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Key posts such as vice-chancellor, pro-vice chancellor or treasurer at most of the private universities and some of the public universities in the country have been lying vacant for quite some time, affecting the activities of the institutions.

The vacancies have created serious roadblocks at these universities as both academic and administrative functions are badly hampered, mainly due to delay in distribution of certificates and in making policy decisions and recruitments, alleged educationists.

Currently, 95 of the country’s 105 private universities are running without vice-chancellors or pro-vice chancellors or treasurers who are appointed by the president, according to the data provided by the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh. 

Right now 26 private universities are running without vice-chancellors, 79 without pro-vice-chancellors and 54 without treasurers.

The commission described the situation at these private universities as ‘terrible’ while Private University Association leaders said that the situation resulted from a lack of eligible candidates and the current selection procedure.

As for public universities, the Barishal University authorities have postponed the admission tests for the 2019-20 academic session as the vital positions of vice-chancellor, registrar and treasurer at the university have been vacant for months.

Acting vice-chancellors now run Chittagong University and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University in Gopalganj.

All these vacuums have created a chaotic situation at these universities while the government, it seems, does not have any interest in these institutions, alleged the educationists.

They went on to add that the situation at these universities was nothing different from the overall situation of the country.

Against this backdrop, the University Grants Commission in a press release on October 23 urged the education ministry to take immediate steps for appointing vice-chancellors, pro-vice chancellors and treasurers against the vacant posts at universities.

Education minister Dipu Moni on Tuesday at a programme said that her ministry, along with other departments, was responsible for filling the vacant positions.

‘We are trying to do our part with urgency,’ she added.

UGC director for public universities Md Kamal Hossain told New Age that the president, who is chancellor of all the universities in the country, makes appointment to a university’s key posts like vice-chancellor.

Without being appointed by the chancellor one may work as an acting vice-chancellor at a university, he said.

‘The private universities which are running without appointed vice-chancellors may have selected their acting vice-chancellors on their own,’ he said, adding, ‘The situation is terrible.’

‘The students as well as the administrations are suffering very badly at the universities operating without regular vice-chancellors or pro-vice chancellors or treasures,’ he went on.

Kamal said that when someone got his or her graduation degree they needed the signature of their university’s vice-chancellor on the certificates and in case of a university not having its vice-chancellor they also did not get their certificates in time.

Besides, in meetings of a university’s senate or syndicate about policy making, decisions are taken by the vice-chancellor, the pro-vice chancellors or/and the treasurer, he said and added that when these positions remained vacant the overall operation of the university was adversely affected.

‘Definitely not only me, but everyone will think that this is not desirable at all,’ said former Dhaka University vice-chancellor SMA Faiz about the situation on Wednesday.

The government and the trustee board members, including the owners and the sponsors, of the private universities concerned should seriously think about the situation, he further said.

‘Especially, at Barishal University a complete impasse is prevailing currently,’ he said, adding that the education ministry should replace acting vice-chancellors with senior teachers as regular vice-chancellors as soon as possible.

‘It is not desirable at all that acting vice-chancellors should sign the certificates, these should be signed by the one who holds a permanent position,’ SMA Faiz added.

He also observed that other appointments made in absence of regular vice-chancellors might face questions.

When a stipulated authority at a university doesn’t work definitely the academic and administrative aspects would be affected, he added.

Dhaka University’s former professor of Bengali language and literature Abul Kasem Fazlul Haque told New Age that the government was only emphasising economic development.

‘The state, the education system and the judiciary are not working well at all and such vacancies at these universities are a proof of this chaotic situation,’ he observed.

‘The education system of the country, from the primary to the higher education levels, looks grand from outside but inside the system is chaotic,’ he also said. 

No political party or government had the desire to develop Bangladesh as a state and to imbibe the people with national unity in last 20 years, which created this situation, he added.

Private University Owners’ Association president Sheikh Kabir Hossain told this newspaper that they wanted at least the vice-chancellors and treasurers at all universities.

‘The problem is to find competent candidates as now the number of universities is many, he said, also chairman of the Fareast International University.

Sheikh Kabir continued that three names have to be sent to the chancellor for selecting one of them as the vice-chancellor, but if a single name turns out to be ineligible then all the names are returned.

These rules need to be amended and then these could solve the problem partially, he added.

According to a list published by the University Grants Commission on September 22, the 10 private universities having vice-chancellors, pro-vice chancellors and treasurers appointed by the president were the following.

Independent University, Bangladesh, International University of Business Agriculture and Technology, International Islamic University, Chittagong, University of Asia Pacific, BRAC University, City University, University of South Asia, Atish Dipankar University of Science and Technology, Varendra University and Sonargaon University.

Another list published by the commission on the same day showed that the private universities that were running without regular vice-chancellors were the ones that followed.

Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology, Gono Bishwabidyalay, Asian University of Bangladesh, Manarat International University, Southeast University, Daffodil International University, Prime University, Uttara University, Royal University of Dhaka, Bangladesh Islami University, BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology, ZH Sikder University of Science and Technology, Exim Bank Agricultural University, Bangladesh, Khwaja Yunus Ali University, Britannia University, Bangamata Sheikh Fojilatunnesa Mujib Science and Technology University, Cox’s Bazar International University, Rupayan AKM Shamsuzzoha University, Bangladesh, The University of Cumilla, Ahsania Mission University of Science and Technology, Khulna Khan Bahadur Ahsanullah University, Shah Makhdum Management University, Trust University, Barishal, International Standard University, University of Brahmanbaria and University of Skill Enrichment and Technology.

News Courtesy: www.newagebd.net

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