Khulna University of Engineering & Technology has a background of historical significance. Although this institution has completed an era as university, its laying foundation began 49 years ago. This university was established in 1967 as ‘Khulna Engineering College’ under the University of Rajshahi. But during the period of liberation war the development activities of the Erstwhile Engineering College was suspended. After the Independence of Bangladesh in the year of 1971, the development works were started again in swing full. Overcoming all the constraints, the academic activities of the institute were virtually started from June 03, 1974 as per special direction of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Despite some limitations, the college was affiliated as a faculty of Engineering under Rajshahi University. The academic and the administrative activities were controlled by the university authority and the Ministry of Education, respectively. The physical infrastructures were constructed by the public works department, while teacher recruitment was accomplished through Public Service Commission. Owing to multiple authorities, the co-ordination became complicated and hence the college authority faced many problems to run it smoothly. Even the admission of new students was stopped in one session due to the scarcity of teachers. In these circumstances, through a collective effort organized by the students, teachers, officers, staff and professional bodies, the four Engineering Colleges of the country including Khulna Engineering College were converted into autonomous Institutes named as Bangladesh Institute of Technology (BIT) from July 01, 1986.
In a new mood with a lot of hope and enthusiasm, BIT, Khulna started its journey to overcome the existing limitations to make this institute as the ‘Centre of Excellence’ in the south western region of Bangladesh. However, the nation’s demand to develop engineering education in real sense was not fulfilled. Though BIT was converted to an autonomous Institution, the authority failed to take decisions regarding administrative, financial and academic activities due to complicated systems. Hence all BITs started a massive campaign to materialize the demand for proper autonomy as the public university enjoys. However, finally in order to fulfil the aspirations of the people and to suit to the demand of the Modern age, the government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh decided to convert and upgrade these four BITs into universities of Engineering & Technology. Accordingly BIT, Khulna became Khulna University of Engineering & Technology with the other BITs as per act passed by the National Parliament effective from September 01, 2003.
As Khulna Engineering College, this institute started its academic journey in June 03, 1974 with 120 students and 9 teachers. There were only three departments: Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Mechanical Engineering with initially 40 students in each department. There was only one female student at the time of admission in the 1st batch. Later on, another female student was transferred here and the total number of students became 136. After two years, the intake of students was increased to 60 for each Department and it continued for a long time. At the beginning, there was only one hostel, presently named as Fazlul Haque Hall and there was no canteen.
Later on, a temporary canteen was established at the Boiler House of Mechanical Engineering Department. Within this time, the construction works of the administrative, library and the residential buildings of the teachers, officers & staff were almost completed. There was no pavement road in the campus, not even any direct connective road from Khulna-Jessore Highway to the campus. The existing road was constructed first in 1978. Though the academic activities were started, there were no laboratories and so the practical classes of 1st year of Mechanical Engineering Department were used to be held at BUET and the practical classes of 2nd year of Mechanical Engineering Department at Rajshahi Engineering College. The practical classes of Civil Engineering Department and Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department were used to be held at the campus. At the beginning of academic session there was no officer posted in Engineering College. There were only 10 third Class staff and 3 fourth Class staff. The construction works were done as based on the previous plan. Four hostels were constructed for the male students, but there was no hostel for female students. The female students used to reside at the first floor of the present primary school building. The shortage of teachers during this period made it difficult to fulfill the requirements of the students. Since there were no experienced teachers then, the authority could not maintain the standard of education. Finally, total 715 students (1974-1986) obtained the B. Sc. Engineering Degree from Khulna Engineering College. Despite all the constraints at the first period of this institute, the passing students proved their excellence both at home and abroad by dint of their merit, quality and wisdom.
During the regime of KEC, Professor Dr. M. N. Azam (1969-1972) and Dr. Samsuddin Ahmed (1972-1973) were the Project Directors and Professor Haider Azam (1973-1974) was the 1st Principal. After him, Professor Dr. Abul Kalam Azad (1974-1979 and (1980-1982) and Professor M. A. Hannan (1979-1980 and 1982-1986) were the Principals of Khulna Engineering College.
After 17 years of BIT, Khulna, with the other three engineering colleges of the country, Khulna Engineering College was converted into Bangladesh Institute of Technology (BIT), Khulna through an ordinance. After the conversion, its administrative, academic and financial power as well as management changed altogether. Hon’ble President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was the ‘Visitor’ of all BITs’. An office named as Council of BITs’ was also established in Dhaka and the Minister for Education was the ‘Chairman’ of the Council as an Ex-Officio. There was a Vice-Chairman of the Council of BITs’ as the executive Head of the Council. Board of Governors (BOG) was the highest authority of each BIT and the BOG conducted all the official works as required through its meeting. In each BIT there was a Director as the Executive Head of the institute, appointed by the Hon’ble President.
The Chairman of BOG for each BIT was nominated by the Ministry of Education and he chaired all the authorities such as BOG, Selection Committee, etc. except the Academic Council. The Director of BIT was the Chairman of Academic Council. Despite the declaration of autonomy in the formation, BITs did not enjoy it due to the absence of required act, rules and regulations. It only enjoyed the academic autonomy. In the Engineering departments, M. Sc. Engineering and Ph. D. course were started in 1994 while M. Phil. and Ph. D. degrees were started in the departments of basic science in 2000. However, BIT, Khulna offered M. S. Eng., M. Phil. and Ph. D. Degree in the year of 2000, 2004 and 2005, respectively for the first time. The first new department named as Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) was started with 60 students in 1999 with 60 students. The government of Bangladesh took special consideration for the expansion and further development of BIT, Khulna and sanctioned Tk. 101 crore in the year of 2000 for the duration of 7 years. Number of students, teachers, officers and staff were increased to a great extent. Number of intake students in the Departments of CE, EEE and ME was increased to 120. In 2001, two new departments namely Industrial Engineering and Management (IEM) and Electronics & Communication Engineering (ECE) were opened at under graduate level. In the year of 2006, 30 students got admitted in under graduate course of Industrial & Production Engineering under (IEM) Dept. In this period, the number of halls for accommodation of the students became five. The halls were named as Fazlul Haque Hall, Lalon Shah Hall, Khanjahan Ali Hall, Dr. M. A. Rashid Hall and Rokeya Hall. In addition to this, the government sanctioned grants for the construction of 2 new Halls. The construction work of the new academic building was completed (1st phase) in 2005. The construction work of Water Treatment Plant was also completed in the year of 2001.
Total 2563 students obtained B. Sc. Engineering degree during the period of BIT, out of which 913, 921 and 729 students were from the Departments of CE, EEE and ME respectively. During the period of BIT, Khulna, two Convocations were held in the year of 1999 and 2003. Prof. M. A. Hannan (1986-1997), Prof. G. M. Habibullah (1997-1998), Prof. Dr. M. A. Samad (1998-2002) and Prof. Dr. Md. Nawsher Ali Morol (2002-2003) were the Directors of BIT, Khulna.
In 2003 Bangladesh Institute of Technology (BIT), Khulna was converted and upgraded to Khulna University of Engineering & Technology through an Act passed in the National parliament of Bangladesh. Consequently, the council of BITs was abolished and the University started to be guided by University Grants Commission (UGC) of Bangladesh. Like other universities, it requires the approval, co-operation and co-ordination of the UGC, Ministry of Education and Planning Commission in decision making and developement. After the conversion into University, the Director of the BIT started to act as the Vice-Chancellor according to the Act of the university until and unless the new Vice-Chancellor was being appointed. At last after 11 months, on July 29, 2004, Prof. Dr. Ehsanul Hoque of Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET) was given the charge of Vice-Chancellor and remained in the position till August 27, 2006. After him, Professor Dr. Md. Nawsher Ali Morol, Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department became Vice-Chancellor and continued till July 20, 2010. Next to him, Dr. Muhammed Alamgir, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering was appointed as the Vice-Chancellor on 21 July 2010. After completing his first term successfully, Professor Alamgir has been continuing for the second term as the Vice-Chancellor since 3 August 2014 and completed his second term on 02 August 2018. After him, Dr. Quazi Sazzad Hossain, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering was appointed as the Vice-Chancellor on 13 August 2018. After upgradation as University, the existing rules and regulations related to academic, administration, financial and development activities were revised accordingly. Moreover, a new organogram was made for this University and it got final approval by the Minipstry of Education in the year of 2011. This organogram considers the academic degree and non-degree programmes, research, development, structural plan up to 2018-2019.
In the new University, new departments, Institute, and necessary infrastructures are being started and constructed. At present, there are three faculties, three Institutes and eighteen Departments. In future, one faculty, one institute and three more departments will be opened by June 2019 as planned.
The existing Faculties of this university are Faculty of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Establishment of a new Faculty named as Faculty of Science & Engineering is now under process. In the year of 2007, two Post Graduate Departments of Energy Technology (ET) (now renamed as Energy Science & Engineering) and Bio-Medical Engineering (BME) started their activities by getting students admitted in Post Graduate levels. The Institute of Information and Communication Technology (IICT), The Institute of Disaster Management (IDM) and The Institute of Environment and Power Technology (IEPT) were opened in 2010, 2014 and 2016, respectively. After this institute upgraded into KUET in the year of 2003, four new undergraduate departments were started; these are Urban and Regional Planning (URP) and Leather Engineering (LE) in 2010, Textile Engineering (TE) in 2012 and Building Engineering and Construction Management (BECM) in 2014 with the intake of 60 students in each department in every year. Moreover, in 2014-15 session, Bio-Medical Engineering department has extended its academic activities in undergraduate level with the intake of 30 students in every year. The Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) department at KUET started its journey in May, 2016 under the faculty of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The department currently offers Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in engineering degree and has an intake of 60 students per year. The Architecture department of KUET is very new and started its academic journey in February 2017 with 40 students. Two more new departments, namely Mechatronics Engineering and Chemical Engineering are also opened. The total number of students at undergraduate course has been raised to 1065 for admission in the first year and this will be further increased to 1385. At present the total number of students is 5934 in which the number of students in undergraduate and postgraduate course are 4834 and 1100, respectively. Presently, 320 Teachers, 132 Officers, 292 staff are in service, which is planned to be increased by 2018-2019 to 7700 students, 618 teachers, 216 officers and 728 staff. Research activities have also been increased more than ever before. During this period Ph. D. Students, M. Phil. students, M. Sc. Engineering students including under graduate students have obtained their degrees. In KUET, convocation was held three times in 2006, 2012 and 2018 to award degree by the Hon’ble Chancellor of this University.
The opening of new departments demands the infrastructural developments as well. The governmental agencies like University Grants Commission (UGC), Ministry of Education, and Planning Commission are working together with university authorities for necessary development of resources and infrastructure. Presently, a mega projects under the Ministry of Education is going on. Besides, the Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) financed by World Bank has been awarded for this university through HEQEP of UGC and Ministry of Education (MoE). These projects mainly contributed to the development of university by widening automation and enhancing the academic and research activities.
The ongoing development activities for the infrastructure of academic and research facilities are being programed with the demand and necessity of the nation. In the meantime, the central library has been upgraded and shifted to the new academic building to provide more space and attractive reading environment. Central Library has recently been fully automated for the first time among the Public Universities of Bangladesh.
A good-looking Main Gate Complex with modern architectural concept, the Great Liberation war Memorial Monument “Durbar Bangla”, nearly seven hundred seated Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall, the construction work of the extension up to 4th floor of the new Academic Building has also been completed while the construction work of fifth floor is going on. Moreover, the construction works of modern Medical Centre having more facilities, Guest House-cum-Club Building, High Voltage Lab, Leather Engineering Building, a new Block of Rokeya Hall up to first floor with a Utility Bhaban, four-storied Residential Building for Senior Teachers and Officers and the extension of Administrative Building up to first floor have been completed recently.
Moreover, the construction works of Students Welfare Centre cum Central Cafeteria, Shaheed Minar, URP building, extension of Civil and Mechanical building and third floor of Planning & Engineering Building have been completed recently. The university authority is also planning to renovate Science Building Gallery, Auditorium, Campus roads and many other old buildings. The playground of the university has been prepared and extended further. An international standard cricket pitch has been constructed for the students. Janata Bank and Dutch Bangla Bank have opened their ATM booths respectively. The construction work of new office Building for Janata Bank has been completed adjacent to the post office building. It is already in the plan to construct a temple for the religious activities of Hindu Communities.
In course of time, Khulna University of Engineering and Technology already has become one of the leading public universities of Bangladesh giving special emphasis in the Engineering and Technological Education and research. KUET is well known for offering very high quality educational, research and developmental programs in the major disciplines of engineering as well as basic sciences. It has a sober objective to achieve excellence in quality education, research and progression to address the present needs of the country as well as the South-Western region to make it as the "Centre of Excellence".