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Teacher crisis hits new public univs in Bangladesh

Ershad Kamol | Published: 00:22, Jan 11,2020 | Updated: 20:59, Jan 11,2020

 
 

A number of newly-established public universities in the country are operating without required number of qualified teachers.

Students of such universities said that the academic activities of these institutions were seriously hampered as their authorities appointed only a few lecturers and hired some senior teachers and professionals as guest teachers.

At least six new public universities did not get senior teachers to recruit in the posts of associate professors or professors after publishing advertisements following the approval of the posts by the University Grants Commission, an UGC official said preferring anonymity. 

The universities are Sheikh Hasina University in Netrakona, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University in Gopalganj, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University in Kaliakair, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University in the capital, Bangamata Sheikh Fojilatunnesa Mujib Science and Technology University in Jamalpul and Khulna Agricultural University.

Some of these universities are even operated on temporary campuses like many private universities, he said.

‘There is a serious shortage of qualified teachers for many public universities,’ he added.

He also said that the Cabinet Division in December approved four more public universities to advance technology-based higher education in the country.

Currently a total of 46 public universities are operating in the country.

Senior academics said that such new universities would deliver little result unless the government took preparations in view of the ground realities.

Dhaka University’s professor emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury said that opening new public universities in political consideration to enhance the government’s image would harm the concept of public university in the long run.

‘We understand the need for running more public universities but they should be opened after thorough assessments,’ he added.   

The same university’s retired professor and thinker Abul Kashem Fazlul Haq said that operating so many public universities with so young lecturers and some guest teachers might produce more graduates but not qualified professionals.

A BSMRSTU graduate, Md Fahim Sikder, told New Age that he was not considered by the viva board of a private university after he applied for joining that university as a lecturer at the computer science and engineering department on the ground that the department where he studied had no senior teacher.

‘They questioned my knowledge as we studied basically under some lecturers,’ Fahim said.

Only the vice-chancellor and three guest teachers of the university are of professor status while 12,000 students study at its 34 departments.

Acting BSMRSTU VC Professor Md Shaahjahan said that more professors were required for the proper functioning of the university.

Sheikh Hasina University official Tapas Sarkar said that the university, which started operating in a building of the expatriate welfare ministry in Netrakona last year, had only 10 lecturers to teach the 210 students at the Bangla, English, economics and computer science departments.

Though Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University was planned to be operated in Chattogram, it has started enrolling students since last year on a temporary campus in Dhaka.

Currently the university has 550 under-graduate and post-graduate students taught by 34 lecturers and 12 guest teachers, the university’s public relations officer Salman Sadeqin said.

Registrar Hamidur Rahman of Bangamata Sheikh Fojilatunnesa Mujib Science and Technology University in Jamalpur said that 300 students studied at the mathematics, computer science and electronics department, the electric and electronics department and the management department of the university.

‘Twelve lecturers, three assistant professors and 11 guest teachers, including some professors, teach them,’ he said, adding that the university would soon open a fisheries department.

Khulna Agricultural University registrar Mazharul Anwar said that guest teachers from other public universities taught 210 students of the university that started its journey two years back.

‘We published advertisements for teachers but got none,’ he said.

Six permanent lecturers, one assistant professor, and six senior teachers from other public universities teach 200 students of the information and communication technology department and the information and communication technology department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University, which started its operation on a temporary campus in Dhaka last year, an official of the university said seeking anonymity.

‘We will shift to our permanent campus in Gazipur soon,’ he said, adding that the university like other newly-opened universities did not get permanent teachers even after publishing advertisements.

UGC member Professor Dil Afroza Begum said that the commission had decided to relax the qualifications for appointing teachers at the newly-opened public universities.

‘In case of the universities conducting technical subjects like the maritime university, we have decided to give them permission to appoint professionals as teachers giving seniority depending on their work experiences and exposures,’ she said.

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