Where degree doesn’t matter

June 30, 2011

BAEC’s principal engr has no engineering certificate 
If you thought you needed an engineering degree to become an engineer, you are wrong.
To prove yourself wrong, join Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), one of the top research institutions in the country.
Aliuzzaman Sarder started his career at BAEC as a scientific assistant (SA)-II with an HSC degree in 1982. While continuing as a full-timer, he obtained a regular graduation degree (third class) in 1985 although service rules permit full-timers taking private degrees only.
However, rules mattered little for Aliuzzaman, and he was promoted to SA-I in 1988. Four years later, he got promoted to sub-assistant engineer despite service rules do not allow promotion to the post without a first class in diploma engineering.
He has no diploma degree, let alone a first class.
Between 1999 and 2005, he became an assistant engineer and a senior engineer. More was to follow: on May 26 this year, he was promoted to the post of principal engineer (equivalent to the rank of an associate professor) of BAEC.
Established in 1973, the BAEC works to develop nuclear technology for peaceful applications in the fields of food, agriculture, health, industry and environment. Its vision is to promote nuclear science and technology for peaceful uses of atomic energy for overall socio-economic development.
Aliuzzaman admitted to The Daily Star that he has no engineering or diploma degree.
“I’ve done AMIE [Associate Member of Institution of Engineers] from the Institute of Engineers Bangladesh. It’s equivalent to BSc degree,” he said.
But his is not an isolated case. At present, several top posts including those of some chief engineers and principal engineers are held by incompetent people, some of them promoted with Aliuzzaman in May, commission sources said.
Against this backdrop, frustration is mounting among the young scientists at the commission. Experts say this may result in a poor performance of researchers at a time when the government is giving top priority to nuclear power projects to be implemented and maintained by BAEC engineers and scientists.
“Such serious irregularities in promotion will trigger frustration among qualified professionals,” said a senior official of the commission requesting anonymity.
The official added that there are several officers who have doctorate degrees in nuclear science and engineering but they were not duly promoted.
Thanks to such practice, at least 10 brilliant officials left the organisation — seven of them settled abroad — in the last five years.
Early this month, a number of aggrieved officials have gone to the High Court seeking redress against non-promotion of competent officers.
BAEC Chairman Muzammel Haque defended Aliuzzaman’s case terming it a rarity.
“You won’t always get things as you expect,” he said.
He said 42 officers were promoted last month based on the recommendation by an evaluation committee.
Prof Naiyyum Choudhury, former chairman of the commission, said merit should come first in an organisation like BAEC.
Naiyyum, who served the commission for more than 30 years, said during his time 60 percent consideration was given to merit and the rest to experience for promotion. He does not know what is followed now.
“But there is no alternative to recognising merit,” he said, citing the example of Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) that has failed to deliver quality, as it did not value merit in running the institution.

-With The Daily Star input

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