Where irregularities in recruitment become rules

As many as 187 teachers and employees had been appointed during the two years of incumbent Chittagong University vice chancellor Shireen Akhter, allegedly by violating the university ordinance, rules and regulations, and teacher recruitment guidelines. According to the teachers’ recruitment guidelines, circular will be issued against each vacant position, then the recruitment board will interview candidates and recommend for appointment, and finally, appointment will be approved at syndicate meeting. More or less similar rules are followed for the appointment of officials and employees.

But, several appointments were made other than the advertised posts at Chittagong University in the last two years. Recently, 19 teachers resigned from administrative posts protesting against the appointments that were made violating rules and regulations. Proctor, provost and assistant proctors were also among these teachers.

Five phone conversations on the money transaction in appointing teachers, officers and employees were leaked last year. These conversations were between two job candidates and the personal assistant of vice chancellor, Khaled Misbahul, and the university’s Comptroller of Accounts Office employee Ahmed Hossain. Khaled Misbahul was also in charge of deputy examination controller and he was removed from the post of the personal assistant following the leak of the phone conversation. It was a minor punishment for a major crime.

The vice chancellor, however, denied allegation saying meritorious candidates have been appointed as teachers. The vice chancellor claimed former proctor Rabiul Hasan Bhuiyan had recruited several people and wanted to recruit some more, which the proctor could not do and, so he resigned and instigated others against administration.

Former professor of Bangla department, Shireen Akhter took the office of the vice chancellor on 13 June 2019. Controversy on recruitment began in June 2021 after 12 part-time teachers were appointed at the university-run Laboratory School and College without advertisement and recruitment test as well as 15 officials and employees were appointed too.

Irregularities have become rules at Chittagong University. If the recently resigned proctor recruited anyone, why would the vice chancellor not block it at that time? That means once they did the irregularities together. An institution cannot be operated according to a person’s will. An institution runs on rules and regulations. If the vice chancellor thinks there is a necessity for recruitment, the vice chancellor must create the post first and then will issue circular for the post. Phone conversation of the vice chancellor’s personal assistant on the recruitment of officers and employee has been leaked and what does it prove? The vice chancellor took no legal action against people facing allegation and merely transferred them.

The face-off between the Chittagong University administration and its teachers is not expected and resignations of 16 teachers including the university’s proctor, assistant proctor and a provost from administrative posts also revealed no confidence on the vice chancellor.

There must be transparency and accountability not only in recruitment but also in all activities of the university administration. It is necessary to investigate into what sort of irregularities has been carried out in all the appointments that took place in last two years. This investigation must be carried out people other than any teacher and administrative officials. Investigation must be done by academicians other than the Chittagong University and the University Grants Commission (UGC) can play role here.