. Rumee Ali met the Chairman of University Grants Commission of Bangladesh Professor Dr. Kazi Shahidullah at the UGC Bhaban, Agargaon. Ms. Noornahar Begum Shiuly, Deputy Secretary (Legal) (District and Sessions Judge) and Rubaiya Ehsan Karishma, Counsel BIAC also participated in the discussion.

Mr. Ali started discussions with the background on why ADR is important given the significant role FDI plays in economic growth. Referring to the data from the World Bank’s Doing Business Index Report of 2020, Bangladesh stands at 189 out of 190 economies in terms of Enforcing Contracts. Time, cost and quality of the Judicial process makes investors lose confidence as a result FDI influx is low. In addition, we are signatories to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include Quality Education (SDG 4), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8) and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16). ADR has been effectively implemented around the world and in most developed economies disputes are tried outside courts first and litigation is the last resort. Bangladesh laws have provision for ADR in quite a few legislation and is also a signatory to the New York Convention, however, the law courses in our universities do not have different types of ADR as part of the curriculum. Therefore, the awareness must start from classrooms and ADR should be included in the business and law courses so that the coming generation of practitioners can apply this knowledge in their profession.

Prof. Shahidullah appreciated the initiative and pointed out that usually regarding any changes in the curriculum the faculty members prepare a plan and proposal based on which the Members of UGC have a discussion and on approval, the decision is implemented. Also, in terms of law courses, the approval of the Bangladesh Bar Council is also needed.

Mr. Ali mentioned that we have already started conversations with the Bangladesh Bar Council and had a round table discussion with academicians last year. It was a unanimous recommendation that we get UGC on board to take this forward. It was suggested that we can have a seminar jointly to generate awareness and come up with a plan to include ADR in the university curriculum.