Mid-Main & IUBAT FAQ

Mid-Main Community Health Centre and the International University of Business Agriculture and Technology

Why is Mid-Main Community Health Centre involved in supporting this project?

Mid-Main Community Health Centre (www.midmain.net/) is sponsoring this international project as a means to contribute to global development. Several of the Canadian volunteers on this project have also served on the Mid-Main Board of Directors. As a progressive service provider, Mid-Main wants to share its successful experiences and support international efforts for health improvement and economic development.

Why are you working with IUBAT?

Recently many new private post-secondary institutions have opened; some are able to deliver quality instruction. Established in 1991, the International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (www.iubat.edu/) in Dhaka, is one of the better institutions. The founder of IUBAT, Dr. Alimullah Miyan, is an exceptional leader with a commitment to social justice and equality of access for poorer students.

Canadian volunteers are supporting this project at the invitation of our partner in Bangladesh, IUBAT. We have made contact with many nurses, doctors and health officials in Bangladesh, in addition to members of the Bangladeshi community in Vancouver– all are supportive of this project.

About the College of Nursing at IUBAT

What are you actually doing in this project?

We are helping to develop a nursing program that prepares students at the baccalaureate level (BSN) through English-language instruction. We have developed the curriculum for all courses as we proceed and we aim to share this resource with other projects.

We have held workshops for local educators and nursing leaders, as well as IUBAT nursing students. By reaching out to nurse educators in Bangladesh, we are ensuring our efforts have greater impact.

What do the students learn?

This is a four-year BSN program and students must have completed higher secondary school to enter. Typically, students take longer than the requisite eleven semesters to complete, due to their limited English language skills and weak secondary education.

In their first year, students take general courses in professional practice, basic sciences, English and computer sciences. This provides an opportunity to associate with students in other faculties, as well as providing a broad exposure to professional development issues. Introductory nursing skills are developed in the IUBAT Nursing Skills Lab. The schedule is designed to be flexible during the first three semesters, as students adjust to university life and the rigorous academic expectations at IUBAT.

Second year courses generally focus on care of the acutely ill adult and introduce the students to clinical practice. A series of three courses in Medical-Surgical Nursing develops students’ understanding of human responses to challenging health conditions. Classroom theory and case studies are reinforced with practice in acute care hospital settings. These courses are complemented with additional theoretical work in Pathophysiology and in-depth study of Nutrition and Pharmacology.

In the third and fourth years, students take specialty courses, such as Maternal-Child Health, Population Health, Community Health and Mental Health. Again, a combination of teaching-learning and practical experiences helps to reinforce student understanding. Electives and required courses in research and practice management complete the senior year timetable.

Clinical practica are coordinated with theoretical content to meet specific course objectives. Practice settings are varied, providing experience in facilities, such as general hospitals, specialty hospitals, training institutes, clinics, orphanages, public health agencies, physicians’ offices and community-based organizations. Several community resources may be used in any given course to provide a range of experiences. The final year internship experience is an integral requirement for graduation, providing practical work experience in realistic settings. In a larger scope, partnerships are formed between the College of Nursing and the local community. This collaboration serves as a sharing educational atmosphere for both the nursing students and the experienced staff in these settings.

How was this program conceived?

IUBAT developed a draft curriculum for the BSN program in the mid-1990s. The program of studies was approved by the Bangladesh Nursing Council in 2003. The Canadian volunteers were invited by the Vice-Chancellor of IUBAT in 2004 to assist in getting the program started.

Why are you teaching the students in English?

There are many English-language medium primary schools and secondary schools in Bangladesh, reflecting parental preference.

Very few modern nursing textbooks are available in Bangla. In addition, some students are from Nepal and do not speak Bangla.

English is becoming the international language for professional development. IUBAT is entirely an English-language institution. Students are pre-tested for English comprehension and take additional instruction before they begin their nursing courses. We adjust nursing courses and the pace of instruction as students develop language skills.

What are the tuition fees for nursing students?

BScN students at IUBAT are charged about $C365 (22,000 taka) per full semester. Typically, 11 semesters are required for completion. There are numerous scholarships (especially for female students) and loan or tuition deferral schemes to support poor students. Some of the students in the College of Nursing are supported by faculty members or our project volunteers. If you would like to find out more about supporting a nursing student, please contact us.

Where does the funding come from to support this program?

IUBAT pays for the guest house rent, local transportation, as well as all costs of running the university, such as library, registration, computer lab, classroom maintenance and so on. We raise funds for the project privately and receive no government support. Volunteers pay their own travel costs. Canadian volunteers fund-raise to cover the costs of the coordinator stipend, minor equipment and supplies, guest house furnishing and amenities, like cable TV and internet, as well as food for volunteers.

How will this project be sustainable?

Since the project was initiated in 2004, we have envisaged the Bangladesh Health Project requiring intensive support from volunteers for about ten years. We expect to build student enrolment and tuition revenue to cover basic program costs during this period.

By about 2015, modest on-going support will be required for further development. The program will then be staffed entirely by IUBAT faculty with international volunteers participating in student enrichment activities, faculty professional development and research.

As an educational project, there is an element of built-in sustainability. If for any reason the program ends, all the graduates possess professional qualification for continued practice.

Is the IUBAT College of Nursing program officially recognized?

According to the Non-Government Universities Act (1992), IUBAT is a non-governmental university and all its programs are approved by the Chancellor of IUBAT upon advice of the Ministry of Advanced Education. (By law, the President of Bangladesh is Chancellor of all non-government universities.)

Upon successful completion of all the university requirements, IUBAT nursing students will graduate with the officially-recognized degree, Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

The main responsibility of the Bangladesh Nursing Council (BNC) is to register eligible graduate nurses, not to “approve” schools of nursing. However, the BNC does review new programs and makes recommendations; this process has been successfully completed for IUBAT (2000-04).

What about affiliation with other projects?

We have a formal affiliation with Mid-Main Community Health Centre. (This also means that we can issue tax-deductible receipts for donations.)

We have a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Victoria and Vancouver Community College.