Located about a kilometre and a half to the west of the Shalban Bihar in Cumilla, the Chowdhury Estate zone of Lalmai Hills was an uninhibited bushy area full of snakes, leeches and foxes, where people did not venture to out of fear only two decades ago.
However, presently, 2,700 students from across the country are availing education on engineering, medical technology, IT and business in CCN Polytechnic Institute, CCN University of Science and Technology, and CCN Model College, initiated by CCN Group focusing to provide skill-related education and produce skilled manpower.
In 2001, CCN Polytechnic Institute – the first private institution of technical education in the greater Cumilla region – started its journey with 29 students at Ramghatla in the city. Then, CCN Group established CCN University of Science and Technology in 2015.
Besides, the group has been providing skill development training under the SEIP (Skills for Employment Investment Program) project since 2018. At present, 200 employees and staff are employed here.
So far more than 3,000 students have passed from the polytechnic, and 96% of them have already been employed in various projects including Padma Bridge, Metrorail, Matarbari Power Station, and Dhaka-Chattogram Dual Gauge Railways.
Some of them are working in Singapore, Malaysia, the USA, Italy, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia.
CCN Group Founder Md Tariqul Islam Chowdhury said they started the polytechnic institute to transform the population into manpower. At first, people were not aware of it and many thought that less talented people come here to study. As a result, initially, there were very few students.
"That idea was proven wrong. Youths with technical education are being employed. At present, students from almost all districts are studying in the institution. It is inspiring for us that our students are working in different parts of the world and contributing to the economic prosperity of the country," he added.
Nurun Nahar, who received training on pathology from the polytechnic institute and is currently working in a private hospital, said, "We were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for our internship from where we learned a lot. It was truly inspiring for us."
Md Farooq Ahmed, the owner of a construction company in Cumilla, said, "In Bangladesh, there is a shortage of trained manpower against the growing demand of skilled manpower, both home and abroad. CCN Group is working to produce skilled manpower, which is commendable."
Since computers were first introduced in Bangladesh in the 1990s, Tariqul Islam Chowdhury realised the need for professional education in Bangladesh and planned to do something new.
At one stage he went to Bangalore in India to pursue a higher degree in computer science though he had to return to the country after eight months without completing his degree due to family reasons.
However, he extensively researched computers and wrote 42 books which were published by Bangladesh Technical Education Board, National Training and Research Academy for Multilingual Shorthand, National Curriculum and Textbook Board and other well-known government and non-government organisations.
He was an expert member in the technical sector of the Bangladesh government in modernising madrasa education. To connect the students with employers, he contacted reputed institutions of Bangladesh for placements and internships.
After accommodation facilities for students were introduced, students started to come from different parts of the country. The use of modern technology along with hands-on education fascinates them.
The polytechnic has civil, electrical, computer science, electronics, surveying, automobile, refrigeration and air conditioning, textile, garment design and pattern making, pathology, pharmacy, nursing and dentistry department.
The University of Science and Technology offers Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Civil Engineering programmes. Besides, graduation in BBA, MBA, LLB, LLM, Bengali, English, Economics and Mathematics has been introduced in the institute. However, students are more into engineering. At the university level, out of a total of 750 students, 400 students are admitted to the engineering departments.