Ruling Awami League general secretary and road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader has raised questions about the personality of the university teachers working in different administration posts of the universities.
He said it was astonishing that those in charge of universities follow the instructions of influential student leaders. This lack of personality of the teachers has diminished their respect in the society.
Quader was addressing a seminar organised virtually by Awami League’s education and human resource affairs sub-committee, titled ‘Education: Realistic Strategy to Achieve Targets of 2041,’ marking Education Day, at the party’s Bangabandhu Avenue central office in the capital.
Saying that some universities set bad precedents in recruiting teachers, the minister said teachers are being recruited at the behest of influential people, quality not being the main criteria here. Teachers are being recruited bypassing merit and qualifications.
“Officials think they will face trouble if they doesn’t acquiesce to the lobbying of influential persons. Thar is how many people are discriminated against. This is a very unfortunate matter,” Quader said.
In recent times, investigations of the University Grants Commission revealed that many appointments including of teachers and for other posts were made in a few universities including Rajshahi University, Khulna Agricultural University on the basis of party allegiance and nepotism. Immediate past vice chancellor of Rajshahi University, M Abdus Sobhan, gave appointments to his daughter and son-in-law by relaxing the recruitment principles. Then, on 6 May, on his last working day as VC, Abdus Sobhan set an example of irregularity by giving ad hoc appointment to 138 to different posts including teacher violating a stay order of the education ministry.
Khulna University vice chancellor Shahidur Rahman Khan reportedly gave an ad hoc appointment to his son as a section officer and recruited his daughter as a teacher through a questionable appointment process. Such irregularities in appointment of teachers are taking place in different universities.
Student leaders control dormitory gonorooms
Obaidul Quader talked about the “gonoroom” (crowded 'mass' rooms for students) culture as well. He said students of many colleges and universities are unhappy with the students involved with politics because of the “gonoroom” culture. Student leaders of different hostels and dormitories control the “gonorooms”. Some do business with the “gonorooms” as well. This must be stopped permanently. We don’t need to see who is happy or unhappy with this decision, he insisted.
According to “gonoroom” culture, new students are forced to take part in the programmes of the student organisations of the ruling party. Earlier, BNP’s student wing, Chhatra Dal, would control the “gonorooms”. Currently, Bangladesh Chhatra League, as a body of ruling Awami League, control the rooms.
Student politics losing shine
The AL general secretary expressed his disappointment as student leaders now do not organise seminars on education or problems of education or about the campus. Instead, they are busy with national and international politics. “Student organisations don’t even organise any seminars on the significance of Education Day now. If the current trend continues, the glory of student organisations will be lost,” he said.
The senior leader said student politics has already lost its shine these days. It will be worse if students lose interest in it. He said, “I don’t know how many student leaders can answer why the student’s movement in 1962 took place?”
Quader also regretted that no Bangladesh university was among the top 500 universities of the world. “It is a very unfortunate matter that we could not create a single university that could be regarded as an international quality university.”
No reason to disagree
Educationist Syed Manzoorul Islam does not think there is any reason to disagree with what Obaidul Quader said.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, he said, “Though the vice chancellors of public universities do not completely follow student leaders’ instructions, they do follow much of what they say. That is reality.”
He said what Obaidul Quader had said was happening on a broad scale. That is why vice chancellors should be appointed on the basis of merit, personality and acceptability, instead of their partisan efforts to be vice chancellors.
Syed Manzoorul Islam thought the recurrence of irregularities in the recruitment of teachers is because of lack of action against such incidents. He said the university administration has to ensure that no political party or lobby can play a role in teachers’ appointments. “Action must be taken whenever this happens.”
Manzoorul Islam said as a ruling party, Awami League needs to have clear role to stop such irregularities. The party should take action wherever there is indiscipline. The student leaders who put pressure on the university administration have to be expelled from the party.
Obaidul Quader will not have speak about this as the party’s general secretary next year if these steps can be taken, he added.
BSS adds: Obaidul Quader said student politics should be established as a model of values and knowledge as politics would be knowledge-based in the coming days.
“We need students, not examinees. Education is needed for life, not for living. Teachers, guardians, policymakers and students should realise this reality at first,” he added.
He stressed the need to bring back the students who have dropped out from schools due to coronavirus pandemic.
The minister said universities would resume academic activities physically from the last week of this month.
AL education and human resource affairs sub-committee chairman professor Abdul Khaleque chaired the programme.
Former secretary Md Nazrul Islam Khan presented the keynote paper in the seminar moderated by the sub-committee’s member secretary Shamsun Nahar Chapa.