Govt cannot escape blame for condition of college education

Education isn’t just an opportunity but a right also. Investment in education is considered a most sustainable investment. There’s no alternative to educating our future generations with quality education in order to build them up as a skilled workforce.

However, it would be an understatement to call whatever’s going on in the name of ‘education’ at colleges affiliated with the national university, a farce. It is nothing less than a move to ruin the majority of youth’s future.

After the National University was established in 1992, college level higher education was included in this university’s curriculum. Though a university on paper, it functions basically as an examination board.

While the university began with a graduation pass course, it offers graduation (honours) and post-graduation degrees now. There are professional courses as well.

But, graduation and post-graduation degrees have been opened indiscriminately in the colleges, considering political and business-related interests alone without thinking of necessity and demand.

And, a huge number of students have been admitted too.

However, neither are there enough teachers, classrooms, libraries, laboratories nor any other educational infrastructure. As a result it’s not possible to run academic activities regularly. The question is, is it possible to provide anything except nominal education with such inadequacies?

Prothom Alo reports, there’s graduation courses open in 880 public and private colleges under the National University.

Including all, more than 2.9 million (29 lakh) students are pursuing higher education in these colleges. 66 per cent of all students pursuing higher education in the country, study there.

The majority of them come from lower and lower-middle class families. While they are getting admitted in these colleges to pursue higher education being somewhat compelled, they are falling victim to a lot of discrimination.

Compared to other public universities, government expenditure on each student of the National University is nominal.

Whereas, Tk 185,000 is spent annually on a student of Dhaka University, allocation for a national university is Tk 743 only. Even the number of teachers against the number of student is a lot lower.

National University faces disparity also when it comes to research. Besides, the terrible session jam is there as well. Even after taking admission in the same academic session, National University students are lagging way behind students of other universities.

A survey of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), done in 2021, bears proof of the fact that National University students are hardly learning anything even after completing their higher education.

The survey found that 66 per cent of the students passing out of colleges affiliated with the National University are remaining unemployed.

What’s the meaning of keeping majority of the young population under skilled like this without developing them as skilled, trained and up-to-date workforce?

The population aged below 30 years consist of the majority of the country’s total population now. A nation doesn’t always get such a unique opportunity. Yet, that prospect is being destroyed so casually.

Vice-chancellor of the National University has said that they have made a master plan to resolve this situation and develop student’s skills.

But, when the university doesn’t have infrastructural development, teacher recruitment and investment abilities in its hand, is it ever possible to implement that master plan?

The government in no way can escape liabilities for this terrible condition of higher education in the National University. It’s impossible to achieve desired economic development and develop an inclusive society by educating majority of the youth with nominal higher education like this.

The National University has to be transformed into an actual hub of higher education, ending the discrimination towards its students.