Muhammad Fazli Ilahi, former vice-chancellor of Islamic University of Technology run by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation told New Age on Monday that degradation of morality was the major reason behind the ongoing unrest and culture of mistrust existing in the administrations of the universities.
Currently, the vice-chancellors, the teachers and the students gave priority to the pursuit of their own personal interests at first followed by the interest of the party and then the interest of the country, he said.
This self-serving attitude should be changed immediately at the level of decision-making and policymaking — from the grassroots level to the highest level of admin, the situation which was severely hampering the educational atmosphere must be improved, he added.
The former vice-chancellor said that the main objective of the universities was to educate the future generations who would be responsible for the development of the country.
‘The status of education in a country effects the future development of the country,’ he said.
He said that in the universities, along with education, the students must be taught that what was right and what was wrong in the context of the current social reality as these values would be necessary to run the country.
In past, before and after 1947, the university vice-chancellors and the teachers were very dedicated, like the teachers in the schools, he recalled.
‘They didn’t think much about themselves and parties very much, they cared seriously about the standard of education as well as the excellence of the universities,’ Muhammad Fazli Ilahi said.
In the 60s, BUET was not only excellent for it educational excellence but also the administrators at that time were talented and very much famous as they were also dedicated to their respective jobs.
He observed that currently the dedication degraded which caused a lot of problems for the teachers, the students and as well as for the country in general. The degradation in morality led students to do mischievous things, he added.
‘In this regard, the people, including the students must be taught moral values — those they should inculcate,’ he said and added that they should respect and love the country first, then they should be concerned about the party and at last they should think about themselves,’ he said.
‘However this hierarchy has been just made upside-down now and potentiality for the development of Bangladesh is not in focus now as our priority is not in the right order,’ he continued.
Citing an example from a Farsi tract, he said that if people went on to serve solely their own end, then this would lead to immoral activities and would finally bring chaos in the society and in the country.
Muhammad Fazli Ilahi said that this prevailing attitude was currently applicable not only to the teachers or the students but also to the people who were controlling the university authorities.
He further said that, ‘If a thief is not educated then he will leave some clues and the police can trace him following that clues. But a thief, when educated, will be very clever to ensure that the traces were all cleaned behind him.’
The former vice-chancellor said that during appointments, the university administrations should appoint efficient, morally sound and capable people to do the job.
In a university, the vice-chancellor has some specific responsibilities, just as the cleaners had the responsibility to keep the environment clean, he continued.
Muhammad Fazli Ilahi further said that blaming others was only waste of time at this moment while all we should do was to ensure the jobs were being done the right way at all the levels to make the situation better.
He said that in private universities some owners were dedicated to education, while some people were considering these institutions as sources of profit.
In public universities, some of the people in administrations have less and some have much influence, and this was being utilised in the wrong way, he said.
‘Our situation is now so bad that no universities of our country are in the list of top universities in the world,’ he said.
On the responsibilities of the provosts, he said that in some cases the teachers remain silent in fear of personal losses such as losing the job and even dreading physical violence, which were not irrational fears at all in the current situation.
The students involved in the murder of BUET student Abrar Fahad thought they would get supports from the top brasses as they did in some of the past instances of similar violence, he observed.
If there were capable and morally strong people there as teachers and administrators, the errant students would not have had the nerve to show this sinister side of their character, he said.
The former professor urged the authorities, teachers and provosts to go deeper to find out the roots of violence and then mitigate the problem by considering all students alike.
‘The provosts should talk with the students at first and then think about their personal problems and then council them,’ he said, adding, ‘The administrations or provosts should also must see themselves in the role of the students before forming any rules, because only then would they be able to understand the reaction of the students.’
Farsightedness is necessary to address the mistrust in the administrations, which could turn into a sizable problem in the future,’ he said.
‘Right at this moment a drastic change in the attitude is required which should be initiated at the top and should be reflected on the decisions and policies taken,’ he explained.
People at all stages should fulfil their responsibilities and be their own supervisors to make the job easier, he added.
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