Public univs in Bangladesh tight-fisted when it comes to research

Salaries, allowances eat up three-fourths of their annual budget

Mohiuddin Alamgir | Published: 01:10, Jun 30,2018 | Updated: 01:58, Jun 30,2018

 
 

Public universities earmark only two to five per cent of their total budget for research when bulk of it, almost three-fourths, goes to salaries, allowances and pensions of the teaching and other staff.
This low allocation for research is hampering creation, acquisition and dissemination of knowledge.
Spending on the salaries and allowances in public universities is high as the universities continue to recruit people, even teachers, beyond their required in many cases, university teachers say.
Chittagong University on June 28 announced budget for the 2018-19 fiscal, keeping less than one per cent allocation for research.
Jahangirnagar University is also scheduled to propose its budget for the same financial year, keeping less than two per cent allocation for research.
The JU authorities, in the face of protest by a group of teachers, postponed the senate session where the budget was scheduled to be passed.
Dhaka University budget for 2018-19, proposed on June 27, allocated only 4.94 per cent for research while Shahjalal University of Science and Technology’s proposed budget for the same fiscal year has only two per cent for research.
Chittagong University vice-chancellor Professor Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury and Jahangirnagar University acting comptroller Mosanul Kabir both said that their universities spent 70 to 75 per cent of their total budget for salary, allowance and pension of the teaching and other staff.
Dhaka University has allocated 73 per cent of its budget for salary, allowances and pension.
The budget for outgoing 2017-18 of Islamic University, Agricultural University
and other universities were more or less similar, as per University Grants Commission officials.
Dhaka University professor emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury said that so meagre an allocation for research in public universities was discouraging. ‘It hampers research activities,’ he said.
Dhaka University pro-vice chancellor Professor Muhammad Samad said that they allocated the amount for research based on what they got from the University Grants Commission.
Dhaka University’s Centre for Budget and Policy director Mohammed Abu Eusuf said that UGC did not provide enough money for research. ‘A university should allocate at least 10 to 15 per cent of its budget for research,’ he
suggested.
UGC chairman Professor Abdul Mannan, however, denied the allegation of inadequate budget for research.
He rather said, ‘In some cases we have seen that universities fail to spend money allocated for research. Some universities do not have the capacity to spend the money.’
‘Beside the university budget, there is scope for teachers to do research with grants from UGC but we do not get qualified people to take that the grants,’ Mannan said.
Chittagong University announced a Tk 329.50 crore budget for the 2018-19 fiscal with Tk 2 crore for research.
Jahangirnagar University was scheduled to place Tk 234 crore budget for the 2018-19 fiscal, earmarking Tk 2 crore for research.
At about 4:30pm, the university authorities postponed the senate meeting as pro-Awami League teachers under the banner of Bangabandhur Adarsha O Pragatishil Shikkhak Samaj held protests against the senate session which they alleged violated the ‘university act’.
The university treasurer, Sheikh Monzurul Huq, refused to make any comments.
The university’s philosophy department associate professor, Rayhan Rayine, said, ‘The foundation of a university is research but the allocation for the task is too small for any quality outcome.’
Dhaka University authorities on Wednesday announced a Tk 741.13 crore budget for the 2018-19 fiscal, keeping Tk 36 crote or 4.95 per cent allocation for research.
Shahjalal University of Science and Technology on Wednesday placed a budget of Tk 130.45 crore for the fiscal year 2018-19 with Tk 2.9 crore or 2.22 per cent of the total outlay for
research.
SUST has Tk 93.05 crore for salary, allowances and pension which is 71 per cent of the total budget. 
Islamic University announced Tk 114.20 crore for 2017-18 fiscal, keeping Tk 7.86 crore for education purpose. 

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