In the United Nationa’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Sanitation is one of the most important global agendas with the target of universal access to clean water and sanitation for all by the year 2030. This ambitious aim is an inevitable and most deserving as globally, 60% of people do not have access to safely-managed sanitation. 892 million people – 12% of the global population defecate in the open. More people have a mobile phone than a toilet. Globally, 2 million tons of sewage, industrial and agricultural waste is discharged into the world’s waterways. Water, sanitation and hygiene-related disease kills nearly 1 million people each year. In developing countries like Bangladesh as much as 80% of illness are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.
In the recent years, Bangladesh has achieved remarkable advancement to ensure safe drinking water, toilet for all and near-elimination of open defecation – reached to 1% in 2015. However, the Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) chain beyond containment – how accumulated waste is removed from on-site facilities, transported, treated and disposed of safely – is almost non-existent, with 97% of Faecal Sludge (FS) re-entering urban environment in the form of untreated wastewater. So, essentially, there is a strong need to improve FS treatment options, regulation and market stimulation of safe and professional FSM services. Bangladesh faces formidable challenges in the coming years in moving up the sanitation ladder.
Bangladesh has strong commitment to ensure sustainable sanitation for all by 2030 with the ambitious target of ‘No one to be left behind’. To fulfill this commitment, already there is an increased awareness & willingness to reform the sanitation system of Bangladesh. Besides this, awareness & willingness, another important task to complete this commitment is to intensify the academic, research, and training on sanitation. However, existing policies, regulatory frameworks, legal and institutional arrangements are the major concern for planning and implementation works for Bangladesh related to urban sanitation. In the meantime, Bangladesh Government has already finalized the Institutional Regulatory Framework (IRF) for Faecal Sludge Mangament (FSM). It is evident that highly commited professionals with sanitation background is essentially required to materialize the commitment of the government.
Recent reports confirm that (i) there is a lack of sanitation professionals in least developed and developing countries, (ii) the sanitation field has not been intentional about integrating a gender lens resulting in the fact that men by far outnumber women sanitation professionals, and (ii) that more (post)graduate centres for sanitation training are needed to make possible to achieve the SDGs. In order to fill-up such inherent gaps, IHE-Delft, the Institute for Water Education, the Netherlands, has recently launched Master of Science (M.Sc.)/ Graduate Professional Diploma Program (GPDG)/ OLC (Online Course) & OCC(On-campus Course) Program in Sanitation under GSGS (Global Sanitation Graduate School) framework with the finacial support received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation acknowledging the facts that Postgraduate professional education is one of key elements needed for the achievement of these goals. To create such professionals globally, specially, in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, GSGS program are designed to transfer into the potential Higher Educational Institutes through a project period from the year of 2019 to 2023 and beyond providing technical and financial support.
Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET), Khulna, Bangladesh is one of the leading and suitable educational institutions in Bangladesh as well as South-Asian Countries to exaggerate the academic program, research, and training on sanitation to fresh graduates, professionals and people having WASH background. To this endevour, KUET has been slected for the transfer of IHE-Delft based sanitation program for the peroid of 2019 to 2023. KUET has decided to offer M.Sc./GPDP/OLC/OCC in Sanitation through it’s Instiute of Disaster Management (IDM) from July 2019 in the framework of the project “Transfer of the new MSc Program in Sanitation to South Asia and Sub-Sharan Africa – Global Sanitation Graduate School (GSGS)”. In this journey another two leading universities from Bangladesh are also selected to offer these courses by SUST (Shahjalal Univrsity of Sciene & Technology), Sylhet through the Department of Civil & Envrionmental Engineering starting from next January 2020 and CUET (Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology), Chattogram through the Deaprtment of Civil Engineering starting from June 2020.Dr. Md. Khalekuzzaman, Assistant Professor of Civil Egineering, Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET), will organize this program in Bangladesh as the GSGS Program Coordinator.