Empowering students to take brand Bangladesh to the next level

In conversation with Manas Singh, CEO of STS Group

STS Group is leading a revolution in the education sector of Bangladesh. With DPS STS School, International School Dhaka (ISD), Glenrich International School, and Universal College Bangladesh (UCB), four high quality educational institutions are being operated under this umbrella. We sat down with the CEO of STS Group, Manas Singh, for a chat about what they’ve done so far, and what they plan to do in the future.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Manas Singh: I started my career as an engineer. My initial career has been technical. I was working for Dell computers in Hyderabad, India, and then in Ireland. After many years, I got the opportunity to work in the education industry. Eventually, I got this opportunity to lead the education sector vertical in Bangladesh, which is STS Group. It’s not easy to go to a new country and settle down. The idea of starting our own brand of schools, I thought, was a good opportunity for me.

In your role, can you share some observations you’ve had about Bangladesh’s education sector?

MS: We typically see good Cambridge schools in Bangladesh. I think the issue is not with the schools. The issue is whether we are upgrading ourselves based on the 21st century or what is globally happening. That’s where I see a big gap.

Today, our vision should be that if a parent is paying money to give their child a great education, the quality of education should be the same whether you are studying in Dhaka, or Delhi, or New York. Quality of education is a by-product of two things. One is great faculty, as a school is known for its teachers. The second part is whether you know what’s happening in the world right now and if you are incorporating those new things in your school. And that part is gravely missing.

With government schools, I feel like there is a huge opportunity for the government to invite private players like us to give some input. Teacher training is a big thing in public schools. The infrastructure is a question of money but teacher training is also a question of knowledge.

You mentioned how schools in Bangladesh struggle to keep up with what’s going on with the rest of the world. As STS Group is running multiple schools in Bangladesh at this point, what are you doing in those schools to fill that gap?

MS: So first of all, to understand there is a gap, you need to visit schools all over the world to understand what’s being done. I have that experience. For example, in Glenrich International School, we are focusing a lot on robotics. World is moving towards that landscape, ChatGPT is just the first part of it. No one knows what will happen in the next 5-10 years. So, if the student does not know base level robotics or base level artificial intelligence, it won’t work. How will you prepare that child for a global position in the future? Performing arts is a big area where, unless someone is very talented, people don’t focus. We are focusing there. The ABRSM, a Royal School of Music program, is with us.

Then, we introduced skating, which I didn’t see in any school in Bangladesh. Our thought was to introduce a sport which is beyond just cricket and soccer. We are focusing on swimming. A lot of moral based education is also being given which I think is missing.

What is the vision of STS Group going forward? What’s happening with schools as well as with higher education?

MS: On the school side, we are planning to open more Glenrich schools all over the country. We are exploring Sylhet, Chattogram, and we are also looking at Dhanmondi and Purbachal, too. We have a vision of having at least three to four schools in the next five years. It’s a very aggressive plan, but I believe that with the love and trust people have shown us, we can take it to the next level.

In ISD, which is our premium IB brand, the offering is totally different. We are looking at bringing top programs from around the world. We have introduced Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy and Rohit Sharma Cricket Academy. We are in talks with some top badminton and tennis academies. We have introduced a Columbia read and write program.
On the higher education side, in Universal College Bangladesh (UCB), we already have a course post from Australia and Malaysia which is Monash. We also have a course from LSE, one of the top universities of the UK and the world. Now we are focusing on getting one more UK partner. We are looking at a Canadian partner too.

With all your plans and ambitions, how do you see the larger Bangladeshi education sector reacting to these efforts made by STS Group?

MS: When something new is being done, people learn from it and overall, I see the quality of the entire education sector increasing. We are trying to change the mindset. Who will be the beneficiaries of this? The people of Bangladesh. More schools, more colleges, doing better things will give more benefit to the students. Our vision is that a student of Bangladesh who graduates from a good school or university should be able to work anywhere in the world. This should not be a difference between a university graduate of Singapore versus a graduate of India or Bangladesh.

What contributions does STS group expect from its students to the world and society at large?
MS: We want to ensure that ultimately all these things that we are doing, this should lead to a situation that wherever the student goes, they should be able to say that they are a proud Bangladeshi. The person hopefully contributes back to the country. Our vision is to give them all these learnings, that they are employable everywhere, but they take brand Bangladesh to that level. If people do well outside, who gets the most appreciation? It’s the country.

Published in: The Daily Star

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Prof. Hew Gill

Pro Vice-Chancellor

Ms. Aura Rahman

Lecturer, Biology

Aura Rahman

Lecturer

Aura Rahman is a lecturer at Universal College Bangladesh. She is also acting as a coordinator for the Monash University Foundation Year program. Aura attained her bachelor’s (BSc in Biomedical Sciences) from University College London, United Kingdom. She then completed her master’s (Msc in Biotechnology) from North South University. Her research interest lies in the field of genomic epidemiology of infectious diseases. Her contribution in several local and international research projects have led to publications in several highly ranked peer-reviewed journals including BMC Genomics, Nature Scientific Reports, Science and FEMS Microbiology Letters.

Mr. Md Kamal Hossain

Lecturer, Mathematics

Md. Kamal Hossain

Lecturer

Mr. Kamal Hossain is working as a Lecturer at Universal College Bangladesh. He completed B.Sc. in Mathematics and M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Dhaka. He is an M Phil researcher at BUET. His research interests are mathematical modeling in biology, machine learning programming, etc. Some of his research papers are in the pipeline for publication in international journals. He is a lifetime member of the Dhaka University Mathematics Alumni Association.

Ms. Ambreen Zaman

Adjunct Senior Lecturer, CSE

Ambreen Zaman

Senior Lecturer

Ambreen Zaman is a senior lecturer with eight years of experience in various local universities in Bangladesh. She is currently pursuing a PhD degree at the University of Bremen, Germany. She obtained a master’s degree in information technology from the Institute of Information Technology at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her research papers have been published in national and international journals and conferences. The area of research she is most interested in is human-computer interaction.

Mr. Dewan Muhammad Nur -A Yazdani

Senior Lecturer, Global Studies

Dewan Muhammad Nur -A Yazdani

Senior Lecturer

Dewan Yazdani is a Senior Lecturer at the Universal College Bangladesh. He is also acting as the MONASH University Foundation Program Coordinator. Dewan attained his MSc (Research Methods) from Liverpool Hope University, United Kingdom. He also has a master’s degree in international business from the University of Wollongong, Australia. His research interest lies in the field of Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Higher Education Marketing, Service Marketing, Public Health, and Consumer Behavior. Dewan Yazdani also published in leading local and international academic journals such as PLOS ONE, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Health Security, Annals of Global Health, Journal of Advanced Research in Economics and Administrative Sciences.

Ms. Tazin Islam Nova

Adjunct Lecturer-Law, UCB

Mr. Monirul Hasan

Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Computer Science

Ms. Nahida Parvin

Lecturer, Business Studies

Nahida Parvin

Lecturer

Nahida Parvin is a lecturer at Universal College Bangladesh. Before joining UCB, she worked as a lecturer of accounting and marketing at Ahsanullah University of Science & Technology (AUST). Nahida has received her MBA & BBA degrees, majoring in Accounting & Information Systems, from the University of Dhaka. She has been the recipient of “Dean’s Honor Award 2018”, awarded by the University of Dhaka. Currently, Nahida is on study leave. She is pursuing her second master’s degree in “Quantitative Finance & Data Science” at Oklahoma State University, USA. Her research interest lies in the field of ESG accounting, ESG finance, circular economy, and data analytics in the field of accounting and finance. Apart from being a lecturer, Nahida also served as a program coordinator for Monash University Foundation Year program at UCB from August 2021 to May 2023.

Ms. Habiba Kibria

Lecturer, Marketing

Habiba Kibria

Senior Lecturer

Ms Habiba Kibria is a working as a Senior Lecturer at Universal College Bangladesh. She completed her Masters in Marketing from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and holds a double degree in Bachelor of Marketing and Human Resource Management from North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has been in academia throughout her career- from being a Lecturer to a Student Councilor to a Country Manager for a foreign university. Her area of interest lies in customer service management, consumer behavior and digital marketing. She holds the Duke of Edinburgh award at Broze level and has been awarded as one of the best project coordinators during her high school community service days. She was an active volunteer at Jaago Foundation and participated in multiple fundraising events. She was also the official Master of Ceremony for her university both in Bangladesh and in Australia.

Ms. Farin Daulah

Lecturer, English

Farin Daulah

Senior Lecturer

Ms Farin Daula is working as a senior lecturer at UCB. She is a trained education professional from the UK and has a degree in Education and English from University of Surrey, UK. She also holds a Master’s in management from Westminster University, UK. Ms Farin received her teacher training at the department of Continuing Education, University of Oxford, UK. Ms Farin is the founder of the education platform, One Circle. She is a certified mental health first aider and a life coach. She has extensive experience in the life-skills education sector, working in various schools and non-profit organizations in London and Dhaka. She is the author of the Tara and Joy children’s book series. The first book of this series called “Tara and Joy: Body Safety” is available now both in Bengali and English version.

Ms. Sumaiya Binte Kabir

Senior Lecturer, Business Studies

Sumaiya Binte Kabir

Senior Lecturer

Sumaiya Binte Kabir is working as a senior lecturer at Universal College Bangladesh. She is also acting as the Monash College MCD of Business Program Coordinator. Sumaiya has attained both her BSS and MSS degree majoring in Economics from University of Dhaka. She has achieved the Bangladesh Bank Governor’s Scholarship for academic excellence. She is also actively involved in voluntary work in different animal welfare organizations. Her research interest lies in the field of public economics, environmental economics, development economics, consumer behavior and higher education marketing.

Dr. Sadia Afreen

Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Dr. Sadia Afreen

Assistant Professor

Dr. Sadia Afreen is an assistant professor at the Universal College Bangladesh (UCB). She completed BSc in Chemical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET). She obtained her PhD from the University of Nottingham and then completed her postdoctoral research at Nanjing University in the field of chemical engineering. Her research expertise is in applied chemistry and nanotechnology. She has significant publications in her areas of research, and she contributed as a journal reviewer to prestigious journals in her fields of expertise. She earned the Postgraduate Student Teachers Certificate during her postgraduate study at the University of Nottingham. She worked in the hall committee, conference committee at the University of Nottingham; teaching and learning subcommittee, and program coordinator in the Monash College MCD program at UCB. She worked in industry and had several engineering and research training at home and abroad.

Prof. Muhammad Ismail Hossain

Dean of Academic Affairs, Monash & LSE Program

Prof. Muhammad Ismail Hossain

Professor & Dean of Academic Affairs

Muhammad Ismail Hossain is a Professor and Dean of Academic Affairs, Monash & LSE Program at Universal College Bangladesh. He is on leave from his earlier appointment as Professor of Marketing at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Prof. Hossain received his Ph.D. in consumer behavior from Monash University, Australia. He is an MBA from the University of Dhaka and also has a Master’s degree in International Business from the University of Melbourne, Australia. His research interests lie in the fields of tourism, consumer behavior, and supply chain management. He is one of the co-authors of the book Social Media Storms: Empowering Leadership beyond Crisis Management published by Routledge. He has more than 50 publications including books, research monographs, journal articles, newspaper articles, and keynote papers. His work has been published in many international high-impact journals such as the Journal of Supply Chain Management, Journal of Travel Research, Tourism Recreation Research, Current Issues in Tourism, International Journal of Tourism Research, and Journal of City, Culture, and Society among others. He is an editorial board member of the Journal of Travel Research, the leading tourism journal in the world. He has received a notable amount of external research funding locally as well as internationally as part of various international and local research groups. The value of such local and international funding is BDT 1.06 crores and USD 827,873 respectively. As a consultant, he worked for government projects, not-for-profits, and for-profit local and international organizations.