After Abrar Fahad, a student of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) was beaten to death by leaders and activists of the ruling party’s student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), organisation-based politics has been banned at the institution following the demands of the general students. Educationists feel that if this measure is taken at all other public universities of the country, a proper academic environment will be restored at the campuses.
The educationists have said that the student politics on campus is not contributing in any positive manner. There is brutality and violent clashes. Sick politics has gripped the campuses. Extortion, tender manipulations and other unscrupulous activities are being carried out in the name of student politics. Anyone expressing different opinions is attacked. The people do not want to see such violence anymore.
Universities should be the hub of free expression, but instead the voices of the students are being muffled. This is true of almost all universities and colleges in the country. The ruling party student leaders and activities have become the muscle men used to assault any opposition.
It is not as if students will be unable to protest if there is no student politics. In recent times the general students demonstrated strongly against irregularities at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University in Gopalganj and the Barisal University. The students said that regular student union elections at universities and colleges without political influence would bring forward constructive student leadership.
Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, national professor
National professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury has hailed the decision to ban teacher and student politics at BUET. Speaking to Prothom Alo over mobile phone Friday night, he said that this was a positive decision. BUET’s academic environment will improve with the halt of student politics. The decision will help in improving the university’s overall environment.
Jamilur Reza Chowdhury feels it would be good if, like BUET, there is no student and teacher politics in the other universities too. He said, the student political organisations, as affiliates of the political parties, have done no good. They assault anyone who expresses any different opinion which we have seen in the Abrar murder.
He said such torture is being carried out in all public universities of the country. A ban should be enforced in all public universities of the country on student and teacher political organisations affiliated with the national political parties.
Academic programmes should be strengthened in the universities.
All this depends on political commitment. Only political commitment can create a positive impact on the institutions.
Ainun Nishat, emeritus professor, BRAC University
The activities of the student organisations at present are not at all befitting of students, said emeritus professor of BRAC University, Ainun Nishat. He said that the student organisations are controlled by leaders of the main political parties. He said tender trade and extortion is being carried out in the name of student politics. Active intervention of the state is required to being this to a halt.
Ainun Nishat has blamed the teachers for the state of the universities in the country. He said the teachers have embroiled themselves in partisan politics and no longer behave like teachers. They use the students in their own interests. And the students too, looking for all sorts of perks, follow their instructions. This had dealt a blow to educational standards.
Support from the government is required if the previous environment of the universities is to be restored, Ainun Nishat said. He hoped that the ruling party and other political parties would take the matter into cognizance and halt student politics, at least for the time being. Only when healthy student politics can be ensured, will this be taken into consideration again.
At the moment, student politics must be banned from all universities, not just BUET. This will only be possible with the cooperation of the political parties.
Professor Syed Manzurul Islam
Educationist Syed Manzurul Islam wants to see an end to the political power play of student organisations at the universities. He said, given the present state of politics in the country, the student organisations have to remain loyal to the political parties. This sort of political trend gives way to mismanagement of student politics, tender trade, crime and abuse of power. The display of power has ruined student politics. This student politics has no public welfare ideology. All this must be brought under control.
Syed Manzurul Islam said, teacher politics must also be prohibited in the universities. The teachers will have political rights, but not be loyal to any particular political party. The people want teachers to practice ideological politics which stand up for the people, for education.
Competent persons must be appointed as vice chancellors to the universities. The teachers can have no political involvements. Teacher politics must be based on ideals and ideologies. That is what the nation wants.