Among the teachers, the number of professors is more than 4,500. The highest number of teachers are in the post of assistant professor – more than 5,000. It means 29 per cent of the total teachers are professors while 17 per cent are lecturers.
According to the Prothom Alo report, the number of professors, associate professors, assistant professors and lecturers has been specified in each department. But the university authorities increase the number of posts at thier will under special arrangements.
There are mainly seven posts of professors in the political science department of Dhaka University. But the department now has a total of 12 professors. Of them, five professors have been recruited under the facility of 're-arrangement or restructuring'. There is no lecturer in the department right now.
When the number of experienced teachers and professors is more than the necessity in our old universities, the quality of education should also be taken into consideration. If there is no Bangladeshi university in the list of the world's 1,000 best universities, then what are so many professors doing?
At a time when the old universities are hiring more professors than needed, the new universities are running with inexperienced and new teachers.
Bangamata Sheikh Fojilatunnesa Mujib Science and Technology University has a total of 46 teachers where the number of professors is only one. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman University of Science and Technology has only three professors against 34 departments. One of them has been recruited contactually.
Generally, required qualifications, reputation for teaching and learning, good quality research and publications are desirable to become a professor. But despite not having these, many teachers have become professors simply due to seniority or political influence. The government is unnecessarily spending extra money on the salaries and facilities of these professors.
There is quick promotion in the lower positions, but the vacancies are not being fulfilled. As a result, there is no balance in the number of professors, associate professors, assistant professors and lecturers in the universities. Several teachers have also been accused of plagiarising others' research for promotion.
There are serious complaints about the quality of education at the new public universities. Experienced teachers do not go there and in cases, the experienced ones are overlooked under the political consideration. If there are no experienced teachers, then who will the students learn from? How will the universities run?
Academics recognise the need for realignment and equity in manpower in the public universities. They also warned about the dangers of becoming a professor easily.
But will the guardians of our higher education pay attention to it at all? The acting chairman of University Grants Commission has assured that there will be no appointments through irregularities in the universities in the coming days.
But we think it is necessary to hold the recruiting authorities accountable for the irregularities that have taken place in the past.