I was given the opportunity to visit ULAB-CSD during an internship-related field trip in Dhaka. At the time, I had yet to formulate my idea for my thesis but nonetheless I felt a strong desire to return to Dhaka as a visiting researcher at CSD. As my internship at a Sustainable Development Consultancy in Denmark came to an end, an outline to a thesis idea began to take form and through correspondence with Dr. Samiya Selim, I was able to get reflections on the ideas that I had, coupled with some very valuable advice on fieldwork and logistics in general.
My research focuses on aspects of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), a form of education which of late has gained remarkable interest in the international community: phrased as “the master key to development” it is considered to be the silver bullet to meet expectations of economic growth worldwide. Bangladesh, partaking in the global trend of recognizing TVET for its instrumental values, also explicitly counts TVET as a key component in moving towards its goal of becoming a middle-income country. Recent years has seen an increase in programs aiming to increase skilled TVET graduates coupled with an increased focus of including more women in these programs. Through the capability framework I am aiming to capture what characterizes young Bangladeshi female TVET students’ educational goals and which actors they perceive as a potential support or obstacle in pursuing these. As such, it enables my analysis to depart from the common lens of human capital theory towards an analysis where the objective and agency of the learner is put at the forefront.
Through the vast network of Dr. Samiya Selim and CSD, I was put in contact with key experts on the issue which allowed for much appreciated feedback throughout my time in Dhaka. Moreover, I got invited to numerous conferences and networking events, which allowed a broader understanding of the education system and the wider situational context. In addition, CSD put me in contact with the most professional and sharp young interpreters, who quickly understood my style of interviewing and the objective of my study.
I would highly recommend the Visiting Researcher program at CSD ULAB to others studying or conducting research in this part of Asia.