About 750 or 38 per cent of Dhaka University teachers were appointed during the incumbent vice-chancellor, AAMS Arefin Siddique, amid widespread allegation of politicisation, nepotism and irregularities.
In the past eight years and a half since ruling Awami League-backed blue panel teacher leader Arefin Siddique assumed the office, in many cases, teachers were appointed without advertisement, more than the positions advertised and without post-graduate degree, senior teachers and syndicate members alleged.
Most of the appointments were made considering political links, regionalism and lobbying instead of quality, they added.
They said that main reason for mass recruitments was to consolidate power and ‘appoint voters’ to ensure victory of AL supporters, especially those close to the vice-chancellor, in elections to teachers’ association, deans, senate and special senate for picking three-member panel for vice-chancellor appointment.
Senior teachers, including history department supernumerary professor Syed Anwar Husain, Institute of Social Welfare and Research professor Muhammad Samad and sociology professor Sadeka Halim alleged that the incumbents cared little about the university’s rules and regulations in the procedure for the appointment of over 900 teachers as they ‘appointed voters.’
Muhammad Samad said that no other vice-chancellor appointed so many teachers.
Sadeka Halim said that about 100-150 teachers were appointed at the university every year despite budget crunch and these irregularities were unacceptable.
Arefin Siddique said that 749 teachers were appointed during his tenure and all the appointments were made following university’s rules and regulations.
Teacher appointment is regular phenomenon, he said, adding that 300-350 teachers had retired and 300-350 others went abroad for long time for higher studies so the university had to appoint teachers.
‘Some of our colleagues are spreading falsehood saying over 900 teachers have been appointed to tarnish the image of the university administration for their benefits,’ he added.
The vice-chancellor has no say in the recruitment process of lecturers and assistant professors as selection boards are headed by pro-vice-chancellor (education), he said.
Pro-vice-chancellor (education) Nasreen Ahmed claimed that no recruitment was made unilaterally.
The Dhaka University had about 1,200 teachers in January 2009, when Arefin assumed the office and number now stood at 1,992, said acting registrar Md Enamuzzaman.
Teachers alleged that during the past eight years and a half, the university appointed 70 teachers compromising educational qualifications, 3 without post-gradation degree and about 40 in addition to the positions advertised.
During hearing on a university appeal on the appointment Tofail Ahmed as philosophy department lecturer, chief justice SK Sinha on August 3 said that it was alarming that the practice of appointment of students becoming first, second or third in the departments of the university as its lecturer was not being followed.
The High Court declared the appointment of Tofail illegal on August 2 and the Appellate Division upheld the verdict on August 3. On December 29, 2016, the department appointed five lecturers, including Tofail who did not have GPA score over 4.25 in his SSC and HSC as per the advertisement.
University syndicate on August 16, 2017 appointed two lecturers––Monjusri Chowdhury and M Ilias Uddin––at Institute of Leather Engineering and Technology without advertisement.
The institute actually advertised for four assistant professors, a syndicate member said, adding that the appointment agenda was tabled but not discussed at the meeting and was passed with a note of dissent given by syndicate member Neelima Akter.
‘It was observed that agendas of appointments having problem were usually tabled with incomplete information at the meetings’, said the syndicate member.
The syndicate also appointed Nifat Sultana and M Akhtaruzzaman as lecturers of history of arts department in October 2016 without advertisement. The department advertised for two assistant professors. Faculty of Fine Arts dean professor Nisar Hossain, also a selection board member, put his note of dissent on the decision at the selection board meeting.
In June 2016, four lecturers were appointed at printing and publication studies department, although it advertised for two lecturers. The four, students of mass communication and journalism department of Arefin Siddique, also failed to meet the requirement set in the advertisement.
Of them, Mahfuzur Rahman and Mohosina Islam got GPA 3.70 out of 5 in HSC, the requirement was GPA 4.25, and Shilpy Begum and Sheikh Jinat Sharmin got CGPA 3.45 and 3.47 in graduation against required CGPA of 3.50. Sources said that 17 of the 25 candidates for the position met the requirements.
The university in December 2015 appointed SM Imran Hossain as lecturer of television, film and photography department, although he stood 9th in second class in theatre and performance studies honours final exam.
Imran Hossain also did not meet the requirements in his post-graduation results as he achieved CGPA 3.13 in the masters of mass communication and journalism and 3.47 in the master’s of television, film and photography while the required CGPA was 3.5. A left out candidate, however, met the requirements.
In October 2016, the university appointed Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology students Tanvir Ahmed, Nurus Sakib and Sajib Borua, without master’s degree, as lecturers at applied chemistry and chemical engineering department.
The department also appointed nine lecturers without advertisement.
Arefin Siddique said that the three were given temporary appointments until completion of their master’s as the authority had advertised seeking candidates having master’s degree but got no response.
BUET and others science and technology universities have also appointed teachers without master’s degree, he claimed.
The university syndicate, at a meeting in February 2013, decided to allow appointment of not more than one teacher in addition to the advertised posts and such appointment should be made only if recommended by Coordination and Development Committee of the department concerned and placed before the meeting of selection board.
In August in 2016, eleven teachers––one assistant professor and 10 lecturers––were appointed at zoology department against the advertisement for one assistant professor and three lecturers.
Four lecturers were appointed at genetic engineering and biotechnology department against the advertisement for one lecturer in May 2016. Syndicate members alleged that the number of appointed teachers increased to accommodate Dhaka University Teachers Association general secretary Rahmat Ullah’s daughter Tamalika Rahmat Ullah as teacher.
In May 2014, nine lecturers were appointed against one advertised position at chemistry department.
In January 2016, five lecturers were appointed against three advertised positions at mass communication and journalism department. A syndicate member alleged that M Asaduzzaman was appointed instead of the candidates who had better results in graduation and post-graduation.
In June 2017, nine were appointed at international business department, the department of treasurer professor Kamal Uddin, against advertisement for four.
The authorities said that they appointed teachers more than advertised posts and without advertisement temporarily to fill vacancy caused by leave and new posts approved by the coordination and development committee.
Acting registrar Md Enamuzzaman said that 749 teachers were appointed between January 2009 and July 2017. ‘Later, two syndicate meetings also appointed several teachers,’ he said.
‘It is unfortunate that worst qualified vice-chancellor is serving for longest time and appointing many teachers,’ Anwar Husain said.
‘Appointment of teachers without advertisement is unprecedented,’ said former vice-chancellor SMA Faiz, adding, ‘I heard from many that politicisation was one of the reasons for large scale appointments.’
Former vice-chancellor AK Azad Chowdhury said that he did not want to comment on appointment as he did not have detail information. ‘Generally, political consideration is getting priority over merit in recruitment at all universities which is bad for higher education.’
Arefin Siddique said that minimum qualifications for a candidate were fixed by the syndicate and it could lower the qualification, if necessary. People who are propagating against recruitment are syndicate members, they have agreed on issues at the meetings. Suddenly ahead of VC panel election, they began the propaganda, meaning that they have agendas, he said
‘Teachers were appointed on political consideration in the past and such practice does not exist now,’ he claimed.