When shall these private univs move to permanent campuses?16 April 2023 Editorial Desk
There is no dearth of allegations against the country's mushrooming private universities. While some top ranking few private universities have earned fame for imparting fairly better education to students, most are yet to pass as dependable tertiary education centres. They are running more as business centres than learning institutions; students also get admitted to these universities for a certificate rather than education.
There are many private universities that are yet to follow the rules and guidelines of Private University Act 2010. Their business mentality has become so powerful that they have not shifted their temporary campuses from the capital to permanent campuses. The capital is attractive for this business.
According to a recent newspaper report, in Bangladesh there are 110 private universities of which 102 of them are running academic activities. Of these 102 universities, only 44 universities are now running academic activities on their permanent campuses. It means 66 universities are without a permanent campus.
When we talk about universities, in our mind we have certain things including spacious campuses as well as certain other facilities such as research centres, libraries, playing fields as well as recreational centres. But in regards to private universities in our mind we get images of classrooms in buildings that house busy shopping malls or that are located at busy commercial centres.
But why is this unwillingness to establish and move to the permanent campus? Education experts have pointed out multiple reasons including commercialisation of education, lack of implementation of relevant laws and absence of government monitoring. The University Grants Commission, the overseeing authorities of the universities, said that it did not take a hard line like closing academic activities right now for not moving to permanent campuses. Instead it suggested some punitive measures for failure to implement the rules.
On the other hand, authorities of a private university that has been in operation since the early nineties said it is not possible to construct a building overnight in the land they have beside the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway. Now the question can be asked, why the university that has completed three decades of operation and still not ready to move to a permanent campus is given permission to found a university in the first place. There is a serious allegation that the governments at different times gave permission to parties to found universities on political considerations rather than their abilities. To these people, business is more important than imparting education in the right kind of academic atmosphere.