Dr. Selima Akhter is the Chairman of Bangladesh Research Institute for Development (BRID). On February 15, 1968, Dr. Selima Akhter was born in the Jamalpur District (formerly a Subdivision) of the city. Her father Sujayat Ali Mia is eminent educationist of Jamalpur district, language warrior, late principal of Government Ashek Mahmud College.
Dr. Selima Akhter obtained her SSC in 1984 from Jamalpur Government Girls High School, HSC in 1986 from Government Ashek Mahmud College, BA (Honours) in 1989 and MA in 1990 from Institute of Social Welfare and Research (ISWR), University of Dhaka. In 2005, she is awarded for her M.Phil. degree from Dhaka University for her dissertation titled ‘Political Empowerment of Women: A review on 10 Union Parishad women members under Thakurgaon District’. She is also for her PhD degree from Dhaka University for her dissertation entitled ‘Women in NGOs: Opportunities and Challenges’.
As a creative organizer since childhood, she was associated with sports and cultural activities in school, college and university life. After completing her education, she started teaching in the college on social welfare. After arriving in Thakurgaon in 1996 through marriage, the socio-economic poverty of the women in the most northern backward region of Bangladesh, Mangakabilit, made her think deeply. She also organized wage and self-employment by training thousands of women in handicrafts and mozzarella cheese production to employ disadvantaged women through skill development training. Currently, the limited range of Mozzarella cheese initiative is nationally recognized and in total around one and a half thousand women are involved in the production and marketing of Mozzarella cheese.
Realizing the lack of quality education for the overall progress of this backward township, on January 23, 2001, with only 27 students, she established ‘Eco Pathshala’ on a small scale in Collegepara of Thakurgaon district town. She also expanded two branches of Eco Pathshala, one in Pirganj and another in Shibganj of Thakurgaon district at the upazila and union level to spread the light of education to the grass root level.
As a result of her hard work, talent, sacrifice, discipline and deep passion and compassion for education, Eco Pathshala became a well-known institution in the north-western region of Bangladesh within a few days of its establishment. She established Eco College in 2011 after crossing the primary and secondary branches of Eco Pathshala. She is serving as the founder principal of Eco Pathshala and Eco College.
The small Eco Pathshala and Eco College of Limited Gondi have been shifted to a modern building of about 9000 square feet surrounded by natural beauty and greenery without any government assistance.
Eco Pathshala and Eco College have become life institutions for the people of Thakurgaon district. The students of this educational institution, which has about two and a half thousand students, can get regular admission in various universities, medical colleges, and engineering colleges of the country for higher education.
It should be noted that the co-curriculum activities of Eco Pathshala and Eco College are widely appreciated across the country. Eco Pathshala & College, which has won first place in the National Day Display at Thakurgaon district level for 16 consecutive times, has won wide appreciation for the Education Week-2022 held at the national level.
In recognition of consistent success, quality teaching and effective role in education, the British Council presented her with the International School Award 2016-19 and recognized her as ‘Leading the Integration of International Learning in the School’.
It is to be noted that for the first time at the farm level in Bangladesh, she took the lead in ‘tulip flower production’ through eight marginal farmers in Tentulia upazila of Panchagarh district. Moreover, she is also one of the founders of Lokayan Life Diversity Museum. She also played a leading role in the construction of Aparajeya’71, the only memorial of the Liberation War in Thakurgaon district.
Dr. Selima Akhter is a prominent name in the northern marginal district of Thakurgaon in women development, education, literature, culture, research and social development. She has received awards from various organizations for her multifaceted activities.